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.

Lectures

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…

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/mar/18/top-50-android-phone-apps

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 appadvice.com 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 “m.google.com” 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?

Alternatively

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!!

Asus “ahh sooss”

Firstly ,  I just got to know the pronunciation of Asus is “Ah sooss ” .

I have dumped the useless keyboard and moved on with just the tablet .

The best factor contributing towards this tablet is the size of the screen. I have read comments of my fellow team members on not being able to use tablets for lectures and notes which I believe is due to the screen size of their tablets.  My tablet’s screen sufficiently has space for my fingers to type comfortably using the QWERTY .

I have no intention of switching from Polaris office yet. To my earlier feedback on the non availability of option to switch between apps. I have discovered Polaris allows me to take notes in a tab just below the slides.

In addition, I use Evernote  to take my seminar or revision notes. It enables me to take pictures and screenshots of the definitions, diagrams, charts etc and tag lecture notes which is my perfect package of revision. You can also attach videos and audios, subject to purchase for the the additional space.

With apps like  Dropbox and Evernote, I no longer depend on any external storage devices. Like mentioned earlier, I need to pay for the extra storage space.

As a confession,  I sometimes still take a handout due to my fear of losing all my files. Just to add to the discomfort my battery dies very fast. Today,  I had to sit next to a power plug point and had to continue with handouts.

I have deleted non-academic apps like Facebook , Skype etc but it hasn’t helped.

Overall I am still quite satisfied. It has simplified learning. Increased productivity. Convenience manifested with the mobility of knowledge and information transfer.

Taking Notes on the iPad with Paperport Note

After using several note-taking app (eg. Goodreader, iAnnotate,keynote), I tried to focus on one which integrates voice recorder and note taking togethor, called Paperport Note. Here are my testing result:

Linking with other storage methods

This particular apps can link with other storage method (eg. dropbox, box.net and web), easily interact with your computer. There are two convenient function for transferring:

1. Quickly getting documents from dropbox, box.net, and web, moreover, it can automatically convert any version documents (except doc, docx) into PDF version.

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2. After annotating a document, it can quickly share the document to dropbox and other storage method. To highlight this point, this powerful app could share one or more specific slides of the whole document to the dropbox with the voice record (including from lecturer and yourself).

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Note Taking

After using it for a week, I found this app can replace any other note-taking app. In terms of functionalities, it can let you do annotations on the slide without having to open a new window so that this is convenient for reading the slides. Moreover, it both supports type and handwriting (including pencil and mark pen) and more interestingly, you can change the font and colour of your notes. Simply, this would be more similar to our traditional way of taking notes. In addtion, it has a more powerful function that you can record your vocie notes rather than typing words. This seems to be useful for modify at home for reviewing.

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Taking screenshots and uploading

In terms of taking a screenshot on the ipad, it is a simple power button press and home button at the same time. After that, I can find this screenshot in my photo gallery. So, this screenshot could be easliy upload by dropbox and download on my computer anywhere.

In all, the iPad plays an important role in my daily life as well as my iphone and laptop. I would say this intergration of studying, palying and connecting is incredible and have already changed my lifestyle. Next time I am considering purchase a ipad bluetooth keyboard because of the less efficient simulating keyboard, but i got to say iPad is productive.

Taking notes and editing documents on Android Galaxy Tablet in Lectures

Taking notes

To read lecture handouts I used Quick Office Pro HD,  I used free office for a bit but I found this too limited.

The actual editing of powerpoint handouts goes quite fluently in Quickoffice Pro, however I experience to problems

  • sometimes when I press by accident the home button it doesn’t save the file. Annoying. However this may just be temporary bug
  • Another problem was whilst taking notes with lecture handouts was that the entire screen would be switch to white space to input text, a split screen with 50% lecture note & 50% white space to take notes would be much more convenient.

Did I stop using paper handouts? No, because of the above stated, I prefer writing/taking notes whilst seeing the lecture slides at the same time.


Essays

I have yet to write a complete essay on my tablet but I keep school material on DropBox (cloud computing) and usually open my seminar notes to further expand them. However I still feel that writing on paper is still more efficiently than trying to type fluently on a 7 inch tablet.  Again like working in PowerPoint, I feel that the tablet keyboard takes up much too much space.

I do find myself doing a lot of reading of topic-related material on my tablet (PDF). I would even say I prefer reading PDF’s on my tablet than paper/computer screen, just much less straining on my eyes.

However while writing this blog, I tried to highlight some text out of a PDF through the Amazon Kindle app and take a screenshots of it but I couldn’t.  I have not yet needed to highlight any material out of a PDF but will try out easyPDF as the Kindle app is falling short in functionality.

File Transfer

I do my file transfer in two ways:

1. USB

If I want to transfer files through USB in Android I just have to enable the USB mass storage option in “Settings”. When connected my android device shows up as a mass storage usb device in Finder (Macintosh) and I can just drag and drop files from my hard drive. No need for additional software.

The screenshots are taken by holding Power + Back and show up in the Screenshot folder.

2. Dropbox

I use DropBox (cloud storage) for school related documents, so all my documents are available on a cross platform of devices and I don’t need to transfer them manually.

I tend to do both methods just to be safe I don’t have any files missing.

Here are the pictures:

1. DropBox

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2. PowerPoint in QuickOffice (it also offers to insert figures/symbols etc)

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3. Taking notes in Word documents (keyboard takes too much of the screen)

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4. Taking notes of a powerpoint slide:

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