Thursday, June 21, 2012

Have iPad will travel, er, I mean develop stuff

At the moment I am on holidays overseas, in southern Germany, visiting the rellies (that's slang for relatives)

Before I left, I was agonizing about whether I should take my Macbook Pro laptop with me, or whether I should 'travel light' and just take my iPad

This blog is the first in a short series of blogs on my experience so far. A summary of the things I have been able to do with just my iPad, and the things I have not been able to do, yet, or have had to do differently

First, I think I should set out the goals I had, a list of the things I had in mind before starting out

1. Reading dev stuff
2. Fixing stuff on our web site
3. Doing web dev tutorial stuff
4. Keeping in touch socially
5. Playing games
6. Listening to audio books
7. Other stuff as needed

So how are things going?

1. Reading dev stuff

*Tick*, no real problems here

This was my most important 'must be able to do' and I already knew I would not have any problems with this one. Its probably the main reason I stopped agonizing and just brought my iPad.

I guess I should have also included the need to download new reading stuff as it is published - like all of the eMagazines I subscribe to. Just about all of them have come out with new issues while I have been away.

The main problem with downloading new stuff is the bandwidth required. It costs 25 Euro for 5 Gb, after that the speed is limited to something a lot lower than the 5-7 Mb/sec I have been getting on O2's 3G network.

I think if I was doing the last few weeks over I just would not download all of the new eMagazine releases, it really chews up the bandwidth quite quickly.

When we landed, I used a 15 Euro, 1 Gb voucher that I had from our last trip here and we went through it quite quickly.

I was not just the eMagazines but I also had to re-sync some audio books (see #6) and the speed was throttled after a few days.

Unfortunately, the stores here are not open Sunday so we had pretty slow Internet access on late Saturday and all through Sunday until I could get to the O2 store in Radolfzell. The pre-paid vouchers cant be bought online for some reason, at least not the 5Gb ones that I wanted.

2. Fixing stuff on our web site

I have not tried this one out yet, a project for later this week or on the weekend?

I bought myself an iPad App called iTeleport to be able to access my home Mac via a sort of VPN/Screen sharing program.

I'll be interested in seeing how it is over the 3G network speeds :)

3. Doing web dev tutorial stuff

Have not done too much of this yet but so far so good.

I bought myself an iPad App called Textastic and it makes it pretty easy to edit web content in HTML 5, CSS and use stuff like Javascript.

I also have an App which connects to a hosted Uniz environment called Linode. I have not tried this out yet but a friend pointed me to a great article on using Linode for iPad based development


4. Keeping in touch socially

*Tick* this one is pretty easy :)

5. Playing games

Playing my iPad games has been no problem, except while the speed was throttled (see #1)

As an experiment, I also bought myself a few new iPad games: Infinity Blade I and II and also Dungeon 2 HD.

Infinity Blade I has been fun, I have not started Infinity Blade II yet, Im just trying to level my gear a bit more and defeat the main baddy again before I move on.

Dungeon 2 HD is a sort of 'Diablo clone' according to the reviews and I bought it mainly because I am into Diablo III at the moment but cant play it while Im away.

More about Dungeon 2 HD and Infinity Blade II next week when I've had a chance to check them out

6. Listening to audio books

This has been a bit of a problem :-/

It seems that my Audible audio books library is 'out of sync' and I could no access audio books I was listening to before I left.

Not sure why but it seems that there is a known bug, solution? - re-sync (read 'download') affected audio books ... this lead to chewing up a lot of bandwidth for the first 1 Gb Internet pack I used when I got here (see #1)

Otherwise, listening is no problem but the lesson is have a backup way of listening to audio books just i case... maybe also load them onto my iPhone or a small iPad

7. Other stuff as needed

The iPad has been perfect for just surfing and email and photos and stuff.

I turned on Photostream to use while Im here, take photos with iPhone while Im out and about and they automatically sync with my iPad when its connected to WiFi.

The only problem, you guessed it, chewing up bandwidth again. Pity there isn't a sync via local WiFi or Bluetooth option when my iPhone and iPad and in range of each other.

As it is, it is all via the Apple iCloud and uses 2 x the size of the content in bandwidth, once up and once down. Lucky I only have 2 devices here using the same bandwidth :)

Well that's part I of this blog. Pretty pedestrian I know but I will try to report some of the more interesting stuff in my next blog.

Signing off, for now :D

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