All 15 entries tagged Ipad

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May 06, 2011

New CISCO app for connection to the CISCO UoW VPN

Follow-up to iPad and the CISCO VPN at Warwick from Rudo's blog

Graeme Leng-Ward from our libraries data services pointed out to me that there is now an official procedure on the IT Services website for downloading the Cisco AnyConnect client from the Apple “App Store” and then following the VPN set up instructions on

Hence IT Services will not now give out the "group name" and "group password/secret" from their helpdesk for use with the preinstalled iPad IPSEC Cisco client. The method described earlier does not work because you can't get the group/secret info any more - though if you already have the group name/secret then it still does work.

November 26, 2010

iPad and the CISCO VPN at Warwick

Follow-up to iPad after 3 months from Rudo's blog

When you want to use the Warwick Virtual Private Network (VPN), for example in order to access library or online journals with the same privileges as if you would be on campus, then this now works! However, unlike the instructions for desktops, it is not enough to point your iPad's safari browser to Instead, we can use the preinstalled iPad IPSEC Cisco client (go to "Settings", "General", "VPN").

For the IPSEC VPN client to work, you need to obtain from ITS (via helpdesk) the "group name" and "group password/secret". Then use the standard server, type in your ITS user id and connect.

After a few seconds, you will be asked your ITS username (prefilled) and password, then a dialog appears asking you to confirm. Done! And now enjoy browsing that 20 page research PDF from Nature/Science while on the beach ;-)

October 06, 2010

iPad after 3 months

Follow-up to recently installed iPad apps from Rudo's blog

This blog has been quiet and you may have wondered: is he still using the iPad? Well, I think my Physics colleagues would have been able to answer this rather affirmatively! They make jokes about the iPad slowly becoming part of my body (not true!).

But seriously, yes, it is moving evermore into the centre of things. Let me give you some examples:

[1] Went to an international conference in Mexico where I was organizer and had to give a talk. Used [Keynote] for the talk. All went well, never missed my laptop at all!

[2] I now tend to give all science talks using the iPad, will do so again this Friday in Leeds. No more laptop for me to carry.

[3] Actually, with the iPad, and its nearly seamless integration via MS eXchange with calendars, emails, contacts, etc. who still needs a smartphone? I have an old HTC smartphone and was sort of desperate for an updated version, but now, this seems much less needed. The only thing I really use the phone for is the talking bit and really I do not do very much of it on the mobile anyhow (yes, sad life, I know).

[4] Am giving lectures with the iPad. Not using [Keynote], but simply displaying PDFs via [GoodReader].

[5] [GoodReader] now allows marking/highlighting/etc in PDFs, so great to go thru papers, theses, reports, etc. Then just mail them back to your students/colleagues/etc.

[6] I still read a lot on the iPad, mostly for pleasure when there is time. With [Stanza], [iBooks] and [Kindle], there is hardly any book (ok, this comment is for the English language readers) which is not available!

So overall, this is an excellent device which reduces the weight of things to carry around while offering nearly all of the flexibility of the laptop. Let's see how I think about it after the term has finished!

July 31, 2010

recently installed iPad apps

Follow-up to iPad on a holiday from Rudo's blog

Some more info on useful apps:

[App Tracker] Free app which allows better browsing of the available apps than the Apple App Store.

[Air Sharing HD] App which allows access to many file-transfer protocols and sites, including SFTP. Hence this allows access to files which are behind proper SSL/SSH/SFTP/FTP-SSL controls. A bit cluncky when dealing with the files, but certainly allows access to files on the CSC servers.

[Periodic Table] Nice and quick summary of properties of all elements in the periodic table. Good reference.

[Dictation] Converts speech to text which can then be used (mostly copied) into other applications. Not sure this is really useful for me, my German accent is clearly a challenge for it.

[iFractal] Plots Mandelbrot and associated Julia sets. Allows "pan and zoom" to zoom into the images. Nice to show the beauty of fractals (to my 10 year old daughter).

[Molecules] PDB viewer for large protein structures. Quick and allows download of .pdb files from the Protein Databank.

