Ok, so you guys convinced me: I finally bought a iPad (wifi 32G) for my birthday — had it about 3 weeks now.

Here are some observations:

1) I’ve been a Mac guy since my Classic in 1989 — and I was shocked at the lack of instructions, documentations, anything. To be blunt, it was scandalous. That hasn’t stopped the thing from being the fastest selling gadget of all time.

2) After the first week of annoyance, I got into the groove with it. But there was a weird learning curve — cliff, really. Then suddenly, it makes sense.

3) The App store is organized like my dorm room was in college — not unlike what Patton did to Europe. (I’m saying its a mess).

4) I did not get the 3G version, because for a slightly more expensive monthly fee, I can get the The Virgin MiFi  Hot Spot that will work with the iPad AND my laptop

5) Some apps I really like:

WSJ — its a great interactive way to read a paper. Much better than any of the other media apps I have (NPR,FT and the NYT; Bloomberg is pretty good, could use some more sizzle);

• Instapaper: You install a bookmark on your various PCs, and whenever you want to read something later, you click a book mark titled (wait for it) Read Later. It shows up magicaly on your iPad and your Instapaper site. Genius!

Email is simple and works well.

Epicurious is a delightful cookbook; IMDB is great for movies

iBooks is where I read all of my PDFs

iPhoto: I’ve had this on my Mac for years, but it works beautifully on the iPad.

I haven’t really found much else in terms of Apps I play with often. No games really, hardly any productivity apps or other items like that.

If anyone wants to suggest your favorite app or two, I would love to hear your suggestions . . .


UPDATE: November 5, 201 5:58am

Lots of great app suggestions in comments, but I have small request: Each morning, I have to manually reload everything: The WSJ and NYT editions, Instapaper, Bloomberg, Email, etc.

I would love to find a way to have that occur automatically at a scheduled time. Any suggestions, or is that beyond the capability of this gen 1 device?

Category: Technology

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

46 Responses to “Bought the iPad”

  1. Thor says:

    The world atlas app is awesome! There’s also a blood pressure monitor app that my cardiologist turned me on to that is very handy if you need to watch such things. Very intuitive, emails charts and stuff to your doctor.

  2. jonhendry says:

    Did you ever play the Infocom text adventures back in the 80s? There’s a free app called ‘Frotz’ that plays modern games of that type. It comes with a bunch, and I think comes with an interface for the web database of games.

  3. JustinTheSkeptic says:

    “I-Pad my pockets” and bull-shit, like any great snake salesman has ever done throughout history. Thank God for the Frisco-Kid!

  4. jacobsk says:

    Flipboard, evernote, plantsvszombies

  5. GoFetch says:

    Try out iAnnotate. With that app you can highlight lines of text on a pdf with a swipe of your finger or mark a large area of a text with a red circle using your finger or leave comments in the margins. Marked up pdf files are retained and can be e-mailed to recipients with your markings on them. Its a great way to highlight important areas of text

  6. Kane says:

    Hey Barry,

    Firstly, I want to say I really enjoy your blog. I read it every day. I find it much more informative and relevant than MSM.

    Secondly, congratulations on the iPad. Here are my favorite apps:

    1. Instapaper (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/instapaper/id288545208?mt=8). Great for reading blog posts on the iPad.
    2. Evernote (http://itunes.apple.com/app/evernote/id281796108?mt=8. Have all you notes and images synced across multiple devices.
    3. Apple Remote. The best way to control iTunes on the Mac, and
    4. WordPress (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wordpress/id335703880?mt=8). WordPress … need I say more?

    All the best,

  7. myopia says:

    In these days of frugality I love it when I blog convinces me not to buy something I was seriously tempted by. Thanks :)

  8. JimRino says:


    This is 2010, we don’t do paper.

  9. JimRino says:

    My only compliant is it doesn’t do Java.
    Java ME has been out for years on lots of smaller devices and phones.
    This is a real restriction in the educational market.

  10. JimRino says:

    I think of the iPad as an Electronic Book.
    With your complete library inside.

  11. cognos says:

    BR – Pulse.

