Sunday, August 29, 2010

Quick tip: Protect your address book

Here's a tip I wrote for TheAppleBlog I've long used to obscure information in plain sight in my address book. I've never done it with credit cards, but used it as an example.

This post was also features on TUAW

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hardware Review: OWC Express Case

You just decided to upgrade your Macbook hard drive to take advantage of the incredible storage space out there now or maybe you are adventuresome and switched to a Solid State Drive. What should you do with the old hard drive?

If you are looking for an easy, economical repurposing of that old hard drive, the OWC Express 2.0 enclosure is an excellent choice at $19.99. Unfortunately I've been burned figuratively and literally by inferior quality enclosures with questionable origin--my Mac Pro has the scorch marks on the USB port to attest to this fact. Luckily this enclosure comes from a company which stands behind their product and truly knows the Mac.

Don't expect many bells and whistles on this unit. The case is made of plastic despite it's faux metal appearance. Nonetheless, the case is sturdy and has stood the test of time being a spare hard drive I keep in my laptop bag for large data transfers.

Installation of the old drive into the case was simple: a few screws and you are done. Clear instructions were included as well as USB cable. Included additionally in the kit is a faux leather carrying case to match the faux metal case. The carrying case had little value because I couldn't easily carry the case and the USB cable. No big deal, but a little more attention to the design would have added significant value to the carrying case.

Whether you are looking for a portable drive or an easy Time Machine backup, the OWC Express 2.0 is an inexpensive and reliable way to reuse an old SATA drive while sticking with Other World Computing's legendary quality.

Pros: Inexpensive and reliable
Cons: Faux leather carrying case isn't very useful

Four out of five Dogcows

Article was republished by the Lawrence Apple User's Group 2.0 here as well as other groups listed on the right. Also appeared in MacTech and MacsimumNews

Friday, August 20, 2010

Book Review: My New iPad: A User's Guide

The "My New" series is designed for non-technical beginning users who need some hand-holding in confronting their new device. "My New iPad" is a perfect book for someone who has never used in iPad or iPhone and needs to be taught the very basics. Although the book claims intermediate users can learn tips and tricks, the book was too simplistic to be of any value to experienced users.

For the beginning, readers will find just the information they need to get up and running. Although the book is a thick 350 or so pages, it's a very quick read and includes a large number of pictures for reference purposes and learning about your iPad without actually having an iPad in front of you.

Instead of focusing on every feature, the book covers those features the average new user would be interested in. The books starts at the beginning: how to turn the iPad off and on. Instead of a list of every feature of every setting in alphabetical order, the presentation is based on how a user first approaches their iPad. First they turn it on, then customize it, then they get on the Internet and go from there. The last chapters focus on more advanced topics such as moving Microsoft Office docs to and from your iPad and suggested apps (although the app suggestions are extremely outdated). In the middle is a focus on practical aspects of iPad use - less about what an app does, and more how to integrate that app into your daily usage.

Overall, this book is great for a beginner to the iOS platform as well as the iPad user who bought one and quite can't figure out the best way to use it.

Pros: Well-illustrated with clear examples on usage, focuses on the features of the iPad the average user would be interested in a logical order
Cons: Simplistic for iPad users already comfortable with the device

4 out of 5 dogcows

Article was republished by the Lawrence Apple User's Group 2.0 here as well as other groups listed on the right

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Why do you need a computer to use an iPad?

It's a legitimate question and one that plagued me since I got my iPad and had to wait until I got home to activate and use it. This heavily commented article was featured on TheAppleBlog.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

How to give your old iPhone new life with prepaid data and minutes

This very popular post about how to use an old iPhone with a prepaid plan for both minutes AND data proved very popular. Not only was it originally written for TheAppleBlog, but LifeHacker also run the story.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Hardware Review: Belkin Pleat Sleeve iPad

The iPad is a magical and revolutionary device but the choice of how to protect it can be downright mystifying. Do you go for a portfolio or a sleeve? Should it be a soft case or hard case?

My new favorite iPad protector is made by Belkin. The Belkin Pleat Sleeve ($39.99) for the iPad has styling that is simple and unobtrusive. I don't want to draw attention to my iPad and have it stolen. If you want everyone to know you have an iPad, this case isn't for you.

The sleeve currently comes in either black or "perfect plum" (purple). The Pleat Sleeve is made of lightweight neoprene and fits snugly around your iPad. All sides of the case are padded, but the glass front is particularly well protected, since the glass is the most common break point.

However, the best part of the Pleat Sleeve is the zipper hidden in the pleats which has room for your earphones, iPhone, charger and more. I love putting my iPad in this case and having everything I need for a productive afternoon at the coffeehouse. The material of the Sleeve is tightly woven, so I expect it to hold up for a long time.

Pros: Great protection especially for the front panel, zippered pocket, Doesn't look like an iPad case
Cons: Doesn't look like an iPad case

4 out of 5 dogcows

Article was republished by the Lawrence Apple User's Group 2.0 here as well as other groups listed on the right