Magic Mouse

Three types of non-ball miceI’m writing this fairly quickly, because my earlier Tweet regarding the mouse has gained some interest. My problem is that I’m not finding the Magic Mouse @ £56 better than any other mouse I’ve used!

Hitherto, I’ve been using my Gyro Mouse at home. I used a common or garden tiny USB optical mouse all the time I was in the States (my ‘for emergencies’, travel mouse).

All three mice are ball-less and designed to glide over any surface but the Magic Mouse seems to require more wrist action (and strength, although I mean that in the most minuscule of ways; it needs ever such a small amount of extra ‘push’) than the Gyro Mouse (although when used in a non-desk-top situation the Gyro really does require wrist action but it really comes into it’s own at that point).

I’ve had the mouse for over a month but only started using it in anger today as I’d bought one for Sharon’s birthday and couldn’t use mine until she’d been given hers. It really is a cool looking thing and promised the coolest ways of using it. But as yet I haven’t needed to use (found a use for) the two-finger swipe.

I’ve wound up the speeds to fast for scrolling and tracking and it’s OK, but still seems to have a little drag. I’d misread the info, so having to press control (ctrl) for some things is a disappointment.

So, what do I like about it?

  • It’s cool – another design success from the fruit store
  • It saves a USB port – it uses Bluetooth to connect
  • It’s white

And what do I dislike about it?

  • Mmm – paying £56 for something that’s cool, white and saves a USB port. Cost v convenience and hype doesn’t seem to add up. Perhaps I’m wrong?

Thanks to @davefoord, @jamesclay, @jexcope @peterlonsdale and @nathancobb for your comments on Twitter. I hope this 140+ character reply is in order?

iPad stuff

A small thing that I find irritating about my iPad is the way I have to hold the device to type.  Here I am now, typing into the ‘documents to go‘ interface and I’m not comfortable.

I want to sit (I’d envisioned myself sitting) cross legged, with the pad on my knee to type. Now that would be relaxing after a day on a normal keyboard (straight beck, eyes level with the screen etc.) but I can’t. Why? Well, when I cross my legs and put the pad in a comfy position, it slides down to my tummy and I can’t easily get to the keyboard without hunching up. I can do it ok if I hold it with one hand and type with (just) the other but otherwise (faux leather cover on or no cover on at all) it slips down. So typing with two fingers, i.e. both hands, is not as comfortable. Just saying!

Perhaps someone could design an ‘iPad knee perch’? (10% commission please).

I bought an iPad Camera kit yesterday. It wasn’t a necessity, after all I can get photos onto the iPad in any one of a number of ways but I was attracted by the saving (£19$29 – as opposed to £25 at home) and the fact that the kit included a USB adapter and an SD Card reader. Although I’m happy with my purchase, I realise now that I should have done a little more research – and adjusted my expectations accordingly. The USB does not allow anything other than cameras equipped with PTP to be connected and any SD Card contents other than photos cannot be read. So it does what it says on the tin and I have used it for my convenience several times already. Fair enough.

Perhaps someone could design an’ iPad Camera Kit pouch’? (10% commission please).

All this got me thinking about how I could take photos with the iPad. There is no camera (dammit) but that shouldn’t be a barrier! I found a free App called EZ Cam Lite. I think that there is a paid-for version, but I probably won’t bother. The whole thing is a real faff and the results not really any bettter than the old 1.3 megapixel shots we used to take. The idea is that you connect both the iPad (no camera) and the iPhone (with camera) via bluetooth and as if by magic the iPad becomes a camera. Actually the idea if fine – you could have the iPhone (with camera) turned on in one room while you sit in another room with the iPad (no camera)  viewing input from iPhone’s camera. Which might be ok if you have no baby alarm for example but the shots taken are truly awful. The one good shot I took was posed and close-up. Why I would use the iPad for that, when I had the iPhone anyway will forever remain a mystery to me.

This experiment was a real example of tailoring need to fit the technology (like the guy who finds a crutch and wonders who’s leg he can break?).

Beware: when bluetooth is turned on it sucks all the life out of your batteries. I’ve been getting a day or two out of intermittent use of the iPad but since using bluetooth, battery life drops remarkably.

I’m still liking the sociability of the iPad. It’s quick and convenient to pick up and use for all sorts of things. Don’t let me put you off with my (apparent) negativity :0(

Putting iPad to work

Because my various posts about iPad use have received a modicum of interest, I thought I’d make a few other observations and recommendations. I’m sure that there are people out there who can’t decide whether they need one or not.

