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Using a Tablet As Your Primary Computer

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the out-with-the-old dept.

Apple 627

harrymcc writes "Three months ago, I started using an iPad 2 (with a Zagg keyboard) as my primary computing device--the one I blog on, write articles for TIME magazine on, and use to prepare photos and other illustrations that go with my writing. I now use it about 80 percent of the time; my trusty MacBook Air has become a secondary machine."

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Let me be the first to say (4, Funny)

bernywork (57298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264848)

Congratulations.

Re:Let me be the first to say (5, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265094)

Conglomeration.

FTFY.

Since no one else reads the article, I'll have to explain: it has many incorrect/missing words. It's as if it was written on a phone keyboard, with word completion, or something. "unless I have specific reason to think I’ll never a full-blown computer" "most iPads cost only a few dollars" "Or at least I was at firs–at this point"

It sounds like what the author appreciates is decent battery life and an efficient small-screen-friendly window manager.

Re:Let me be the first to say (5, Insightful)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265242)

Conglomeration.

FTFY.

Since no one else reads the article, I'll have to explain: it has many incorrect/missing words. It's as if it was written on a phone keyboard, with word completion, or something. "unless I have specific reason to think I’ll never a full-blown computer" "most iPads cost only a few dollars" "Or at least I was at firs–at this point"

It sounds like what the author appreciates is decent battery life and an efficient small-screen-friendly window manager.

It really was kind of surprising for an author who claims to be writing for Time magazine.

!surprising (2, Funny)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265266)

Why do you find that surprising?

Re:!surprising (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265408)

Because Time magazine's target audience has a sub-90 IQ.

I read the article... (4, Informative)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265378)

It's pretty clear he didn't get anywhere productive until he bought the ZaggFolio keyboard/case. He brings it up as a central point several times.

Other than that, he states "This hasn’t been one of those experiments-for-the-sake-of-experimentation in which someone temporarily forsakes a PC for another device in order to write about the experience". Of course not. He had to justify his purchase (to himself, I suppose). Why else would he devote a blog post to "Hey look! I can write and take pictures with an iPad!"

He could just as easily written about blogging/taking pictures and emailing them to himself on a phone - because he bought an external keyboard.

...Good for you? (5, Informative)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264856)

I'm sorry, this isn't a story. This is a blog entry, and a short one at that.

Re:...Good for you? (5, Funny)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264878)

This is a blog entry, and a short one at that.

Obviously typing blog posts on an iPad doesn't work as well as the submitter wants to make himself believe.

Re:...Good for you? (5, Interesting)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265110)

This is a blog entry, and a short one at that.

Obviously typing blog posts on an iPad doesn't work as well as the submitter wants to make himself believe.

Maybe he should stick to Twitter?

Seriously, I won an iPad over a year ago. The iPad sits on the nightstand by my bed - 95% of the time, I reach under the bed to retrieve my 13" laptop to do anything, including watching streaming media. The (8 and 10 year old) kids prefer the iPad to an eee Netbook, but only because it's swipey swipey fun to use and seems to be better at grabbing marginal WiFi connections than the Netbook is. I think if the kids had to choose between having a Netbook of their own, or 50/50 sharing the (twice as expensive) iPad, they'd probably go for having their own Netbook. Especially when they want to access Flash enabled websites.

Re:...Good for you? (4, Insightful)

hjf (703092) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264926)

He's the 99% I guess.

I'm an amateur photographer. I upgraded from a Core 2 Duo laptop which was working GREAT (and I still use) to a Core i5... gasp! DESKTOP! Because I like having a 27" monitor and I use the 8GB of RAM and all 4 cores of my CPU to process photos. And of course, USB ports and SD card readers are nice too.

So, thanks for your suggestions iPad fanboys. I'll stick with my desktop machine for the next few years.

Re:...Good for you? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38264948)

Cool story bro. Keep up that amateur photography.

Re:...Good for you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265128)

Of course, an iPad makes you a pro.

Re:...Good for you? (1)

bobamu (943639) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265254)

dude, it makes you an iPro, which sounds like a potential name for a market segment.

Re:...Good for you? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265194)

Thanks for the comment... you can keep sucking Steve Jobs dead dick now... carry on...

