iOS6 Update and iPads in Education

iOS6 has been such a huge benefit to using iPads in class, and for that matter just in general. Let me tell you a couple of my favorite benefits.

First there is the Open In menu, some people call it the Share Menu. It's the little icon with the curly up arrow in it that allows you to open/share a document into another app. I the past when you tapped on this menu you got a list of ten times and that was it. If the app you wanted was not in that list you had to delete an app or two until the desired app showed up. Now the menu is not limited to ten items! This is such a great thing! Plus we et the added benefit of having a much nicer menu to look at.

So why do I like this new menu so much? For instance, when I scan a piece of music into a PDF file and it is in my Mail app, I need to get that PDF into my music app. I will use UnRealBook usually, since this apps name started with a U, it used to be one of my trouble apps. Now it actually shows up and it is a simple click away. BUT the workflow I usually use is to take that PDF and drop it into DropBox first. When doing that make sure you save a step and actually put it into the correct folder. Then I can access that PDF that is now in DropBox from UnRealBook or ForScore. Of course it is a simple move to use a four finger swipe back to the Mail app and use the Open In menu to quickly open the PDF into either of those apps as well.

Usually if I have only one PDF I will open the PDF into each app real quick. The three apps I am putting PDF's into are DropBox, UnRealBook and ForScore. GigBook would be another great choice. If I have three or four PDF's then I usually just put all of them into DropBox and then use UnRealBook to download all files that are not on my iPad. I'm so glad Aron put that feature in his app!

One other feature I am using is the new way in which Messenger works. Now that I can have my phone messages also show up on my iPad my life just got a tad simpler. I can keep working on one device if a message comes through instead of interrupting and switching devices. Of course with the new notifications I can choose to simply ignore those messages as well but because it comes through on my iPad I'm not stopping work and checking the phone to see if it was important, because I'm sure every message coming through is absolutely important! ( and yes, it's only my wife that messages me so every message is THAT important!)


Mountain Lion and Tips for OSX

A few thoughts for you about Mountain Lion and then a few tips about using Mountain Lion that I use all the time.

I love the way that Apple has priced their OS updates. I literally used coins to buy Mountain Lion! Now if that’s not reasonably priced  I don’t know what you are looking for! That’s one of the reasons so many people will update. People are not afraid to update their OS when we are talking about Apple. Take a look at the fact that Apple’s server traffic was 6 times higher than normal because of Mountain Lion. Of course another reason they will update is because they are fairly certain that the update is not going to totally mess up their computer and make things run worse than before! (Usually – One of my friends had their MacBook hard drive crash while updating. Not so sure that was because of Mountain Lion so much as it because it was not a solid state drive.)

Several things I have noticed since installing ML:

  1. My Mail app is wicked fast now! It had gotten to the point before I updated that I just would use my iPhone or iPad to do my mail because it was SO much faster. Now when I open Mail on my MacBookPro it open RIGHT NOW and is ready to go!
  2. Safari still freaks me out with the integrated search and address bar. I am loving it but I still am not used to it.
  3. Have you used the new Tab Browser in Safari? If you open a ton of tabs like I do it is easy to forget what each one is. Using the Tab Browser you get a cover flow of all the tabs you have open and it is easy to swipe through and pick the one you want. If you have tabs open go try it right now…. If you don’t then here is a great reason to go randomly open about 5 tabs and THEN go check it out. The icon will appear next to the tab plus icon up in the menu bar – take a look…
  4. Messages has just become a bit more useful to me. Why? Well let me tell you…. did you realize that while using the preview function you now have options like sending a mail message, a tweet, sending a message using message, posting to flickr  and even sending an AirDrop. I have always hated sending a screenshot through my email. It just clogs things up and adds clutter I don’t really want in my mail. Now I take a screenshot, hit the space bar to preview the screenshot from my desktop, and send it using messages to myself. Because I have messages set up on my computer, iPad and iPhone all three, I receive the screenshot on my iPad. I then open it in Skitch to add those fancy arrows you see above and below.
  5. I am loving the integration of the above tip as well as the integration of being able to tweet right from the notifications center. I can now do things like tweet or send a message without having to actually open the apps! That saves me time. Add up all that saved time and I now have more time to spend doing other things, like practice my euphonium and piano.

