Category Archives: iPad

iPad: Privacy Fades

iPad, Tech

One problem I find having an iPad out in the wild is that people want to look at my screen. More so than say, a laptop or a netbook. I think it’s partially because the iPads are relatively new and partially that people are nosey fucks. That being said I think it’s time some European governing board throws money at a docent to create a list of neighbourly screen etiquette (why European? I always thought they were classy people. I digress). While this is in the works, things like this are happening all over the world:

Client: “I have the inspiration photos on my phone, I can show you what I’m talking about now.”

[Client holds the phone facing me and scrolls through the photos with his finger.]

Client: See, these colors. Here’s another one…

[Client scrolls a little too enthusiastically, and lands on a photo of his smiling face next to a giant erect penis.]

Client: “Oh! Ha! Not that one.”

Meeting continues uncomfortably for another 20 minutes.

From Clients from Hell

Not really an iPad story but something similar nearly happened to me when I handed over my iPad to my nephew. Not that I carry around pictures of body parts on my portables but I did have a cock picture from some porn site saved on my photo album to email off to someone as a joke. I now cleanse my electronics if I know he’s going to be around.

One of my last days at Apple, I had an attractive, muscular man approach me with a wonky iPad. I did the initial questioning as to what might be wrong and I thought it might be a settings issue. I asked if we could turn it on and look at it together. He fired up the iPad and it connected to the store’s WiFi network automatically. He had been here before. As we were poking around the settings a pop up window announced that FURFKR has WOOFED @ YOU via the app SCRUFF. In his embarrassment, he jabbed at the window, aiming for the Cancel button, missing it and hitting Respond instead, prompting  Scuff to open. He desperately tried to stop it, but in panic mode, he forgot that just pressing the homescreen button exits any app.

“Popular guy,” I say, trying to deflect his flabberglastnos. (like that? I just made that word up. It means “to be frustrated and come to terms with it”)

“I barely know how to work this fucking thing,” he sighs.

“I love Scruff, don’t worry.”

I’ve had similar situations happen to me, forgetting I’ve allowed Push Notifications to run in some apps. While showing off the device, windows would pop up letting everyone looking that “RAMROD has sent you a MESSAGE!”

App of the Day: Scruff

What is Scruff? I was using Grindr before in the iPhone but it looks weird. Scruff looks like they designed the user profiles as an afterthought. But, with that said, the class of guys (bearish, primarily, in whatever iteration you might think “bear” means) populate this chat program. Once you get past the 100 warnings that you might see nudity (and the stern talking to you get when you upload a profile pic – NO NUDES!!), the interface is easy and basically scaled up from the iPhone version, but with bigger pics. I love the coy “Not my type”/”Maybe…”/”Hot damn!” choice buttons to let the person who’s profile you checked out, know that you have a boner for them. Or not. As a gay man, I get a whispy forlorn feeling seeing hot guys described as being “…far away” when it comes to their location. Sigh!

iPad: You Like To Watch

iPad, Tech

So DeadRobot, I hear you ask, how does one go about putting DVDs on their iPad?

Quickly, I say, before the current Canadian government decides that it’s ok to pay twice for your copy of Colin & Justin’s Home Heist. If you’ve been following entertainment news that involves long winded legal speak, then you know the Conservatives are trying to pass a bill that makes it illegal to burn your DVDs to your computer so you can enjoy it on a plethora of devices. Yes, big name Hollywood players are backing this bill. Go figure. If you want the entire sauce about it, go visit Michael Geist’s blog. He’s tuned in and looking out for us. Otherwise, get burning!

First, download Handbrake: It’s a free program for Mac. Run it and pop in a DVD and Handbrake will scan the disk for all relevant files. I like HB because when you load in a episodal disk, like a TV season disk, it will turn the various episodes into chapters. Simple!

There is a “Preset Drawer” on the right side of the window. Open that and you can choose which device you are ripping your DVD for. Currently there is no iPad choice, but they have been created and you can download them here and install them easy peasy (File>>Import>>choose the zip file you just got. Boom. Done). Choose iPad preset from the drawer and then begin.

Then download Subler. When your movie is done (Put down that cocktail!) you’ll want it to look all professional and poop when you pop it open in your movie app on your iPad. So before loading it into iTunes, use Subler to give it proper meta tags, movie info and “lobby card” image. Drag your movie file onto the icon. You’ll get a metafile window of your newly created movie where you can enter all the info manually or go to File>>Import>>tagChimp. 4 times out of 5, tagChimp will come up with the info automatically, including a poster image (its not as reliable as IMDB, but it does save time!). Hit Apply then Save when done.

Then drag/import your movie into iTunes. Ta da! When you sync your movie across, you’ll see a lovely intro to the movie you will soon enjoy!