Re:...Good for you? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265166)

Most laptops these days have an SD card reader built in anyway.

The only reason I bought another desktop was to get back into PC gaming. For photo editing, a laptop is fine. For gaming, overheating has always been an issue on any laptop I've tried. Either too slow, too hot, too noisy, or all of the above..

I'm happy with my tablet for browsing, checking mail, reading books and watching youtube. I'm happy with my laptop for work. I'm happy with my desktop for gaming and HTPC use. Some people can get away with just using one, but it shouldn't be thought of as an "us vs them" situation. Just use what you want and be happy.

Re:...Good for you? (4, Insightful)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265374)

Don't think iPads and the like are supposed to replace desktops. But they might replace laptops for some use cases. I have to admit, I pretty much just use my big grunty desktop (serious work, gaming) or my iPad (quick web browsing, email, watching Youtube etc.) now. The laptop is gathering dust. I used to take it when I went on trips but now I just throw the iPad in instead - it's lighter and has better battery life, and it does all I need it to when travelling (basically email, Skype, web) and a few things the laptop doesn't (GPS + maps).

Having said that I would never use a tablet as my PRIMARY machine (the premise of this thread). Nor would most Slashdotters. A proper PC will always have its place for coding, gaming and heavy duty processing of media (video, audio and photos - as you will no doubt agree). But for the average Joe who just uses their computer to check a few websites and send an email or two, a tablet fits their needs nicely.

Re:...Good for you? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265390)

Funny you bring that up. Photographers were one of the first to largely adopt iPads. Plug your memory stick into the ipad, dump up to 64 GB of images, review your work on the 10 inch screen, it's light, small, and portable. You can even do some basic editing right on the thing, then e-mail the imagines up to your editor over your 3G connection.

Wait, what are you doing to your imagines that you need a quad core with 8GB ram? I've run Photoshop, (obviously an old version,) on a 486 with 32mb of ram.

Re:...Good for you? (3, Funny)

jrumney (197329) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264990)

It almost qualifies as a twitter entry. Meanwhile some of us have real work to do which we need our PC's for. We aren't all hipster freelance writers that have nothing to do with our day that can't be done on an iPad while sitting in Starbucks taking up space that should be reserved for paying customers.

As demand for PCs dies down (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265082)

Meanwhile some of us have real work to do which we need our PC's for.

But as tablets become able to do "real work", fewer people will demand PCs. Some previous articles posted to Slashdot predict the "death of the PC", and pretty much only people who make apps for a living will have PCs. Where's the economy of scale in a PC industry dedicated to supporting only tablet app developers?

Re:As demand for PCs dies down (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265176)

But as tablets become able to do "real work", fewer people will demand PCs

Why? Given a laptop that can do what you want and a tablet, why do you assume that people would always pick the tablet? The tablet will have a smaller screen and be less comfortable for typing on. I'd expect a wall-mounted HDTV and a bluetooth keyboard and mouse to be a better fit for most people's needs.

Re:...Good for you? (1)

whereissue (2522564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265090)

Your comment sounds bitter, but... you are 100% correct!

Some of us have "real work" to do... And some of us have an inflated sense of worth. If your "real work" consists of posting bitter comments on /., you would be just as well off doing that on an iPad.

Let go of the hate... more room for pie.

Re:...Good for you? (2)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265108)

Pretty much this.
If you're a web developer, like me (or any kind of developer for that matter), you kinda need to be able to do things that just aren't feasible on a tablet.
Like run a test server, install and test on multiple browsers, run virtual machines to test on other OSes (like the mobile OSes for example. God bless Androidx86) and, you know, running at more than 1024x768 isn't such a bad thing either.

You know, all the little things we take for granted on a desktop disappears when you use a tablet.

Re:...Good for you? (4, Insightful)

quixote9 (999874) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265042)

Seriously. The OP may want to climb into comments and explain his point. What takes more time to do? What takes less (if anything)? How would it be if you didn't have the extra keyboard? That seems to me to make it a de facto laptop, so you're not really using a "tablet as your primary computer." Or do you not use the keyboard much? Is it more or less convenient to have a separate keyboard? Etc., etc., etc.

