Posts Tagged ‘ipad’

A Digital Solution to an Analog Problem

Scribd

I love books. Like a sickness. Sometimes I read good literature and sometimes I devour trashy, pulp novels. I can’t pass up a good coffee table book of art, illustration or design. My house is overrun with books. My teeny, tiny house is stacked two deep in some place with books. My favorite weekend activity is to scour the shelves at the secondhand book shop for a gem. The first step is to admit I have a problem. “My name is Ana and I’m a bookaholic.”

I’ve tried to embrace using the iPad or Kindle or what-have-you to buy books from Amazon et al, but even digital books get pricey.

And then, Scribd stepped into my email this weekend with an offer I could not refuse. Scribd is a digital subscription service like Netflix, but for ebooks. For $8.99 per month, I can read as many of the over 400,000 books in its library on any Apple or Android device or on a Kindle Fire. I did some cursory checks for my favorite authors. Some were listed, some were not. In some cases, a few of an author’s books were available but not the most recent. But there were lots of options, available for immediate download. Unlike my local library where the ebooks are slurped up at alarming rates and I’m left #322 on the next-to-read list so that I can read a particular book about 6 years from now.

I was offered a free month’s trial to use Scribd. Books are read in the Scribd app but the app can also be use to browse and download other books. The “books similar to” options provided decent direction to discover new books as well.

Oyster Books

I also decided to do some research to see if other services were offering a book subscription service and found Oyster. Currently Oyster books are only available on the iOS platform and the monthly subscription fee is $9.99 but their library seems a little larger.

I went ahead and started a free subscription with Oyster as well to compare the two services. The interface for browsing and book discovery on Oyster is a little more aesthetically pleasing than Scribd but both are similar with a search option or a browse by category. Oyster offers more esoteric sub-categories like, within Science Fiction, they’ve divided books into categories like “Utopian Dreams” or “Genetic Engineering”.

Both services have recently received access to the Simon & Schuster catalog which added 10,000 titles and lots of reading options. Both services have business and economic books, young adult fiction, a large cache of mysteries and popular fiction, classics and more. Either option will have something in their collection you want to read.

I did a search for a few specific authors: Stephen King (equally represented by both services, David Sedaris (only one book available at both services “Children Playing..”), Seth Godin (more books available through Oyster), George R. R. Martin (only one short story in an anthology, available from both) and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (a knitting humorist and Oyster had all her books but Scribd only had two available). As you can see, lots of breadth in both services.

I really wanted to compare the actual reading experience, which is a make-or-break for me. In general, both experiences sync across devices — from iPhone to iPad pretty smoothly. The only notable difference is that the Oyster reading environment requires users to swipe up to move through pages, more like a PDF or Word document rather than across like the iBooks or Kindle does. Neither has the faux page-turning animation, ability to adjust line spacing or margins that the Kindle and iBooks app allow. Both services feature sans serif or serif font choices and reading white-on-black, black-on-white or a sepia look. Both have highlighting and annotation options. Except for the swiping being a little counter-intuitive on Oyster, they are both perfectly adequate.

Both services offer the option to link with friends via Facebook and other services though, for me, I prefer to just read and not network. Since both services are fairly new, it might not be a big deal to anyone else either. Its really all about the books.

That said, I think both services are neck-in-neck to win my subscription fee loyalty. Both seem like great ways to feed my voracious book appetite without cluttering up my house any further.

If you have an Android device or Kindle tablet, I recommend that you start with Scribd as Oyster does not yet have support for the Android platform. If you decide to try Oyster, please use this link and I’ll get a credit for recommending it.

Have you considered or do you read ebooks? I like having a book with me at all times on my phone for those waiting-in-line moments. Do you?

Get Organized: Todoist Next

Todoist Next screenshots

Today, Todoist upgraded its platform with web-, mobile-, browser- and desktop-based versions of the app and an all-new, streamlined look. They are definitely setting themselves to compete with Wunderlist. The new version offers free collaboration and what appears to be extensive functionality, especially with the collaboration tools and could give Basecamp a run for its money for small teams.

The regular apps and web interface are free. The premium account ($29/yr) offers additional features including adding notes and file attachments, task search, color-coded labels, email or text task reminders, automatic backup and synchronization with iCal. I think the premium version will be the way to go since being able to add text, images and URLs to a task would make things so much simpler. The price per year is less than Wunderlist which is $49/yr for collaboration but Wunderlist allows notes and images in the free version but there’s no indication in a list or sub-list that a photo or note is associated with the item. So it works… sort of. I certainly don’t think I’ll miss the wood grain if I switch.

