First lets look at what’s going on the iPad. I want all my music and videos files to be available on the iPad. I also want my books and pictures files at the ready so I can read what I want and show off that cute moment of my girls that was captured. Of course we have apps that take up space as well and then all that “other” that is listed in iTunes. While I cant help you with your apps or “other”, as those kind of need to be ON the iPad, I can offer a few solutions for you when dealing with some of the other storage consumers.
Music is a big deal to me, and while I didn’t plan to be toting around the iPad to listen to music on the go, I also (stupidly) didn’t anticipate how much I would use it for listening to music while doing other things. To that end I found myself having to choose what songs I put on the device…what fun is that? I have a few solutions. First, an app called Jukefly, while only “optimized” for iPhone at the moment, this app will stream music to your iPad from your home computer. You need no music stored on your iPad and it does a pretty decent job of it. The added benefit is that you can also access it on a normal desktop from anywhere and listen through that as well. Of course with this option you can’t run it in the background, at least until multitasking comes to iPad (soon, it’s coming soon). Another option is using Winamp, you know that program many had on their computers to play mp3′s…well in this instance it’s actually the additional Winamp Remote that comes with it, which is powered by Orb (another solution, but pricey), but this is free. After installing and setting it up on your computer you have access to your computers music via safari and can stream it to your iPad. What’s even more exciting about this is that it can run in the background…yup, you read that right. If you access Winamp Remote via your iPad’s browser and play music, it will run in the background. I will say that it isn’t perfect, but it does a good job. Just be careful not to change the setting to be a desktop version on the iPad, let it think you’re on a mobile and it will work just fine. Either of these solutions is worth a shot, both are free and personally I use both, just depends what I want to do.
Movies are also storage-space hogs. There are plenty of video streaming apps out there, but the one I like is called Air Video (2.99). Just like the many other streaming apps, you will need to install a small program on your desktop and access it via the app on your iPad. It works, and even plays movies that are not in a format iTunes likes. The drawback is that it can not play DRMed content, but there are ways to rid your files of this, and if you must have a particular video that is full of DRM, well then just load that on the iPad and stream the rest! Either way you’ll be saving space. I’ve read of people trying to accomplish this with a “desktop remote app” that accesses your home computer directly. Sounds fine, but did you forget about audio? With the “desktop remotes” you are not streaming content, just viewing/using your computer…and while you can SEE the videos, unless you’re going to blast the sound from the other room, it doesn’t really accomplish this task.
While I can’t help you with storing your books, unless Stanza decides to make an iPad version of their app that can access your books from your desktop (please), I CAN give you relief for your thousands and thousands of pictures. Until now I’ve had to pick and choose what images I put on my iPad, many of us have crazy amounts of pictures and that really isn’t ideal because we all know that the second you put a certain group on…you will need one that is NOT on the device. Enter Picasa Web Albums (2.99). This program has a very similar look and feel to the Photos app that is built into the iPad, minus the flare that Apple made them remove, and if you upload all your images to Google Picasa you will have access to all your pictures using your login information…don’t worry that information isn’t stored with the developer, but instead on your iPad. You also have the ability to choose how much of your pictures you cache, if at all. By using this app, you will not only have access to your albums via the app on the iPad, but as I’m sure you are aware, you can access these via any desktop/laptop computer through Google Picasa, and view, share, print, etc.
Are any of these solutions ideal? Of course not…we would all like to have an endless amount of space to stick every file we need on our devices. Unfortunately at some point you will need to decide between files and when that happens you run the risk of not having what you want to listen to, watch, or show off. I have personally used these, and while I’m still housing SOME music and pictures on the iPad, for emergencies, I have cut my storage usage by 75%. I now have a greater amount of space to download all those apps that I cant help but want! For a mere $6.00 I’ve made my iPad do exactly what I didn’t think I’d need it to do when I bought it…and if you’re an INSANE picture person, you can always upgrade your Picasa storage with Google to 20GB for the *whopping* $5.00. That’s more storage than your iPad (assuming you got the lightest version) has all together!
There are many apps like this, do you use these or any like them? Have a better application that accomplishes the same thing? Let us know, trust me there are plenty of users in the same boat…only now, using apps like these, you don’t have just a chopstick, you have a…I dunno, a 2×8 piece of wood, it just isn’t shaped like a paddle yet.