all set up…

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I have finally sorted out the technology side of things in order to simplify my life. I must say for the last 8 or 9 months while I have been setting up and testing and changing things, it did not seem simple at all. In fact, the set up process seemed downright difficult and complicated most days.

So, what have I got going on? Firstly, I bought a bunch of stuff: ipads (I initially bought the cheapest wifi one I could get to test the theory of going almost paperless and portable, once I figured out the system, I upgraded to the newest ipad with the biggest GB so be able to use it for a long time to come), network router (I bought 2 of these – one for home, one for office), iphone, bluetooth keyboard (again 2), apps galore, the wahoo fitness dongle, and I have tested several 3G internet dongles too (I now have just one that travels between home and office). Yes, lots of money spent on the testing process. I have justified this by deciding that I will not need to buy another thing for years to come.

Secondly, what did I need? I wanted to run on an ipad only system to maintain confidentiality and security of notes etc. I also need it to be portable so that I am not stuck in one place trying to update notes – particularly important for consulting services where I am out of the office. I also wanted the flexibility to work from home as needed without carrying tonnes of paper and equipment. Given this, it meant scanning paper into the system. So, added to the equipment, an airprinter with scanning capacity. I also got the card reader so that I can upload my camera photos from SD card (remember having an actual camera?) to the ipad easily without using cloud transfer.

What was my solution? I have an airprinter at the office, which I use for both printing and scanning. I work on the ipad for both notetaking (in written form) and for word processing (I use 2 main apps after testing about 10). I scan everything into PDF so that it can be annotated later if needed. At home I have set up Apple TV so that I can watch iTunes U videos with ease while cooking, cleaning, etc. This is also useful for professional development videos. I use bluetooth keyboards with the ipad (one at the office and one at home), which allow ease of typing and word processing documents. Everything backs up into the cloud, I have different clouds for different purposes. e.g. I might use dropbox for photos, skydrive for work documents, box for personal documents and so on. This means that I don’t have to worry about the clouds becoming full too quickly, and also means that should one company suddenly collapse, I only lose access to one area of life. Also, the ipad offers document and data backup to icloud as a secondary backup. Therefore, I am sure I will not lose anything much. Lastly, I have my old laptop and every few months copy the folders to an external hard drive from the cloud. Therefore, at most all I would ever lose is one set of information from one part of life. I can live with that.

Why Apple? Mainly because the ease of use of the ipad and the security of it. There are few update issues compared with Android. I just got rid of my Android tablet, and my Android phone goes this Friday. Being able to remotely track and wipe the devices in the event of theft was a key reason that added to the decision. I can move between my ipads and iphone with ease, everything is automatically updated. I can upload my training data to garmin in a few minutes, and work on the big TV with my keyboard as needed. Most things now charge on the same lightning cable.

From where I sit, the months of testing and changing were worth it. I feel like I can return to the simple life, with little change for the foreseeable future. Fewer cables, less power (I am on solar and bought as many accessories that can be solar powered as I could) and more time to go and enjoy life. I’ll report in after 12 months or so to let you know how its all working out.

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