Archive for the ‘iPod’ Category

Magazines. The perfect reading material for a bathroom. Filled with short stories and articles, many of which take less than 2 minutes to read.  Sorta like most News sites’ articles on the web.  Which brings me to the recent practice of bringing iPads, other tablets or smart phones into the washroom/bathroom.  Sure its convenient, kinda, but sanitary?  Ewww no.  Not only that but just how safe is an electronic device in a wet environment like a washroom?

wr-ipadThe older iPhones/iPods for instance has a special piece of paper inside it to alert of exposure to water, well moisture really – but I’ll get to that in a minute.  This isn’t just with Apple products either, seems to be common place in one form or another in most cell phones from all manufacturers, and I’d have to assume tablets as well.  Some are using water-soluble materials, instead of materials that react and change colour.  Originally as a way of troubleshooting claims of dead or problematic phones that had actually been dropped into water, but recently Apple settled a lawsuit agreeing that moisture in the environment could give a false reading in older models.  Sweat, high humidity, sudden temperature change causing condensation, etc.  which would void the warranty.  Anyway, this begs the question, if the manufacturer is concerned with water and moisture affecting the electronics, why would anyone think its a good idea to use one in a washroom?

Aside from the possibility of coming in direct contact with water, lets face it, there is water everywhere in a washroom, there is the sanitary issue of carrying your device in there with you and then leaving with it afterwards.  (and no, before you ask, I didn’t just read a Howard Hughes biography).  Germs are everywhere in a washroom, just looking for a surface to cling to and will happily travel along with you when you go from the washroom into another room of the house.  Flushing a toilet for instance, spews bacteria into the air, which settles on every surface in the area, including your beloved tablet.

Hey, so now what about making dinner and using a recipe on that same iPad/tablet?

If you do feel the need to use your tablet in the washroom, you may want to invest in a waterproof cover, not only to protect the device, but also to make it sanitary.  Find one that can be wiped down with anti-bacterial wipes.  And please, don’t bring that same little touchscreen-petri-dish into the kitchen when preparing food.  Maybe invest in one device just for washroom use?  Seems a little extravagant perhaps, but so did indoor plumbing a hundred years ago.  Be a trend-setter and the envy of all your friends and neighbours.

I say, until Apple or some 3rd party developer comes up with disposable covers like the type you can get for public toilets, leave the tech outside of the washroom.  And maybe invest in a new toothbrush if you happen to leave that uncovered on the counter in your bathroom.  Eeewww.

barkerp

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(This is a guest post by the developer Digiarty.  From time to time I get notified of new software directly from the developer, such as below.  I don’t always have time to do the reviews myself especially when time limited contests involved, so I allow the developer to supply the info with only minor editing on my part.  After all its my blog, I get the final say.  In this case, I’ve used this program for years myself and have reviewed it previously.)

Read on…

Having jailbreak on iPhone allows me to unlock the iOS restriction so that I gain more access to iPhone. In a similar way, if you want to make full use of DVD, say, make digital DVD backups for safe storage, you need a DVD converter to bypass the copy protection and convert DVD to videos to have further edition or playback. It is truly a pleasure to be informed of the new WinX DVD Ripper Platinum and its Thanksgiving giveaway information.

The developer, Digiarty Software, has launched a giveaway in honor of (the USA) Thanksgiving holiday to provide everyone with unlimited serial keys of new WinX DVD Ripper Platinum. For a limited time period, you can grab a serial key for free and download this software from http://www.winxdvd.com/giveaway/. The giveaway is going to expire on 11/27.

Note:

  1. If you are a lucky person who got the Thanks version for free, please activate with the serial key before 11/28;
  2. If you fail to get new version of WinX DVD Ripper Platinum during Thanksgiving period, you can still enjoy it in full and final version at http://www.winxdvd.com/dvd-ripper-platinum/ (Life time technical support and update are supported)

To handle WinX DVD Ripper Platinum is not a hard task as there is already a how-to instruction on its UI that has been renewed. I can load a piece of DVD and then get conversion started quickly and easily. It almost takes a short time to complete the conversion under dual-core and I think it could be much faster as it allows 8 CPU-core maximally with rebuilt core.

