Back on my MBPro

So tonight I used my MacBook Pro for the first time in 14 days since getting the iPad Pro. I needed to work on a PPT presentation for someone else and I have not yet purchased an Office 365 account, so I had to retreat to my old timey laptop to make it happen. I would have much preferred to use PPT on my iPad, but I was under a deadline so I just jumped to my laptop … Here are a couple of really quick thoughts on using a “real computer” again after a bunch of days using a tablet.

iPad Pro

When the first iPad came out I gave my MacBook to my assistant to lock away for 30 days. It forced me to figure things out with a very early version of iOS that didn’t allow for the things we take for granted now — no google docs, limited native apps, no multitasking, very few social tools, etc. It was a limiting device at that point, but I still used it to do at least 10 staff reviews, publish a bunch of blog posts, and keep on top of work for a month. I learned how to type on a pane of glass. So now that things have advanced to the iPad Pro, how have things changed?

iPad with Keyboard Dock

The first thing to note when I was back on my MBP is that I tried to touch the screen a bunch of times. I actually reached out to hit some sort of button to post a comment on Slack multiple times — only after tapping the screen did I realize that the screen does not allow for that. The desire to scroll the screen with my finger is real and it is odd because I didn’t really ever do that on my Macs after using older iPads. Live and learn.

The other thing I am noticing as I type this post on my laptop is how small the screen feels. My laptop is a 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina display and it feels small. I think some of it is the overhead of Mac OS X — toolbars, menus, and all the extra stuff that goes on in a windowed environment. After using the iPad Pro for a dedicated amount of time you realize how the notion of the “app” changes the experience. When you launch an app it becomes the iPad … not so on a laptop. At the end of the day, holding a 13″ Retina display in your hands is a powerful experience.

The laptop is heavy … and I can’t even describe how silly that sounds. I got through grad school on a Mac Portable, so I know what a heavy machine feels like. The difference with the iPad Pro is that while it is big, it is light for the size. I know that sounds strange, but it is how it is — the size makes your mind think it is going to feel heavier, but that just isn’t the case. It isn’t light, but it is deceivingly so. The form changes the weight in a strange way and it makes carting it around campus all day much easier … plus, with no need to carry a power plug or anything else you can save additional ounces.

So, at the end of the day I feel like I am complaining about some silly things … I’m not, I am just trying to make sense of the ongoing observations and differences I am seeing with this potentially disruptive device. After two weeks I prefer the iPad Pro to my laptop, in fact the laptop feels out of date now that I have a pane of glass that does it all. 

Invitation to Model

Tomorrow after another Coffee with Cole I am meeting to discuss the rollout of the UChicago Voices space. I am not calling it a service quite yet, because I want us to think about it a little differently. Could we challenge ourselves to rethink how we support it? Perhaps we look at it like just another social space on the Internet and see how people use it and where they might fall down?

I’ve launched these things before, both at Penn State and Stony Brook. Support is a necessary piece of the puzzle, but in my experience it tends to be the kind of support that an FAQ, a google search, and some videos can handle. The heavy lifting is in how we promote, encourage, and model its usage.

It is in that last notion, modeling, that I want to invite you in.

wedding invitation. Envelopes

We aren’t yet ready to open the gates to just anyone yet, but I would be interested in having some local colleagues to write and publish with here on the UChicago Voices platform. If you’d like a space to explore and use, please let me know. I’d love to have someone to follow, link to, and comment on. If you are a member of the UChicago community and you want a space just leave a comment and I’ll figure out how to get you in.