Random thoughts from an unusual company

My Favourite iPad Apps So Far - Work and Non Work

Gabriella Davis  1 June 2010 23:07:35
Yeah yeah i know, everyone is sick to death of the iPad but bear with me since I have only had mine since Friday.  Of course these are just my choices.  We have 2 other iPads in the office right now and both of them have completely different apps from me and from each other.  I'm not trying to sell anyone else on one but I know what a huge difference it's made for me.  At 3am this morning I couldn't sleep and I had work to do but instead of going downstairs for my laptop I picked up the iPad from the bedside table (where i'd left it after reading) and connected wirelessly to our office VPN then started upgrading servers via VNC and RDC remotely.  For me it's exactly what I thought Steve Jobs was going to present when we were waiting to hear news of the iPad last January - I remember turning to Tim and saying

"the thing is, I don't want a tablet computer but whatever Apple announce it's going to be a thing I hadn't thought I needed and I won't think I need until I get my hands on one and then I won't want to do without it".   - and hey! I was right.

  1. Traveler integrated into the iPad's mail app is probably the slickest, fastest and most enjoyable mail client i've ever used.  It's a pleasure (I kid you not) to flick through my inbox filing messages and deleting stuff on the iPad not to mention incredibly fast.  The Blackberry may bring me mail but the iPad helps me manage it.  FREE!
  2. VPN - I have 4 VPNs set up on my iPad , all of which work perfectly and allow me to connect to a US service, our offices, and 2 customer sites.  I make sure that I don't save details or passwords in the VPN configuration because - well it's an iPad and chances are I'll leave it somewhere someday. FREE!
  3. VNC - the paid for version from Real VNC which work very fast on the iPad and allows me to both pivot the screen and resize it.  The mouse is very responsive to touch controls too. $9.99 USD
  4. Logmein Ignition.  We use logmein for remote work and for some office machines.  It's a great free service (or cheap if want file transfer) which allows me to remotely manage any company I've loaded logmein onto without opening up any firewall ports inbound.  $30 USD is a license for 1 iPad device and gives me access to as many computers (Mac and PC) as I have set up under my account
  5. Adobe Ideas.  A simply drawing / layout tool which allows me to sketch out infrastructure and network designs whilst I'm talking or in a meeting then email directly from there, the drawing and my annotation are converted to PDF and sent as email attachments.  I can also annotate any image or photo on the device.  I tried it today with a stylus but couldn't get on with it, plus it left a smudge all over the screen but drawing and writing with my finger works well and it 'smoothes' both my drawing and writing.  FREE!
  6. Dropbox .  Store and share files from the web, PCs , Macs and the iPad including displaying pictures, PDFs and text files on the iPad itself.  You can also secure you entire DropBox with a 4 digit key meaning I can save text documents with sensitive (but not too sensitive) information in there.  FREE!
  7. ToDo  Task management on the iPad.  I like Todo because I want to manage my tasks on the iPad and because I can email a task or a list of tasks to someone else who also runs Todo and it's added to his / her list.  That person can also update the list and send it back to me.  It's simple task management and checklists but since I do most of my organisation late at night, it's incredibly useful to be able to type in everything as tasks and just send emails out to whoever they are assigned to. 4.99 USD.  
  8. Merlin - project management for the iPhone (2x on the iPad).  I use Merlin for all my project management on the Mac and really like it.  The iPad version isn't very feature rich and is quite expensive but it does 2 invaluable things for me - it shows me all my tasks and subtasks for a particular project as a list and it shows the entire project as a gantt chart.  When I'm doing an upgrade or installation project for a customer I write a very detailed plan in Merlin, then I print it out and have it next to me whilst I work because when I'm working I'm usually on a VPN and I don't want to be moving backwards and forwards between my plan and the actual work.  This allows me to skip the printout and simply have my list of tasks on the iPad to follow through.  It's also I believe a good tool for taking a customer through the plan in detail without all the additional detail you find in the actual project management tool.  40 USD per license.  Free for projects of 40 tasks or less (I wish!)