I waffle between loving the cross-platform convenience of digital to-do lists and missing its paper counterparts and physically crossing things off, adding details and saving the completed lists. Being able to add a task on my phone, then review it or deal with it when I’m parked in front of my computer has a lot of appeal though paper could do the same thing.

This app seems like its is the best of all possible to-do list apps, sleek, streamlined and upgradeable for a small fee. Would you or have you tried any of these digital to-do lists?

Vintage Book Tablet Covers

Screen shot 2013-08-09 at 9.59.36 AM

I mentioned earlier how my dearest friend, Rebecca AKA Squirrel Junkie had created fabulous tablet covers using vintage books. Well, she is now selling her creations so if you’re not inclined to make your own, you can purchase one directly from her. Each tablet cover includes a vertical elastic closure and soft felt lining and sells for $26.50 plus shipping.

HarryPotterInSpanish5_zpsda8b161e

These are designed to hold a Kindle Fire, BlackBerry Playbook, iPad Mini, Nook HD, Samsung Galaxy 2 & 3 and other tablets of similar size. Tablet stays in place with velcro dots  provided.

HarryPotterInSpanish1_zpsff54b0ad

Clearly, this Spanish edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone is a favorite.

(via Squirrel Junkie)

Fossil Goes Back-to-School

Ipad case Fossil

Autumn and the back-to-school season is my favorite time of year. I love tweed and sweaters and crisp autumn afternoons. I love the sense of starting anew like the start of the new school term. So, I get excited when I start to see all the fall collections of upcoming goods, fashions and accessories.

Books iPad Mini Case

Fossil has released their Autumn 2013 collection and there are a few items in it that are perfect for the office, pen, pencil or paper fan.

There are iPad and iPad Mini covers that feature great illustrations of typewriters and stacks of books for $50 and $45, respectively. They are made of coated canvas on the exterior and a faux suede interior. The leather slot on the back allows the cover to fold at an angle for typing or stand it for video viewing.

pencil shaving iphone case

There are also some lovely new iPhone 5 covers that feature pencils including the pencil shaving design I mentioned earlier for $25 each. These are soft polyurethane material so they should be more grippy than slippy. It’s making my itchy to upgrade my phone just to have the pencil shaving case. Love it!

Screen shot 2013-07-24 at 2.03.35 PM

Moleskine Postal Notes and other new stuff

Moleskine Postal Notebook

On App.net yesterday, there were some conversations about the Moleskine Postal Notes so I thought I’d mention them here. I know Moleskine takes a lot of ribbing from the paper elite but they do make some beautiful albeit not-all-that-fountain-pen-friendly products.

Moleskine Postal Note Card

First, there are the postal notes. They are available as a note card or as a notebook. Both versions come in the small 3.5″ x 5.5″ size and the larger 4.5″  x 6.75″ size. The note card is a card stock cover with a one-page signature which is stitched into place with thread to coordinate with the cover and comes with an envelope for mailing. The postal notebook is an 8-page signature self-mailer. The covers have additional flaps that fold over the seal with a sticker making it look like an envelope. They have been available since 2012 in six deep tones– kraft, maize, light grey, terracotta, navy and red– but this year, they’ve introduced the postal notes in pastel hues as well. Prices range from $3.95 to $7.95.

Moleskine Pastel Postal Notebook

Moleskine Turntable Planner in use

In other Moleskine news, the new 2013-2014 “academic year” planners are now available. If you did not start a new planner in January and want to jump start your organization mid-year, the academic calendars are a great way to get started. They start on July 1 and go through 18 months. There is a new “turntable” design which is a more open format planning method. Dates are at the bottom of the page, at an angle, and the rest of the page is open allowing the user to use the spaces vertically or horizontally depending on the kind of week you might be having.

Moleskine Turntable Planner

The Turntable 18-month planner is available in the small (3.5″ x 5.5″) size and the large (4.5″x 6.75″) size as well in a rainbow of colors as well as special Star Wars and Peanuts editions. The planners are available through Notemaker and other fine online retailers.