Re:...Good for you? (0)

romanval (556418) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265402)

a tablet with a keyboard is a de facto laptop?

okay, find me a laptop that

  1. has a 10hr battery life
  2. is fully functional without the keyboard
  3. weighs 1.4 lbs
  4. all of the above

Re:...Good for you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265058)

That's probably because typing on a touch screen is a pain :)

Re:...Good for you? (1)

Udo Schmitz (738216) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265130)

This is a blog entry, and a short one at that.

With 2217 words? Ok for me ...

Re:...Good for you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265216)

Exactly!!! Mod you up. If" what you do" is play with smart phones and tablets all day then SURPRISE, you find "what you do" works on a smart phone or tablet.

Re:...Good for you? (2)

CubicleView (910143) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265274)

From TFA

If this startles you, I understand

I nearly fell out of my chair.

Re:...Good for you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265340)

A short one? Perhaps you didn't click the 'read rest of story' link under the 'short' one. For someone doing nothing other than criticizing, you'd at least think you'd get it right.

Have done the same as a developer, sort of (3, Interesting)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264864)

My primary mobile development machine is now my iPad2. Using svn hooks and an apple bluetooth keyboard I've managed to quite effectively work remotely.

SSH is required from time to time, but frankly it's quite seldom once I got all the svn hooks set up correctly

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (3, Informative)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264888)

I use the SVN client built into iOS and iSSH for my SSH sessions. Works great for me.

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (2)

dingen (958134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264890)

And what are the benefits of using a simple terminal instead of something more powerful? I mean seriously, didn't we go through exactly the same process back in the 70s?

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (0)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264918)

Well the real question is the opposite of what you asked...

What is the benefit of using something "more powerful" than a console for development? I've yet to meet a graphical IDE that actually works better than vim

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265116)

Benefits of working on something better than a tablet:

  • the ability to work offline
  • the ability to run more programs at once (without having to switch between them or experience notable performance issues)
  • more screen space
  • faster compiling

To name a few from the top of my head. I can't imagine doing all of my daily work on a tiny tablet.

But then again, if it's good enough for Picard [photobucket.com] , it is probably good enough for me.

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265132)

Hmmm... lists have looked better on Slashdot in the past if I recall correctly.

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265134)

Not having to wait 20 minutes while your code is compiling? Being able to run more aggressive optimizers? There is more to development than editing your code.

Now, can someone explain to me how it is even possible to use an iPad as a developer, except to test software on it? I thought you were forbidden from having any tools that translate software...

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (3, Informative)

dingen (958134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265158)

He is running his stuff remotely and using the iPad solely as a terminal.

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265228)

I missed the tablet craze when I was working out of coffee shops. Most of my time was spent in a text editor or in MATLAB.

There were certainly days where I would have killed for more battery life, but I'm skeptical that I could have worked out a workflow when I was doing MATLAB work. If I weren't fighting with 100 other people for the same WiFi signal, I could have remoted in to a real machine - but that was not always possible even from a reasonable laptop.

But for the projects I was doing where it was just text editing and the occasional sftp upload... yeah, an iPad would be fine. Might miss the screen real estate (especially for looking up documentation), but more than possible.

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38264912)

What kind of development are you doing?

Have you installed svn, and some kind of compiler/server on your iPad? Does that require jailbreaking?

I had hoped to do some simple javascript development on my bus to work (where I don't get internet access), but even that doesn't seem possible, as far as I could figure out.

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265032)

A mix of php/js and C, front end vs. backend.

Make no mistake I have to be connected to commit, all compilation and testing is done on the server as a pre-commit hook.

Basically just before svn accepts the commit as an actual revision it does a compile. Successful compiles are tagged as good revisions and unsuccessful ones are tagged are tagged as "bad" revisions. Good ones get auto-deployed to the dev server, bad ones don't. Reports get emailed to the commiter.

Does it work on a bus? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265152)

all compilation and testing is done on the server as a pre-commit hook.

So how do you get development work done while away from a Wi-Fi signal? That's precisely why I carry a netbook: so that I can get development work done while commuting on a bus.

Re:Does it work on a bus? (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265246)

So I don't usually compile more than once every 10-15 minutes even when I'm sitting at a fully wired desktop.

