PC & Tech Authority iPad E-Mag Review

As I posted recently here on Technical Notebook, PC and Tech Authority (formerly PC Authority) have finally released a long awaited e-version of their popular magasine for all the tech hungry Aussies out there. After having the opportunity to read a couple of versions of the magasines now on my iPad I thought I would throw my thoughts out as to my likes and dislikes thus far.

The Good:

  • It is an e-mag… I can read it on my iPad and it makes my commute more enjoyable – AWESOME
  • Linking between contents page and links in articles makes jumping around simple
  • In the monthly product review roundup the ability to swipe and compare two items side by side is brilliant
  • On certain pages being able to do a full 360 degree swipe to swivel a product is clever and fun to use
  • The inclusion of videos I feel greatly enhances the magasine content and look forward to seeing how this improves the magasine as a whole over time

The Not-So-Good:

  • On longer articles you have to scroll the page down to view the rest of the article, I have found this to be confusing as the natural way for me to swipe is to the next page. Also this causes issues when sometimes it thinks I have swiped to the next page when in fact I am swiping down.
  • Some pages are available in landscape but not all, the landscape format is nice and I love it but having to flip back to portrait every so often does get frustrating.
  • In some of the smaller “in page” scrolling sections, the sections loop, so if you scroll through all the items it goes back to the top again and keeps scrolling through basically looping. This has caused me confusion many times.
  • The A List is one of my favourite parts of the mag and is usually my first stop off to look at my next purchase. However something that is noticeably missing is the runner up for each item. Sometimes (most recently in the case of anti-virus software) I wanted to see what the runner up was as the A-List item had issues for me.
  • Finally – no subscriptions… I know this is an Apple thing but hopefully it will get fixed soon.
  • Scrolling again (hey I have to mention it twice), on some of the pages there is a mini scroll section for content on the page, scrolling down to view more of the article AND back and forth to go to the next and previous pages. Sometimes the mag gets very confuzzled about where I want to go.

Well poke around in the images below (best to click through to the flickr stream) there are a few other things in there as well but far easier to explain with an image handy. All in all I am very impressed and look forward to seeing how the mag progresses in the coming months.

Stuart

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157626150791840″]

PCAuthority iPad App – A welcome change… but a bit delayed.

Last month PC Authority, which is now known as PC & Tech Authority released an iPad app which provides an electronic version of their magasine. For those of us that have iPad’s and have been craving some form of electronic version can now enjoy it to it’s fullest.

However I do have one gripe. My print subscription is coming to an end (I thought it was last month however it looks like I got the February edition of the magasine as well) and I noticed something quite disturbing. For the last few days I have been eagerly checking the PC Authority iPad app for the latest edition of the mag, much to my dismay I have still not seen it.

After going over to my folks place (where my paper edition of the mag is delivered) and realising that in fact the paper version of the mag was out some time last week I became disheartened. I cannot believe in this day an age that for something they are promoting so heavily, the paper version of the magasine is still released well before the electronic version.

What got my blood boiling even more as I read through the paper edition was the following image… (which for the record has the iPad application showing the February edition of the mag, which is still unavailable on the iPad itself) Nuff said I guess. I hope that PC Authority can pick up the game a little on release schedules. I realise it is early days but you would think this is one thing they would be trying to focus on especially around this time of the year.

PC & Tech Authority Magasine Snapshot

Update: I can happily say that I just received the following email from Sam Grimmer who is the Creative Director at Haymarket Media. Awesome to see such a fast response.

Stuart

Hi Stuart
 Thanks for your mail. Just wanted to let you know that the Feb iPad issue is going 
 to be available in the the next 36 hours. The delay is simply a function of Haymarket 
 Media closing for the Christmas break. The print edition was sent to press on the very 
 last day of last year and for reasons of quality control we produce the iPad edition in 
 the week following the print deadline ie; while the mag is being printed and distributed. 
 In this case, the break pushed the iPad production week back until the new year.