Moleskine iPad Mini case

And finally, Moleskine is now selling covers to protect your iPhone, iPad and tablets which includes a volante-style reporter notebook on the left hand side of the case and a place to secure your digital device on the right. Prices start at $39.95 for a Kindle 2 case and go up to $89.95 for an iPad 3/4 case which is available in classic black or an array of cheery colors.

(shout out to our friends at Notemaker for the tip)

Yummy Wallpaper for Mobile Devices

ipad-retina-wallpaper-print-geometric-16-634x634

Thanks to the great folks on App.net (you can find me @Ana), I found a great assortment of wallpapers for iPhone and iPad (and any other mobile device I’m sure) by an artist named Simon C Page.

ipad-retina-wallpaper-print-geometric-19-634x634

Go download them now and make your day.

Simon C Page Wallpaper grid

What my iPad Mini looks like now.

If you download a few, click the donate button on his site and buy Simon a cuppa  — it’s just a nice thing to do.

(via App.net and Simon C Page)

App Love: PicFrame

PicFrame for iOS

I thought I would share a favorite app today. I discovered PicFrame for iOS awhile back which is a great way to do a grid of photos to post on Instagram, Flickr or Facebook. The app costs $0.99 and works on iPhone or iPad. Its quite flexible with an assortment of grids to choose from and then you can pull the frames to reshape them as needed. You can round corners, add filters and change the width and color or pattern of the borders too. The iOS app also includes the ability to add labels — there are default looks or you can get in there and choose font, font color and label color. Its a pretty powerful app for under a $1.

PicFrame for Mac

What I like even better is the Mac version of the app that let’s you drag a photo from iPhoto, right into a frame and then export at various sizes for blogs, Flickr, Facebook, etc. The Mac app is also $0.99. There are no image editing options or labels in the desktop version of the app. Since you can import photos from iPhoto or other image editing software, you won’t need the image editing features but I do wish they’d add the labels to the Mac version.

tompkins haul

This is a PicFrame collage I made with the desktop version of the app. I used the default borders and the photos were straight from my iPhone via iPhoto. The images are some of the goodies my friends bought while traveling in Japan. I must go office supply foraging there SOON!

Top iPhone and iPad apps

There is a new list available of the top paid and free apps for the iPhone and iPad. Of the 50 apps listed, I decided to see exactly how many of them I own:

Screen shot 2013-05-03 at 10.32.19 AM

I have more free iPad apps because I have more space on my iPad than on my 16GB phone. Its definitely the most common or most widely recognized apps. I’m impressed to see that WhatsApp is so high on the list.

How many of the apps on the list do you have? Which apps do you think should be on the lists?

(via shawnblanc.net and macstories.net)

Link Love: TWSBI Future Releases, Inks, Notebooks and Bag Check

twsbi_vac_mini_fountain_pen_concept_comparison-798x598

Pens and Pencils:

A sample of Mont Blanc Toffee Brown from IvanR via Instagram

A sample of Mont Blanc Toffee Brown from IvanR via Instagram

Inks:

Paper:

Flora Chang has released some of her whimsical designs as exclusive covers fr iPhone 5 and iPads through Redbubble

Flora Chang has released some of her whimsical designs as exclusive covers for iPhone 5 and iPads through her very own Redbubble Shop.

Misc:

Damn You, Art School and Procreate (it’ll make sense when you read the whole article)

Damn You Art School

Damn You, Art School is a web site organized by art school disciplines like architecture, fashion, illustration and others that will give you a list of recommended digital tools for a given discipline. The recommendations range from note-taking and sketching apps to business management tools like faxing and time accounting (in the Illustration tab). There are lots of good recommendations for people in all sorts of professional fields or to help you plan out your next creative project. Snoop around, you may find a tool or app you didn’t know you’d need. I do notice a notable absence of the best tools for all creatives: paper and pencil.

Procreate screenshot

Oh, and on the topic of digital tools you didn’t know you needed, I wholeheartedly endorse a drawing app for the iPad called Procreate ($4.99 from the iTunes app store). Even if you do not consider yourself artistically inclined, this app may change your mind. The brush tools are the most realistic I’ve used since the Mac app Painter and there are additional brush sets available for purchase ($0.99 per set and most are totally worth the upgrade). This app is incredibly powerful and includes layers which can have different blending modes and transparency, easy to use undo options, you can rotate the canvas and so much more. There is a whole community of users that share new brushes and techniques. File can be exported to a PSD file and the layers remain intact. I’ve been using the app to create original wallpaper for my iPad. I’ve been watching a lot of Dr. Who lately so I painted a personal nebula. Not as awe-inspiring as the sample images included with the app but I made them with my finger and a few spare minutes. I’m so proud of my wallpaper, you can download it and use it too on your favorite mobile device.

