A couple of months ago, I made my DIY Jot capacitive stylus with the help of some YouTube videos (click here to watch) detailing how it works and how to make one’s own using only materials readily available at home. With that DIY Jot, I came up with these ‘masterpieces’ on Sketch Pro. I’ve actually already posted these images in a previous post.
Then just today, I found out that it’s now available in my city at Digital Walker. There are 3 models available: the Jot Classic, the Jot Mini, and the Jot Pro. Of course, I could not resist getting the Pro, though I had to shell out a few bucks more for it.
Function-wise, my DIY and the real Jot are at par with each other. Aesthetically, the real Jot Pro leaves the DIY in the dust, of course. As you can see in the comparative images below, my DIY looks like your wife today, while the Jot Pro looks like her when she was still your girlfriend 10 years ago. Ladies, no offense meant. Just trying to be as realistic as possible. 🙂
If I can come out with something I would consider ‘cool’ with my wife, err, my DIY jot pen, I’m pretty sure I could make something ‘cooler’ with the Jot Pro capacitive touch stylus. Uh oh, I guess I just pushed expectations a notch higher. No pressure.
In the area of note taking, the Jot Pro will definitely be very useful as it’s slimmer and thus a lot more handy and easier to carry around. The transparent circular plate makes me see exactly where the lines and curves begin and end. And it’s magnetic cling feature allows me to just attach it to the iPad. Unfortunately, only the Pro has this feature.
Regarding its ‘dampening tip’ feature, it does eliminate the sound of the pen brushing with the surface of the ipad or iPhone like the one you hear when you use one of those rounded rubber tipped pens. Then again, with the scotch tape I put on my DIY’s under-surface, it was also as silent as the pro.
I ran into this problem about a week ago where I can’t update my apps, whether they be paid or free ones. I also can’t install new ones. Now, that is definitely unacceptable. I had such fun with Sketch Pro and had made a couple of artworks (see below) during my free time, and I wanted to explore other graphics apps too.
At first, I thought there might be a problem with my iPad but when the same thing happened to my iPhone too, no doubt, it must have something to do with my itunes account. A little digging revealed that I have some problem with my billing card. At least that’s what iTunes was telling me.
I can’t seem to fix the problem in the ipad or iphone, so I finally signed in using the itunes app in my PC and accessed my account data.
I went to ‘Purchase History’ and clicked on the ‘See All’ link. There I saw that my last purchased app, the Sketch Pro, was not paid, although I’ve downloaded and had used it. ITunes said it was denied by my card; or there was a problem with my card, or something to that effect.
My account page had some red text in there that suggested I re-enter the last digits of my card. So, seeing that there’s nothing wrong with re-typing what I’ve already typed before, (and praying that this be not some hacker’s replica of the iTunes legitimate program) I did.
ITunes then reflected that the last app was now paid. Then I went back to my iPad and checked it out. Sure enough I was able to update my apps, both paid and free.
I guess that it must either be a glitch in iTunes’ system (which was announced by this guy’s article here), or that my card’s bank happened to go offline during my purchase.
There are these 2 productivity iPad apps I downloaded and explored just this weekend. I have always wanted some app with which I could doodle when ‘doodle time’ comes. And doodling, I found, is not necessarily something you just do when you want to make waiting in line at the bank or at any queue line seem not, like, forever. It actually is helpful in more ways than one. Maybe we can discuss that in a separate post about doodles.
Besides doodling, most iPad apps that allow you to doodle actually feature more useful functions. InkFlow’s basic edition (free), for instance, gives you the following awesome features:
freehand writing (black only fountain pen)
text input through virtual keypad
The fountain pen tool is remarkably responsive and smooth when I use my fingers to write freehand with it. It however doesn’t allow any other pen thickness option. But, with the help of the selection tool, you can still get around this limitation.
With the selection tool, you can select any element on the page, e.g. Picture, text, doodles, etc., and then choose the ‘resize’ option to shrink or enlarge it. Thus, your freehand can be shrunk and the pen’s thickness would be adjusted correspondingly to a fine thinness. Your friends will wonder how you were able to write that thin and small.
