Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

Part 4 - Email, clouds and APIs - iPad as my main computer


The more I use the iPad the more I explore its “nuts and bolts”. The more apps I try the less I need… and the more I appreciate the small, subtle things app designers have gone to actually make my new “productivity machine” better. In this part of my iPad-only saga I’m going to focus on several aspects of my iPad’s apps:

Part 4 - Email, clouds and APIs - iPad as my main computer

Email. To zero. Every day.

When I wrote my first post on the iPad two years ago I didn’t know it’d be so true. Processing emails on the iPad to zero is so beautiful. It’s really great. I’m “touching” emails and processing my inbox to zero every single day. I love it. The best part is that my Mail application is not “asking for attention” in the dock, it’s there when I need it… and I use it several times a day and it’s a great experience every time.

Email integrations work, and help.

When you’re on a desktop is so easy to drag and drop files to other apps, to desktop and take it from there… here on the iPad I start appreciating how many apps have taken a great approach to Email integration and enable me to “forward” emails to them. Evernote, Nozbe (of course!), Tripit, Buffer, Kindle… and many others. I find myself emailing other apps a lot more often than before… thus processing email to zero even faster!

I love the APIs of apps. They play so well together!

My favorite “content consuming” apps are Reeder, Tweetbot, Pocket (formerly Read-it-later) and well, Safari. Except for the last one, all are very tightly integrated with each other as well as my clouds like Evernote od Dropbox so this makes using them a breeze and making sure I don’t lose the articles I want to keep or read later (for which the iPad is a beautiful machine, too :-)

Bonus - IFTTT = If This Than That

This service is like “one API to rule them (APIs) all” and I’ve already configured it to post all of my Instagram photos to Evernote, when I star an item in Twitter or Google Reader, send them to Evernote or Pocket… and other stuff. It’s like an Automator for the web… and for my iPad. Works beautifully.

Bonus 2 - GoodReader - one app to integrate them all

I can’t say enough about GoodReader - I thought wrongly that it’s “only a PDF reader” but it’s an app that integrates all the “files” on my iPad with my clouds and other apps. This is a must-have if you’re serious about the iPad as your working machine.

Bonus 3 - Second Dropbox account

As I mentioned, one of my main clouds is Dropbox and I can’t say enough about it. I store many files on my Dropbox account and need GoodReader to have access to all of them… but I don’t need all of the apps to have access to my entire Dropbox account so I decided to create a second dropbox account which shares some files and some folders with my main Dropbox account. The second account is free with 2GB of storage but it’s plenty enough for my needs and for the needs of the apps that sync with it. All of the folders I have on this account are being shared with my main account… so that I can access this second account from my main account but not the other way round (for all the files). This way I’m less “scared” when I give access to my Dropbox folder to all of the apps that ask for it.

The last bonus - iSMEStorage

To enable Dropbox to WebDav sync - which in turn gives me access to my Dropbox files directly through WebDav from the Pages, Keynote and Numbers apps, I needed to buy a $5 app called iSMEStorage - there is no subscription, just an “iOS only” plan where I can set it up to “translate” my Dropbox files to WebDav.

There are more tips coming

As I’m discovering my iPad only way I’m finding more and more subtle things that, once set up right, help me work more efficiently on my iPad and in many way more “focused” than ever before.

Do you have any tips for me? Do let me know!