Monthly Archives: June 2011

UPDATE: How to use an equation editor with Pages for the iPad

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UPDATE:  A better solution for anyone needing an equation editor for the iPad is the app, CloudOn.  See my review.

This video describes how to use MathBot to create and insert equations into Pages for the iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch.

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How the iPad 2 Stacks Up as a Laptop Replacement

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I recently purchased an iPad 2 with the intention of setting it up as a replacement for my netbook. The netbook I have is pretty nice:
1) I upgraded the RAM to 2GB to get a little more speed.
2) I upgraded Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Home Premium.
3) I use Dropbox to get document files back and forth to work.
4) I installed MS Office Home and Student 2010 because I’m a math and science teacher and the built-in equation editor is nice.

Here’s how the iPad 2 compares in these areas:
1) The “instant on” feature of the iPad 2 was the main reason I got it. The upgraded A5 processor from the original iPad’s A4 was a nice bonus.
2) I liked Windows 7, but iOS 4 is fine with me. I’ll have to update this review once the school year starts and I’ve used it under actual working conditions.
3) I’ve found a way to send my iWork files to Dropbox, even though that feature is not built into the iWork apps (see previous post).
4) I wish Pages had a built-in equation editor, but it doesn’t. In order to work around this problem, I bought an equation editor called MathBot from the app store. MathBot allows me to create an equation, then save it as an image file that can later be inserted into a Pages document. I’ll also update this review once I’ve used this set-up under actual working conditions.

There is a free version of MathBot available to try. It leaves a watermark on the equations, but you can see if it will meet your needs before you pay for the full version.

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Sending iWork files to Dropbox from an iPad

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I have been looking for a way to get my iWork documents from my iPad into Dropbox. I found lots of people complaining about about the same problem, a third party solution that involved giving them my username and password, and one person mentioned the method I’ve outlined below:
1) Open the document.
2) Select the tools menu (the wrench) then select “Share and Print.”
3) Select “Email Document” and choose the format you want sent to Dropbox.
4) Send the document to the email that you have set-up on your iPad’s email app.
5) Check your email and select the attached document.
6) Select the send menu (box & arrow) then select “Open in Dropbox.”
7) Dropbox will launch, then select “Upload.” The document will be uploaded to your Dropbox folder.


My Gadget History #15 Apple iPad 2

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Earlier this summer I sold my Nook Color Tablet and my old iPod Nano, and I started researching a gadget that could take the place of my Gateway netbook. Currently, I do all my school work on my classroom PC, my netbook, and my iPhone.

The only reason I’m replacing the netbook is that startup and launching apps is so slow. So, here were my criteria:
1) Instant on
2) A word processor that is compatible with MS Word
3) A spreadsheet app that is compatible with MS Excel
4) A word processor with an equation editor
5) Supports Dropbox

My first choice would have been a 11″ refurbished Macbook Air with all the upgrades. But I just couldn’t bring myself to spend $1,160 on a device that would do, essentially what my netbook does, just faster.

Finally, I decided on the 16GB wifi only iPad 2. I know it didn’t meet all my criteria, but I have found some suitable work-arounds (see the next few posts).


My Gadget History #14 Barnes&Noble Nook Color

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I had been wanting a tablet for a while, but I could’t justify buying an iPad or one of the many Android tablets that were making it to market when they cost more than the netbook I already owned, yet lacked key features.

1) iPad – Too big…I wanted a 7″ tablet; no word processing app with built in equation editor

2) Galaxy Tab – When this 7″ Android tablet came out in Europe, I was so excited…this would be my next gadget. Then I found out that the American carriers would disable the phone capabilities. I grudgingly pay for a monthly data plan for my iPhone…there is no way I’m paying for two data plans. I’m not exagerating, I was heart broke. And like the iPad, it needed a more robust word processor.

I saw an article on cnet about people rooting Nook Colors and ending up with a nice, inexpensive Android tablet. I watched several YouTube videos describing the root process and found one by Huskermania that was detailed enough that I could follow.

With a price tag of $260, I thought the Nook Color was worth a shot. I knew from my research that Google Docs didn’t work on the device, but I asked the Barnes & Noble sales rep anyway…she said, “Yes, it supports Google Docs.” She didn’t have a clue.

The Nook Color became my default web surfing device. After web surfing on an iPhone, the additional screen real estate of the Nook Color was nice. The screen was responsive (though not as responsive as my iPhone).

I rooted it, put the Kindle app on it (I have lots of Kindle books) and started buying and reading Nook books.

After using a Kindle and a Nook, I think the Kindle is the better eReader:
•The Kindle bookstore is much better.
•E-ink is much easier on the eyes.

On the other hand, the Nook Color is a decent, low cost Android tablet:
•Nice design
•More than just an eReader
•Read Nook and Kindle books

The Nook Color was fun, but I needed a more productive device and a 7″ screen isn’t large enough to accommodate a keyboard and the work area.

It was worth the try – I sold the Nook Color on eBay and got just over $200.


My Gadget History #13 Apple iPhone 4

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When the first iPhones came out, I didn’t think they looked that great. On top of that, they were more of a media consuming device than a productivity device. I didn’t think they fell into the “smart phone” catagory.

By the time I started using the iPod Touch, the app store had grown to include many productivity apps, but the monthly fees kept me away from the iPhone…that is, until the iPhone 4 came out. Once again, Apple won me over with their incredible design. The Retina display is great and the phone itself is beautiful (though with my track record, and a phone made of glass, all that beauty is covered with a case).

I think back to the enjoyment I got out of searching the internet for programs for my various Palm devices, and I see that Apple has perfected that concept with the App Store for iOS devices, and more recently the Macs.


My Gadget History #12 Gateway LT2104u Netbook

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Let me just say that eBay is a gadget addicts friend. Not only have I bought some of my gadgets on eBay (Zaurus & eee PC), but now I sell any gadget that I’ve stopped using regularly (Palm TX, eee PC, iPod Nano, Nintendo DS, Kindle 2, and a Nook Color).

My next gadget was a gateway netbook. I had been doing lesson plans on my iPod Touch using Documents To Go. While I loved the convenience of this arrangement, I needed more screen to work with and I needed to be able to edit equations (I’m a math & science teacher). I really wanted an iPad, but the more I researched it, the more I realized it did not meet my needs. My school had upgraded my work computer and it now had Office 2007 which has an equation editor built into Word. I studied netbooks and ended up getting a Gateway LT2104u. I upgraded the RAM from 1GB to 2GB, upgraded from Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Home Premium, and installed Office 2010 Home & Student and my test generating software from school. This set-up served me well for a couple of years.

I loved using MS Word and the long battery life was great – about 5 to 7 hours depending on use.

It did everything I needed…it was just…too…slow! Slow starting up, slow launching programs. So, I started shopping for an instant on device.