Tag Archives: Ipad

GoodReader File Management

In any good iPad reader app, it won’t take long before you library becomes quite large. GoodReader not only reads a number of different file types – PDF, MS Office, iWork, text, etc. – but it also offers impressive note-taking functions. All this practically insures you’ll soon have a large collection of documents in your GoodReader library. Fortunately, GoodReader also provides a document management capability that not only helps you organize your library, but also makes it easy to move documents back and forth between your tablet and other locations. Here’s a look at some of that functionality.

The My Documents screen is the hub for finding, uploading, managing and synching documents from your desktop and any number of online sources.

Manage Files View

In this example, you see the list of GoodReader documents currently on my iPad in the left pane. On the right are several accordion-style buttons which, when tapped, display the functions pane for each button. Here the Manage Files pane is displayed. Before you can perform a function, you must select the document(s) on the left that will be affected. I tapped the SCGS2011 2.pdf document which highlighted the selection dot on the left. Now I can:

  • move or copy the selected files within the GoodReader file system on this iPad
  • create a zip file of the selected files
  • use the star toggle button to star/unstar selected files or folders
  • use the protect toggle button to add/remove password protection for the selected files or folders
  • mark files/folders as read or unread
  • send the selected files as email attachments
  • rename a single selected file or folder
  • use the Link button to create a special URL to a single selected file which can be used by other apps on your iPad that are capable of opening URL links
  • extract files embedded in a PDF Portfolio so GoodReader can read them
  • open the selected file in another iPad app that supports Document Interchange
  • create a task in the Appigo Todo app (purchased separately)
  • create a new folder
  • create an empty TXT file which can be edited within GoodReader
  • delete the selected files or folders.

Once you’ve finished any management operations, tap Done.

You can download files directly from the Web. Once you open the Web Downloads pane, you are presented with two options: Browse the Web and Enter URL. If you know the complete address to the file you want to download, use the Enter URL option. Otherwise, use the Browse option. In this example, I know I can get a PDF copy of the Notebooks Handbook from the app’s site, but I’m not sure of the document’s address so I chose the Browse the Web option and went to the site.

Web Downloads

As soon as the page containing links to the handbook loads, GoodReader pops up a message asking if I want to follow the link to the document or Download the Linked File. I chose download and in seconds I’m reading the handbook.

Server Options

GoodReader also provides access to a growing number of cloud services like Dropbox, Google Docs and SugarSync through the Connect to Servers pane. You can even use this to open email attachments.

Before you can use this capability, you will need an account with one of the cloud services and then set up a GoodReader record for the account. This is done by tapping the Add button displayed at the right side of the Connect to Servers header. The popup you see here is used to select the service to configure. Then, depending on the service chosen, you’ll enter the necessary connection information for that service. You only need to do this once. GoodReader will remember the information. You can edit your service records at any time should something – like you password – change.

Connect to Servers

Now, when you open the Connect to Servers pane, you will see the services you’ve configured. Tap on a service to display the file browsing pane you see here. Once I select a file by tapping it, a Download button appears at the bottom of the browsing pane to I can download it into GoodReader.

By combining GoodReader with a cloud storage service, family historians can use their iPad to maintain a library of research-related documents that gives them almost instant access to research notes, working documents and reference material at any time.

Diigo builds a browser

Diigo, the bookmarking platform for researchers, has built a browser for the iPad. iChromy [iPad -free] has a funny name, but after spending the evening working with it, that name is sounding real good.

iChromy Screen

The first thing you’ll see is tabbed browsing – with real tabs. After years of tabs on desktop browsers, tabs at the top of the screen are second nature. I’ve missed them on the iPad, but no more. The address bar does double-duty as the search bar. And, all you do to bookmark a page is tap the star at the right of the address bar. It turns gold and this page is bookmarked. Tap the open book icon just to the right of the address bar to display your bookmarks.

Want to open a link in a new tab? Do a long tap on that link and a popup menu offers you options to open it in a tab, a background tab or add it to the offline reading list. The difference between a tab and a background tab is that the background tab opens the new page, but the browser stays focused on the current page.

Select some text on a web page and not only will you see the standard Copy command, iChromy also offers the opportunity to do a search based on your selected text. I love it!

Notice the glasses icon just to the right of the bookmark star? Tap it and iChromy will save the displayed page for offline reading. Tap the pages icon to display those saved pages.

The share icon displays the menu you see here. Yes, you can send a page to your Diigo bookmarks along with social networks. Tap the More button to find Evernote, Instapaper, Tumblr and other sharing options. With this browser, you can now actually do some serious research on your iPad.

I’m very impressed with this browser and quickly getting comfortable with its operation. One look at the reviews in the App Store shows I’m not alone. And, knowing Diigo, I’m sure this is just the beginning and this little browser will only get better.

