by Tom Piper
IS IT SPRING YET??? ... it sure feels like it with these wonderfully warm temperatives this week. I hope you are also making the best of it (don't get used to it, the cold will soon return).
"Third time is a charm", a motto we are hoping will help us deliver on March 4 our prior January and February promises of 20+ Gadgets in 60 Minutes. We've lost a few items that were previously planned (Marian can't be here on March 4), but Joe, George, Dustin and I (and perhaps Marian) are ready with our presentations. Since the Holidays are well behind us, we've taken "what you got for Christmas" off the agenda, but you can still tell us about any special items, if we have time.
As earlier announced in a special email, MacBasics Training Class will be held at 7:00pm on March 12, 2014. If you want to pre-register and/or pay the $15.00 fee ($25 for non-members) at the March 4 meeting, our Treasurer (Sue Snell) will be pleased to serve you (this will reduce waiting the night of the class).
As always, we look forward to seeing you at our next meetings. Family and friends are always welcome to join us for the fun, knowledge and rapport.
This spring, we are offering a one-night class about Macintosh Basics, Techniques, Tips, and Tricks. George Kopp will be the instructor, assisted by other appleJAC notables.
This session will be offered on Wednesday, March 12, 2014, beginning promptly at 7:00pm and ending at 9:00pm, held at Kennedy Hall, Immaculate Conception Church, Jefferson City.
Format of the class will be classroom presentation style. If you have your own Apple laptop computer, feel free to bring it so you can use it to follow along.
Registration fee for these classes is $15 for appleJAC members, or $25 for non-members (classes require preregistration) . . .
In order to register, please enter your name, email address and Mac version on the attached PDF form (includes more class information), save it, and email it back to email@example.com as soon as possible. You can pay either at the next appleJAC MUG meeting (preferred), or at the class (checks should be made out to “appleJAC MUG”).
The daily “docking” of my iPad and iPhone is both an opportunity and a curse because it promises a refreshed charge of my devices, but a real inconvenience for placement. Where to lay my device has been a challenge until now after discovering a wonderful newly-released docking stand.
The EverDock is designed to support virtually all smartphones and tablets by accommodating Lightning, 30-pin, and micro-USB connectors. This dock works with smartphones and tablets from Apple, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Nokia, LG, BlackBerry and others. The EverDock comes with a micro-USB cable, two cable adapters and a black, removable silicone protector.
Machined from a solid block of aircraft-grade aluminum, the EverDock is bead-blasted and anodized creating a finish that matches today’s premium mobile devices. By using a removable silicone protector, the EverDock easily accommodates devices with or without a case. The EverDock also creates the perfect viewing angle for Skype and FaceTime calls, as well as easy reading of my messages and notifications. ￼
By strategically placing the EverDock in my home office, my devices will always remain charged and ready to go. By using micro-suction technology, it remains firmly in place when removing my iPhone or iPad mini. Using this dock, I’ll never have to worry about where I placed my device again. Available in Silver, Space Gray, or Gold, the EverDock complements my devices and decorations.
The single-device EverDock is available for $49.99 ($42 for 5+) at www.fuzdesigns.com. In the alternative, the other FuzDesign device (EverDock Duo) charges any combination of two devices for $69.99 (a Combo Pack of both docks is available for $109.99). These docks are well worth the money.
iPhone protection is paramount to the choice of a case, but how often do you think of it as handy utility too? I previously reviewed the in1 Multi-Tool Utility Case with many tiny tools, but I just found a hardy big brother version which I just have to bring to your attention.
The Task One iPhone Multi-Tool Case provides 22 tools plus kickstands in a ultra-compact package. It should be considered THE ultimate iPhone case for the outdoorsman, gadget lover or handyman. This ultra-useful case will fit both the iPhone 4/4S and 5/5S.
The design of the case protects my phone and allows the force of the tools to be distributed to the case without damaging my phone. That doesn't mean I can now use my phone as a hammer, but I don't have to worry about damage to my phone in normal use of any of the tools. The iPhone 4/4s case weighs 89g, and the iPhone 5 case weighs 96g.
