My Favorite iPad Apps – An Update

Two weeks ago I published a list of my favorite iPad apps and several folks commented on my list and provided some of their own favorites.

Since then my opinion has changed a bit on what I wrote up based on new discoveries, and I also wanted to add a couple more to my favorites list.

First, the changes.

Documents To Go Premium was an application I highly recommended over Apple’s Pages because it was more connected to the world (and to Windows users). What I didn’t realize was that if you use Docs To Go with an external keyboard, you can’t use the arrow keys on the keyboard (and modifiers of those keys to skip words or even go to the start or end of a line) to move your cursor. Pffft! That’s a major drawback to using Docs To Go. The support web site for the product is full of complaints about this problem, and there are promises to fix it soon, but as of yesterday, no update had been issued (and they have been promised for several weeks).

While I still recommend Docs To Go as a good Microsoft Office document reader and generator, if you use a keyboard, then Pages may be the better option for now. The solution of exporting a file by e-mailing it to yourself is clunky, but it does work well in my experience.

The other issue I have encountered in the last two weeks is that the WordPress blogging app is seriously flawed in that it does not allow you to publish or even file draft blog entries to any privately hosted WordPress blog which resides in the root directory of the server. That means that while I can post with the app to this blog (http://blog.richterscale.org/wp – it is in the “wp” subdirectory), I cannot post to my A Foodie Moment blog (at http://www.foodiemoment.com – in the root directory). I filed a detailed bug report in the iOS WordPress forum, but so far no fix has been forthcoming. So this app is now off my list until this serious issue is resolved.

Added to my list are three apps that my readers recommended:

  • Dropbox (free). Dropbox is an on-line service which provides up to 2GB of free storage that you can upload file to for retrieval by a number of devices. For Windows machines, Dropbox offers a client program which creates a Dropbox folder that you can easily copy files into or from. On the iPad it provides a free app to upload/download files. I had already been using Dropbox when I wrote my initial review, but didn’t single out the Dropbox app because several of the programs I did recommend (like Docs To Go and PrintBureau) natively support Dropbox access. But for the sake of completeness, I’m including the iPad Dropbox app (which I also use, but more rarely).
  • Zinio (free app, content costs something). After Osman Kent recommended Zinio in a comment on my previous post I decided to check it out. I am now totally addicted. Zinio is a service which provides magazines – full color, page perfect, to computer users. The service works on PCs and Macs, but it shines on the iPad. I have now subscribed to about a half dozen magazines including Art.News, Saveur, Wine Enthusiast, National Geographic, Food Network Magazine, and American Photo. The quality is stunning, and the text on the virtual magazine pages very readable on the iPad (particularly in portrait mode). Some of the magazines also let you switch to a pure text mode from which you can copy and paste if you want to quote or cite something in the magazine. The only mildly negative things I can say about the Zinio app are that it takes a long time to download new magazines – which you have to do one at a time, and I wish I knew how many pages were in a magazine when I was reading it so I could see how far I had gotten. The price for subscriptions seems pretty reasonable, and typically a much better deal than buying single issues.
  • Instapaper (free). Instapaper provides a way to share web pages and web links between the iPad and any web-browser equipped computer. I’m still a little on the fence about Instapaper, but I like that I can clip page addresses directly from the Safari browser on the iPad for later retrieval on the PC. Seeing as the Safari browser doesn’t generally like to talk with other applications, the cool way Instapaper found to integrate clipping into the browser is pretty slick. Although, I will add that on my PCs, I prefer to use Evernote to clip web pages (which I can then see on the iPad).

Those of you who commented, thanks for the recommendations!

 

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