  1. iBookstore.  Loving the book reader.  I have had a Sony Pocket reader for about a year and do like that but the quality of the eBooks disappointed me and I had to shine a light on it in low lighting (no worse than a regular book).  I transferred all my Sony books to the iPad and to my surprise a lot o the eBooks that had seemed poor quality on the Sony, have more detail on the iPad (things like proper Table of Contents).  I bought a few more books and downloaded a ton of free books and read exclusively on it this weekend (3 books).  What impressed me most was how absorbing it was, much more so than the Sony, and I kept catching myself brushing the top right of the screen as though I was going to turn the page like I would with a normal book.  I simply forgot it wasn't a regular book I was reading.  People can mock about the apparently unecessary graphics Apple lays on such as the shading in the central 'spine' between 2 pages and the page turn animation but all of that goes together to make it more of a book experience than the Sony ever was.  Incidentally I always loathed the Kindle that never felt or looked right to me - I love so much about books and the Kindle always felt like a sterile computer :-) (I know it makes no sense, but it's definitely a different emotional connection)  FREE! (for a ton of books now out of Copyright - try searching for Wilkie Collins, or P G Wodehouse or Jane Austen)
  2. BBC iPlayer.  Works fast, better picture than many TVs, nice simple interface, you can even bookmark it on your homepage.  What's not to love.  FREE!  I tried Netflix for the US as well and it works fine via my VPN but I was far more impressed with iPlayer.
  3. Remote.  Control all the iTunes libraries throughout the house and play music through any speakers connected to a computer, Apple.TV or via Airport Extreme (Airtunes).  All of our music is stored on a Drobo connected to an iMac on the 3rd floor of the house, using Remote I can be cooking in the kitchen and call up any music from that library and play it through the kitchen speakers.  The iPad shows the track / album and allows me to even control the volume.  It's the closest thing to 'magic' technology in the house and we no longer have any CDs anywhere.  I can also get it play through the TV speakers or out of its own speakers and the entire Library including Genius Mixes is available FREE!
  4. Whilst we're in the kitchen - Sous Chef is a recipe program for the Mac that I got in a MacHeist bundle a couple of year's ago and now store all my recipes in it.  One of its features is that it will turn cooking instructions into a presentation, showing full screen and going step by step as you scroll through.  I had gotten used to having my laptop open in the kitchen whilst I cooked so I could follow new recipes but I now have Sous Chef for the iPad so now my iPad sits on a dock in the kitchen and steps through any recipe.  It comes with a library of 10s of thousands of recipes and a very slick and fast search engine but it's also cloud based so any recipe I had created in the 2 years on my Mac was automatically shared in the cloud and available to me on my iPad to call up by searching.  So far it's taken me less than 5 secs to find any of my own recipes simply by searching for a couple of the ingredients or methods I know are in them. $7.99 USD
  5. Card Shark.  50+ simple card games.  Low on animation and snazziness but high on range and features.  $0.99 USD
  6. Mahjongg Artifacts 2 HD.  A very pretty , simple, peaceful Mahjongg game.  $4.99 USD (there's a free version that seems to be identical too)
  7. IMDB.  The entire IMDB database on the iPad with nice links for trailers and the ability to look up TV programs as well as movies.  I watch way too many old movies and hopping from movie to movie to actor to other movie can give me ideas of things I haven't watched in an age or things I've never seen. Plus it has all the movie trailers for recent and upcoming films.  FREE!


1Carlos  02/06/2010 08:52:57  My Favourite iPad Apps So Far - Work and Non Work

Nice list. I would add:




Google (the voice search is great)

2Lewis Turek  02/06/2010 09:39:20  My Favourite iPad Apps So Far - Work and Non Work

Here's my list:









FT Mobile edition

Thomson Reuters News Pro

USA Today






PCalcLite (Calculator)

NewsRack (RSS Reader)

Voice Memos


Amazon Kindle


Virtuoso Piano

Dropbox (check out dropbox.com for more info... let me know if you are going to sign up (it's free), and I'll refer you, which means we both get extra storage space)


Flight Contol HD

Pinball HD

Let's Golf! HD

Angry Birds HD

Backgammon HD

Labyrinth 2 HD

Asphalt 5


Checkers HD


Plane Finder HD

Kayak Flights

Old style iPod apps (you may have many of these already):

Facebook (iPad version due 'soon'')

My Flights

Sky News

Met Office


Amazon UK




iSimples (pointless, but so good!!)

BA Flights








Priority Pass

3Rob Novak  07/06/2010 23:46:16  My Favourite iPad Apps So Far - Work and Non Work

Sniff, sniff.