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Bryn Nelson is a former microbiologist whose love of translating science into stories inspired him to become a science journalist in 1999. While a staff writer at Newsday, Nelson won awards for a long-form feature about a toddler with a traumatic brain injury, and for his role in a yearlong ecology series about the natural world. As a freelance writer and editor, his work has appeared in The New York Times, Nature, Scientific American, High Country News, and many other publications. He shares a renovated craftsman bungalow in Seattle with his partner, Geoff, and a lively dog named Piper.

3 responses to “Our favorite iPad travel apps”

  1. Emily Gertz

    Great roundup, Bryn.

    I have yet to find pro-ish quality photo apps for either iPhone or iPad that I’m really happy with. The closest so far is the (much improved of late) Flickr app, because at least it automatically uploads photos to Flickr, which effectively backs them up.

    Would love to hear suggestions from our readers.

    Other apps I like for work:

    Goodreader is the killer app of iPads. It opens up almost any document format, including PDF, and backs up to/picks up from Dropbox. I use it to read scientific papers, for instance. It can play some formats of multimedia, and allows you to write directly onto a document with a stylus. And you can organize documents within Goodreader into folders, delete them when you’re done, and accomplish many other fairly rote management tasks that for a long time were difficult on the iPad.

    If one is using Twitter as part of reporting — such as keeping up with events in real time, communicating with colleagues via direct message, or live-tweeting news or a conference — a good Twitter app is essential. In the sad absence of Tweetdeck for iOS (curse you Twitter overlords) I’ve switched over to Tweetbot for iPad. It does not have Tweetdeck’s multicolumn display, but with a little practice I quickly got used to switching quickly between views of my Twitter lists. It’s seldom crashy and supports non-latin characters such as Cyrillic.

    iSSH: If you need a terminal app on your iPad or iPhone, iSSH does the trick. If this makes no sense to you, then you don’t need a terminal app.

    For entertainment:

    I’ve become a fan of Amazon Prime. For the one yearly fee that includes 2-day shipping on Amazon purchases, you also get access to a lot of good video — movies, documentaries, TV shows — which look great on the Apple retina display. Quite a lot of it comes at no additional charge. And recently HBO licensed a lot of its older series to Amazon — early seasons of Tru Blood, for instance. Caveat: I don’t know how well this would work outside the USA, however.

    These are much lighter bandwidth than streaming video, and the Apple Podcast app is easy to use. I like downloading and saving ‘casts for later listening.

    Many American libraries use Overdrive for circulating e-books. It can also access open license collections like the Gutenberg Project. I have yet to use it overseas, but love the idea of being able to find myself a Jane Austen novel to read no matter where I am, as long as there’s good wifi.

  2. Alaina Levine

    Fabulous article with fabulous ideas and resources! Thanks so much for sharing!

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