Well, I’ve had a full work week to bond with my new toy, and let me tell you, we are now attached at the hip. It does everything I need it to do and more (unless I’m out of wireless network range, but even then I can see my calendar thanks to the 2.0 version of the firmware). Since people asked me for my impressions, I thought I’d write up this list of pros and cons, and then throw in a my current list of things I had to figure out in order to make it do what I needed.
- pretty much everything
It’s faster to check my calendar on that than it is on Zimbra, since Zimbra is kind of a slow-loading web app, so I end up using it when I just need to quickly check up on my appointments for the day. And since mobile calendaring was the primary goal of the purchase, I’d call the purchase a grand success. Everything else is gravy. And boy is there a lot of gravy. Email and contacts sync, too, and having web access is so handy. I can imagine taking this down into the stacks and checking call numbers and locations right there with students.
I loving having Pandora Radio, Evernote, and Twitter apps with me all the time.
- Lunch break listening
I like the option of having music and books-on-iPod with me even at work. Sometimes you just need to get away at lunch, plug in, and forget about work.
- Event notification
I’ve turned off the sound effects so that it won’t let everyone in the room know when I receive an email or have an appointment coming up, but the screen still lights up and displays allerts about upcoming appointments, which I love.
- Intuitive, mostly
Except for the little trick about scrolling with two thumbs if you have to be on a web page that contains a scrolling text box, I never had to think about how to move around and zooming in and out of pages.
Cons (mostly minor… did I mention I love the lil thing?):
- Battery life
This is so far the only little electronic thing that I have to charge every day, and I don’t listen to music on it for more than 20 minutes a day.
- Sounds without granular control
I’d love to turn off the sounds that tell me I’ve gotten email while keeping the sounds that tell me I’ve clicked something, or that I have an event coming up. Right now, it’s all or nothing with the sounds.
- Browser flips sideways (easier typing) but most apps don’t
Typing while the keyboard is squished into the portrait version of the screen can be quite an exercise in precision and aim. It’s much easier when you can flip the screen to landscape orientation, but most apps don’t allow for that.
- Can’t get to any but my main calendar in Zimbra (UPDATE: see comments)
This may be just for Zimbra users, but there’s no way to get to calendars other than your default calendar. The web interface won’t let me leave the mobile version, which only shows the default calendar, and the calendar app only syncs with the default calendar. I’ve been in the habit of printing my default calendar to hang on my office door, but if I have to put things like doctor’s appointments in that calendar, I won’t be printing that stuff out to hang on my door. But I think that’s ok. Students and co-workers are much more accustomed to finding schedules online now, so I doubt anyone will miss it.
Things to know to make it work right (from my perspective)
- Zimbra connection is achieved by setting up the Microsoft Exchange account options (as I noted in my previous post). Using these settings, I can let it sync wirelessly!
- Two-thumbed scrolling gets you around on web pages that have scroll boxes in them.
- You can uncheck “open iTunes when you plug this iPod in” for easier work re-charging (since an iPod can only sync with one installation of iTunes, and I regularly work with three to four different computers).
- You can reorganize the icons on your main screen (as pointed out in the guide that comes with the iPod).
- Searching google for instructions or apps or anything will go better if you search for iPhone and just realize you don’t have the phone or camera functions. Fewer people are writing about the iPhone’s lesser cousin, the iPod Touch.
- The little plastic hook thingy that comes with the iPod is a stand. This was not obvious to any of us.
- Bookmarking things (like google or the library catalog or google reader) is great. Placing icons on the main screen is even better.