I simply code carefully and make sure to document my thoughts as I go so that when stuff blows up at compile (sometimes hours later or the next day) I can fix it without reinventing the wheel.

If I'm ever off the grid for long enough that I *really* need to check in a revision, I do have the 3G version of the ipad... I've honestly never been away from wifi and not otherwise engaged for it to matter

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265234)

So you can create web applications from a terminal. That's great. But how do you develop something else? For example... an iPad app?

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265284)

Actually I've just set that up too to prove it was doable. Basically the same process:

svn hook compiles the package (yes, you can do command line ios compiles)

if good, copies new package to provisioning server (really just an http server)

download to ipad, install.

This only works for registered developers, obviously.

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264920)

Is there no terminal and SSH client for the iPad2? That would be a pretty basic omission.

(That's the first thing I installed on my Android phone. Very occasionally I used a Java SSH client on my old non-smart phone.)

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264956)

Sorry I was unclear, SSH on the ipad is required from time to time. There are many SSH clients available for the ipad, but few good ones

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265088)

There are many SSH clients available for the ipad, but few good ones

Well now I'm convinced! If an iPad is good enough for some random blagger and has few good SSH clients then I must absolutely use it for all my server administration duties.

Thanks for the useless tip Slashdot! Perhaps a follow up tweet on the power of FTP would be of value.

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265348)

Sorry I was unclear, SSH on the ipad is required from time to time. There are many SSH clients available for the ipad, but few good ones

OK, probably similar to Android.

Something like MeeGo would have been great, it's a shame Nokia have dropped it. I've only once seen a Nokia phone running it, and it was hardly the time for thorough investigation (an art student in a nightclub handed me the phone and asked me to photograph him with the band, then showed off his art). It looked like a decent, small-screen touch-input interface, running efficient applications -- just like iOS or Android. But it could run OpenOffice, if required, and a couple of taps showed that behind the scenes was a Debian-based OS. I bet you could run MySQL and Apache on it. (Yep, someone has [greenhughes.com] .)

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38264952)

Aww, how cute, some lightweight codemonkey thinks he's a dev because he can run SVN on his little tablet!
 
For those of us that need to run large SQL databases and maintain giant code repos on our dev boxes for a living, I'll be sticking with my PC.

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264974)

You shouldn't be running any of that stuff on your development box, that's what development and staging servers are for.

Clearly there is someone here that doesn't do real development... but it isn't me

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265118)

You shouldn't be running any of that stuff on your development box, that's what development and staging servers are for.

So I should invest in 2 machines for dev work instead of one? Doesn't sound very cost effective.

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265288)

That really depends on what sort of development you are doing. I have known plenty of developers who have worked on very large projects and who spend most of their CPU time on their local workstations.

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265084)

At every company I've been at we keep SVN on an SVN servers, and held our databases on database servers. We also used dev machines for hosting/testing dev releases of the code. The engineers notebooks were already just overpowered clients.

That is the point though isn't it? We have finally hit the point were "lightweight" doesn't mean useless, and "server" doesn't just refer to just color of the machine's case.

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (2)

jseale (691367) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265154)

Really?? Bluetooth keyboards suck! Asus got the tablet and keyboard thing right with its eeePod Transformer. Not only is the keyboard docked to the tablet, but it also serves as an alternate battery and has full sized USB ports on it that the tablet can make use of. The keyboard gives you the option of using the tablet as a netbook of sorts.

Re:Have done the same as a developer, sort of (1)

smash (1351) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265384)

Ermm.... how do bluetooth keyboards suck? I've been quite happily using on on my mac mini for the past 4 years....

Fine then (4, Insightful)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264874)

Personal Computers aren't a jack of all trades and a master of none. They are a master of freedom and convertibility, the ability to do whatever you want. Enjoy your tablet, I'm not sure I could.

Re:Fine then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265222)

Oh noes, a guy nick named masternerdguy is getting all alpha geek!

Re:Fine then (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265276)

A tablet IS a PC - it just has a different pointing device, and is optimized for battery life rather than raw power. Actually, I can't even say that because netbooks make the same tradeoff, but include a different pointing device and attached keyboard.

