My Obervations of the Xoom 2 on the Android Operating System

After using the Xoom 2 tablet computer for nearly two months now I have found it has been useful for note-taking in lectures, preparation in seminars, and for completing assessments.


In lectures, I have found the most agreeable way to take notes is to type down the lecture in note form using the app Evernote. I did try to use apps such as EZPDF reader and QuickOffice HD to annotate the electronic versions of the lecture handouts. However, I found it hard to use these apps for this purpose so I preferred to use Evernote, and would refer to the handout throughout the lecture when I needed it.

I prefer using Evernote primarily because as soon as I save anything I have written down, it is synchronised to both my laptop and phone. The ease in which this provides me with being able to access my notes at a later date has been particularly helpful in referring back to lectures at a later date. The ability to tag different notes is another feature of Evernote which I find useful because it means I can archive my notes into their respective modules and topics.

Seminars and Assessments

I have used the tablet extensively throughout all my seminars and assessments this semester. I have found it useful in preparing for seminars using Evernote, and for planning any assessments I have to write. However, I have found I prefer typing any extensive pieces of work on my laptop using the keyboard. This is particularly true for writing word documents as I find the QuickOffice equivalent to be lacking in features and ease of use. Often I use both the laptop and tablet simultaneously, one to do the reading and the other to type notes down.

All in all, I have found the tablet to have had a positive impact on my ability to organize my work and to take down concise notes. It is also helpful being able to read lecture handouts and articles without a paper version or my laptop on me. However, I still prefer using my laptop for many functions such as composing essays or composing emails.

Soundnote for iPad

Has anybody tried Soundnote for iPad?  It sounds like the app is particularly suited to students:

“SoundNote is perfect for students. If you ever fall asleep in class, don’t worry — SoundNote’s got your back. Just tap what you wrote while you were awake, and SoundNote will play the audio to help you fill in the blanks”

Previously known as Soundpaper, the app allows you to take notes and draw while recording audio/sound and it synchronises your notes with the audio file. Sounds idea if you’re prone to falling asleep during lectures…

App of the week on some obscure website, check their video review on YouTube and you can read the review by Techradar here. A student perspective on the app is available here.

Anyone willing to try it? £2.99. Check their official website or iTunes for screenshots and further details.

Entry posted using my iPad so excuse the (lack of) consistency in the formatting of this post.! Hopefully it won’t look too bad.

Another “top 50 Android phone apps” from the Guardian for our Android users…

Uploading Quick Office HD Pro documents to your Dropbox account on the iPad

Following up from Stefano’s post I have found a way to upload documents from Quick Office Pro to your Dropbox account, and it is a very straightforward process….

  •  Open Quick Office Pro HD on the iPad and notice on the left hand side both your iPad’s drive (“on Nicolas’s iPad”) and any other cloud-based accounts you might have set up (Go to Settings to set them up). My Dropbox account is referred to as “Nicolas Forsans” in the screenshot below. You can also see my GMail account below it, followed by my Evernote account.


  • Identify the file you’d like to transfer onto your Dropbox account. For the sake of this tutorial I will transfer the default “File Manager How to.pdf” file which comes with Quick Office by default
  • In the same way as you would select the file and send it by email or to the bin (notice the icons at the bottom of the screen, one for the bin, one for email, one for sharing), long-press the selected file name and move it to the icon that represents your Dropbox account on the left-hand side of the screen. Note: I could do the same thing to send it to my Evernote account.

  • As you drag the file to your dropbox account, the file manager no longer displays files that are locally stored onto the iPad – instead it shows you the various files and folders that make up your Dropbox account. You can then drag the file onto one of the sub-folders or (and it ill probably be easier that way) just drag it to the root of your Dropbox folder by releasing it above the Dropbox icon on the left hand side, as I’ve done it on the screenshot – you can always go into your dropbox folder later on and move the file from root to individual sub-folders
  • Job done: your file now appears in your Dropbox account; Obviously you would use the same method to bin the local file by dragging it to the bin icon, email it or send it to any other cloud-based account you might have set up

AppStart, the app that should come pre-installed on your iPad

Mentioned in my previous post is AppStart for iPad, maybe the very first (free) app anyone should download on their iPad to uncover the many functionalities of the iPad. No, it’s not a boring manual – it is a beautiful app (the designers have done a great job!) organised in many sections that allows the reader to understand how their iPad works, and what functionalities they can leverage.

I particularly like the “How to dump your laptop” section with their selection of productivity-enhancing apps, some of which we have trialled during this pilot. Also noteworthy are their “9.7 inch office”, “the lowdown printing, or how to print with no strings attached”, “apps for students / moms / dads / musicians” and many other useful sections. They basically everything with a great selection of the most popular app that help get the business done.

And it’s so beautifully done that you won’t get bored reading it!

Highly recommended. Go and download it now, it’s free. The only app that should come pre-installed on all our iPads!

Synchronising Gmail contacts with the iPad

One issue I’ve experienced from the start is the lack of built-in capability to synchronise your Gmail contacts with the iPad. This can be a pain if, like me you have come from Android and migrated to iOS, or if you’ve got your main contacts listed within Google servers.  There are apps that allow for synchronisation between the two devices but they’re not free and neither have been a straightforward affair.

There is a simple way which I have just discovered, thanks to the beautifully crafted Appstart, produced by and linked to by the iPads for education’s website, maintained by a consorium of Australian schools that trialled the use of ipads in secondary education. That involves setting up your Gmail account as a Microsoft Exchange server, instead of selecting “Gmail” in the list of email providers in the Mail app.

How to set GMail as an Exchange server

  • In Mail / Accounts select “Ad Account”, then “Microsoft Exchange” – instead of the built-in GMail account.
  • Enter your Google username and password, then hit “Next”
  • No comes the important part: on the next page you will be asked to enter a “Server” and “Domain”. For your email server, enter “” and leave the domain field empty. Hit “Next”
  • On the next page you will be asked which Google services you want to sync with your device.  You can bring your Google Calendars and contacts directly on the device
  • Unless you want to delete all your existing Contacts and Calendars on your iPad, select the “Keep on my iPad” option when prompted
  • Once you’re finished, hit “Done” and you’ve managed to configure push notifications for your Google Mail account and get your GMail contacts synchronised across the devices.

Has anybody managed to get it to work?


Contacts sync for Gmail is the app I have used so far to import my GMail contacts onto my iPad but it requires manual synchronisation with the risk of resulting in duplicates an/or deletions of existing contacts on either device.



Testing the Moto Xoom 2

Based on my recent experience  using my tablet (Moto Xoom 2, Android, Uni belonging), I can report the following

  • During the lecture, I used the tablet to download and edit pdf handouts instead of paper-based ones using both Quick Office HD and ezPDF Reader. At the begining I felt it was still inconvenient but I got used to it and kept on editing notes by using the virtual keyboard as opposed to the  hand writing mode
  • It is a pity I did not work out how to take screen shots on this tablet
  • I found the tablet useful while writing parts of my reflection report for my Debates and Controversies module, in particular when I was in the library with limited computer facilities
  • I now rely on the tablet for everything I do, whenever I need to read or edit documents as well as during my spare time
  • Some suggestions to improve the device: tablet pen, more intelligent system, faster operation speed,  bigger screen and various colours to be selected.

To sum up, if this tablet has seminar usage with Android smartphone without more innovation and outstanding perfpormances, I would rather use my smartphone only. But it still helps me a lot with documents reading and editing!

Anyway, Have a nice weekend everyone!!

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