Tag Archives: iOS

Update from iPad Air 2 to iPad Pro?

I have an iPad Air 2 . The iPad Pro is now available. Should I upgrade?

A number of iPad users are asking that same question.  There is no stock answer. As with many upgrade decisions,  “It all depends” holds true once again.

For myself, my reason for contemplating an upgrade is the addictive desire to be on the cutting edge. I need the new tech because it is new.

But when I step back an review my use of the iPad, I have difficulty justifying the leap forward. My use of the iPad Air 2 is media consumption; email, video, web browsing etc. Not really a productivity thing. In fact, I have never quite worked out a good workflow for use of an iPad as a productivity device. I suppose I am too entrenched in thePC-based paridigm to  devise a suitable alternative that incorporates the iPad. Too much “sand boxing” going on, i.e., I want to search for my data, select it and then select the tool I want to use to manipulate the data. I want to share a file among many tools, but I don’t want to be forced to store the file in the “cloud” in order to do so. Sometimes the sun is out and the “cloud” is gone (no wi-fi).

With the iPad Air 2, I get some of the “goodness” in that iOS 9 provides the split screen, multitasking view which I find very useful. The iPad Pro would, in this case, provide more screen real estate for the side-by-side apps. But there’s not really anything else that entices me to make the move.

I say this with a brave face and resolute conviction, but, that adiction is tingling in the shadows of my mind.


In Search Of … a Better Keyboard

In my last two posts, I reported on my progress in fielding my new MacBook Air 2013 as a desktop machine. One of the challenges I encountered was the selection of a keyboard. For a period of time, my desk was cluttered with two keyboards; one for the MacBook Air (Apple Wireless) and one (Logitech K750) for my previous desktop (2006 Mac Pro).

The use of two separate keyboards was less than ideal. It soon dropped to one keyboard. My daughter had a need for a keyboard so off went my trusty Apple Wireless.

I then used the K750 for both desktops by switching the wireless USB dongle from one desktop to the other. This worked, but it was less than ideal. Who am I kidding? I was looking for a reason to buy a new keyboard.

In stepped the Logitech K811 Easy Switch Bluetooth keyboard. The keyboard provides the ability to pair with up to three separate devices and provides a set of three buttons to quickly select the device. The K811 form factor was similar to  the Apple Wireless and supports both Mac and Apple iOS. Logitech has a similar model for those Windows users as well. The Mac version provides the standard set of Mac/iOS keys. The typing experience is excellent. I also appreciate the black chiclet style keys with white lettering (easier for me to find a not often used key).

The best thing is that the keyboard supports three devices. I am using only 2/3 of the keyboard’s potential.  Hmmm… perhaps another desktop.

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Disappointments with Apple 2012

Just a quick post to air my Apple disappointments for 2012.

  1. Another OS Abandonment
    Once again, Apple abandoned a number of older hardware with the release of OS 10.8 Mountain Lion. Chief among the cast-offs was the original Mac Pro 1,1 (2006). I had updated mine in January 2012 to 18 GB RAM and an ATI Radeon 5770 HD only to learn later that the final OS release would not support the hardware.

    Prior to this letdown, I survived the PowerPC layoff caused by OS 10.6 Snow Leopard.

    I will continue to slog on with OS 10.7 Lion; event though the Messages beta was pulled. My Mac Pro had too many productive years still remaining. My hope would be that either Apple would relent with OS 10.9 or that a workaround would be available that didn’t take 30 steps to accomplish.

  2. iOS Accessibility – Keyboard Themes
    I don’t want to jailbreak my devices, but Color Keyboard may force the issue. All I want is the ability to change the color theme for the on-screen keyboard in order to aid my impaired vision. On my iPad, I want black keys with white letters. I know. I can get this effect by using the High Contrast settings in Accessibility, but that also affects the entire screen which I do not want.

    The jailbreak app Color Keyboard shows that this feature is entirely possible. Why, oh why Apple can you not provide such a simple request?

  3. iPad mini – No Retina Display
    Don’t get me wrong. I certainly enjoy my iPad mini, but a Retina Display would have been nice
  4. iPad 4
    I understand that technology marches on, but I had hoped that my iPad 3 would have been “cutting edge” for a few more months; at least until 2013.

Not a long list, but important to me nontheless.

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iOS Accessibility. More Is Needed.

As a low-vision user of iOS devices (iPhone and iPad), I use Accessibility features quite extensively.  The two most often used features in this category are VoiceOver and Zoom.

I use VoiceOver most frequently for tasks such as

  • Reading Mail Message headers
  • Reading Twitter Timeline messages
  • Selecting on-screen controls to determine button functions within an app
  • Reading on-screen text without needing to zoom in

These four workflow items are indispensable to me. The frustration is that VoiceOver function is not consistent from one app to another. For example, in iBooks, I can read the text of a book using VoiceOver, but I can’t perform the same function in the Amazon Kindle app. When I tap the screen in the Kindle app, all I get is a sound effect telling me I tapped the screen. Not much help at all.


The same can be said for other iOS apps. In social networking, the Twitter app supports VoiceOver, but other Twitter client apps do not.

It would be greatly appreciated if VoiceOver worked consistently across the iOS experience instead of the “hit or miss” patchwork that a currently exists. This sketchy support makes it difficult to purchase apps. It would be nice if the app page in iTunes had an Accessibility compliancy section so I could more easily determine if the app supports features such as VoiceOver.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 02:  Apple CEO Steve...

Another shortfall is the on-screen keyboard. With my particular visual difficulties, the on-screen keyboard would be more effective if the key was dark and the lettering light in a look similar to the chic-let keyboards on a MacBook Pro. You can achieve this effect in Accessibility by manipulating the screen contrast, i.e., a reverse video effect. This changes the keyboard, but it also changing the entire screen. I don’t want to change the entire screen; only the keyboard. Come on Apple, you let me change the keyboard layout. Let me change the default color.

CUPERTINO, CA - OCTOBER 04:  Apple's Senior Vi...

Yes, I know Apple, your company is a leader in making the technology experience available to a wider group of people. Apple is eons ahead of Amazon. Apple has added Siri to the iPhone 4s and dictation for the iPad. But, there is still more than can be done.; some which should be relatively simple to accomplish.



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OS X 10.7 Lion or Lamb?

Image by Gory ^ via Flickr

On July 25th, I, like many other Mac users, purchased and installed OS X Lion 10.7.  July 25th, Christmas in July. I immediately installed the update on my desktop (Mac Pro 2006). A few days later, I installed the update on my 2008 MacBook along with an upgrade to 8 GB ram. This leaves  only my 2007 MacBook which is currently off at college.

Both my updates completed without a hitch. The process was amazingly simple.

I had intended to make an installer, either USB or DVD, but I missed my first chance with my desktop when the install package disappeared afar the install completed. This forced me to download the package again for my MacBook. This time, I saved a copy of the install package prior to launching the process. Haven’t made the install disk yet, but it appears to be a simple process.

Now that I’ve been using the new OS for a few days, I can give a few first impressions.


The change in scrolling behavior incorporated into Lion seems to be a huge topic with both supporters and detractors. There is no shortage of “how to’s” to reverse the default “Natural” scrolling. For my part, I like the new scrolling paradigm. The “natural” scroll mimics the direct drive mode in use on iOS devices. Instead of pulling the window up and down over a fixed page, now you push the page up or down. This method of scrolling is certainly natural on the iPad or iPhone, but I can see how it may prove difficult for those equipped with the traditional scroll wheel mouse. For myself, I have been using the Magic TrackPad for quite a while, so the “natural” proved to be natural after a short period of time. I still have to go “unnatural” when at work, but, so far, moving from “natural” to “unnatural” and back has not been so distracting as to reverse the mode on my Macs. I do admit that I sometimes have to think a bit to transition from work to home use.


Another blending of iOS and OS X is found in the LaunchPad. Those with iOS devices certainly recognize the home screen with the multiple icons, folders, etc. I didn’t realize I had so many applications installed until I began scrolling through all the pages of apps. Most represented application that I might run once in a blue moon. Thankfully, LaunchPad Control soon came to the rescue. LaunchPad Control is a free Mac application that allows you to customize which apps appear in the LaunchPad. I still have some work to do here, but at least I now have a tool to do it with.

Mission Control

To me, Mission Control is a composite of Exposé and Spaces. I’ve used it a little, It certainly seems to be a much simpler interface for moving apps into different spaces.

Full Page Apps

I have certainly enjoyed the new full screen mode for Apple applications such as Mail, Safari and iTunes. It will be only more and more enjoyable as more vendors push out apps supporting the new full screen capability.

New Gestures

With all the new User Interface (UI) candy, you knew that new gestures had to be included. I did do some tweaking here. On iOS, to move from one app to another, you swipe  with four fingers. (At least those of  us that could use Xcode to enable the gestures). By default, Lion had this set for three fingers, but allowed a change to four fingers. I appreciate consistency, so I made the change. I also enjoy the new “back and forward” in Safari using two fingers (left or right swipe), but have run into circumstances where the old arrows would be nice.

All in all, the upgrade to Lion from Snow Leopard was certainly more pronounced than the previous leap from Leopard to Snow Leopard. And it is certainly worth the $30 price tag. Right now, the Lion is ROARING!


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