The trouble with a lot of technology these days is, that devices are no longer satisfied with performing a single service. Somewhere in the not so distant past, a seed of rebellion must have been planted in the minds of electronic devices that to serve one single purpose was below their dignity and that they should endeavor to become more then themselves. It started out small of course, with those digital watches that ALSO became calculators, then we had radio’s that also played cassette tapes, flashlights that doubled as keyrings .. and so on. Of course there where some shady mishaps ( Strollers that doubled as rocket launchers never ‘took off’) but these days there is hardly a single purpose device to be found.
When we started surfing the web on our mobile phones I always compared it with building a jigsaw puzzle, through a keyhole, with chopsticks. Or emptying a Rock quarry with a wheelbarrow. Sure it works, but it isn’t really the right tool for the right job. And speaking of ‘the right tool for the right job”, lets look at one of our most hated software application, who’s quest for ‘multi purpose’ has risen to heights Louis 14th would blush at : ITUNES. Because not only HARDWARE tried to dominate our multipurpose life .. Software was even WORSE.
What started out as a measly music management application has somehow turned into this behemoth that insists on being the gateway for all of the multimedia content that goes onto your IOS devices. Its modest starting point : “Playing mp3 files” is just a spec on the horizon, as Itunes now insists on organizing (or dis-organising) your ENTIRE music collection, Manage your podcasts, Keep hold of your Ebooks and insists on keeping a copy of every Video you want to play on your IOS Device. I’ll try not to complain to loud about the fact its the only way you can get to Itunes U content or managing applications. Itunes tries to be the ‘flamethrowing baby stroller’ that wants everything in its giant library. And I don’t like that ! Sorry ? Why ? Because I hate apps that do things they where not initially designed for (yes, i’m looking at YOU ICQ) and I get a rash from stinking white sync cables. (but you all knew that by now). So I’ll share some dirty tricks on getting content on your Ipad / iphone / Ipod WITHOUT having to use Itunes. ( well almost)
Email to Ibooks.
I mean : Why do you need to have PDF’s in Itunes. There is a quick and snappy workaround to get content on your IOS Device. Set up a dedicated Email address just to receive emails on your device. ( for example : email@example.com or something) and use good old email to get your content over there. Once the attachment is downloaded you can open your PDF’s in Ibooks (where they stay) or save them as for example, a picture. Want to get geeky and throw some wget scripts at it ? Why not have your ‘server’ download and email content to you automatically and setup your own ‘over the air’ magazine server.
This is also an application that spits defiantly at the feet of Itunes. Audio, text and pictures are easily synced over the air between your desktop and your IOS device.
Also an application that I love. After signing up you can drag a bookmarklet to your browser bar (both on the Ipad and your desktop) and whenever you come across a piece of text you want to ‘read quietly’ just click the bookmarklet and the article is reformatted and pushed to your mobile device.
Dropbox to goodreader.
Many IOS applications use Dropbox as the ‘over the air’ middle man. Goodreader (a popular ‘i read everything except Epubs) is also pretty good at that. Chuck your books in your Dropbox and have Doodreader pull them in.
For this last one you do “need” Itunes, but the workaround is that you don’t have to store the content INSIDE Itunes. With Video this can be a real drag. Having to convert video’s and import them into Itunes to play them in the standard IOS videoplayer is a DRAG to say the least. Buzzplayer lets you ‘drop’ any movie format into the its preference pane in the “apps” section and pulls in the content on your Ipad. So it does NOT get stored inside your Itunes directory.. and the good thing is : Buzzplayer picks up where VLC Player left off. It plays almost anything and is one of my killer apps.
Sure there are plenty more apps out there .. but I just got an Xbox and now i’m gonna stop typing and play Halo.