[Clinometer] Does what is says on the tin, nicely and graphically: measures angles and inclinations.

[3D Sun] Download past and "current" (from today) images of the sun. Beautiful images and movies of sun flares and more. Should be a runner for our CFSA people.

[FreeFTP] converts the iPad into a Wifi FTP server for quick and easy (if on the same Wifi network) access to data.

iPad on a holiday

Follow-up to iPad, one month on from Rudo's blog

I took the iPad with me on a holiday (lovely, thanks). Loaded it up with (i) work stuff such as PDFs and (ii) in-flight entertainment such as movies, podcasts and songs and also (iii) books.

On the plane, the iPad was *much* better than any laptop. It is so small and slim that it is no problem to take out of a bag when sitting down and quickly back in after landing. During the flight, it easily fits into the seat-storage. The flight-mode setting is also easily accessible. Watching movies/podcats/etc during the flight is easy, the iPad can be held in various positions which makes the whole experience very enjoyable. Same during the airport waiting times. A bit of a problem since Wifi was not available, so the initial download of data was needed.

During the holidays, it was a great advantage to have just one iPad and not many heavy books and papers to carry. Read a 500+ pages book (Lee Smolin, "Trouble with Physics") and half a dozen scientific papers (PDFs). All worked great and was a pleasure.

No Wifi during all of the 7 days of the trip, but had downloaded enough off-line content before to be quite content.

Summary: the iPad is great for travel, particularly when you need to read manuscripts, papers and more as well as books.

July 17, 2010

iPad, one month on

Follow-up to Dropbox on the CSC linux machines from Rudo's blog

Just back from a conference. Except for the presentation, I needed no laptop at all and in fact left it in the hotel room. But I did take my iPad. With the iPad, I could easily keep in touch with my research group, do pretty much all of the necessary email work, browse the web and do my editorial (hence serious) work. In addition, it was great for taking notes at the conference talks (which I could then with a simple click share with the people at home).

Originally, I had also planned to use the iPad for the presentation itself. For this, I invested in the [Keynote] app, Apples presentation software. But since I did the original presentation under MS Powerpoint, I needed to convert. In principle, Keynote can do this, but the result for me was appalling: format and position of material in the slides had been changed, no video play seems to be available in keynote, etc. So if you do presentations with PPT and then want to convert, expect unpleasant surprises. If you use fancy transitions and animations in PPT, again these may not work in Keynote. For more static content, this might be ok, but then why not use the PPT to PDF conversion and simply show PDFs via GoodReader?

Don't get me wrong, I expect that when one imports a Mac Keynote presentation, then things will work ok. It's just that with PPT, the current conversion is not good enough. Oh, and one more thing: presentation import has to be via iTunes, Keynote does not support DropBox, googleDocs or any other free service. I expect it will work with meMobile or iDisk, but then I do not use these Apple products.

What else? As the iPad does not have a USB dock, transferring files onto it outside of iTunes (and when you are travelling, you cannot simply expect iTunes to be installed everywhere) is a pain. Now I am using the FTP server [freeftp] which turns the iPad into a WiFi FTP server. So one can quickly move files onto the iPad and off again as long as WiFi access is assured. I also have some movies installed on the iPad via iTunes. Was watching them while on the train coming back from the conference. Works rather well and is a good way to entertain your tired mind on a train.

July 05, 2010

Dropbox on the CSC linux machines

Follow-up to iPad week3 from Rudo's blog

Dropbox, the 'it just works' file syncing service, released their Linux client recently. Unfortunately, it has a heavy Gnome/Nautilus dependency. If you don't use Gnome, you can get Dropbox to work without that baggage with these steps:

  1. Download the closed source Dropbox Linux client from (x86_64 for 64 bit)
  2. Extract the contents and you should get a .dropbox-dist folder out of the archive. Move the folder to $HOME
  3. Run ~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd.