One thing I like best about the free version of InkFlow is that the imported images remain selectable (and thus editable e.g. resizable, movable) even if it overlaps or is overlapped by some other element, e.g. text. There’s also the ‘Noteworthy’ font that its creators were so kind to include in the free version.
With Inkflow, you could do brainstorming, on the spot or initial graphic design, mind maps, sketches, doodling, and everything else you can do with pen and paper. One thing you can’t do is crumple the paper and throw it at someone’s top.
With the free version, you can create an unlimited number of books, though each book is limited to only 20 pages. You can break these limitations by buying the pro version which offers additional features like eraser, pencil, paint brush, color palette, cut, copy, paste, rotate, more cool fonts, etc.
Here’s a quick note I drafted up just to make a visual of what the free version of inkflow can do.
The latest productivity app I stumbled upon is the GoodNotes app. It’s a lot like InkFlow especially since they both have the same selection tool with almost similar functions.
Between the free versions of both InkFlow and GoodNotes, I found the latter a lot more flexible and for my purposes, more complete.
While Inkflow’s free version offers a fixed black pen thickness, GoodNotes allows you to select your desired pen thickness and color. And the selection tool also allows shrinking or enlarging of elements. This is how I get to make super thin freehand pen writing.
You could also add text through the virtual keypad. I wish though that they’d add some freehand-like fonts like Inkflow’s ‘Noteworthy’.
Another feature that sets GoodNotes above Inkflow and a lot of other apps of this kind is the polygon tool. With it, you can draw perfect squares, circles, ovals, rectangles, perfect straight lines, etc. Even the paid version of Inkflow doesn’t have this. And these elements are selectable even when they’re overlapped by other elements. And I praised Inkflow earlier for its re-editable pictures. Turns out GoodNotes has that feature too. Now, all I need to wait is for GoodNotes to include the ‘Noteworthy’ font!
For me, GoodNotes is obviously the hands down winner. And its paid version is even cheaper than Inkflow’s.
And here’s a Goodnotes version of the first example I made above.
Note: The two apps mentioned are not necessarily the best apps there is in the App Store. They just happen to be the first ones that got my attention so far. So, if you have used some apps that are better than these two, please let me know as I’m seriously contemplating buying the paid version of at least one of these cool apps.
My wife gave herself a gift just a couple of days ago – the new iPad Mini.
All she’s using before this is her iPhone 4S. She didn’t get to have an iPad earlier because I warned her that Apple upgrade iPads, or any of their products for that matter, every 6 months or so. Thus her iPad, should she get one now, would be considered old half a year from now, and a dinosaur after a year.
But after the release of the iPad Mini, no amount of warnings about obsolescence could keep her from craving for it. Thus, she put out an order for her unit and as soon as it arrived last week, there was no stopping her.
My kids were also very excited, not only because they can also get to play their favorite games on mommy’s iPad Mini when she’s busy and not using it at home, or during grocery shopping, but also because she’s promised to give her old iPhone4S to me and my old iPhone to them.
That’s how it works in the family. I do appreciate new technologies and cool phones, but I’m not picky with what phone I use. Not only that, I also could survive without a cellphone (though I could definitely not do without my laptop).
Thus, when it comes to phones, I am content with hand-me-downs from my wife. When she upgrades hers, I get her old one. And the kids get mine.
The iPad Mini
The iPad Mini added another level to the iPad’s portability. It has all the features of the old iPad, has better screen resolution, 4G, and has Siri, among other things.
I fiddled with it sometime ago. Browsing the internet is a breeze and definitely much better than the squeezed space of the iPhone.
I could also hold it in one hand the way I hold a phone, though I needed to stretch out my fingers out a bit.
With Retina, which it has not at the moment, the iPad Mini should be an all out winner in the tablet arena. In another 6 months, that would surely come with the iPad Mini 2.
Then, this iPad Mini she just bought would become another hand-me-down…to me. Kids, here’s my iPhone4S, it’s yours now.
Woke up early today as usual, but some really cool thing made this day a little bit extraordinary. I’m wearing my Google Glass!
Who wouldn’t be jumping with excitement if you find yourself being one of the lucky guys who gets to have a Google Glass?
So, I zipped through all my morning rituals preparatory to driving the kids to school and hauling me and my wife to work.
As I drove away with the Google Glass, I felt like I’m the Iron Man…going around with any information I desire displayed in front of me at my bidding. As I never trust my memory that much, I always input my reminders on my phone. So, prior to taking off, I triggered the reminders on my phone via voice command and lo, all reminders for today flashed before me as if the windshield and the view in front was my desktop display. Man, I love technology!
BBJames, my freshman high eldest kid, is doing some last minute cramming for the math quiz today, so I decided not to turn on the stereo. Instead, I commanded to play music and I got Survivor’s “High on You” pulsing through the earphones immediately making my day even better and more upbeat, as if the Google Glass alone is not enough to make it so.
As I was cruising midway to school, I got a message from my boss asking me to bring the camera as we need an extra one for the various activities in the office we need to document. Alas, turning back home is out of the question as it would take time and gas to do that. So I responded via voice command to text back with “Sorry boss, I’m already in the office parking lot. Perhaps Allan is still at home, ask him to bring his cam instead.” Beep. Sent.
As the gates of Xavier University loomed before me, I thought to invoke its history and lo, I was presented with a summary of its story. Who founded it, in what year, and even a picture of the first school building.
Wow, this is amazing. The Google Glass should, even this early, be banned at all schools as students could always encode beforehand their data and lessons and just call them up during quizzes and exams.
Another beep, and a call icon with my 20-year old assistant’s face showed up in the upper right corner of my view. Then, a little box appeared at the bottom part of my windshield and Trixie showed up smiling, brushed and flushed, plunging neckline and all, sitting at her desk in the office.
“Hello Trixie? Wazzup?”
“Hi Sir. Good morning! I just called to buzz you up about my wish for Christmas. I already know what I want. I’ll tell you as soon as you get here.”
And with a wink, she signed off.
Wow, I hope I can afford it, whatever it is she decided to want for Christmas.
Wait! I don’t have an assistant! And if Trixie’s real, my wife will scratch me with wolverine claws to death! And I woke up with a start. Six o’clock!
So, this is what happens when you think so much of some really cool gadget like the Google Glass before you go to sleep in the evening.
But hey, the Google Glass is not just some dream gadget. It’s real and it’s coming very soon. In fact it’s not only Google that’s coming up with it, but also some other company called Vusix which has produced their prototype of the Smart Glasses M100 which somehow looks to have a better finish and style than Google’s.
Here are a couple of videos about the google glass, in case you haven’t seen them yet.
Just this week, my 580EX II speedlite started to act queer, sometimes fires, sometimes doesn’t. I have to take it off the hotshoe and replace it before it fires again. Then again, sometimes it still fails to work. It was exasperating especially when I’m covering some event and a (supposedly) perfect picture comes out dark because of a speedlite misfire.
The first time it happened, the battery was almost already spent. So I thought it was a case of low power supply. But even after a fresh recharge the same thing happens.
The thought of having to part with my gear for a day or two is kind of difficult and I fear that it might happen if the symptoms continue as I really have to send it in for the Canon experts to check out. Luckily, I got to ask some questions at the perfect place that often has perfect answers – the google search page.
Turns out, it’s a case of a contact problem. Some sort of cleaning the parts that gets to make connections at the hotshoe. That is, cleaning involves both the hotshoe on the camera and the contacts at the speedlite.
And what do I use to clean these thingies? An eraser!
That was no suprise to me as I have some experience in this area. I once cleaned up the memory cards of a cpu using an eraser. When I put back the ‘erased’ memory cards in place, the computer came back to life.
So, what I did was to rub the eraser on the hotshoe surfaces as well as the contact surfaces on the speedlite. After doing so, I wiped off the excess ‘burnt’ rubber of the contacts with a piece of clean cloth. And voila! Everything was back to normal.
