Saturday, March 26, 2011

Zen Brush

Thanks to my friend Jeff for pointing to Zen Brush. Some might call it under-featured, it doesn't even have colors! But sometimes a Zen-like simplicity is just what one needs. And the brushes really behave naturalistically, simulating pressure-sensitivity with speed and so on.
(It would be good though to have more than one undo, and options for bigger canvas and zooming...)

Really, it's just an example though, of the embarrassment of riches awaiting iPad owners. The wealth of apps, good apps, on the iPad after just a year just astounds me. It's the birth of a great platform.

The iPad is 99% more open than any other computer

The iPad is 99% more open than any other computer, an article from a very observant young man.
This is the key to the iPad that nobody has figured out. The iPad does everything that a regular computer user does. Facebook. YouTube. Email. Web browsing. It does all this out of the box.
And it has all the apps.
The iPad is actually opening up technology to more people. None of this crap about it being closed is accurate. By giving people freedom to explore the app store without having to worry about anything (except their wallets), Apple has possibly made the best move they could make by locking down the iPad’s installation sources.

Friday, March 25, 2011

iPad 2 in UK

Today 25 March 2011 at 1am, Apple Store UK started taking orders for the iPad 2. I ordered a wifi 64GB model, black. I have a mifi device for when I need to be online outside of any hotspots.

I forewent the "smart cover", because I don't think it protects much of anything, and is not the greatest stand either (only has one angle and is not very stable), not to mention over-priced. It's a good looking neat gimmick, is about all. (Still, sixty pounds sterling for a leather one, that's too much.)

I think I can use one of my old stands/cases. Otherwise the market will soon overflow with new cases for the iPad 2, many of them surely taking advantage of the magnets built-in for the smart-cover.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

E-Readers Can Give Textbook Publishers A Run For Their Money

E-Readers Can Give Textbook Publishers A Run For Their Money, article.
I spent several days figuring out how the Kindles worked and how I could best use them in class. I got my feet wet by using them right away as a time-filler. Instead of letting students spend the last five minutes of class playing solitaire on their computers, they would read an ebook. After the first two week period, when I found myself having to gently pry their fingers off the Kindles because they wanted to keep reading, I knew I had to do a better job of incorporating them into my lesson plans.

And the money they save on paper textbooks is tremendous too.

eBook sales surpass print in January

eBook sales surpass print in January, post.
Publishers weekly is reporting that eBook Sales from around 16 reporting companies have said figures spiked to around 70 million dollars. Whereas the print companies reporting said sales were rather lackluster and saw 39 million.

To many people, the idea that this could happen was ludicrous, or at the very least science fiction, something from the 22 century.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Stream from Mac to iPad

We've been told that in the newest version of the iOS, we can now stream music and video to an iPhone or iPad. But nobody could figure out how. And somehow Apple's helpful weekly newsletter explaining new functions got lost. (That's satire, Apple doesn't make such a thing.) But this page explains it. It's pretty kewl, I'm just watching Eat-Love-Pray on the iPad, even though it was bought and downloaded (HD, several gigabytes) to my Mac Pro.

WaterField Designs iPad Travel Express

Like I've said, WaterField makes some of my favorite bags and cases. They have a new one for iPad with keyboard, and very reasonably priced too at the quality. (Their customer service is great also.)

Other good fits for an iPad are their iPad Wallet and the Vertigo, the latter is light and economical, and a very good bag.
More expensive, but with a wonderful feel, is the Muzetto range. Really lovely stuff.

Ereader devices developments

Despite the explosion of tablets, there are still many ereaders being made. Here's an article about some of them. Here's one about color e-ink.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Are Touchscreen Tablets Effective Design Tools?

Are Touchscreen Tablets Effective Design Tools?, article for those interested in tablets as drawing surfaces.
Good news: greater precision and pressure-sensitivity are probably on the way.

Pioneering spirit

My good pal Joe Kissell writes in Take Control Of Working With Your iPad:

Apple would like the gadget-buying public to believe the iPad is a magical device that will forever change the way people interact with digital media, the Internet, and each other. It’s not merely a big iPod, a keyboard-less laptop, or a tablet computer that just happens to be running iOS instead of the Windows, Linux, or Android operating systems. It is, in fact, an entirely new category of device that will break old paradigms and spawn new ones.
And you know what? Apple may turn out to be right about all that. Years from now we may all look back on the introduction of the iPad as the moment the world changed. But if that happens, it won’t be because of a chunk of aluminum, glass, plastic, and silicon. It will be because of the clever apps developers came up with, the novel uses iPad owners discovered for their devices, and the ways in which those two factors influenced the development of hardware and software— including future generations of the iPad, competing products, and spin-offs from Apple and other manufacturers.
My point is this. Even though Apple has sold millions of iPads and developers have shipped tens of thousands of iPad apps, this platform is still in its infancy—and you, as an early iPad owner, are a pioneer, a trailblazer. You are among the people who will figure out what the iPad is best for, and who will create the demand for new and improved apps, accessories, and iPad models. What you do will help determine what the iPad is, and what it becomes.

Well said. I've been noticing that the look and feel and usability of the iPad apps' interface have progressed markedly, even in less than a year. It'll be interesting to see what a tablet is like in, say, 2015 only. Keeeeewl.

Just like many people in 1995 failed to see the potential of the World Wide Web, many people now see tablets like the iPad as mere toys. But the potential is absolutely staggering.

(BTW, I recommend the Take Control ebooks. Very readable and helpful all.)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

$60 ereader

They say that you right now can get a Kobo ereader for $60. That might be worth it even if it is not the greatest device in the world.