Procreate download file

Click image to access attachment. Then save it to you computer.

Macally iPad Mini Cover/Case in Avocado (of course!)

Macally iPad Mini cover

Do you know how challenging it can be to find just the right iPad Mini cover/case? Let’s just say I’ve been looking for awhile. Fnally, I found one that met all my criteria which really… was I asking for so much?

What I wanted:

  • slim line case that could be used to prop iPad Mini up in a position comfortable to type or to view video
  • not to be black or bubblegum pink (not too stodgy, not too tweeny)
  • it would be nice if it had the magnetic on/off but that wouldn’t be a make or break

Macally iPad Mini cover

Well, hello Macally Case in avocado green!

It took some pretty extensive searching to find this case which is a bit of a story onto itself. I decided that I would rather shop locally than making a purchase from an online retailer just because I wanted to be able to touch the cases, feel the materials and the build quality and see the actual colors. So I went to a local computer supply shop with an Apple section that I knew to carry a large selection of accessories. I found this lovely green case for $49 as well as an identical model in a soft orchid lavender for $39. No difference in the specs at all except the price. So I asked the clerk to check on the price and see if there was some reason one case (the one I wanted) was $10 more. The hugely unhelpful and color-prejudice clerk said, “Its probably because the green is a better color”. Really? That’s your idea of customer service? He would neither offer a price match or get a manager who might be able to adjust the price. I was so furious at the lack of care that I walked away, scanned the bar code on the package with the Amazon app, found it for the $30-ish price listed and hit 1-Click purchase. I would have gladly paid the slightly higher $39 price point in the store if someone had been willing to price match their own flipping products!

Macally iPad Mini cover

Now, back to the review.

The cover is a textured PU on the exterior, with a black interior. The cover has a magnetic lock auto on/off and places on the cover where it easily folds. Inside is a matching avocado green plastic case that the iPad Mini snaps into for extra protection. The case does not block any of the screen and is quite discreet.

Macally iPad Mini cover

Macally iPad Mini cover

To get the iPad Mini to stand tall, the cover needs to be folded inwards and tucked into the tab on the back cover. This makes the whole cover very stable and unlikely to slide or tip over.

Macally iPad Mini cover

The big surprise is that there is a hinge built into the plastic case and the back cover that allows the iPad Mini to rotate into portrait mode while still being able to utilize the cover. It can be used in the low profile propping-up like this as well, perfect for blog reading.

There is a hole cut out in the back cover to allow the camera lens to peek out but if the case is not aligned perfectly with the cover, it can block the camera lens. Being able to rotate the iPad case allows the camera an unhampered angle if you do use the camera on your iPad often.

All-in-all I am quite pleased with this case. It did not increase the weight or bulk of the iPad Mini too much, the color is fabulous and its very functional. Do I wish it was made of more luxurious materials? Sure, but since I was fussing about a $10 price difference, I don’t think I would have been willing to pay for much more luxury.

Poolga Loves Pencils

poolga

Poolga offers beautiful iPhone and iPad wallpapers created by illustrators from around the world. They are free and a chance to look at something lovely every time you turn your device on. I, of course, gravitated to all the illustrations that featured pencils and various office supplies but visit the site and peruse because there is all sorts of fabulousness to be had.

From left to right, top to bottom:

Stuff on White by Andrea Manzati, Pen by Denis Carrier, Pencil Gold by Thom Lambert, Letter by Louis Reith, Toolbox by Christopher Monro DeLorenzo, Workaday by Luke Séguin-Magee, Draw by themeekshall, Enforcer by Dale Edwin Murray, ¡Uops! by Júlia Solans, 009 by Kitchen, Brainstorm by Dan Gneiding, American Typewriter by Tom Davie, Moleskine by Luis Mendo, Having it All by Matthew Walkerdine, Mobile Office by Rainer Berg

I almost forgot one of my favorites:

iphone_591

Paper by Frank Chimero

(via Poolga)

Redress Your Desktop

Whether you spend all day staring at a computer or a mobile device, eventually the urge to “redecorate” hits. I’ve found some lovely wallpaper patterns for both.

floating

For your desktop, check out the array of wallpapers from Design Love Fest.

