Sunday, January 30, 2011

GigaOM: Take the Setup Out of iOS Device Holiday Gifting

In this post for GigaOM/TheAppleBlog I cover some great ideas about how to setup your holiday gifts and make Christmas morning as hassle free as possible.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

GigaOM/TheAppleBlog: Wi-fi iPad with Verizon Mifi vs iPad 3g on ATT

In this article for TheAppleBlog and GigaOM/Apple, I compare the iPad 3G with the Verizon bundle of an iPad Wi-Fi with a MiFi.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hardware Review: Matias Tactile Pro Keyboard

In the early days of Macintosh computing, the displays were black and white, the systems booted off a floppy, and the keyboards were noisy. That familiar "clickety-clack" of someone typing was as familiar as the whirring of the 3.5 inch floppy. Today we have displays with rich vibrant colors, drives operate off solid-state devices, and keyboards are silent. However for some of us, the keyboards are one giant step backwards and the Matias Tactile Pro keyboard is a giant step back in time that moves serious typists forward.

The TactilePro compares itself to the last great keyboard made by Apple, the Apple Extended II. The premium keyswitch used in the TactilePro is noisy because it's a mechanical switch. Serious typists prefer a mechanical switch because it gives strong auditory and physical feedback when you press a key. Apple's current keyboard requires an extremely light touch of the keys and feels "mushy." Over the years my words per minute seriously declined because my hands would get tired after a long typing session and I'd often miss keys because I was trying to be too light and pulled up to soon on the keys. On the Tactile Pro, the keycaps are sculpted so that you can easily feel the difference and spaces between the keys. Your finger can clearly find the edges and return to the proper concave position in the middle of the key. The keys are also laser etched so the paint won't wear off over time. I hate how all my keyboards certain letters have completely worn off. While I'm a touch typist I hate how ugly the keys look. This is a problem with the TactilePro.

Besides the mechanical keyswitch, the TactilePro has other serious enhancements professional Mac users will appreciate. The keyboard has a large footprint to ensure your hands don't feel cramped and you have plenty of room to rest your hands comfortably. Personally, when I type on my Macbook keyboard my big hands constantly cramp because my fingers are simply too close together. The TactilePro allows my hands to spread out.

Similar to other Apple keyboards, the TactilePro provides volume control and eject keys that don't require drivers and the control, option and command keys are clearly marked without the annoying Windows counterpart. Two USB ports on either side allows attachments of peripherals just like most other keyboards. The white color doesn't match the current aluminum scheme of Mac's design but it doesn't contrast with it either. White is always in fashion.

This quality and comfort comes at a comparatively steep price of $150 retail. While Apple includes a keyboard free with most Macs or charges $50 to buy it separately, the Apple Extended II was $163 back in the early 1990s. A serious typist will find the TactilePro quite a bargain when they factor in the increased productivity and decreased fatigue this outstanding keyboard provides. I can't believe I lived without this keyboard for so long.

Pros: Tactile feedback from a mechanical switch, laser etched keys
Cons: Cost, color choices

10 out of 10

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

Sunday, January 09, 2011

How to Turn Mac Parental Controls into Productivity boosters

In this post for TheAppleBlog and, I cover how I use OS X's parental controls as a way of focusing on productivity. The post was also features on Lifehacker

Sunday, January 02, 2011

8 iPad apps for Hanukkah

In this GigaOM post, I cover a variety of Jewish apps for the iPad and focus on some holiday related ones.