What I am going to use it for? Actually I’d like to convert 1 or 2 pieces of DVD to MP4 playable on iTunes, or I may sync the output files to iPhone. A tip to make full use of it is you can select “add mp4 to iTunes library after conversion” in the “Option”. The latest version has over 300 profiles settings for almost all popular mobile phones and tablets like iPhone 5, iPad 4 and Mini, WP8, Surface RT/Pro, Samsung Galaxy SIII, etc. Apart from the portable device support, WinX DVD Ripper Platinum is capable of converting DVD to various video formats saved on hard discs for further playback, conversion, air stream with AirPlayit, edition, and so on.

Well, it is very easy for average users to handle with the basic instruction. If you request for more outstanding performance from the output files, I think WinX DVD Ripper Platinum will meet your needs as well. But the premise is that you have to get familiar with the advanced settings. You can set the tags, adjust video bitrate, switch audio channel, change display language, clip segment and so on to balance the output files before you start conversion. By the way, you can also extract audio files from DVD saved as MP3 or AAC to create some music.

Summer for me is a busy time. Seems like the days are full from the sun coming up to when it goes down with very little time to do anything but try and stay ahead of all the chores.

For kids, at least for mine, it seems to be a time to goof off and do very little except maybe recharge, relax and sleep in often.  Thankfully it only lasts about 2 months or I fear mine would turn into gelatinous masses before school started again.  Speaking of back to school, that’s what an email I received a couple of days ago reminded me of, only a few more weeks and those little couch-potatoes will be trying to get back into the routine of getting up and living on a schedule like the rest of us.

My friends over at Digiarty are doing their best to give us an easy way to rip some of those DVDs & BluRays to our portable devices in order to help pass the time in the car as we all squeeze in those last family trips this summer.  This one is for both Mac users and Windows users who want to rip media from DVDs or BluRays to formats that work with your iDevices.

As always, their software, which i’ve reviewed numerous times over the years, is very user friendly, self-explanatory, very fast (about 45 mins to rip a standard length BluRay movie) and very capable.  In short it is just a pleasure to use, but like all good things the giveaway is time-limited and only lasts until the end of August.  Don’t be confused by the name either, this software isn’t just to rip to iPads, it also rips to iPods, iPhones and AppleTVs. (check if out here)

Now getting back to what I mentioned in the title of this blog, there is a little potential slip from the developer that excited me a little.  In the email it stated … “This DVD ripper can rip both protected and regular DVDs to iPad (even iPad mini), iPhone, iPod, Apple TV with high quality. It works well on Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion/Tiger/Leopard/Snow Leopard.”

even iPad mini” – sounds like a definitive answer to whether or not we will be seeing a smaller format iPad soon doesn’t it.  So don’t wait, go grab your copy of the software while the getting is good, its free and you’ll be ready for your new iPad mini when it comes out this fall.

tcg.

I’ve been using TvMobili for a while now to get digital media off my Mac wirelessly to my DNLA TV, (even wrote a blog post about it here) that is until it started acting up last week and either not connecting or not letting me see my media.  Seems to be related to the amount of media being shared due to a cap on the free monthly allotment, although i’m certain I haven’t streamed that much and only on my own home network.  Something goofy with the way it is monitoring streaming i think, or possibly the fact it seems to be always running in the background regardless if anyone is actually watching anything.

An email to the developer got me the answer.  It doesn’t matter if you are streaming over the web or on your home network, the cap is the same: 10GB per month is free.  It’s no problem as long as you don’t mind shelling out some cash to share you media if you go over that.  Me, I’m not digging that idea, last thing I want is another monthly expense, especially when it comes to watching my own media on my own devices over my own network.  There is the option of shelling out a one time fee of $30, but thats a bit too steep as far as i’m concerned.

Along comes Twonky. It’s not free either, but I’ll get to that in a little bit.  Aside from the silly name, I really wasn’t sure what I needed to install since the website leaves a little to be desired, but throwing caution to the wind and grabbing the TwonnkyManager App was the right call. http://www.twonky.com/

First things first, the install is one that seems to put “stuff” everywhere.  Not very Mac-like in that respect, since we mac-users are used to the program being self-contained and only having preferences to worry about other than the main file.  That being said, using the default settings and letting the installer do its job resulted in an install that just works right out of the box.  No silly settings to guess at, no tweaking of ports on the router, easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. (yeah, not sure where that came from, too many kids shows being watched on tv perhaps?)

