This next month's great meeting topics is "Mistakes to Avoid". The meeting will be held at 7:00 pm, April 4, 2017, in Kennedy Hall at IC School, 1208 E. McCarty St., Jefferson City. Please bring your friends who are Mac or iOS users to our meetings.
This November 5, 2016, segment of Hal Dulle's "Open Air Saturday" on KWOS radio featured Peggy Landwehr, Tom Piper and George Kopp. The topic was generally tech talk about Apple products (iPhone, iPad, MacBook Pro) and operating systems (iOS 10 and macOS 10.12). They also talked about how to select cellphones and plans offered by various vendors, as well as appleJAC meetings and membership.
Home accounting systems trace all the way back to the first spreadsheets, pioneered by VisiCalc for the Apple ][. Today, I have found over 50 free, open-source, and proprietary accounting programs that run on the Macintosh platform for accounting and personal finance. But, there is one which stands head-and-shoulders above the rest.
A little over five years ago, I wrote a review of iBank 4 (applejac/ibank-4). This was a great product then, and it is even better now (and has been renamed Banktivity).
Banktivity 5 is a personal finance manager which offers sophisticated reports, debt/loan management, a streamlined interface, simple and reliable import from Quicken or MS Money, powerful investment tracking, free private cloud sync to iOS devices, support for bill pay and multiple currencies, innovative transaction templates, integrated web downloads from bank accounts, intuitive checklist-style reconciliation, file attachments of any type, and much more. This is an accounting tool that can fit a wide range of needs for home and business.
To begin using Banktivity, if you were previously a Quicken (or related software) user, then data import is reasonably simple and straight-forward so you can have your accounts, transactions, categories and investments ready and waiting for you (a nice online video tutorial is most helpful). On the other hand, to start from scratch (which is what I did), Banktivity's streamlined setup assistant had me going in no time (another very helpful video tutorial that walked me through the process).
The first step is to select either a Home or Business setup, then to create an account (normally a bank, of which I created three, plus a Discover credit card account). Banktivity 5 offers easy bank connections for direct downloads (I could also have used Direct Access to automatic updates or Direct download, but these are subscription services, starting at $9.99 per month).
Since the initial setup, I now do download monthly updates from all my accounts. It posts most of critical information, like amount and payee or payor, after which I add the budget category manually from the list I customized (it does a nice job of guessing too).
Although I don’t use this feature, Banktivity 5 delivers online bill pay to set up, schedule and send payments, track those transactions, and categorize the expenses (it requires an OFX account connection).
With the advanced budgeting tools, I can build savings, watch my spending habits, monitor daily progress, incorporate scheduled income and bills, compare goals vs. results, and sync budgets to Banktivity on my iOS device. Meanwhile, I can track my spending patterns, assign categories or sub-categories to every transaction, use enhanced import rules for speedy categorization, and split transactions multiple ways for detailed budgeting and reporting.
Banktivity makes it easy to see my whole financial picture on my iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch (okay, its just summary information by account, since the type is so small). It is amazing how the private Cloud Sync seamlessly keeps everything up to date. Believe it or not, I’ve just scratched the surface in describing this program’s extensive features; this is a truly powerful and impressive accounting package.
To learn more, go to banktivity.com. Banktivity for the Mac can be purchased at iggsoftware.com for $59.99 (a 30-day free trial is also available before buying), plus, under the Apps menu, you will find Banktivity for iPad for $19.99, Banktivity for iPhone is $9.99, and Banktivity Investor for free. It takes some time and effort, but if you need to manage all of your financial affairs (as I do), this is the right package for you!
HomeKit technology now provides wonderful lighting controlled by a variety of related devices and iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. At CES 2016, I reconnected with Elgato who has a nice range of such excellent devices.
The Avea Flare from Elgato just brought dynamic light moods into many locations in my life. It is a battery-powered, wirelessly-charged LED lamp which illuminates any place I put it for more than 8 hours on a single charge (the charging base is innovative, just set the unit on it in any direction). With IP65 water resistance, my home atmosphere can now extend to the outside and many portable locations (like restaurants and events).
With this light, I control my ambience from my iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch. It is truly amazing to easily select any of the carefully crafted settings with subtly changing light which include Magic Hour, Northern Glow, Cherry Blossom, Mountain Breeze, Cozy Flames, Sunny Field, Fairy Woods, Caribbean Sea, Candy Land, or Calm Provence.
