Testing Duet – an OS X display extender app for iPad

You’ve probably seen the online hype around Duet – an OS X display extender app for iPad. Basically it’s supposed to allow you to extend your current desktop screen to an iPad – just as if you had an extra monitor. Other apps already do this, but Duet’s claim to fame is it will extend your desktop in a way that’s lag free. So if you’re watching movies or animation and moving elements between monitors, you’ll not notice lag.

Duet’s unique feature that allows this is that Duet connects to your Mac using the USB port and either 30 pin connector or Lightning connector.

I’ve previously used similar apps, Air Display and DisplayPad, though both have utilized WiFi to link your display to the computer. Also, both support Windows or OS X. Currently, Duet doesn’t support Windows.

Duet also doesn’t support the original iPad, where the two other apps do – a consideration if you have an older original hanging around, as I do.

Duet has been getting mixed reviews on the iTunes App Store, but that may be related to the high CPU usage needed to render out a retina display to a retina iPad – there’s a lot of work going on. If you’re using a new computer, or have a lower resolution iPad, then you may not encounter this issue.

Regardless, I’ll take a look at the app and report back when I’ve been able to give it a workout.

 

My iOS App Picks for 2014 – iOS Photo Apps

I tend to keep my photography over on iPadDarkroom, but since I’m writing about iOS photo apps that I’ve discovered or have dominated my work this year, it seemed fitting to look at apps that have influenced my photo work.

You’ve likely seen some work created with these apps before, but they’re worth profiling again as my picks because they’ve stood head-and-shoulders above the other apps in the photo editor / filter space.

So, on to the apps… Continue reading “My iOS App Picks for 2014 – iOS Photo Apps”

My iOS App Picks for 2014 – eBook Readers

It’s that time of year again — the year is ending, coming to a close. And we often take time to look back at things we’ve done. In my case, I thought I’d look back at the iOS apps that have most engaged me over the last year.

I’ll basically select a ‘winner’ and a ‘runner up’, and give a few reasons why the app captured my attention and interest.

So, without further preamble, here’s my first category and selections: Continue reading “My iOS App Picks for 2014 – eBook Readers”

Things you find when cleaning out your Google contacts

If you’ve got a Gmail account, you’ve got Google Contacts. These are entries of all the folks you’ve ever emailed with Gmail, or interacted with in any other Google property.

We’re working on a Christmas project and wanted to get a good list of friends, so I pulled my contacts from my Gmail account.

Over 800.

Including Lady Gaga and ‘the Woz’ Steve Wozniak. (yes, I was surprised)! I assume Steve’s name is upside because he enjoys practical jokes 😉

 

Look who’s in my little black book!

 

After a bit of research, it seemed that I’d followed them on Google+ and their G+ profile was added to my contacts. Interesting…

Back to my digging… I wonder who else I’ll find? And who’s in *your* contacts? Just log into email, select contacts and export. And have fun!

Ello’s a thing, like the other thing, but more.

 

You’ve probably heard about Ello, a new, Facebook alternative that promises to be ad free, and not sell your data. Sounds interesting, so I’m trying it out.

Given my recent observations on Facebook – mostly that the stuff I share there isn’t really seen by my friends who follow me there, I thought I’d give Ello a try.

Of course, it helps if my friends are following me on Ello too!

So if you’re interested in Ello, let me know by using my contact form here. Include your email and I’ll send you an invite.

Read more about Ello here. And read the Ello manifesto here!

Hopefully I’ll see you on Ello soon!

Free online storage – what I’m doing now

Back in 2012 I wrote about a few cloud storage options I was exploring. Well a few years have passed so I thought I’d update / annotate the old one. So here goes. New comments will be coloured red.


UPDATES Wow, another one today (Thursday, April 12, 2012). LogMeIn has entered the ‘cloud storage space’ space by announcing the invite-only beta of Cubby — which gives you DropBox-like access to 5GB. I’ve requested an invite and will post about it when I have some hands-on time. Meh. Cubby’s nothing to write home about. LogMeIn has been a bit of a disappointment since they significantly changed their remote desktop application and left iOS users in the dust.

