Book review

Review: iPad at Work by David Sparks
Wiley Publishing, Hoboken New Jersey, 2011

Review by Stephen Quinn

People new to the iPad2 will find this a useful book. More seasoned users might not. The book focuses on business use for lawyers, real estate agents, IT and financial folk. But that is no reason to exclude discussion of photography apps, blogging software and apps for social networking.

I learned about helpful tools like Apple AirPrint, for wireless printing, and a way to trick the iPad2 into thinking a USB thumb drive is a camera to transfer movie files easily (name the folder DCIM).

It’s a reflection of the evolving state of the publishing industry – and perhaps a tribute to paper’s longevity as a reference tool – that a book about how to get the best from your iPad2 should appear in print as well as the more logical electronic format.

The paper version sells on Amazon for $US 18.25 while the e-book costs $US 17.29. At least five other books on the subject are available on Amazon, and the print edition has been discounted from its original $US 30.

The listing of prices in American dollars helps us appreciate the low cost of technology in Hong Kong. Sparks recommends a wireless keyboard case, the Incase Origami, and a Bluetooth keyboard to turn the iPad into an efficient word processor. He says he wrote much of the book using these tools.

Together they sell for $US 109. In Hong Kong the devices cost HKD758 in total, equivalent to $US 97. In China, close to where they are made, I paid $US 100 for the Bluetooth keyboard alone – a reflection of high taxes on the mainland.

One of my pet peeves is a tendency for American technical books to describe apps only relevant to the United States yet believe them global products. In the chapter on how to use the iPad2 for international travel Sparks recommends UrbanSpoon for finding restaurants while overseas. Using this app “I have had delicious meals in far-away places,” writes Sparks. No Hong Kong restaurants appear in this app.

Verdict: Useful if taken with a grain of salt, though not sure where to find the app for that.

This review appeared in the Sunday Morning Post, Review section, 12 February 2012, page 14.

Categories: Not home, Review

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