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Apple Notebook Strategy?

Recently changed my early 2012 15″ MacBook Pro Retina (quad core i7, 16Gb) for the new 13″ Pro Retina (dual core i7, 16Gb). I passed the 15″ to a student who had more need than me for those two extra cores 😉

A few things struck me in this process:

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OSX Yosemite and iOS8 Keynote: an interactive classroom duo

When Apple decided to rewrite the iWorks’ suite over 18 months ago, many were disappointed by missing features. Zoom to Yosemite and iOS8 versions, and I must say that not only do Keynote, Numbers and Pages are now greats apps, but there actually work extremely well both on the desktop and on the iPad (I do not really use these apps on the iPhone).

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Office for iPad: too little, too late!

Microsoft announced today that they are releasing office for iPad. If all you want to do is see your files or display you PPT, the apps are free. If you want to be productive i.e. create or edit…you will have to shell-out the Office365 subscription cost. Really! And that is for a product that is stuck with OneDrive and SharePoint.

If you buy a new iOS device or a new OSX device, you are already better served with the free iWorks suite. For most users, this is also more than enough. Frankly, Keynote is so much better than PowerPoint (which on my Mac regularly crashes or corrupt its own files). WORD is OK for simple document, here simple meaning not too large or complex. Otherwise, again on OSX be ready for regular crashes on large and complex WORD documents (lots of sections with tables, figures and so on). Writing a PhD thesis on WORD is simply pure torture. Students should be advised to learn LaTeX right off the bat.

If you are truly working cross platforms and are interested in true real-time shared editing, free Google Drive is actually quite impressive (never thought I would say that of the (evil) Google!) and light years ahead of clunky SharePoint for collaborative work. Tested in a room with peoples on Windows, OSX and iPad all accessing the same “WORD” document for editing. Works like a charm! Did I say it is FREE?

Finally, OpenOffice is an acceptable, free replacement. The issue is for it to be efficient, everyone in your work entourage needs to adopt it. Otherwise, also works nicely.

In other words, unless forced by a stone age IT department to have Office for iPad on your device, you probably do not need it.

On the go…

On the go…

Here is a few tools I really appreciate to carry with me on the go:
  • iPad: I do all of my reading and manuscript editing on it!
  • MacBook Pro Retina display: only on buisiness trip longer than a few days or if I need to finish that last presentation (Keynote for iPad works ok for simple presentations or when the presentation is ready. I still find it easier to build a presntation on the Mac).
  • Cables / Adaptors Organizer: I recently discovered the Coccon Grid-It. It is a simply, elegant and efficient organization system. The picture above shows a fully loaded “grid” with cables, adapters and so on. Just put it in your bag, very robust; nothing came out of it on my last trip (21 hours of plane, 28 hours of total travel and 4 airports later)
  • PlugBug: I really like Twelve South PlugBug power adapter for iPod/iPhone and iPad. The nice thing you can fit it on the top of the MacBook adapter so that it uses a single wall plug.
  • Logitec usb+laser presentation tool.
  • Bose QC 15 for those long flight. Very confortable and highly efficient noise cancelling. I found that it does make a difference on long flights. I did own cheap noise cancelling headphones for the past few years. I have to admit that the QC15 are really in a different class.
  • Digital camera: Just replace my iPhone3GS with a iPhone 5 two weeks ago (just in time for conference travels 😉 ). As advertised, I found that it covers my needs for pocket size camera and business trips photography very nicely. Of course not in the same category of a full-fledge Canon or Nikon camera but my pictures of the Sydney Taronga Zoo are really quite good.
  • Good old pen: you have to fill out those custom forms after all.

Digital office part III: mobile software

Previous installments:

Part I: Introduction and hardware

Part II: Mac Software

Part III: Mobile Software

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Digital Office I: Introduction and Hardware

Working efficiently in the digital world is not as easy as it sounds, in particular as you get more and more files to deal with. Furthermore, while eliminated paper sounds like an excellent (and green) idea, it is not obvious to fully to eliminate all of it and yet still be productive without putting too much time on the gadgets themselves. I am have been toying with the idea of going fully digital around 2009 by bringing my notebook with me everywhere, including meeting. The truth is that many people around the table find typing and looking at a computer while having a meeting quite impolite. I further find it impractical. However the coming of the iPad change all that. The next few posts will look into the digital workflow I settled in since then.

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