Tag Archives: ipad

Screenshot of my main iPad screen

iPad/iOS 6 Wireless Sync

Screenshot of my main iPad screenEver since upgrading my iPad 3 to iOS 6 I haven’t been able to do a wireless sync with iTunes. My iPhone 4S does a wireless sync just fine. I tried the usual troubleshooting things such as restarts and re-entering settings. I was pretty sure it was my iPad or iTunes that was the problem. The iPad also had a problem where the wireless network would drop every couple of days and I’d have to toggle wireless off then on (on the iPad) to get it to see the network so the iPad was my first choice as the problem source. I don’t use iTunes very much with my iPad so I wasn’t aggressively looking for a fix (my opinion of iTunes is that it’s a big ball of bugs and frustration).

I was listening to the McCast podcast (Oct 5th episode) when Adam mentioned a step I hadn’t tried. While he described a different wireless issue it was close enough. And sure enough, his suggestion to reset the network settings worked.

To reset the settings: Settings -> General -> Reset -> Reset Network Settings

The iPad will restart after confirmation. I did not have to re-enter my wireless network security settings so I expected to still have the problem. But sure enough, I was able to initiate the sync and it completed without a problem. It’s too soon to tell if the problem dropping the wireless network every couple of days is also fixed, but I’m hopeful.

For the record, I run iTunes on a Mac and OS X, iTunes and my iPad are all  on the latest versions.

Makes me glad that the MacCast is the one Apple specific podcast I still listen to on a regular basis.

 

picture of plain cardboard boxes

Upcoming Tech

picture of plain cardboard boxes

Between new iDevices and a major Windows release due before the holiday shopping season there’s a lot of new tech on the horizon. Some of it excites me, some I’m curious about and some is “meh”.

iPhone

With a new iPhone all but officially announced it’s been the hot tech news topic. This one is “meh” for me, I’ve no plans to upgrade from my iPhone 4S. It does sound like this will be a major change. The two features I have a use for are:

  • Wireless networking on the 5 GHz band, The 2.4 GHz band is mighty congested in my apartment complex. The iPhone is the only device I have on 2.4 GHz. It doesn’t affect me much due to the way I use the iPhone, but there are times I turn off wireless to force 3G.
  • LTE – more speed is always good and a LTE hotspot would be helpful. But I don’t use this feature enough to justify the upgrade. My next phone will have LTE, but it doesn’t have to be the next iPhone

I need to skip an upgrade cycle just to prove I can. I made a mental note to come back and read this once I start hearing about the greatness of the latest iPhone.

iPad

I’ve no interest in a smaller iPad. As for the current size – I also want to skip the next upgrade cycle to prove I can. Based on how I use the current iPad I can’t envision an upgrade that I would need.

Windows 8

Finally, a tech I’m looking forward to. I’ve yet to actually run Windows 8 so my views may change. I’m excited to see Microsoft changing things up. I do plan to upgrade my main Windows 7 PC soon after the official release.

I tend to ignore the most intensive negative reviews since some people just don’t like change. I do expect to hate the new UI on day one. The question is what I’ll think on day 14. I do like what I read about enhancements and new features.

Windows RT

I agree with Paul Thurrott that this is Microsoft’s vision for Windows of the future. I don’t think the future of Windows is ARM only but I do think Microsoft is using this processor to shed the old baggage and showcase what they want Windows to be, I expect it to be severely limited compared to the Intel version, but I want to see Microsoft’s vision. Desktop apps are to Windows 8 what the Program Manager was to Windows 95. Microsoft kept the program manager UI in Windows 95, but deprecated and hide it until it eventually vanished. Microsoft couldn’t hide the desktop in Windows 8 all at once so used RT to get there on one platform. I think Microsoft wants the same for the current desktop apps, they want them to eventually go away.

I plan to get a Microsoft Surface RT tablet to get a flavor of that vision. I won’t go for an OEM RT tablet so I get the unadulterated Microsoft experience, for better or worse. Of course, there’s still no price and I don’t believe the $200 rumor. So my final decision depends on the price. Right now I’d say $500 (including the keyboard cost)  is a definitie buy and pre-order. A  higher may cause a delay and I may change my mind and look for a lower cost OEM model.