    Greatest news app ever. Really the ever of all news, blogs, etc. Its done.

    I rarely comments bc I know read all my news and blogs on Pulse.

  12. mickey says:

    PULSE is a very cool aggregator. i think it costs 3 bucks. Well worth it. Pretty slick design.

  13. Dow says:

    I keep toying with the idea of an iPad. Dumb question for those in the know….I’m going to take a guess BR uses the iPad on the train. If so, how is the connectivity on a moving train? Is it an issue at all?

  14. cognos says:

    Art Authority is pretty good. Its $10. But if 100 works by Davinci, 50 by Van Gogh and another 500 artists isnt worth $10… Im not sure what is.

    Fresh Direct is way better as a “app” than a “website”. This changed my thinking and showed me that apps are a superior specialized delivery mechanism.

  15. Mike S says:

    My wife took hers back after 10 days. She needs to type to be effective and it didn’t work for her without a good keyboard.

    Pretty cool overall, but not worth the $$$ for us.

    We’re life long mac users – me for music and her for graphic design, so it isn’t mac hate.

    I am now a professional financial writer – and I just gave up the PC entirely! In the last 18 months Apple has been able to get everything ported from the PC world working perfectly. There are no longer any issues with the common MS office programs. Plus so many apps are now web based, I can get all the market information/data/charting I need to be fully informed.

    If you’ve never experienced a Mac, you need to try it. Best thing about mac laptops? Getting going from sleep is a 10 second operation. From a PC? Expect 5 minutes or longer – and it might not work at all.

  16. taylormokris says:

    The “Reeder” app is the best RSS feed app out there. Seamless and straight forward, syncs with Google Reader

  17. Bill in SF says:


    JimRino Says:
    November 4th, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    This is 2010, we don’t do paper.


    iPad User Guide
    To view the guide on iPad, tap the iPad User Guide bookmark in Safari or go to help.apple.com/ipad.

  18. parkerslake says:

    Recommend. Printershare for printing to wireless printers other possibilities available. Always need to print something…

  19. powerpenguin says:

    those things still have a ways to go, imho

  20. Trevor says:

    I, too, found the lack of instructions and the use of iTunes very frustrating; and I’ve only Macs since 1984 (at home, anyway). I was appalled, after asking at the Apple store whether I needed a computer for the Wi-Fi iPad, and was told “No,” to find that it won’t even turn on without an attached computer to perform the registration. So much for buying my father in the U.K. an iPad for his birthday.

    OTOH, as device, once it’s configured, it does everything Apple claims, and it does so VERY well. I found it tough to realise that one only has to touch the screen, rather than use ‘press a button’ mechanics. The lightness of touch required and the intuition of the screen have amazed me.

    I’ve downloaded only free apps, so far, but here goes:

    1) The BBC News app is amazingly well done;

    2) If I had subscribed to FB or other social networks, Flipboard is very well done, and it creates a much, much better version of HuffPost than the HuffPost web site. Flipboard is not only powerful, it’s beautifully done;

    3) Galaxy will give you access to many, many live radio stations, live (but make sure you’re plugged to power);

    4) TED can stream its talks to the iPad very well for those days when one’s grey cells need shaking up;

    5) Flixster has linked with Rotten Tomatoes to both gather together film reviews and to show your local show times. Very well done;

    6) VNC is amazing as a free VNC client. It can easily show me my 27″ iMac screen (quite the feat and very intuitive). It has a few limitations, due only to fingers’ inability to be mice, but it works very well for emergency control of one’s desktop computer (selecting Mac submenus is nigh impossible, but don’t let that put you off in any way);

    7) Epicurious is good, and I’ve hardly scratched its surface;

    8) Wi-Fi Finder works well to show you nearby free and paid Wi-Fi access, depending on your current location;

    9) If I had an Airport Extreme connected to my stereo and streamed my music from my iMac, I’d use Apple’s Remote app to control what iTunes is playing, all without having to leave my sofa (or bed).

