Category Archives: General

Tapping and Typing

I wrote a few weeks ago that I was going to stop carrying the iPad Pro and Smart Keyboard everyday, and I’ve been following through on that. I also carry a laptop to and from work, and the combination of the two devices is more than a 15″ MacBook Pro and charger.

I have been trying to do a better job of just using and not over-thinking the iPad Pro. That definitely happens naturally at home. I hate to repeat it, but it is a fantastic content consumption device. I use it almost daily for Netflix and podcasts, and I have pretty much stopped using my awesome UE Boom speakers because the iPad Pro already sounds good enough for music in the kitchen.

But when I’m out and about and want to handle longer form writing and messaging, this is where the iPad Pro slows me down when compared to my Retina MacBook Pro.

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Review of AceThinker iPhone Screen Recorder

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If you are a user of an iPhone or an iPad, you would be pretty familiar with the fact that there comes a need of recording the screen activity quite often. There may be a number of different reasons behind recording your iPhone’s screen. You might want to do it for making some kind of tutorials, for recording some streaming videos, for recording video calls with your loved ones or for gameplay only.

There are a few applications that allow us to record the activity on our iPhone’s screen. iPhone Screen Recorder is one of these apps that come in very handy when you want to record your iPhone/iPad screen.  It’s a computer software (Win/Mac) that has the feature of connecting wirelessly to your iPhone using AirPlay. After the iPhone is connected to your PC, it shows you a mirror of your iOS display on your computer screen. The detailed review of iPhone Screen Recorder is discussed in the coming paragraphs.

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Deals: Apple MFi-Certified Lightning Cable: 3-Pack at 61% off

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Today’s featured deal is perfect for, well–everyone!  This one is pretty self-explanatory.  You have an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, and you need to charge them–everyday.  There’s no getting around it.  When it comes to charging your devices, what’s the one thing that always come to mind?  You always wish you had more charging cables available–right?  I have one for my bedside table, one for my office, one for the car, etc.  But no matter how many you have, they eventually wear down, fray or come apart after heavy use.  For a limited time you can purchase a Apple MFi-Certified Lightning Cable 3-Pack at a savings of 61% off. It’s a great deal that will run you only $21.99 – instead of the standard price of $57. Here’s some info about the Lightning Cable 3-Pack, and how you can take advantage of this deal while it lasts…

It’s pretty simple: you need to charge or sync your iPhone. This 3-pack of USB 2.0 cables, courtesy of Apple itself, gives you three ways to do just that. Just connect your Apple device to any USB port, and go to town. As icing on the cake, these babies are MFi-certified, meaning they have Apple’s stamp of approval and are guaranteed to safely charge or sync your device each time.

  • Charge or sync your iPhone, iPad, or iPod via any USB port
  • Connect your device to your computer or the Apple USB Power Adapter
  • Ensure your connected device stays safe thanks to MFi certification
  • Enjoy optimal convenience with the unique reversible design

To see more details, and to place an order, visit this iPad Insight Deals page.

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Deals: Slim Universal Bluetooth Keyboard at 28% off

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Today’s featured deal is especially useful for those who like to use their iPad as a productivity device, but dislike the typing experience the iPad offers. When there are dozens of BT keyboards out there to choose from, you need to stick out from the crowd.  This is where the Slim Universal Bluetooth Keyboard comes in, and now you can get yours at 28% off! It’s a great deal that will run you only $42.99 – instead of its standard price of $60!  Here’s some info about the Slim BT Keyboard and how you can take advantage of this deal while it lasts…

Nobody willingly types on a tablet – until this keyboard swings in for the rescue. Only five millimeters thin, Slim can easily go anywhere your tablet goes with barely an ounce of extra weight. It connects via Bluetooth to any device and doesn’t mind your coffee habit – being completely spill-proof and all. With a gorgeous wood surface, Slim is the key to typing in style.

  • Works w/ any Bluetooth-enabled device
  • Perfect for late-night working w/ 5 level backlighting
  • Easy-to-charge w/ any micro USB port
  • Spill proof
  • Made of premium materials
  • Contains a long battery life, lasting for up to a week on one charge

To see more details, and to place an order, visit this iPad Insight Deals page.

 

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The Treatment of Tethered Data on iOS

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I had a thought the other day about an issue with tethering: the receiving device doesn’t realize it’s on a tethered connection. When I used to tether my MacBook to the LTE connection on my iPad, the MacBook has no idea that there’s a nuance to this connection — that there’s a very limited set of 1 GB of data in the month, and not the 400 GB afforded to me through my home cable connection.

When I tether my iPad Air 2 to my iPhone 6S Plus, the iPad just thinks it’s on Wi-Fi, even though there’s a special icon to symbolize that the iPad is on a tethered connection. That’s interesting because it shows that there’s some recognition of the type of connection (tethered as opposed to a Wi-Fi signal from a router). But it’s too bad that this distinction is only visual, and not practical. iOS recognizes the tethered connection, but it won’t treat it any differently from a Wi-Fi connection at home.

At times this can be useful to ‘cheat’ the cellular download limits built into iOS (e.g., 100 MB maximum for app downloads over cellular). If I *really* need to download an application that’s over that 100 MB limit, the only way for me to do it over cellular is to share my iPhone’s connection with my Air 2. I like having the choice to sacrifice a large portion of my data plan to download a crucial app, when I’m in a pinch.

