The iPad: A Hella Long Journal and Review

I’ve spent the last three days playing with my iPad. While there are many very savvy and very insightful reviews of the device out there, this probably isn’t one of them. It’s more of a log of my experience trying the device and the things I noticed as I set it up (Oh my God the Setting Up and the Waiting for the Setting Up) and tried to read on it, and my thoughts after a few days of doing so. My apologies in advance for the length of this review, but I think it communicates a lot about a device when you understand the setup and adjustment that someone goes through as they try it.

Saturday 3 April: It arrived!

5:15pm: There’s a box on my porch!

5:40pm: snacks are distributed, iPod is unboxed, iMaxi is tried (cannot operate one handed – heh – so is truly for novelty or travel).

5:45pm: Great. I have to upgrade iTunes and Apple and a bunch of other crap.

6:00pm: Still updating.

6:30pm: Still updating.

6:45pm: Still updating. Dear Lord.


Hint #1: Update all this crap long before you’ve got schpilkis to get on with the iPad usage.

7:00pm: DONE. Wait. Have to reboot. *headdesk*

7:03pm: “What does that word mean, Mommy?” “Nothing! Nothing at all.”

7:05pm: Hooking it up finally!

7:06pm: Good Lord, it has to sync. That’ll be awhile.

7:22pm: Finally finally! Ready to rock!

Hint #2: I have a sticker on the back of my Kindle because the metal gets slick when my hands are damp. The iPad is similar: if my hands are at all damp, it’s slippery. Also, the bevel on the side and the width in the middle vs. the taper toward the edges makes it difficult for me to hold with one hand – and this may be because I have very small hands.

Yes, my hands are small. I know. But they’re not yours. They are my own.

7:28pm: Let’s look at some apps, starting with the Most Important One.

Ask the Hoff: in 2x or 1x it looks fine. Hofftastic, not so much, but fine. I asked the Hoff if an iPad version of the app would be forthcoming. He didn’t answer – because it couldn’t detect the shaking. WOE. I have no ASK THE HOFF?!

Seriously, that’s a reason to send it back. Or sell it on eBay. If I can’t Ask the Hoff, I’m not sure what I’ll do.

7:35pm: Why exactly is pink camouflage one of the wallpaper options?!

7:36pm: Some of the provided wallpaper photos are surprisingly full of digital noise. Yecch.

8:30pm: I’ve updated all my apps to include the iPad version. So exciting.

Oh, ho! I get a free two-week trial of Netflix – woo! I am watching a movie … no wait changed my mind, season one of Buffy in less than 2 minutes. That sound you hear is my Kindle sitting next to me, sad that I’m not reading. (dun dun dunnnnn).

8:40pm: Here’s an example of Hey Look a Chicken Monkey Brain enabled by the iPad. I’m watching Buffy, Season 1 Episode 1, and there’s this guy, and I think it’s Carmine Giovinazzo from CSI:New York. So I pause, download the IMDB app, and look him up. Turns out I’m right.

Man, multifunction devices (without true multitasking – like, if I could look that up while minimizing the tv show to a smaller window, that’d rock) are going to put a dent in my reading. (dun dun dunnnnnn)

Note #3: I’m willing to bet that future editions come with a camera function, because there’s a tiny pinhole camera in the top bar that you can see when a very bright light is focused on the face of the iPad. There’s something up there anyway. Bet it’s a camera, or a camera to be in the model that comes out after mine that’s better in about 3 or 4 months.

I found some instructions on how to sync my Google calendars to the iPad here.

But I think it’s time I tried to read something, right? Enough with the playing and the questioning the wisdom and reason of pink camouflage. (REALLY. WHY?!)

Kindle for iPad: It’s gorgeous. Even the animation going from day to night with the boy with the oddly long forearms is beautiful.

I’ll try reading Wild Ride, which I have in paper and on the Kindle b/w edition (aka Llyfr, which is Welsh for “book”).

Oooh: you can change from black on white, white on black, and black on sepia. Nice. But the text size changes depicted in the selection bar are not the actual size of the text on the screen.


This is the Kindle iPad App’s black on sepia, with the middle text size enabled. Still not big enough for me. (That’s what she said).


Here it is with white on black with largest text size enabled, which is visually more comfortable but still not ideal – still not big enough. The size of the text I select in the menu does not match the size of the text of the book itself. And the text in the book is not big enough for my optical comfort, dang it – though this could just be the file I’m reading and the settings “provided” by the publisher.

