I made the trek to the Apple Store at Washington Square shopping center and came home with a wireless keyboard. I also came home with a couple suggestions for a better word processor than the Apple Pages.

I purchased “Documents to Go Premium” office suite that allows creation and editing of documents in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Settings allow files to be synced with either a desk computer or an off-site cloud storage location.

The customer ratings and reviews were mostly favorable with 3 out of 5 stars from 396 ratings. The cost of this app was $14.99 and that’s a heck of a lot cheaper that Microsoft’s equivalent programs for the desktop.

We’ll see how it works.


What do you do when you have a $1,200 Toshiba laptop that mostly sits idle? Why you acquire an Apple iPad. Yes, I did it a couple weeks ago.

I love the iPad. I am using it regularly in a productive (for me) way. I have had an iPod for about a year and, while it has some nice features, I have not been using it to its fullest. It’s really too small in size for practical use for me. The iPad is different. It has great applications, it is sized for easier use, and just works really well.

I upgraded from the basic model to the 32GB size plus the 3G. It comes with Wi-Fi built in including Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology. To use the 3G you must pay AT&T $14.99 to $25 a month with no contract required. I am not doing this yet, but I can see myself using this in the not too distant future.

The battery life is great. Right now the battery percentage shows as 56% (shown in the upper right of the screen) and I could do 2-4 more hours of work before a recharge is needed. Different from the iPod (or similar models) recharging does not occur when it is attached to your base computer for syncing. It charges like a laptop, directly to an AC source.

I have been searching for appropriate Apps for me. Some of the Apps I have acquired are: The CalenGoo calendar that syncs with my Google calendar on my base computer as well as my iPod; Pages word processor; Atomic Web browser (nearly as good as Foxfire and several steps up from Safari that comes with the unit); Kindle App that works just like the stand alone Kindle; and Wolfram (look it up on-line if you are not familiar with this).

Several of the Apps I have on my iPod transferred (synced) to the iPad and work just fine. Some don’t work so well. The most expensive App I have is iBird PRO and it moved to the iPad nicely, but it would be great if the vendor could come out with one specifically for the iPad.

All my music synced nicely, and the speakers in the iPad are not bad. Of course you can use earphones for listening.

It has been a bit of a challenge to learn to use the iPad efficiently; and will continue to be a learning experience. Soon I will be getting the wireless keyboard so make word processing and editing duties much more efficient.

If you want a hands on experience before going ahead with a purchase, find your nearest Apple Store. They are sure to have some you can test drive.

A large amount of the data that flows around the world travels on fiber optic cables. These cables run on land and are laid on the sea bottom. Twice in the past year underwater fiber optic cables have been severed or damaged in the Mediterranean Sea near Egypt. The one in January 2008 was caused by ship’s anchors. In all likelihood the occurrences in the last 24 hours have also been caused by ships, too.

There are enough of these lines that the loss of just one of them will not significantly affect internet, telephone, and other data transmission services world-wide. But what would happen if several of these lines were severed at onetime? Communications throughout the world could be seriously affected.

In a former life I was a long-haul truck driver. During that time, in the 1990s, I became aware of several large projects of the placement of buried cables across the country. In one east-west project in the heart of the country, the contractor was burying six cables at a time. Actually the contractor was burying plastic pipes that later would have the fiber optic cables pulled through them. There are a limited number of these cables that transverse our county. Once again, were several of these cables to be severed at one time, the communications throughout the country could seriously be affected.

A few years ago, we as a country suffered terrorist attacks. With our open society, we are vulnerable. Yet I’m sure most of us would not want us to become an armed camp with soldiers patrolling our fiber optic lines. Yet we are faced in the foreseeable future of being threatened by terrorists, whether those threats are real or not. I am not a doomsday type of person; but these kinds of accidental and terrorist driven problems are real threats.

Here is a link to a news story about the recently damaged cables.