From Fellow Fellow are some lovely iPhone (and various mobile devices) wallpapers like these:

FF_IPhone031 FF_IPhone013 Ikat5

(click on each pattern above to find more from Fellow Fellow)

andrea-kalfas-blog

For other GUI goodies, check out:

Got a good source for great wallpapers or do you make your own? Leave a note in the comments. Thanks!

iPad Mini Keyboard Options

If its been a touch quieter around here this week than usual, please bear with me. I started a new job (within the same company) so I’ve been a bit busier and more distracted than usual. This new gig has also opened me up to meeting new people and being inspired by new office supply goodies.

I was in a meeting when someone whipped out an iPad Mini wrapped up in a traditional black leatherette case. When she opened it up though, it revealed a  keyboard! All I could do was stare at it rapturously…”Meeting? What meeting? Must find out more about her iPad Mini case.”

Kensignton Keyfolio Pro 2

I did get to ask her about the case and it turned out that the keyboard was a removable Bluetooth keyboard held in the case by magnets. The back of the case had a flip out leg to prop up the iPad Mini in the traditional laptop configuration. The fact that the keyboard came out would let the user reconfigure the arrangement for a vertical format when necessary. Quite clever. I did not get manufacturer information from Anna but I was able to commit the design details to memory and establish that she was using the Kensington KeyFolio Pro 2 Case and Stand (about $55 on Amazon). reading through the reviews on Amazon, the biggest issue discussed regarding this case is that the hole on the back for the camera is a bit too small and can potentially block the lens.

Sharkk iPad Mini Case

I went ahead and did a little research and found a few other options as well.The SHARKK Keyboard/Case/Cover/Stand (about $32 on Amazon) is more streamlined being only one piece. When opened, the iPad Mini sits in the slot provided in the keyboard. To close, the keyboard snaps to the face of the iPad Mini. This case is definitely the least bulky option I found. The reviews for the Sharkk focus on the reduced keyboard size and the quality of the materials and construction. As the cheapest option I found, some compromises can be expected.

Belkin Wireless iPad Mini keyboard and case

The other strong contender is the Belkin Wireless Keyboard and Case (about $75 on Amazon). From the description details, I cannot determine if the keyboard can be removed from the case but this is a very elegant, streamlined package. The iPad Mini is held into the case along the spine-edge with plastic clips on the corners but this leaves the other edges, speaker and buttons accesbible. There are some reviews that suggest that some compromises were made in the design including the material feeling more rubbery than leather-like.

Logictech has an Ultrathin Keyboard Case on the horizon but it is only available for pre-order at the moment (at approx. $80) but it sounds like it will also be a good option if you are looking for a better way to type on an iPad Mini.

All-in-all, a keyboard small enough to match the diminutive dimensions of an iPad Mini will require compromises. A full-sized Qwerty keyboard is larger than the device and will not make for a convenient, aesthetic object if your goal is to have the smallest typing machine. Going to a reduced-sized keyboard to match the dimensions of an iPad Mini will make for a small keyboard. If you have large hands, this may be awkward but it begs the question, is it less awkward than trying to type on the virtual keyboard that covers most of your screen real estate? Optimally, I’d rather write with paper and pen but when it comes to email and work documents, sometimes the most efficient option is to work digitally so data can be shared quickly.

Poetic KeyBook

Update: It seems that the model case that my friend was using is the Poetic KeyBook Bluetooth Keyboard Case which is also a pleather case like the Kensington but at a lower price (about $30). It is listed to have a magnetic closure that is supposed to automatically turn the iPad Mini on and off but its a little finicky according to reviews. The materials are given praise but the closure is not as secure as other options.

If you have any experience with the devices listed above or one of the many other options available on the market, please leave your recommendations in the comments.

Link Love: Pens, Paper and a Beaver Pencil Sharpener

Pens and Pencils:

Book of Notes Kit

Paper and writing:

Beaver Pencil Sharpener

Beaver Pencil Sharpener (via @DerwentPencils on Twitter)

Digital:

Oh, Hello Friend Desktop Wallpapers

Oh, Hello Friend January 2013 wallpaper

I don’t know if you like changing your desktop wallpaper regularly but I do. Unfortunately, finding pleasing but not disruptive wallpapers can be quite challenging. So I was pleased to find that Oh, Hello Friend offers a free desktop wallpaper for your computer, cellphone or iPad each month. Most months the wallpaper is a lovely calendar but for January of this year, as if she knew I would be too far behind to get it to you in time, is an inspirational message.

