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Yeah, so I said I'd give a brief review: I'm loving the iPad. I got a good case (otterbox defender) for it so I don't worry much about carrying it everywhere. With dropbox and PDF Expert/GoodReader, I can easily grab any of of the PDF files I have stored in my endnote library, as well as any other document from my current projects.

Annotation is easy and feels a lot like marking up a page.

I just got the Notetaker HD app for taking handwritten notes, and after about half an hour I was writing almost as fast as I usually do, and about as legibly. Using the "fat" styluses takes a bit of getting used to, but I found I adjusted to both the on screen keyboard and the stylus a lot faster than I thought I would.

I've had it for a week, and it's already been a huge boon... It's become my primary presentation computer for group/project meetings (not having to worry about USB drive viruses on campus computers is awesome), I can take it on commutes with me to get a little reading done, and it's much nicer than having to carry binders and binders full of papers around with me to get to what I need, easily.

This is why i need to invest in an ipad or kindle or something! i'm not the most organized person, (not a good trait for grad school) and i desperately need an electronic way of keeping track of the myriad articles i'll get in grad school.

i'll do some more research on this when i can, i'd like to find a device that reads articles well, allows for some note writing, and has some applications to do matlab or stats work on.. :)

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The iPad2 is also more expensive because it uses a superior (and thus more expensive) IPS display, which calls for way more robust viewing angles without distortions of contrast (this wouldn't be so important to me if I weren't a professional wedding photographer, too, where having consistent viewing quality is paramount).

Anyway, I'm a huge fan of the Kindle DX. I spend all my day at work viewing a backlit LCD and my eyes are worn by the time I get home to read some papers. E-Ink is a marvelous technology that people are too quick to discount thinking it's just black-and-white LCD.

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I used an iPad when doing research and helping to write manuscripts as an Undergrad.

It worked fine. I didn't use the program Papers though, which I think would make cataloging them much easier. I'm never going back to paper form again.

I never did stats on my iPad, but I did have Excel and did a lot of coding with it. I'm weird- if I am dealing with grids and boxes I want a mouse and a pc.

Edited by TheDude

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E-Ink is a marvelous technology that people are too quick to discount thinking it's just black-and-white LCD.

I also love the fact that you only have to charge it once every few weeks! Plus the ability to read it outdoors.

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I also love the fact that you only have to charge it once every few weeks! Plus the ability to read it outdoors.

Yup. It uses most of its energy only when it changes displays -- when it's at screensaver mode (i.e., the pictures of authors, books, etc.), power discharge is almost 0, which is why you can find your Kindle with nearly full battery after not using it for over a month.

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Recently purchased a nook color. Rooted it using a simple procedure taking about half an hour. So it still functions fine as a nook and behaves as an android tablet. Been loading it up with media, everything works very well. Using ezPDF reader for textbooks and papers. Very happy with it so far. Battery life is approx. 10 hours, so a frequent recharges are necessary. Also eliminated my need to purchase a graphing calculator, because found an app emulating a hp 48g+.

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I have a related question. I've been agonizing about what to get in advance of entering a PhD program in the fall. I'm interested in an eReader but also have to buy a new laptop (my current one, which I'm typing on now, is over three years old and is very slow). The real problem is I have a bit of a fear of buying expensive things: call it pre-buyer's remorse, or something. It doesn't help that I would have to put all the purchases on a credit card which I won't be able to pay off until I begin to receive the funding from the program.

Thus, I'm really hoping there's some way to buy just one relatively inexpensive device (in the $500 range) which would serve both as a good eReader and also as a laptop or laptop replacement. I've read that though the iPad is great it can't do a lot of what a laptop does and thus I would still have to buy both an iPad and a new laptop. So, what are my options? I'm leaning towards a Kindle and a $400-500 laptop. Any thoughts?

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I just bought an iPad 2 this weekend as a graduation present to myself. It was a bit painful because even the cheapest model was the same price as my laptop, but that's working fine right now (knock on wood) so I shouldn't need to replace it before grad school.

I'm really liking it so far, and I think it may prevent me from carrying my laptop to campus unless I'm working on a paper or something. Way lighter/smaller. It certainly couldn't replace a real computer, but it comes reasonably close for the things I use it for during the school day.

