I'm pretty busy . . . as we all are. I'm working on my dissertation, teaching, RAing, applying for fellowships, and planning a wedding. There is more that keeps me busy, but those are the highlights.
I've found it a struggle to use the ipad in all the ways that I feel I should be as a pilot user. I know that I'm not one for tinkering around with new gadgets--I never feel like I have the time to do so and I just don't enjoy it, really. I usually just chalk this up to
some Luddite quality in me, not any lack of user-friendly design in said gadgets.
But it does occur to me that I first shifted from using a PC to using a mac in an on-the-job situation--one that required me to learn well and learn fast. And I don't remember much about that learning curve, which is to say that there isn't much to remember. What I did have to learn came fairly intuitively and without much frustration.
This has not been the case with the ipad. I've had several issues along the way, and although I've had great colleagues who are willing to help me problem solve, I've found trying to make headway with the ipad more of a pain than a pleasure. One problem happened fairly early on when I tried to synch my ipad and my laptop. I lost the books in my library, including the textbook from which I teach. Of course, this happened on a weekend when I was away from Penn State and had no access to the hard copy of the text book. But even so, why have an ebook if it so easily disappears? And why have to worry about synching? (Another colleague warns that she never synchs her ipad
because strange things can happen.) To me, the point of portable devices is their ability to interface with other, less portable devices on which we work.
I've also had lots of issues simply maintaining connectivity while on campus. This makes doing simple tasks, such as sending emails, frustrating and difficult. I once brought my laptop to campus everyday, but the wireless was so spotty at times that I had a hard
time just sending an email. I'm finding, again, that trying to do simple things on the ipad is sometimes made difficult by these connectivity issues.
At this point, I have reverted to lugging my heavy laptop to campus in order to have the type of robust and dependable workstation I need (away from my office PC).
I don't like to be a complainer--no technology is perfect and these are just some challenges that are part of testing something new. But I do think that the ipad represents something that should make our lives easier--something that doesn't take lots of extra time to goof around with before it makes itself largely indispensable. I've found myself
less and less inclined to try to integrate the ipad into my work habits because it generally represents more steps, more "issues," and more time, overall. I assumed that this was not the case with most others using the ipad, but between hearing from some colleagues and
listening to some student feedback from undergrads who participated in the ipad pilot program, I realized that I wasn't alone in this opinion.
It has been fun, at times, to tinker with the ipad, but overall I'm just too busy to have to take extra time out of my day to learn something that doesn't integrate particularly well. And I haven't found things about the ipad that I feel like I can't live without. Even if I had the resources to purchase my own ipad now, I wouldn't have the motivation to do so because it doesn't sufficiently replace other technologies that I depend upon, nor does it represent something so new or needed that it is worth the investment.