iPad can replace your laptop … sometimes.

Recently, I took my son and nephew to Ocean City, Maryland for a two day ‘vacation’ trip.  We packed light and I decided to take my iPad instead of my more capable HP laptop.  I found that I could do most of what I would have done with the laptop, including transferring photos and video from my cheapie Kodak digicam and assembling them into a short video. 

The iPad, as I’ve previously written, is quite a capable device and I am constantly amazed at what one can do with the device, even though it is severely hindered by Apple. 

The camera kit, consisting of an SD adaptor and a USB adaptor, worked great, though there are a few issues with using them to grab your material from the camera.  iPhoto, on the iPad, doesn’t seem to want to import more than ten to twelve images/videos at a time.  It frequently crashes if you try to import more than that.  Even if you break the imports into stages, iPhoto will still eventually crash.  I suppose even Apple gets lazy with its quality assurance.

Using ReelDirector, I was able to import the imported photos and assemble them into a short video.  ReelDirector features transitions, titles and a few special effects. The resulting videos can look pretty good. The application does crash a lot (a trend I am noticing with iPad/iPhone apps) and, more irritating than that, the only real way to get the videos off of the iPad is via iTunes-a difficult task if one only has the iPad available.

During our stay, I was able to use the iPad to look up things to do, find auto repair facilities (yes, a broken auto was part of the adventure) as well as things to do close to the hotel. I was able to view the photos and video that I shot, listen to music, watch some other videos, compose blog entries (that I didn’t publish) and pay bills online.  In fact, aside from doing anything with the ReelDirector video I made, the only things I couldn’t do was surf the WHOLE internet since the damned thing does have Flash, Java or Silverlight.  Apple lies when it says you have the whole Internet in your hands because you don’t.

I still think the more capable and fully featured laptop is better for longer trips, but for shorter trips, the iPad is more than enough (provided you don’t need FLASH) and is certainly much easier to pack.

For my trip, I took the following items for the iPad:

  • Camera kit
  • iPod audio/video cable
  • Sprint Overdrive (which, as it turned out, I didn’t need but used when I did the online banking)
  • AC Adaptor

The camera kit is, perhaps, the most important accessory next to the AC Adaptor.  You can not only use it to get to your photos from your camera, but you can also use the USB adaptor to attach a USB keyboard, allowing for easier entry of text.  Of course, applications also play a vital role, so here is a short list of the apps I used:

  • ReelDirector
  • Pages
  • AccuWeather
  • PhotoGene
  • Photo Wall
  • Facebook (to post photos to Facebook since there’s no FLASH for the browser)
  • Evernote (which I used to back up some of the photos)
  • Kindle (since I didn’t bring the actual device with me, device to device syncing is really nice)
  • built in apps like Safari, Mail and Notes.

Numbers might also be handy for keeping track of one’s expenses, though I have yet to purchase the application.

I thought I would ‘miss’ the laptop more than I really did.  In fact, I’m not sure I really missed it at all, except, of course for those sites that use FLASH.  Did I mention that the device doesn’t have FLASH? Oh, maybe I did.

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