The Apple iPad – Turn Ons and Turn Offs

I’d be a bad parent to throw the iPad into the same category as one of my kids, but I do love it.Yes, it has only been a week and I’m sure that I’ll find some of the flaws that the anti-iPadders are talking about, but thus far, they have yet to materialize.So, in the spirit of a Playboy centerfold… Turn On’s:

  • Yes. It turns on instantly.  Just like my phone and my MacBook when I don’t shut it down.  I simply push the button and I’m online.  It is the way that computers should be.  The fact that people have to wait 5-minutes for Windows to boot up in 2010 is an embarrassment to the human race.
  • The Kindle – The Kindle on the iPad just rocks.  Some people complain about the glare, but I spent most of this past weekend on the beach reading off of it and it was fine.  I didn’t have to reposition my chair, didn’t have to move around or tilt it in an uncomfortable way.  Yes, there was a glare, but not nearly as bad as I get on a laptop.
  • The Kindle II – Best practice – if the white background hurts your eyes (it does mine) switch to black background with white text.  Eyes all better.
  • Family time – Because of the form factor, it is a great family game machine.  I kill zombies with my son and serve diners with my daughter.  We curl up on the couch together and play.  I busted out Pictionary on it the other night and all four of us spent about 45 minutes drawing and guessing and had a blast.  There is a version of Sorry I’m aching to try.
  • Video – Because it is true HD, I find that I’m watching more video (not Hulu yet, though) on it than on my laptop.  We are a one TV family and I like that while my wife watches television, I can watch quality video on the iPad in another room. Check out ‘The Raven‘ for a perfect example.
  • iPhone apps work – this is really nice.
  • Bedtime stories – There are some amazing kids books out there and it is cool, especially Alice in Wonderland, how they work.  I hope more come out.
  • Google Maps – It is generally a cool application, but having the iPad on the counter and looking at a map makes me feel like a modern day Magellan.
  • Netflix – Hell yes. Watch instantly kills on the iPad.
  • BoingBoing – They’ve built a really nice interface specifically for the iPad.

Turn Off’s

  • Video – Apple needs to get over this petty squabble with Adobe and support Flash. Apple is asking all web developers to support a different video standard and that is kind of dumb.  Hulu is coming out with a premium version soon that will support the iPad.  That will be nice to see.
  • Weight – Despite the form factor, it is a bit heavier than I was expecting.  Not that it weighs a ton, but compared to a Kindle, it is different.
  • No Social Books – My big vision for Kindle / iPad / etc. is that they build a social service that allows me to see how other people mark up their books.  Brad Feld has a great book shelf and actually does a good job sharing what he reads.  Other people I follow, not so much.  I’d love to not only see what they are reading, but also see their mark ups and notes.  I’d pay a bunch for that service. Shelfari gets kind of there, but I’d like to see what people I follow jot down in the notes.
  • Publishers aren’t quite there yet – I saw the video for Mygazines and that is what pushed me over the edge to buy an iPad.  Their content isn’t for me, but I love their vision and I hope that other publishers get on board with similar types of services.  I’d really like to see Golf Digest put out an iPad edition that has tight integration and video.
  • Fragility – Mabye it is because I’ve had my iPhone for a long time and I’m used to it. Maybe it is because my iPhone has a little condom it sits in. For whatever reason, I don’t think of my iPhone as that fragile.  The iPad on the other hand, I feel like I’m carrying around a precious plate of glass. I’m worried that if it drops, if it lays wrong in my bag, if I stare at it the wrong way, It will break. Hopefully that will go away.
  • iTunes – I’ve always felt that for managing music, iTunes was okay.  Add Podcasts, books and videos and it starts to suck.  Add another profile or another device and it becomes totally worthless.  I have things on my phone that I don’t want on my iPad and vice versa.  It should be easier to manage these profiles independently of one another.  Right now the experience fails huge.
  • App Splurge – One thing I didn’t account for was the limited number of free iPad apps.  As soon as I got it home, I had to spend $50 on books and apps.  Not the end of the world, but at ~10% the purchase price, it was a surprise.
  • Fingerprints…


  • Video – I’ve heard that there is a pretty nice VGA / HDMI cable that you can hook to your television, but I’ve got no experience with it. It would be cool to see. It would be cool to see this used as a presentation device too and I’m sure that at Web 2.0 next month, it will be.
  • Business apps – I like having access to the information for work, but I haven’t had the opportunity to check it too frequently yet.  Right now, I’m still rocking 3-screens so anything too important, I use my laptop.
  • 3G – I opted not to get 3G.  For one, I’d rather eat broken glass than give more money to AT&T.  Second, I’m rarely in a spot where 3G works and wi-fi isn’t available. As more restaurants and cities make it available, the need for 3G will dwindle.