Hey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38264910)

Get off me with that stuff, it makes computers expensive by throwing the market! :0)

Windows 8 (x86) (0)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264922)

Windows 8 on x86 seems like it'll be the first thing to run well as a tablet / personal computer. Too bad they aren't allowing "native" desktop applications for ARM.

Re:Windows 8 (x86) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265040)

It's doubtful. Seems, to me, everyone, including Microsoft, want to do full screen application exclusive mode.

The first OS to allow true multitasking will start replacing the PC. You can already connect iPAD to external monitor, keyboard, and mouse. But, it's relatively useless due to the way it switches between applications.

Re:Windows 8 (x86) (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265202)

Windows XP for Tablet PCs wasn't _that_ bad, especially after the SP1 patch.

I've been using a tablet as my primary machine since NEC's NCR-3125 though, and find having a stylus invaluable for:

  - marking up .pdfs in Adobe Acrobat
  - drawing using FutureWave SmartSketch, Macromedia FreeHand, Creaturehouse Expression and AutoDesk Sketchbook
  - writing out and then converting math equations into their LaTeX code using Infty Editor
  - note-taking using EverNote

The tablet interface is also wonderfully immediate and immersive for a wide variety of games, most notably:

  - RPGs done using the Infinity Engine such as Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale and their sequels
  - the Microprose Magic: The Gathering computer game (much more affordable than buying physical cards)

It's also convenient for web browsing &c., and since the Fujitsu Stylistic ST-4121 I'm currently using has a daylight viewable display, it's very useful as a map reader when traveling.

William

Re:Windows 8 (x86) (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265296)

It might, but I'm skeptical. MS has a pretty bad track record whenever they try to generalize Windows past traditional PC use. It would be cool if they can pull it off.

tweet this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38264932)

I think this news story was supposed to be a tweet

"Stuff that matters"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38264978)

How the heck could you describe this as "News for Nerds, Stuff that matters"? So you can do simple text entry on a tablet with a keyboard. "Man uses tablet as intended by designers"..WOW! ASTOUNDING! THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT THIS!!!!

Now, if you were doing Linux Kernel programming on the darned thing...

Meh.

Expensive and limited netbook (4, Insightful)

kiwix (1810960) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264982)

So it's like an expensive netbook, but you can only run programs approved by Apple?

What's the point?

Re:Expensive and limited netbook (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265192)

So it's like an expensive netbook, but you can only run programs approved by Apple?

What's the point?

Exactly. Why doesn't this guy just use a small laptop, notebook, or netbook? He could do more and it would cost less.

Either there is something we are both missing here or it's just a matter of 'oh, shiney!'

Re:Expensive and limited netbook (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265220)

It has this:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9f/Apple-logo.svg [wikimedia.org]

Apple has done a reasonable job of ensuring that the majority of day-to-day computing needs can be satisfied by the programs they have approved for use on the iPad. What I find interesting about this situation is that when we had the first wave of flamewars about the iPad and the App Store model, people were saying that there was no way that an iPad would ever be someone's primary computer. I guess they were wrong?

Re:Expensive and limited netbook (1)

whereissue (2522564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265252)

The point, I think... is that you can only run programs approved by Apple.
Look... I know how to grow an orange. I know how to peel an orange. I know how to juice an orange and contain that juice in a glass.

Here I submit a gallon of Tropicana OJ... It's like having an expensive Orange-juicer, but you can only pour juice approved by Tropicana.

What's the point? Unless you want to deal with an orchard, you really only need the juice.

Re:Expensive and limited netbook (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265334)

Ask the millions buying them? Clearly there is a point - you just aren't the target user (neither am I, incidentally).

Re:Expensive and limited netbook (1, Troll)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265380)

It's stylish AS FUCK

Re:Expensive and limited netbook (1)

terminal.dk (102718) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265398)

You can run any software you want an all IOS devices.
In worst case (no jailbreak), you need to pay $100/year per 100 devices to sign all you warez with your own key.

obviously (4, Funny)

locopuyo (1433631) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265038)

No surprise considering his "primary computer" was a macbook to begin with. No real computing was likely done.

Now for something completely different... (5, Interesting)

PhillC (84728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265056)

I've tried pretty much the same thing [stream0.org] using an Asus Transformer TF101. It has been less than a success.