No, alas, in other books from other publishers, the text options are very minimal.

The notetaking is good. And so far, white on black cranked up as high as the text size will allow is not horrible, though holding the thing is uncomfortable to say the least. I’d rather read with the iPad propped up on a blanket on my lap than hold it in my hands.

10:21pm: I just spent the last 30 minutes reading Karina Bliss on the iPad, and it’s not the greatest thing for me. Nowhere near as comfortable as the Kindle, and I keep having to refocus my eyes like I can’t quite get every letter sharp and clear. With the e-Ink I never have to do that. I realize the e-Ink isn’t for everyone, but for me, it’s ridiculously comfortable to read with, and the iPad screen, even turned to white-on-black, which is usually pretty good for me, isn’t doing it. My eyeballs hurt already.

With the e-Ink, I can sink into the reading without being aware of what I’m reading on or how I’m reading. With the iPad and the screen and the text layout I’m using, I’m aware of it because I’m still struggling against it.

I’m really bummed about that, and the fact that the text just isn’t freaking large enough. More customization options shouldn’t be so difficult to create, right? Let’s move on to iBooks.

iBooks: The font adjustment is MUCH better, omg. I can crank Winnie the Pooh up to Ginormogundous size. I don’t much need the page turning animation – it’s gloss and aesthetics when I just want to read a book, silly people.


But alas, I cannot switch to white-on-black. I have no use for Sepia aside from “That’s kind of neat.” But white on black is not going to work for me.

Also, why do designers think I need a literal picture of my bookshelf to understand that I’m looking at my selection of books? Borders has it, the iBookstore has it… I don’t get it. Seems so unnecessary and prevents me from organizing books the way I’d like to. I don’t need that and I don’t need my digital books to look like paper books animated. I am well aware of the difference between text on paper and text on a screen made of eInk or LCD and it’s almost condescending to make my digital books look like animated books as if I cannot tell or appreciate or read peaceably without the “look” (and not the “feel”) of paper.

With the Kindle app and the iBook app, I think about all the time spent making the page turning so spiffy and wish there had been more time spent on allowing me a greater range of text sizes and brightness/contrast options. I don’t care that it looks like a book. I’m able to recognize the difference. I do want more customized options, but not based on animated book pages turning just the way I want.

I’m a reader. I want the book. The text in the format and legibility I desire. I don’t give a flying crap it if looks like a book turning pages. I’m not after the delivery method. I’m after the text.

And OH my GOSH the expensive. The store prices are ridiculous! I’m much happier converting the books that I have to ePub using Calibre, then moving them over via iTunes to the iPad. (Note: you have to drag them over to the “Library” area in iTunes, NOT the iPad itself when it’s plugged in. That’ll crash iTunes in a big damn hurry – thanks to Liza Daly for the tip on that one.)

In the bookstore, the selection is not so hot, and the prices are not either. To see more about the store, the prices, and the odd metadata, check out Jane’s review of the iPad. Note: one of us is an attorney, trained to synthesize large amounts of information into smaller, palatable length of argument. I am not that one.

The Stanza upgrade for the iPad should be amazing, if there is one. This may be where Amazon’s ownership shows up – the Kindle app for iPad is spiffy* and I wonder why they’d want another product that they own to compete in the new format. But who knows? I absolutely cannot ever predict what Amazon is going to do next.

*Interesting note: take a look at the screen for the Kindle for iPad. The animation of the little dude shows him reading a screen that’s lit up. Either that’s an iPad, or it’s a larger backlit color screen Kindle. I’m thinking both.


Sunday 4 April: The iPad is risen, no word yet on resurrection of the book industry.

I took the iPad to bed with me (rrrowr) and turned off the screen rotate so I could read in bed. I’m focused now on finding things to prop the iPad up onto, so that it’s at an angle for me. The weight and the curved back and bevel edge are not comfortable to hold in the least. I wonder if cases will come with a strap to keep it on your hand for you.

Plus, the ipad keeps forgetting the network passcode which is really annoying.  I’ve had this problem before with my MacBook but I don’t think it was fixed by me or by Hubby. I think an OS upgrade made it stop. So I guess that’s what I’ll wait for here. There will be one – and an iTunes upgrade too I’m sure.

