iPad and GoodReader: the perfect mobile office and vacation companion

When you can't completely disconnect, bring along an iPad--it's more than enough
Written by Joel Evans, Contributor

I recently went on vacation, but before I did I wrote up an article asking which gadgets I should take with me. At the time I was debating about bringing my MacBook, iPad and iPhone 4.

Well, I have since returned from the vacation and have to say that at the last minute I decided to leave the MacBook behind. The main reason was because this was technically a vacation and I figured that if I brought the MacBook, I would get sucked into a work mode.

So, what did I bring? I happily packed some magazines I had been meaning to read, my iPhone 4, and my iPad.

iPad: Work mode

It's a good thing I brought the iPad since as I was sitting on the plane waiting to take off, I received a text asking me for my opinion on a presentation. I quickly fired up my iPad, downloaded the presentation and launched it into GoodReader. This way I had it saved for later viewing on the plane. I also launched a number of other attachments, to go along with the presentation. The nice thing about GoodReader is that it can view a ton of different attachment types, and also has a built-in file manager. This was helpful since I organized the attachments into different folders, and then even renamed some of the attachments.

As soon as it was safe to turn on electronics in the air, I launched GoodReader and scrolled through the presentation, Word doc, a PDF, and viewed an Excel document detailing the financials, and then launched the built-in Notes app to take detailed notes to send back. When the plane landed I emailed my notes, and my work was done. I technically could have annotated the PDF with GoodReader, but it was easier to just write in an open canvas.

Throughout the vacation I used the iPad to check e-mails, and answer priority ones. Because of this I was able to remain relaxed on my vacation, not having to wonder what nightmare may be waiting for me upon my return. I previously took some time off, only to be inundated with 400+ emails when I got back to work mode.

I also took one conference call while away, but was able to relax on a balcony with the iPad, with a presentation open. It was the furthest from feeling like I was working, which was the ultimate goal.

iPad: vacation time!

I have the original iPad but that doesn't mean it's not a powerhouse. Before we got to the hotel my children were in need of some entertainment, so I propped up the iPad for viewing and rolled a movie. Throughout the vacation they took turns playing games and watching movies on the iPad.

I also used the iPad for reading. I used GoodReader, Kindle, USAToday and general web browsing for casual reading.


The iPhone continues to be the ultimate swiss army knife. Not only was I able to stay connected via text, e-mail and voice, but I also used it to snap photos and videos. I even managed to record a five minute video on a dolphin watch, captured the dolphin jumping out of the water, and then used the on-board editing in the photo playback app to trim it to the moment when the dolphin was jumping. See below.

Going on vacation with the iPad really showed me what it was capable of. I'm always afraid to leave the MacBook at home, but having something as powerful as the iPad has me thinking about picking up the iPad 2 now, and trickling the iPad into the family as an entertainment device. I know that the iPad 2 doesn't offer enough to justify an upgrade, but I can't help thinking that a faster iPad, with camera functionality, may be just what I'm looking for.

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