Higher Logic notes on screwing with tech…

17Jun/110

Useful Chrome Extensions

I thought I jot down a whole bunch of awesome chrome extensions which has made my life easy:

AdBlock - The grand daddy of all extensions :)

Chrome to Phone - If you have an Android phone this is a easy and painless way to send a link direct to your Android's browser

Instapaper - For those of you who read Instapaper, this takes all the hassle out of adding pages

1Password - Install this one through your 1Password's settings. This is a life saver, a single place for all my passwords and secret information, one click login to any website.

Official Facebook Extension - Enough said.

Ultimate Chrome Flag - I stumbled across this extension and boy is it a gem! It tells you lots of useful information about the website you are currently visiting like country, IP address, Google page rank, geo location and trust rating.

IP Address Information - Great extension for those of us that are interested in a bit of networking. Everything you want, DNS, Reverse DNS, ASN, Spam block lists you name it its just plain awesome.

Screen Capture (by Google) - take all those shiney pics of whats inside your tabs

Google Tasks (by Google) - Nice embedded way to access your tasks that sits with Google Calendar.

Google Calendar (by Google) - Nice way to see whats coming in your Google calendar. I found it a little too cumbersome and no quick way of getting to my actual calendar.

Google Calendar Checker (by Google) - Same as above but it acts as an instant jump to your calendar.

Google Translate (by Google) - If you view foreign language pages with any frequency this one will save you some hassle.

Google Share Button (by Google) - If you're a share-a-holic this is great :D

Do you have any favourite extensions? I would love to try it and put it on.

11May/100

Breaking in the iPad (part 2)

iPad apps!

After all without the apps this thing would just be a useless hunk of Tonka Tough Steel (TTS).

So here is just a quick run through of my iPad apps so far: what's worked, what hasn't and what's downright annoying.

Firstly I'm on a mission! A mission to replace all my iphone apps with iPad equivalents. Sure the iphone apps still work but somehow using it just feels dirty and wrong. It might have something to do with the lack of space utilisation when It runs. The iPad's screen is gorgeous, and the resolution is decent (1024 x 768) so when you go to start up an old iPhone app it just sits there with massive black borders around it. It's a little frustrating to use everything is just so small…

To address the previous problem Apple has put in a "2x" zoom function. This does helps with the claustrophobic feel. What it makes up for however gets taken away with the visual pixilation and jaggies. (see below) another problem is sometimes the landscape view doesn't register with the iPhone apps. When you combine tall this with having to still use the old iPhone keyboard there is enough motivation to upgrade everything.

Let the great app hunt begin!

Some developers offer a seamless migration path for iPhone users by combining iPhone and iPad versions. Other developers have choose to separate their products e.g one version for iPhone one version for iPad. I'm not sure why they would do this besides separating the products for revenue purposes later on. All I know is that it makes my iTunes library a bit more messy in the meantime.

  • Books, Books, Where are my books? - No iBooks! I can't put any books until the Australian iPad launch, May 28th, I got a whole bunch of books just sitting around just waiting to be uploaded.
  • No default weather? - That was a strange one, installed "weather bug" instead. (free)
  • IMDB just came in as a combined app, both iPad and iPhone versions rolled into one :) (free)
  • Instant Messaging - my beloved Meebo is still stuck in the iPhone version nooooo! I had to pony up some cash for IM+ ($12.99)
  • Dictionary.com has a nicely packaged dictionary and thesaurus optimised for the iPad. It's not a combined app like IMDB though. (free)
  • Tweetdeck's is back as a separate app but this time sans the Facebook integration. Developers promise facebook in the next version. (free)
  • Wikipedia didn't have an iPad version so I went with "Wikipanion". (free)
  • RSS reader - I use NetNewsWire on both my iPhone and desktop. When it comes to the iPad however I went with an alternative NewsRack. There was nothing in the NetNewsWire application which warranted the high price tag ($12.99) in my opinion. I just wanted something which looks decent and integrated with Google Reader. ($5.99)
  • I use an app called "Quota" on the iPhone to check my usage status like Internet, mobile, frequent flyers status... Quota hit me up for $3.99 as a separate app. The developers there were quite evil, the iPhone version would actually would stop working on the iPad effectively forcing an upgrade... I doubt this was a technical issue because all my other iPhone apps ran fine... ($3.99)
  • No default stocks app this time so I went with Bloomberg. (free)
  • For all the sysadmins out there iSSH got upgraded with an iPad version, best of all it's combined so it's a free upgrade. (free)

