Okay, so sue me, I can't make my mind up about what blogger template to use. It's funny how limited the options are.
Actually, however, my second thoughts are regarding the iPad. Last we spoke, I couldn't possibly think of a reason to get one. Now, I'm suddenly contemplating replacing my laptop with an iPad. What changed?
1. The name. I was one of those who thought that this name was proof of the fact that Apple apparently has no female employees, and I couldn't get the image of that MadTV sketch out of my head. Such is the power of marketing that I've completely forgotten about it now.
2. Portability. I found out that you can run Keynote presentations straight off of your iPad (presumably via some sort of adaptor to connect to your projector). I spend a lot of time lugging my laptop around for that purpose, and wouldn't mind lugging around something much lighter. Also, as I said in the comments to my previous post, I fantasize about having my students upload their papers through Blackboard, putting them on my iPad, and grading them there. And having the built-in connection to AT&T's network is much more elegant than buying one of those laptop connect dealies. Thanks to the iPhone I've grown to love having internet with me at all times. In general, as I've started to have to have my laptop with me nearly all the time, I wouldn't mind slimming down some. Or a lot.
3. Consumption. The general consensus has been that the iPad is a device built for consumption, not production. As someone who produces a lot of writing, nearly every single day, this was one of the main problems for me--the lack of a keyboard would drive me up the wall, and adding an external keyboard seemed to defeat the purpose. However, in reading some reviews of the product, I realized that my engagement with computers actually takes place in two different spheres. On the one hand, when I'm doing actual work on my laptop, I tend to be seated at my desk. That's because I like to have a proper chair, to have my books spread out, and to be near my printer and scanner, etc. On the other hand, I also spend a lot--a lot--of time simply consuming the internet. I'm one of those people who reads multiple newspapers virtual cover to virtual cover every day, stay logged onto Facebook all day, am always reading blogs and commentary, etc. I tend to do this on my laptop while slouched on the couch. I also have been browsing the internet more and more on my iPhone. That's partly because I don't have internet at my home in Virginia at the moment, but because of that I've actually grown fairly accustomed to using a an input-less version of the internet, and it's actually not so bad.
My realization with regards to my computer habits is that actually my laptop--I have one of those older black MacBooks--is not perfect for either of those tasks. When seated at my desk, I would prefer to have a full-size keyboard and mouse, and to have various external devices permanently plugged in without having to get everything set up everytime I switch places. And I would prefer the expansion capabilities and overall greater robustness of a desktop. And conversely, when I'm slouching on my couch obsessively reading through the Times, the laptop is a bit clunky. Sometimes I would like to be able to lie down and read, and I often find myself nearly dropping my laptop, or finding it in the way. An iPad would actually be about right.
Caveats: I still am not pleased with the file management situation. Apparently each application has its own file manager, and if you want to transfer files from device to device you have to do it through iTunes just like you do now with music. That's a big drawback. It's bad enough with the music; as someone who creates several playlists every single day and puts them onto an iPod for teaching, I know all too well how badly this system works for anything other than a handful of documents.
The biggest caveat is that I will still need a real computer in my life, and I would like it to be a fairly robust desktop machine. Depending on my employment situation I might have an office computer to use, but I'll still need something at home. So my laptop will actually be replaced by two devices, and that adds up. The most expensive iPad with 3G ($829; not having the 3G service defeats the purpose for me) and a decent iMac ($1499) together run substantially more than just a MacBook Pro. Or I could go big and find the money for the Mac Pro, which with its ability to expand (and use third-party monitors and such) might save money over the long run and indulge my geekier side.
And needless to say, I can't possibly imagine buying a first-generation iPad. I'm hoping that my laptop hangs on for at least another year, and that by then some of the kinks will be ironed out. Stay tuned for more of this riveting journey towards iPad acceptance.