Avea connects directly to my iDevices (or someone else’s Android phone) using Bluetooth Smart technology, without requiring additional gateways or bridges. But it doesn't stop there because, once I have chosen a light scene, the smart LED lightbulb will take care of the rest, not requiring a constant connection to your phone or iPad. Only two controls on the bottom: Power and Mode.
Now, I can also connect to more than one Avea (like my Avea Bulb), and they will automatically coordinate their lighting to create an even more immersive atmosphere. What’s more is that my Apple Watch makes it easier than ever to pick the perfect lighting for my changing mood. I can raise my wrist to view the current status of Avea at a glance, and effortlessly transform my home with a simple tap.
After a relaxing evening, I can even set my alarm using the built-in wake-up light scene. With Avea, I can wake up to a natural sunrise, right in my bedroom. Adjustable brightness and vividness are also just a slider away on (on either Flare or Bulb, or both combined). My favorite is Candy Land that slowly shifts from among all the colors (very relaxing). I can’t say enough great things about this unique enhancement to my life. You can learn more about it at elgato.com/avea.
This unit is a great buy at only $99.95, available from Elgato at elgato/flare, or from Amazon for $79.95 at amazon/flare. Avea Flare is part of a growing family of products including Avea Bulb (mood bulb, $39.95), and Avea Sphere (only available in Europe). I’ve used Elgato products for decades, and find them delightful, economical, reliable and very useful.
On Tuesday, August 2, 2016, three great presentations were provided by appleJAC gurus. The information in their presentations is available for you to view again by clicking on any of the blue links below:
HomeKit technology now provides advanced security with end-to-end encryption and authentication between a variety of related devices and iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. At CES 2016 I reconnected with Elgato who has a nice range of such excellent devices.
Eve Energy from Elgato is an electrical switch and power meter that helps me to live smarter by knowing more about my home power consumption. It allows me to switch my devices on or off using Siri or with a simple tap, and instantly see how much energy my devices are using. I use my iPhone 6s plus to see my energy consumption at a glance.
Setup is so easy ... after opening the box, the simple instructions describe how the Elgato Eve app should first be downloaded from the Apple App Store, then plug the Eve Energy unit in a wall socket. Using the new Eve app, just select Add Accessory which will “see” the new unit, after which I was able to customize the titling for future reference. Eve connects directly to any iDevice using Bluetooth 4.0 Smart technology, without complicated WiFi setup or the need for a hub, gateway or bridge.
Once operational, I can use Siri on my iPhone (or iPad, or iPod touch) to control the devices connected to Eve Energy with just my voice. I was able to give custom names to my devices, combine them into groups, and create scenes to control multiple home settings in just one step (if I had multiple units). There is also a button on the unit to manually turn a device on/off. Even better, I can now control Eve Energy when I’m away away from home. Since I already have an Apple TV, my iPhone now can remotely turn devices on and off, launch my favorite scene, or check the status of my home at a glance.
Not only is it nice to be able to see my energy consumption at a glance, but I can also view beautiful graphs by day, month or year. This allows me to gain insights that help me improve my comfort, and make my home a smarter place. It is a great companion to my Eve Room (see more below) and Avea mood lamp.
Eve requires an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 9.1 or later. HomeKit requires an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 8.1 or later. Controlling HomeKit-enabled accessories away from home requires an Apple TV (3rd generation or later) with Apple TV software 7.0 or later and an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 8.1 or later (iPad 2 is not supported).
This unit is a great buy at only $49.95, available at elgato.com/eve-energy. Eve Energy is part of a growing family of products including Eve Room (wireless indoor air quality, temperature and humidity sensor, $79.95), Eve Door & Window (wireless contact sensor, $39.95), and Eve Thermo (thermostatic radiator valve, not currently available in US). I’ve used Elgato products for decades, and find them economical, reliable and very useful.
I’ve been a video doorbell user for several years with a SkyBell. At CES 2016, I was introduced to another competing vendor with a very robust product.
The DoorBird Video Door Station D101 with a white polycarbonate housing has been my test model for the past few weeks. It allows me to speak with my visitors and open my door (if I had an electric lock) by my iPhone (or iPad) from anywhere in the world. It can actually be paired with up to 8 devices (like iPhones, iPads, and Androids). With this unit, I will not need to miss any more deliveries or visitors since I will be informed right away when the person rings.
It really has a broad field of vision. Thanks to the integrated high-end motion sensor, I can know what happens in front of my home with the 180° camera lens and infrared motion sensor can which has the ability to set off an alarm without ever touching the doorbell unit.
