I got an iPad2 for Christmas. Hooray! Now I need to figure out which apps are actually worth using, and (this is the tricky part) actually learn to use them effectively.
Take this Blogger app I'm currently typing in an example. When I signed in, it took me to the archived Blogger version of the private AOL blog on which Carly and I used to keep notes related to the Round Robin Photo Challenges. It hasn't been used since 2008, but because it was first alphabetically on my list of blogs, this app assumed that was the blog on which I wanted to post. In fact it was rather insistent about this; it took me a not-so-good five minutes to escape to a list of my blogs! And what do I have to hit to accept the completed words the app occasionally suggests? Ah. That worked, sort of.
And I just took my first photo on this thing. Will it show up in this entry? Where? What size will it be? I suspect the iPad will never give me the control over the look of a blog entry that my computer does.
Still, I don't mean to gripe about this marvelous and expensive new toy. I've wanted something like this since the Newton and the first PDAs. Over time I'm sure it will only get more useful until it fools me into thinking it's indispensable. In the meantime I'll read books and Twitter on it (I gave John the choice of getting me an iPad or a Kindle Fire) and play with the Doctor Who Encyclopedia app.
And I firmly believe the learning curve on mastering the iPad operating system is a good and important thing to tackle. Years ago (I've probably mentioned this before) I saw a Scientific American Frontiers show about the aging brain. At least one study showed that learning something new later in life - not just more of the same but something markedly different from existing knowledge - helps to build new synapses and stave off the creation of the lesions that cause Alzheimer's. At least, that's my memory of what they said. I'm going to be 55 years old in March, and I'm already painfully aware that my memory is not what it was when I was younger. Learning to thumb my way around the quirky little QWERTY keypads and navigate the bare bones or nonexistent menus in iPad applications is proving enough of a challenge that it probably qualifies as a new skill. Got to keep my brain working in case anyone has need of it...!