I am looking forward to having tabs in Safari be synced across all my devices when iOS 6 comes out in the fall.

If you have updated to ML I would love to know what new things you are using and loving the most. Leave a comment… share the fun you are having!

Reflection App, Apple TV for $15?

Buying an Apple TV is on my list of soon to buy items. Of course at this point I am waiting until next weeks announcements from Apple on March 7. I have ideas about what will be announced, go read the rumor blogs if you have no idea. I an assure you it is not the iPhone 5 though, like one of my 8th graders pronounced today in class. Of course I don’t have any REAL knowledge, just educated guessing.

The problem with the Apple TV is that my classroom projector does not have HDMI. This means I also need an adaptor. No problem, just need more money.

Now, today though I saw all sorts of information about the Reflection app for Mac. This app allows you to mirror what is on your iPad2 or iPhone 4s to your computer. It works too! Go check out the website and watch the videos.

My question to those of you who have an Apple TV already is how does it compare in real life? $99 vs $15



Lion Secrets (OK -Sweet, non-Obvious Features)

There are so many major improvements in Lion that everyone is talking about. There are also many little things behind the scenes that are really great that people are not talking so much about. Here are a few I think are just wonderful features that I know I will be using….

Screen Saver interaction – I have enjoyed watching pictures fly by in my screen saver – in fact sometimes I let it run during band rehearsal too, the students get a kick out of seeing themselves float by. Of course we have an understanding that if the pictures prove to be disruptive that the pics will go away. It’s fun to watch the students reaction to those pictures – they constantly surprise me. The new feature though is a welcome one. I have many times wished I could pause the screen saver or go back a picture and see it one more time. Now we can! Simply hit the space bar while the pictures are on the screen and there are three controls that pop up – a left/right arrow to go backwards or forwards in the pictures and a play/pause button.

Digital Signatures in Preview and Annotations– This app just became way more useful with Lion. The annotations have many more options than I have ever noticed. In fact I will actually use them now! The best addition though has to be the Capture Signature feature! It is pretty well hidden and if you did not know about it you very well will miss it! Load up a PDF, go to the view menu and select Show Annotation Toolbar (Shift, Command A). Then you will probably need to take a look at this screen shot….
 See the green arrow? That is where you find the signature tools. You will need to write your name with a BLACK pen on a real piece of paper, click on the little arrow next to the S with a line under it which will then pop up the menu you see in this screen shot. Select the Create Signature option – follow the instructions and soon you will have your very own, handwritten signature in digital format! After the camera takes a snapshot you will simply click on the PDF where you would like your signature to appear, resize and you’re done!

The red box and green arrow are a few of the other tools found in the annotation toolbar now. Along with speech/thought bubbles, text, highlighting, adding comment sticky notes on the side, and even creating hyperlinks to a different page or the internet!

Built-in Dictionary – You are going to have to decide, as am I, if the new auto-correct feature in Lion is going to be something we love or hate. But I do absolutely like the ability to tap with two fingers on a word to bring up this menu….

a three finger tap brings up this menu – and I especially like the fact that Apple decided to give me immediate feedback that what I have done actually is working by turning the word yellow!

I hope you enjoy these little tidbits. Leave comments about your “secret” features and we will I am sure appreciate yours as well!

Lion – Mission Control and App Exposé

All right! I figured it out! It only took me 24 hours but I got it!
In Lion I could NOT figure out how to see all the windows open in a specific app. Last night I figured out that I could call up Mission Control with a 3 finger swipe up then if I had for instance 6 different Keynotes open I could do d 2 finger swipe up on top of keynote while in MC and all those 6 files would spread apart somewhat. Not far enough to really see what was on each keynote though unless it happened to be one of the front ones. TONIGHT I dug into the system pref’s and wen to TrackPad settings in there under More Gestures you have to enable App Exposé!

Not only does this give you what you would expect from Exposé but now you also get to select from a list of recently opened documents too! This could prove useful and maybe not depending on how concerned you are about security issues. There is probally a way to change how many recent docs any given app will see.

I do know that I am having issue smattering the Show Desktop gesture. Not sure why.

Here is s screen shot of App Exposé at work and a list of recent docs….