It has a durable all-weather case with temperature-resistant from just below 0° F to over 100°F, and rain water protection (in accordance with IP54 industry standard), all packaged in a stylish product design (high quality stainless steel models also available). This smart solution is of the highest quality and made in Germany. It has many features which are summarized at below.
Installation was relatively easy, in spite of a multi-language instruction book with tiny print. Thankfully, an easier-to-read online version was conveniently available online. It initially seemed complex only because of the international power unit with adapters, wide variety of connections, wire assemblies, and mounting screws included in the package. A few minutes of reading clarified that it really was easy to install. Downloading and installing the DoorBird app was also simple.
At about 1.5” x 3” x 6”, this unit is rather large for external mounting to replace the doorbell button, but the quality of the speaker, microphone, video camera, and motion detector certainly justify this size. I was amazed at how quickly I was notified of a visitor when the doorbell button was pushed, even when I was out of town. The very wide field of view allowed me to see the visitor plainly, even when they stood close to the door (the infra-red feature is also nice for night vision). I also like the ability to turn on the camera remotely just to view the area in front of the house using my iPhone (cannot yet be viewed from my computer screen, probably later).
If I had an electric front door lock or garage door opener, with the indoor and outdoor add-on of BirdGuard, I could even see what the visitor is doing after I had opened the door. To go even further, I could send potential burglars packing with a siren of 100dB or a loud announcement using their external speaker. Unfortunately, the DoorBird is not HomeKit compatible.
The DoorBird Video Door Station D101 can be viewed and purchased for $349.00 at doorbird.com (available colors are black, grey, white and yellow). This innovative idea was developed by the Bird Home Automation Group located in Berlin and San Francisco. The also have nine other models and four accessories to enhance the functionality of this innovative unit. This is a very nice, well-made unit.
Calendars have been around for a long time on our Macs, and more recently on our iPhones and iPads. Apple has allowed us to sync all our calendars effectively through iCloud, but they still need to be more full-featured. A recently upgraded application has demonstrated how many functions can be integrated into a great product.
Fantastical 2 has a beautiful, all-new design exclusively for OS X Yosemite and fully compatible with El Capitan. The original Fantastical was only a menu bar app, but has now been reinvented into a full Mac application, without losing the benefits and convenience of the menu bar window.
Fantastical's natural language engine is expressive and intelligent so I can write in my own style. It automatically recognizes the location of my event and can even invite people from Contacts to my event. They've made multiple parser improvements including improved repeating event and reminder support, the ability to add alerts, full-time zone support, and many other time-saving improvements.
This calendar app lets me quickly toggle multiple calendars on or off with a single click, so I can focus on what's more important in that moment. I can even automatically switch Calendar Sets based on my location (such as Work and Home). The Mini Window that started it all is back, better than ever. It resides in my menu bar and lets me create, edit, and view my events and reminders instantly. I can now drag the Mini Window away from the menu bar, allowing me to position the window anywhere I like. And the new infinite list makes it easy to find all of my events and reminders, no matter when they occur.
As it that’s not enough, Fantastical supports the same reminders as OS X and iOS, giving me the fastest way to create or update my to-do list. Creating a new reminder is as easy as creating a new event by just typing in what I need to get done. It now also features a focused reminders list, as well as support for location-based reminders.
Fantastical now has its own CalDAV engine, meaning that I can add my calendar accounts directly. It supports iCloud, Google, Yahoo, as well as any other CalDAV account. I can also use local and Exchange calendars, as long as they've been added to my Mac's built-in Calendar. Fantastical's Today Widget gives me convenient access to my schedule. The new Share and Action Extensions make it super easy to get data into my calendar.
Fantastical is also available for my iPhone and iPad as separate apps which all sync seamlessly when using a service like iCloud, Google Calendar, or Yahoo Calendar. The extraordinary calendar also supports Handoff, allowing me to seamlessly transition between Fantastical on all of my devices. It even works with an Apple Watch app and glance, ensuring that Fantastical is always there for me. This is how such systems should really function!
This is an opportunity to use your imagination, creativity and iPhone, iPad or Mac to make great imagery. Successful winners will get a $15 iTunes card in each category below.
You must use your Apple device to shoot the video and/or still pictures. Use your favorite App such as Photos, iMovie, Quicktime, and others to edit. Then customize the sound using iTunes, Garageband, and others as well.
