Monday, April 5, 2010

iThink. iLike. iPad.

It arrived on Saturday. Our mailman said he was delivering 140 that day to our neighborhood alone and that people were opening their front doors before he even had time to ring the bell. We laid it on the table and looked at it. Luca said it felt like Willy Wonka's golden ticket.

We agreed that he could touch it first.

After we were able to pry it away from his hot little hands, we synced it up and started playing around with it. I set it on my new cookbook stand and the angle proved perfect for viewing. I love the juxtaposition of Black Forest carved wood cradling sleek 21st century components. It's hearth meets high-tech. Piero played an ABC news video and the image was great with no false starts or stuttering.

When I finally got my husband to let go of it, I tapped the Epicurious application. Up it came and as you can see, the colors are lush and razor-sharp.

I did a random search for "pancakes" and was instantly given pages of delicious-looking options.

Then it was Luca's turn. After he wrested it from my hands, he clicked on "Winnie the Pooh" (free with every iPad). I have always sniffed at reading books online because I so love the real thing, but I have to say that the experience was surprisingly pleasurable.

When it came around to my turn again, I hit paydirt. I discovered that with the FreeBooks application, you can download thousands of books that have been deemed "public domain." (Most books become public domain when their copyright expires, which is anywhere from 50 to 100 years or so.)

Many of the titles come courtesy of Project Gutenberg, a website I highly admire. In fact, I have downloaded dozens of out-of-print books onto my office computer...but have never gotten around to reading them because I have been reluctant to read an entire novel while sitting at a desk.

That's all changed now.

In the span of ten minutes, I downloaded 25 books, including:

Adam Bede, George Eliot
Beasts and Superbeasts, Saki
Beautiful and the Damned, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Camilla, Fanny Burney
Crome Yellow, Aldous Huxley
Eminent Victorians, Lytton Strachey
Fanny Hill, John Cleland
Going into Society, Charles Dickens
The Longest Journey, E. M. Forster
Mary Barton, Elizabeth Gaskell
Mugby Junction, Charles Dickens
The Mysteries of Udolpho, Ann Radcliffe
Shamela, Henry Fielding
South of France, Giacomo Casanova
Swann's Way, Marcel Proust
Sylvia's Lovers, Elizabeth Gaskell
The Voyage Out, Virginia Woolf

I was pinching myself.

And look, I know it's not paper, but it mimics it pretty darn nicely.

When Piero finally pried it from my grasp, he touched the Netflix icon and up came our account with all the movies listed in our queue.

We wondered how it was at streaming videos and so I asked him to take "Hideous Kinky" for a test-drive. He pressed "Play."

When Kate Winslet opened her eyes after the opening credits, I swear it was like she was in the kitchen with us.


There is room for improvement. The iPad doesn't play Flash videos (nothing onYouTube worked) -- although there's supposed to be some way around it which we haven't figured out yet. Also, you can't multitask (i.e. listen to music and browse the web).

On the plus side, I thought the keyboard was easy to use and -- gasp! -- accurate (unlike my iPhone, which usually turns "Hey Piero" into "Hwy Pwuri").

We bought an iPad 50% out of curiosity and 50% because we are diehard Apple people and 0% because we had any preconceived idea of how we were going to use it. It's only been a day, but I can tell you this: using it is a very personal experience. In a way, it feels like a true home computer because its size and portability mean it doesn't belong to any one room or person. We can pick it up, pass it around, share it and take it anywhere. Owning one doesn't change anything, but in a way it changes everything. I don't know. We'll see.

After all that excitement, we powered it down and turned our attention to breakfast.

Pancakes, of course.

(Note: The opinions expressed about this product are strictly those of the blogger and were not solicited in any way.)


Acanthus and Acorn said...

Ok, this was a very cool demonstration and tutorial! I didn't actually want one...well until now!!! Plus, Luca is so adorable, it's hard not to get caught up in it!

pve design said...

An "iapple a day" - thanks for sharing yours-
now iwant one. I like your ipad backdrop. Nice styling.

Style Court said...

I love Project Gutenberg!

BTW, your previous color post is amazing. Wow.

Debra said...

Ohhh another piece of technology to confuse and dazzle me! I can look past the ipad...but that wallpaper, I will not soon forget!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

You sound like Stephen Fry!
We are true blue Apples as well, my husband bought the very first model...remember that one??? Sort of tall and squat at the same time... with a little bitty screen?

You've made me want this one.... something no one on Charlie Rose was able to do. I think it was thinking about Kate Winslet's eyes gazing at all the colourful recipes.

Sidenote.... I do so appreciate the irony of downloading Eminent Victorians onto an iPad.