Basically the tablet is great for email, which fortunately I write a lot of, but rubbish for office productivity. Word processing, spreadsheets and presentations are all difficult to create and edit with the installed Polaris Office. The original article above mentions Hootsuite. I use Hootsuite for managing my social networks. On an Android tablet, the experience is less than stellar. The Hootsuite app is clearly built for a mobile phone. In a web browser though, Hootsuite is brilliant. Sadly, web browsers on an Android tablet are largely crap at dealing with Javascript. And I've tried pretty much all of them. I need at least 4 (standard Google Android browser, Opera, Dolphin HD and Firefox Beta) to ensure that I will be able to load and interact with all websites I come across. Google Docs also fails in a web browser, and the app is once again mobile phone focussed.

The battery life of the Transformer is brilliant, especially with the dockable keyboard, which makes writing anything of length bearable.

A while ago I installed Ubuntu 11.10 [stream0.org] as a dual boot operating system. I now use this OS much, much more on the Transformer. It's not perfect and a few things don't work, such as the mini-HDMI out, but when it comes to browsing and office productivity, I find this much more useful.

Re:Now for something completely different... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265328)

I must concur. I purchased the Transformer w/keyboard dock with the hope of using it as my primary. No way. I'm fine with that, as it was an experiment to begin with, so nothing ventured, nothing gained. Bottom line, it was way underpowered and the inability to easily load software of my choosing was a killer. I sincerely hope that this whole appstore fad dies a quick but painful death.

Re:Now for something completely different... (1)

sgtstein (1219216) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265414)

Interesting and thanks for the info. I am currently looking at going this exact route with the Asus Transformer Prime TF201 though with SSH and my desktop to back me up at home. I will be mostly browsing and writing emails though I will be writing a fair amount of code in vim and compiling anything of huge processing on my desktop. I will be working primarily in Java, Node and Javascript. Possibly some PHP. After glancing at your blog it looks like I should consider the same route you did with dual-booting Ubuntu. We'll see how it goes and I'll have to let you know what I decide on. My largest motivation for the switch is due to the pitiful battery on my laptop and the processing in Tegra 3 beats out my laptop's Core 2 in LINPACK. However it goes, I'm looking forward to the challenge.

Congratulation for doing things the hard way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265060)

You could also do all your work on an old windows 95 computer, probably better than you can on the iPad and for 1/10th of the price (or get a free one from a dumpster). Why aren't you trying that? Oh! because doing things the hardway is only cool if you are doing it on a "hip" device.

It's the keyboard? (1)

jdege (88942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265064)

From the blog post:

"I read Walt Mossberg’s review of four portable Bluetooth keyboards for the iPad 2 at All Things D and was intrigued–especially by the ZaggFolio, which cleverly builds a truly notebook-like keyboard into an attractive case. So I bought one. The ZaggFolio changed the way I use my iPad, and that changed my life."

I don't know about the rest of you, but I find notebooks relatively unproductive, largely because of the lousy keyboards. (Well, that and the limited display, and the lousy mouse-equivalents, but largely because of the lousy keyboards).

The only way I can do real work, without significant degradation in performance, is to plug it into a docking station with real monitors (at least two), and a real keyboard and mouse. I'm sure it'd be the same with a tablet. Equip it with a full keyboard, mouse, and a couple of large monitors, and it'd be fine.

Re:It's the keyboard? (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265180)

My work laptop is pretty much used in the same manner as the "luggable" portable computers of days past...except the only thing that is being lugged is the actual processing part, with a separate keyboard, mouse and monitor at each location (work and home). The built-in monitor is ok if I really need to get something done, but I flat out cannot get "real work" done without a proper keyboard and mouse.

Re:It's the keyboard? (1)

dokc (1562391) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265214)

So essentially turning a netbook in a rather weak workstation. It costs approximately the same as buying a quad core system (but without PC flexibility).

Mixed message (1)

jamesl (106902) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265076)

He makes good points about battery life and built in AT&T connectivity but then come these questionable statements ...

When you use a Windows PC -and, to a somewhat lesser extent, a Mac -- you get dragged down by the responsibilities and obligations of using a computer.