Eye-Fi Direct to iPhone or iPad

Imagine you’re taking photos in a rural cemetery then immediately checking them out on your iPad’s big screen. It’s not just a dream anymore, thanks to Eye-Fi Direct.

If you have an Eye-Fi card for your camera, you can now send photos and videos straight to your iPad or iPhone – even when there’s no wi-fi hot spot nearby. With their new Direct functionality, your Eye-Fi card becomes its own hot spot letting you connect to the photos from your iThings. Here’s what you’ll need to make it happen:

  • An Eye-Fi card with firmware version 4.5021 or higher
  • Eye-Fi Center version 3.3 or higher
  • iPhone or iPad running at least version 4.0 of the iOS operating system.

On your iThings, you’ll need to install the free Eye-Fi app and you’ll need to update your Eye-Fi Center software to the latest version. Then, you’ll need to update the firmware (built-in program) on your Eye-Fi card which adds the Direct functionality. Once that’s done, enable Direct mode and you’re ready to go. You’ll find complete instructions at Eye-Fi Support.

A quick look in Amazon shows the Eye-Fi 8GB Mobile X2 [$79.99] is already set up with Direct.

Review: iFiles

iFiles [iOS, $2.99] puts an impressive file management and sharing system on your iThings. It serves as a file manager, document viewer, text editor and voice recorder while it allows you to connect to all your cloud-based services from DropBox and Google Docs to Flickr and Picasa. And you have FTP and WebDAV access to everything else. If there’s a Swiss Army knife for iOS, this is it.

Email files from within iFiles, record a voice note, view a PDF and even directly share files with your friends if they also have iFiles (via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth). It handles an amazing number of formats too including MS Office, iWorks, PDF, rich text, video, audio and images.

Flickr in iFiles

In this example, you are looking at a list of my Flickr Groups. I can browse through my Flickr photos, save them to my iPad, email them and even print them – all from inside iFiles.

One Year Later

The iPad is a year old.

Anyone who reads the Gazette knows I love my iPad. What you may not know is how dramatically it has changed my life. I am still the tech geek I’ve always been, but I am once again part of the family.


For years the computer has kept me tucked away in a back room while I catch up on the news, work on my research or write. I would come home from work and head straight to the den to check mail, Facebook, Twitter and my newsreader. After dinner, it was more of the same. Now, when I get home, I grab my iPad, pour a glass of wine and sit down with my husband (and his iPad) to catch up with him while I see what’s happening online. We used to do much the same thing years ago, only there was a newspaper involved instead of iPads.

I’ve rediscovered pleasure reading because I can control both the font size and brightness of the screen. Next to the book apps, Flipboard has to be my favorite app. It turns news feeds, Twitter and Facebook into a beautiful magazine format that makes keeping up with everything a delight rather than a chore. I still use Google Reader to process the news and information I need to keep up with, but when there’s something special that pops up in the reader I’ll “star” it to enjoy that evening in Flipboard.

Sample Flipboard magazine

The DIGITAL Storytelling magazine on Flipboard.

Today, thanks to the iPad, I find I’m reading in the living room again – much like I used to read print books. I still do a lot of my work on the desktop in the den, but since I do most of that work early in the mornings while everyone else is asleep, it doesn’t impact family life that much.

Obviously, this isn’t all I do with my iPad, but it’s how I spend a lot of my iPad time. Tech stuff has always been fascinating as tools to do the things I want to do. My iPad is a great tool, but even more than that, it’s an enjoyable experience.

Am I surprised the new iPad is flying off shelves? Not at all. One year later, I am still constantly amazed at its versatility – and it’s still only a toddler.

iPad Folders

A recent upgrade to the iPad’s operating system added some very useful functionality. The Folders feature lets us collect related apps into a folder instead of having them spread across several screens. Here are a few tips to help you put folders to good use.

First, you need to know how to manage apps on your iPad screen. When you touch and hold your finger on one app icon, after a couple of seconds all the icons will start shaking and a tiny “x” appears in the top left corner of each icon. You’re now in app management mode. To delete an app from your iPad, tap the “x” on its icon. You will be prompted to confirm this is what you want to do, then the app is deleted. You can drag icons around the screen and even onto other screens to rearrange them. Once you’re finished, tap the Home button to exit app management.

Create an apps folderCreating a new folder.

Setting up folders is easy. In app management mode, drag an app icon onto another app icon. It will create a small black box with very tiny versions of each app’s icon inside it and display a stripe containing each app plus a title bar. You’re iPad will have given your folder a name, which you can change by tapping and typing. Press the Home button and you’re done.

