iPad: toy or worktool? I continue to become increasingly enamoured with the use of my iPad as not only a source of diversion, but also as an incredibly powerful work tool. Here are some my faves in both respects:
- You can still take notes by hand and have them stored digitally (OCR and such) by using the Penultimate app or with the Evernote Moleskine (I use the Moleskine because I like taking my notes with pen and paper)
- The Peek app is perfect for using your Evernote note collection for study purposes (note that this does require a Smart Cover)
- Cost: free (they do offer a premium service for $5/mo, which gives you access to some extra features)
Trello — I’ve used many apps aimed at project management/organization, especially in my years a freelance developer. They usually fell into one of two categories: so complex that you spent more of your time trying to organize your work than you actually spent doing it, or significantly inadequate to provide the ability to manage complex tasks. Trello is one of the first apps that seems to me to strike the balance. The other big plus: it’s completely cloud-based, meaning iOS apps, an Android app, and fully-functional site if you’re working at a desktop. Everything syncs in real-time, so you’re always up-to-date on your progress with your tasks. Instead of reinventing the wheel and trying to explain how to use Trello, I’ll refer you to the Trello tour.
- Cost: free
Lucidchart — As in most IT-related positions, documentation is king. Documentation is often greatly enhanced by the addition of meaningful graphics. Enter Lucidchart. Lucidchart allows you create all sorts of diagrams: networking block diagrams, flowcharts, UML layouts, ERDs, org charts, wireframes, mockups, and the list goes on. Create all your diagrams in their (amazing) web-based app and save them in your Google Drive (or let Lucidchart store them for you in their own cloud storage). They also just released an iPad app which works great, too.
- Cost: free (though you are limited in how many diagrams you can create and how complex those diagrams can be without a paid account; the free account is typically adequate for most workflows, though).
Haiku Deck — PowerPoint: powerful, complicated, and possibly a bit overdone. Haiku Deck takes an approach to creating presentations that I really like: simplicity. You create your content; Haiku Deck analyzes your content and goes out on the ‘net and finds artwork for you to use for your slide backgrounds. The result? Stunning presentations that you don’t have to spend a week to finish. Note, however, that this app only works for the iPad. Note also that if you’re going to present your Haiku Deck slides from your iPad that you’ll need a suitable video cable to connect the iPad to the projector.
- Cost: free!
More to come soon!