After carrying this toolkit around for several weeks, I found it to be very convenient and handy to have for various odd jobs. This case includes 6 Allen wrenches, a wire stripper, 3 screwdrivers, a combo saw/2.5” knife/bottle opener, combo wire cutter/pliers/box wrench, dual kickstands, and more. Though initially stiff for the slides, after some time and practice, all of the tools worked as advertised (the allen wrench needs better instructions on proper insertion to keep it in). It is a rugged design with plenty of phone protection, I found myself wishing for a rubberized back to further protect the slide controls and keep the case from moving when its laying on its back.
Before you ask, knowing that knives are not allowed on planes, the knife portion of this case is removable in seconds with no tools so it can be placed in my checked luggage or left at home while on my trip. TaskLab does offer one free replacement tool, so if I happen to loose my knife at the airport. The phone reception is minimally effected when TaskOne is installed with anywhere from zero to one bar of signal degradation.
The TaskOne is offered in Jet Black, Slate Grey and Cherry Red, and soon Camouflage, at $74.95 for iPhone 5/5S, or $79.95 for iPhone 4/4S, by going to thetasklab.com. They currently have a Customer Appreciation Sale, so all iPhone 5/5S cases are $25% off. They do have other accessories available on their website. These folks know how to make mobile tools in a convenient iPhone case.
A KickStarter Project featuring the new myTask iPhone case for either a bike or urban user will launch on March 18. This new product promises to be adaptive, sleek and useful design to fit our busy lives. Learn more about this revolution in mobile utility by going to http://www.thetasklab.com/myTask_Revolution.
As a tech advisor, my most popular mantra is: “backup, Backup, BACKUP”! There are many ways to do it, and I recommend cloning my boot drive (and any other volume I want to save) to another hard drive (or large volume) in a way that allows me to use it just like the original . . . namely, to boot from it, and access it accordingly. A new competitive product has just been released that accomplishes this very nicely.
Stellar Drive Clone is a complete Hard Drive Cloning utility that creates a clone or image of my Mac hard drive or other volume. The cloned hard drive can then be used as a ready-to-use copy of the original hard drive (the image file can be useful in restoring the data, in case of any data loss or inaccessibility). Once cloned, I then have the option to restore a volume from a folder or image file which has backed up all my important files and folders in one location. Thankfully, this newest version also supports operations under the latest Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks.
This utility also provides options to create a bootable DVD and minimal system, which can be helpful in accessing the system (even with the apps of your choice), if my Mac OS crashes or fails to boot. It is a versatile tool which can clone any new Solid State Drive (SSD), or partition on a volume, or folder in it, to another hard drive, network drive or folder (or just make a simple backup of my entire system). If an image was created, then it can be restored to it original state simply and quickly. A very nice extra feature is the ability to resize a volume on the destination drive so leftover space can also be made available (otherwise, a large external hard drive would be entirely consumed by a smaller cloned volume).
Stellar Drive Clone has some other features of special note. Besides supporting HFS, HFS+ and FAT based drives, this software also performs cloning for exFAT based volumes or drives. With the help of this feature, I can also clone a flash drive formatted with exFAT file system (a great idea for a Mac person). Further, the software can clone any NTFS formatted drive to exFAT formatted drive in Mac OSX. I can also clone hard disks formatted with MBR (Master Boot Record) partition map scheme, which is a native partitioning scheme for DOS and Windows disks (which supports memory cards). Something I usually wouldn’t think about, but I can now customize the end-task activities of hard drive imaging and cloning when its finished cloning (or imaging) by setting options to various preferences, such as Play Sound, Send System to Sleep, or Shutdown System.
One more extra is the ability to create a “minimal system” with all the necessary operating system files, which works as a real system with bare minimum features. This minimal system includes Apple's default applications, all the files and folders on the desktop, and the applications selected by me. This system provides an empty user's folder with all the default preferences. As a result, booting from a minimal system is faster than the Bootable DVD, and a great tool for either diagnosing computer problems, or doing backups. All in all, this is a very versatile utility which I have found to be straight-forward and easy to use, while powerful and diversified in its tools.
Stellar Drive Clone for one user can be purchased for only $39 from www.stellarinfo.com (special pricing of $79 for 3 users or $129 for 5 users). As with many other fine Stellar products, you can try before you buy, by getting a Free Download from this same location. They include an excellent Frequently Asked Questions box at the end of their website to cover much more information about this product. Many other great products are also available here, like the Stellar Drive ToolBox (special short-term price of $99, an 80% discount).
If you own a smartphone, you know there's a ton of accessories that go with it. So a few months ago RevCity LLC decided to simplify things by developing the "Charged-Card".
