What I use - early 2014

Discussion in 'The Tablet PC Life' started by ecoeco, Mar 4, 2014.

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  1. ecoeco

    ecoeco Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hi all

    Warning: this is a long post!

    I thought it might be interesting to go over the 2014 updates to my system. 2013 was a great year for tablet PC people with lots of different devices turning up and increased maturity of the various tablet echo systems.

    I've been using tablet PCs since the TC1000 in 2004 and fully paperless since 2010. Here is what I am using today.


    My needs:

    Work:
    I work as a mid level executive in a corporate support function. About 80% of the time I am in meetings with 20% of my time at my desk. I need to review documents (Word and PDF) and be able to quickly access the right information at the right time. I don't have great access to wifi and so need 3G/LTE built into whatever device I use. My employer doesn't use much communications technology - just email and phone calls. Most of the stuff I need to read turns up in email form.

    Home:
    I am are paperless as home as well. The majority of our home needs are web access, photos, books, scanning mail, skype and video.

    Study:
    I am back at university this year so I am attending lectures, reading articles and writing assignments.



    Software:

    We've reached the stage that I can buy hardware around the software that I use. My main apps are:

    Evernote
    After 8 years of using onenote everyday I have switched to Evernote. This was the big change for me in 2013. I find Evernote is just better than onenote. Why?

    1. Getting information in is easier:
    I can save files into a directory and Evernote automatically imports them.
    I have an Evernote email address and Evernote automatically imports anything I send there
    Evernote is on every device I use.
    Both onenote and evernote can quickly archive email from outlook.

    2. Finding information is easier
    Evernote works better at tagging. I find onenote clumsy at tagging and have never been able to build it into my workflow.
    Search works well in both onenote and Evernote.

    3. Working with documents is easier
    Evernote (on an iPad) allows me to write on PDF documents, without having to import it into a note like onenote requires. My highlights and edits are the added to the front of the PDF as a page of notes. This functionality is priceless for me. The iPad is not best for this, as it doesn't have an active stylus I'm hoping this functionality comes to the windows or android version of Evernote so that I can sell the iPad.

    I love Evernote's card view as it shows me a little bit of each note. This is fantastic when I am looking at the history of a project or group that I am meeting with. Onenote doesnt have this view and I find it hard to flip backwards and forwards between notes.

    MS Office
    This is essential for productivity in my world.

    Scrivener
    This wonderful app is perfect for writing long papers or university assignments. I've found the PC version lacking and so use it on a mac.

    Scrapple
    This app is perfect for brainstorming and mind maps for me. I love the flexibility around where notes go on the canvas. I've tried every other mind mapping map and this is the only one that works exactly how I need it to. Again, the PC version is lacking so I use it on a mac.

    Web browser
    I use whatever is to hand.

    Skype and Bria for phone calls.
    My home landline is VoIP connection from an online provider.

    Skydrive (now onedrive) and Dropbox
    I mainly use skydrive as it works well and gives me lots of space. Occasionally I use Dropbox where an app doesn't support skydrive.

    Skydrive is the second critical app for me. All the documents I use gets loaded into it.

    Windows photo app and iPhoto.
    I use a couple of Surface RT's around the house as picture frames. All the photos we take at home are automatically uploaded to skydrive and iPhoto by our iPhones.

    I use iPhoto for creating albums etc but only because it is there on my MacBook.

    Pocket
    I use this to save articles to read while commuting or on the plane

    Papers
    Must have referencing tool for university. Again I use it on the mac as the PC version is a long way behind and doesn't do what I need it to.

    Audible
    I love listening to audio books when exercising or walking the dog.


    My equipment:
    During 2013 I tried a one device strategy. I gave this up as I discovered there were critical apps I needed to use on a mac and as the hardware is now so cheap I can really have as many devices as I need.

    Coming out of 2013 I am using:

    Surface pro 2 - 128gb with 4gb ram.
    This replaced my TPT2. I did this when I hoped windows would be the one platform I needed. This was a mistake.The weight and built in 3G of the TPT2 made it perfect for me. I am thinking of taking the loss and going back to the TPT2 or moving to Samsung galaxy tablet (either the 10.1 or the new 12.2). Not trying to use the tablet for document production and mind mapping really frees me up with my tablet choice.

    I use the Surface Pro for digital inking and holding my reference documents for meetings and lectures. It doesn't really seem worth the weight and lack of 3G in the device. I've found I still need to also carry around a iPad so I'm looking to combine the two devices into one. The Windows App Store is still very very limited with most apps lagging behind their iOS or Android counterparts so I will probably go with a Samsung.

    MacBook Air 13
    During my 'one device' phase I sold an old 11 inch MacBook Air thinking the surface pro would be all I needed. Again this was a mistake as I have found the surface screen too small to do any thinking work on. I also find the mac apps better than the windows version (except office).

    I have bought an secondhand 2011 MacBook Air 13 inch which I also run windows on using parallels. This is my main productivity device.

    iPad mini (with retina display)
    I use this for email on the go and reviewing PDFs using Evernote as above. I bought this for Evernote as the surface didn't have 3G and or the Evernote document editing feature which is in the iPad edition.

    I've tried every type of stylus and am currently using a bluetooth jot touch pro - which works well.

    iPhone 5
    Good size, works well, has Evernote and Pocket apps and takes good photos.

    Kindle Fire HDX - 7inch
    I use this to read books and surf the web a home. I got this as a gift and thought I would probably sell it straight away. Since I like playing with new toys I opened it up and starting using it and I'm finding it surprisingly useful. It is much lighter than even the iPad mini and it does email, web browsing, books and audiobooks. I'm really surprised by how much use it gets.




    Devices trialled and returned or sold:
    The other devices I tried are over the last year are:

    A thinkpad monitor with Wacom pen (LT1423p)
    This was too heavy and didn't work with the surface pro (it needs two USB ports for power), and the wireless didn't work properly - so it went back to Lenovo and I bought a macbook air instead - for the same cost!.

    Dell venue pro 8
    The pen hasn't come out so this has not been as useful as I hoped it would be. I replaced this with the iPad mini after trying to use the windows touch version of Evernote, which just isn't close to the iOS version.

    Windows phone - Nokia lumia 920
    No apps, clumsy to use, weighs a lot, even onenote doesn't work very well - not a keeper

    Surface RT
    Few apps. Great screen and weight. Now on the kitchen bench as a photo frame, skype device and recipe book

    Thinkpad Tablet 2
    Sold to make way for the tablet 2. A decision now regretted as mentioned above.
     
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