Over the last couple of months, I’ve noticed myself using my iPad more and more during evenings, in situations where I would have used other devices in the past: we’ve only had one laptop for a while now, and while I used to try to grab it every other evening, more and more I’ve been letting Liesl use the laptop while I stay with my iPad.

Part of this is apps that sync better between devices. My experience with Things Cloud has been universally positive: it worked much better for syncing between my phone and my Mac than wifi sync did. (Wifi sync was fine from an accuracy point of view, it was just slow.) So I installed Things on both Macs at home (it had been on the iMac but not on the Macbook), and used it on three devices for a while; and finally I decided that my experience was good enough that I’d pick up the iPad version of Things. Which meant that I could now look at my notes for what I was planning to do on the iPad, click on links from Things while on the iPad, create Things entries with links from the iPad, etc.

My Things iPad usage actually is displacing iPhone usage as much as it’s displacing iPad usage. And the other place where I’ve been using cloud syncing recently is in Twitterrific. I’d been using Twitter almost exclusively through the official iPhone Twitter client since back in the Tweetie days (in fact, Tweetie was eye-opening to me, making it clear that the iPhone could give rise to software that was better than on full-size computers, not just shrunk-down compromises); but the official client has been getting worse and worse since Twitter acquired it, and Twitterrific 5 looked gorgeous. So I bought a copy of it, and turned on cloud syncing; all of a sudden I could read Twitter on my iPad and my iPhone instead of having to pick one device to stick with. (And all of a sudden I had an iPad Twitter client that didn’t look like crap—the official client was still okay on the iPhone, but very badly designed as iPad software.) So here even more than Things, my iPad usage is displacing the iPhone; I still like the form factor of the full-size iPad for many things, but I can imagine how I might find a smaller form factor iPad better than either device. (That’s still imagination, though—I haven’t actually bought an iPad Mini, and I don’t plan to particularly soon.)

Still, those are both side activities in the evening. The iPad had already displaced the laptop for reading e-mail and for reading blogs; but for writing e-mails of any length and writing blog posts, I prefer a real keyboard. But then I saw a few tweets recommending the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover and figured I’d give that a try.

So I got one. And I’m glad I did: it’s a quite serviceable keyboard, and it works in my preferred position (which is probably the hardest one for an iPad keyboard to manage), namely with the keyboard and iPad in my lap with the iPad in portrait mode. It’s not great as an actual cover—you can’t fold it back, and the magnetic attachment is weak—so I leave the smart cover on most of the time, but I’m glad to have it available to switch to, and I’ll certainly be glad to have it at GDC.

I’m still figuring out the best way to use the iPad to write blog posts, though. The WordPress app is okay, but it doesn’t let me edit in HTML mode (and I can’t bear the thought of not being able to distinguish between cite tags and em tags); also, it still seems to have an annoying bug about storing a publication date when you save a draft, which I have to remember to manually edit before I hit publish.

I think what I should do there is mostly write my blog posts in Notesy and save them in my Dropbox folder, only moving them over to WordPress for final publication. And I can do that final publication in the web editor rather than in the app itself (or maybe through the app’s view of the dashboard, or something). I haven’t trained myself to do that just yet, though; but I imagine in a few weeks I’ll have fairly well-engrained habits that lead to me spending most evenings exclusively on the iPad.

Or at least I would imagine that, except for one factor: Oracle. Because the reason why Liesl grabs the laptop is that there’s a Solitaire game she likes on it; and that Solitaire game is delivered as a Java applet through the web browser. It’s the only reason why we have Java applets enabled at all on the laptop; and, for the last couple of weeks, that has been an extremely unwise thing to do.

I’m quite sympathetic to Liesl in this regard—I like Solitaire, too, and the applet is well done and has a nice selection of games. Still, Solitaire a game that lends itself better to the iPad interface than to a laptop interface. So I did a bit of searching, and came up with Solitaire Plus! HD—it seemed to have a good selection of games and a good UI.

And Liesl thinks that version of Solitaire works just fine. So, as it turns out, she’s now the one exclusively using her iPad during the evenings, while I’ve gone back to using the laptop to write blog posts. (The Logitech keyboard cover is a quite good keyboard given its constraints, but the Macbook’s keyboard is better, and it’s easier to cross-reference web pages when editing posts on a laptop then on an iPad.) Still: I’m using the iPad more than I was even half a year ago, I’m using it more than I use the laptop, and a world where my laptop usage is relegated to work and specialized purposes is clearly visible.

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