iPad vs Laptop
Spurred by others, some of whom have blazed the way, I can compile notes about doing what I do, only on an iPad, or a laptop. For a quick background?
I got my first Apple laptop — Thanksgiving 1993. Dallas Cowboys lost as I drove through snow to get home to Austin. As an artifact, sentimental and historical, I still have that laptop, although, I can’t honestly say that it still fires up. I used it for work, moving forward, from that date. Of note, I’ve been through a succession of Apple laptops, and a few desktops, too. Far too many to list. Still, that’s over 25 years of roadwork. More than a quarter of century on the road.
In the last years, at the various venues, I’m trying to lighten my load, and get away from toting a laptop, along with signage, table settings, documentation, calling cards, tarot cards, and various chargers, plugs, plus whatever else.
I’m pleased to be down to half-dozen “day-shifts” in a month, mostly just Austin and San Antonio, and with an essentially quarterly schedule otherwise, just the average retail, 11 AM to 5 PM.(1)
Blowing past the six-year mark in Austin at the rock shop, cf., Sparkle Faerie, this type of gig — apparently — has some staying power.
iPad vs Laptop
What I do is a personal consultation, and I prefer to record these, so there’s no mistake about the content of what I’ve said. I can, on occasion, be brilliant, or so I’ve been assured — repeatedly. I’ve long since used the device for calculating a chart and recording the reading, goes back more than a decade now, as the same piece of hardware. Started on laptops, but I found that an iPad can do just as well.
There are about three good chart programs for the iPad, so I guess I’m still experimenting with which one works best.
I’m also old school about laptops, early on when they were fragile little things that needed to be on a steady surface before booting. The iPad strikes me as less fragile than a laptop, but the iPad requires greater focus. In part, though, this is rote familiarity. For the last dozen years, I’ve had a certain routine with the readings, “This call is now being recorded,”(2) and moving forward from that? I could access the hundreds, now tens of thousands of birth charts, quicker on the laptop.
The recording process on the iPad — and iPhone — feels superior, by virtue of simplicity. Works great, and the app will email the recording, or a link. Depends on the length of the recording. Just plain works, and works right, the first time.
iPad vs Laptop
workflow for readings
iPad is simple enough, start a recording, gather the chart data and input it, then delineate the details, talk about what’s happening, what’s up and coming, and where the person has been because that makes it easier to navigate a way forward. Simple enough. When done? E-mail the recording.
While there are more cumbersome steps involved in doing this on an iPad, the chart itself, and the apps tended to be less robust than my near 30-year old Mac version, but there’s a convenience factor. A large portion of the previous two years were spent in various hospital waiting rooms, and with an iPad, and phone, plus some good quality earphones, I am quite ready for work.
When I saddled up for the first two-day shows in Austin, even though the iPad is more than capable, for the sheer crush of the clients, the straight numbers, I’m used to the laptop flow. I don’t even carry a CD burner, or blank CDs anymore, although, at one time, that was cool. Portable printers, too, no, don’t do that anymore, either.
The current laptop flow included a tiny, lightweight application for recording the reading, saving it as an mp3, then a quick upload to a secure server so the client can access the mp3 via email or a web-based interface. For bookkeeping and records, I used to drop those onto DropBox for a backup. While there are more steps involved, after so long, I had this down as a smooth and easy set of distinctly different actions. While it wasn’t the most elegant, after so many years, the flow worked well, and I could execute it almost as second nature.
What I noticed, recently, is that — one of the older iPads I’m using is no longer “cellular,” as in — WiFi only — and means I have to laboriously log into whatever broadband is available at whatever venue. Adds a cumbersome step, but then, keeps from drawing on too much bandwidth.
During the last year I cleaned up the laptop’s connection thing, and I was amazed that I was carrying more than a dozen old logins for various locales. Hotels, motels, friends’ places, &c.
Looking at this process on a page though, seeing it in digital ink? Over the last year, I’ve done almost all of the events with just an iPad and keyboard, more as a test rather than as a full-on switch in workflow.
I switched. After the first show of this year, I pulled the plug.
iPad vs Laptop
My first “iPad keyboard case” — reviewed some years ago — and the case itself is older than that. Was. I wore it out. $30 new, and I wore it out in three or four years. Good numbers. Its replacement, there are now two, one is a rather similar to the original with the older Apple wireless keyboard, and the other is a newer canvas cover with a newer Apple wireless keyboard. Not always the best keyboards, but compared to everything else? Feel better and seem to work well enough.
The keyboard case is the missing element that makes this work, as the case folds up to protect the keyboard in transit yet provides a reasonably stable work-space. But the keyboard case that sets up like a stand? Works rather well with the way I like to work.
Works well enough, for either iPad, and the cases like that are totally device independent.
Not that it matters, but working on an iPad is pretty fluid. Form factors, input/output, all changes in a hurry.
The goal, at the start of this year, was to move to the iPad arrangement for the single day events, and the trips to the rock shops(3). Make life simpler.
Passed the year’s halfway point, the last big show in Austin for this year, I’ve used iPads almost exclusively, and while I’m not overly fond of the chart programs, the convenience afforded by the i–tablet form factor, and relatively robust hardware make this a clear step forward.
iPad vs Laptop
The difference is the software, and more towards that end, software that I’ve used intimately for almost three decades, so a change to iPad-only highlights shortcomings in my handling of software. The user-interface is different, but so is the user-experience. Different hardware is a different set of tools, so the outcome is predicated on the different hardware.
For me, though, the chart itself, that’s all I read, and its source doesn’t matter. Merely data displayed on a screen, and I can read that.
Turns out, the iPad — for me — is a clear winner.
(1) There’s nothing “average” about my work, and even the notion of a retail shift that runs from 11 to 5, never works out that way. But moving forward, I started listing my hours as 11 AM to 5 PM as the various shops and promoters have clearly indicated that no one wants to stay past their allotted time, none of the clerks, so I have to be done by 6 or 7 PM, which, in turn, it’s just easier to list every event as “11 to 5,” and save me the trouble.
(2) Unsure about the legal notices required, but I usually add that for my own amusement at the beginning of a call.
(3) “Rock shop,” while it can mean Nature’s Treasures in Austin, it can also refer to any one of a handful of shops where “Metaphysical tools,” and mineral specimens, are sold. More than a decade in the past? These were “New Age Book Stores,” but that setting has shifted. New Age Bookstores are replaced by Rock Shops. “Same diff, dude.”
All about mindset, man.