Apple

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover

I have recently been wanting a real keyboard for my iPad (2nd generation) to achieve faster writing. Then I spotted Logitech’s Ultrathin Keyboard Cover in a local store and decided to buy it even if I did not know about any reviews on it (later on I spotted many very positive reviews on it in the web). I can say that I am happy that I bought this keyboard. It is quite expensive one (99,95 €) but I think it is worth of that money.

I like the idea that this keyboard works also as a cover for iPad’s screen. I have been using Apple’s iPad cover and wanted the keyboard to be similar in that respect and this one really is. This keyboard is very thin and do not add much thickness to the iPad when closed and covering the iPad. It attaches to iPad with similar magnet thing than the iPad cover. I would like those magnets to be little bit stronger though. I am somehow worried how those magnets will work after a year or so. Are they still strong enough to keep the cover in place when closed?

The keyboard itself is fantastic. It is large enough for fast and accurate writing. It is about 20% smaller than my Apple Wireless Keyboard I am using with my Mac Mini. You’ll get used to this Logitech’s keyboard very easily. Also the writing feel is very good. And it is silent too. I think this is a needed feature if you are going to use a keyboard in meetings for example.

This keyboard have a very nice finish (aluminium outer shell) and a magnetic groove where the iPad is placed. The iPad is always in a fixed viewing angle (60 degrees) which could be problem for some users. I feel it is totally okay on table and even on my lap. iPad is staying very firmly in that groove and it is even possible to lift the whole combo by grabbing the iPad when it is in the upward writing position.

If you write a lot (or even not so much) I really recommend this keyboard for your iPad. I use it now always because it doubles as a iPad screen cover and in that way it will be always with my iPad.

Lumia 1020

I have made quite big moves by choosing a new mobile phone. I changed from iPhone 4 to Nokia Lumia 1020.

The main reason to choose Lumia 1020 was its great camera. 41 MPix with very sharp 5 Mpix files and that crazy good zooming feature are really something. And that camera has very good manual functions too. You are able to change shutter speed, ISO, focus, white balance, and exposure compensation. I have to admit that most people myself included like to use their mobile phone cameras in full auto mode because it is fast and hassle-free. Now I will have a great P&S camera with me all the time because the phone is with me always. I am not carrying even my small Ricoh GR with me all the time. With those “real” cameras I need some special occassion to take them with me.

I am still not sure of this move though. This is because I like Apple stuff. I still have my iPhone 4 and iPad and Mac Mini. I will definitely keep and use my iPad and Mac Mini (I am not going back to Windows with computers or tablets). iPhone 5S with a 32 Gb memory is costing much more than Lumia 1020 (which has 32 Gb memory). That was also one (even if a minor) point to go with Lumia. I think Windows phone 8 OS is quite a decent one and I actually like the Live-Tile thing. Apps for WP8 are not so good (and there are not so many of them) than those for iOS but I have managed to find those I need in daily basis. I think I had too many apps in my iPhone anyways.

Maybe I will use Lumia 1020 untill iPhone 6 comes and see then what to do. Here are few recent shots with my Lumia 1020. The tunnel shot got huge amount of views in Flickr in two days and it was also in Explore quite much immediately. Quite unbeliavable. That has never happened to any of my mobile phone photos before. Lumia 1020 renders nice backgrounds for a mobile phone camera and it has decent close-up abilities (especially if you take into account that incredible zooming or cropping potential).

A tunnel vision Background blur test Close-up test

The neglected mini – Mac mini

When iPad mini was introduced the enhanced Mac mini largely stayed at backstage. I was however very interested in that new Mac because I was thinking about computer upgrade. I think it is quite a pity that Mac mini was at background in the Apple event. It would be a very nice option for many thinking about a new computer.

I am comparing my new Mac mini to my 2009 MacBook here. That white MacBook is my baseline so to say. It has 2.13 GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 4 Gb of RAM. I have used that MacBook a lot for post-processing my photos with Aperture 3 and LR 4. Otherwise it has been quite regular computer use (web browsing, email, some writing etc.).

I have been thinking for a quite long time to buy an iMac. So, why I chose Mac mini over it now? There are few practical reasons for that actually. Some time ago a bought a Magic Mouse and a Magic Trackpad for my MacBook. Recently I added a 23-inch IPS monitor and wireless Apple keyboard. In addition I have two 1Tb external hard drives. So I have quite much stuff but my computer was at a low side. I can connect all the above nicely to a Mac mini, so I had to buy only one additional item and not to think about what to do with extra mouse, monitor etc. (as it would have been the case if I would have purchased an iMac).

How I feel about Mac mini then? I have the basic model (2.5 GHz i5 processor, 500 Gb hard drive) with RAM added to 8 Gb. This combo seems to give nice power boost as compared to my old MacBook. And that's exactly what I was looking for. I do not need the most powerful machine and I feel it is quite needless to pay extra about fractional things. It is the real world power what counts here. And that little Mac mini has just that. Nothing more, nothing less. Mac mini has very nice connectivity with USB 3, Thunderbolt and HDMI. It also has a SD card reader which is very nice because both of my cameras use SD cards.

I tested Mac mini last evening using Aperture 3 and LR 4 to process some photos. I can see clear increase in speed with both of these programmes. Especially with Aperture the zooming to 100% is so much faster now. Everything is smoother than before. I am very happy as this is my main use for a computer at the moment.

I really can recommend Mac mini for everyone especially if you already have a keyboard, mouse, monitor and other stuff. And it is not that expensive option. My Mac mini did cost 713 € which I feel is quite reasonable for a powerful and beautiful Mac.

Here is my setup at the moment:

I updated my MacBook – by buying a new monitor

Yesterday I bought a new life for my trusted MacBook (2009 model). I purchased a 23 inch LED monitor which has an IPS panel. Earlier I upgraded the memory to 4 Gb and that was of course huge thing too but so is this monitor thing. I really can't understand how I was able to adjust my photos with MacBook's quite mediocre 13 inch display. Now my eyes are like wide open. Nice! I also bought Apple Wireless Keyboard which is very cool and small in size.

Here is one photo shot with Fuji X-Pro1 in JPEG. I loved to adjust this one with the new monitor.

 

Why I chose Pages for writing meeting minutes

First of all I personally have a Mac, iPad, and iPhone. And at work I am forced to use a PC with MS Office package.

I work in science and we have quite a lot of meetings and I would like to use my iPad to write short minutes of them. I want to read those minutes using all my devices at home and at my workplace. So, there are many things to fullfill for a notes/writing app. And I really have tested quite many.

It would be nice if a note app is easy to use and fast for writing using mobile devices. Of course somekind of syncing feature is also a must because I am using many devices to create and read them. I’ve tested at least the following ones (some are iOS and some for Mac, some for both):

Evernote, NoteMaster, Elements, iA Writer, TaskPaper, Note Taker, ThinkBook, ByWord, and Pages (at least these – there may be some else which I do not recall now).

Some of those are really great writing apps. I especially like iA Writer and ByWord for distraction free writing and I am using them for that purpose. But they are not perfect ones for taking notes. Pages is a word processor (at least sort of) and is not a pure note taking app either. But there are few reasons why I chose Pages over the other for my meeting minute app:

You can make decent lists by Pages (even though you have better system for that in other apps – like TaskPaper). But the lists are decent and quite easy to make. The main reason for choosing Pages is the iCloud sync. It is fantastic. I have many of those other apps which use Dropbox sync which is also very nice but Pages with iCloud is very special case – at least for me. When you have your Pages documents in iCloud they are in all of your iOS devices and also in your Mac. Okay, Dropbox will do the same. Some of the other apps use file formats which are not so good if you want to use them in Word. And that’s what I need (I have to circulate the minutes to many people who are using Word). Plain text format will of course work but then I have to do quite a lot of formatting in Word before I’ll send the minutes to others. If I use Pages I can download the minutes from iCloud as Pages, Word, or PDF format. That’s super handy! I can even send the file in Word or PDF format straight from my mobile device as an email. And I can upload Word documents to iCloud too. Even more handy. So, there is much less messing around when I use Pages instead of those other apps.

One bonus more when using Pages. You can easily add some pics and charts in your documents when using Pages.

Using Aperture with Magic Trackpad

I upgraded recently to OSX Lion and I am using Apple’s Magic Trackpad with it to fully enjoy all gestures Lion offers (I have 2009 MacBook). I am slowly learning to use all the gestures to change pages and programmes etc. with Aperture it seems to be a different story, however.

With Magic Trackpad I have to double click Aperture’s adjustment sliders to “lock” them. After that I am able to move the sliders. Same thing with keyword list; I have to double click the keyword to move it out from the list on the photo. To release the lock I have click again. That’s quite annoying. With Magic Mouse I just click once with left button and keep the button down and am able to move sliders and keywords right away (normal dragging with a mouse). There is an option for “three finger dragging” in the Magic Trackpad preferences but I would like to use three fingers for changing the programs (I find using four fingers little bit awkward). Maybe it is so that I have to use Magic Mouse when using Aperture and Magic Trackpad in other occasions.

Now we can iMessage

My wife got iPhone few days ago. I remember some five years ago when we were about the purchase our first shared iMac and she was very much against changing from PC to Mac. Now she is a real Mac advocate and I am very proud of her. She is always recommending Macs and other Apple products to her friends.

Vlingo as Siri-like functionality for iPhone

I just downloaded Vlingo to test it as Siri-like voice recognition assistant in my iPhone 4. It seems to have very good palette of things it can do. You can use it for searching the web, sending social app updates, dialing the phone numbers, finding places, sending SMS and email. So, it really sounds nice option if you are not going to have iPhone 4S. It recognizes US and UK English. And that is where the problems start. I am not a native English speaking person and Vlingo will understand me partly. I have tried it now for different tasks mentioned above and only few times we had a mutual understanding. Even if I tried to be so perfect with my English pronounciation as I can. For sending emails and SMS for my Finnish friends or relatives is of course totally useless using Vlingo because it won’t understand Finnish. Well, once I got the email’s receivers name right when I pronounciated it like American’s would. 😉

The conclusion is that I find Vlingo quite useless with my English pronounciation skills. That could well be the situation also with Siri. It is faster to write the messages and social updates than first use the voice assistant and then correct the output by writing using iPhone’s “keyboard”.

P.S. The first social app update I did with Vlingo went totally right! But after that, well…