Windows Phone 8

I’m interested in seeing what a Windows Phone 8 looks like. I like the idea of it being different. While not a valid criticism, I do see the iPhone as being a little old and stoggy.

Getting a Windows Phone isn’t a done deal. But I am curious enough that an iPhone upgrade isn’t automatic.

Windows Home Server

My WHS 2011 box isn’t going anywhere soon. I don’t have any plans to replace it with one of Microsoft’s new server products. I’m so sure of this that I let my Technet subscription expire so I no longer have the server software to test unless MS makes eval versions publicly available.

If I jump into the deep end of the Microsoft ecosystem with both a Windows phone and tablet to go with Windows 8 there may be some benefit to using a Windows server for central storage. But I’m a Synology NAS fan and would go with it over a Windows Server. And like I said, WHS 2011 isn’t going away anytime soon. If I really want a Window “Server” I may just use Windows 8 as a server.

Wrapping Up

So, will I have the willpower to avoid a iPhone upgrade? That will be the first test. Based on past history I’d call the odds even on this since I have weak gadget resistance. So I’ll have to come back and read this to remind myself there’s no reason to upgrade. I’m not eligible for an upgrade until December anyway. Plus I may be forced into some contract changes making it easier to stand with what I have. Windows 8 Phones should be available by then. Will I switch teams?

While the Surface RT pricing isn’t announced I’ve no doubt that I’ll be getting one. I won’t wait in line at the local Microsoft Store (yup, there is one, although I’ve never been) but I expect a pre-order or acquisition soon after it’s released. About 90% of this is curiosity and wanting to see first hand how RT evolves over time. And if it’s crash and burns, I’ll want to know if it’s justified or not.

Any particular new tech you’re waiting anxiously for?

iPad Smart Cover

My iPad Goes Naked

iPad SmartCoverStephen Foskett has the iPad Smart Cover as #7 in his “Ten Terrible Apple Products” post. The timing coincided with my decision of the previous weekend that my iPad should go coverless. I’ve had a Smart Cover on my iPad 2 since I got it and kept the cover with the iPad 3 (aka iPad). I never really thought about it, but I was used to it. It was getting grungy and was having a harder time than usual holding up my iPad. I was planning a weekend trip to the Apple Store for a replacement.

Then as I was packing up for work I finally asked the obvious question. Why? I was packing the iPad, with Smart Cover attached into another sleeve for protection. The sleeve was needed because otherwise the Smart Cover would come off. Turning the iPad on, or worse, scratching it with the hinges. So that’s when I threw out the Smart Cover and started using just the sleeve.

The Smart Cover was never a very stable stand, it worked, but didn’t inspire confidence and would tip over in a slight breeze. So I long ago started using a generic tablet stand. Cheap enough to keep one at work and a couple at home. The stands themselves are less than five bucks although that typically doesn’t include shipping.They’re not really portable, but they’re light and will fit in a bag.

I have the iPad Suede Jacket from Waterfield Designs. I have the one sized for having the Smart Cover attached. It’s a tight fit and the Smart Cover would slide off trying to put it in the Jacket. So while it’s technically now too big, I like the extra space and easy in and out. It does mean being careful when carrying it so it doesn’t slip out.

The only reason I could come up with to keep the Smart Cover was to prop up the iPad when typing in the horizontal position. But that never really worked for me. The angle wasn’t right and there was to much “give” as the cover would flex a bit while typing. I won’t get a full case because I dock the iPad each night and I don’t want to fumble with the cover.

The Suede Jacket doesn’t have any padding, which isn’t a problem when it’s in my bag to and from work. So far it seems to keep the cover cleaner than the Smart Cover. No ribs from the cover at least. I do also have a SleeveCase, also from Waterfield Designs, that does have more padding so I can use it if I go out with just the iPad or want some extra protection for it. Thankfully the iPads have gotten smaller, this is the same case from my first iPad. It rarely gets used so it will probably last as long as I keep buying iPads.

I’ve never used a case on my iPhone and I’ve never regretted that. The iPad just seems to want a case or cover. Seems logical for some reason. Despite that, I’m getting used to having a naked iPad.

