Your iPad won’t replace your laptop and give you the same on-the-road productivity, but for accessing information, the (3g) iPad is outstanding. A few tricks will help speed your access to essential files, subject of course to your own security requirements.
1. Use a Dropbox account to make your files easily accessible on your iPad. (No, seriously, get one.) In addition to synchronizing a 2GB directory (or more, on a paid basis) between your computers, Dropbox stores your files on a central server for password-protected web access. Then install the Dropbox app for the iPad. Plus, you’ll find an increasing number of iPad programs (like some book reading apps) also providing built-in access to Dropbox. It’s instant convenience.
2. Get Goodreader for the iPad to read your PDF files. In addition to accessing PDF files from Dropbox (as well as from IMAP and POP3 mail servers, FTP servers, Google Docs, and other Dropbox-like services), Goodreader provides password access, allows you to save web-pages for reading, and provides wi-fi access to your iPad Goodreader directories. Goodreader also promises annotations for its next version, although some programs, like Aji iAnnotate, already allow you to annotate (e.g., highlight) your (OCR-processed) PDF files.
3. Don’t forget a suite to edit your Word and Excel documents, such as Documents To Go Office Suite. If you have an Exchange server or a hosted Exchange server, get Documents To Go Premium.
4. Get a remote login program, like LogMeIn Ignition, to get direct access to your desktop computer. Sometimes you just need your full system. If you’re at a wi-fi point, LogMeIn Ignition provides you with at-your-desk access. You might email yourself files, or run programs on your PC.