No one ‘needs’ one. That’s the first thing. Everything an iPad does can be done, often better and quicker with another tool. First of all it’s too big to fit in your pocket – so it’s less ‘mobile’ than a mobile phone. To prevent damage and to make it easier to use, it will need some sort of cover; I’ve already discarded a rubber ‘condom’ cover and now use a faux leather one: each adds to the bulk, if only slightly. So why not use a laptop? Even Steve Jobs says that the iPad is not a laptop replacement (although in his heart of hearts, I’ll bet he wished it was). Most modern phones knock it into a cocked hat for multi-functionality (e.g. they can take photographs and videos) and portability.

So would I give mine away? Not on your life ! There’s no way on earth would I give it up without a fight. WHY if it’s so apparently useless, why would I fight to keep it?

Well first of all it’s not meant to be a mobile phone or a laptop. Maybe not anything that has gone before? It’s NOT a tablet PC, it’s NOT a Netbook, it’s NOT an iPod Touch even (although it does lack that same feature that would make the iPod Touch a must have mobile tool – a camera). What it is – is a perfect device for just doing ‘stuff’ on. As I’ve said before, I can quite easily make notes, write essays, and type emails on it. I can access most parts of the Internet (just not those parts that need ‘Flash’) and I can use many of the Apps that are essential parts of the ‘i’ family. And the experience is excellent. The way sites represent themselves on the iPad (and the way some Apps are designed specially for the iPad) is pleasurable and easy on the eye.

My favourite App this week is that from IMDB (, the movie site. It’s a far better experience than the normal site and much easier to find information. And, because the iPad is able to just lie around the living room and because it has a long battery life – it’s also convenient to settle those little arguments you often have (b.t.w. that WAS Juliette Lewis I saw in the Ad for The Switch).

Another, put to the test today by Sis-inLaw, and only available for the iPad is called SoundPaper. This is a powerful notepad special developed for the iPad. Not only can you make notes but you can record the speaker (teacher, keynote, etc.) at the same time. Then, when you want to access your notes and can’t remember exactly what the speaker was talking about, click on the note you’ve made and the audio track will jump to 7 seconds before you made you note and allow you to re-listen to the talk. If you like you can email the notes (plus audio) to ‘whoever’, save as a .pdf or share with a Mac or Laptop. 1 hour of audio = 20meg. How cool is that for $4.99? App Store.

iPad in Tulsa

Here I go again, using the iPad to compose a blog post and anticipating the fact that It will be impossible to complete my task without help from a proper blogging tool (the MacBook Pro).

I’m sat in a very hot kitchen because the ‘majority rule’ has crap on T.V. That’s ok though, because it was me that put the oven on – I just can’t be blamed for the HOT sun streaming though the window blinds. I still love that fact that I can type with two fingers, quickly, on the landscape iPad keyboard, it makes typing really easy. I’ve also noticed that although I have to touch the [.?123] button to get an apostrophe it defaults back to [ABC] without me having to slide my finger over the keyboard (did you know that if you want something on the [.?123] keypad, you can just slide your finger onto the [.?123] key, keeping your finger sliding, slide over to the key you need and let go: the keyboard recognises your choice and then reverts to [ABC] straight away).

It’s frustrating not to be able to do several things on the iPad.

I know that it’s a tool in a Class of its own and that it’s not meant to be a laptop replacement, but there are some basics that it would be nice to have – like Flash video for example. The new BBC App is so gorgeous, it begs you to investigate most things it throws at you, but the videos are barred because Steve Jobs and the guys at Adobe have thrown their corporate dummies out of the pram. Come on chaps, I get the argument, but what about your customers? e.g. There are so many .flv videos out there, that will not go away Steve, why can’t I watch them on my iPad (I’ll concede my iPhone, although …??) I do get your argument re: HTML5 but how long before web sites (and the majority are very very small web sites and provisions) can catch up?

Another thing caught up in the Apple v Adobe fight is my ability to blog via the WordPress App. and via Safari. As soon as I try to embed an image (even before I get the URL from Flickr) WordPress gives up the ghost. Why? That particular bit of technology is Adobe’s. I know that I can email to WordPress but I can do that from my Mac, my PC, my phone – even my older Nokia phone, but the iPad should be ‘special’.


See the following blogs for non-work related ‘stuff’ while I’m here in the States: