iPad 2 first impressions of a music maker/web developer designer

I managed to acquire the iPad 2 yesterday as Tekserve had the one I wanted in stock (32gig Wifi Only). I’ve had a few key objectives in mind for the device. I want to move the majority of my music making activities and process to the iPad. I also want to see if I can move my web development process (and eventually even my graphic design practice) over to the device.

The music making was an easy win. Thanks to the very affordable camera connection kit I can connect my USB MIDI keyboard devices without any setup making the iPad a very powerful synthesizer. I’d already stocked up on IK Multimedia iPhone apps for guitar amplifiers although with all that Garageband offers I wonder if that was even necessary. Those apps did carry over nicely to the iPad. I use an amazing synth/sequencer app called Nanosynth that also works amazingly on the iPad even if the resolution is fuzzy as it was intended for the phone. I haven’t been making too much music lately and I’m hoping that the casualness and comfort of the iPad encourages me to make more.

I did some searching for web development iPad apps this morning and actually only three quality ones turned up: Gusto, Textastic and Markup. Based on reviews I decided it was going to be between Gusto and Textastic to use for my HTML/CSS/PHP files (usually in a WordPress theme development workflow). I decided that Textastic was going to suit my needs. I had a moment of confusion early in my use of Textastic and I purchased Gusto as well. Unfortunately I found Gusto to be very difficult to get started with and also very crashy. So I dived back into Textastic and realized that my first instinct had probably been right. I’m currently in the middle of theming a personal project using just the iPad for code and I have to say it’s going quite well. In some respects it’s even faster than my desktop process. In others maybe not.

A few things on my web development wishlist for the iPad would be the equivalent of the Web Developer Toolbar Firefox Add-on for iOS Safari. There is no such thing as add-ons for Safari in the iPad as far as I can tell. Perhaps I just need to use a different iPad browser. I really dislike Opera but I’ll have to check if there’s any sort of Web Dev Toolbar in Opera Mobile. Also, I would love to be able to view page source in Safari. Kind of odd you can’t do that. Lack of these things actually does slow down the dev process on an iPad.

20110422-012134.jpgOther first impressions. I think the Twitter iPad app is pretty nice. Honestly, much better than the desktop version. I like that their’s enough screen real estate to have full pages from links show up within the Twitter app. The only catch, is that it was pretty crashy.

I downloaded Flipboard, which I didn’t realize was free. That was a nice surprise. That app seems quite good. Honestly, I haven’t read print magazines in so long I feel a little confused by the traditional orderliness of the layouts it presents. I like waking up and checking Twitter links first thing and I think Flipboard could enrich that experience. They’ve brought back the morning paper for the social age!

I have to say, I was disappointed that there is no iPad specific Facebook app. I suppose Facebook is just fine to use in the browser. I was hoping for some more immersive iPad experience. But that’s just as well. I’m down on Facebook lately and I have a suspicion that they’ve already peaked. Maybe 2010 was the year of Facebook and it’s already over.

What else to report? Its only been a day. The shape is kind of funny. Almost comfortable. Not totally. Or maybe just not yet. One other thing worth mentioning is that now that I’m so accustomed to the iPhone 4’s beautiful screen its somewhat disappointing that the iPad 2 still has the old resolution screen. I assume there’s no way the could have kept the price down if they’d included that high resolution screen.

A strange and very New York Day

We’ve been meaning to discipline ourselves to wake up earlier. We work so late into the night that 11am and later has become the norm. I set the alarm today for 9:30. I woke up and went straight to the Twitter thinking that the mental stimulation would be enough to get my day going. It wasn’t. I awoke again at 10:30 disappointed that I couldn’t do it. The first item of business was revising a proposal. Proposals bring a lot of promise. What we’ve realized is that they also monopolize the day. And these are busy days…thus 3am working nights. And here I am again at 2:30am with a plate full of work to do and wishing I could blog more.

There was some curiosity earlier in the day which is not worth writing about except for the fact that it took a bit of our energy before we finally pushed it aside. There was another lead. There was family on vacation calling me to track down Grandpa’s aid to make sure he was ok. Just when we thought we were ready to settle in for the evening and dig in to do some work another phone call. This one more unexpected. Our wedding DJ maestro who we remain in contact with called us up with tickets to see PJ Harvey…tonight. Literally an hour from his call. I’m not familiar with PJ Harvey’s music at all. I some how missed her phenomenon in the 90s and have never caught up. But Ewa had been a fan and had never seen her live. So why not? The tickets were literally wired to me from the DJ’s friend who couldn’t make the show because of some untimely relationship difficulties (I hope this is mended!)

We found ourselves at Terminal 5 where we’d arrived about 20 minutes late for PJs start (we actually didn’t know the start time). One thing I noticed is that she has so many short songs that I probably heard several albums worth of material in the hour we caught of her set. I can’t say I’m won over as a fan but I did enjoy myself. We decided to walk all the way back to the East Side to get some exercise.

As we walked through midtown we noticed that we’re being waved down by a couple. I’m notorious for having street tunnel vision so I didn’t realize until we were much closer that these were good friends of ours N & E (N who I’ve known for a decade and a half since college). We hadn’t seen them since we were partying at another college buddy’s wedding in Rio de Janeiro last November. And what were they doing at that late hour of 11:30pm? N had just left work and E was picking her up. I guess we can’t feel so bad about working late into the night after all. We made it back around midnight in time to shake hands with the security guard closing up for the night.

Now we’re back. Working again. Hoping to wake up at a decent hour tomorrow but you know how it goes.