    10) I seem to have more news apps on my iPad than any other category (AP, MPR, ProPublica, Telegraph, NYT, WSJ, Guardian Eyewitness (some great photos), NYT crosswords, etc.

    It was worth downloading the NFB app, just to see the award-winning “The Cat Came Back” short animation once more.

    HTH. :-)

  21. schodack says:

    With your science background, definitely try:


    And next time you’re out in the country, with a clear night sky, this one is a joy:


  22. NickAthens says:


    I was one of many who said get it and get it w/o 3g.
    Your review was better and simpler than anything I would have written.

    I have been one of your earliest fans and continue to refer people. The problem becomes emails from them saying “have you seen this”? Of course I have you idiots, I referred you!

    So how could such a kindred soul recommend such just ok music (cost me $40) AND EVEN WORSE BE SO PROTECTIVE OF PUBLIC SERICE UNION PENSION ABUSES!!!!

    Do evil twins really exist?


    BR: What ok music?

  23. Bruman says:

    Hey Barry, congrats on the purchase. It does take a little while to figure out how best to use the iPad, but once you figure it out, it can do basically 85% of what you need a computer to do.

    First, a bit of hardware recommendations:

    1. Go to Google and look up “ipad tripod” or better, yet, look it up on ebay. For about $15 or $20, you can pick up a small tripod stand that you can carry with you and have it hold the machine in case you want to do something more long term and serious with it.

    2. Get the Apple bluetooth keyboard (or get it cheaper on eBay). With the iPad, the tripod, and the keyboard, you can pretty much get rid of your laptop for everything except major excel stuff (oh, and Flash).

    As for apps; here’s what I like:

    GoodReader ($1). It’s a PDF reader but it is nice because you can store attachments from your email or download pdfs (and other file formats) from the web if you are connected.

    Documents2Go can give you limited MS Word, Excel, and Powerpoint authoring capacity on the iPad.

    FeedlerRSS – for a voracious reader like you, this lets you follow your blogs and other RSS feeds nicely.

    WeatherBug – nice weather info for the iPad.

    Star Walk – I’m going to take a guess that you’re geeky enough to enjoy a bit of astronomy now and then. This application is amazing. You can hold up the ipad to the sky and it will orient itself to where you are looking to show you the sky as it is right now. (oh wait, you didn’t get the 3g, which means that it doesn’t have the GPS and compass embedded in it.)

    TED – If you enjoy Ted Talks.

    Google Earth – lots of fun for someone who is an explorer.

    Zinio – great magazine reading, if your magazines are offered through Zinio. (Rolling Stone, The Economist, Playboy)

    Osmos – a really enjoyable non-violent game.

    geoDefense – a really enjoyable tower-defense game.

    WikiPanion – a great WikiPedia browser. But beware… a real time-suck if you are intellectually curious about stuff.

    Kayak HD – you’ll be imagining many more vacations with a map that tells you what people have been paying for fares all over the world. You can set it to “all places I can go to for less than $500″ or whatnot.

    CityTransit (for iPad or iPhone) – have the Subway, Bus, LIRR, and Metro-North maps available to you, whether you have connectivity or not.

    Market Mood (free) – an enjoyable graphic of the S&P 500. It isn’t particularly detailed, but it is somehow soothing to look at and does communicate market breadth information visually for the entire index.

    ABC Player – watch ABC movies when you have free time.

    Calculator 4 – Because somehow it’s just not right not to have a calculator on this thing.

  24. perra says:

    I forgot about my WifePad (or in my case, GirlfriendPad). If my dear partner did not play silly games on it, my WifePad would simply collect dust. I find my MacBook Air is superior under nearly every conceivable circumstance.

  25. desmondlua says:

    1. SoundHound ($4.99) – Cool app for instant music search…It will name a tune playing from a speaker in 5 to 10 seconds – and even works if you sing or hum to it…

    2. GoodReader for reading PDF files

    3. Kobo for books (alternative to iBooks)

    4. Dictionary.com

    5. WordWeb Dictionary

    6. iTranslate for all translations

    7. WebMD – for health and medical news and information…providing credible health information…

    8. Reeder to sync seamlessly with my Google Reader…

  26. rashley314 says:

    When will “The Big Picture” IPad app be available?