However, the way tethering is handled can easily work against me, if I’m not careful. If my iPad has a lot of photos to upload to iCloud Photo Library, it would be very easy for me to accidentally suck my data plan dry while tethering. There’s no indicator anywhere in iOS to show that an app is uploading or downloading in the background, so this could easily happen without my knowledge.

I think the tethering interface in iOS could use some tweaking. The ideal would be to have an iPad recognize when it was tethered to an iPhone and treat the resulting data connection as if it were cellular. But that might be too bold. A simpler change would be displaying how much data was used, per device, during a tethering session. This would at least provide some context about the current session and let me make more informed decisions about how to use my precious cellular data.

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Our favorite unit conversion app: Measures HD for iPad

I’m lucky enough to have lived in several overseas countries, and when living in the US I travel overseas a lot. Given that we in the US are the last holdouts to use the archaic “English” measurement “system” that not even the English use anymore, I often have the need to convert metric units into English, or the other way ‘round, and to convert foreign currency to and from $US. Whether it’s cooking, buying gasoline, trying to figure out whether 20C needs a sweater, or whether 10,000 Rwandan Francs is a lot for a bottle of wine, I keep a unit conversion app on my home screen. Fortunately, unit converters are as common as to-do apps or notepad apps, and I’ve tried many over the years. For me, Measures HD for iPad hits the sweet spot of having all the features I need, with none that I don’t to clutter up the app, all presented in a simple, intuitive user interface.

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Super-simple spending tracker: My Finances for iPad

The generically named My Finances app for iPad is an easy way to track everyday expenses and generate simple, clear reports that will show you what you’re spending your money on. In a world of automated and complicated finance apps, My Finances does one thing and does it easily and well.

IMG_0645I had a simple question: “Where the heck is all my money going?” Maybe you’ve been there, too: at the end of the month I have a giant hole where my paycheck used to be, and I can’t, for the life of me, figure out where it all went. Also, I plan to move soon and wanted a handle on my spending so I could make a realistic budget for the future. Knowing that as for all things in life there’s an app for that, I started to browse the app store for some help. Yikes! Talk about app overload: I think there are as many finance apps as there are weather apps or to-do lists. Many of the apps are very sophisticated, automated, and comprehensive. Probably the best known is Mint, which has many good reviews and happy users: you connect it to your accounts and it automatically tracks incomes, spending, investments, etc. But I was looking for the opposite of automated—I was on a mission to see where every dime went; if I let it all happen behind the scenes, how would I get that granular level of awareness? So I downloaded the free versions of three apps that seemed the most simple, looked like they would generate the clear report I wanted, and got decent reviews. After trying them all for a week, I settled on My Finances, and then ponied up for the paid version.

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Fun arcade-style racer: Horizon Chase-World Tour for iPad

Horizon Chase is an engaging arcade-style racing game with hints of greater complexity and better graphics baked in. It hits the sweet spot between being too complicated or too simplistic, and has no in-app ads or distractions to detract from your driving enjoyment.

IMG_0636I love driving games, and it seems they bifurcate into two categories: simplistic arcade types like Pole Position, or sophisticated, super-realistic simulations like Real Racing. That’s great when you have a few minutes to kill, or when you’re ready to settle in for the long haul of car configuration, long racing series, and chasing points for a life-long racing career. But what about the in-between times? That’s why I love Horizon Chase: it offers some of each world. In Horizon Chase you’re a race driver starting out his or her career with a basic car and no understanding of what it takes to win. Still, Horizon Chase is fun from the first race, with almost no learning curve. If you’ve played any kind of first-person driver on your iPad, you’ll instantly understand this one.

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Deals: MOTA 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub at 35% off

MOTA 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub

Today’s featured deal is for those of you who are looking for a solution to their charging woes.  Now you can plug-In up to 4 separate devices without out the mess and hassle of carrying multiple charging solutions that all use unique chargers.  The MOTA 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub is now on sale at 35% off! It’s a great deal that will run you only $18 – instead of its standard price of $28.

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Quick take: Race the Sun for iPad

IMG_0642Race the Sun is a twitchy endless flyer that is somehow calming at the same time. In the game you pilot a super-fast hovercraft (think one of the speeders from the original Star Wars) across an alien landscape, dodging rocks, boulders, and man-made obstacles to get as far as you can. Your ship is solar-powered, so you need to clear each level, as the sun goes down, before you run out of sunlight. You can pick up extra time by running over “tris” or blue orbs of power. As you clear a level and enter the next, the sun rises again, giving you a new lease on life. The graphics are monochromatic with the exception of the tris and other bonus-providing objects you can run over. The shapes are not-quite-natural geometric forms, and the shapes of the objects and greyscale coloration add a zen-like feeling to the game play.

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How to navigate the many uses of the Volume and Side Switch buttons on the iPad

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All kidding aside, even though the volume and mute/orientation lock buttons on your iPad adjust and lock volume levels, they actually respond differently in different situations.  Think back to the last time you tried to silence a song or notification, or perhaps you wanted to adjust the volume of a podcast from the lock screen on your iPad.  Were you successful–or did you fumble around for a while before you achieved the desired outcome?  Turns out, the volume and mute/orientation lock buttons might not behave the way you’d anticipate in certain situations.  Here’s a short list of what to expect the next time you reach for those handy buttons on your iPad.

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