archivePad – the good, the bad and the ugly


Honestly – I bought the iPad 3 this year mostly because it is the apple product I didn’t own yet. But I wanted to use it for reading PDFs and marking them up with a pen (or stylus as they like to call it) as I go. With my set up between good reader, dropbox, and devonthink (where I indexed all the files rather than import them, in order to have those marks and changes synced via Dropbox from the iPad) I am pretty happy with it.

In terms of writing: yes, it’s better than the iPhone, but way, way worse than the MacBook air. And its not even so much the tapping on glass instead of a keyboard, but I just don’t really like to be limited by apps – with the iPad I never quite feel like I can do what I want, but rather, I can do what the app allows me.

Having said that, I spent last week in the archives, and brought my iPad with me. First time. On Monday I brought only the iPad, which resulted in aforementioned feeling of being restrained in my actions (using the database, ocr files, organizing photos etc – all easier on a laptop); but starting Tuesday, I worked with iPad and MacBook air, and it’s a dream combo!

The iPad is perfect for archival documentation. It takes decent pictures, even in not so great light conditions, and because the display is so big, you can immediately see what you get. But much better, because of this big display, you can actually directly work with the files. I was taking pictures, then flipping through them while taking notes, or reading the correspondence I had photographed on the subway on the way home.

Because its battery life is really solid, a day in the archive with constant picture taking is easy for the iPad, I was totally happy with its performance. Yes, it gets a little heavy when standing up for 8 hours holding it to take photos, but that’s ok, it’s work, after all. It also helped me, by the way, to lock the iPads automatic rotation: much easier for the picture taking process (you can do this by swiping upwards with four fingers from any app you are in, and a dashboard will appear at the bottom. Swipe with one finger to the right, and you’ll see a symbol with a lock at the far left. Tap it. That’s it,)

Bing a responsible student i sorted my pictures every day into albums, to organize them while i could still remember what they were. The only major issue I have now, is that it seems to be IMPOSSIBLE to import those albums t the Mac. Or, what I would prefer, to upload them directly to dropbox or box,net (I got 50gb free promotion space a year ago on, so that’s my archive chamber). Even though it is all apple talking to each other, iPhoto on the Mac cannot import the albums, but just the photos. This seems crazy, since it means that the stuff I do on the iPad will always stay on the iPad (and iCloud does not help with this, for one it compresses files, and it also only store them for 30 days, and it makes them accessible only through apps, not through a proper file/folder system). If anyone has suggestions, please help! Somehow I still refuse to believe that that really is not possible….

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