The 30 Best iPad apps for college students and academics (part 3)

Best iPad apps for universityWelcome to the grand finale of my personally favorite 30 iPad apps for everybody in academia, university and college. This time, I am focusing on the best iPad apps for Organizing and Enjoying life in academia.

This series is different from most collections you will find online. Often, the usual iPad apps everybody knows are thrown together with some apps targeted at particular niches in higher education (e.g., Elements for chemistry students). Nothing wrong with that, except that you might not hear anything new or useful for your own academic workflows (okay, in this case there would be something wrong with that).

This list is different: I only focus on high quality, productivity-boosting iPad apps that improve the workflows across all subjects and levels of academia. Whether you are a college freshman in art history, a post-doc in life sciences, or a seasoned professor in business: I am sure you will find something here that helps you super-charging your academic life. [Read more...]

Three steps for fighting the chaos in your email inbox

If there is one thing I am genuinely afraid of it is my email inbox. Every time I am getting too busy to keep my inbox in check, my Unread Emails counter immediately grows three digits big. And I am not even important! How can we deal with the flood of emails from advisors, colleagues, professors, students, administrators, listservs, and RSS feeds? Here are three steps for taking control over your inbox. [Read more...]

8 Mac apps for $40?! Is the Productive Macs bundle worth it? [expired]

Productive Macs bundleEvery once in a while, a group of Mac applications are pulled together in a bundle and offered for a ridiculously low price. Productive Macs is one of those, and it offers you 8 Mac apps for the price of $40. Is it worth it? This review will tell you.

In short: Unless you already have a good information management workflow in place, the Productive Mac bundle is a good investment. DEVONthink and HoudahSpot are two alternative systems to organize all kinds of files – either in a database or through tagging. MacJournal is a great tool for organizing your writing projects, and MailTags seems to be a good way to expand your info management workflow into your email inbox.

The rest of this review gives you some more background on how the eight apps bundled in the Productive Macs offer fit into academic workflows. [Read more...]

Writing in the wild: Unleash your flow with a keyboard for the iPad

Writing on the iPadI am finding more and more that the iPad is a really great tool for writing sessions. However, if you are planning to write for an extended period of time, you’re going to need an external keyboard. In this post, I am discussing why the iPad is great for writing everywhere, how my setup looks like, and what good keyboard alternatives are out there for you.

Especially now, as the summer slowly returns to my little town in Canada, I enjoy taking my iPad to the park for morning or late afternoon writing sessions. Writing outside the the ultimate productivity boost for me. Breathing the fresh air and smelling the scents of an unfamiliar surrounding really gets me into my flow – maybe this is mandatory for someone whose dissertation is about the role of nature in sustainable consumption. However, nothing of this would happen without the external keyboard that I throw into my bag before strolling to the park. [Read more...]

Inbox Zero: A better way to manage email

At all levels of academia email is a used and often abused form of communication.  Whether you use a Mac, iPad, or iPhone to view and write email, you can use the principles of Inbox Zero.  With evolving technology continuing to lower the barriers to communication, the number of inputs we receive in a given day continues to increase.    Unfortunately, we often don’t take the necessary steps to train ourselves on how to best deal with these inputs.  Well, that will change by reading this article. [Read more...]

Byword has finally arrived on the iPad!

ByWord for iPadByword, my maybe favorite distraction-free writing app on the Mac, has finally arrived on the iPad. I have written about similar apps, such as OmmWriter and iA Writer, before, but except for hinting at ByWord as a good alternative, I haven’t talked about it in much detail.

What held me back? Byword was slow to enter the iCloud game. But now that Byword has caught up with iA Writer, I can tell you more about what makes Byword a great (maybe my favorite?) distraction-free writing solution. [Read more...]

15 tricks to get the most out of your iPad

iOS 5Joel Bankhead over at app storm.net sat down earlier this month to write down 42 features of iOS 5 you might have missed. Well, some of those are pretty obvious, but here are 13 features of this list plus 2 features I came up with that are especially relevant for academics. [Read more...]

How to type faster on your iPad or Mac

Today, academiPad welcomes its first guest author post! I know Bryan Sippel from my first year at Queen’s, and he was a productivity ninja already back then. Nowadays he sharpens his skills as a consultant, working with higher education institutions implementing, upgrading, and supporting the Oracle Campus Solutions software product. Thanks Bryan for bringing our typing up to speed!

Do you like to save time?  If you spend a lot of time typing on a Mac or iOS device, TextExpander is an application guaranteed to save you time.  TextExpander allows you to configure “snippets” of text that will expand to additional text when you type them in any application. Think of a long word, phrase, or paragraph that you often find yourself typing.  If you can think of a short snippet for it, TextExpander is something to consider.  For example, I have configured a snippet  “ddate” which expands to the date written in full (e.g. Thursday, February 2, 2012).  Another snippet is  ”ttime” which expands to a time stamp (e.g. 1:30 PM).

[Read more...]

How you can “just write it down” with iA Writer

 

iA Writer“This is a great idea. It brings a whole new perspective to our literature. And I know exactly how to write it down. Here it goes,…” And then nothing happens, except you staring at a blank page in your text editor or playing around with the formatting options. That’s why the world needs distraction-free writing tools such as iA Writer ($5, App Store).

Most people I know use Apple Pages or Microsoft Word for all their writing needs: from the first written word to the last proof-read. I did that. But it didn’t work for me. I diagnosed myself with “white-page anxiety” (who knows a Latin term for this?), because I get no writing done in any application that suggests to me that the first try has to result in a perfectly publishable end-product. And full-blown word processors do exactly that – at least for me. That’s why I prefer to write most of my stuff (including this post) in an environment that is as simplistic as it goes. Call it the “everything-is-temporary-effect”.

 

Simplicity is King

iA Writer comes both for the Mac and the iPad and positions itself as the godsend in distraction free writing.  [Read more...]