The first time you run the dropboxd daemon, a wizard will prompt you to configure the client for your machine. By default, Dropbox syncs the contents of the ~/Dropbox folder and as long as the dropboxd daemon is running, it will transparently sync that folder with your Dropbox account. To ensure that the daemon runs whenever you use your computer, just add a symlink to it in your ~/.kde/Autostart/ folder or equivalent location.

You don't actually need to do anything beyond that since it 'just works'. But if you feel like getting hold of some of the info that the Nautilus client provides, you can download this command line utility that some kind soul has written. Hopefully, someone out there is working on KDE integration even as I write this!

(comment taken from and reproduced for all our benefit here. I tested and yes, got it to work just now.)

June 30, 2010

iPad week3

Follow-up to iPad Week 2 from Rudo's blog

Just thought to let you know this as well: use of via the Safari browser on the iPad works. Of course only with the Outlook-light client, i.e. similar to a Firefox browser, etc. But still, it does work.

Of course I am using the iPad's built-in email client. However, the university webaccess to the Outlook eXchange system allows to set things such as rules, auto-reply, etc. Hence it is useful to know whether the iPad can be used to access it

June 28, 2010

iPad Week 2

Follow-up to iPad days 5+6 from Rudo's blog

Right, I am now moving to weekly reports. Much of the novelty has worn off and I should be able to report on emerging patterns of usage during the coming weeks.

Over the weekend, I took both iPad and laptop home as I had to work on a PhD proposal. But I ended up writing the proposal on the large desktop screen which I have at home, then slightly revising with the laptop while in the garden and then finalizing and sending off to colleagues from the iPad. So, the iPad [via the DocumentsToGo app] is useful to revise documents, once these have been written by a deskop/laptop. Of course one can also start writing a document on the iPad, but I would presume that everyone would want to have a look at the final layout on a desk/laptop befroe sending it out to professional colleagues. Still, I found the editing, both of MS Word and MS PowerPoint documents to be useful and easy. In particular, the PPT features mean that one can take a PPT for a presentation on a trip, modify/revise somewhat if necessary and then deliver the talk on the day [KeyNote needed, or WiFi/3G connection to upload the changed file].

Also, I used the iPad today for "checking" exams. I am not sure how widespread this policy is in the university, but in Physics, we have a second examinar check every exam for additions as well as marking accuracy. Here it was great to have the eXel spreadsheet on the iPad when I could easily mark (in green) right and wrong (orange) additions. No more paper needed, and the results could be send with a few touches off via email.

I installed [Adobe Ideas], a free scribbling program, perhaps useful to take down some graphical notes.

[Wikipanion] is Wikipedia on the go, with full Wikipedia integration.

[GoSkyWatch] is a lovely app to point the iPad towards the night sky and have all the stars, plantes and other "shiny" objects explained. Should be great for amateur astronomers. Certainly saves me having to print out the night sky charts when using my telescope.

I also watched some downloaded TV shows. The quality is great on the iPad, but I did not yet try to have it display on my TV at home (which I would only do for test purposes).

Last, upgraded my iPhone to iOS4. This solves an issue with the email client: now emails can be copied/moved across email accounts. Would be good to have this on the iPad as well, looks like I need to wait until September for it.

June 23, 2010

iPad days 5+6

Follow-up to iPad Day 4, Sunday from Rudo's blog

I had to give a talk on Monday which I had prepared via PowerPoint. I could not get it to work on the iPad although I used DocumentsToGo (which allows you to edit/create/etc Office documents). Apparently, they do not have the VGA module included.

So, workarounds on the google space are (1) save the PPT as a set of figures and (2) save as a movie/video. Then use iPad onboard tools to display via VGA adapter.

But then yesterday, I also installed the GoodReader which in version 2.8 can display PDFs via the VGA adapter. So now, I can simply convert any PPT to PDF, put it on the Dropbox and then display using the GoodReader. It works, quality is ok, but of course one misses those interactive PPT gimmicks. But I hardly ever use those, so not much of a problem, I think.

Also, it seems that the [Pages] App should do a similar thing, i.e. be useful for presentations.

Summary: Yes, I can now use the iPad for presentations! And hence, I am beginning more and more to see it as an alternative to the laptop.

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