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Holiday reflections

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Posted by MadaboutDana
Dec 29, 2014 at 02:01 PM

 

More on SanDisk wireless drives, for anybody who’s interested:

http://www.sandisk.co.uk/products/wireless/

 


Posted by Paul Korm
Dec 29, 2014 at 02:56 PM

 

As a solution to the iPad keyboard problem I’ve been gaining proficiency with Nuance’s Swype keyboard.  iOS 8 supports custom keyboards, and Swype has been ported to iOS—many smartphones have supported the feature for years.  It appears as a standard keyboard, and can be used that way, but its main feature is text entry by swiping one finger around the keyboard.  The software interprets the gestures and is fairly accurate with interpeting the gesture and entering the text.  So, if I swipe my finger from t to e to x to t I’ll get “text”.  The Swype keyboard adapts itself to your vocabulary and gesture “style” and improves with use.

See swype.com for info.

The learning curve is not steep—regular use is recommended to maintain proficiency—if you relax and ignore the impulse to “type” there is a good flow.  I wouldn’t use Swype to write a novel, but emails, long notes, etc. are pretty simple.  For some reason, Swype doesn’t not work well with web page forms.

 


Posted by Franz Grieser
Dec 29, 2014 at 03:03 PM

 

Thanks Stephen, DrAndus and Bill.

First: I have a Logitech Tablet Keyboard for the iPad. It is fine - but it does not attach to the iPad so it’s not suited for working in the suburban train.

Re Chromebooks: I considered such a machine in summer, but decided to not invest in another ecosystem. The cons: price (starting at 200 Euro), cloud (yes, I know you can keep data local), Google.
Re ClamCase: This seems to be a great keyboard+case. The cons: a ridiculous price (getting a Pro from Great Britain would cost 180 Euro incl. shipping, getting one from the USA would be about >210 Euro incl. shipping and customs duty), QWERTY keyboard layout (but I could live with that as I type without looking to the keys).

But: Searching for the ClamCase on Amazon brought up the Cooper Kai Skel, which is almost identical to the ClamCase (as far as the descriptions are concerned). Only the viewing angle seems to be less. However, it only costs 45 Euro. I just ordered one.

@Bill: I installed Notebooks for Windows and find the “New from pastboard” command quite useful for importing web pages incl. links, formatting and images. However, the original URL does not get copied. Did I miss something? Or would I have to live with that shortcoming?

Thanks, Franz

 


Posted by Dr Andus
Dec 29, 2014 at 03:14 PM

 

MadaboutDana wrote:
>the most sensible solution to
>Franz’s dilemma is an external keyboard. I’ve been using a Logitech
>keyboard with my iPad 2 for years, and it has revolutionised my writing
>life when I’m out and about.

I can’t speak for Franz’s specific requirements, but for my own ad hoc note-taking needs iPad + external keyboard couldn’t compete with the Chromebook because it still took several steps to turn on the iPad, grab the keyboard, launch a writing app, and then the need to prop up the iPad somehow, especially if on an unstable surface (balancing it on the knee while sitting up in bed). I know there are stands etc., but it still takes the time and effort to set it up, by which time I might forget what I wanted to write down…

With a Chromebook, it’s 1) open the lid, 2) start typing, 3) close the lid.

If the speed of note-taking is key, another option would be to take handwritten notes on the BB Sync, and then sync the resulting PDFs via Bluetooth with iPad, PC, Evernote etc. But this leaves the notes in handwritten form, which may not be ideal if one needs to be able to search that text etc.

MadaboutDana wrote:
>I now use my
>very slow iPad 2 (stupidly, I upgraded it to iOS 8.1.2, which has slowed
>it down significantly)

This is one of the main reasons I’ve decided to abandon iOS in favour of ChromeOS. I haven’t had my Chromebook long enough to confirm this, but I’ve read that ChromeOS updates can even make your older hardware run faster due to improvements, as opposed to degrade it, as is the case with iOS, Windows etc. updates. But it certainly hasn’t slowed a bit since January, when I bought it.

 


Posted by Dr Andus
Dec 29, 2014 at 03:36 PM

 

Franz Grieser wrote:
>Re Chromebooks: I considered such a machine in summer, but decided to
>not invest in another ecosystem. The cons: price (starting at 200 Euro),
>cloud (yes, I know you can keep data local), Google.

Sorry, Franz, didn’t see your message before I posted mine. If you don’t like Google, there’s no way around that problem with a Chromebook :-)

As for the price, it still seems to me a lot cheaper option than getting an iPad in general, especially if spread over the years of expected life time. Presumably even a 2 or 3-year old Chromebook could be passed on to a child or an elderly relative, while it would be an insult if I’d try to give my iPad 1 to someone, as you can’t even surf with it without Safari crashing all the time.

 


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