Three essential PDF readers for iPad

A while ago I wrote about ways to read PDF files on your iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad. Well that post is show­ing it’s age, so rather than com­pletely redo it, I thought I’d dis­cuss my cur­rent three top PDF read­ers, and why.

GoodRead­er
GoodRead­er is my first choice, go-to PDF read­er on my iPad.

First off, get­ting files into GoodRead­er. It’s simple, and sup­ports iTunes file trans­fer, Net­work trans­fer via WiFi, or down­load­ing from shared ser­vices such as;

  • Drop­Box
  • Google Apps
  • Mobile Me
  • Sug­ar­Sync
  • FTP serv­ers

Next, it’s under act­ive devel­op­ment, with fre­quent new fea­tures, updates and bug­fixes.

As expec­ted GoodRead­er sup­ports PDF and TXT files, but it can also dis­play all of the most pop­u­lar file types includ­ing:

  • MS Office — .doc, .ppt, .xls and more
  • iWork’08/’09
  • HTML and Safari webarchives
  • High res­ol­u­tion images
  • Audio & Video play­back in some formats

Yes, GoodRead­er is my PDF read­er of choice. But, there are cases where an altern­at­ive is import­ant. Enter…

CloudRead­ers
This is a more simplist­ic app that I use primar­ily for read­ing graph­ic nov­els and com­ic-book files. Some are in PDF format and oth­ers in CBZ or CBR format.

CloudRead­ers allows WiFi upload by run­ning a small serv­er that you con­nect to using your desktop com­puter. Here’s some of the cool­er fea­tures of CloudRead­ers:

  • Multi-task sup­port
  • Rota­tion lock
  • iPhone/iPod/iPad touch sup­port
  • Auto­mat­ic­ally add books when files were trans­ferred via iTune applic­a­tion
  • Auto page align­ment (on iPhone/iPod touch)
  • Smooth­ing (from Set­tings app)
  • Default page-ori­ent­at­in (from Set­tings app)

As a free eRead­er and PDF read­er, it’s a bar­gain. There’s also an in-app pur­chase that allows you to share (via P2P) with oth­er loc­al CloudRead­ers users. Very neat.

Stanza
This is my go-to eBook read­er on the iPad, and has been one I’ve used on the iPod Touch pre­vi­ously.

I’d writ­ten about it here, and it’s still a sol­id app you should check out, espe­cially since it’s free!

It’s cold! Pamper your tech

frost_250.jpgWith the amount of gear I have around I’m sur­prised this doesn’t hap­pen to me more often.

The weath­er in Edmon­ton has been rather cool of late, in the -20 to -30 degree range in fact. And today, since it’s warmed up to a reas­on­able -2, I decided to drive the car, rather than our oth­er, warm­er, SUV.

After dig­ging it out, scrap­ing it off, and jump­ing in to wait for it to defrost, I rum­maged around in the centre con­sole — and dis­covered that I’d left my TomTom GPS in the vehicle since the fall.

Hmmm, this was not good. Weeks of cold-soak­ing the bat­ter­ies at extreme tem­per­at­ures can harm their life, and per­haps even phys­ic­ally dam­age them.

As well, bring­ing the device into a nice warm room also has it’s own haz­ards. As any­one who wears glasses and shovels snow in Canada knows, mois­ture quickly accu­mu­lates on these frozen devices. Wet elec­tron­ics are not a good thing.

So, what can you do to keep your gad­gets safely work­ing through the winter? Here’s a few ideas:

Don’t let them freeze (duh)
Staged Warm­ing — If they do freeze, warm the slowly, in stages, in a humid­ity free envir­on­ment. In my case, I left the GPS in my gar­age for an hour (warm­er than out­side), then moved it to my car (warm­er than my gar­age), and finally moved it inside the house. This reduced the shock to the com­pon­ents, and reduced the capa­city for humid­ity to form as the unit was warmed.

Out­door use
Cam­er­as, music play­ers, phones — keep them in an inside pock­et, next to your body if pos­sible. This’ll keep the bat­ter­ies warm and extend the charge of the unit. Cold temp reduces the power of a charged bat­tery.

While not all elec­tron­ics are designed for Canada’s extreme cold swings, there are things you can do to enjoy your devices in the great out­doors. What do you do to keep your tech work­ing in the weath­er?
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How to run your favourite desktop utilities from almost any computer using Portable Applications

photo.JPGIn the course of my day, I use two or three main desktop and laptop com­puters in two or three dif­fer­ent parts of the city.

And yet, work­ing on dif­fer­ent devices, I still have access to a core set of tools and util­it­ies that I find essen­tial to my daily work. Here’s how I do it.

Some of the com­puters are ‘cli­ent’ man­aged, so I don’t have com­plete con­trol over the soft­ware suite I have avail­able to me.

There are two options that I use, though I find myself mov­ing to one more often these days.