I’ve been typing on the keyboard in landscape mode for a few minutes here. It’s slower going than on a keyboard with, you know, keys. The return key is very easy to tap accidentally but the bigger oddity for me is that the apostrophe is on a submenu.

The iMaxi case is – surprise – a total novelty and not practical due to how tight the pocket is for the iPad. Plus there’s plenty of padding for the front but not so much for the back so I feel like it is unprotected. I’ll have to go get a more protective case with a stand.

It charges in an AC outlet really slowly. Despite having the required OS, USB ports and MacBook Pro specs it won’t charge in a USB. I just had it plugged in for over an hour and it went from 78% to 94%. poky charge it has one.

I also use Google Docs a LOT and I cannot manage a spreadsheet on the iPad very well.

On the plus side I did buy two albums for the boys while we were outside so we could listen to music while they played. That took all of 2 minutes tops and the speaker is pretty good for listening outside. Right now I’m back to typing on the MacBook Pro while listening to music on the iPad. It’s a really expensive MP3 player right now.

I have used it to update the site, and I’ve sent email, so I think it’ll be a very useful and portable device for web use, reading, watching tv and movies, and not for heavy word processing or spreadsheet usage. Given what I do when I’m online, this device would mark the divide between entertainment and relaxing and working – which might be very useful for me given that the minute I pick up my laptop, there’s 14 million hours of work to do when I really meant to do something fun.

As a media player, it’s, in my opinion, pretty cool. I’m not a big tv and movie watcher, really, and I have no idea if having the iPad will mean I watch more movies or television shows. Maybe in bed? Who knows? I know other folks who watch tv on their iPhones but that screen is way too small for me to focus on comfortably.

As for reading, I really, and I mean REALLY liking the big ol’ screen. I like that the reading visual surface is large, and I like a touch screen to turn the pages. But I’m still not 100% sold on either piece of software for reading.

The Kindle app allows me to have white text on a black screen, but gives me a miserable selection of font sizes. It’s really not big enough for my comfort. I can take notes on books I’m reading – which is awesome and a feature I adore having – but I have a harder time doing the actual reading.

The iBook app gives me a wider variety of sizes and fonts, but I can only have black on white, which tires my eyes out very quickly. I can bookmark and highlight text, but I can’t make notes or annotate as to why I’m bookmarking something.

And of course I’m still without easy file organization in both pieces of software. I’m resigned to keeping a Google to-do list to organize my books by date due, date of release, and genre. Sad, isn’t it?

So I remain where I started: without the ideal digital reading option while between two options that come close. I can keep my fingers crossed for a better upgraded version of Stanza, or I can hope that Apple upgrades the text and customization settings for the iBook app, even though I’m not likely to buy anything from that store given the prices and poor selection.

Nothing yet has beaten the ease of loading the Kindle or using the Stanza interface.

Monday 5 April : It’s heavy. And it’s not my brother.

I switched bags so I could carry the iPad into work with me. I commute about an hour and ten minutes in and out of Manhattan every day, and to do so I drive to a park and ride, get on a bus, then walk to the subway and take the subway a few stops. I’m reading most of that time (except when I’m driving, obviously).

Not only is the iPad heavy in a purse when you’re walking, but there’s no way for me to use it one-handed on the subway. With the Kindle, for example, or a Sony Reader, I can hold on to the subway pole with one hand, pull the reader out of my purse, switch it on, and start reading. No problem.

With the iPad, that’s not possible. Obviously I’m not saying that it needs to be designed for the demands of the average subway commuter, but as a digital reading device, that’s not optimal. Or even good. Plus the weight and the bevel/curve of the back make it difficult to hold with one hand, and I’d be terrified of dropping it on the floor of the subway car or on the lap of another commuter.

This is something I’d take with me when I travel, especially given the battery life, and would use at home instead of my laptop if I wanted to read and be online without having the larger, heavier (and hotter) laptop.

I’m not sure where this device fits in my life, but I do like having it. What remains to be seen is whether the functions of the device will dictate what I do with it, or whether I’ll think of uses for it that a netbook or laptop didn’t satisfy. Jane Litte mentioned using it in the kitchen, which would make a lot of sense given the screen size, brightness, and battery life. It would be great for recipes – if I can keep the cats from knocking it over and keep water and splatter from getting near it.

I asked for questions via Twitter so I’ll answer those, and if you have questions, feel free to ask in the comments. I’ll do my best to answer them.

Jane asked if I was able to figure out which book I was reading when reopening iBooks. Yup – unless I’m missing something, the title of the book was at the top (Her Best Friend, by Sarah Mayberry, which is rather freaking awesome).

But Jane pointed out something that IS missing, and dear LORD is that annoying. When you return to the “bookshelf” or “library” of iBooks, there is no way of knowing which books are in progress, which ones you’ve read, and which ones you’ve not started yet. There’s no way to rank or rate them, either, as she noted. That’s relying way too much on my memory to recall what I’ve read and what I haven’t. Perhaps the expectation is that I’ll delete what I’ve already read? Clearly not – I like having as many books as possible with me, read and to-be-read.

With the Kindle app, the same is true: I can’t tell what’s been read and what hasn’t, or where I am in the book. With the Kindle itself, there’s a line of dots that indicate where I am in the book. With the Kindle iPhone app, there is no progress indication. I don’t use the Kindle app enough that I’d noticed that before, but on the iPad, it’s a rather big omission. Crapicles.


See? No indication of progress, which makes me see the Kindle iPhone and iPad apps as accessories to the Kindle itself, which does show you the progress of your reading.

GrandMama2B asked how heavy it was to lug around, whether I needed a docking station and how I kept it in place while using.

It’s not pleasant to lug around. I’m thinking this will be something that hangs out at home, while I bring the iPhone and the Kindle with me. Too heavy in my bag, especially since I do a lot of walking. I don’t have a docking station so I don’t think I need one.

As for keeping it in place while using, that’s a bigger question to answer. What I want most in a device that I’m using for reading is the ability to sink into my reading without being too aware of how I’m reading or what I’m using to do that reading. I’ve been keeping half my brain on observing and noting what I’m doing, and I have absolutely noticed that I’m appropriating things to hold the iPad in place while I use it. For example: this morning on the bus I used the handle of my bag to hold it still and to take some of the weight off my hand. Last night I used the iMaxi case rolled up behind it, then a blanket when that proved too slippery. I tried to take it to bed with me again and tried using the cat but she didn’t like being an iPad stand at all so she left.

The back of it, with the metal casing, is slippy, so it can be tricky to keep it still enough for your own peace of mind. Some fabrics or pillows I tried just made the slippy worse.

BookReaderTimes asked if I needed a contract with AT&T for the iPad. Nope. I bought the Wifi version, and aside from some annoyances keeping it connected to my wireless network, I prefer that option.

In other words, I wouldn’t sign another contract with AT&T if it came with a lifetime guarantee that AT&T would send a representative over to clean my catbox and take out the trash. AT&T sucks out loud so hard I cannot wait until July when I can switch providers and move on with my life with a different cell phone. They suck so hard in the NY Metro area, I cannot even begin to tell you. I don’t even have 3G service turned on 99% of the time because the 3G bandwidth is so over-saturated my phone doesn’t ring. Calls go straight to voicemail and then I get a notification some 10-15 minutes later. So, no, you do not need a contract with AT&T to have an iPad.

Wow, sorry about that. I have a bit of AT&T rage to work through.

SuzanneMBest asked if I’d had problems with books I’d purchased from other vendors that weren’t iBooks, Amazon or B&N.

Well, no, but I strip the DRM like it’s ladies night at the DRM strip club, and beer is half price. So, not really. Dropping ePubs into the iTunes library then syncing is working for me, though I’m not enamored of the iBooks library feature enough to use it regularly. I’m not going to use it after I finish the book I’m reading now.

DrkCherry: Is it worth what it costs?

Oh, boy. I honestly cannot answer that question. If I had a few hundred dollars and could by an iPad or a small netbook, I don’t know what I’d choose for you, because it depends on what you want to use your computer for.

Me personally: I run a business on my laptop. I need more than what the iPad offers to do that. But if I were after a digital reader that does other stuff, like an iPod Touch on steroids, is this the device I’d choose? I honestly do not know.

I’ve never said to myself, “Gee, I need to watch more tv shows and watch more movies,” but the iPad does make it easier for me to consume more entertainment OTHER than books. Is that what I want? Not really.

