About Thomas

My name is probably Thomas (yes, it is). I'll be able to help you figure out why Evernote isn't syncing, or recommend your favourite new RSS reader to you. That's partly because I am enamoured with the iOS ecosystem and hardware, but mostly because I'm Canadian.

Quick Look: Belkin Travel Power Pack 9000 for iPad

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This beast of a battery is the Belkin Travel Power Pack 9000. It’s a 9000 mAh battery, translates to about three or four charges for my iPhone 5S, or 60–70% of my iPad Air’s battery in real life charging situations. The Power Pack isn’t one of those tiny batteries that you use in an emergency to provide a bit of a charge. No, having a Power Pack in your bag is more like bringing the kitchen sink with you (well, if the kitchen sink provided power, and not water).

The Power Pack has two USB ports on it for charging — a 1.0A for smartphones and 2.5A port for tablets — but I really only ever used one of them at a time because I only carry one Lightning cable around with me. The shiny black plastic shell looks good, if a little non-descript, and it does pick up fingerprints easily.

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iPad App of the Week: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney — Dual Destinies

dual destinies ipad

Great apps make great platforms, and iOS and iPad are a great proof of that. One of the most captivating things about the iPad is the incredible range of great apps we are able to use and enjoy on Apple’s tablet. Each Saturday we share a favorite outstanding app as iPad App of the Week.

I was surprised and delighted to find Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney — Dual Destinies available on the App Store yesterday. I really loved the series of Phoenix Wright games on the Nintendo DS and 3DS. Yes, the series is a bit formulaic and the basic gameplay of questioning witnesses and finding evidence at crime scenes hasn’t changed much, but the dialogue is always spot-on and the storyline would usually keep me up for hours.

The game feels like it snuck onto the front page carousel, and the iTunes reviews say that it’s the very best port yet. The older Phoenix Wright Trilogy HD is a functional set of games, but they feel like literal cut-and-paste jobs of the Nintendo DS versions. Dual Destinies, on the other hand, looks right at home on the iPad.

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Kingston’s MobileLite Reader Looks Like A Great Way To Effectively Expand iPad Storage

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Here’s a really cool accessory I read about on Tools and Toys: the Kingston MobileLite Wireless Flash Reader. The iPad lacks any sort of expandable storage, but the MobileLite allows you to work around this by pairing with over Wi-Fi. Once paired, you can use the MobileLite’s USB port or card reader to access files on your SD cards, USB sticks, or external USB hard drives. I like the choice of going with Wi-Fi over Bluetooth, since the connection speeds are much faster over Wi-Fi.

Not only is this a great way to shunt extra movies or pictures from the iPad to an SD card, but it’s also an interesting way to get local files from a USB drive onto the iPad itself (where you can then open them in an app like Word for iPad). I also really like that this is an accessory that works with the storage devices you likely already own, instead of being a locked-in, proprietary storage unit + case.

The MobileLite accessory also features a little battery for extra charging, but that feature is probably really meant for iPhones. If you’re interested, you can find the MobileLite for $40 on Amazon.com (or NCIX.com for Canucks).

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Check Out Apple’s Amazing Productivity Apps Sale

amazing productivity apps

Apple is currently featuring a sale on Amazing Productivity App, which you can find on the front page of the App Store. To be honest, I normally ignore most of these weekly or monthly sales, but this one has so many good deals that I couldn’t help but jump on a few intriguing new apps. I picked up:

  • Prizmo — I hadn’t heard of this app before, but I was curious about how well it could do Optical Character Recognition (OCR); a few quick tests on game manuals seem to prove its worth, but I’ll have to check out Scanbot’s new Pro features (which feature OCR) before I decide on an OCR app.
  • Grafio — I’ve been asked to do a few workflow charts at work, and Grafio seems like the easiest way to accomplish this. Drawing shapes is easy, linking shapes is easy, and I can even re-order everything on the page and still have arrows pointing to all the right places.
  • Gneo — I haven’t actually had time to try this out yet, but since I’m currently doing my task management within Evernote, I decided to pick Gneo up, just to see if it would help at all. My guess is that this app might be a little too complicated (it seems to create separate notebooks for Evernote tasks), but I’ll report back on it soon.

Of course, these are just the apps I picked up during the sale. I already own Clear, Fantastical 2, Tydlig, Writer Pro, and others. This would be a great time for you to decide to own them too!

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Still Sorely Tempted To Purchase A Pencil Stylus For My iPad

Pencil Walnut Stylus

I’ve written about the Pencil stylus before, and it still seems really, really cool. Not only is it custom-built for one of my favourite drawing apps, Paper, but it recently expanded its support with a FiftyThree SDK. That means you can now use the Pencil with other awesome apps, like Noteshelf (for notes and diagrams) and Procreate (for sketches and paintings, with layer support),

The only thing keeping me from buying a Walnut Pencil (which will stick to my Smart Cover) are tales of the rubber tips breaking within the first weeks of use. There are enough negative Amazon reviews centered around the rubber tips that it does seem like a real product flaw, as opposed to a few outliers who happened to get bad Pencils. I realize that you can purchase more rubber tips for the stylus, but I’d prefer not to have to do that. I’ve tried to reach FiftyThree to get some answers, but I haven’t heard anything back from them thus far.

If any iPad Insight readers have any feedback to share, please do hit us up in the comments. I’m really eager to see if this is an actual issue, or whether I should take my chances and hope FiftyThree honour their 30-day guarantee.

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Quick Look: Belkin WeMo Insight Switch

The Belkin WeMo Insight isn’t an iPad-specific accessory — its companion app is really designed for the iPhone — but I’ve been using it across both of my iOS devices anyway. The WeMo Insight is part of Belkin’s WeMo suite of home automation accessories, and the Insight works like an AC adapter that allows you […]

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Another Quick Take on Screens VNC for iPad

Our very own James Potter recently reviewed Screens for iPad and gave a great breakdown of how the iPad can be used to remotely control a Mac or PC. However, I wanted to quickly post on how Screens — and its companion desktop app, Screens Connect — has helped me. A few months ago, I […]

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