But before I get ahead of myself, let me write a little bit about the applic­a­tions. Con­tin­ue read­ing “How to run your favour­ite desktop util­it­ies from almost any com­puter using Port­able Applic­a­tions”

Speed up your Internet experience by using the right DNS server

Last week I saw this Life­Hack­er art­icle (via AppleIn­sider) about NameBench, a win­dow util­ity that tests the speed of your system’s DNS serv­ers.

And I was won­der­ing if my DNS was as fast as it could be…

Pre­vi­ously, I’d switched my DNS ser­vices over to OpenDNS, a free altern­ate DNS Pro­vider that adds value as:

  • Ultra-reli­able, glob­ally-dis­trib­uted net­work
  • Industry-lead­ing Web con­tent fil­ter­ing
  • Easy to use for fam­il­ies, schools, and busi­nesses of all sizes

Google also has free pub­lic DNS ser­vices avail­able, which NameBench scans and includes in the res­ults.

But recently I’d noticed that often videos and oth­er stream­ing media just wouldn’t play back smoothly, so after read­ing this bit in the life hack­er art­icle I thought I’d give NameBench a try.

When mil­lions of users all tap into the same DNS serv­er addresses to resolve domain names, as Google DNS does by design, Akamai and oth­er CDNs route con­tent to those users along the same path, pre­vent­ing the net­work from work­ing optim­ally. This causes prob­lems not only for Apple’s iTunes, but also any oth­er media stream­ing or down­load ser­vice that uses a sim­il­ar CDN strategy to dis­trib­ute down­loads.”

As an added bene­fit, NameBench checks to see if your DNS serv­ers are vul­nur­able up to secur­ity stand­ards, and if your DNS requests are being cen­sored or redir­ec­ted (WikiLeaks, for example).

nb2.jpg

WOW.
Accord­ing to NameBench, By switch­ing back to my ISP, I’d get an amaz­ing DNS speed improve­ment of over 100%!! Remem­ber, this doesn’t speed up my inter­net con­nec­tion, just the speed that the Inter­net trans­lates domain names into those cryptic Inter­net IP addresses.

So, by mak­ing the recom­men­ded changes to my sys­tems DNS set­tings, NameBench was happy with my set­tings. Now to see if I actu­ally notice any improve­ment…

nb3.jpg

nb4.jpg

In Real Life.
Well, I’m not too sure if I am noti­cing any dif­fer­ence yet or not. There’s so many dif­fer­ent factors that can con­trib­ute to net­work speed that one change rarely makes a huge dif­fer­ence.

But still, every small improve­ment you make adds up, and con­trib­utes to a more effi­cient online exper­i­ence.
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Show your parents you care — tech style

It’s highly likely that many of you, like me, are respons­ible for tech­nic­al sup­port of your fam­il­ies’ com­puter sys­tems and inter­net con­nec­tion.

googfooter.pngEarli­er today I found a great little micros­ite (by Google) that’ll help you sup­port your par­ents with their online issues.

http://www.teachparentstech.org/ is the site that helps you build a friendly little email and bundles links to appro­pri­ate self-help videos.

screener.png

Obvi­ously this won’t address every ques­tion they’ve got, but it does:

  • Get them using email (they’ll need to in order to view the mes­sage)
  • Get them watch­ing online videos through a browser
  • Teach them how to do some­thing to cus­tom­ize their com­put­ing exper­i­ence
  • Give them a sense of accom­plish­ment and inde­pend­ence as they use new tech.

Here’s what your out­go­ing email could look like:

email.png

It’s not just simple issues either, here’s a video show­ing how to set up an email autorespon­der in Gmail — though sim­il­ar email apps work in much the same way.

And it’s a great little mar­ket­ing and brand­ing oppor­tun­ity to get Google into their com­put­ing exper­i­ence.

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Checking out library books on your eReader?

sonylib.jpgGot a Sony eRead­er and use the Sony Read­er store? Well check out the little blue & white box in the right-hand side­bar on the page.

Yep, you read cor­rectly — you can check out books from the lib­rary and read them on your eRead­er.

In early Decem­ber, Sony (and tech­no­logy pro­viders Over­drive) will have hun­dreds of Cana­dian lib­rar­ies hooked up and ready to lend books; many lib­rar­ies are already set up and run­ning. As I under­stand it, only lib­rar­ies in Atlantic Canada will be missing…for now.

This Lib­rary search page will help you find a par­ti­cip­at­ing lib­rary in your region. For example, enter­ing Alberta in the search field turned up a large num­ber of par­ti­cip­at­ing lib­rar­ies in my province.

libfindersearch.jpg

The sys­tem requires you have an Adobe account to man­age the DRM and ‘return’ of the eBook you ‘bor­rowed’. Actu­ally the DRM just expires and you can’t read it after the lend­ing peri­od runs out. Which is anoth­er way of say­ing you don’t have to remem­ber to return bor­rowed eBooks back to the lib­rary.

Not every book at your lib­rary will be avail­able for loan, but as lib­rar­ies start to con­vert their cata­logues to digit­al, you’ll find more and more of the pop­u­lar reads on your library’s vir­tu­al shelves. Wel­come to the 21st cen­tury :smileyhappy: