I recently purchased a Sony A6000 so that I could take more dramatic videos and stylish review shots. One of the biggest changes I’ve been adjusting to is that modern cameras actually have Wi-Fi on board, and so I can transfer my 24 MegaPixel JPEGs right from the camera to my iPad for editing on-the-go. I can do all of this thanks to the PlayMemories app on the App Store, which allows me to connect straight to the ad-hoc network broadcast by my camera.
This is an awesome setup for me, as I can take a few hundred burst shots while I’m playing tennis with friends and then send all of them over to my iPad while we break for lunch. It takes about 5-10 minutes for each set of 100 shots, and so the transfer is usually complete by the time my friends and I are done eating. I can then cull all of the crappy out-of-focus shots from the iPad’s 10-inch screen, and even start editing photos with some of my favourite extensions.
When I get home, I don’t even have to worry about transferring pictures off of the camera to the Mac. iCloud Photo Library automatically uploads all of the JPEGs from the iPad to my iPhone and Mac. This workflow is a dream come true for me, and it’s a far cry from the days of requiring iPad memory card adapters, or worse: transferring all photos from the camera to iPhoto, and then syncing lower resolution versions to the iPad through iTunes.
I’ve been using the iPad as a computer substitute and a second screen for years now, and so it’s a thrill to be able to use the machine in a new context. It’s amazing how versatile this little tablet is proving to be.
In my opinion, Control Center on the iPad is analogous to a Swiss Army knife, only in electronic format. Like a Swiss army knife, it is the place to go to get things done. Control Center is a collection of utilities that you can reply on to solve a multitude of problems and gain access to them quickly and easily. It’s the control hub of your iPad.
Activating Control Center is simple and intuitive–in one motion, just swipe up from the bottom of the screen. Here you will find all you need to activate, disarm and adjust various settings and functions on your iPad. You can also activate Control Center from the lock screen and from within apps with the same swiping motion. You can turn these settings on and off in the Settings App under Control Center.
Highlighted (call-out) Controls starting in the upper left and moving in a clock-wise direction are as follows
Wi-Fi. Tapping this button will allow you to turn your Wi-Fi on or off. Turning on will let you connect to Wi-FI hot-spots–however, you may still need to enter password information of your iPad detects a hot-spot that you have not previously connected to, or you instructed your iPad to “forget” the hot-spot after the last time you were connected.
Bluetooth. This will turn your iPad’s Bluetooth connection on or off allowing your iPad to pair with a Bluetooth device such as a keyboard
Do-not-Disturb. A great little utility that you can adjust to mute notifications and calls for pre-set times or on the fly as needed.
Screen Lock. Locks the screen orientation in other portrait or Landscape mode.
Airplane Mode. When active, it will turn off cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Can be a useful way of saving battery–especially in areas where signal strength is weak and your iPad is looking for a cell tower.
Today’s featured iPad Insight deal is on these slick looking Earjax ‘Lyrics’ Noise-Isolating Headphones, which promise studio quality sound. They’re on sale for just $34.95 – 65% off their standard price of $100.
Here’s the quick rundown on these headphones:
Earjax has extremely high standards for a proper listening experience, and you should too. Their precision-crafted design delivers every nuance of every note, so you are guaranteed to hear music as the artists intended.
Precision fit & studio quality sound
Oversize high-definition drivers
High frequency response & rich bass
Engineered to block outside noise
Woven cloth braid for cable longevity
Gold plated, aluminum plug for optimum conductivity
One of my ongoing missions, despite all of the lovely hardware keyboards available, is to find a way to write comfortably for longer periods of time on the iPad. I’m actually surprised there aren’t more articles out there that acknowledge that the iPad isn’t really a very ergonomic setup for touch typing. I can’t be the only one suffering from occasional pins and needles, or soreness from typing for too long at the tablet.
In fact, a few minutes of typing is usually enough to I start to cause the dreaded finger tingles that signal the return of RSI. However, in the interests of science and my own morbid curiousity, I push onward and try out different sitting and typing positions every once in a while.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my posture while I type and how it distributes the weight and pressure on my wrists. My latest attempt at a more sustainable typing position involves keeping my feet flat on the ground, lower back pressed ups against the chair, and generally reclining while looking down at the iPad. This takes a lot of strain off of my wrists, and because I don’t have to bend them upwards as far, and I’m finding I can type for a good 15-20 minutes in this position before actually feeling uncomfortable.
Another key has been to experiment with keyboards that minimize the numbers of keystrokes I actually need to complete a sentence. I’ve written about Nintype and Fleksy before,but I’m giving SwiftKey another thank due to its more aggressive auto-suggestion algorithm. SwiftKey is much faster the iOS QuickType keyboard at showing corrections and at displaying predictions for what my next word will be, so a lot of my typing can be reduced to simply tapping on the spacebar to confirm the currently suggested word.