The "Charged-Card" is a battery charger, data cable, and flashlight all built into one. It's super compact, about the size of a credit card, so it fits perfectly in a wallet. Just take it out, pull out the connectors, plug it in and its ready to go.
For more information, see the press release at miraclemembersclub.com. A review is forthcoming.
Jefferson City Public Schools and Immaculate Conception School will be closed on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 — consistent with our inclement weather policy, this meeting was cancelled (just like last month), and the topic has been moved to our March 4, 2014, regular meeting.
We do this to respect your safety and security during this time of slick roads and dangerously low temperatures. Please enjoy this time in the warmth of your homes.
This new year of 2014 is in full swing, complete with subzero temperatures (last week), and beautifully-balmy over 60° days (today). January has proven to be a roller coaster of weather that reminds us that winter is here to stay for awhile. It certainly stopped government, businesses, schools and our meeting early this month . . . so, we postponed it to February 4.
A few topics have been tweeked slightly (see agenda below), but you can expect an exciting and educational meeting with over 20 new and innovative Gadgets (hardware, software, apps and more). Also come prepared to tell us about your favorite technology-related gifts from Christmas. Bring friends and family to enjoy our gathering.
We also remind you to use the new strip at the bottom of the agenda to tell us what you would like to learn from our appleJAC MUG meetings. Its important to get your feedback if our meetings are to remain successful, knowledgeable and fun.
By the way, be sure to check out the new product reviews that I've recently completed. Just scroll down a little further, and there they are . . .
Portable storage is great to transfer data, and I’ve had progressively larger capacity flash drives (aka thumb drives, USB keys, jump drives, memory sticks, more). But size isn’t everything, appearance and personality improve on utility. In addition to my StarWars and micro flash drives, I’ve found another compelling device that continues to delight.
The LaCie Culbuto USB key, designed by Constance Guisset, brings magic, movement, and whimsy to my desktop and other functional workspaces. My inner child has been embraced with this device that is always up for playing around. With black and gold (Mizzou colors), weighing under a third of a pound and standing about 4” tall, this is a new and entertaining tool.
Whether dancing across my desktop or connected to a computer, the LaCie Culbuto earns its keep. When it’s taking a break from storing my files, the LaCie Culbuto is a graceful photo or card holder on my desk. I just remove the cap and plug it into my MacBook Pro to carry files or move them elsewhere.
Featuring USB 3.0, the LaCie Culbuto lets me transfer files up to four times faster than with USB 2.0. With 16GB of capacity (32GB also available), I can back up many important files or store hundreds of movies or thousands of songs. Easy setup, passworded access and automatic worry-free backup for Mac (and PC) computers ensures that my files remain completely protected. Its a little bulky to carry in the pocket, but fits easily into my computer or iPad bag.
The LaCie Cubuto USB key can be purchased for $49.99 (16GB) or $79.99 (32GB) from www.lacie.com/products. This is one of many fine products available from LaCie including many types of storage media, displays, USB keys, accessories and more. Its terrific to have tools that can be fun to use too.
Typing is very “old school” in a world of Siri and voice recognition. Over three years ago I did a review of Dragon Dictate after Nuance acquired MacSpeech Scribe posted at applejac_macintosh_users. It was then, and continues now, the leader in voice transcription. Recently they released a major upgrade to make it even better.
Dragon Dictate for Mac 3 helps me accomplish more than I ever imagined possible by inputting text just by speaking (up to three times faster than typing), and interacting with my favorite Mac applications using only my voice. This power software provides amazing accuracy and requires just minutes of training to get started – it’s Simply Smarter Speech Recognition. Version 3 is even better with these excellent features:
Installation requires at least an Intel-based Mac computer (2.2 Ghz Intel Core2 Duo processor or greater recommended), minimum free hard disk space of 4GB, at least 2GB of RAM recommended, a DVD-ROM drive for installation (also downloadable), a Nuance-approved noise-canceling headset microphone for Mac. It is supported by the operating systems of OS X Lion (10.7), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8), and OS X Mavericks (10.9), which is what I’m using. An Internet connection is required for automatic product activation (a quick and anonymous process).