Screenshot of my main iPad screen

What I Use: iPad Apps

Screenshot of my main iPad screenI use the iPad daily, mostly for productivity and work related used, and not entertainment. I figured I’d review the apps I use most and see if my impression of productivity use is true or a delusion.. The primary apps I use are all on the home screen (or in folders on the home screen) or the dock along the bottom. Click the picture above for a full size view (over 1MB). Here’s a breakdown of the apps I use most.

The Basics

Among the apps delivered with the iPad I use:

Mail – I configure mail using IMAP on my iPad so I don’t have push notifications which is what I like on the iPad. (On the iPhone I configure mail using Exchange so I get push notifications). I configure all my email accounts which include Google Apps email, Windows Live and Apple mail (I lost track of what they call it – iCloud or Mobile Me).

Safari – I haven’t found a reason to use a different browser.

Contacts – I’m not a fan but I do sync my contacts to it.

Calendar – I don’t like the built-in calendar at all so I use Calvectica. I’m not a heavy calendar user.

Reading Apps

Instapaper – I’ve been a long time user of the Instapaper website and the iDevice apps.

Kindle – I mainly use the Kindle iPad app for reference/training books and not long form reading. It doesn’t get a lot of use.

GoodReader – I’ve used this for viewing PDFs I receive and create, along with other documents. It’s grown into a pretty full featured file management app for the iPad.

Missing from this list is iBook and Newstand. I tried them but haven’t been drawn to using them.

Home Network

These are the apps I use for connecting to other computers/devices in the home.

Ignition (From LogMein) – I use this for remote access to all my computers. They recently changed the pricing model and this app now seems to be $130. While I frequently use it I’d have a hard time justifying that cost. But I’m happy I got it at the old price. I use it with free LogMeIn accounts except for my WHS which has a paid account (reconsidering that at next renewal).

FileBrowser – Great for getting files from my Windows Home Server, Windows PCs and Macs to my iPad. Can also stream video files over my home wireless network.

I also have the full suite of Synology aps installed but I don’t use them much. DS Finder is useful for checking alerts and disk status/usage, but that’s about it. Their usage may grow as my Synology usage expands.

My Web Apps

These are apps I use to manage and access my web server and applications on it.

The already mentioned Safari is great for running the WordPress admin panels. No problems.

Prompt – My SSH client for connecting to my servers.

Productivity

Bento – I have a couple databases I sync to my iPad. I can make changes and they sync back. Syncing isn’t automatic so I tend to do most updates on computer and use the iPad for viewing.

OmniOutliner – I also use their desktop version, but sharing documents between computer and iPad is too much of a hassle since it requires remembering which copy is the most recent. So any outlines generally stay on the iPad. [Updated 10/20 - This is still on my iPad but it's rarely used these days.]

Outliner – Yes, duplicates OmniOutliner. A simple Outliner I use when it’s more important for me to sync to my iPhone.

Toodledo (in the dock) – My primary to do app. Not my favorite To Do app for the iPad but my favorite all around to do app. I have to do a lot of tapping. But it works the way I like to manage most tasks. One big benefit for me is that I can use the web interface from my work (or any) PC which allows me to cut and paste between apps and tasks. [Updated 10/20/2012 - I moved to using pen and paper for daily taks management so this isn't used anymore.]

OmniFocus (in the dock)– This used to be my To Do app, but I found Toodledo worked better for  me on a daily basis. I still use OmniFocus for managing larger projects. [Updated: 10/20/2012 - This has been gathering cobwebs on my iPad.]

Info Management

Evernote – I use this for information storage and reference. Since it’s on everything this tends to get everything.

Misc Apps

NetNewsWire (in the dock)– My RSS reader for the iPad, using my Google Reader feed list. It hasn’t been updated in over a year but I’m familiar with it and can fly through the feeds sending articles of interest to Instapaper if there’s no time to read them. The lack of updates is a concern on one hand, on the other it’s not lacking any features I want.

{Updated May 29] Mr. Reeder has replaced NetnewsWire as my iPad news feed reader. It also uses Google Reader’s feed list. I can flip through stories quickly and it integrates with Instapaper and Pinboard which I use. Unlike NetNewsWire, feeds can be managed from the app.