 

All other iPad editions of PC&TA throughout the year will be available on the magazine's onsale date as you would expect. The only alternative for us would have been to delay the onsale date of the mag until now to guarantee a twin release.

 

Thanks for your feedback Stuart. Clearly it would have been useful for us to state the Feb release date in the ad you refer to. I'm glad you are so keen to see the iPad edition!

 

Best regards and feel free to send me your thoughts on the iPad edition. It's an exciting extension of our magazine and we will be adding more features and exclusive iPad content as we move forward.

 

Best regards
Sam Grimmer

Leave the laptop, take the iPad – Conferences

Apple iPad
Image Copyright by Apple, All Rights Reserved

Recently I attended the Asia Pacific Blackboard Summit 2010 in Cairns which was the first conference I had attended where I had my shiny new iPad with me.

To that end I thought I would take the chance to do a little bit of a roundup on how my iPad held up during the conference and my thoughts surrounding its usefulness as a tool for the professional at a conference. Prior to me getting too far into it I would like to say that I am writing this article after choosing to use my laptop as little as possible through out the conference so this article really is targeted at detailing the strengths and weaknesses of the iPad rather than a comparison between a laptop and the iPad.

Outline of my minimum requirements for connectivity during the conference:

  1. Access work email and calendar as well as personal email and calendar
  2. Provide basic remote support for any issues at the office
  3. Take notes during the conference and meetings if required
  4. Provide sufficient battery life to stand up to regular and at times constant use throughout the day without a recharge
  5. Let me keep in contact with the rest of my life on a personal level such as Facebook, forums, reading the online news papers and so on and so fourth

Having said that there were a couple of additional nice to haves which, while not required, I wanted a device to satisfy which included:

  • Entertain me on the flight to and from the destination (three hour flight)
  • Provide entertainment during “slow” periods at the conference
  • Enable me to do a bit of blogging if the chance arose
  • Provide the ability to tweet through out the conference when such an appropriate time presented itself.

Interesting points I discovered:

  1. I *had* to use my laptop once during the conference to do some advanced remote support for the office, this was things that could not be done on the iPad
  2. The battery life on the iPad is spectacular, I put it through its paces for an entire day at the conference, then the three hour flight back home and still had 40% battery life remaining
  3. The iPad is not built for extremely heavy use of the browser, if you attempt to open more than 3 tabs in the browser at most you are likely to get the message saying you are running low on the battery
  4. There are a few applications which are immensely useful for the professional on the road which are outlined further below.

Applications I recommend:

  • Evernote – A note taking application (which includes voice recording among with a lot of other features). Also provides the ability to easily sync the notes with your desktop when you are back at the office.
  • LogMeIn – An application to have remote access to computers back in the office/home, obviously requires some prior setup to be completed so that the computers will be accessible.
  • Twitter – The new twitter app available, nice and swish and worked like a dream.
  • iSSH – For remote access to my webserver

In future will I leave my laptop at home and take an iPad in its place?

Personally, for a three day conference I would have no qualms in doing so. When it comes down to the punch however it would depend on a condition dictated by the workplace. If there was even the remote possibility that advanced remote support would be required there would  have to be a full fledged computer close by (such as a business lounge) or if a workmate had a laptop that would suit as well, otherwise I would still have to take the laptop.

For a three day conference I was quite content to keep in touch with the world through my iPad, granted when I was in my room I used my laptop a couple of times, but anything I wanted to do I could have easily done on the iPad without breaking a sweat.

Granted this is just one guys opinion but I have to say, I was thoroughly impressed with how the iPad held up over the three days. And I was stoked that I did not have to worry about the battery life, in fact it was the one thing that I was utterly surprised with in just how long the battery held up. I do apologise that I do not have specific timings but the usage tab of the iPad does not say how long the iPad has been in use for like the iPhone does.

I welcome your thoughts and questions on how you use the iPad (or similar) in place of a laptop at conferences.
Stuart