I still don’t know why I need to use an eraser to clean it up. If it’s just dust, a little blowing off would probably do. If an eraser is needed, perhaps the dirt that got stuck on the contacts must be of the stubborn type.
Another reason a speedlite may fail to fire is a wobbly or loose coupling at the hotshoe. Here’s a video I found that explains it all.
P.S. If you haven’t checked out my post about the Canon 580EX II, please read it. I’ve included there a few videos about the proper use of the 580EX II.
I posted this as soon as I completed the cleaning and the camera began working nicely.
The pessimist in me however tells me to observe the gear a few more days before rejoicing at having found a solution to the speedlite problem. Well, l’ll definitely make an update to this post, whatever happens in a few days.
With the rate at which people are starting to use the wireless internet every day, and with the kind of comfort it provides it can be a pretty smart decision to start using it yourself. The wireless internet sure has a lot of strong points, but it is also very important to be clear about some of the dangers that can come with using it.
Obviously, you can take some steps to make your wireless network even secure, but you need to realize the problems that come with using it first, and this article will be listing 3 of them.
There can be Speed and Latency Problems
The first problem you might experience as a wireless internet user is latency problems. Latency is like the time it takes for your data to be delivered to the intended server. In other words, your computer might be able to download files at a very large rate, but how long does it take to deliver information to another server? With a good internet connection it will be instantly. I’m not trying to say every wireless internet has latency problems, but since wireless networks can be affected by a lot of things such as the location, the frequency and a lot more, it is important to realize that it is more prone to latency problems. The solution in this case will be to look for a way to get closer to the server, or to use a proxy server that can help you solve the problem.
Your Network and Computer is Vulnerable to Hacking Attempts
Another danger that comes with connecting to the internet wirelessly is that your network and computer is vulnerable to hacking attempts. There are a lot of hackers online waiting for the next computer to test their skills on, but they won’t be able to do that unless they discover that computer. This kind of problem can easily be avoided with the cable internet or with any other form of wired internet connection due to the fact that there is no way to access your computer besides using it directly, but the wireless network makes your network and computer available to everyone.
You can prevent this kind of problem from happening by installing a firewall, and by restricting your network signals so that not just anybody will be able to connect to it.
There Can be Constant Signal Problems and Instability
The final problem you might experience with your wireless network is in relation to network signals and stability. Wireless signals can be affected by almost anything these days; ranging from a very heavy wind to the block of buildings standing in your way, and in most cases it can be very difficult to solve problems like this. The key to help you solve this kind of problem is by getting closer to the wireless router, or by looking for a way to boost your wireless signal.
[tip] This guest article is written by Paul T, an expert that believes in the importance of choosing the right wireless internet plans.[/tip]
According to reports from 9to5mac, Apple has announced its 2011 deals for Black Friday, and that includes discounts on Apple’s iPod, iPad and Mac systems. In what sounds like a great deal for a Black Friday deal, a source has revealed that some of Apple’s most valued products would be selling at discounted prices on Black Friday.
The discounts that are going to be offered on Friday are still considered to be of the same value as that of last year.
As an acronis discounts and Norton coupon blogger, I would have loved to have a Macbook of my own some months ago but the prices stood as barrier. I guess this Black Friday is going to be a great day for me and many others who have been waiting for this opportunity.
The value of the deals for Apple’s discounts are ranging from $101 off the prices of Macbook Air and Macbook Pro, $11 off the actual pricing of the iPad 2 Smart Cover, which usually comes out to $28 on sales for the polyurethane and $58 for the leather model.
By the look of things, Apple is not expected to give a discount off the selling prices of its iPhones because it was not stated whether Apple would give discounts on that.
For the iPod family, iPod nano and iPod touch are the discounted iPod offerings. The iPads will be on sale for $41-$61 discounts off based off of the capacity (16GB, 32GB, and 64GB), and iPod nano will be discounted $11 for both 8GB and 16GB storage capacity, while iPod touch will be discounted for more, from $21-$41 discounts.
If you want to buy your favorite Apple products and have been spending the whole time deliberating whether to do so or not just because of their high prices, I think now is a great opportunity for you. Go to Apple stores on Black Friday and shop your favorite gadget at discounted prices.