  27. franklin411 says:

    The best app for an iPad is the one that shows you how to get to the nearest Apple store for a refund.

  28. jonhendry says:

    You might want a pair of these:


    Gloves specially made to work with touchscreens.

  29. Rob King says:


    I would pick up the dropbox app for your iPad. Also, install dropbox for your mac. (http://www.dropbox.com)

    I use my dropbox folder on my mac to store PDFs (such as quarterly letters, annual reports, quarterly reports, etc.) Then you can access the exact same files from “the cloud” on your iPad. Makes for easier reading of 10-Ks, and you no longer have to print anything.

    I actually prefer accessing PDFs through Safari on iPad. The Safari app handles PDFs much better. The benefit of the dropbox app is that it caches things for when you don’t have WiFi.

  30. isolde100 says:


    There is one app I recommend: Flipboard. If there’s an app that makes the iPad really shine, it’s this one. It converts blogs and other types of websites – including Twitter feeds and Facebook newsfeeds – into a magazine style reading experience with a stunning layout (it pulls photos too if they are included in the articles and links).

    Esme Vos

  31. JerseyCynic says:

    4) I did not get the 3G version, because for a slightly more expensive monthly fee, I can get the The Virgin MiFi Hot Spot that will work with the iPad AND my laptop

    GOOD LORD it sounds like you’re describing a tricked out chastity belt! (sorry couldn’t resist)

    very timely post — THANK YOU! I’ve wanted the ipad from day 1. I cannot imagine having anything to do with a computer unless it’s a Mac. I’m having a hard time as a former exec. assist. getting back into the working world now that kids are in college. as god as my judge….. I WILL NEVER SIT IN FRONT OF A PC EVER AGAIN. The very few jobs out there are pretty much temp. positions and all want the “proficient in MS office suite” applicants.
    I cringe at the thought of sitting in a cubbyhole with a PC all day. I should start a Mac only temp agency.

    Keyboard is KEY for me. After a few decades of typing transcripts, etc. my hands are a mess. now the shoulder from too much mouse squeezing. I missed the laptop experience since I never had use for one, so I think I’m going to try your suggestion BRUMAN:

    with “the iPad, the tripod, and the keyboard, you can pretty much get rid of your laptop”.

    You’ve inspired me to take a test drive. I still have some extra cash from working census2010 (the gov’t should have used the ipads for their field work instead of the crap we got!)

  32. aaalp says:

    Hi Barry,

    Apps I would recommend (I’m in Turkey, so don’t know whether you got these available in US AppStore or not)
    - Accuradio: Great music, lots of genres to choose from.
    - Dropbox: Rob King already described this app in his post above.
    - Appshopper: keeps you updated with prices of app’s which become free for a certain period of time
    - Booking.com : great way to make your hotel bookings, use it everytime. The hotel reviews never disappointed me.
    - Ftponthegopro: for ftp
    - Teamviewer: to connect to your remote pc, works fantastic, highly recommended
    -Quickoffice: If you are working with MS Office docs, this is the MS Office for Ipad.

  33. nertopia says:

    Welcome to the club Barry!

    I am an avid reader of this blog and an iPad and iPhone app developer so I will recommend my app to you first! LOL!!! http://www.reallybigpictures.com

    It’s a sketching app that allows to make a quick sketch that you can email or save to your photo library. It’s kinda of designed to be easy for non artists to be artists. I released this the day the iPad came out.

