Port of Port Townsend moves to iPads
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
Port of Port Townsend Commissioner Leif Erickson, left, instructs Commissioner Dave Thomas in the use of his new iPad.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — Port of Port Townsend staff and commissioners are moving to a system that relies on Apple iPads to conduct daily business and stay informed about port issues.

The newly acquired devices are expected to improve communication between the commissioners and staff while keeping people better informed and cutting down on paper consumption, said Deputy Port Director Jim Pivarnik.

The new tools will not change the port's interaction with the public. The public can access documents through its website, www.portofpt.com.

“This will help us deal with the piles of paper that are still coming at us,” said Commissioner Leif Erickson during an iPad training session Tuesday morning.

“It will also give us better access to documents. When you put a document into a paper-file cabinet, it's lost, and you might as well just throw it away.

The port purchased seven iPads, three for the commissioners and one each for staff members Pivarnik, Port Director Larry Crockett, Administrative Secretary Sue Nelson and Finance Director Amy Kihle.

Kihle said the total cost of the purchase was about $2,000, which included a keyboard case.

The devices are the second iteration of the iPad, which is about 18 months old and has been replaced twice by newer models but is adequate for the port's needs, Kihle said.

The iPads loaned to Commissioners Erickson, Dave Thompson and Steve Tucker are configured as 3G, which allows them to capture an Internet signal from any location, while the staff devices work only in proximity to a Wi-Fi hot spot.

Prior to the iPad acquisition, the commissioners used their own computers for port business. Kihle and Pivarnik have their own personal iPads.

The new devices will be used for port business only.

Several thousand applications are available for the iPad, but Kihle controls the content of the port-owned machines and is the only one on staff who can affect an installation,

This maintains the integrity of the machines, as their contents could be the subject of a public disclosure request, Kihle said.

One of the approved applications is I Annotate, which allows the commissioners to read and store portable document files — or PDFs — as well as add their own notes for use at a meeting.

The idea to incorporate iPads came out of a meeting attended by staff where iPads were in use, Pivarnik said.

At a subsequent meeting, Crockett took an iPad “and was there the whole time without taking any notes with pencil and paper,” he said.

The commissioners visualize a time when no paper handouts are used at meetings and that any document can be printed on the spot using a wireless printer.

Any information and files on the iPads will be subject to public disclosure requests.

For information about making such a request, phone 360-385-0656.

Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: November 13. 2012 6:09PM
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