Within minutes of installing, I had changed the default “shared” folders (it shares your user/movies, user/photos and user/ music by default) to those I wanted to actually share and had connected my AllShare-capable TV to the TwonkyManager and was watching a TV show wirelessly with no streaming issues, no jittering and no fuss.

start/stop/settings

One of the great things is the ability to easily shut down the TwonkyManager too.  Just click on the icon in the menu bar and select Stop Twonky 7.0.  Thats a feature I like since, as mentioned previously, TvMobili seemed to stay running all the time whether I was actively using it or not, and due to that it seemed to want to connect to my TV whenever it was in its proximity resulting in an annoying pop-up on the corner of the TV screen.

There is a Free app for iPhone/iPod/iPad that allows you to control and connect to your Twonky library remotely and select where to present the media.  Basically you can use your phone to tell Twonky to play a video on your TV.  In theory you can also play the same media on your iDevice but that function is no working for me.  Something not quite right in the setup.  I just keep getting the message “unable to start playback”.  This might be a function of the fact I have not registered or purchased the server program running on my Mac either.  It might only work with a fully licensed version and I’m still just testing it out before buying.

The TwonkyManager which is the server software is a paid program.  $19.95 which is better than TvMobili, but still, not quite the free solution I was hoping for.

So far its working like a charm mostly, although, so was TVMobili for a while too, so we’ll see how this solution fares in the coming weeks.  I’ll be giving it a good workout since being at home in the summer with kids we tend to want to share more media around the house, especially into the basement to beat the summer heat.

Now if I can just train the dog to bring me a beer down here…

tcg.

A while back I got this email from Apple about the Apple Nano replacement program and in checking into it found out we did indeed have one of these 1st gen Nanos in our house, buried in a desk drawer unused for years, thankfully not bursting into flames.

The process was simple.  Check the serial number on Apple’s website (here if you want) and if you do indeed have one of these wee beasties, fill out the necessary info to get a shipment box sent to you.  As I said, we did, so we did, and low and behold within a few days an empty box arrived to ship the “defective” Nano back to Apple in.

I’d almost forgotten about the poor little firestarter until an email hit my inbox telling me a replacement had been shipped, and gave me a serial number.  I of course popped over to Apple’s support website and pasted that serial number in to see what they were sending back.  (https://selfsolve.apple.com/agreementWarrantyDynamic.do) As it turned out, they were replacing the 6-year-old Nano with a brand new 6th generation model.  Sweet!

the serial number showed me what was being sent back

Within days the box arrived with the new Nano in it, no fancy packaging, just a simple plastic bag and foam packing inside the same box I had sent in a few weeks earlier.  I’d seen the latest Nano before of course, but never really thought much about them.  I mean, we all either have iPod touches or iPhones in our house, what do we need a tiny little iPod for as well?  I couldn’t be more wrong.

First impression of this little easily misplaced idevice? Two words:  I want.

The clock function of this thing is the part that made me go “ooohh” at first, thinking that with one of the numerous optional wristbands it would be cool to have a watch with so many different faces that you could change on a whim to match your mood, but once I spent a couple of minutes playing with it and seeing what else it could do, it was quickly evident this wasn’t a one-trick pony.

8 gig of storage for music and apps (you can also get a 16 gig version, but the replacement we got was an 8), a handy and very sturdy clip to let you take this thing with you anywhere without the worry of it falling out of your pocket (again, sorry iPhone, i didn’t mean to drop you so many times) and a battery life that should last you all day.  The cool little feature of being able to change the audio to mono for those times you want to listen with only one ear (like when jogging for instance, maybe even while using the Nike Fitness app that comes standard on it), and the built-in radio tuner so you won’t miss hearing some of the new music you will want to buy later from iTunes, the list goes on and on.  Quite an impressive list of features built into something the size of a pack of matches.

All in all, I think Apple stepped up and did the right thing, and in doing so got a lot of good karma from it.  Not to mention potentially driving up sales of the latest iPod Nano.  My guess is that there will be a few of these things floating around our house in the next couple of months. For birthdays, Mother’s day, heck even Father’s day if i can hold out that long.  Come to think of it they are made in China, so maybe it would be a good thing to buy myself for Chinese New year since that’s only a couple of weeks away.

Now if only I could get my 9-year-old car replaced with a new model for free.  Of course, it would need a really, really, large RMA box.

tcg