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10 ways to get more from your iPad

Do more with Apple's slate PC, including turning it into a secondary display

Apple's iPad is just a week away from hitting UK shelves. The highly-anticipated slate PC is loaded with all kinds of features you've probably heard about, but look a little deeper, and its extra abilities might surprise you. We look at 10 ways to get more from your iPad.

5. Access your PC remotely

You just left for the weekend but forgot to copy an important business file to your laptop. Use an iPad to retrieve the content.

Several remote desktop-style tools present a live view of the distant computer, letting you control the PC as if you were sitting right there.

Whether you're reaching across the internet, or just into the next room, the process isn't fast enough to play smooth video. But most other applications and slow-moving Flash games - such as Farmville - work if you can handle about 10 to 20 frames per second.

Among many choices, I like LogMeIn Ignition (£17.99 if you want to configure as little as possible) and iTeleport (£14.99), plus VNC Viewer (£5.99) if you want to manually set it up.

You'll first configure the PC with a server utility (or an option built into the OS) first, then you can connect anywhere.
All three tools offer similar functionality. You'll zoom in and out with pinch gesture, and mouse around by touching the iPad.

Two-fingered taps activate right-click, and other gestures help with the input. iTeleport includes more keyboard options, such as presets to control media applications, but I thought the implementation got in the way.

If you just want to sit back and control a computer hooked up to a TV, Mobile Mouse (£1.79) can turn your iPad into a wireless keyboard, multitouch mouse trackpad, and media remote.

6. Supercharge the browser

Safari set a great standard for mobile browsing, but many alternatives reveal its missing features.

Starting with real tabs, Atomic Web (59p) adds many desktop-class benefits.

Multitouch swipe gestures even toggle between open sites. But that's just the beginning.

Atomic Web Browser can optionally omit images to save bandwidth, identify itself as various desktop browsers, let you customise the search engine, search for text within a page, modify its buttons, and more.

Safari will unfortunately remain as the iPad's default.

However, you can create a bookmark that reloads a Safari page within Atomic Web Browser.

In the Atomic Web Browser Settings menu, tap Install Bookmarklet. That'll open Safari and explain the process.

7. Transfer your books to iBooks Reader

Apple's eBook reader - iBooks - keeps all of your Apple-purchased books together, includes an iPad-specific interface, and interfaces with iTunes.

iBooks uses the ePub file format, so while the iPad can read PDFs, you can't store those files here with the rest of your books.

You can, however, convert them to ePub first, and keep everything in one place.

To do this, try Calibre - an open source e-book library management application for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

The software imports a range of formats, including PDF. After installation, click Add books, and select the PDF. Click Convert E-books.

In Page Setup, pick iPad as the Output profile. For simple documents, you can even try online conversion through epubtogo.com.

When finished, just drag the ePub files into iTunes, and you'll sync them the next time you connect the iPad.

My results varied depending on the complexity of the PDF. When I tried converting a document with photos and margin sidebars, unrelated sections of text merged.

However, the process worked for simpler, text-driven documents.

NEXT PAGE: Print from an iPad

  1. Do more with Apple's slate PC such including turning it into a secondary display
  2. Connect more than a camera
  3. Access your PC remotely
  4. Print from an iPad

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