Archive for the 'iPad' Category

Why 2 iPad Pros?

I have two iPad Pros: The 12.9 inch “Big Daddy” and the 9.7 inch “Baby.” Why both?

The reason is they meet two different usage scenarios. Big Daddy is the better laptop; larger screen + larger keyboard. However, Baby works better if I am holding the device while standing, sitting or reclining.

Using the courtroom as an example, in trial, I usually prefer Big Daddy because I am sitting, and the device is resting on a table. However, for an appearance, when I’m usually standing at the counsel table, I use Baby; Big Daddy just is too large and heavy to hold comfortably.

I am a gadget geek, so it doesn’t take much for me to justify purchasing a device. However, the two form factors do meet different usage needs for me. As for why I call my devices Big Daddy and Baby, you’d have to ask a psychologist.


iPad Air 3 – a mini-me iPad Pro?

To be announced March 15, and probably available soon thereafter.

My question is whether #3 will be a smaller iPad Pro. Rumors include a smart connector and Apple Pencil support.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a smart connector. It’s an easy way to support accessories such as a keyboard.

However, a smart connector would not necessarily mean a mini-me iPad Pro. But Apple Pencil support probably would.

My guess is that the iPad Air 3 will not be a smaller iPad Pro because otherwise would cannabalize sales of the iPad Pro. It also would make the iPad Air 3 more expensive, and cloud the existing differentiation between the two products.

Predictions? Thoughts?

Why iPad Pro in addition to Surface?

I have an iPad Pro. Why, since I also have a Surface Book and a Surface Pro 4?

  • The iPad Pro is easier to hold as a tablet than the Surface Book or the Surface Pro 4 screen. Feels lighter and thinner.
  • The iPad Pro’s battery seems to last longer. So I don’t feel the need to add a charger/cable to my gadget bag. A portability advantage.
  • But if I am concerned about battery life, the iPad Pro’s charger is a small cube, not a power brick. This adds to its portability advantage.
  • Navigating the iPad Pro seems more fluid and less buggy. This is subjective but not surprising. Microsoft has made great strides, but Windows is still a keyboard + mouse OS, whereas iOS is optimized for touch.

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iPad Mini 2 Ordered


Apple sneaked the order page early – but not by me. I ordered the 128 GB Verizon Cellular model. Supposed to ship 5-10 business days, with delivery between November 25 and December 3.

My wife is leaning towards the iPad Air, but will take a look at my new toy to see if the retina display compensates sufficiently for the smaller screen.

iPad mini 2 vs iPad Air

This article discusses the conundrum my wife and I both face in replacing our aged, and now seemingly heavy, iPad 3’s. As the article correctly observes, both the iPad Air and the iPad mini 2 are light, thin, fast, and have beautiful displays. The one meaningful difference is the display size (duh), 7.9” vs. 9.7”. The article’s advice:

For those who are not certain, I’d ask you to look at the ways in which you use your iPad. If you primarily use it for consumption, such as reading websites, books, and other basic computing tasks, you should look closely at the iPad mini. It’s great for those tasks. If on the other hand you’re working on documents, using the on-screen keyboard a lot, and doing tasks that are more content creation focused, you may want to look at the iPad Air. I’ve been watching my wife, a technology-muggle, using her iPad the last few months and she does a tremendous amount of work with the on-screen keyboard. I don’t think the iPad mini would ever work for her.

I would add: How good is your reading vision? If not so good, the large screen will make a difference.

This article also discusses choosing between the two devices. The author’s choice is the iPad mini 2. But another writer from the same site leans toward the iPad Air.  Interesting debate.

I believe my wife and I will end up going to the local Beast Buy and get in line to play with the two devices. Sometimes you need actually hands-on time to make a good choice.

Nokia Lumia 2520 vs Apple iPad Air

Interesting comparison. Shows the Lumia 2520 gives more for your money, plus microSD, USB. Still, the iPad Air is lighter (478 g vs. 615 g) and thinner (7.5 mm vs 8.9 mm), + of course a far more complete App Store. Yet, this comparison shows a possible justification for RT 8.1 devices such as the Lumia 2520 and the Surface 2. And here’s another comparison of these three devices.