I’m still very much in the honeymoon phase with my iPad, but thus far, I really love it. I ended up with the 64GB one because it was all they had. I’m not sure how I’ll fill that up yet as I don’t even have music or movies installed yet, but I’m sure I’ll find a way. I maxed my phone out pretty quickly.Got questions? Got suggestions on how I can better use my iPad?  Please leave comments or drop me an email.


10 iPhone Apps For Sales People That Travel

I just got back from a 9 day, many state road trip for work and it started to dawn on me on this trip that, of the apps on my iPhone, there are a good set of them that I just can’t live without. I’m sure that this isn’t a complete list and I’d love to hear your thoughts, but here is a list of 10 iPhone apps that I rely on pretty heavily.10.) Bank of America – I’m a cheap bastard.  There is nothing I hate more than pulling out $100 from some ATM machine to know that I’m incurring a 5% penalty because of all of the fees that they stick me with.  This app is nothing more than a simple way to show me where the closest BofA ATM is, but


this little puppy points you in the right direction.  The app also lets you log in, check balances, transfer money around whatever.  If you own an iPhone, but also are such a financial misfit that you have to regularly check your balance on your phone, you shouldn’t have an iPhone.  If you like to save $5 on fees  and don’t mind walking an extra block down the street, this app is for you.


9.) FourSquare – Okay, yes, the whole FourSquare thing is uber-dorky, yet I’m hooked on it.  I don’t go out enough to be the mayor of too many places, but it is a nice perk.  What I loved about it when I was traveling was getting the tips.  When I checked in at my hotel in Chicago, I got some great tips on places to eat.  When I checked in at restaurants that I’d never been to, I got tips on what to order and even the opportunity to look around a bit and see if other FourSquare’ers were there.  It would have been a cool way to meet people in a strange town.8.) RunKeeper


I went for an awesome run along Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.  It was maybe the last night of the year where it was really warm. It was dark out, but the path was packed.  Perfect night for running.  I loved it and can’t wait to do it again when I’m back in Chicago.  The odds of me staying at the same hotel and finding that route again would be pretty slim if I didn’t have a map that I could easily access and get back to.  Next time I’m in Chicago and the weather is nice, I just pull up RunKeeper, look where I was and do that route again.  Plus, I kind of feel obligate to run more when I know that I can’t let RunKeeper down.


7 & 6.) Amazon’s Kindle & Stanza Book Reader – When I get a few minutes of down time, I love to read.  I have both of these applications on my phone and use them kind of interchangeably.  I prefer Stanza of Kindle, but the selection for Kindle seems like it is better.  Both apps are great and I had


a tough time picking between the two.  The nice part is that they are both free apps.  Stanza is pretty great though, plus, they have a huge collection of of old, public domain books that are free.  Think of this as a chance to go back and read the classics that you know you should be familiar with, but never read because you don’t want to shell out $10 for Hamlet.


5.) Yelp – Quick, you have been asked to line up a dinner for you, your boss and a major client.  What do you do?  You go to Yelp, of course. Why would you do anything else?  You find a cool boutique restaurant that your client has never been to, you’ve read the reviews so you know it is solid and you know what to order.  You make a great showing and everyone loves you.  In another city, Yelp is worth it’s weight in gold (yes, I realize that bytes don’t weigh that much, but you know what I mean). Plus, do you really want to eat shitty hotel food for the fourth night in a row?  Seriously, go out and find something good.


4.) WebEx (warning: super loud, annoying auto-start audio / video) – I was a walking commercial for WebEx a few weeks ago.  I had just gotten off a plane, was in a cab and got a voice mail from the customer that I was going to go see.   “Hey Scott, one of our key guys isn’t able to make it today. We need to WebEx him in, can you set that up?”  No problem.  Open up the WebEx app, login and set up the meeting. It went off without a hitch.  You can even watch meetings over your phone.  WebEx advertises having meetings on the golf course.  If anyone in my foursome did that, I’d probably beat them with a 3-iron.  Anywhere else, the app is pretty cool.


3.) Salesforce – This application has a single flaw, a very annoying, easy to forget 5 digit pin number.  5-digits, not 4 like everything else on the planet. 5.  That is my only complaint though.  The application has access to your entire database of contacts, deals, leads and anything else you’d want to work on in that environment.  It is fast, clean and really pretty well laid out.  Personally, I think that Salesforce has some pretty major UI issues (no next button when going through leads?), but I can get over them in the mobile app.  It is pretty sweet.2.) Motion X GPS


Right about the time that Jeff Nolan put out his post about the death of $2,000 GPS systems, my friend Paul sent me a note letting me know that he took a new job as VP of Business Development for Motion X, a Phillippe Kahn venture.  I knew that I was going to be traveling soon and I was excited about trying out the Motion X system.  I get lost a lot.  Especially in Washington, DC where traffic is a mess and the idea of giving any kind of directional sign is foreign to them.  Motion X was a huge time saver.  The directions were really solid.  I didn’t upgrade to get the speaking turn by turn directions, but was able to find my way around very easily using the system.  One word of warning, this app is a huge power suck.  Keep in mind that you’ve got the GPS, 3G & full screen going.  Don’t forget your car power adapter.


