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. Diigo Browser [iPad -free].

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.

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.

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 – Reference

There are any number of great reference apps available for the iPad. A comprehensive list would take days to compile, but here are some of my favorites:

  • WebMD for iPad [free] provides easy access to first aid and other handy medical information. It includes instructions for any number of emergency first aid procedures.
  • Dictionary.com [free] is both a dictionary and thesaurus and includes audio pronunciations (with Internet connection).
  • Discover [free] is Wikipedia in a gorgeous package. All of the information is there – just presented in a beautifully styled and paged format. You can browse or search and connect to related articles. It’s a delight to read, but not the best option for quick reference.
  • iTranslate for iPad [free] can translate text into 50 languages instantly and even provides text-to-speech audio in 11 languages.
  • Google Earth [free] has all the satellite imagery goodness with layers for roads, places, businesses and more. Yes, it’s gorgeous!
  • Bible [free] has both online and offline modes, full search functionality and access to a number of English translations.

We’ve only touched the surface, but these apps serve up an awful lot of useful information – all of it accessible in an instant. And, you can take it all with you without breaking your back.

G-Notes: iPad Entertainment

While we wait for the iPad update giving us multi-tasking and a lot more goodies, now’s a good time to take a look at the iPad’s entertainment options. Here are a few multimedia apps that take entertainment on demand to new heights:

  • Video on the iPad. Using the amazing Handbrake app [Win/Mac/Lin – free], you can rip your DVDs in much the same way you rip your own CDs into digital versions you can watch on your desktop or portable device. They do take up a lot of room on your iPad, but it’s nice to be able to load a couple to make that long flight a bit more tolerable. Use iTunes to move your movies on/off your devices.
  • Netflix [free app/subscription service]. If you are a Netflix subscriber, you’re already aware of their streaming video option. With the free Netflix app, you can watch them on your iPad!
  • Hulu Plus [free app/subscription service] is another subscription service offering both tv shows and movies from sources like NBC, ABC, Fox, A&E, PBS, Paramount, MGM and more. You can watch the latest episode of current shows the day after they are first broadcast plus you have a huge collection of older series. Need a MacGyver fix? They’ve got it!
  • Newsy [free] is a video news service that produces short news stories that integrate coverage from multiple sources to present different points of view. It’s an interesting concept and a startup worth watching.
  • The Pandora app [free] gives you access to their online radio service which gives control over the music you want to hear. You can create custom channels and as you rate the songs, Pandora learns your preferences and pushes the music you like to your device. Pandora offers both a free and premium [$36/year] service. Once Apple releases the iOS 4.2 upgrade (next week?), the multi-tasking feature will allow you to listen to music while doing other things on your iPad. Right now, when you leave the Pandora app, the music stops.

Now, I’m off to get my errands and chores done so I can enjoy a lazy afternoon at the movies . . .

G-notes: iTunes Edition

You’ll be amazed at the genealogy-related content you’ll find on Apple’s free iTunes platform. Here are a few examples (NOTE: links open in iTunes):

  • Podcasts: You can subscribe to the The Genealogy Guys and Genealogy Gems along with a long list of others discussing any number of genealogy topics. Just go to the Podcast section and do a search for “genealogy”. You’ll be surprised with the results.
  • TV Shows: Season 1 of Who Do You Think You Are can be viewed at your desktop. It will cost you $9.99 for the complete season or $1.99 for a single episode.
  • iTunes U: Here you’ll find an interesting course on Writing Family History presented by Open University. The course consists of 7 audio presentations and transcripts.
  • Apps Store: A growing number of apps are available in the Apps Store including Reunion for iPad and iPhone, MobileFamilyTree, FamViewer and more. Other useful apps will support your research with maps, reference material and both written and audio note-takers. Don’t forget the ebook reader apps which give you access to the growing number of digitized historic texts.

The lightweight iPad is quickly becoming an important research tool in my toolbox, but even without one of Apple’s pricey devices, iTunes gives you access to some entertaining and informative research resources.