Surface RT vs. Windows 8 Pro Slate vs. iPad 3 on Vacation

My wife and I took a brief vacation to Las Vegas to celebrate (belatedly) her birthday. I took with me (in addition to my wife) 3 computers:

  1. Samsung Series 7 Slate, a Windows 8 Pro slate with a 11.x" screen.
  2. Surface RT.
  3. iPad 3.

Why 3 devices on vacation? Surely just cruising the Internet and checking email requires only 1 device. Probably my iPad, as it is the most comfortable device to use while lounging around (which after all is supposed to be what you do on vacation).

The reason for taking a device in addition to the iPad is I still have to do some work on vacation. My work includes accessing content management system (CMS) websites to answer discussion posts from my online students. Safari on the iPad does not play well with the CMS website I need to access. By contrast, Internet Explorer on the Surface RT, and IE and Firefox on the Windows 8 Pro device, both work fine.

My work also includes MS Word with Track Changes. iOS does not have "real" MS Office, and my experience with the alternatives is they lose something in the conversion. By contrast, the 2 Windows devices each have "real" MS Office.

I really did not need to take 2 Windows devices. The Samsung Series 7 Slate can do everything the Surface RT can do, and more, given the differences between Windows 8 and Windows RT. But I wanted to try out the Surface RT, and it didn’t add much weight or bulk to my gadget bag.

My usage of the 3 devices made me realize which devices I really "needed" and which I didn’t for this road trip. It also made me think more about some other devices I may purchase soon.

Continue reading ‘Surface RT vs. Windows 8 Pro Slate vs. iPad 3 on Vacation’

Using my iPad in Teaching


Sorry I haven’t written in a while. I’ve just been very, very busy. I still am. But I wanted to start writing again. So I thought perhaps I could just do short posts for now on subjects that may be of interest.

In today’s post I’m wearing my teacher’s hat. One class I teach is an advanced computer programming class involving the use of Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC) to create C++ Windows programs. I have a number of very bright students in that class. However, even intelligent students get stuck sometimes. One such student wants to see me for help on his project.

I have already written the code for this project . Indeed, I won’t assign a project to my students unless I have written it first. This helps me assess the level of difficulty and also ensures I am not assigning students the programming equivalent of Mission Impossible.

I don’t want to waste time during my student’s visit trying to refresh my memory of the code, since it is complicated, and I do teach 5 different classes. Rather than printing out the code – which I’d probably forget to bring with me — I uploaded the code to my Dropbox account. I then opened the code files in Textastic, a plain text editor which supports syntax highlighting for C++ (among other languages) and plays well with Dropbox. Above is a screenshot of one of  the files in Textastic. When I’m helping the student. I only need to look at the code in my iPad.

Exchange Server Tasks Integration in iOS 5

imageI am a heavy user of Tasks in Outlook. (Some would say I’m just a heavy user, but this isn’t a weight loss blog). Attorneys have lots of deadlines. Believe it or not, so do community college professors (the college is a government bureaucracy after all).

Most smartphone OS’s (iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7) long have natively enabled users to synchronize their email, contacts and calendar from a Microsoft Exchange Server account. But not Tasks natively; you needed third party apps such as NitroDesk TouchDown for Android, TaskTaskHD for iOS and APPA Mundi Tasks for Windows Phone 7.

Well, that’s no longer true for iOS. I knew one new feature of iOS 5 was Reminders. What I didn’t realize right away is that Reminders syncs with Tasks on my Exchange Server account. I’m not sure the sync works perfectly – I need to experiment and then report back – but at least it’s a start. Cool.

What isn’t so cool is that even though Microsoft makes both Windows Phone 7 and Exchange Server, Windows Phone 7 still does not integrate natively with Exchange Server Tasks. Strange Apple is ahead of Microsoft in integrating with Microsoft Exchange Server tasks.

iPad external storage options

One of my frustrations with the iPad is the lack of additional storage. There is no SD card slot. There also is no USB slot. You can connect USB devices via the Camera Connection Kit. But that’s basically to connect your camera (I guess that’s why they call it a Camera Connection Kit) and upload pictures to your iPad. You can connect a few other things, but a USB external drive isn’t one of them.

The iPad can see files and download files on the hard drive on your desktop or laptop. But that isn’t a very mobile solution. 

There are two solutions which enable you to use WiFi to see, download and even run files on either a SD card or an external hard drive.

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