Add to that the fact that the books made for the iPad via the iBookstore are more expensive, and the fact that the Kindle standalone reader offers more features (by a hair) than the Kindle App for iPhone and iPad, and I don’t see the iPad being my go-to reading device, nice as it is. I’m going to finish the book I’m reading now, but I don’t think I’ll put another book on there. I’ll stick with my existing system of Kindle II Matzoh Edition, and a Google To-Do list for organization.

Note: This article by Rich Adin says a lot about the iBookstore’s shortcomings and whether this is a strategic miss by publishers in attempting to battle Amazon’s dominance.

So back to the original question: is it worth what it costs? No idea. Depends on what you want. Do you want a device that will allow you to watch tv and movies via Netflix, use Twitter, send email, and maybe read something? Sure. Do you need a portable media tablet? Sure. The iPad is kind of amazing for that.

Do you want a dedicated digital book reader? Then this is not the best option. And I still don’t know what the best option is, to be honest. I don’t think it’s here yet. And I await it’s arrival.


General Bitching...

Comments are Closed

  1. Chicklet says:

    I haven’t finished reading this review yet, but this line made me almost snort latte out my nose:

    Yes, my hands are small. I know. But they’re not yours. They are my own.

    Kudos, Sarah!

  2. Sally says:

    That’s what stuck out at me, too. A line from a Jewel song in an iPad review. It must be Monday! LOL

  3. meoskop says:

    I share your ATT&T rage. Sadly, time does not diminish it as mine could be studying for the SAT’s by now.

    This review tells me exactly what I wanted to know – iPad doesn’t meet my unmet needs. Sony & I will be staying together. My iMac will have to wait for a new partner. My bank account thanks you!

  4. darlynne says:

    Excellent information, Sarah, and thank you for doing the hard work for the rest of us. I had never entertained the idea of an iPad and can say with confidence now that I don’t need one. I, too, await the one eReader to rule them all.

  5. Elise Logan says:

    Sarah, thanks for the review.  I was considering getting an iPad, but I’m going to rethink that. I need to be able to work google docs on it. And the one-hand-hold thing? Yeah, that’s a deal-breaker for me.

  6. GLH says:

    One other thing to think about with iBooks: for now at least, books you buy on iBooks can only be read on the iPad—not on your iPhone or MacBook. No match (right now) for Kindle apps which sync nicely between devices, so that if you only have your iPhone with you, you can pick up right where you left off on another device.I am hopefully that an iPhone version at least is coming down the line.

    The Kindle app for the MAC, btw, does have an indicator of how far another in the book you are but doesn’t left you take notes (pity as it would be the easiest device to notetake on).

  7. Elizabeth Krentz-Wee says:

    Your review, and Jane’s, have solidified what I am looking for: an ebook reader that can read a variety of formats. I like having multiple ebook software on my smartphone. I can read mobipocket, Fictionwise eReader, and Adobe books. It’s the equivalent of reading multiple books at a time, with no need to remember which the other book was.

  8. Kalen Hughes says:

    So the iPad arrives not with a bang, but a yawn . . . pretty much what I expected. I just couldn’t see what purpose it was going to fulfill. I don’t need ANOTHER expensive, delicate, piece of hardware to lug around. I need something that combines all the ones I already lug around and let’s me just have the ONE thing in my bag. Clearly the iPad is not Super Device I’m looking for.

  9. PK says:

    Thanks for the review Sarah.  I’m glad to see that the rest of the Bitchery got the Jewel song reference too, lol.  Happy Monday!!

  10. Mike Cane says:

    >>>But alas, I cannot switch to white-on-black.

    I told @jane_l of the Accessibility option.  Don’t know if she’s tried it yet or what it was like if she did.

    Me, I must hold out for the 3G, despite your AT&Tmageddon; comments in this review.  I’ve had WiFi-only.  That is a nightmare for me out and about.

  11. joykenn says:

    GREAT review but DA-UMM do you have to boast about your ability to strip DRM off.

    Well, no, but I strip the DRM like it’s ladies night at the DRM strip club, and beer is half price.

    I really, really want someone to walk me carefully through how to do that on the books that I have legally bought and paid for, thank you very much.  Is it too much to ask to be allowed to buy books from other places and strip the DRM and use Calibre to convert them so I can use on the Kindle.  I don’t think so but…. I’m feeling very un-tech savvy and not inclined to add the complications of Ipad to the mix.  And, every time I read “Ipad” I cringe.  Did no woman help them develop the name?  Doesn’t Apple listen to women on their staff?  What, oh what, were they thinking?  I don’t want to announce proudly I have a new ‘pad.  For freaking sake why the hell did I go through menopause except to never have to think about buying a pad ever again.

