Blog Archive: 2010

There is no Ink in Inkling

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Inkling is an iPad textbook app through which textbooks books can be purchased, read, and annotated. It has a pleasant user interface, and (as of this writing) a small collection of what look like high school or intro college level textbooks on a range of topics. This content seems to have been either developed, or heavily adapted, for the iPad app. This makes for a smooth reading experience, loosely anchored on the book metaphor. In addition to reading per se, the app offers some standard navigation and annotation features, but these are works in progress.

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Comments and annotations

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While traveling I have been doing more work on my iPad, some of which I had previously done on paper or on my laptop. I’ve been reading and reviewing conference papers, making UI design sketches, and writing longer chunks of text such as this blog. The experience has been informative, but not altogether positive.

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Papers, now with notes

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I was excited to see annotations mentioned in the description of the updated Papers app for the iPad, but was disappointed in the execution. They added two kinds of annotations: text notes and highlighted passages. While both are useful for active reading and appropriate given the characteristics of the device, the implementation left a lot to be desired.

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Reading on Papers

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I am trying to understand the capabilities of existing iPad applications with respect to active reading. In this spirit, I have reviewed iAnnotate, and have written about e-books in general. Mekentosj Papers is a Mac application for managing academic papers; a version of it has been ported to the iPad. The idea is that you can use it to find papers you need to read, read them, and also manage their re-finding. The app fails on all accounts.

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