[warning] John Edget is a writer who blogs about technology news and tips. He often reviews all-in-one antivirus software and smartphone apps. You
can learn more by visiting his site.[/warning]
A laptop gps receiver becomes a better companion than the regular handheld gps receiver especially if you’re a businessman or someone who doesn’t go anyplace without your laptop. With the handheld or wrist type gps receivers, the monitors are really small you have to have really good eyesight to see the displayed information and sometimes you need to be technically savvy to interpret the gibberish in there. But with a laptop gps receiver, the display is way larger inasmuch as you’re going to be using the whole screen of your laptop to view the maps and data returned by the gps system.
Global Positioning System
For those who need catching up with this technology, GPS, or Global Positioning System, is a technology that was developed around 1973 to provide better accuracy than the ground based positioning system used at the time. GPS involves several satellites speeding around the earth’s upper atmosphere broadcasting at fixed intervals data such as the time, the satellite’s orbital location, almanac, etc. GPS receivers on earth get this messages and make lightning fast calculations to get the receiver’s position. Depending on the receiver, exact time as well as the speed of a moving receiver can also be acquired.
Initially used only by the US Military and select agencies, the use of GPS was later made available to the public worldwide by Presidents Reagan and Clinton.
To read more about GPS technology, refer to this wiki page.
Why A Laptop GPS Receiver?
For the ultimate in portability, the handheld ones (e.g. Garmin eTrex Venture HC GPS Receiver, or the Nüvi 1350LMT) or the ones which can be strapped on the wrist like the Garmin forerunner 305 are hands down best without question. However, if you want the ultimate in flexibility and still have portability, the laptop GPS Receiver comes out on top. As mentioned above, most of us carry our laptops with us almost everywhere we go anyway. A businessman carries it with him whether he’s in his New York office or flying to meet a prospect client in Paris. A blogger may even lug his laptop with him even when vacationing in, say, Pahoa, Hawaii.
By flexibility, it means having the advantage of playing with a lot more types of data than just your location. You can install more robust laptop gps software or applications that can display more accurate and detailed maps, allow importing or exporting of data, spoken data (information and reminders that you can just listen to), route assistance, etc. Even some wrist-strapped gps receivers that can also tell you your heart rate and blood pressure (e.g. Garmin forerunner 305 or 310XT) or expensive car gps systems don’t give you this much information.
GPS Receiver for Laptop Available Today
Garmin 18x PC GPS Navigator Unit
Garmin 18x PC GPS Navigator: a GPS sensor targeted to OEM clients ideal for use in automotive, fleet vehicle, and electronics applications where a small, highly accurate GPS receiver is needed. This laptop GPS receiver which has 12 parallel channel -WAAS enabled GPS receiver is available in either CMOS level serial or USB 2.0 full speed versions, and comes with an integrated magnetic base. Very space friendly in that the puck like receiver is only 2.4 inches in diameter and is very light. Comes with 12 volt cigarette lighter adapter /PC, or bare wire /LVC. All three versions of the GPS 18 come complete with non volatile memory for storage of configuration information, a real time clock, and raw measurement output data for sophisticated customer applications. The LVC version additionally provides a pulse per second logic level output whose rising edge is aligned to the UTC second within 1 microsecond. The USB 2.0 full speed version of the GPS18 is also compatible with USB 1.1 full speed hosts.
[tip] “…I decided to buy a Asus laptop and the Garmin GPS 18X USB, with mapsource and nroute and you dont need anything else; perfect combination! You obtain a good GPS with lots of features …”
“I am on the road a lot… I use Mobile PC with my Garmin USB attached to my Dell laptop …Don’t leave home without it! ”
GPS Receiver: Microsoft Pharos GPS-500 III GPS Receiver
This slender and very sensitive GPS receiver can (Microsoft Pharos GPS-500 III) connect to either PC or Mac using the USB cable included with the product. Using software like Microsoft Streets & Trips, the Microsoft Pharos iGPS-500 will give in real time your accurate location through your notebook’s screen, tablet, or handheld PCs.