I’ve used the latest version extensively in writing reports and transcribing notes. There is even a free app available which makes the iPhone a wireless microphone (it works very well). Although it extends initial setup time, it is well worth taking an extra 15 minutes to go through the voice training exercise which improves Dragon Dictate’s recognition and accuracy. To use it, I still have to start the program, mount my Bluetooth headset, and select my profile (takes about a minute), but then I’m ready to go.
This review was prepared with the handy assistance of this program. Since my input is often a rambling dialogue, I mingle keyboard editing to ensure accuracy, which works quite well (the speed and accuracy of Dragon Dictate is rather amazing). I have done side-by-side comparisons to the integrated speech recognition of Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks (which is good), but does not measure up to the features and performance of Dragon Dictate.
The retail price is $199.99, but can be purchased for $134.99 direct from Nuance at www.nuance.com, or as little as $121.64 with free shipping from Amazon. Legal and medical specialty versions are also available from the same website. The Dragon Dictate app is available for free at Apple’s App Store. Dragon Dictate is the best of its kind, and a product I continue to rely on for my most important work.
My laptop computer doesn’t travel very much anymore, but certainly gets a lot of use as a desktop companion. Unfortunately, I have far more connections than I have ports, and an upgrade was needed. I just found an robust and elegant solution.
The LandingZone DOCK is an adaptive and simple-to-use secure docking station for my 15” Macbook Pro with Retina display. I can now return from traveling with my computer and simply snap it into the LandingZone on my desk, thus enjoying the benefits of an executive desktop system. It makes my Macbook Pro retina much more functional with this powerful docking station.
With the DOCK, I have no need to plug in cables each time I connect since I just leave them plugged in. This quick loading DOCK provides me a powered 5-port USB hub plus a Gigabit Ethernet jack, an audio port, an HDMI port, and a Security Slot. This device works with the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display models (Model A1398 released mid-2012 or Oct 2013) and offers the following features:
Initial installation seemed tricky at first until I read the instructions more carefully to discover the well-placed alignment stops on the top-back of the DOCK, making insertion of the Thunderbolt, USB, HDMI and power connections on left and right sides a breeze. It elevates the rear of the MacBook Pro retina a little more than an inch, which provides gret air circulation underneath.
Its also nice to have the extra white power supply light on the right, and the extra jacks for all my accessories (very easy to reach on the back when I need to switch USB devices). When ready to travel again, removal of the device is only a lever swing away (with the power off, of course). The connection for a security cable is also nice if I am in a public location.
The price is $199, available at landingzone.net/products/dock. A different unit for the 13” MacBook Pro with Retina Display is expected to be a available soon. This is an indispensable accessory for any traveling MBPr that needs a quick-connect multi-function foundation at home.
iPhones and iPads are elegant, resourceful, and stylish, which is why they need protection. I have a variety of cases that provide varying levels of safety and security, but the OtterBox has long set the standard for utility and durability. I’ve recently acquired versions for my iDevices with excellent results.
Only on OtterBox.com can I build my own Defender Series case for either my iPhone or iPad. The multi-layered Defender Series iPhone 5/5S (also 5C, 4/4S, 3G/3GS) case guards against drops, shocks and dust while maintaining seamless usability. There is also a Defender version for iPads (mini Retina, Mini, Air, 4, 3, 2).
The high-impact polycarbonate shell fully covers the iPhone or iPad while the integrated screen protector guards against scratches and smudges. The built-in memory foam cushions the device inside the case while the outer slipcover absorbs impact from drops and shocks. The included holster (screen cover on the iPad) clips to nearly anything and doubles as a kickstand for hands-free use.
These rugged, multi-layer cases ready the iDevices for heavy use and potential mishaps from my sometimes rough and tumble life. Each has port plugs which keep out dust and debris (but not covers over the speakers, microphones, or cameras). The Defender series is not waterproof (the Preserver series has that feature), but otherwise provides a high degree of protection.
Installation of the Defender series cases is very straight forward and easy to accomplish (be sure the iPhone or iPad is clean first so dust is not trapped inside, particularly the screen). But, if you must access the bare iDevice (such as for a Galileo motor mount or other holder), taking the case off is much more challenging since the snap-together plastic fasteners are very secure. The rubber slip cover is not too difficult (though a snug fit), but great care is needed in removing the plastic shell (a thin chisel-shaped hard plastic pry tool is very handy). This case is truly designed to protect my unit under the roughest conditions, and not be in danger of breaking apart.