App Of The Day: QRANK

Actually not an app for the iPad at all, but I’m hopelessly addicted to it. Once a day, they load questions up for you to answer and win points for you to boast your knowledge on Twitter or Facebook. It’s ad driven so you may have to click on the odd ad between questions but it’s a low price to pay for 10 mins of fun.

iPad: Choose Your Destiny

iPad, Tech

iPad Pricing

While at the Apple store, I would have to justify things for customers. Should I get this or that? Big or Small? What kind of iPad one should get, was always the hardest one to chew through with a client. The iPad comes in six versions and offering someone a choice of more than three makes their eyes gloss over like they’re at a glaucoma convention. Customers would ask what the difference between all 6 iPads were and I would show them the price grid – to which they didn’t want to see the explanation, they wanted to hear it with interesting metaphors as their guide.

There are two types of iPads: With and without 3G connectivity, or iPads that don’t talk as much and iPads that will never shut up. Both types of iPads have WiFi so in case there isn’t any free, open connections, the 3G iPads will effortlessly switch over from WiFi to the cell phone network and start working on downloading your favorite Segway crashes video. If you purchase the 3G version, it means you will rarely not be connected to the internet. Such freedom comes with a price but thankfully the three major cell phone carriers are doing their iPad data plans month by month, and not under contract. You can also manually revise your data plan via the iPad, instead of communicating with the carrier directly. Easy!

After that, they split the iPads into memory sizes: 16G, 32G and 64G. My last month at the store saw me selling a lot more 64G versions (both with and without 3G) to business types who primarily were using them for remote access to emails, PDFs (reading,reating and receiving) and generally keeping connected. I rarely sold an iPad to someone who just wanted to use it for “travel only”  which is something SharkBoy says he admits he will use his for when he gets one, but I suspect after playing with it (and tweeting with it) he may drop his small screen iPhone for it in a flash.

If you’re going to use it for fun, family or just kicking back, I would suggest the 16G or 32G sizes. If you’re using it for business, go big. How much you’ll be using it on the road should decide whether or not to get the 3G version.

Will there be a hardware upgrade? It stands to reason that Apple will upgrade their highly successful iPads to something more robust, especially now that RIM has blown away the nerds with their new PlayBook yesterday. When they will do this is anyone’s guess. Most likely in April, a year after they first introduced it, much like they did for the iPhone. If they add a camera, Retina Display, boost the RAM etc, is anyone’s guess. I would say it’s safe to buy one now and get at least a few months of enjoyment out of it, then sell it to a student in the future.

Spirit HD

iPad App of the Day: Spirit HD

I seem to get a lot of playtime out of  the more deceptively simple games, like Flight Control or Osmosis. In this game you are a little winged ghost championed to  surround your enemy with a ghosty plasma field – doing so makes them fall into… nothing. The trick is that for every movement of your finger, the ghost cursor moves .5 times further and faster than your slide, so getting from one part of the screen to the other is a bit tricky. I like how the graphics throw back to The Tempest video game but with less stress. The gameplay speaks to the hidden OCD child in me: CLEAN ALL THE THINGS off the screen!

iPad Week: iPad, you Pad

iPad, Tech

I’ve been wanting to write about my iPad for some time now but I’ve obviously been busy. I have a week long special for you people: All iPad, all this week. It’s like ratings sweeps here at Dead Robot Heavy Industries!

Why iPad? After selling close to a hundred of them at my summer stint at Apple, I can honestly say that tablet/touch computing is the future, if not here to stay for a long while. Obviously not as Apple has it now with it’s closed, unmodifiable operating system, but in time, we will all be hauling around one of these to occupy our day. You should get to know this device, or maybe the competitor’s offerings, because mobile computing is changing.

Wait... no need for a pen?

Today: Gene Roddenberry got it right.
Or How I stopped mashing keyes and learned to love my virtual keyboard

The initial worry iPad had when it came out nearly a year ago was how people were going to type on it. Yes, it is awkward to type on it. Get a Bluetooth keyboard. Or a case/stand for it that props the iPad up on an angle. See, you’re going to find ways to comfortably type on it because it’s design lends to exploration and usage. Thing is, humans have been known to adapt to good design. You just have to look at the history of Apple’s mice design to see that it’s evolved, doing away with buttons entirely to its current version of touch sensitivity, much like all their mobile products. Apple is trying to break down the walls between computer and human and we will get use to the keyboard due to the simplicity of the design of the pad itself.

I can say that after using one for a month, I’ve adapted to long-form typing on the iPad. I do still run into problems with the adaptive typing, finding words changed in my text when not watching the scream. I mean screen. As for mouse-like manipulations, where I use my finger instead of mouse, to draw or move things around, will take some getting use to. Your hand does block a major portion of the screen as you move things around in the upper quadrants, but coupled with the ability to pinch-zoom and twirl, you can shuffle things around on your screen a lot like a real desktop. It’s not that huge of a deal – I would like to say this is a generational tweak that the youth of today will get use to, but that remains to be seen.

So to recap: Get use to it.

Today’s App of the Day: Weather HD. Apple left out the weather app on the iPad and this $0.99 purchase makes up for it. I wish Apple would let developers submit video for their store pages because Weather HD uses atmospheric animations to display how the weather will be now, in three hours or in three days. It actually makes me want to check the weather. When you think about it, someone telling you the weather could do it in seconds (or you could stick your head out the window). Weather HD makes it gorgeous.