Downcast – My podcast app, I wrote about it here. I use it more on my iPhone but it gets use on my iPad for video podcasts and the occasional audio podcast.

Tweetbot – My twitter client

Weather – I have an addiction to weather apps so have a rotating selection. But Wx for iPad is a daily visit.

The only game on my iPad is Plants vs Zombies. Still addiction.

There’s plenty more apps that I haven’t mentioned, you’ll see some in the screenshot, but these are the ones I use most.

Have an iPad? How’s this compare to your favorites?

Leprechaun with a beer

The OS Quest Trail Log #69: Irish Cheer Edition

Leprechaun with a beerWinter was so mild it was hard to notice the recent arrival of spring. But the Saint Patrick’s Day celebration served as a spring early warning. February was a slow month on the quest so there wasn’t a Trail Log last month, but things picked up a bit in March. The biggest change (well, arguably) was the new iPad. But I figure you’re as tired of hearing about it as I am so I’ll save that update until the end.

A Little Less iTunes

I recently looked at Instacast and Downcast as podcast apps for my iPhone and iPad. Both were good enough to get me off iTunes for podcasts. A long overdue event. Both are still on my iPhone and iPad although I’m going with Downcast as my first choice.

I also switched over to iCloud for my iDevice backups instead of my Mac. I’d stuck to Mac for backups for two reasons: security and time machine. I’d been saved once by being able to go back to an older iPad backup saved by Time Machine. But when I got my new iPad I rebuilt it from scratch, no restore. That rebuild took longer than the restore, but not by much and not for the important stuff. As for security, I recently realized I could exclude some app data which alleviated my security concerns. And not backing up that data isn’t a problem since that particular data exists elsewhere and syncs to the iPhone.

All that’s left for iTunes is my music management. These days that means I won’t use it very much. Synology has an iTunes services for music and video management. I haven’t used it yet and third party apps that emulate iTunes don’t appeal to me since I figure it’s only a matter of time before an Apple change breaks something, Plus, music management is the only thing I still do with iTunes.

Software Upgrades

Synology Disk Station Manager 4 left beta and saw a production release. I was already running the beta so the upgrade was a non-event. I didn’t notice a difference in the relatively small subset of features I use.

CrashPlan saw a minor upgrade. It’s been set it and forget it on my Windows Home Server 2011 so again,  no noticeable change for ne,

Picasa (on Windows) had another upgrade or two the last couple months, They usually go quickly without a hitch. But the latest one caused me problems. Picasa wouldn’t start after the upgrade so I had to uninstall and reinstall. It saved the setting (database) so everything was fine after the installation.

There was the typical stream of software upgrades but other than Picasa they were all uneventful.

Home Cloud

I had an email asking me if I had found a way to route my internal network based on target URL rather than just the port. (Layer 7 routing or deep packet inspection). I haven’t found anything suitable for a home (meaning free or low cost). This has made me go down a different path. I’ve been finishing up testing IPSec VPN into my home. This gives me the connectivity I need for myself as if I was local. And it’s secure.

That doesn’t work for public or family access that I want to keep simple. But that access is pretty simple and really only one web device (port 80/443) so there’s really no concern. Synology has some ability to target different Synology NAS’s from outside my home network so I’ve started looking at that.

iPad

OK, now for the iPad mention. The more I’ve used my iPad the more I’ve liked the screen. Since the text is sharper it’s been easier to read. I still prefer an e-ink Kindle for longer reader sessions when it’s just text. But the iPad is clearly the best LCD screen I’ve used for reading.

I guess this year’s internet kerfuffle for the iPad was the heat issue. As I mentioned in my initial review:

The iPad 2 never got warm for me. The new iPad has gotten warm enough to notice. It’s not hot, but there was a temperature increase while watching video and after extended use. Never happened on the iPad 2.

Compared the the iPad  2 which never seemed to get above room temperature the new iPad got warm, but never too warm to touch or anywhere near hat I would call hot. Maybe some sort of event trifecta would cause more problems or maybe there’s some bad iPads out there. But from my experience it’s a non-issue. I can’t remember the last time I had a laptop that wasn’t hotter.