I find the built-in screen protector to be very durable and resistant to scratches or impact, but it does require a little more pressure for daily use. In addition, the very sturdy rubber menu button on the iPad requires extra pressure to activate (the iPhone does not have a menu button cover because of the finger-print recognition). As expected, neither device feels light and thin any more, but instead feels durable and sturdy, with excellent grip and hold.
I can certainly see how OtterBox earned it great reputation for excellent protection (and it looks good too). The belt-clip on the iPhone unit swivels well and clips on with ease (it does stick out from the hip more than is comfortable though). The plastic screen cover for the iPad is ingenious because it can snap on the front (or back), and has a built-in hinged brace and stops which allow for easy horizontal or vertical mounting of the iPad at several angles (nicely designed piece).
At www.otterbox.com, you can purchase the Defender Series case for the iPhone 5S for $59.95 (the slip cover or plastic shell can be purchased separately). A Defender Series case for iPad mini or iPad mini with Retina display is available for $79.90 (the slip cover and shell can also be purchased separately). Other models like the Utility Series Latch II, Commuter and Symmetry series are also available. I now get protection that inspires confidence with the Defender Series cases from OtterBox.
It has often been repeated (accurately) that the best camera is the one with me. My iPhone 5S is truly always with me, and an excellent camera with many cool features. There are many accessories now available which greatly enhance its power and versatility (plus delight). I’ve found another cool accessory you should know about.
Originally a Kickstarter project almost two years ago with over $700,000 in funding, the Motrr Galileo turns my iPhone (or iPod touch) into a remotely-controlled video camera with 360˚ rotation. I just swipe a finger on my iPad mini screen and the Galileo responds, orienting my iPhone left or right, up or down. I can actually control what I see from another room, or from another location far away using the app called AirBeam.
With a different app called Sphere, I can capture and share spherical panoramas automatically. Spherical photography used to be just for pros, but with Galileo and the Sphere app (free), I’m one tap away from beautiful, multi-exposure spherical panoramas. If I want HD panoramas quickly and easily, then my app choice is DMD Panorama ($4.99). For breathtaking time-lapses sequences, then I can use the app TimeLapse ($4.99) for precision control.
I’ve used the Galileo in many locations from my favorite coffee shop to restaurants to homes to scenic sites like the beautiful State Capitol Building, all with successful. My recommendation for best “stitching” of the images together is to provide some distance between the Galileo and the subject (if too close, the images don’t match perfectly). Grand outdoor panoramas (like forests, lakes and urban landscapes) or large indoor spaces (like auditoriums, rotundas or convention halls) are all captured with magnificence. The time lapse feature has no such suggestions, but has the advantage of both vertical and horizontal ranges that can be scanned in combination with timed photos, providing some very entertaining and informative sequences.
This unit is very compact, durable and versatile with great battery life. Instructions for setup and operation are easy to follow and implement. Other apps are also available for alarm functions, WristVision for the Pebble smartwatch and other still under development. The Motrr community of app developers has integrated with Galileo to bring a new dimension of motion control to their apps. The possibilities continue to grow with more apps on the way.
Galileo comes with a several rubber inserts into which the iPhone or iPod touch is inserted to secure it in the unit. I wish they had also provide an “oversized” insert so I don’t have to remove the iPhone case to use it. The addition of a cloth carrying bag would also have been nice to protect it during transport. The package also included a micro-USB cable for charging. Several of the apps also include features to help you share your images with friends and family.
The Motrr Galileo Bluetooth (white or black) is available for iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, and iPod Touch 5th generation for $149.95 from www.motrr.com. The 30-pin version for iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch 4th generation can be purchased at the same location for $129.95. This is a great vacation accessory that can help you bring back stunning pictures from any trip (or even around your daily life).
Jefferson City Public Schools and Immaculate Conception School will be closed on Tuesday, January 7, 2014 — consistent with our inclement weather policy, the appleJAC MUG Board has decided to cancel this meeting, and move the topic to our February 4, 2014, regular meeting.
We do this to respect your safety and security during this time of slick roads and dangerously low temperatures. Please enjoy this time in the warmth of your homes.
As I reflect back (this is written the day after Christmas), I remember the many great people who have been involved with appleJAC over the past 29 years and amazing meetings that we have shared (our first newsletter cover is at right). We have had much to dance about and to be grateful for as we have embraced the wonders of incredible technology, the value of exceptional quality products, and the thrill of progressive innovation. Our lives are better for these products, and richer as a result of the knowledge and productivity gained at our monthly gatherings.