All final videos must be 30 seconds or less in length.
Any one of three categories are available for your video (you decide which):
• Best Edit
• Best Motion
• Best Use of Stills
Entries are due by the April 5, 2016, appleJAC meeting; winners will be announced and shown at the May 3, 2016, appleJAC meeting.
You may enter by bringing your video to any meeting (on a flash drive, if possible), after which we will move it to appleJAC storage; or you may share a link from iCloud or DropBox to email@example.com. Our expert judge will then anonymously review the results, and pick the winner in each category.
We look forward to your submission . . . this is going to be a lot of fun for everyone.
Home monitoring has become more and more sophisticated and comprehensive. In days gone by, we used to periodically check the thermometer and hygrometer to make sure that our thermostat and humidifier. Today, we have incredible devices to continually monitor these and more so we can live smarter by knowing more about our home, the place we care about most.
With Eve Room, the wireless sensor from Elgato, I can now see my home at a glance, right on my iPhone or iPad (Bluetooth links with only one at a time). Eve senses indoor air quality, temperature, and humidity. Eve Room is powered by a sophisticated sensor analyzing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Air quality can vary based on many factors, and Eve Room goes beyond CO₂ by analyzing substances that directly affect my well-being. I can actually see my home at a glance, and view beautiful and informative graphs by day, month or year about each of these factors.
Setup of this device was quick and easy. First, I installed the batteries (included), then downloaded the free app, entered into the app the ID number on the back of the unit, and I was ready to place it in a convenient place (our living room). Eve connects directly to my iPhone or iPad using Bluetooth 4.0 Smart technology, without requiring a hub, gateway or bridge. I can even ask Siri on my linked iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to ask for temperature or humidity, which she immediately reports back to me. This data is shared via iCloud to all devices using the same Apple ID, and guests can be invited to view it too.
Elgato’s Eve hardware accessories work with Apple HomeKit technology to gather data on air quality, temperature, humidity, air pressure, energy consumption and more. HomeKit technology on iOS 9 takes “connected home” even further, and provides advanced security with end-to-end encryption and authentication. Guest Access is now available, and with a free updates coming to Eve, I can take advantage of Automatic Scenes and Bluetooth Range Extenders. The Eve family has been carefully designed to seamlessly blend into any home environment. I can even access Eve when I’m not home because it communicates with my Apple TV 4 (requires at least a 3rd generation version).
Eve requires an iPhone 4S or later, iPad (3rd generation) or later, iPad Air, iPad mini with iOS 9 or later, all of which can use the free Elgato Eve app. HomeKit requires an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 8.1 or later. Its temperature measures 32°F - 130°F, 5% - 95% humidity, and air quality bad - excellent. It is powered by three AA replaceable batteries, and is sized at 3.1” x 3.1” x 1.3” and very light weight.
Eve Home is available for $79.95 at elgato.com/eve. Other related devices in this family also include Eve Weather ($49.95), and Eve Door & Window ($39.95). I’ve used Elgato products for many years, which have always been very functional and high quality. The Eve family of products continues this excellent tradition, and will work with many other HomeKit devices.
I have been using Parallels as my virtual machine to run Windows (and older Mac operating systems) since the early days of version 3 over eight years ago. Every update gets better and more powerful than the one before.
Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac is now the fastest, easiest, and most powerful way to run Windows on my Mac side-by-side with (or on top of) Mac OS 10.11 El Capitan. I can even make Windows invisible while still using its applications, or keep the familiar Windows background and controls on my Mac Book Pro 15” retina or iMac 27” retina.
The very latest Windows 10 runs great on El Capitan featuring Microsoft Cortana, my new virtual assistant (okay, its not Siri, but better than Mac’s voice dictation). They have now also made it easy to get all of my files, applications, browser bookmarks, and more from your PC to your Mac; just by following the setup assistant (drag-and-drop also works great between environments).
Although its not something I usually do, it is possible to reuse an existing Boot Camp installation by converting it to a virtual machine. On the other hand, I do run a wide array of operating systems including Mac OS X 10.7 Snow Leopard (for old apps like AppleWorks) and 10.9 Mountain Lion (earlier app editions), and Windows 7 (older apps). Linux and Google Chrome are also possible, but not in my circle of interest.
I can select productivity, games, design, or development, and Parallels 11 will optimize my virtual machine settings and performance for me. The Parallels Desktop Pro Edition gives my virtual machines even more processing power using up to 64 GB vRAM and 16 vCPUs per virtual machine lets me run even the most demanding applications with ease.