I bought iAnnotate to mark up PDFs but I was having issues syncing the marked copies back to Dropbox. I ended up also buying GoodReader and that app's working a lot better for me. Anyway, I've read quite a few papers on it so far, much more than usual. Apparently all you need to do to get me to be more productive is put my work on a toy.

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You don't realize how annoying reading stapled together packets of paper is until you get to read them on an iPad instead! Books can still somewhat hold their own, but the iPad also hides how long a document is (thus hiding a great deal of the discouragement factor (; )

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iPad 1. Seemingly infinite battery life (well, like ten hours straight of use, or months and months in standby) which is amazing to me given that my laptops never last more than an hour ): Didn't want an iPad until I got one for graduation, didn't use it all summer, came to grad school and discovered iAnnotate PDF and GoodReader and then became an iPad missionary (two of my friends walked to the mall and bought iPads within 24 hours of trying mine out). I keep my entire technical library easily sorted in GoodReader, including papers, theses, everything. I just reviewed and annotated with comments a 50 page technical proposal on a two hour flight with it. I took notes on the pdf slidedecks my professors last sem provided, syncing with Dropbox minutes before class to get them each day. I cannot speak more highly of it as an eReader (please note, DID NOT WANT IT either.)

I'm so glad I came across this thread . . . great information. One question - I was wondering how easy it is to copy/paste text from the .pdf into a separate document? I've resisted experimenting with the iPad because I'm afraid I might just buy it without really having a use for it, so I don't know my way around one at all . . . this makes it sound worth the investment, though.

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So I've had my iPad a few weeks now, and I haven't taken my Laptop with me places since. The laptop is nice for, say, going home for a week and bringing a central workstation with you, but for every day... My desktop in my lab and my iPad around campus is all I need.

It's much nicer to take on trips from my lab downtown to the medical school, to take to meetings around campus, seminars, etc. It's also nice to take to read on shuttle rides, bring papers home with me in the evening, or take to a coffee shop/my carrel in the library when I need a change of venue.

The onscreen keyboard is easier to get used to than I thought it was, and the stylus + Notetaker HD app lets me take notes pretty fast- I can keep up in seminars, and the classes I've taken it to. I'm in the sciences, so I can make bullet pointed notes, draw quick diagrams, etc.

I've started experimenting with using it as an electronic lab notebook, and it works pretty well. I've been experimenting by copying my old notebooks into digital form via the stylus- being able to have different PDF formats to use as a backdrop is great, it means I can have templates pre-layed out for different experiments I frequently run, graphs for data, etc.

I can easily take the notes I need, draw structures- and better yet, easily drag my written text down a few lines if I need to go back and add more details earlier on.

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I'm so glad I came across this thread . . . great information. One question - I was wondering how easy it is to copy/paste text from the .pdf into a separate document? I've resisted experimenting with the iPad because I'm afraid I might just buy it without really having a use for it, so I don't know my way around one at all . . . this makes it sound worth the investment, though.

*pulls one up* In GoodReader, very easy, if the pdf is one that is normally highlightable on your normal computer (scans sometimes aren't).

Edited by jendoly

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*pulls one up* In GoodReader, very easy, if the pdf is one that is normally highlightable on your normal computer (scans sometimes aren't).

Cool, that's a critical function for me - I often consult 20+ sources for a paper, and I like to consolidate all the useful information into a single document before I decide what I'll actually work with.

I think there is an iPad in my near future . . .many thanks!

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Cool, that's a critical function for me - I often consult 20+ sources for a paper, and I like to consolidate all the useful information into a single document before I decide what I'll actually work with.

I think there is an iPad in my near future . . .many thanks!

You'll love keeping your personal and technical library in a single, slim device. (:

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No advice on my dilemma? Anything would be appreciated.

I have a related question. I've been agonizing about what to get in advance of entering a PhD program in the fall. I'm interested in an eReader but also have to buy a new laptop (my current one, which I'm typing on now, is over three years old and is very slow). The real problem is I have a bit of a fear of buying expensive things: call it pre-buyer's remorse, or something. It doesn't help that I would have to put all the purchases on a credit card which I won't be able to pay off until I begin to receive the funding from the program.