2014 is the beginning of my 18th year as President of this most enjoyable (and sometimes exhausting) adventure. I took a few minutes to journey back to our humble beginnings when I came across some memorable words from a charter member Mark Roebuck: "What I DO remember are those first meetings and particularly Tom’s infectious enthusiasm and boundless energy. The group was small, geeky to be sure (a word I don’t recall existing at the time), and a lot of fun." Interestingly, my enthusiasm now is even greater now than in the early days, even though my energy has definite limits. Thanksfully, fun has also been the dependable hallmark of our meetings.
Our last meeting focused on "iOS in the Car" with Dr. Marian Petrides describing the many ways to integrate portable technology into our vehicles. This was followed by the Annual Meeting with treasury reports from Sue Snell and activity reports for the year from me. Elections were held for 2014 officers with the following results:
President Tom Piper
Vice-President Joe Mertzlufft
Secretary Ann Lane
Treasurer Sue Snell
Webmaster Dustin Stark
Members-at-Large: George Kopp
Door prize winners for this last meeting of 2013 were:
Sharon Hanson iPole camera holder
Larry Hoffman Mountain Lion Tips and Tricks (book)
Rick Hanson $10 iTunes card
The next meeting topic is "20 Gadgets in 60 Minutes" (which will also include 3 bonus items. You will also have an opportunity to show off the new technology-related items you got for Christmas. See the agenda below for details of the gadgets (apps, hardware, software, more) to be presented.
You will notice that the new agenda format includes an extra space at the bottom for suggestions for future meeting topics and items for which you have an interest or question. This is where we need your help with things to present for the rest of the year (note that we don't yet have a topic for February). By the way, don't miss the new review articles below this article. Come to our next meeting, and help us kick off the new year . . .
I have three iPads in my home, all of which need to be held vertically from time to time for easy reading and reference. I’ve collected a variety of stands over the years, but my latest acquisition deserves publicity.
The GroovBoard is burly, sturdy and has lots of character. The beech wood of my model is a great fit for a Scandinavian interior design style (for example IKEA) or any other style with bright, modern colors. It combines the minimalistic purity of the maple model with the warm character of the cherry model. This model features:
The GroovBoard gives me several options for using my iPad comfortably with or without an external keyboard, with a stylus, on my couch or easy chair, in bed or at a desk or table. In flat mode, the two main grooves hold my iPad securely at two distinct angles, and let me use an external keyboard when the iPad is in the back groove.
In upright mode, the iPad sits in the top groove, rested against my thighs and the back (or, in this mode, upper) groove becomes a mount for the Apple Wireless Keyboard. Two stylus holders on the left and right side of the board hold on to my stylus in both flat and upright mode. When the GroovBoard is used in upright mode with my knees pulled up, I can remove the magnetically attached handrest to move the iPad to a lower, more comfortable position, if desired. This is most useful when using the iPad in this position without an external keyboard.
When I want to use the GroovBoard on my desk or countertop, six anti-slip rubber feet support it, and protect both the GroovBoard and the respective surface from scratches. When I watch movies on my iPad, with a speaker placed in front of the iPad with the front facing the iPad's screen, the sound gets reflected off of the screen at an angle that makes it sound like the audio is coming right out of the iPad. I can even sit a cup of coffee or other refreshment right on the board when using the iPad (as long as I don’t jiggle it).
This is a wonderful unit that is available in Alder, Antique Oak, Apple, Bamboo, Beech, Cherry, Maple, Plum or Walnut. You can learn more about its features and functionality at http://groovboard.co. It is made in southern Bavaria, Germany, and can be purchased for $99 plus shipping (usually $24 to the US). You can also get accessories such as a Sensu Brush, Wacom Bamboo stylus, stylus nibs, GroovBoard cushion, iPad sleeve (Merino, Lleyn Sattlerschorsch Muuh, filz:stueck Leather, or Rum Diary), or Vandebag iPad skin or case. This is an unusual, high quality and treasured family of products that won’t disappoint you.
Good protection is fundamental to the ownership of a valuable smartphone, and I’ve had many cases for all of my iPhones over the years. While many are pretty and others are rugged, few have been otherwise utilitarian, until recently . . .