Finished folderThe finished folder shares the Home screen with other apps.

Want to add an app to an existing folder? Again, in app management mode, just drag the app into the folder. You can even open a folder, then drag an app from it to another folder to move from one to another.

Folder collectionsA page of folders is easer to manage than multiple pages of apps.

Apps aren’t the only thing you can put in these folders. You can bookmark web pages in Safari and put them in your folders. Navigate to the page you want to access from your folder then tap the function icon in Safari’s toolbar and choose Add to Home Screen. A screenshot of your web page will be used as the icon and you can edit the title that will appear with it. Once that’s done, you can move the icon into whichever folder you want. For example, I have bookmarks to my most frequently accessed WeRelate pages stashed in my Research folder, along with the Ancestry, Diigo and Reunion apps.

Setting home screenSet a favorite site on the Home screen, then drag it into the appropriate folder to quickly access at any time.

Folders make it a lot easier to access a large number of apps. I’m down to two screens versus the four screens I had before folders were implemented. And that includes even more apps than before. It takes a little time to create a system that works for you and a little more time to adjust to it, but soon you’ll wonder how you ever survived your old system.

iPad 2

The new iPad was announced today and will be available March 11th. It’s faster, thinner, lighter and has cameras but that would cost you any more money or less battery. It looks quite nice. What impressed me the most though, was the new cover. Instead of a case, they have designed a protective cover for the screen (the back is now aluminum) that “snaps” on with magnets and then folds back to serve as a stand. Even better, as soon as the cover is positioned over the screen, the iPad goes to sleep and awakens as soon as you lift it. Very Cool!

iPad cover

The cover comes in several colors in both polyurethane or leather. And yes, there’s a white iPad too.

Also coming on the 11th is an iOS upgrade to version 4.3 (for all iOS things except GSM phones and early iTouches). With it comes an iPad version of iMovie ($4.99) and Garage Band ($4.99). I don’t think iMovie will work with the older iPads but I’m hoping Garage Band will. If so, I can see all kinds of iPad bands recording music!

Am I buying a new iPad? No. I’m very happy with the one I have. I’m looking forward to the Mac OSX (Lion) upgrade due out this summer. It will have a server built into it which I’m hoping will give me over the air access to files from all my iThings. We’ll see . . .

Essential iPad: Meeting Apps

The iPad is an amazing tool for meetings. Not only does it give users the opportunity to participate in virtual meetings with apps like WebEx, Go To Meeting, Adobe Connect Mobile and Fuze Meeting HD for formal meetings and webinars, but also with apps like Skype and Join Me for quick meetings on the fly. Maybe at next year’s RootsTech we’ll find people sitting in one workshop and “attending” another via their phone or tablet. Who says you can’t be in two places at one time?

Speakers already have tools that can make it easier to present. With your presentation stored on your iPhone and your iPad plugged into the projector, you can roam the stage as you talk and control your slides via wi-fi or Bluetooth from the iPhone in your hands using Conference Pad [Universal $4.99]. The slideshow is converted to PDF before it’s loaded on the iPhone – which also means it can contain more than just slides – and a $30 adapter is needed to connect the iPad to the projector. The app can even control multiple iPads connected to multiple projectors.

If you’re concerned that it might be difficult to control, take a look at the screens below – controlling iPod on top and projecting iPad on the bottom.

Conference Pad on iPod Presentation on iPod
Conference Pad on iPad

Need a teleprompter? There’s an app for that too!

Some of the large conferences have created apps for the attendees containing the schedule with maps/floor plans, speaker bios, exhibitors with links and more. Incorporating Twitter feeds and other social features help attendees connect and keep up with each other. These apps could also give remote attendees an opportunity to share some of the social side of the conference too.

Mobile devices are quickly becoming more than just a phone or book reader. Each day they offer new ways to connect and conference tools to support both speakers and attendees.

I got an e-Reader for Christmas! Now what?

Book Notes BadgeNow you need to find some great books to read. There’s a large – and growing – collection of e-books in the public domain (meaning their copyright has expired and you can get them for free). Let’s take a look at the options available to you and how you can take advantage of them.

  • Internet Archive has a huge collection of books and other texts – along with photos, videos, audio recordings and many other digital delicacies. Don’t let the front page intimidate you. Just click on Texts at the top of the page and head straight for the publications section.
  • Open Library is sponsored by Internet Archive with the goal of providing a page for every book ever published. You can help build this site by adding reviews, descriptions and even additional books. And, Open Library provides links to various editions of the books including downloads in the various e-book formats. They have recently announced a Digital Lending Library where you can check out books to read on your reader or computer (Adobe Digital Editions required). You’ll find the details and instructions at the Internet Archive Forum.
  • Project Gutenberg is the grandfather of public domain libraries. It began by offering plain text versions of classic books and continues to provide an amazing service to the reading public. There are several search options and you can browse by category, author or language. Each book has a bibliographic record and a download tab listing the available formats. This is a great place to go if you know the book you want to read, but there’s little or no description included in a book’s record so it isn’t the best browsing option.
  • Both Many Books and FeedBooks offer better browsing experiences and, in my opinion, some of the best quality e-books. Both include descriptions of the book as well as user reviews. Each offers multiple download formats. I’ve discovered several very good mysteries as well as many of my favorite classic authors here.

