iPad at Work

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 February, 2012, 12:00am

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iPad at Work
by David Sparks
Wiley Publishing

People new to the iPad2 should find this a useful book. More seasoned users might not. The book focuses on business use for lawyers, real estate agents, and information technology and financial folk. Sadly, that is no reason to exclude discussion of photography apps, blogging software and apps for social networking.

As a seasoned user, I learned about such helpful tools as Apple AirPrint, for wireless printing, and a way to trick the iPad2 into thinking a USB thumb drive is a camera to transfer movie files easily (name the folder DCIM).

It's a reflection of the evolving state of the publishing industry - and perhaps a tribute to paper's longevity as a reference tool - that a book about how to get the best from your iPad2 should appear in print as well as the more logical electronic format.

The paper version sells on Amazon for US$18.25, whereas the e-book costs US$17.29. At least five other books on the subject are available on Amazon, and the print edition has been discounted from US$30. The listing of prices in US dollars helps us appreciate the low cost of technology in Hong Kong.

Author David Sparks recommends a wireless keyboard case, the Incase Origami, and a Bluetooth keyboard to turn the iPad into an efficient word processor. He says he wrote much of the book using these tools.

Together they sell for US$109. In Hong Kong the devices cost US$97. In China, close to where they are made, I paid US$100 for the Bluetooth keyboard alone - a reflection of the high taxes on the mainland.

One of my pet peeves is a tendency for American technical books to describe apps only relevant to the United States, yet believe them to be global products. In the chapter on how to use the iPad2 for international travel, Sparks recommends Urbanspoon for finding restaurants while 'overseas'. Using this app, 'I have had delicious meals in far-away places', he writes. No Hong Kong restaurants appear in this app.

Useful if taken with a grain of salt, though I'm not sure where to find the app for that.