From notepad to iPad and app heaven

Allan Crow
Allan Crow
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By Allan Crow

Life used to be simple. My biggest concern covering a football or hockey match was spilling sauce on my notebook.

I still carry a notebook and pen, but I also have a mobile phone along with my own one, a laptop, and now an iPad.

Oh, then there’s the bag of accessories - cables, USB thingies and stuff that tether phones to laptops; my own tether usually reaching the end as I try to untangle said wiring (how come IT folk always wrap things so neatly when they give it back to us? Do they go on a special tying-up course? Do they have part-time jobs gift-wrapping Christmas pressies in John Lewis? If not, they should.)

And what does all this kit and caboodle need? Yup, it needs a plug ... or wi-fi. Possibly both if you’re as techno-luddite as me.

So, picture the scene. Sunday night and I’m up at Dundee Ice Rink where there are no press facilities - you just grab a seat any old place. Fine if you have a notebook and a cuppa. Not so easy if you’re trying to use a tip-up seat as a temporary desk to accommodate said gubbings while folk wander in and out to their seats.

Luckily I am a dab hand at working in confined spaces. A decade spent in the rabbit hutch which once doubled as a press box at Stark’s Park taught me the fine journalistic art of balancing everything regardless of the mayhem around you, but back then I needed nothing more than paper and pen (and a spare pen to stir my coffee).

Now, I’m hopelessly hi-tech - with the emphasis on ’hopeless’ - and need more hands than an octopus has limbs to take notes, tweet, Facebook, video and take pics, never mind drink the coffee that’s now growing colder by the minute.

Sunday saw me try out this new iPad thing for the first time.

I know some folk wet themselves over everything Apple do - boy, they need to get out more, preferrably somewhere with no signal or wi-fi.

I told one of them, I had an iPad.

‘‘‘What did you get?’’ he asked like an excited kid on Christmas Day.

‘‘Er, an iPad,’’ I said.

‘‘Is it an iPpad5 or iPad4?’’

‘‘Um, what’s the difference? It gets me on to Twitter if that helps’’ I asked, realising instantly I’d made the fatal ‘‘never ask an Apple Geek what the difference is between iPad4 and iPad5’’ mistake of all iPad rookies. My will to live just surrendered and took its own life.

So I may have an iPad4, posibly five, maybe even a ‘‘duh, so last year dude’’ iPad3 - bottom line, it makes no odds to me.I have about as much interest in its spec as I do what happens under the bonnet of my car.

I do admit it’s a nifty wee device, but everything it does, I can do on my equally nifty HTC phone, but here’s the rub. Only one of them fits in my pocket. Unless I start buying my clothes from the clown shop.

I’ve yet to explore the weirdo delights of ‘‘FaceTime’’ whatever that may be, but I’m sure my bosses will understand if I lose half a day or so drawing squiggles with my fingers thanks to my new ‘‘doodle buddy’’ app. Hey, they gave it to me in the first place!

My ‘office’ is set up with access to email - how did we get through an entire Sunday night without checking our in boxes? -and Google+ remains a complete and utter mystery. I suspect even Google can’t explain it.

Mind you, they would certainly find the internet connection faster than I did - proof that, as I creep ever closer to 50, I truly am an old codger.

After my 10-minute tutorial was over, I had a wee play on my iPad. Took me the best part of an hour to find my web browser. I pressed every app and swiped every screen. No-one told me it was called ‘Safari’ rather than ‘IE.’

The only safari I’ve ever known is at Blair Drummond, so I now feel a complete nugget. But there’s probably an app for that too ... and getting broon sauce off the screen!