Check with your local public library to see if they subscribe to OverDrive. This service makes current e-books available for checkout – just like their print cousins. The service works with a growing number of devices including the Nook, Sony Reader and Kobo reader with iPhone and iPad apps on the way. Unfortunately, it does not work with the Kindle reader.

If you already have a library card, you don’t have to wait for the library to open! It’s all done online so drop in at your library’s web site to see if they offer the OverDrive service.

Device Management

Getting public domain and loaned books onto some devices can be a challenge. First, look at the user guide for your device and see how you can transfer e-book files to it. For example, both Nooks and Kindles connect to your PC using a USB cable and you can drag/drop files to the device from your computer. Just make sure you’ve downloaded the appropriate format for the device. iThings (iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone) use iTunes on the desktop to transfer stuff to the device, but there’s also the Dropbox service/app to quickly send a book to the appropriate reader. The Stanza reader app can do direct downloads from both FeedBooks and Project Gutenberg.

I’ve built an e-reading resource page with information on e-readers, book sources and more. It will be updated regularly as e-book popularity continues to grow.

It won’t take long to discover the many joys of e-reading, you’ll find that there’s plenty of great books that won’t cost you a penny. And, if you take advantage of the interactive and social features at these public domain libraries, you’ll help improve the experience for all of us. Good luck and good reading!

G-Notes: Essential iPad – Reading

For those who found an iPad under their Christmas tree, here’s a quick look at some of the reading apps, services and bookstores to get you started.

There are several different book reader apps and you will need all of them. Why? Because only the Kindle reader will read books purchased from Amazon’s Kindle store and only the Nook reader will read Barnes & Noble e-books. Yes, it’s tedious, but we’re stuck with it for now. Here’s my list of book readers:

Shades on FolioShades of the Departed magazine in Folio app.

None of these do you much good without some books to read. One of the first things you’ll want to do is download the iPad User Guide. Open the iBooks app, then click on the Store button. If you don’t see it listed, search for “iPad User Guide”. It’s a very handy reference for all things iPad.

Of course each book store wants your business – and you’ll probably give them plenty – but there are some very good public domain libraries too and they’re full of free books. You’ll find a complete list of these sources on the e-Reading resource page.

One indispensibe tool for moving books (and many other files) to and from your iPad is Dropbox. Dropbox is both a service and an app – both free – that stores files online in your personal Dropbox area. Many iPad apps are designed to accept files from Dropbox including Stanza, GoodRead and Folio.

Reading on the iPad isn’t just limited to books. You’ll want to be able to keep up with the latest news and blogs. USA Today [free] offers a delightful newspaper app with all the things you’d expect – weather, scores, stocks, crosswords – and more. If you open the app in the morning before you leave the house, today’s stories are downloaded to your iPad and you can read them offline. The interactive parts, like weather and stocks, only work when you’re online. It’s a great way to start your day. It’s not the only way. There’s a growing number of newspapers offering their content on the iPad including the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. Many of the apps are free, but you’ll need a subscription to get the content. There’s also a huge number of multimedia news sources for news and many of them are free.

For reading blogs, there are plenty of news reader apps. Reeder [$4.99] uses your Google Reader account and keeps your reading synched between the iPad and your browser. If you’re reading feeds on both your desktop and iPad, this is a good option. The Early Edition [$4.99] presents your feed content in a newspaper style design. It can import your Google Reader subscriptions but does not stay synched with Google Reader. While the Reeder app is an efficient way to manage a large number of feeds, The Early Edition is designed more to enjoy reading.

Magazines are still trying to find their way in this new medium. While a number of familiar publications offer PDF versions of their print edition, some are beginning to find ways to take advantage of the iPad’s multimedia capabilities to redefine themselves. One shining example is Gourmet Live [free]. Food lovers will delight in exploring the articles and recipes presented here. Even the advertising is fascinating – and includes great recipes!

While these apps and reading sources show how enjoyable the iPad is for reading, you’ll also find it useful as a research tool. Take advantage of your e-readers search, bookmarking, highlighting and note-taking capabilities on the growing number of journals, memoirs and local and military histories being digitized.