Oct 08

My Eye-pad


ipadFor years I was strictly a PC guy. Beginning with DOS based computers in the late 80’s to Windows-based computers in the early 90’s and then to Linux-based computers in the mid 2000’s. I never once considered an Apple based device. In fact I was derisive of anyone who used an Apple based computer. This was, for the most part, due to the availability of software for PC based systems as opposed to software for Apple systems. It was not until the last few years that I came to respect Apple based computing in its own right, and this was probably mostly due to my introduction to my first IPAD.

My IPAD does most everything I need a device to do, and it does it very cheaply. Up until very recently, when laptops became cheap, one could expect to pay over $1000 for a decent PC or Laptop computer. That was only the beginning as any Windows-based computer came with only very rudimentary software. For one to become productive at all required a sizable investment into software for email, word processing, spreadsheets, etc. Additionally, Microsoft would charge for each new release of it’s Windows operating system. As mentioned in an earlier article, the investment in operating systems and software went away if one opted to take advantage of Linux-based computing. However, Linux-based computing was not for the average computer user who was in the habit of turning on a computer and having it work (until it crashed). To use Linux a basic understanding of hardware, drivers, hard disk partitioning, etc was important, and this scared away many. Windows-based computing dominated. As it has been said before, it is a Microsoft world and we have to live in it. . .until now.

In early 2011 I was issued my first IPAD. It was a basic device with only 16GB storage and wireless connectivity. My employer did not offer any plan to acquire or to reimburse for any productivity software. But for my benefit, as a sufferer of Macular Degeneration, the IPAD had a suite of accessibility software that changed the world for me. Most important to me was pinch and zoom, full screen zoom, and voice over technologies. In all fairness, I should mention that zoom and text to speech were also available in Windows and Linux operating systems, but ease of use of these technologies were certainly much improved with the IPAD. Text to speech was a horror in Windows XP with a voice called Microsoft Sam, and even worse in Linux. The Linux voice was not only extremely robotic sounding, but it has a British accent as well. In each version of IPAD text to speech (voiceover) got better and more easily understandable, to the point that I often have my IPAD read entire books to me. Almost everything that appears on the screen can be read to me by my IPAD. So, because of these accessibility features that have restored a lot of ability to me, I refer to my IPAD as my Eye-pad.

But don’t get me wrong, the IPAD is not only for those with low vision issues. The IPAD is a fully functioning computing device. There are several choices of productivity software, and they are available for free. Apple has Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for word processing, spreadsheets, and slide presentations. Originally there was a cost to purchase but now it is free. Additionally, there are several choices to obtain productivity suites that will do all of the above in one application, specifically QuickOffice and Polaris Office. Before you go to the App Store, be sure and explore your IPAD thoroughly for there are many options available out of the box, such as Email, web browsing with Safari, photo software, Itunes music, etc. And your IPAD will work seamlessly with other Apple devices you may own, such as a MAC book or Iphone.

In closing, I want to say that my desire to share this with you all is brought on by a love for this wonderful technology, not only for the way it has restored certain aspects to my life, but because it is truly a quality product that is modern and up-to-date. If you have been considering a tablet based device for your arsenal of technology, be sure and investigate the IPAD. In my opinion, Windows and Android devices are okay, but the IPAD is the king of the mountain.

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