1.) MyStarbucks – What did you think that it would be something serious to get work done?  This is the fuel to get work done.  My breakfast when I travel is always pretty consistent.  I wake up and walk to the closest Starbucks and get a Venti non-fat latte and a yogurt parfait. It is way healthier and much less expensive than anything that the hotel would serve.  I know it is heresy to say to real coffee lovers, but I love Starbucks coffee.  It works for me.  This application tells me where the closest store is.  Gives me a map and, using Motion X, get’s me there on fast.  It is like a digital line to a big cup of frothy brown joy.BONUS!!!While these aren’t native iPhone apps, I have found 2 additional sites that I rely on pretty heavily.

Media_httpfarm3static_maflb Mobile – I actually booked a flight on Southwest while on a Southwest flight.  As they were asking people to shut down their phones and laptops, I showed the flight attendant my phone and that I was just about to finish booking my flight and she let me keep going.  I really love Southwest, especially for the little jaunts around California.  The mobile app is really nice.  Just drop in your RapidRewards number and tell it where you want to go and when and it does the rest for you.  If you have to make a lot of flights last minute or need to change your flights a lot, this one is great.


Socialtext Mobile – I’d be remiss if I didn’t plug my own company’s technology.  Socialtext Mobile really is my lifeline back to the company when I’m on the road. Most importantly, I can look at Signals, our micro-blogging platform to keep track of what is going on in our virtual office.  This is *our* water cooler.  I can look up peoples contact information.  No more calling that one person you know and asking them to transfer you.  I can see any activity that is happening around the projects that I’m working on and even edit the information as appropriate.Like I said, I’m certain that this isn’t the full list.  In fact, I’ve just started playing around with Shoeboxed and that looks pretty cool.So I ask, what applications (or websites) on your phone can you not live without when you’re on the road?  Leave a comment and let me know what I’m missing.


Presenter Pro – The Best Tool to Give Your Best Presentation

Disclaimer: I’m a good friend of the folks at RexiMedia, they are great people who have built a great product.First, I’d like to congratulate my friends over at RexiMedia.  A few months ago, over a WholeFoods lunch, Danielle Daly, one of the Rexi co-founders, told me that they were in the process of launching an iPhone app to help people give better presentations. This is weird, I thought.  Rexi teaches people to give presentations.  Their classes are dynamic, energetic and really informative.  How could they convey that same message in an iPhone app?Then Danielle busted out her phone and whipped open the app and I was really impressed.  What she showed me was an app that conveyed about as much as they could in a class as possible.


The app walks you through all facets for presenting, from how to build effective slides that have a strong impact to how to properly adjust the tone of your voice.  There is a ton of content, guidance in the form of work flow, suggestions on timing and videos (which are funny) on how to present and how not to present.When would you use this application?  This is a perfect plane app.  Instead of sitting there reading that old issue of Spirit magazine or playing Solitaire for the upteenth time, cue up PresenterPro and think about your presentation that your giving when you get off the plane.  Do you want to be the before guy from the videos or the after guy that gets the contract?Related articles by Zemanta


Where’s the Passion?

I was listening to Carly Fiorina tonight on the way home from work. It was really, really boring. I’ve heard more passion from my kid about finding bugs. I hated this speech. There is nothing there. On the radio, there was even less.Fiorina is supposed to be getting people excited about voting for McCain, instead, she simply reads off the teleprompter much in the way that I would read a speech I’ve never seen before and didn’t really care about my performance.

Joe Lieberman was slightly better, but still has that annoying 3 – 5 syllable and pause speech pattern that everyone in both conventions has. He makes a few, well scripted jokes, but for the most part, the speech was dull and predictable. In other words, it was clear he was pulling from the teleprompter, and while I believe that he believes his own bullshitake, he didn’t really do a great job of conveying it.
Speakers at the DNC did a slightly better job in conveying their passion for reform in this country, but I suspect that the aura of Barack generates passion from speakers. Nancy Pelosi did a pretty decent job, but still doesn’t get me doing cartwheels.
Hilary Clinton, also did a fairly decent job
It seemed like she deviated from the teleprompter slightly, but I still don’t get the same warm & fuzzy passionate feelings that I got from this:
I don’t know, maybe it was the slides, but in the end, Steve is more passionate about selling a 3G iPhone than any speaker I’ve seen at either DNC or RNC selling why I should vote for their party.And that’s just sad.