Link Love: Write it down now

This is what happens when I don’t do a Link Love for over two weeks: it becomes epic! Sorry its so long but I didn’t want anything to get overlooked or skipped.

Artwork by Donovan Beeson

Artwork by Donovan Beeson

Handwriting Month:

Pilot Petball (AKA B2P or BeGreen) pensin various colors coming out soon. Photo by Patrick Ng.

Pilot Petball (AKA B2P or BeGreen) pensin various colors coming out soon. Photo by Patrick Ng.

Pens:

photo by Lamy 2000

photo by Lamy 2000

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Paper:

Field-StampsForever-Stamps

Digital:

Miscellaneous:

Link Love: Snow Day Edition

Pencil Lead Sculpture by Peter Trevelyan (via Present & Correct)

Pencil Lead Sculpture by Peter Trevelyan (via Present & Correct)

Pens and Pencils

Paper and Notebooks

Cartolina MailRoom

Screenshot from the Mailroom App from Cartolina

Digital: Apps for iOS

Other News:

Dodo Book-alike iPad Covers

This Dodo case with bamboo interior and classic bookbinding on the spine for the iPad is gorgeous but a bit pricey at $85. It will make your iPad look like the hardcover book you’re now reading digitally. Other colors and patterns available.

(via J.Crew)

I Drank the Kool-Aid: A quick review of the iPad Mini

ipad mini on

For as much as I love pen and paper, I am also a lover of gadgets and Apple has pretty much had my heart in its back pocket since the 80s. When Apple finally annonced the iPad Mini, I was on the fence. The starting price of $329 is likely to be a stopping point for many people. But I have invested in dozens of iOS apps, I have used the iTunes store for years and I’m fairly invested in the Apple ecosystem. But I was still torn… I’ve wanted a good multi-purpose ereader but wondered if I could “get by” with a Kindle HD or the new Nook HD with the considerably smaller price tag.

On Thursday night, I went to bed still debating whether or not the iPad Mini was a good investment or not. Then I woke up early on Friday and decided I’d go down to the Apple store and see if it was worth the hullaballoo.

There was not nearly the line at the Apple store at 8 AM that I thought there would be. After a ten minute wait, I was handed a “ticket” to purchase whichever iPad Mini I would like. I chose the black model 64gb. I’m tired of having to scrounge for space and since this is the wifi only model, I’d rather have more downloaded content available. If I was able to wait for the 4G LTE model, then a small flash drive would be acceptable. I made my purchase and ten minutes later, I was back in my car on the way to work — early even.

Thanks to iCloud, all I needed was a wifi connection to sync my new iPad Mini with the content that lived on the iPad I already own. The iCloud sync even replaced the wallpapers and moved all the apps into the exact same order as iPad. Wow. Its the automagical thing that Apple does when you update your desktop or laptop and all the content just gets moved to the new machine without the owner having to do anything. Its one of the things I love about Apple.

Once I got going, I was able to quickly overlook the lack of HD screen which is really the only downside of this device. Its easy to hold and easy to use to do whatever it is you want to do. I’ve already read a book and a half, read an issue of The New Yorker, gotten pummeled by friend in Scrabble and Letterpress, paid bills, checked email, caught up on Twitter and just got on with it…”it” being the daily grind of the digerati, as it were.

My case for the iPad Mini as an ereader is that I can use the Nook app, the Kindle app, library-lending apps, iBooks store and dozens of other options to get my book content. I can find the best price or the biggest selection without having to jailbreak my device. As for all the other apps and things I can do with the iPad Mini versus the other 7″ tablets, its hard to make a case. The Apple iTunes store has ALL THE APPS. Other platforms are adding apps all the time but the iOS has already become an established platform.

ipad mini and original nook

I photographed the new iPad Mini with my first generation Nook e-ink tablet for size comparison. The Nook is a smidgen wider but otherwise they are virtually the same size. The iPad Mini is thinner and lighter. Technology sure has come a long way in a the two-ish years since I got the Nook.

The size of the iPad Mini is also comparable to a large Moleskine Cahier — the A5-ish size. It fits easily under my arm on the way to a meeting without looking too ostentatious. I added my Targus stylus to test some drawing and writing apps and will report back if anyone is curious. So far, I have not run into any issues typing or touch-highlighting text. Thumb typing works well in portrait mode while setting the device down to type in landscape gives more space and a more traditional Qwerty typing style. I’m still faster on an actual keyboard but I can bang out an email, tweet or text messages more easily on the iPad Mini than on my phone.

