MARILYN GETS AN IPAD

Between the old router going bad and installing the new one, something caused the troubled laptop in my bedroom to go bonkers. It decided every certificate for every application and website I have ever used, or will use, was fraudulent. Although I did my best to fix it and I sort of did, but editing certificates is delicate and tricky.

Google Chrome went berserk and refused to let me connect. To anything. Even after finally finding a way to uninstall Chrome, it took a lot of coaxing before I could get Internet Explorer to run. In this case, the problem turned out to be IE. Its awful design. A feature, not a bug.

ipad3-image

I tried to use my 7-inch Kindle Fire HD to do everything, but it’s too small. I can’t load my website. Since (I believe this fits into the “irony” category) WordPress has “improved” their software to make it “mobile friendly,” it has become actively hostile. WordPress sites used to automatically resize. Now they won’t load at all. I could buy a cheap PC, but they run Windows 8, which I hate. Microsoft says I should want it, but I don’t.

That left me with three choices: Chrome, Kindle, and Apple. I’ve got an Alienware super laptop which I love, so all I need is something basic. To download and listen to audiobooks, check my blog and email, maybe play a game, and take a peek at Facebook.

My first choice would have been the big brother of my Kindle Fire HD, the 9″ version — about the same size as the iPad. But it has limitations. I need to be able to run multiple Audible accounts, which Kindles can’t do. Something to do with the Kindle OS. After a little research, I knew a Chromebook was too limited. It’s not a computer, just a way to connect to the web. Fine, if that’s all you need, but I need more.

I always thought the iPad was overpriced. I still think so, but I found a brand new 64 GB  iPad 3 for the same price as a big Kindle. I’ve had friends extolling the virtues of the iPad for years. I figured I’d get this thing. It would leap from its box and embrace me. Configure itself (like the Kindle really does), then clean my house and cook dinner.

Not exactly.

The iPad comes nicely boxed without any instructions.

These are ALL the instructions that came with my Apple iPad.
These are ALL the instructions that came with my Apple iPad.

If this is the only piece of Internet capable hardware in your possession, you’re shit out of luck. Everything you need is online … where you can’t get until after you set up the iPad. Not as easy as the lack of instructions would suggest.

Our nearest Apple store is more than 60 miles away and you have to make an appointment. They also need an attitude adjustment. The last time I was there, I wanted to install my iPhone into one of their bodily orifices. The limited service combined with their attitude made me less than eager to invest in their equipment. But Microsoft and Windows 8 had me cornered. I ran out of choices.

ipad3-specs

My new iPad did not leap out to embrace me. It was harder to set up than my laptop and much more difficult than the Kindle which doesn’t need any set up. The iPad lost the first two passwords I set. Unlike my PC, you can’t not have a password. You need layers and layers of passwords for everything. When it decided the password with which I’d replaced the initial password also didn’t exist, it asked for my birth date to confirm that I’m me. It then told me my birthday isn’t my birthday.

I don’t know much, but I know my birthday. I’m not sure what to do about it. Lacking any instructions, I can’t get into the computer to correct the misinformation it locked onto. It’s lucky I’m clever with computers. In the end, all computers are more alike than different. Interfaces vary, but under the hood, they work do the same stuff. Including the iPad.

I worked around its refusal to acknowledge my birthday, though I know I’m going to bump into the problem again. If anyone knows how to deal with this, I’d sure like to know. Meanwhile, on my fourth password, it acknowledged it and I moved on. I don’t understand why everything on an iPad requires a password, but it does. Apparently not every time you use it, but when you activate or install anything, it requires one, two, or three passwords. I swear I entered passwords 100 times or more during setup. It fought me tooth and nail about connecting to this website, but when I was ready to fling it out into a snowdrift and leave it for the dogs, it must have heard me thinking.  It gave up the fight and connected. It took another long battle to convince it to accept multiple Audible account, but eventually, it let me download books from more all my accounts. If I could have done this on Kindle, I wouldn’t have gotten the damned iPad.

I installed the latest operating system (8 point something) and it’s working. It only took most of an afternoon, which these days is rather a lot of configuring for a modern computer.

I was so pissed off with it for giving me a hard time, I didn’t want to use it, but I had to give it a fair try. For the last three days, I’ve logged several hours a day scooting around the Internet, downloading books and audiobooks. Listening to books.  Installing stuff. I’m not thrilled with Safari. It’s a bit clunky, though far better than IE. It’s not hard to be better than IE.

