iPad at a City Council meeting

On Tuesday The News-Herald’s online coordinator Jason Alley passed along the much anticipated iPad to me, which I planned to use at a City Council meeting that night.

I couldn’t even listen to him give me simple instructions, like how to turn it on, because I was so excited to play with it. Push hear, blah blah, it was like a Charlie Brown interaction with his teacher (sorry Jason, but it’s true).

Once left alone, I began flipping through the apps and checking it out. I just really could not wait to play with the cool technology.

I came across the notepad and a dictation app, and decided I would test them out at my meeting that night.

Before that, though, I had a lot more practicing and playing to do.

I spent time in the notepad app practicing how to type, which is difficult. The keys are really close together so I had to be extra careful on key strokes.

I wouldn’t consider myself a record breaking typist, but I can pound the keys decently fast, and I found that the iPad had no problem keeping up with me.

I practiced by typing headlines and articles from the newspaper on my desk, and thought I was getting pretty good.

My co-worker Jackie Martin and I were also testing with the dictation app. Even close up in the office, we didn’t find it completely accurate at all times, but it certainly was impressive.

After dinner I headed up to my meeting, with iPad in tow. I was super pumped, and got some impressed looks from people I was sitting near.

The council chamber has a speaker system, so I figured while the meeting was getting started I would give the dictation app a go.

This is the time when they read the city mission statement and other non-newsworthy items, so I figured it would be a good time to try something new.

At first I couldn’t get the dictation app to work, but once it got going it was not able to pick much up. It also could not process clips more than a few seconds long.

It was fun to test in the office, but I wouldn’t trust it for newsgathering.

The rest of the meeting I went to the notepad. All my practice paid off – wow those keys are really small.

What I did find challenging was the apps autocorrect. I often use shorthand while note taking – because becomes b/c, etc. The iPad did not like my shorthand. One time I misspelled dilemma, and it autocorrected to Selina? I thought my notes might be in trouble.

Luckily I caught most of the typos as they happened, and found out how to turn off the autocorrect.

I was able to connect to the city’s Wi-Fi, and while an issue was brought up about an editorial The News-Herald ran, I quickly read it off our site and was up to speed.

That was a capability I had never had before, since we don’t have laptops I’ve been a pen and paper reporter.

Overall the iPad was great to have, and with a little more practice and a wireless keyboard I think it would be wonderful to have at meetings.

I had all my notes electronically, which became a major time saver and improved my accuracy, since I type faster than I write.

The keys also allowed me to type away without bothering anyone, unlike a laptop.

Thanks for letting me test it out!

With some more apps and practice, I think we could do some really great things with the iPad.

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2 Comments on “iPad at a City Council meeting”

  1. daisy Says:

    got really interested in iPad after reading this blog

  2. Angie Favot Says:

    Daisy –
    Thanks for reading my entry! Let me know if you decide to purchase and what you think of it.


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