5 creative ways to use the new iBooks author.

One of the things that is pretty tricky about blogging, is that its actually “writing in disguise”. Sure we write up a post every day and all in all it doesn’t seem to add up to much text in the end (because you ADD junkies don’t have the attention span to finish an entire paragraph without rushing outside to ride shiny bikes) but still : If i where to bundle the 900+ articles on this site in a book.. that would be pretty nifty .. Right ?

But the task of preforming this epic contribution to mankind requires the right software and .. Word sure ain’t it. I shiver when I think back of the days where I had to write my paper in word. Hoping desperately that that single hard return wouldn’t mess up my layout 76 pages down the hill.. You know the scene. However !  With iBooks Author you no longer have that excuse anymore. Apple’s new update of its toe-dabbing into the world of creative writer software has just gotten an fancy update.  In short : iBooks author was made for making schoolbooks and textbooks filled with interactive content. Think of adding interactive slideshows, pictures, movies and more to a text document and really making ti pop. This of course would make all these different functionalities available only to iPad users (Apple do plans to take over the world you know) and the other major downside is that the initial edition of iBooks author was geared towards educational books.

This would be fine and great if your lifelong ambition is to become a Math book author .. just great .. but luckily you are a little cooler then that. So Apple put a bunch of new themes in this version of iBooks author that let you make more then just a boring textbook. 

But here are some suggestions, with the holidays coming up and all that :

  • If you have friends and family that have an iPad ? Use iBooks author to make an interactive foto and video album. Just put the finished ibook up on dropbox and shoot them the link ! They will be able to download the book and open it in iBooks without having to connect to iTunes.
  • Surf around the net and bundle your kids favorite bedtime stories, look on Flickr for the coolest illustrations and make your own interactive bed-time story for the toddler (complete with music , slideshows and moving pictures)
  • Use iBooks author to write technical documentation and add weblinks , video’s and slideshows for those friends, family members and co-workers who “just don’t get it” when you try to explain it to them.
  • Bundle up your favorite blog items, stories and more .. and bundle them in a book. Export as ePub or PDF format and be your own publisher. Why not make it a digital scrapbook by adding some multimedia content.
  • Who ever said this years holiday card needed to be on paper. Dive into  iBooks, add family fotos, sing a carol together and plop the file on the net !

iBooks Author is available in the app store for free and exports to both iBook and ePub format. Most of the interactive features are only available in the iBook export format and adding a lot of videocontent does make it a hefty file. But thanks to iBooks you will be able to go where no Word, Pages or Publisher .. has gone before.

Download iBooks author from the app store.

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My favorite five productivity apps for the iPad.

With my iPad three on the shopping short-list, i’m once again looking at reorganizing and tweaking all of the applications that I have on there. As a great man once said : The greater your skills, the fewer tools you need. And as tempting as it may be to fill up your home screen (and those darn folders) with all kinds of tools, keeping it simple is a better way. So i’ll try to give you a rundown of the stuff I use the most.

Wunderlist : This little to do app has cross platform siblings on my iPhone, my Android phone and on both my Mac and Linux machines. Wunderlist is everywhere. I keep this little task manager as a constant weapon against procrastination AND to store random ideas i get on the road.

Evernote : Wether its taking notes, voice memo’s or pictures : Evernote is becoming my central repository. I use it as my iPads main text editor, but also to keep track of the thousand nicknacks of random info I want to keep track of. Again : The cross platformity (is that a word ? it is now !) of the app is great. When I cruise the web and find a random article I would like to use later on, I use the evernote bookmark tool to snip up the page and put it into one of my many notebooks. A very very VERY powerful little tool indeed.

Ithoughts HD : The biggest challenge with being creative is to organize it. Wether its at work or at home, I use Ithoughts HD to mind map projects, show notes and use it in meetings quite a bit too. Hook up the iPad to the beamer and you can quickly take notes of whats going down and who has to do what. Not free, but worth it.

Notability : Suggested to my by Allison Sheridan of Podfeet.com its THE app for scribbling. but instead of just sitting there and trying to write down my horrible handwriting on an iPad I use it for sketches AND for adding notes and arrows to pictures. I take pictures or screenshots with the iPad, start scribbling on them and adding notes and use the built in voice memo option to babble away what I need to get of my chest. Then I ship the whole thing in an email and the recipient has a much more clear idea of what it is I want to do.

iBooks : ‘Reading books’ is not a very productive act, of that I am aware , but using my iBooks library for storing manuals, documents for work, reference books and more is making it the ultimate portable library for me. Whitepapers, documents for trainings I take .. I just don’t believe in paper anymore and am mandatory that people send me their stuff in PDF.

In all , these things turn my iPad into a very productive environment. The thing I had to do to get it working is to tweak my thinking and my behavior in using the iPad, more then I had to tweak my tools. Many of these apps are also available for android or have great alternatives.  If they aren’t enough for you try Mat Gemmell’s list who came up with a complete DIFFERENT list then mine .. maybe there is a gem there too.  If you want to see what how I use an iPOD to the fullest : Check out great docucast on getting the most out of your iPod touch. 

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