    I feel better now that I shouted that out.

  12. phred says:

    Awesome review. Thank you. My whole issue with e-readers is that it is one more thing to lug around. Like you, I do most of my work on my MacBook when I’m on the road, or my iMac at home. Ideally, I’d want something like the ipad to replace the MacBook (and ultimately, the iMac). I’ve tried netbooks and they suck. So, it’s a wait for version 2.0, I think.

  13. Castiron says:

    Thanks for the review!  Between your review and Jane’s, I’m sold on getting an iPad (though I’ll wait until the second generation), but for ebook reading I’ll probably keep using my iPod Touch or wait for an eink device that runs my formats to get cheap enough for me.

  14. Cate says:

    You know what I want?  (And please, if this exists, let me know)  I want an e-reader, with the e-ink stuff that won’t give me a headache after half an hour, that can read pdfs at a decent magnification.  I’m in science, and I’m sick of drowning in a million printed off pdfs of journal articles (which I then make notes on, and then lose).  Having them easily organised on some kind of ereader would be amazing.

  15. Lisa Hendrix says:

    Sarah – Re the apostrophe:  If you you hold down the comma key, it will pop up an apostrophe. There are several other keys that work this way, so play with it in Notepad to learn your way around the shortcuts.

    Great, honest review. We love ours and have found multiple uses already, and a few areas in which it’s not wonderful. Yet. (I expect many software and firmware updates in the near future).  Child2 loves it for Facebook. And the games, zomg. You’re right about the typing, though. I tend to rest my fingers on the home keys, so I end up with a lot of Fs and Js in my text. Fortunately, correcting/editing is very easy. We also bought the bluetooth keyboard so I can do “real” typing on it, and it works brilliantly that way and is still lighter than my laptop.

  16. mary frances says:

    Every article you write about e-readers and e-books in general makes me less and less likely to ever buy one. At first it was DRM and cost that turned me off but now, the drama is killing me. None of these machines seem to work as books as well as books do. So many people talk about not being able to see the words, that seemed like to only upside of these dohickeys. Since large print books aren’t as common an e-reader would seem like a good idea, but if people without eyeight issues can’t see the text what exactly is the point?

    I read fast, really fast, 1 novel a day kind of fast but not so fast as i need 300 books with me every minute of the day. I just don’t get it. Why spend the cash? btw on a side note that is so not my business, I hope you’re getting all these gizmos for free or for cheap ‘cause in the last year you’ve commented on/mentioned using at least a dozen different e-readers and at 200-bucks minimum, that’s killer.

    Thanks for solidyfing my desire to never have an i-pad/kindle/dohickey in my life.

    mary frances

    p.s. captcha is shown74, you have shown me 74 reasons not to e-read.

  17. GLH says:

    For Mary Frances:
    I am reminded of this old anonymous email gem:

    Announcing the new Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge device (BOOK). It’s a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It’s so easy to use even a child can operate it. Just lift its cover. Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere-even sitting in an armchair by the fire-yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disk.

    Here’s how it works: Each BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. These pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence. By using both sides of each sheet, manufacturers are able to cut costs in half. Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly into your brain. A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet. The BOOK may be taken up at any time and used by merely opening it. The “browse” feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet, and move forward or backward as you wish. Most come with an “index” feature, which pinpoints the exact location of any elected information for instant retrieval.

    An optional “BOOKmark” accessory allows you to open the BOOK to the exact place you left it in a previous session-even if the BOOK has been closed. BOOKmarks fit universal design standards; thus a single BOOKmark can be used in BOOKs by various manufacturers.

    Portable, durable and affordable, the BOOK is the entertainment wave of the future, and many new titles are expected soon, due to the surge in popularity of its programming tool, the Portable Erasable-Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Stylus…(PENCILS).

  18. HaloKun says:

    The device you’ve been waiting for?

    Smart Bitches have you seen this??

  19. meganb says:

    @joykenn DRM confuses the hell out of me, and I’m with you on figuring out how to strip it.  Please, someone enlighten me.

    And every time I saw the term “iMaxi” I couldn’t stop giggling.