That was a general overview of the newest Parallels 11. There are a bunch of additional features of great interest including (but not limited to) the following:
Copy and paste files or text between Mac and Windows
Launch Windows apps right from the Dock
Single-cloud storage space between Mac and Windows
Assign any USB devices to my Mac or Windows
Retina Display support for Windows
Run Windows in full or split screen
Windows alerts in Mac Notification Center
Mac dictation inside Windows applications
“Reveal in Windows Explorer” in OS X files menu
Real-time virtual disk optimization
Power Nap in Windows
New Virtual Machine Wizard
The Presentation Wizard prevents most projector issues
Drop files onto Outlook to create a new message
Multi-language Keyboard Sync
Share Bluetooth between Mac and Windows
Thunderbolt, Firewire, USB-C, USB 3.0 support
Work without risk with Snapshots
Finder Tabs work with Windows apps
and many more...
Parallels Access is another incredible feature (separate app) that allows for remote entry into either my MacBook Pro (including the virtual machine) or iMac from an iPad, iPhone or another Mac. With just one simple tap on my mobile device, and I’m connected reliably to my Parallels 11-installed computer (or iMac). I can even access it from any other computer (like my iMac or even a public computer) through a browser and my secure Parallels account. Then, I can navigate my hard drive easily to find a file or photo, then copy or open and control it with a tap or mouse click. This is incredible and inspirational remote control!
The Standard Edition (Home and Student use) is available for $79.99 (one-time purchase, no free upgrades) or the same for $79.99 per year (free upgrades). The Mac Pro or Mac Business Edition (for Developers, Designers, Testers and Power Users) is available for $99.99 (1-year subscription). All include a free subscription to Parallels Access, and can be purchased and downloaded at parallels.com/desktop. Either can be downloaded for free for a 14-day test period.
I highly recommend this product which continues to connect me to legacy Mac files (using older operating systems) and the very newest Windows products (using Windows 10), all with ease and dependability, at a modest price. And, what a delight, to be able to remotely access either of my computers from any of my mobile devices (I can’t wait to use the new iPad Pro for remote control).
Cables, cords, wires, plugs . . . a proverbial tangled nest of white and black connections for power, syncing and data conveyance. The one thing they all have in common is a rather fragile plastic sheathing that is susceptible to catastrophic wear and tear.
Other World Computing (OWC) has a better solution with its 1.0 Meter (39") NewerTech Lightning to USB 2.0 Cable. Mine is a delightful Blue (also available in White, Red, Yellow, Green and Black) constructed for premium quality and durability. This one is built tough to last for life's challenging travels. This NewerTech Lighting cable is perfect to charge and sync any Lightning port equipped iPad, iPhone, or iPod.
With its heavy-gauge conductors, high-quality connectors, and a nylon-braided jacket, this design ensures top performance, durability, and a long life. It's "right size" connector design provides case-friendly ease-of-use so I don't have to fuss with removing my device's case when charging. A cable of this quality deserves to come backed with a great warranty, and it gets precisely that with a whopping Five-Year NewerTech Product Limited Warranty.
My blue cable matches my 18000 mAh portable power supply, so it gets knocked around quite a bit. I plan to get another for my car, and another for my desktop (probably in different colors). This truly is one great cable that will last a long time.
With it's affordable price of only $16.79, you can pick up a few cables for use when you're at work, at play, or on the road. With various sizes available (20” to 118”), you can get a Lightning cable that's the right length for you at macsales.com/cable. This is one of many fine products from OWC.
Mood lighting has been around for a long time, but a few monochrome lights and a dimmer swithc were the best I could do on a modest budget. Now, there are innovative new methods from reliable companies.
Avea from Elgato transforms my living room now with beautiful dynamic light moods. I can easily control my ambience from my iPhone, iPad, AND Apple Watch which allows me to unwind in one of the carefully crafted settings with subtly changing light.
My choices of light mood include Calm Provence, Cosy Flames, Cherry Blossom, Mountain Breeze, Northern Glow, Fairy Woods, Magic Hour, Wake-Up Light. After a relaxing evening, I can also set my alarm using the built-in wake-up light scene with a natural sunrise, right in my bedroom.
Avea connects directly to my iPhone and iPad using Bluetooth Smart technology, without requiring additional gateways or bridges. But, it doesn't stop there because once I have chosen a light scene, the smart LED lightbulb will take care of the rest, not requiring a constant connection to my iDevice.
