iPad and bamboo are friends

I stole this picture from the internet

Now, I’m no Mac fanboy, but the iPad is a device that will change things. I’ve said this, but I’ll say it again: it’s not the iPad itself that is amazing, but rather the kind of device. It’s is the closest to “right” as any tablet style computing device has come, and to some extent that is due to the pompous nature of Apple. They seem to decide what people need, build it, and then tell people that they need to change their thinking. In this case, I think they are right.

I recognize and generally agree that limiting how people interact with a device they own, or any tool for that matter, is offensive… i AM an American, after all. That said, forcing people to use a device a certain way by strictly controlling the interaction on the device (i.e. limiting how many apps per page, no vertical scrolling, no folders) has the effect of making people who end up using the device rethink how they use the device… and this is a GoodThing™. Right at the release of a new technology, you have a small window in which people’s expectations for how they can interact with the new technology has been reset. That is when you have the best opportunity to change how people relate to the new technology.

Inevitably and eventually, competing devices will come out, returning options and choice to all of us. For now, though, the choice is take it or leave it. We constantly create new technology that is extremely powerful, and extremely impressive… to those of us who can access it and understand how to use it. Devices like the iPad have a very low intellectual cost of entry, which is to say that you don’t need to know much about technology to make really effective use of them.

All of that is just a preface for the somewhat multi admission that I bought an iPad… just a little one. Excepting PDAs and phones, this is my third tablet device (12th if you count phone and PDAs), and while it lacks the flexibility of the others, it more than makes up for it in actual usability. It’s awesome, and I’m sure I’ll be talking about it more later. For now though, I want to talk about the case I bought, and the stand I made.

When I bought the thing, I knew I didn’t want the standard iPad case that Apple sells. It’s a good, and serviceable case, but I knew I wanted something else… something that made me feel a little less like an apple fanboy. As I was looking for a case, I came across a tweet about the Dodocase. I checked it out, and I knew right away that it was the case for me:

  1. It looks like a moleskine
  2. It is made by hand using old tools and techniques
  3. It’s made with renewable bamboo
  4. They’re hard to get

This last one is purely ego. I want to be able to say I was a fan before they were popular (Hello, Flogging Molly). The funny thing is, the guys at Dodocase know their audience enough to know that the best way to play to this last trait is to number the cases. The 1st 1k cases they made came with a numbered, old school library card indicating just how much indyCred the owner is entitled to:

10,000 – Dodocase Number = indyCredz

After 10k case are sold, nobody gets any indyCredz. Anyway, after waiting for 5 weeks, I got may case, and it has all of the problems that The Internet said it has: Doesn’t protect agains big drops, Doesn’t hold the iPad in when held upside down, shallow typing angle, doesn’t stand up easily… It’s still the most awesome and perfect case I’ve seen for the iPad.

I wouldn’t trade it, but that last one can be a bit annoying. Take, for instance, this post. I am typing it on a bluetooth keyboard paired to my iPad. In order to do this comfortable, I need to be able to stand the iPad up at a reasonable angle to that I can see it, and in a way that lets me poke at the screen without it falling over. The Dodocase, as awesome as it is, fails at this. Frankly, I think it fails at this because it wasn’t really designed with this kind of use in mind. This weakness in the Dodocase design, though, left me with a need for some kind of stand. I came up with a couple of ways to make the Dodocase serve, and I think they would work, but I wanted something dedicated. Here are the things i thought would be important:

  • Portable
  • Easy to setup
  • Should not make me look like an ass
  • Sturdy enough that I won’t be afraid to touch it
  • Flexible enough that I won’t be afraid to touch it
  • Adjustable tilt angle

My first two passes as a stand basically amounted to an angled slots cut in blocks of acrylic. These worked, but missed on the last two items on the list. Of particular concern was the second to last. Every time I touched the display, I was sure I would see a crack spread across the bottom. I used these stands for a few days, and you can buy them for $6 on any number of websites, but eventually I found myself thinking about something better.

As soon as I started thinking of taking a real pass at this, I started talking to mike about sourcing acrylic. This lead to a discussion of other materials, and I spent my lunch hour with my actual moleskin sketching up some ideas. More IMs with Mike (“blah, blah, aluminum, blah, blah, hippies, blah, blah, bamboo”)… Some quality Google time to see what’s out there (discovered something similar to what I had in mind, but in aluminum, which was actually Mike’s idea)… Then some time messing around in the shop.

The result:
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The result is something that works pretty well and meets all of my criteria. So, what would you pay for a sweet new “iPad Stick…” “EucaliPad…” “Nipa stand?”