Mrs. Blandings said...

The boys are pestering for one and I secretly want one myself. Another friend in LA said, "It's going to change everything," and now you are saying the same.

Laura said...

I'm such a luddite...I swear I still don't fully understand what this thing does even after playing with it in the apple store for five minutes (as my die-hard Apple boyfriend sat by rapt with pleasure). But I can get on board with the literary aspect of it!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

I'm sitting in my kitchen banquette, knees up, the iPad propped on my lap, reading your lovely comments and typing this response...

Acanthus and Acorn: The enthusiasm of an eight-year-old kind of made it feel like Christmas yesterday.

PVE: Your artwork looks amazing on the iPad, FYI. Razor sharp and vivid.

Style Court: Project Gutenberg. Just one more thing we have in common.

Debra: Timorous Beasties "Thistle". Highly recommend.

Pamela Terry and Edward: I loved that Stephen Fry article, especially how nervous he was meeting Steve Jobs. So cute.

And yes, the irony of reading Lytton Strachey on an iPad is delicious and encapsulates in a nutshell why exactly why I
will be using it.

Mrs. Blandings: Your boys will love it, but you might love it more. Blog browsing is kind of amazing.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

glad to hear it's worthwhile -i just ordered one myself as a pre-birthday present -LOL.
LOVE your new cookbook stand!! stickley or artisan? New or old? We have questions!

Mijn Indian Summer said...

I like the happy face of the little boy. In The Netherlands you cannot buy the I-pad yet. Now I know something about it. I really like the pancakes.....

Jessica Thor-Miller said...

I adore the juxtaposition of the iPad on the cookbook stand! I’m far from being labeled an “early adopter” so mine will have to wait, but I will be living vicariously through you!


Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Architect Design: The cookbook stand is from Wisteria -- it should be hyperlinked.

Here it is again:

It's actually cast resin, not wood, but I love it. It's totally solid and has an Old World Bavarian feel that I know you implicitly understand. :)

Emily said...

I got mine on Saturday . Something like 30,000 free book downloads! I'm still learning it, but honey "Fly Me to the Moon!!!"

Susan B. said...

As someone who is a bit of a technophobe (how exactly do you text?), and as someone who will go to the library or a book store just to browse and kill time, your post made me realize the appeal of the ipad over the Kindle, in that it looks like a real book. (I just don't get the Kindle) But, I'd still rather have the real thing.

Thanks for sharing your wonderful family moment with us! Those pancakes look great - and I, too, love the cookbook stand!

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


Most effective and quick show and tell for the whole family. Thank you.

The key to success--as with FACEBOOK and iPhone and any program and app--is to make it your own. Figure out what works for you. The very thing everyone else loves about it--might not be your favorite. But, by using it and working on it and playing with it, you can make it truly useful, entertaining, informative and suddenly an essential element in your life.


Julie Anne Rhodes said...

Do you feel like you are reading a book on a computer screen or normal page? I was really impressed with the Kindle someone leant me a couple moths ago.

I'm so ADD already, I'm not convinced I need to add to the problem with all the other apps.

Megan Taylor said...

Hideous Kinky is one of my favorite movies...I've been waiting so long for it to come out of DVD!

Anonymous said...

Oh, hello gorgeous *whistles*. I didn't think I'd be able to get over the stupid name, but the gadget itself is lovely. Especially the downloadable books. Now, where can I get one within a 2000km radius?

Grant K. Gibson said...

Love the story and how it all works for you.
I didn't think that I needed one- grrr- but now I do!


TSL said...

To die for!
And then I saw your amazing pancakes!

Silent Storyteller said...

I want one now too!! You have such a wonderful way of making things so desirable!!! If only it were available on this side of the pond!!!

Marija said...

I am convinced. Though I probably was well before I read this. But now I am convinced and anxious. Terrific post. Marija

Anonymous said...

iPad? Nice, but your pancakes. So gorgeous. Very thin, interesting. Yum.

htownjenny said...

I have Beasties' Thistle, too! The hot pink/red colorway. Been waiting to use it for close to a decade, and it finally adorns the powder room of our new house in Houston.

Anyway, I'm a new reader but I'll definitely be checking back in....

Brillante Interiors said...

Very tempting but I may wait a little longer to "convert", I love the way you narrated the arrival and the pictures...very tempting indeed.

Cashon&Co said...

youve given the first review that i can actually relate too. thank you! i think i'm going to have to bite the bullet and give in . i'm a techie junkie and we are a mac family so here i go...i guess i have to get in line, right?

Easy and Elegant Life said...

I hadn't even considered the iPad until your review. In the kitchen! Perfect.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Good, hope read more about it!



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