With the iPad, all that goes away. You can devote nearly every second of your time to the task at hand, rather than babysitting a balky computer.

Then ...

Many tasks are at least a bit slower or more unwieldy than with a computer, and some things that can be done with one program on a Windows PC or a Mac require several of them on the iPad.

This sounds more like the key success factors of the Kindle -- battery life, connectivity and single purpose optimization. But Kindle's "experimental" browser and PDF reader are primitive and useless. Maybe the iPad is all he needs. Lets invite him back in six months for an update.

Astroturfing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265104)

I don't want to accuse /. of taking money for posting this trash as "news", but I see no other way it could happen. It doesn't even have the idle tag.

I mean, this is reddit level shit. Please people.

Re:Astroturfing (0)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265404)

It's not astroturfing, it's trolling. We all come in to poo-poo the stupid article and it drives up ad revenue.

Sorry but I'm forced to think this, with the increasing number of clearly troll articles that are making it through these days.

Really ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265106)

(Not taking into account Linux / Windows Tablets)

Writing a thesis, a scientific book or a novel with a tablet ? Really ?

Doing serious stuff that requires Excel / Mathematica / various number crunching tools with online / embedded apps ?

Developing a serious application ? A web site ? With online tools and IDEs ? Really ?

Come on, tablets are great and everything, but don't have (yet) powerful enough offline tools and the RAM / power required for
very serious stuff. Not mentioning the fact that the screen might be a tad small for development. Don't even start me on virtual
keyboards.

Now, if you add RAM, a real monitor, a keyboard and a mouse, with good enough offline tools, maybe.
But that ain't a tablet anymore, it's a PC.

Keyboard is too small (1)

johnkoer (163434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265160)

The thing I don't like about the Zagg [amazon.com] keyboards is that they are just a tad too small. I understand that they are trying to fit the form factor of the iPad for creating a nice looking and natural feeling case. So I use the Zagg when I am on the go, but use a standard apple wireless keyboard [amazon.com] when I am at my desk. I can't say I have completely switched over to the iPad for productivity apps, though, I prefer a much larger screen for my workspace.

Re:Keyboard is too small (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265294)

The thing I don't like about the Zagg [amazon.com] keyboards is that they are just a tad too small. I understand that they are trying to fit the form factor of the iPad for creating a nice looking and natural feeling case. So I use the Zagg when I am on the go, but use a standard apple wireless keyboard [amazon.com] when I am at my desk. I can't say I have completely switched over to the iPad for productivity apps, though, I prefer a much larger screen for my workspace.

Surely if you connect a keyboard to a tablet device you just destroyed the entire point of having a tablet. What you want is a lightweight laptop or netbook instead.

What am I missing? (1)

Stoopiduk (1593855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265190)

I don't see what he's gaining here. With that awful looking keyboard setup, surely all he's managed to put together is a poor netbook? Surely you get a decent netbook with a larger screen, better battery life and have the freedom of not being on an apple device for the same money?

Maybe he just needed to accessorize his hipster glasses properly.

Her's not using a tablet. (5, Insightful)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265264)

When youd add a physical keyboard to it, it's just not a tablet any more, functionally. It's either a two-piece notepad, or if the keyboard is attached, even with just a cover, it's a notepad period.

The form factor changes. I expect tablets to be just one piece. A salient feature of a tablet is the LACK of a keyboard.

But if he was saying that adapting his tablet for everyday uses onle required adding a keyboard, well, doh. This is news for nerds? Not for a few years.

By TFA measure, my X41t is a tablet. Oh, sure, it needs a stylus and comes with a keyboard, and most of the logic is in the 'keyboard part', but it's touch sensitive (just the touch of the stylus, I know), has an onscreen keyboard etc. and folds over so it's just screen. and the stylus.

In today's world, it isn't what most people think they mean by 'tablet'. Adding a keyboard muddies this even more.

This is good for most people (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265268)

I think a lot of computer users could get away using a table + keyboard for a computer. Tablets can do some activities really well due to the nature of the low computational power needed. For instance writing a blog, updating Facebook, going on MSN, listening to music and even watching videos all require low computational levels. When you do work that that requires a ton of computational power such as Matlab, Maple, Circuit simulation, Video Editing and such activities then a tablet just wont keep up.