Thus, I'm really hoping there's some way to buy just one relatively inexpensive device (in the $500 range) which would serve both as a good eReader and also as a laptop or laptop replacement. I've read that though the iPad is great it can't do a lot of what a laptop does and thus I would still have to buy both an iPad and a new laptop. So, what are my options? I'm leaning towards a Kindle and a $400-500 laptop. Any thoughts?

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You could try a netbook for those purposes... Or maybe a regular tablet (those that convert between laptop and tablet), but I think those are expensive. Sorry for not being more helpful, but the netbook is your best bet.

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An iPad isn't a laptop replacement, but it can do a lot of what a laptop can. It really depends whether you have a desktop to pair it with, or if it's your sole computer.

I haven't turned my laptop on in the last couple of months, I've just been using my iPad and desktop- and this is without even having a keyboard for the iPad. With a keyboard, I could see myself doing a lot more on it.

If I want to do anything "heavy", I'll use my desktop either way.

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Thanks for the comments. I think I'm very close to getting an iPad, and just keeping my laptop, which as I said, still works but gets slow and occasionally has problems starting.

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Alright, so I got an iPad today. I've had a lot of fun with it, but I'm still getting used to it and am having a few small problems:

1) I can't seem to post on gradcafe! The reply text box simply doesn't respond when I tap on it. Anyone else experienced this?

2) I downloaded GoodReader but I couldn't get pdfs to download and open properly. For instance, I tried to get articles off of JSTOR and Cambridge Journals Online but they didn't work. If anyone could explain it, it'd be appreciated.

I've actually never had an apple product of any kind before, and I heard how 'locked-down' the iPad is; I have to say I have been a little frustrated so far by the limits imposed. It feels a lot less open and 'accessible' than a pc just in terms of finding, managing, downloading files, certain types of media formats, etc. I'm guessing some of this has to do with it being a tablet and not specifically an apple product. Hopefully the more I work with it, the more things will make sense.

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Yeah, GradCafe doesn't work for me either on my iPad (but it's the only forum that behaves as such for me)

If you tap on the pdf icon on JSTOR or another site, I would expect it to open in pdf format in safari and give you an "Open in GoodReader" button in the top right hand corner...at least that's how pdfs open for me out of email attachments - I'd have to try one of those sites to be sure.. You can also start from GR and do the "Web browse" and navigate to the articles from there. Often, I do my article "finding" on a real computer, download it into Dropbox, and file it away in GoodReader from there. Dropbox is an awesome tool for the iPad.

I think the biggest thing to remember about the iPad is that it is an entirely different style of computing - there's no cursor, no ability to drag things around, nothing like a "real computer". But, that in and of itself is not a bad thing. It becomes a device, one that is less prone to normal computer errors and hangs, something which I appreciate as compared to my "real" computer. You'll find a good rhythm with it.

Edited by jendoly

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For GradCafe, you need to use the mobile version of the site. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of any page here, and then swap from IP.Board to IP.Board Mobile.

As to GoodReader not opening articles, I'm not sure... I've never tried to directly download them off JSTOR though, I always just pull them from my endnote library on dropbox or from e-mails.

Generally, you'll open the PDF with the native viewer (safari, mail, etc), and then there's an icon at the top that's a little arrow out of a box that is the "open in" command that you can use to open it in GoodReader.

The locked down file system isn't Mac vs PC... Macs file system is in many ways more open than PCs are... It's the fact that the iPad runs on a mobile OS, not a desktop OS, and as such just takes some getting used to. It was like the "pocket" version of Windows back in the day- it performed very differently than a desktop version of windows.

Have you downloaded DropBox? Everyone I know uses that as their file structure. You can organize it however you like, have folder tiers, etc. And then you can access any of your PDFs, and sync them back to your computer with annotations when you're done. I also use it to pull up figures in meetings, give powerpoint presentations, etc.

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Thanks jendoly and eigen. I'm sure it just takes getting used to; it's only my second day with it and it's pretty comfortable already. I just downloaded dropbox and it works great. This has nothing to do with my academic field, but I downloaded this app called Star Walk which is amazing and it alone makes me feel justified in getting the iPad (well, not quite, but you get my point). On a side note, I hate that the on-screen keyboard has most of the punctuation on the other screen: so annoying!

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It really is... I think I'll be getting one of the Apple bluetooth keyboards for when I'm doing any serious typing.

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