We’ve all done it before. Sitting in a classroom on a hot, hazy afternoon, the teacher explaining something to the class in great depth, only for your mind to wander to the latest cricket score, what you’re going to have for dinner or what time you’re meeting your mates for an after school kick around. Suddenly, it’s work time and the teacher asks you to apply this knowledge they have so painstakingly imparted and you haven’t listened to a thing they have just said. So, the teacher will either have to patiently explain it to you again, or say “weren’t you listening to anything I just said?” and you have to desperately ask your mates for an explanation. Either way it’s not an effective use of either student or teacher’s time. As a teacher and student, I’ve been there on both sides of this situation and if Explain Everything was around in the 90s, I wouldn’t have had to worry about my mind wandering during lesson time. [click to continue reading…]
In my first teaching job, my school at the time had a remote desktop system going where I could use my dodgy old computer at home to remotely connect to a desktop at school which gave me access to all of the programs I needed to prepare my lessons. I remember thinking it was almost like witchcraft – having more than one computer on your computer! It actually worked pretty well in the early days of broadband (despite having to set it to 16 colour mode!). This was a feature that I sorely missed when I moved schools. Jump in the DeLoren and get to 88.8 mph and fast forward to today. Fast connectivity and mobility everywhere means that we don’t have to rely on a meaty central server at a place of work to provide these connections, you can do it yourself at a fraction of the price. This is where Edovia’s Screens software comes in. [click to continue reading…]
I’ve now spent a few days with Writer Pro on my iPad and it’s feeling more like a puzzle than a tool.
Writer Pro is built to brute-force a certain approach to writing. There are four modes to the app: Note, Write, Edit, and Read. Each of these modes features a different font type and cursor colour, and each mode serves as a different folder for your text. The idea is that these subtle differences in each mode will lead the writer to think about a piece in a different manner. The Note mode features clean variable-width font, Write features the Nitti Light mono-space font that iA Writer was known for, and Edit and Read feature a font that feels more at home in iBooks than in a writing app.
When I was 9 years old, I got an amazing birthday present; a Swiss Army knife. In this day and age it is rather frowned upon to give a child a knife, but in the 80s that was how we rolled. 26 years later and after a four replacement blades and a new housing, it’s still the same knife that I use on a regular basis, and boy is it useful.
This is how I feel about GoodReader. Although GoodReader is not going to slice my fingers open, it’s an extremely useful and versatile app. It’s one of those apps that you may not use everyday, but if you want to get something productivity related done in a hurry, GoodReader will probably do it for you. [click to continue reading…]
Concepts: Smarter Sketching for iPad
I am someone who likes to sketch, but my skills need refining. Concepts: Smarter Sketching app appealed to me; the descriptions and images on the developer TopHatch’s website and App Store implied it had tools to help me achieve better drawing results. Concepts is marketed to design and creative professionals, as well as casual sketchers. I am reviewing the free version; upgrades can be purchased for $1.99 a set.
The app’s clean interface is easy on the eyes. Features like marking tools and settings are easily accessible. What is not made clear is which tools are free, and which aren’t. Concepts is presented as a fully loaded sketch app on both the website and App Store, but in reality the more desirable features must be ‘unlocked.’ I have long purchased free apps knowing I’d have to upgrade for the full effects; but, in my experience, the developers have always made it crystal clear which tools are free. Unfortunately, Concepts presentations are misleading and confusing. The images used in the App Store, the ones that sold me on the app, must be purchased, and that fact is not made in explicit terms; it’s in the fine print if you hunt for it and blended in with the paid features.