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iPad Etiquette

The iPad from Apple, it’s a book, it's e-mail, it's your social network or your office, it's your music and your photos plus the apps for all of that.

And the more ways we can use a device, the more we'll want to take a look at how using it affects those around us.

In a nutshell, that's how "old" etiquette is applied to new technology.

If you have an iPad, here are a few places you might find yourself:

First, be prepared for curious stares and questions from strangers. Don't break it out in public unless you're ready to play show and tell, and possibly share. "Can I see it? Can I touch it? Can I try it?" Know your answer, because like a proud momma with a new infant, all the old ladies will want to hold your baby.

Have kids? Set the rules for use first thing. Tell them it's only for mommy's or daddy's work, or else be prepared to lose your latest spreadsheet when you walk in the door.

Back at the office, think about your work culture. Will the iPad be a handy tool or overkill? Be explicit with colleagues about what you're using it for, such as taking notes or checking a calendar, so they don't think you're playing Angry Birds during your morning meeting.

The reading feature is a huge component of iPad use, so feel free to pull it out during your morning commute. The upside: No more awkwardly folding your newspaper into a postage stamp. The downside? People are bound to read over your shoulder; until iPads are ubiquitous, curiosity will draw wandering eyes.

When you're with your family, equate iPad reading to the same choices you make with your books and magazines. For example, if your family is watching "Dancing With The Stars" but it isn't your thing, and you'd be reading a magazine during the show regardless, fire up the iPad. Just consider dimming it if the room is dark.

But if the idea is to spend quality time interacting with your family, put it away. Even if you think you're paying attention, you won't look like it -- and that's all that's going to matter to your spouse.

Without question, turn it off at the dinner table. Reading in bed is another time to think about dimming the iPad. Again, how will it affect others? If their light is out, it's time to dim.

What about reading in the car? It's sad to have to spell this out, but never use it if you're the driver! Causing an accident is the ultimate rudeness, to say the least.



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