The in1 Multi-Tool Utility Case is a rugged yet beautifully-designed multi-tool/phone case perfect for people on the go like me. It has a variety of tools that I can use in many ways including:
These tools are intended to be helpful with everyday tasks; they are securely mounted, but easy to extract when needed. So while this case won't assist me with big mechanical or carving jobs, they will help with day to day tasks such as writing notes and cutting open packages. This polycarbonate case with tiny tools is also fully TSA compliant, as I’ve proven during my last few plane trips (it does get some curious looks).
It is available in white, black and clear (which was my choice). I can also pick the colors of the tools I want (green, blue, yellow, black, pink or white, like mine) making it highly customizable to my taste. The tools are durable and very functional, while access to the switches, earphone and power jacks, is wide. The removable end makes it easy and quick to insert or remove the iPhone.
The in1 for iPhone 5 and 5S combines a sleek design with functional multi-tools in one very protective case. It can be yours too for only $44.95 at http://www.in1case.com. I use mine all the time, and really like it (I still get lots of questions about it too).
Holiday and most of our pictures are precious, and the corruption of these files can be disastrous. Whether from my still camera, or movie camera, a fast and effective recovery tool is a must — Stellar has a great package that does it all.
Stellar Phoenix Mac Photo Recovery v6 is a complete do-it-yourself retrieval software that recovers photos, images, songs, movies, and other multimedia files deleted or lost due to corruption or formatting of hard drives, memory cards, or other external storage. This powerful multi-functional tool can do all of the following:
Using this software is easy and straight-forward once it has been installed. The initial screen (see right) allows me to either immediately start the recovery of a volume (after which it provides a list of all volumes connected to it from which I select the corrupted title), create image (make a digital replica of the corrupted volume before working on it), or Resume Recovery (in case my earlier recovery effort was interrupted). Other tasks like software registration, website visitation, or product information can be accessed in the upper left corner. The results can then be saved to a different selectable volume.
For more information or assistance, go to http://www.stellarinfo.com/mac-photo-recovery.htm. Want to try it before you buy it? ... the go to http://www.stellarinfo.com/thank-you.php?val=photomac. If you like it and want to own it for only $39? … then go to http://www.stellarinfo.com/disk-recovery/photo-recovery-mac/buy-now.php. For a limited time, you can also get JPEG Repair for only $49.99 — a 30% savings! This is one of a family of excellent digital recovery tools available from Stellar for Macintosh and Windows volumes.
I’m a Mac fan through and through, but I’m also a strong believer in communication and collaboration with other computer platforms, mostly Windows. I’ve used Parallels since version 3 to allow me to not only echo (emulate) Windows XP and Windows 7, but also to immediately access Mac OS X Snow Leopard (mostly AppleWorks stuff) and Mountain Lion.
Being able to do this on my MacBook Pro with the extended screens on my 27” iMac (via Thunderbolt cable) and iPad 3 (via AirPlay) has been incredible. With Parallels Desktop for Mac, I can seamlessly run both Windows and Mac OS X applications side-by-side without rebooting. It is a breeze to drag-and-drop files between Windows and Mac applications then launch Windows applications from my Mac dock.
This powerful performance lets me run Windows productivity applications, even graphics intensive ones, with ease. Since I’ve reviewed Parallels 8 and earlier before, my focus in this article is one what’s new including:
As if this isn’t enough, Parallels also allows me to use my iPad mini Retina display to view my EVERYTHING on my computer remotely using Parallels Access. I’m actually typing this from my iPad mini now ... this is just too cool, its something you need to experience yourself!
But, that’s not all, for companies, Parallels also offers a number of other Parallels Business Solutions including the Parallels Management Suite and Parallels Desktop for Mac Enterprise Edition. These products enable IT departments to simply maintain compliance and control while still embracing the technology employees need. IT professionals can protect their investments in Windows-based applications because now they can deliver them on Macs, leverage existing Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) infrastructure and skills to fully manage Macs and virtual machines, and unleash productivity by giving employees the freedom to use any Mac or PC app remotely as if it was made for an iPad.
There is much to brag about with Parallels’ products. Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac is available for $79.99 (which includes a free six-month subscription to Parallels Access for iPad, a $39.99 value), available at www.parallels.com. Numerous other products, videos, descriptions, and opportunities are also available here. I highly recommend Parallels as a great value, very fast, extremely reliable, and wonderfully versatile.