DropBox has doubled the amount of free space they’re giving out through referrals and Spider Oak is also in my testing suite. It starts out with 2GB free, and I’ve just opened my account so I’ve just started testing, but you can expect I’ll write about it in a week or two. If you want to check it out, here’s an affiliate link (which will get you one extra GB of storage!).

Dropbox is still cool and still used by me on multiple computers and mobile devices. Well worth it if you’re looking great storage and 3rd party app support through services like IFTTT and many mobile apps.

Currently, the latest buzz is all about a possible April launch of Google’s much-anticipated free cloud storage app called dubbed GDrive.

GDrive is clunky – not as elegant as Dropbox or Copy.com (more on that later).

Reports say it’ll come with a local, desktop client for most operating systems that will enable you to store and access about 1GB of files in the Cloud. Nice.

But it’s not here yet, and there are already other excellent cloud / drive solutions that offer the same or better. While it’s hard to compare apples to apple (different providers offer different storage and utility packages) here’s my thoughts on the current leaders:

Dropbox
The current market leader, offers 2GB free, desktop and mobile clients for all leading hardware. Recently, DropBox has become more active in the enterprise space offering solutions for groups and teams.
Affiliate program allows you to expand your storage space by signing up friends etc. Nice that it’s pretty seamless. Install the app on your device, log in, and your files are instantly accessible. I’ve written before about Dropbox here and here.

My affiliate link is here, if you want to check out Dropbox.

DropBox is still best-of-class. If you’re not using it yet and want to explore, please feel free to click my affiliate link (we’ll both get small bonuses 🙂

SugarSync
SugarSync ups the ante a bit by offering a free 5GB account. They also have a nifty desktop client, great web interface, and the ability to extend your storage capacity through an affiliate program (signing up your friends, blogging about it, etc). Here’s my affiliate link if you feel so inclined to check it out

Stopped using it recently. Not so much of an improvement over any other and the client wasn’t working well on one of my desktops.

Box
Recently made the news by announcing Box OneCloud — a collection of mobile apps designed to work with Box’s cloud storage systems:

Signing up to Box gets you an initial 5GB of storage, but they often run promotions with prizes up to 50GB.

While Box does offer free clients for mobile devices, if you want to have the seamless integration of Dropbox or SugarSync, you’ll have to upgrade to the $15/month Box business plan.

I’m still using Box. More of a slow online backup of some documents and stuff. It works well, has a very robust business model and support.

Microsoft Live SkyDrive
This is the big surprise — Microsoft is offering 25GB of storage, Mobile apps, online MS Office integration (and you don’t need to have Office installed locally), group collaboration, and public file sharing.

For example, here’s a public link to an Empire Avenue promotional video, stored in my public SkyDrive space.

Currently there isn’t a desktop client available, so you will need to use the web interface (which is quite slick, even in Chrome and Firefox) to manage your files. But a Windows and OSX desktop client is rumored to be available shortly.

Now called OneDrive, you get 15GB free cloud storage, and MS Office online too. Not a bad setup if you use the Office suite of apps.

New Entries

Copy.com
Starts with 15GB free storage, and you can gain an extra 5GB per new user you invite using your unique invite code. Feel free to try Copy.com out by using my Invite Code 😀

iCloud.com
Apple’s cloud storage entry is interesting. You can store documents in iCloud, then access them from any other iCloud-connected device. One thing, you only get 5GB free, and that iCloud storage space is also used for your iOS device backups, if you have iCloud backup enabled. Still, a cool option from folks at the fruit stand.

Mega.co.nz
Kim dot com’s file sharing and storage site. Free accounts start at 50GB, but you have limited file sizes and transfer bandwidth. I use it lightly.

One or many?
Well, for me, I’m actually using a mixture of these. Dropbox is my daily go-to storage solution, simply because I’ve been using it for so long.

SugarSync I’m using to keep some backup files stored safely. Box, well, I’m not consistent in my use of it, and SkyDrive, well that’s my new darling. I’ve neglected it for a while but now will be trying to integrate it into my workflow wherever I can. And yeah, you’ll here from me if there’s problems.

So, did I miss anything? What’s your online storage solution look like?