In addition, Avea on the Apple Watch makes it easier than ever to pick the perfect lighting for my mood. I just raise my wrist to view the current status of Avea at a Glance, and effortlessly transform my room with a simple tap.
As an added convenience, I can connect more than one Avea, and they will automatically coordinate their lighting with each other to create an even more immersive atmosphere. This is a terrific example of how easy and effortless dynamic mood lighting changes have become.
For the technically minded, the specifications are 7W LED/430 lm, 3000 K/warm white, E27/ E26/A21, 110-240 V, energy efficiency class: A, energy consumption: 7 kWh/1000 h, and operating temperature: 0°-50°C/32°-122°F. Quite simply, this means it has low power consumption, broad operating environment, and a pleasingly warm ambiance.
After a recent home energy audit, cozy reactions from my wife, and successful testing of this innovative light, I plan to get several more Aveas for my living room and bedroom. This is an efficient and economical way to improve my home environment . . . a great investment.
For more information about the Avea, go to elgato.com/avea where it can be purchased for $39.95, or macsales.com/avea for $39.79, or amazon.com/avea for $36.35. Elgato has many other fine products (many of which I have) available at elgato.com/store including Game Capture HDs, Gaming Beanie, various cables and adapters, Smart Key, Thunderbolt 2 Dock, Thunderbolt drives, EyeTVs, related software, and more.
Screen protection on a smartphone or tablet is supposed to be built-in, but I have long believed that an extra “shield” is important to avoid scratches and cracks. At CES 2015, I found a product from a leading manufacturer that really provides excellent protection.
The iPad is lightweight and portable, but occasionally needs a more versatile stand than what fits on a tabletop. I found a terrific solution at CES 2015 in Las Vegas.
The LEVO G2 Deluxe Tablet Stand for iOS, Microsoft, & Android Tablet PCs is loaded with several features, like the quick-lever height adjustment locks, a handy micro adjustment, a heavy-duty structure, a lustrous anodized aluminum finish, quick release platforms for interchanging tablets and books, and adjustable tension in each movement. This roll-about stand has it all, and was very easy to assemble (incredibly effective packing).
For stability and security, this LEVO Tablet Floor Stand incorporates a substantial base counterbalance that I really like. The 20-pound base provides unsurpassed sturdiness on wheels, so I can easily roll it throughout my home and office. The LEVO stand floats my iPad at the perfect height and angle while I sit or recline, on my couch. I can swing, yaw, and tilt my device into perfect position, including horizontal, upside-down, or anywhere in-between.
This simple and quick tablet mounting is compatible with all iPads, tablets, and eReaders with or without cases (11” or less). I can quickly spin from portrait to landscape so I can view my pages or photos at their optimum angle. The 5-axis swing-arm quickly swings and folds when not in use, or when I’m ready to get up. When I return, I quickly swing my tablet back into position. The “elbow” in the swing arm is very clever to extend the reach, or fold back into a compact position, and the arm will swing 360° in either direction.
What is nice is that I can roll this LEVO stand throughout my home so I can use my iPad (or book) in bed, in my favorite chair, or even in the kitchen. The total stand weight is 28 pounds, the minimum height is 30 inches, and the maximum height is 56 inches (measured from floor to center of my iPad). It is easy to roll, even on carpet, yet still very stable. This stand is so versatile, stable and secure, that I’ve become very attached to it, and use it every day.
The LEVO G2 Deluxe Stand can be purchased for $189.99 (Gunmetal or Aluminum finish) at levostore.com/levo-g2. Videos of the stand “in action” are also available at this website, as well as accessories such as Book Platform Kit ($44.95), Bungee Cord Tablet accessory ($4.99), Stand Height Extender ($24.00), LED Light ($34.99), and others. LEVO also has a variety of other stands and handy products at levostore.com.
It seems like I’ve had almost every iPad produced since Apple released their first one in April 2010. With such a serious investment, I’ve also been careful to protect these units in the best way possible. For my iPad mini, I found a great solution at CES2015.
The Kinetic Energy X-Orbing Case from NewerTech provides security and style in a slender and durable design which allows for protection against accidental drops, impacts and scratches with a lightweight and thin unit. The NuGuard KX has been Mil-Spec drop-test certified by Quanta Laboratories and in-house drop-tested at OWC on a flight of stairs.