  20. Cath Bilson says:

    I’m a stripper too. Of DRM, that is. I actually purposely buy all of my books in LIT format, strip and then convert them to Mobipocket to read on my Cybook, which has JUST DIED after two years of very faithful service. So I have bought a Kindle and I had damn straight better be able to get all my Mobi books onto it as easily as I have been told or I am sending it straight back.
    The one-hand thing would be a killer for me. My left hand is very weak due to major tendon damage and I can hardly use it at all (waiting for an operation) so an iPad is not on the cards for me, now or ever. I was planning to wait for that One Ring, sorry, eBook reader, too, but after faithful Cybook (RIP, my love) carked it I have no choice but to bite the bullet and go Kindle.

  21. Polly says:

    A bit off-topic, but I wanted to chime in with solidarity to the AT&T unfan club. Unless I absolutely have to, I’m not signing another contract with them. I have static on my land line, almost all the time. A land line! And the internet connection randomly goes out at least a few times a day. When I call, they usually don’t believe me, either. Really not impressed.

  22. Tina C. says:

    I have static on my land line, almost all the time. A land line!

    Completely off-topic—sorry—but I had to ask if you’ve had someone come out and check the line coming into the house?  When I lived in Florida, I had the same problem and it turned out that the line, itself, had a short in it.  The tech that fixed it (not the first guy that didn’t bother to actually look it and just acted like I was an idiot) said that it could have been a fire hazard.

  23. Jenn says:

    Maybe I missed this little piece. Jane L hadn’t gotten far enough on Saturday to tell me. Is there a good pdf reader on the iPad? Can you have pdf files and ePub files on the iPad at the same time (and both of them work)?

    Thanks! Jenn

  24. molly says:

    Thank you for the review!  I hope Apple is listening :).

    I use the app on my iPhone.  I have the kindle app, too but prefer the reader for my eBooks.  I’m guessing they’ll develop one for the ipad, too—given they’ve had 1 million downloads of their reader for the iPhone and iTouch.  That app shows books in progress (a tiny circle graph next to each book title with amount read indicate).  It has fantastic font sizing options and you can turn page animation off.  It allows note-taking (which is also an essential feature for me).  I like being able to print those notes later from my laptop—love that feature.  You can purchase the books straight from (and they’re often much cheaper than kindle) and they have decent search function in their store and sell lots of romances.  I love them and am always surprised that more people don’t know about them/don’t use them. 

    If they don’t develop an app for the iPad, I’d hesitate to buy the device (I’ll bumble along with my iPhone, laptop combo for now).

  25. SonomaLass says:

    Thanks for this, SB Sarah! Between you and Jane, I now know that this is the birthday present for my partner. It will do most of what he does for pleasure on his laptop, but will be lighter & with a better battery life. In short, perfect for when he’s NOT working (which he does on his laptop all day).  Just an entertainment machine, which is what I want for him.  Is it “just” a big iPod Touch? Maybe, but neither he nor I likes the teeny-tiny Touch, so big is good.

    We will be getting one for him, and I can play with it and keep up with developments to decide whether/if I want one of my own down the road.

    Now I just have to pick out which size Grid-it goes with it best….

  26. Trix says:

    I’m sure it’s lovely and all, but I refuse to own a device that REQUIRES specific software on another computer in order to be usable.

    Everything should be able to talk to each other, but without having to install frigging iTunes, Safari, and yadda yadda yadda that Apple seem to inflict on everyone.

    I know a guy who couldn’t get iTunes working on his Windows machine (he’s a tech specialist, so it wasn’t a trivial problem), so had to take his iPhone to the Mac store to beg them to activate it for him. Hello, you should be able to unbox it, switch it on and USE it. Desktop software should not even enter into the equation.

    Yet another Apple product I’m not going to bother with.

    Oh, and for the person asking above for a good e-reader for PDFs, the BeBook is apparently good, as is the Sony range (Sonys look much nicer). Part of it depends on how well the PDFs are formatted, though.

  27. Trix says:

    Oh, and I hear the battery life for these things is a matter of hours. I think I’d rather have an e-reader that can last for days.

    I’m all cool with having mobile computing devices – I’ve got my eye on a Notion Ink Adam, but these are not the same as e-readers that have a good battery life and don’t rely on backlit screens.

