Review: Take Control Live: Working with Your iPad

Last week I watched the first of 4 instalments of Take Control Live: Working with Your iPad and found it most useful. I’d urge you to sign up for the course if you want to make iPad part of your workflow.


The next 3 live instalments will air in January, February and March 2013, but since they’re all recorded it doesn’t matter too much if the time doesn’t work for you, or you forget to tune in.

Take Control Live: Working with Your iPad.

If the schedule doesn’t work for you, if you’ve already missed a show, or if you want to watch certain parts again, you can tune in any time afterward. Either way, there’s no need to take notes, since post-show updates to your season pass will contain the key information from each show.

The technical quality was excellent

The live training was handled by a Google Hangout that showed us Joe Kissell for the most part. Occasionally the show host Adam Engst would come on screen himself, and sometimes we’d see prepared slides or the screen of Joe’s iPad.

To the right of the video was a chat box where we viewers could ask questions or make comments.

The first show aired at 7 am on a Friday for me, and I watched from home on a high-speed Internet connection.

The presentation was flawless for me, with no dropouts or buffering.

A couple of people though mentioned in the chat that they were having difficulties. Luckily Tonya Engst was on hand to offer advice and answer technical questions.

One great thing was that although those people joined in a bit late, they could start watching from the beginning, or switch to the Live view if they preferred.

Great support materials

The Take Control folks made it very clear that we didn’t need to take notes. Although Joe provided up with all kinds of excellent information and handy links all we had to do was watch and listen. Soon after the show the ebook was updated with everything he’d mentioned.

Updates are easy to get too. When you buy the Season Pass you receive a PDF with all the information you need. That’s the PDF that’s updated after each show.

Click the handy Check for Updates button on the cover page to see if you have the most recent version or not. If you haven’t, then download the update for free.

I imagine that anyone who buys the Season Pass now the training has already begun will simply receive the most current version of the book.

Very useful content

Really I use my iPad more for personal leisure than for work, though as a self-employed person that’s not always a clear distinction.

I’ve often had friends and clients seek my advice though on whether and how to use their iPad for work-related activity.

The first session gave us plenty of useful information about keyboards, typing and entering text, including some of the shortcuts, such as tapping and holding certain keys to bring up a menu of alternative characters.

If you’re more into physical keyboards there was plenty of meaty information too.

Then the training moved on to using a stylus, dictation and a very handy distinction between and review of different apps for taking notes, wordprocessing and general writing.

Concrete, specific advice

The training was very concrete, with recommendations and discussion of specific apps and hardware for particular purposes. Joe clearly has a great deal of expertise and he was sharing it freely.

He was able to compare similar apps for some purposes and offer guidance on which may be better and why.

One thing I really liked was that on any slides listing multiple options, the recommended option was highlighted in a different colour. It was quick and easy to see what would make a good choice.

The (few) hitches

At one hour, the training was a good length, and full of information. It started and stopped on time — something I always appreciate.

There were no actual hitches, as far as I was concerned. As a trainer myself I admired Joe’s ability to stay on track and on time without any breaks and without drifting into less useful side-issues.

And that’s where my first suggestion comes in. [I've already sent these suggestions on to the Take Control folks.]

There are a few points in the training where Joe clearly moved from one topic to another. Given that Adam Engst was present as a moderator this would have been a perfect opportunity for him to take over from Joe for a moment and do one of those name checks you hear in radio shows: We’re listening to Joe Kissell present Take Control Live: Working with Your iPad.

That would have given Joe the chance to take a sip of water, draw breath and gather his thoughts. It’s very intensive work presenting training and such moments are incredibly useful.

And for us, the audience, that moment of ‘white space’ as it were, would also allow us to pause for a moment in our concentration, and relax, while still being oriented on the topic.

It would also help create the feeling of ‘chapters’ in the material.

My other, very picayune suggestion was to make sure the name of the training and the trainer appear directly above the video on the web page it was embedded in.

I lose names within moments. Being able to glance up and refresh my memory would have been useful for me.

An exciting approach

I’m a trainer and a writer by profession, and I’m very excited by Take Control Live: Working with Your iPad.

The format beautifully blends live training with ebook.

The two media are complementary, with the ebook being more than a simple transcript or notes.

Because the videos are recorded, you can go back and watch later, or join the training at any time in the 4 months and still be up to speed.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn by video. I don’t read so much these days — it can take me weeks or months to read and review a book. I tend to be busy during the day. By the end of the day I want to watch some light videos, read some entertaining material, such as articles I’ve bookmarked, or enjoy some fiction.

Books, especially hard copy educational books, tend to go on my ‘I must read that’ pile, and stay there.

This approach, of live videos, conveniently spaced a month apart so you have time to absorb and incorporate the learnings, with a complementary ebook that’s updated after each training is very exciting. The chat alongside the video gives an opportunity to ask questions, and then answers are incorporated in the book too.

Thoroughly professional

Joe mentioned in passing that he was only a couple of days away from moving from France to the US. I was rather admiring that someone in the middle of that kind of major upheaval would go ahead with a very demanding training. What’s more the whole hour was thoroughly professional, with no hint of the chaos moving would cause.

So it was rather amusing when I was given a glimpse behind the scenes, with the following photo. It showed that in fact Joe was working on a makeshift desk of packing boxes.

Joe was working on a makeshift desk of boxes.

Joe was working on a makeshift desk of packing boxes. Photo by Joe Kissell.

The ad hoc studio was created out of necessity, since most of Joe’s belongings were all packed up and ready to go. I was told that Joe does plan to create a more serious setup in his new home. If all goes well, he’ll be moved in to his new home and with a proper studio set up before the next presentation.

Join in on the Live training

As I write there are still 3 more live training sessions to go, with some exciting topics still to come. I’m definitely looking forward to the information in January on using an iPad for scanning and optical character recognition.

Watch the recorded video of session 1, read the book so far and then be ready for the next instalment in January 2013. If you buy through my affiliate link I earn a few dollars towards MacTips. The Season Pass costs US$49.99.

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