I’m also learning to try and type at a slower pace on the iPad. Doing so has reduced the number of typos in my pieces, but also made it a little easier on my hands. My fingers tend to fly on real keyboards because I can feel the he rhythm of a sentence and how much pressure certain keys will respond to, but it’s a very different experience on a touchscreen that doesn’t move. I’m finding a lighter, more deliberate touch just feels better and ends up being more accurate overall.
Family Sharing is a great utility Apple introduced in iOS 8 that allows family members to share all their purchases across the App Store, iTunes and the iBookstore. With Family Sharing, though, all participating members need to have their own Apple ID’s. However, minors under the age of thirteen can’t create an Apple ID on their own. Luckily parents can give consent and create one for them–and when you do, it will be added to your Family group automatically.
Apple verifies that you are indeed an adult and can create an Apple ID for your child when you use a credit card as your method of payment in your iTunes account. Unfortunately for this exercise, though, if your payment method is currently a debit card, you will have to replace it with a credit card because iTunes uses the security information on the credit card to confirm consent for a minor to use the account.
When Apple introduced iCloud Family Sharing with iOS 8 they finally provided us with a method to monitor purchases made with our Apple ID from other devices _before_ they are actually purchased. These “other” devices were typically used by our children. With Family Sharing we can manipulate purchase settings so that we are true gate-keepers of any service that needs our our Apple ID for authentication.
Personally, I love using Family Sharing with my oldest son who is now 12. I appreciate that he can still have his own Apple ID and make his own choices on which apps, songs and books he would like to download to his iPhone. But in the end, I still get to make the final approval. That perfect mix of independence for my son, and peace of mind for my wife and I, seems to be working well for now.
One unforeseen benefit from having purchases made by different people in the same Family Sharing plan is that these purchases can be sorted by Family members. To download only purchases made from a specific member if your Family Plan first launch the App Store app on your iPad.
Today’s featured deal is the MiFi 2 Unlocked Global Hotspot, at a lovely 50% off. It’s on offer for $99, down from is normal $199 price point.
Here’s the quick Intro for the MiFi 2 and some of its key features:
Stay connected 24/7 with MiFi, the world’s leading brand for portable hotspots. MiFi’s high-speed Internet is the essential gadget for all you jet-setters out there, providing easy-to-use connectivity for up to 10 devices in over 150 countries.
Connect up to 10 Wi-Fi devices including laptops, tablets & smartphones
Keep your activity secure w/ VPN pass-through & Wi-Fi protected set up
Easily check data usage & block unrecognized devices
View battery life & signal strength
Stay connected for up to 16 hours
Choose your carrier— it’s unlocked!
Share files & GPS data
Provide instant access from your devices to up to 32GB of data on a microSD card
With iOS 8 your iPad has enhanced accessibility features that can be very useful for everyone. One such feature that I find myself using on a regular basis is centered around speech–specifically, reading selected text back to me. There are countless benefits from such a feature, from reading a how-to aloud while you actively participate in making or fixing something, to catching you up on your RSS reader feed while you wade through your backlog of emails. I find it particularly helpful to finish reading a post when I need to redirect some of my attention to another task. Whatever the reason, I’m sure you can find scenario that is beneficial for you, too.
Start with opening the Settings App on your iPad, and select General. Next, open the Accessibility tab and locate Speech at the bottom of the Vision section. Here you have three options–Speak Selection, Speak Screen and Speak Auto-text.
I’ve had about four months to use the Pencil Stylus from FiftyThree, and I think it’s now safe enough to call this purchase a success. I was initially worried by reviews I’ve seen on Amazon that suggest that the Pencil can’t hold up for very long before breaking, but I’ve been taking the stylus around everywhere with me for a few months now, and it’s handling everyday wear and tear just fine. The rubber tip and eraser require a bit of a wipe down every few days, but that has been the extent of the upkeep.
I bought the Pencil because I wanted a solid stylus to help me draw more accurately within the Paper app. Pencil nails that with its great build quality and interesting material choices. I like that this stylus is made out of wood, yet still feels right at home alongside my aluminum iPad.
Now-a-days, kids are far more technologically advanced than most of their parents were at the same age much less now. This is both a blessing and a curse for us as parents, though. I think it’s great that my 7 year old can pick up an iPad and get his reading and math homework done using a touch interface that he is already very comfortable and proficient with. I find it helpful and thoughtful that his school supports a paperless initiative when it comes to the tools he uses for learning.
As a parent, the flip-side of this story is that there will come a time in the very near future—sooner than I probably would like to admit, that he will begin to explore the cyber-world outside of his academic bubble. This scare the hell out of me at times. The internet can be a wonderful learning tool, but it can also be a window to so much more—much of which can be very damaging to children—especially young ones.
I have already experienced a taste of this world with my oldest son who is 12. He is a very trustworthy young man, but he is also at an age of maturity and discovery and is naturally curious about everything else that goes along with growing up.