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More on coping with information overload with an iPad

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In July I wrote a post on this blog about coping with information overload using an iPad. Rather to my surprise, a few people actually read it. Four months on I thought I'd share with you some new apps and new uses of old apps. It turns out that four months is a long time in the iPad world right now.

World Bank apps, and apps for World Bankers

Three sets of iPad apps allow you to track what the World Bank is up to. InfoFinder gives you a nice way to search among 120,000 or so documents in the Bank's documents and reports database. DataFinder gets you into the Bank's data vaults and allows you to produce some very pretty charts. There are specialized versions of DataFinder on Africa, Climate Change, and Education.  Finally, WB Finances shows you what the Bank is doing in its operational work. You can search for projects via a Google map or via a country listing. This beautifully designed app tells you what each project is about, how much is being lent, and how much has been disbursed. These apps reflect not just the Bank's new openness but also its tech savviness.

For World Bank staff owning an iPad, the big news from the last four months was the decision to roll out Lotus Notes to everyone (previously it was available on a pilot basis to a few lucky staff). You can now have your email and calendar on your iPad. You can also get three programs that allow you to connect to your office PC.


Keeping up with news stories is a piece of cake with the iPad, as I said in my last post. Flipboard continues to get great new content (the Colbert Report is one of my favorite recent additions), and BBC News still works wonders.

The Economist has revamped its already fantastic app – free to subscribers to the print edition. If you're a fan of the magazine, you may also enjoy their lifestyle magazine Intelligent Life. The iPad version is free for the moment, and it takes iPad publishing and lifestyle journalism to new heights. The World in 2012 is also nice – another fantastic app from The Economist, and free. With iOS5 comes Newsstand – a shelf of your favorite newspapers that gets updated daily. The Guardian is my favorite – another app that takes iPad publishing to new heights; it's also free for the time being. The New York Times is also on offer. 

iOS5 and useful utilities

October saw the launch of iOS5 – an operating system packed with fun features.  A Notification Center collects all your notifications – emails, calendar events, etc. – in one place. iMessage allows you to send instant messages to other iPad and iPod users. In Safari, you can now read web pages nicely in a "reader", and you can easily share pages via Twitter. You can sync across your Apple devices using iCloud, so any music or movie you purchase on iTunes will be made available wirelessly on all your devices. You can format text in emails, mirror your iPad screen on your TV using Apple TV, and update your OS wirelessly. All very neat.

There are a couple of iPad utilities I've found useful. One is called Print n Share. It's for people like me who have a wi-fi printer that's not designed to work with the iPad, i.e. it's not an AirPrint printer. Print n Share allows you to print from your iPad to any wi-fi printer, though there are some irritating limitations. The other nice utility (this one's free) is SlideShark which allows you view properly and navigate around PowerPoint presentations.

Writing and traveling

Armed with a stylus and iAnnotate (hat tip to Tatiana Sviridova) or Ghostwriter (iAnnotate is probably better), you can annotate PDF files (iAnnotate will PDF documents for you). You can insert post-it comments, highlight text, write comments in the margin, and so on. You can email the annotated document as an attachment, and include the post-it comments in the body of the email – useful if you're getting a lot of documents to comment on. For writing a new document, or editing an existing Word document, Pages works well.

For travel, the Kayak and TripAdvisor apps are great. Finally, the OpenTable app provides an easy way to book a table for dinner in a variety of locales, including most big US and UK cities, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mexico City, Puerto Rico, and the West Indies.



Adam Wagstaff

Research Manager, Development Research Group, World Bank

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