The over-molding edge guard provides added screen edge protection without interfering with touch screen functionality, but still remaining only about 1/3" thick. Unlike common military-impact case materials, KX uses state-of-the-art X-Orbing gel technology to absorb and evenly distribute kinetic energy for ultimate protection. Precision cutouts allow for full access to all ports and buttons with a unique cross-hatch texture design on backside for added grip.
In addition, the NewerTech NuGuard KXs Case Friendly Impact X-orbing Screen Armor for iPad mini (including iPad mini with Retina display) is a strong screen protector that leaves a small gap around the edges of the screen to prevent the screen protector from curling or peeling when used with a protective case. Three separate layers combine into one ultra-thin, 0.28mm thick protective shield with advanced energy x-orbing technology to help prevent damage from impacts and scratches while not affecting the screen's touch sensitivity or clarity.
The nice part is that this crystal-clear coating is Retina display friendly and keeps dust and dirt away from the screen with no image distortion, yellowing or hazing over time. This military-grade protection layer is tough with a "3H" hardness scale rating, that can also self-heal from minor impact dents. This self-adhesive layer requires no water or other liquids to install and provides a bubble-free look with no sticky residue, if removed or repositioned.
I’ve been using this combination for over four months with great success. It is important to view the screen protector video before installing since the screen adhesive side should not be touched (and the screen needs to be well-cleaned first).
I’ve had a variety of iPads since they were first introduced, and they all fit well on my lap, or on a table stand. But, when I spent a few days on my back in the hospital after cardiac surgery, I yearned for something to reduce the arm strain resulting from holding the iPad above my head. At CES 2015, I found a wonderful solution to this dilemma.
The Universal SwingHolder Floor Stand works with virtually all tablets and e-readers, including the iPad Air and iPad Mini, holding the device right where I want it. I can even charge my iPad while it is in the holder (USB only). It allows an infinite variety of viewing angles and positions because the boom extends the iPad to me.
With a terrific feature that I could have used in the hospital, the boom swings in or away from me, so bedside use is easy and doesn't require me to get out of bed. It has a series of soft rubberized fingers which hold my iPad securely to keep it safe, yet make it easy to insert and remove. The best part is that it works without removing my cover and case.
The Universal SwingHolder makes my iPad truly useful in the gym, in bed, on the couch or while performing on stage (when I give presentations). Although I haven’t tried this yet, the maker says it can also be used while exercising since it wouldn’t vibrate with my treadmill or cycle. It is also comforting to know that it is made in the USA from recycled plastic and steel.
When I unboxed the unit, assembly of the SwingHolder was fast and easy. After attaching the felt feet to the base, I slide the integrated USB cable through the base, placed the stand into the base, secured it with two screws, slid the counterweight onto the arm, and secured with a screw. Now, when I want to move it out of the way, the boom folds for storage, requiring less than one square foot of floor space.
This unit works with tablets measuring from 7.5” to 14.5” diagonally and up to 3/4” thick. It is compatible with the iPad Air, iPad Mini, and older iPads, Amazon Kindles, Barnes & Noble Nooks, Samsung Galaxy Tabs, and Microsoft Surface Tablets. A USB cable is integrated inside the boom and stand. It allows me to charge my iPad with the cable and power adapter that came with my device, thus eliminating dangling and bothersome wires.
The unique ratcheting arms zip into place to keep my iPad from falling, even when the unit is shaken or jostled. I can insert and remove my iPad quickly and easily just by squeezing my fingers onto the diagonal corners of my iPad, then remove it with the push of a button. The back camera can also still be used while mounted on the stand, and the audio jack is easy to reach for headphones or other devices, like the Square credit card reader.
Its easy to turn from portrait mode to landscape mode by simply twisting the head, or move the iPad up or down up to 45 degrees, or adjust left or right up to 270 degrees for use on either the left or right side. This freedom of movement is just how it should be. But, my wife liked it even more than me, so the stand is stationed at her end of the couch for use every night while “multi-tasking” in front of the television.
To learn more about the Universal and iPad SwingHolder Floor Stands, and to purchase one for only $199, go to standforstuff.com. You can also purchase the Kensington SecureBack Security Case (sold separately). A tall version is also available for $319, a wheel accessory for the base is $54.99, and the universal and iPad head assemblies can be purchased separately for $49.99 each. All in all, this is a versatile, stable, useful and reliable stand that I recommend.
