(note: the subject line has changed since I first wrote this. I decided to not get into the podcasts just yet).
I’ve been having fun with my iPod Touch. For those of you who don’t know, the Touch is just like the iPhone with one major exception – it’s not a phone. It uses wi-fi for internet connectivity while the iPhone uses the cellular carrier (which is exclusively AT&T). So far, I’ve used the Touch more for music and games than I have for internet stuff like email and web surfing. When/if I get the wireless network working again here at the house, I may use it more.
Anyway, the Touch is not a PDA unless you use M$ software such as Outlook. Ironic that the Apple device uses predominantly M$ stuff, eh? I had to enter in all of my contacts (granted, there’s not that many). Any notes I make using the built in application (herein known as ‘app’ or ‘apps’) cannot be transferred to the desktop.
Before I talk about what apps I have found useful, I want to discuss iTunes. I. Hate. It. You cannot add any app, song, etc to the device without using this software. While there are some programs that allow you to use the device like a USB flash drive (DiskAid), it is limited. The iTunes program is lousy. For example, I wanted to see what dictionaries, thesauruses (thesaurusi?), etc were available. Open iTunes, click on App Store, click on Reference. And there it ends. 20 apps per page, 121 pages. No way to further divide them into sections. You can filter them into release date, name, and most popular. And you can’t go directly to page 120 of the 121 because you are looking for something that starts with the letter Y. There is a Power Search available. You can narrow it down to section (applications vs music), box to select searching only the free apps, enter in a keyword and/or developer name, category (reference), and device capability (touch vs iphone). You click search and you get the results. Here’s the next major error. It doesn’t say “page 1 of 12” for the results. You click “see all” and get a list of 30 apps. Then, in the corner of the screen, in tiny little letters, there’s this “more results”. It’s not in the scrollable part of the screen, but on the frame of the software itself. Still no “page x of y”. So I have no idea how many results there are nor can I then re-search the results to narrow it down further. On the first page there is a list of developers, a very short list. Dictionary.com is listed but it only has two apps in the search result. So finding what you want/need can be difficult unless you know the exact name or are lucky enough to hit the right keyword.
Okay, rant mostly off.
Here’s some applications I found that I have tried:
I was pleased to find the WordWeb I use so much on the computer to be available as an app. And it is free so that makes it even better! It works much the same way as the desktop version so adjusting to it was easy.
I am trying out QuickWord (by QuickOffice for $4.99), an app that reads and edits .doc format documents. I think it can view .pdf, too, but not edit them. Transferring the documents from the desktop to the device is only possible through wi-fi transfer using the IP address. It sounds unnecessarily complicated. Why not just sync, upload, or download the same as I can music and podcasts? Also, the help files are only accessible via internet connection. WTF?
Then there is DocsToGo (by DataViz for $4.99) is another .doc format app. Again, transfer is done via wi-fi or through Microsoft Exchange (a paid-for additional program). It’s got a “getting started” help guide but anything other than that is only available online. The plus for this app vs the other is that it’s available options are scrollable along the bottom so there’s more to use.
Next up is FileAid (by DigiDNA for free). While FileAid allows me to view even OpenOffice.org formats, I can’t edit anything. It is for viewing only.
I just downloaded another one called Notebooks (by Alfons Shmid for $5.99). I’ve not tried it yet, though. It is touted to be for thought processing and organizing.
The recent software upgrade allows for the iTouch to do cut/paste, something the users have been screaming for. Doing so is relatively easy as long as you don’t have big huge fingers.
Speaking of typing, the keyboard is not that bad. It is much much easier if you are a touch-typer vs hunt and peck. I type mostly with my thumbs. Letters are on the screen with numbers and most punctuation accessible via another key that changes the keyboard. Another key on that one takes you to another punctuation keyboard. Hitting the space bar automatically takes you back to the letter one. This would be a major PITA if you needed to enter a series of numbers. The comma is on that second screen and, again, hitting the spacebar automatically takes you back to the first one. QuickOffice has the spreadsheet capabilities and I wonder if it works the same way. You can turn the device sideways to make the keyboard wider and more accessible.
The word completion capabilities are a device thing, not an app thing. So far, I don’t like it. I’ve had several arguments with it on the spelling of a word I was trying to enter in a note. But I’ve never been a fan of word completion doohickeys anyway.
I was reading a review of an app and learned how to take screenshots within the device. Now if I can figure out how to transfer them to the desktop, I’ll have some images of my later reviews for these apps.
If anyone uses any of these or some other I haven’t found yet, please let me know! I’d love to hear from other writers about how or if they use the Touch or if they use a PDA instead. I opted for the Touch because the industry says PDAs are a dying breed and software is getting difficult to find and maintain.
In another post later, I’ll share all the apps I have installed so far. I love the Touch, I just wish it didn’t have that obnoxious “iPod” in front of it. Cannot tolerate the “iThis” and “iThat”. In yet another post, I’ll discuss the value (or lack thereof) of podcasts.