  28. scribblingirl says:


    i’ve never heard of that one..thanks for posting the link…

    what is “stripping the DRM”? i don’t want to invest in kindles, ipads, imaxis, nooks and whatever if i have to strip something to read it…is it necessary to do this?

  29. Erica says:

    Thanks so much for this review Sarah!  I am not sure why but I am still so against the iPad and I think you helped me to figure it out. My hatred for the device isn’t because it’s an Apple Product, it’s because I have an iPhone and hate AT&T. I love my iPhone for what it can do, but I cringe to have to think of getting yet another device that is tied to their horrible network.  Both in NY and NJ I have had the same issues you wrote about.  I think I was just in denial about it. 

    In the meantime I am still going to read and advocate for my Kindle.

  30. kim smith says:

    I have a bookchair which I got at Barnes & Noble for $7.95.  Don’t know if any stores still have them, but they look like a little beach chair, one that holds your book.  Like a beach chair, the angle can be adjusted.  On the “seat”, the ledge, it has to little clips in the front that turn up to hold your pages in place.  The whole thing folds flat to about the size of a slim hardcover.

    My description probably isn’t doing it justice.  I have three of the things, one for the table (you know, for holding a book during meals), one I carry to work, and one to put my super kewl stuffed sock monster in, so he can chill out on top of the TV set.

    Bookstores sometimes have splatterproof plexi cookbook holders, and I have to wonder if you can still work a touch screen through them.  If you can find one that has angle sdjustments, you can find your own comfort zone, the way I can with my bookchair.


  31. gjones says:

    I keep expecting to see something for the ereaders like they have for canoeists to allow the hands free enjoyment of your favorite brewery product. 

    I am not referring to the beer can hardhat.  Basically it’s a koozie on a strap.  Some device that would keep a ipad propped at the optimal reading angle while allowing the reader to knit or sharpen knives or load their revolver between page turns.  The variation in bosom topography would no doubt be the challenge.

  32. Richard Lennox says:


    I guess somebody with small hands hasn’t kept up with system updates which were widely announced and available all week prior to the iPad… (my mac is on automatic for those)

    I guess another loss for technology’s ease of use, defeated by human error… isn’t it always the case!

    (my iPad was up and running in 10 minutes)

  33. You can announce all you like but I’m not techno savvy so wouldn’t get it anyway. Will only look for and do the upgrading when prompted by need. So probably wouldn’t buy ipad just yet…

    Thanks for the review Sarah! Made me smile too 🙂

  34. meoskop says:

    I guess a guess somebody with small hands hasn’t kept up with system updates which were widely announced and available all week prior to the iPad…

    Oh hey! Cleverness!

    Yea, I updated too, but the point is most people aren’t very savvy for this sort of thing, so a real world review by someone who is still way more tech savvy than most is indicative of how setup is going to be experienced in the real world.

  35. veryornery says:

    The iPad comes in 2 flavors. Wifi and 3G. You don’t need AT&T or any other carrier for the Wifi version.

  36. iPad comes in 2 flavors. Wifi and 3G. You don’t need AT&T or any other carrier for the Wifi version

  37. allgimbel says:

    Thanks for an extremely thorough hands-on review. Re the comments here about 3G and AT&T, I’m with you. It’s the reason I haven’t purchased an iPhone as yet.

    Having said that, it’s worth noting that, even with the 3G version, you don’t have to actually sign a contract. You can pay a month at a time, and bail for a month or more if you have no need for the 3G.

    I was originally going to go for the 3G but I think now that the wireless will be sufficient for my needs.

    Gotta say, while I hated the name iPad initially, I’m well over it now. It doesn’t conjure up a women’s product for me anymore. Well, it didn’t until I saw this iMaxi reference…

  38. tibicen says:


    So, getting more and more like Windows, you’re saying?

  39. Lynne says:

    Interesting.  I love my iPad and wrote so on my blog.  I had it up and running in less than 10 minutes, and I’m a totally untech-y soccer (basketball, really) mom.

    I thought the Kindle app was great, and so is the iBooks that’s already on it.  With a swipe of my finger I can turn the page, and with two fingers I can make the text bigger or smaller.  I also love the New York Times crossword app.  I’m addicted.

    My only complaint is that it’s a little sensitive…you have to be careful where you touch or another window will open up.

    Overall, I love mine. But to each his own 🙂

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