Traveling With Your iPad as Your Computer

Last week I set off for an initial visit with a new client with the following technology:

This was the very 1st time I have gone to a client’s office without my laptop. I have been preparing for this for several months. I have traveled a couple of times on personal business and one conference with these tools in order to become comfortable with relying on these tools. It also has taken a good deal of research and testing to find the Apps that allow me to do this.


I put off buying an iPad for a very long time. I didn’t think I would find enough of a use for it to justify the cost. Was I wrong on this call. It has become my constant companion. So, if you are going to fully embrace such a tool then it should be properly equipped to answer as many of your needs as possible. As most of my friends and business associates know I am a software junkie. I am always trying new programs to see how they improve my productivity as well as that of my clients.

While I love my MacBook Pro and I have access to a lot of Mac software, my clients all use Microsoft products as that is what their agency management systems integrate with and support. Thus, I have a virtual PC on my MacBook Pro to facilitate this. In the last few weeks two new apps have been released that aid in editing Microsoft documents. These are CloudOn and OnLive Desktop. I have downloaded both and am working with them to see which functions the best. I will keep you posted on this.

But I hear a whole bunch of you asking what is a LiveScribe Pen and why. A LiveScribe pen is a tool for capturing your notes by writing, drawing, etc. on special paper. The pen also has a recorder function. As to the why? Years ago when I started consulting I was taught and required by my employer to take notes while talking to an agency’s employees by typing them on my laptop during the interview process. An open laptop is actually a barrier between you and the individual or group that you are wanting to have an interactive conversation with.

To combat this problem for a number of years I used a tablet laptop so that I could write my notes on the laptop in its tablet configuration. Not only was this an icebreaker, but it solved the problem with an open laptop. But when it had to be replaced there was not a similar laptop in the market place that was reliable. So I invested in the LiveScribe Pen. Not only does the pen and its paper take care of my note taking, the recorder had proven invaluable.

No matter how good a note taker your are, when working with a group sometimes multiple people are talking and you miss something. I have found some really important points made while listening to the recording of a session.

So why don’t I ditch the pen and just take notes on the iPad? I have identified three great note Apps. However, I have yet to find a really good stylus for note taking. All that I have found are too fat on the tip and are not responsive enough. However, I believe that one is on the horizon. I will report back on that soon.

I am always researching and moving forward with my technology and in being able to advise my clients in their options?

What are your best tools? What questions can I answer about the tools I use?

  • Anonymous

    Great blog, Pat, and thanks for the info!  Like you it took me a long time to finally
    bring myself to buy an iPad, and now that I have one, it has essentially
    replaced my laptop.  I will carry a small
    plug-in keyboard to use with the iPad when typing is an absolute necessity and
    I don’t want to use the touch screen, but about 85% of the time, the touch
    screen is fine, and I only break out the keyboard when working on an extended
    project. I hadn’t heard much about the LiveScribe pen but hearing you talk
    about it has at the least, inspired me to check it out.  On app I love that I thought I’d toss out…the
    TV Everywhere app by DISH. It was put out by my employer and I originally got
    it on my iPad just to run through it and familiarize myself with it in case a
    customer had a question, but now I use it all the time, and especially when I
    travel. There are times when I’m in between books or am just burnt out that I’d
    rather just relax and be entertained; winding down for the night, a layover at
    the airport, whatever, and TV Everywhere is perfect for this. With it I can watch
    any live or recorded program off my home receiver as long as I’m somewhere with
    a 3G or wifi connection.  It’s a great
    way to kill time on a long flight, too. 
    I’ll check back for more info on a more responsive stylus for the iPad,
    but until then I think I’ll take a look at the LiveScribe.  Thanks again!

    • Thanks for your comments and info on the TV Everywhere App. I have a feeling that the iPen might replace the LiveScribe. We will see. It will take some adjustment from paper to screen but I did it before with a laptop tablet. I am really looking forward to trying it out and sharing.

      • Anonymous

        Ooh, The iPen? I haven’t even HEARD of this.  I’ll have to look into that too…I suppose if it came down to the LiveScribe and the iPen I might as well just go with the iPen.  Thanks again for the info!

  • Have you tried the Targus stylus? It is the first one that has worked for me.

    • Rick, I have the Targus stylus and use it some. I would like one with a finer tip for taking notes when interviewing clients.