Officers from the appleJAC computer club were again on KWOS radio in Jefferson City, on Saturday, June 13, from 8:00 – 9:00 AM. The program was "Open Air Saturday with Hal Dulle”.
Peggy Landwehr was joined by Tom Piper and George Kopp to discuss all things tech. Some of the topics discussed included the new Apple Watch, spyware and viruses on computers, new operating systems coming down the road, backing up computers and iDevices, and all about maintenance of this technology.
They also made a number of affectionate plugs for appleJAC (when to attend and how to join), Jones Beltone, Central Bank, Coffee Zone and others who support innovative technology.
To hear this broadcast (about 51 minutes), just click on this link: OpenAir061315. Listen again to Open Air on July 25, 2015, when they will talking about technology more in depth.
The conversion of paper materials into digital images has a long history. I have had many small handheld scanners up through large specialized automated units, all connected to various computers. But, portability and iDevice compatibility have been largely absent from all of them. At CES 2015, this all changed with an incredible new product from a veteran company.
The ScanSnap iX100 from Fujitsu is now the world's fastest battery-powered ScanSnap. Whether scanning receipts, contracts, recipes, or plastic cards, this iX100 takes scanning beyond the desktop and into my mobile world. It is completely wireless and weighs only 14.1 ounces. This unit brings portability and wireless scanning to my Mac and iOS devices (as well as PCs and Android devices, for those in the “other world”).
This amazingly small scanner (only 1.2” x 1.8” x 10.8”) has one-button searchable PDF creation with the ability to scan a color document in 5.2 seconds. It is battery powered, has a built-in GI microprocessor, does Direct Connect mode for Wi-Fi scanning anywhere, and can scan two small documents at the same time.
The ScanSnap iX100 starts with the touch of a single button and ends with a host of productivity features that keep me ahead of the stack. When I scan to my computer, I can produce searchable PDF, Word (editable), Excel (editable), and Business Cards, plus PDF and JPEG, if in wireless mode. On the computer, I have the option of scanning to ScanSnap Organizer, CardMinder, ScanSnap Receipt, Folder, Email, Print, Mobile, Cloud, Word (.doc), Excel (.xls), PowerPoint (.ppt), or Picture Folder.
It is so cool . . . when I open the front paper gate, it automatically detects my Wi-Fi network at home, or wherever I happen to be. Or, with Direct Connect mode, I can scan wirelessly beyond my network when my iPhone or iPad communicates directly to the scanner (via peer-to-peer Wi-Fi), starts a scan, then saves it on the iDevice. Although the scans are single-sided, I can immediately turn the paper over, feed it again, and it is saved as the second page of a set (more pages can be added too).
The battery life is very robust too with the ability to scan up to 260 documents on a full charge, then easily recharge using a USB charger. At a scan rate of 5.2 seconds per page, I can go through a lot of paper at 300 dpi in color. Not only that, I scan two small-sized documents, such as business cards or receipts, at the same time which intelligently produces two separate pages. Even charts and diagrams larger than A4 can be scanned by folding the paper in half, and scanning both sides, then the iX100 will automatically stitch them back together into one image.
A dual-core CPU mounted "GI" processor performs the intelligent image enhancement responsible for great-looking images with dramatically faster results and more sophisticated connectivity. It handles image processing with automatic corrections and image output and supports 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) wireless LAN (IEEE802.11b/g/n). For those who need it, it even works on both Mac and PC operating systems, making flexibility a breeze.
There is great software for the computer to process the products of scans. ScanSnap iX100 can quickly scan business cards, extract the content information and place it into editable fields that can be exported to Address Book, Excel, Salesforce, and other contact managers. ScanSnap Organizer allows me to view, manage and edit PDF and JPEG files, as well as convert scanned PDF files into searchable content, embed custom keywords, attach to email or SharePoint and remain productive with paperwork long after it is scanned. The ScanSnap Receipt software allows me to easily scan and extract information from my receipts (which I can scan one after another), and even export the data for tax filing. The versatility is great.
To learn more about it, or get your own ScanSnap iX100 ($229.00), just visit fujitsu.com/scansnapiX100. Fujitsu also produces other ScanSnap scanners including the iX500 Color Duplex Scanner (mine is used almost every day), ScanSnap S1300i Color Personal Scanner, and ScanSnap SV600 Contactless Scanner (a version I hope to acquire in the future). These units are reliable, high-quality, convenient, powerful, and economical . . . I highly recommend both the iX500 and iX100, which I’ve used extensively and successfully.