Here are some apps I still haven't found a decent solution for...

  • Facebook
  • TV Guide
  • Banking
  • eBay

Now that I covered my existing iPhone apps, the next set of apps offer functionality which were either non-existent on the iPhone or I would never use on the iPhone due to it's physical dimensions and other limits.

  • WordPress - for typing up this blog. (free)
  • Soundhound - for some music streaming goodness. It also detect music even if u hum it. (free)
  • A bunch of news apps like AP, BBC, New York Times I suspect I'll get sick of these and go back to RSS. (free)
  • Marvel - wanted to see what comics looked like on the iPad, it's not bad but I would pay for more comics. (free)
  • Geometry Wars - this was a bit steep but I'm a fan of the XBOX version ($14.99)

Now for some more random rants >:)

The pinch and zoom on the iPad is much better than the iPhone.
They did a great job making 1024x768 a lot more usable than a 1024x768 netbook.
The apps friggin crash around the the clock. Right as I'm typing up this post I can cause a crash by just trying to upload a picture :(

Enjoy

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10May/102

Breaking in the iPad (part 1)

Good evening all,

I'm typing up my first post on the iPad w00t!!! After 3 weeks of what seems like eternal waiting it's finally here. Overall pretty pleased with it... Solid piece of kit from Apple as per usual. I think I will just randomly address issues in this post, some personal some I've heard.

Issue 1: the iPad is too heavy... A German friend of mine is vocal about this one :)

In an absolute sense its not too heavy. Solid chunk of metal like this can probably only be as light as the ipad. After all they are cramming a lot of stuff in here. For me it's all got to do with how you are carrying it. I've tried a few ways so far with little success:

1) The waiter serving a dish style.
2) The cramming it in between my crotch, while slouching on the sofa style... Aka Steve jobs.
3) In bed holding it upright against my legs.

The problem with 1) is too much neck and shoulder pain. The problem with 2) is it's hard to find that perfect nesting place in your legs which won't result in dropping it. I don't intend on dropping this for at least 3 month. (My usual apple drop period) so far 3) is working the best but it puts more strain on my wrists than I like. There is a real ergonomics issue here. I didn't think it was possible...

Update: after one day's use... Yes it is too heavy :)

Issue 2: the iPad is fast!!!

I've heard this from a lot of people also my German friend...

I think the iPad is reasonably specced this time round. Everything pretty much reacts as per normal, did have a couple of slow downs when launching apps. Overall I think this limit will be severely tested come multiple-tasking of poorly written apps and the new firmware... In my view people just got used to the underpowered iPhones.

Any-who I need to get some sleep still haven't done my taxes... :( part two tomorrow iPad apps.

4Apr/102

IPad + ePubs = <3

Hi Hi,

While i'm impatiently waiting for my iPad to arrive I thought I do some preparation for when it gets here. One of features I'm looking forward is e-books. The latest version of iTunes (9.1) includes iPad support as well as the ability to import existing e-books into its library. The format allowed is ePub. So what do I do with all my existing PDFs books of which i've amassed a  small treasure trove of?

The answer is Calibre. Its an cool open source library management app which does a whole host of things but most importantly for me it will convert PDFs into ePub format YAY!!! And it does batch jobs w00t!! Long live free and open source!

Have a nice Easter!!!

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