So, my advice is, if you can afford the iPad Mini and have been waffling about the smaller tablets, just buy it. Buy once, cry once. If you can wait the alleged six month to a year for an iPad Mini HD (which everyone assumes will be coming), then do that as the screen is the only thing that holds the iPad Mini back from being utterly perfect.

Sensu Artist Brush & Stylus for Touch Devices

I was snooping around JetPens I stumbled across this unique item: the Sensu Artist Brush and Stylus for touch-sensitive devices. Using the brush end, it’s supposed to better simulate brush strokes in drawing and painting apps and then the other end is a rubberized stylus for drawing and tapping. I know a lot of artists are integrating the iPad and other touch devices into their creative process and I think this might be a cool way to expand the types of marks that can be created. $39.99.

Holler if you’ve used one and let me know how well it works!

Tech Accessories from Kate Spade

I know a lot of people think its ridiculous to spend a lot of money on a cell phone case or an iPad cover but, if you read this blog regularly, you may agree that sometimes its worth it to spend more for good quality and great aesthetics. It just makes the day-to-day dradgery a little more bearable.

A good example of this is the tech products available from Kate Spade. Sure, they are a little more expensive than products directly from Apple but not by much. The silicone Exclamation Point case for the iPhone 4/4s is $35 and the glossy, hard plastic 2-layer iPhone 4/4s cases are $40. I recently purchased the mulit-colored, polka dot  La Pavillion case which I really like and is aesthetically a step-up from my dingy Apple bumper that I had been using.

This USB ring is a fun little trinket for the chic-and-geeky girl. Its a mere 4gb for $50 but let’s think holiday stocking stuffers, gentlemen!

The “Notes to Self” iPad cover is a fun alternative to protecting your iPad and is not overly girly. Its pricey at $85 though. There is also a coordinating iPhone case at $40.

And I saved my favorite product for last. I have had a challenge finding earbuds that fit comfortably in my ears. The stock Apple buds do not work and the new earpods are also not in my future. I have been suing a pair of small Sony ear buds for about five years and have really wanted a new pair. Then I found these Kate Spade La Pavilion ear buds in a cute but understated polka dot pattern. They come with three sizes of silicone ear pieces (small, medium and large) and feature a fabric wrapped cord instead of the silicone plastic-coated cords found on most ear buds. The connector is designed to fit in an array of products and will work with any of the iPhone covers I’ve tried. Is it fabulous sound quality for $40? No, probably not but if you use ear buds to listen to podcasts, audiobooks or just to drown out the grating sounds of your office, then these will work just fine. They cost $40 and there are also two other color combinations available: pink/orange and purple/red which both have black-and-white colored cords.

A new iPad and the hunt for accessories

So, in preparation for a big trip, I fell off the bandwagon (again) and bought a new iPad. Yeah, one of those newfangled iPads with the Retina display. This purchase was not made without some trepidation; I had owned one previously and found it too devoted to games and content-consumption and not enough about making, editing, and reviewing content, not to mention iPads are not inexpensive. That said, when I compared the other options available at the moment that would let me watch movies and tv, read books and magazines, and on occasion check my email, twitter or web, there weren’t many options: the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet/Color were about the only other candidates in the running. I KNOW there are other options but as a fairly devoted Apple-user I was not quite ready to go down a fully-Android path.

So, now we come to the crux of my issues. I need a good cover/case for my new gadget as well as a good bag to trek across the globe with.

So far, I’ve been debating upon just getting one of Apple’s stock magnetic Smart Covers as I’ve not seen much in the way of small, reasonably-priced protective covers for the new iPad.

As for other goodies, I did stumble upon the Moop Messenger No.4 for iPad. While slightly out of my price range at $185, it looks lovely. I’m intrigued by the names of their other models as well, including The Letter Bag and The Letter Clutch.

Any suggestions for accessories, apps, cases or bags for our fine readers? Leave them in the comments! Thanks!

Notebook paper pouches

Whether your tastes lean analog or digital, these embroidered notebook paper pouches can help keep you organized. The smaller 7×9″ is perfect for pens and pencils. The larger 9×10.5″ holds an iPad. $22

(via Quirk Gallery)

 

1 2