It will be fun to see in 5 years just where tablet technology will be, Maybe in 5 years there will be tablets powerful enough to run really high demand computational software.

Depends on your definition of "good" (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265362)

I would not say it is "good" for Apple or any other corporation to dictate what software may or may not be used on someone's personal computer. It flies in the face of the personal computer revolution, and basically undermines all the things that made PCs a great thing for the world. The fact that people have to hack their iPads just to get the same level of control they have over their PCs is a problem, regardless of functionality.

Big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265318)

My girlfriend uses a phone as her primary computer.

How's life without videos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265332)

How's life without Flash support? It means no web video. No thanks.

I've seen this discussion before (4, Insightful)

poity (465672) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265342)

And it wasn't pretty [arstechnica.com] Somebody points out that a tablet can only be a good primary computer if one's primary work is non-computer intensive, like an editor with a light workload; use-iPad-for-everything people get defensive about the technical rigor of their work, and computational significance of their needs; comments section gets shut down due to hurt feelings.

Benefits and drawbacks (1)

Cato (8296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265364)

Some of the benefits come from battery life - an iPad is ARM based but unlike ARM netbooks has a huge base of applications. Some other benefits seem to come from the lack of 'computer admin' and the full-screen model.

One big downside of an iPad would be the lack of a shared filesystem, particularly when using multiple apps to make use of a larger app such as PhotoShop. This is unlikely to change, which is why people end up using Dropbox as a shared filesystem, though not every app supports it.

Not a Geek (1)

mutherhacker (638199) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265372)

A Geek could never use a tablet as his primary computer. i.e. you're not a Geek like me and your posts don't belong here. I wonder who put this through.

I have an iPad with a Zagg keyboard (5, Informative)

Stone316 (629009) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265386)

Just some background, I am an Oracle DBA who is oncall every second week. I used to carry around my laptop, power cable and iphone while I was on call. I managed to get my hands on an iPad and used it for light reading, email, etc. I tried to use it while on call but it was too painful. SSH on the thing is nice if your in a bind, but you don't want to be using it for an extended period of time. Just think about trying to use vi, yikes.

Anyways, I picked up a Zaggmate keyboard for it. I now carry it primarily while I am on call, much easier to tote around than my 17" laptop. Has a better battery life and 3g built in. I don't have to worry about draining my phone at the same time as my laptop.

However, if I am traveling I take both the laptop and ipad. While the ipad is good for short periods of work, it is still painful for long periods. And its also not suited for alot of tasks, which you don't realize until you actually try to do them.

So I would agree to a point that 80% of work can be done on an iPad but its that other 20% that kills you. I could also walk to work but that would take an extra 2 hours each way than using my car.

The macbook air is light, small, easy to carry around. I am not sure why you would use an iPad over it. I've heard quite a few people say the opposite as the guy in the article. Once they bought air's they barely used their ipads. Once you factor in the cost of the keyboard, ipad, your almost at an air anyways.

Why is this even here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265394)

Good for you. Who cares? Why is something like this even getting posted here? Its not news, its not even a question. Its just some tool apple fan boy post that belongs on something like his twit or Facebook.

Congrats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265406)

That being said, someone might actually be able to use an asus transformer or transformer prime given their awesome keyboard docks (and things like basic file system access, etc)

I would love to see someone actually try to use a tablet (of any kind) with NO EXTERNAL KEYBOARD.. that would be amusing

Stack overflow... (2)

cardpuncher (713057) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265410)

A man writing a blog writes a blog entry about how he writes his blog and gets his blog entry posted on other blogs.

Is this the publishing equivalent of the CDO?

Self-serving garbage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265412)

This is nothing but a hipster who does nothing more than type and crop photos going on about how they can use a keyboard and mouse attached to a tablet. Well no shit. You could probably pull off the same with a smart phone and a magnifying glass.

This is a self-serving slashvertisement troll. No one cares what rag you write for or that you're an iFanboy. I don't know why this "story" doesn't have the appropriate tags.

Arstechnica wrote a very similar and pointless "story" not long ago. And the editors of that site got really, really nasty when people called them out on the pointlessness of the article.

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