Using my iPad Pro as my Primary Computing Device: Day 1

On Saturday, I sent my MacBook Pro in to get its keyboard repaired. Because my Hackintosh died late last year and I decided to keep things simple, I will be without a computer for two weeks for the first time in my professional life.

Boo hoo, right?

Ten or even five years ago, this would have been a big problem, but in this age of advanced mobile devices, it should be okay, at least in theory. I have a first-generation iPad Pro 9.7 with keyboard and Pencil, and I enjoy it very much. I use it a lot for sketching (via Paper) and writing (via Bear and Ulysses). Because my iPad does not let me multitask as easily as on my laptop, I’m able to focus more, which is great for reflecting and writing. Everything syncs to the cloud instantaneously, meaning I can access this data on my laptop immediately.

The iPad has limitations that make it difficult for me to replace my laptop entirely. For example, G Suite does not play that well with the iPad. I can’t ALT-TAB between different documents, the mobile versions of the app have limited functionality, and I haven’t figured out how to easily use the desktop versions of the app via Chrome.

It’s all good… until you no longer have access to your laptop. I timed my repair (which will take 1-2 weeks) to when I figured it would be least inconvenient, and I’m making a go of using my iPad as my primary computing device in the meantime. Here’s what I’m learning so far:

  • My bag is much lighter!
  • Writing blog posts via the WordPress app works quite well!
  • I can’t easily print from my iPad to my 2011 Brother printer. Exploring options now.
  • I’m not sure how well conferencing via Zoom will work. At minimum, I usually take notes while I’m on Zoom, and I often use its more advanced features, such as screen-sharing and breakout groups. I’m not planning on doing the latter on any upcoming calls, but it’s a good opportunity just to see if any of this is possible.

We’ll see how this all goes.

Will You Help Me Load Test Zoom and Google Docs?

I’m looking for volunteers to help me load test Zoom and Google Docs for 30-minutes this Thursday, October 26 at 1pm PT / 3pm CT / 4pm ET. Could you help?

I’m doing an interactive, participatory workshop via Zoom in a few weeks, and I have the lovely challenge of having over 80 people registered. In my design, I have people working individually in the same Google Doc (with lots of tables), then in pairs before coming back together as a full group.

I feel good about the overall design — I’ve done it with over 70 people face-to-face and with less than 20 online. However, I’ve never done it with this many people online, and I just want to test the mechanics of the breakouts and having a large number of people editing a Google Doc with lots of people at the same time.

I’m trying to get as many people as possible to do a lightweight simulation with me this Thursday. Could you spare 30 minutes to help? All I would need you to do would be to log into Zoom and the Google Doc, follow a few instructions, and give me feedback. It might not take the full 30 minutes, and it wouldn’t require your full attention.

The bonus: You’d meet lots of great folks from my community, several of whom have already volunteered to help. I will also document everything I learn and publicly share. If you’re interested in the design of the workshop itself, I’d be happy to discuss that with you also.

Please leave a comment below if you’d be willing to help, and please spread the word as well! My goal is to recruit at least 40 people. Many, many thanks!