    What I like is the following:

    1. Pulse News – Great News reader that works with instapaper
    2. Good Reader – Best of the PDF reader apps
    3. Market Mood – Snapshot of the Market
    4. iSwim – For the iPhone only right now… with a rumor of an iPad app coming in 3 weeks
    5 Netflix app
    6. Kindle App
    7. fotopedia
    8 Google Earth
    9. Bloomberg
    10. appstream – an app to find apps
    11. Skype – Make phone calls from your iPad For a few dollars a month you can call an land line or cellphone from your skype account… Great when your cell phone coverage sucks and you need to make a call plus you wont believe how much clearer the call is
    12. TED The TED app to watch TED speakers.. Great
    13. Slate
    14. Borders E-Book , Barnes and Noble Nook…. Why not?
    15. New York Times
    16. Huffington Post – Easier to read then on the web! LOL
    17. BookMe – Great Travel Booking App

  34. nertopia says:

    18. BBC News
    19. Wired
    20. Dragon Dictation
    21. Yelp
    22. Remote – Control your Apple TV from your iPad… pretty slick if you have an Apple TV
    23. eBay – if you use ebay!
    24. Dropbox – For Cloud file storage….
    25. Keynote for Presentations, Pages for writing

    Also some cool cases out there for traveling!

    One last thing is… The best app and accessory review site for iPad and iPhones is!!

    That’s a wrap, enjoy that iPad!!!

    That’s it!!!

    Best, Dell – Nertopia

  35. nertopia says:

    I meant… One last thing is… The best app and accessory review site for iPad and iPhones is:


  36. jpz says:

    Flipboard flipboard flipboard – the most elegant way to read The Big Picture and any other Twitter feed or news source. It turns feeds into an interactive newspaper — brilliant really

  37. TAT says:

    Well, since this is a WordPress blog, download the WordPress app.

    I have the phone, but I also recommend the following if they have iPad equivalents:
    Dragon Dictation

    Everything else was mentioned I think

  38. Fentable says:

    Hello Barry,

    I recommend Exoplanet for the Ipad. It has a little of everything,charts,up to min data ,interactive stat tool and most importantly a visual display of just how much a fleck of foam on the cosmic sea we are. The trillions that are mentioned so often these days really do pale in standing to physical trillions in the observable universe…sorry I was channeling Carl Sagan. I think you will find the app and the Ipad well worth a moment here and there. Of interest in a year or so is how much the pad will be part of your biz life,I have friends who have put the desktop and laptop on the shelf but for printing and the odd program,so what say you in a year or so..?
    Best and many thanks for your blog,in a world of opinion masquerading as fact it is a good to know you are following WFB dictum of standing athwart history,(opinion as fact) and saying ‘Stop”.




  39. jaderlund says:

    My wife just bought an Ipad as well, and my favorite app currently, for non biz related fun, goskywatch planetarium.
    Just point the Ipad at the sky, and it will identify stars, planets, etc.
    Really great if you have a clear night sky, and works even if you don’t.

    Thanks for the great blog, part of my a.m. reading daily.

  40. RandyClayton says:

    If you enjoy games, Ragdoll Blaster 2 HD is quiet a bit of fun (more challenging than Angry Birds, but not as addictive).

    For real apps, I like the simple display of Weather Station (free version, pro is $2.99, but free does not have ads).

    And just for the pure beauty of it, Emerald Observatory …. an amazing celestial clock that demonstrates how rich an iPad app can be.

  41. KentWillard says:

    Agreed on the need for an automator for IPad. If I have a 6 am flight (God forbid), I want to read the news on the plane. And I won’t have time to find everything I want to read ahead of time and put it to InstaPaper, plus a lot of stuff I just want to skim. I like to read FT & WSJ’s apps (which maddeningly have different direction finger swipes to turn the page), but downloading them in the airport takes forever – where there is probably the most overtaxed cellular service possible. So I want something to do the download automatically for me every morning while I am still at home.

    Seems like there should be an app for this. If not, someone please make it. I will buy it.

  42. ToNYC says:

    After you tweak the best iPad Steve Jobs can deliver, remember the iBrain is coming and it promises to be an even better thang to tweak and be cooly app’d.

  43. BSing says:

    I’ve found “Numbers” great for whipping up quick spreadsheets. It’s not Excel, but it feels like working on living paper due to the touch screen.

    Also, real estate apps are kinda fun. Zillow has one, and Ziprealty is another.

    You’ll might also like Seline HD to make your own music. Fun stuff.

  44. VennData says:

    It’s not too late….

    Harrods blings up Android tablet, quintuples price