Yes I know there are loads of other better guides out there, this post is to help point out where all the useful info is.

So because I’m so filthy rich I decided to buy an iPad for myself. Yes I’ve wanted some sort of ebook device for a while, and you can’t really beat Apple when it comes to quality and hack-satisfaction-level. I’ve been impatient with the Apple/Core Group/Vodacom festering ringworm and their inability to get the iPad imported officially, and so decided to just jump the gun and get one through the usual covert channels. Looking at take2.co.za and wantitall.co.za was all good and well, but I’d made the impulsive decision and wanted the device on the same day, no wait, I wanted it in under an hour, not in 15 days time. Enter simplicity.co.za. They had the stock (it was on special), they were willing to take my money, and I could get it from them within an hour or two.

Pay, drive, collect. 1 times iPad be mine!

So what the hell does one do to make the iPad(or any iOS device) truly worthwhile? You jailbreak it! Now? Yes, before you start loading crap and then then something fucks out that you have to restore the default settings and reconfigure all your apps again. Well firstly DO NOT UPDATE to the latest official firmware – that stops the  jailbreak option dead. Instead head on over to jailbreakme.com with Safari on your device (preferably on a stable WiFi connection) and slide your finger to run the jailbreak. Then wait. Be patient. It will work. Just wait.

Ta-da.

So what does jailbreak mean? It installs an app called Cydia which allows you to install other unofficial applications on your device.Those that aren’t in the Apple store. And Cydia also allows those extra features like multitasking and shortcuts to settings.

And if you add Installous into Cydia you can get legitimate apps (to try before you buy, of course).

But more on those tweaks later.

Let’s get your Gmail working properly on the iPad. (More here, and here’s what I mean by “properly”) iOS 4 actually fixes this crap, but the iPad is still iOS3.

Then sync your Google Calendar(s) with your iPad.

Install Firefox Home to get your bookmarks and open tabs syncing for later reading from the iPad.

Install VLC from the Apple store cos its the best media player in the business.

Back to Cydia. Here’s a list of Cydia jailbreak apps that work with the iPad. Ignore most of them for now.

Apps you do want from Cydia: (Install them in this order or you may have to restart from scratch)

iFile, Openssh, Installous, SBSettings, Backgrounder.

iFile allows you to browse files and directories on the device (windows explorer like). You need this app to edit a file to correct a bug with the openssh install, which disables the location tool.

Openssh lets you ssh into the iPad over the wireless interface. When you install this your device now runs an SSH server. Once the install is completed go change the default ‘root’ and ‘mobile’ passwords. The default password is ‘alpine’. Make it your own. (Details here.)

Installing OpenSSH will probably break location based services, but here’s how to fix that:
using iFile, go to
/System/Library/LaunchDeamons/com.apple.locationd.plist
and change the false under OnDemand to true.
Save and reboot the iPad (Hold home key and lock key for a while). (Info here)

Next you can add SBSettings and Backgrounder. For these two there is a package called MobileSubstrate which gets installed and this tends to cause the iPad to hang with a spinning wheel of death. This gives you two options:

1) Uninstall the packages over WiFi and SSH

2) Hard reset (Hold home button and lock button)

I first tried installing Backgrounder and the iPad hung, so I uninstalled manually from the command line. Those Backgrounder unbricking instructions are here.

Later I decided I still wanted Backgrounder so I first installed SBSettings (which installed the MobileSubstrate). This sort of hung so I waited a while before performing a hard reset. After a slowish boot everything was back to normal and all was well with SBSettings installed and working. I then installed Backgrounder and it behaved nicely. Yay!

Remember your mileage may vary – I can’t guarantee any of this will work on your iPad, but this is the success I have achieved with just the smallest amount of research and a bit of confidence.Just remember to read what it says on the screen and you’ll be fine.

From here on in you can continue to load more apps, games and books and just get more from your iPad experience.
Enjoy.