[tip] “I needed a GPS solution that didn’t break the bank… The versatility of the chipset allows me to use a variety of F/OSS applications that fulfill most if not all of my GPS needs.”
“What more can you ask for? Plug it into a Win7 laptop and the laptop immediately sees the GPS… the GPS locks onto 3 satellites …. I was deciding between the BU353 and this GPS and I couldn’t be happier. ”
“…use with CANape to get vehicle location and speed information for development work. They interface well with CANape. Win XP pro has all the drivers already. CANape picked the GPS up without any trouble.”
“I am a trucker and this is a fine accurate receiver for my laptop Streets and Trips program.”
GlobalSat BU-353 Waterproof USB GPS Receiver
The GlobalSat BU-353 is considered as the first SiRF Star III based Serial GPS receiver with WAAS/EGNOS support to enhance position accuracy. It’s water-proof (and very small) and is powered by SiRF Star III chipset, a new-generation GPS chipset that has extremely high sensitivity, lower power usage and more rapid time-to-fix, and thus supports high accuracy. The receiver works even in locations where satellite line of sight is compromised or has weak signal tracking such as traveling in highly urbanized areas with tall buildings. It has a magnetic mounting that allows easy mounting on the car’s roof. It finds ideal use in marine environments, aviation, as well as commercial use such as for fire trucks, police cars, utility vehicles and buses. This receiver is deemed to be one of the most sensitive and accurate GPS receivers on the market today. Note: Check first to see if WAAS/EGNOS is available in your location.
[tip] “This GPS is awesome!!!… I live aboard a sailboat in the Caribbean using navigation software to plan my passages…(with) this new GPS (I) couldn’t be happier with it’s ease of installation and awesome performance. It picks up the signal below at my nav station, aquires quickly and performs without causing any problems with my computer. I have tried several systems and this unit outperforms them and I cannot recommend this unit highly enough, you will not be sorry… ”
“This is a full 20 channel GPS receiver… even comes complete with Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) for aircraft as well… works well with both boat and van navigation software… no more need for multiplexers to get the information to the laptop from the large GPS receiver on the boat. Just plug in the USB, put the small antenna somewhere where it can ‘see’ the sky and start up your charting or mapping software…”
“…uses a very powerfull GPS module, and I’m using it for marine navigation through a laptop. Fast, with all the required NMEA sentences to please the navigation software I use. It … Feed through USB port, so no battery to replace, and perfectly waterproof… and small!. Satellites acquisition is realy fast, and it fact it beats in all domains my $300 active GPS module from Raymarine expensive chart plotter!.. it does the job, is precise, fast, inexpensive and very reliable... “
For more selections of laptop gps receivers, click here.
Thinking of a laptop gps receiver, don’t you think these are the best?
I just bought my first Canon Speedlite 580EX II today and can’t wait to use it. Like any new stuff I acquire, I always want to know a few basics before messing up with it. I read the manual and as usual found it not so very helpful. You can’t even find what the acronym ETTL* means in it.
Prior to the purchase, I considered buying the less costly 430ex flash because I reasoned that the 580ex ii may be too much for my needs, my photography being just a hobby. However, after a bit of research (reading/watching ‘430ex ii vs 580ex ii’ articles and videos) I was convinced to go for the 580ex ii. Of course, I have to wait a couple of months to save up enough for this animal. This early, I think I made the right choice.
Introduction to Canon Speedlite 580EX II
So, I took to the net and found that a few videos helped a lot. Here’s a few videos that gave a walk through of the basic functions of the canon speedlite 580ex ii.
An excellent and elaborate detailed walk through after the initial setup is shown in this video by Gary Fong. I like it in that he explains it concisely you’ll be sure to understand what he wants to convey. He even elaborates on the differences of evaluative metering, spot metering, etc. Very cool, especially if you’re new, like me.
For now, after having known the very basic about this flash unit, I think I’ll learn more by actually playing with it. I’ll post updates and perhaps find more tutorials when I begin to yearn for more advanced information.