It is a great size. Nice big screen. Amazing battery life. Audio is good, though not loud enough. Graphics are high quality. It resists fingerprints better than a Kindle.  It’s slower than my other devices. Surprisingly sluggish when opening applications, downloading, and connecting to the net. It gets there, but I’m not used to waiting.

My expectations may have been unreasonably high. It’s not entirely my fault. With Apple enthusiasts telling me how fantastic the iPad is, how perfect, I expected fantastic.

What I got is a nice, serviceable tablet. It’ll do the job, though I prefer a keyboard and a mouse. My hands are not what they were. Poking at it puts more stress on my arthritic hands than does a mouse. I don’t like virtual keyboards. My fingernails are always too long, fingers inaccurate, imprecise. And the iPad requires a solid poke to respond.

Do I love it? No, but it has a potential — and it isn’t Windows 8.  I’m sure I will make peace with it, but I wish I liked it more.

Would I recommend an iPad? It depends on what you need. I think I made the right choice, maybe the only choice. But if Microsoft would get their act together, I’d gladly return to the fold.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

25 thoughts on “MARILYN GETS AN IPAD”

  1. I have two iPads, one for personal use (an old, iPad 3) and one for work use (an iPad 4, I think). The one for personal use doesn’t require a password at all. I do have to have an Apple password (same one I use for iTunes and to download new apps). I also didn’t have any trouble with it connecting to the internet. It automatically provided a list of available WiFi connections (I live in a multi-tenant building, so there are quite a few), found my WiFi, and all I had to do was enter my WiFi’s password. Relatively simple. Not sure why you were having all of those issue with WiFi and with passwords.

    Anyway, good luck with it. It won’t replace a laptop, but for reading, surfing, battery life, and portability, it’s pretty damn good. By the way, there’s also a version of Chrome (the browser) for the iPad that works pretty well, if you’re not crazy about Safari.

    Like

    1. Some of my problems are WordPress issues. The edit screen doesn’t resize properly, though the site itself displays fine. I didn’t have trouble connecting to the Internet, but it kept refusing to recognize my Apple password. I had to redo it over and over until it took. Then it told me my birthday didn’t agree with their records amd I lost my temper. Not the right approach to computer problems.

      I’ve had problems like this before. I don’t know what causes them or why they disappear. Didn’t expect to have to keep giving that password every time I did something until finally, it started to behave. Maybe updating the OS helped. Regardless, setting it up was a pain in the butt.

      I don’t like Safari. I’ll have to find Chrome for the iPad.

      I got spoiled by Kindles that come ready to use out of the box. Some documentation would have helped, too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had to get used to my iPad over time as it’s worth remained a mystery for some time. Now I get a kick out of some of the Apps and continue to find new uses for it. One I particularly like is watching movies and TV series on NetFlix. A friend turned me on to some other movie Apps and I’ve begun to access them. I still use my Kindle because, as you say, it’s an easy, no fuss device.

        Like

        1. I feel a little better since I managed to install Chrome and I don’t have to use Safari, but it is a pretty clunky device. If Kindle could handle multiple audible accounts , I’d have gone with that. But it can’t do that and that is what I need to do. Frustrating. Amazon says they are really trying to fix that glitch that limits Kindle users to a single Audible account. It’s a software incompatibility. But they’ve been saying that for over a year and so far, no progress. And I need it to work properly right now.

          Like

      1. I use that app for my android Nexus 7 and used to use it for my iPad. It really makes a big difference. I use the free version but for $.99 I wouldn’t mind the pay version if it did a superior job.

        Like

  2. I love my iPad, but it’s not a computer. That’s important to keep in mind. It does a lot of things, but will not replace a laptop or PC. That being said, give yourself some time to learn things as you go. As for the keyboard, a cheap stylus will go a long way to solving that issue. Sadly the WordPress problems are, I fear, a WordPress concern and they don’t seem able to fix them. Enjoy.

    Like

    1. Yes, in their ongoing determination to make WordPress mobile friendly, they have actually made it MUCH WORSE. They should get together with Microsoft and discuss ways to take a good interface and turn it to crap. I’m having trouble figuring out which problems are the limitations of the iPad and which are the problems designed by WordPress as their “better way.”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Out of all the Apple products, iPad is my least favorite, but…Once you get used to the thing, you will become addicted. I despise Windows in any of its iterations and after I got used to Safari and Apple, I’d rather fight than switch. (and yes I did just steal unashamedly from an old cigarette commerical). Hang in there and if you keep an eye out, there are cheap keyboards that can be used with the iPad, my only other complaint with the thing is the onscreen one, that makes it a lot easier to use. I do admit that I love the MacBook Air, for its ability to access wifi better than anything else out there at the moment, imho.

