When creating instructions or help files, I set up my iPad in portrait mode, open Dictation, tap the screen, speak as I go through steps, tap the screen when I’m done, and in seconds I have the instructions typed out. To tidy it up, I copy it to a Word file in DocsToGo, or e-mail it to myself and, on my Mac, copy the e-mail to a new Word document. Just for grins, I made a Voice Memo on my iPhone, and later held it near the mic of the iPad and used Dictation to transcribe it! Faster than my typing!
As a long-time (25 years behind the mouse, good grief!) Mac user who bought one of the first eeePCs, I also enjoyed your detailed take on it, and the software recommendations. For Bluetooth, there are various tiny USB dongles that barely break the line of the machine—so they can be left in place—and that might give you the functionality you need. I have one by Rocketfish that lets me pair and transfer files by Bluetooth file transfer between my Macs and eeePC running the default Xandros or EasyPeasy Linux, although I have not tried to run a mouse or keyboard off it.
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Great article. Like you, I feel the need for a smaller Mac for traveling, but I went the Hackintosh option (Lenovo S10–2) to accompany my obligatory company Dell PC. The Lenovo duals boots into Windows as the camera does not work for Skyping my kids when I am away, but it is the perfect machine for working on planes, in the Mac environment, and then for personal use when I get “there.”
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I ran a 10″ netbook for a while with Mandriva Linux, but I always despised the 1024×600 resolution. By the time you subtract the screen real estate for the taskbar, menu bar, etc, there isn’t much left for real work. So I switched to an 11.6″ “Thin and Light” with a single-core Pentium. Not only did I get 1366×768 resolution, but the horsepower made all those heavy office-type applications run a little better. I still had an acceptable 6 hours of battery life. I would recommend this to anyone looking for something smaller, lighter, and less expensive than Apple’s offerings.
One more note: if a large part of your computer experience necessitates the use of office-type software, it might make sense to revisit Windows 7 with Microsoft Office. 7 is much more efficient and stable than its predecessor, and Office is still the benchmark for all other office-type software. I dual-boot my MacBook for that reason.
I’ll tell you what…I’m $700 in on my iPad purchase myself. I’m heading to Thailand in three weeks. I’ve got my 32 GB Wi-Fi model packed with books, movies, and music. If that isn’t enough to do on a 17-hour flight over the Pacific, I’ve got my old black 2007 MacBook with 349 MPEG 4 movies and 36 GB of music ready to be transferred right at my seat. It blows me away that every time I take this thing out in public a crowd gathers. And this is only the first generation of the device! I can’t wait for the next model.
It looks like you’re set for your trip! Please send us a note on how well your Apple iPad performed on the excursion.
—Robert Paul Leitao
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I feel almost the same about the iPad.
I opted for the 64 GB 3G/Wi-Fi model, but I will only resort to the 3G at gunpoint! I think they would be able to do something like Amazon does for the Kindle with a dedicated link to the iTunes store. That would make it (almost) perfect. The price per month for 3G really chafes me.
I’ve even tried a couple of subscriptions (Macworld and National Geographic)—good but zooming leaves graphics something less than what I expected.
I feel that they can make a few improvements, and no doubt will. When that happens, there goes another 800 bucks.
I use AccountEdge and support QuickBooks for a non-profit. If your business needs to track inventory, get AccountEdge. I have over 1,000 SKUs, and they change often.
I much prefer the payroll module in Accountedge. It is much easier and more intuitive to set up, use, and print tax reports. QuickBooks payroll is much harder if your staff does not have a strong accounting background. Customizing reports in QuickBooks is a bit better.
My biggest complaint with AccountEdge since the beginning is that account names print alphabetically, and I prefer to do it by zip code. You can work around it, but it should be a simple choice. Secondary and tertiary sort options would be nice.
Next complaint is that when entering a new sales or purchase order, the screen presents you with an invoice form as opposed to an order form or just a quote. You have to manually change to the other forms. This should be pre-set in a preference file.
I believe that QuickBooks for Mac is not available in a network edition. AccountEdge Network works fine, but it could be faster. I have never had more than three users on it at once, and it does slow down. A true server—client setup should improve speed.
Periodically I look at getting a new accounting program and have decided that for my needs I cannot justify spending a lot more money. The feature set would be much greater and the annual support costs really go up. I also dread the time needed to migrate all that data to a new accounting program.
I pay $25 per month for support (phone and e-mail), and this includes annual upgrades with payroll updates. It is much cheaper than just paying $199 for support and buying the upgrade later.
As a side note, the current network version for 2010 requires an Intel processor. Since my office and laptop are older Macs, I still use the 2009 version.
I stumbled across your review today and am extremely grateful for your thoroughness and guidance. I will now look into each of the programs with your experiences in mind and feel confident that I can assess the best way for me to go.
I’ve been looking into the Hybrid pack by Axio, and I like it a lot, but there’s also the Hybrid XL. It’s the same design but can hold more than a thousand more cubic inches. The load that you described that you carry (couple text books, lunch, binders, laptop, reading books) is pretty much what I carry as well, so I was wondering if the XL would even be necessary. Plus, you thought the regular Hybrid was nearly too big for you, and I’m also 5′10″-ish but only 140 pounds. Would the Hybrid Xl be too large for my needs and/or frame? Please give me some input on this. Thanks.
I’d say the XL is probably overkill for most people (you and me included). However, if you can find a local retailer of these packs, it might be worth checking them out in person.