Saturday, May 1, 2010

iPad-arama - 24 hrs with the iPad 3G

Yes, I've gotten about 24 hrs... less sleep, driving, travel, socializing, visiting family... sigh, alright, maybe more like a solid 6 hrs, much of that time spend searching the Apple App Store for, what else?  iPad Apps.

First things first.  The iPad doesn't do flash, in doesn't do external memory, and it doesn't do USB ports, so put your flash drives away.

What it does do (among a whole lot of other stuff) is read PDFs.  That's muy importante to me and just about every other gamer out there that has a collection of RPG PDFs and enough disposable income to pick up what is, for all intents and purposes, an expensive proprietary touch screen computer device.  Thank god my family understands the importance of my "family recycling program"; they know at some point my latest gadget will be theirs when iPad 2 comes out next spring ;)

Back to the PDFs.  Regretfully, most of the apps on my iPhone do not work natively on my iPad.  They either work by using just a small portion of the screen, or they can be blown up, like digital zoom on your camera.  Digital zoom can ruin the sharpness of a picture, and this is no different.  Not a big deal on most games, but for text (like a PDF) this is a game killer.  Now my nice (and expensive) document editor and viewer on my iPhone (DocsToGo) is pretty useless reading PDFs on my iPad.  Definitely annoying and discouraging.

Then I remembered an app I had read about in preparation of receiving my iPad - GoodReader.  If my short term memory is correct it cost 2 bucks in the app store.  There are different ways to get your documents transferred from your computer to your iPad, but the least stressful method (and I tried the stressful ones first) was to use a Cloud computing storage solution that the app could connect to and download the documents I wanted it to transfer.  I used Dropbox, but it supports about 6 cloud storage services.

Basic Roleplaying looks amazing, but the art didn't seem to work in the PDF.  No biggie.  Very readable, especially when one pinches out to get rid of the white margin.

Dark Fate, a S&W campaign setting, looks as good as the printed version would, assuming I had a printed version.  It really looks that good.

Take 5 minutes.  My son is happily playing the piano on my iPad at the moment ;)

The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game - Beautiful in full color.  The Kindle DX has been put to shame.  I pinched out to get rid of the margins.  It was readable at the default size, but the little extra made it so much nicer.

Labyrinth Lord, Advanced Edition Companion - Just a pinch and it was perfect.  I no longer need a hard copy of my gaming material if I wont be GMing (still quicker to flip thru a book then slide the page scroll to fast advance, but not by much).

Knockspell 4 - I was putting off the full in depth read for the arrival of my iPad.  This will be my reading tonight.  Again, just a pinch to enlarge slightly and it is perfect.

Basically, every PDF I've opened on the iPad has looked amazing.  Better then reading on the computer screen.  My preference for all that I've listed above (with the exception of Dark Fate, which didn't need any adjustments) was to pinch out the margins just a tad.  Probably has a lot to do with my eyes going just a tad bad at close work these days (43 is just around the corner).

The iPad is a winner, and for reading PDFs it is damn close to perfect.  The Kindle DX is going to have to drop in price to remain competitive, because as a PDF reader it is a very distant second (and will drop further as more devices get released).

Time to play.  I  want to load up The Dungeon Alphabet and see how it compare to the hardcover I have ;)


  1. Are you saying full page portrait orientation PDF's were readable? I think I have older eyes than you. I figured at best I'd get landscape view (for close to real 8.5 width) and scroll up/down to read.

    Thanks for the info. I wish I had a family to recycle to, cause then I wouldn't be as compelled to wait for iPad 2.0

  2. I'm talking full page orientation. I am very pleasantly surprised (could u tell?). I passed on bifocals last fall ;)

  3. The built-in Safari browser renders PDFs pretty well, so if you can just get your PDF onto some web server and load the URL, they look great. I'm not sure if DropBox offers a web-viewing option, but I suspect most online storage solutions will give you a URL.

  4. good tip to know. goodreader has worked very well tho, i have absolutely no complaints


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