    Like

    1. Microsoft’s determination to make me use the horrible Windows 8 was a serious error of judgement. I like working on a good windows machine and I have a great Alienware laptop. I didn’t need a serious a piece of equipment for this job, but all the lower end PCs come with Win 8 … so I went with the iPad. I’m hoping I learn to like it more. That it will only run ONE application a time is annoying. Actually, there are a lot of annoying things. Compared to a Kindle, it’s clunky. But familiarity will help and I think one of the problems I’m encountering may actually be a WordPress issue … though I’m not seeing it on this computer — just on IE and any browser on the iPad — so maybe not.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve used iPad to write articles on and to be honest, it was alright till it came time to add images. The lack of a trackpad or a mouse made that a nightmare, but, there are ways around it, I’m told. Buggered if I can remember how, but there are ways. I used, apart from Safari, Google Chrome on the iPad and got on very well. IE is rubbish on any device! LOL

        Like

        1. I looked at it and decided “NOT.” No way I’m going to try to do any graphics handling on that machine! I can’t even figure out how to copy and paste text … and the absence of arrow keys makes positioning the cursor subject to the whims of fingertips. I’m too old for finger-painting. The iPad is good for listening to audiobooks, checking email (but not answering it). It won’t display the WordPress dashboard properly, so I can’t edit on it. On all.

          I’m better off on my 7″ Kindle, as far as editing goes. Thank WP for that. They have improved it to the point of uselessness.

          The biggest problem, other than not having a pointing device and control — is it isn’t powerful enough to run do things at a time. One will lock up. It’s not designed for multi-tasking. You do one thing, close it, do the next, and it works pretty well. I’m used to doing everything at the same time and flipping around between open applications. But then again, I’m comparing the equivalent of a 12-cylinder Jaguar to a Morris Minor with a bad valve. They are both cars, but …

          This laptop is a beast and I totally LOVE it. The iPad is … well … it is what it is. Limited.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. My wife has an iPad because there are apps that are iPad only. I have last years version of the Kindle HDX 9″. When I’ve used her iPad I like my Kindle much, much better. maybe I’m just used to it…

    Like

    1. The Kindles are easier to use. And faster. Less versatile, but if you don’t need to do something outside the Amazon universe, they are amazing little tablets. I needed a tablet to do ONE thing Kindles cannot do, but every time I use the iPad, I miss the Kindle.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I use my iPad a lot and didn’t have many problems setting up. I will check notifications and my reader on the WordPress app but it trims my photos should I try to use it to write a post. Not impressed with that at all. I use several photo editing apps with it and have a lot of fun. Good luck with it.

    Like

  6. Congrats on you new acquisition! I don’t have an iPad but many people around me do and they love it, so I’m sure you’ll get to appreciate this new friend very quickly. It always takes a little while to get to know a new piece of equipment. Enjoy!

    Like

    1. Thank you. I think some of my Apple enthusiast friends over-sold the iPad. I actually do prefer the Kindle, but it wouldn’t do the job I need to do. I’m sure I’ll like it better when I’ve used it more. Right now, it’s a learning curve … I’ll get there.

      Like

  7. I have been meaning to read this one for some time.You know I am an iPad disciple, I have even been thinking about renaming my cats, like iTabby and iFluffy, but they were not impressed. I have had an iPad almost since it was born. Mr. Swiss got his before it was born, so I have got used to having a pet ipad. It is a compliment to my computer. Passwords? Since I have had my Apple Mac, my life is one big password. One for this, one for that, so yes I had to write them all down. My iPad had a sound problem yesterday, it choked instead of saying “ping”, but Mr. Swiss to the rescue and now it does not even cough. I like my iStuff and now to read an iBook on my iPad whilst watching the iTelevision at the same time.

    Like

    1. I just had to accept that it is what it is … not a computer. A tablet. It does some stuff very well and fortunately, it does what I need it to do best of all. But I thought it would do more. I’m used to real computers and it isn’t a computer, just a tablet. A nice tablet.

      Like

Talk to me!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.