academiPad http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad iPad, Mac and web apps for academics Sun, 16 Mar 2014 16:46:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 Get 22GB of free cloud storage with Copy http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/2013/05/22/copy-free-cloud-storage/ http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/2013/05/22/copy-free-cloud-storage/#comments Wed, 22 May 2013 20:58:06 +0000 Jo http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/?p=2782 Have you maxed out your Dropbox folder? Is your Google Drive filled up? No need to buy more cloud storage! Just check out Copy, a new online storage service which gives you 20GB of free cloud storage in three easy steps: Sign up for Copy's free plan by following this link. Validate your email address [...]

This post originally appeared on academiPad.com. Please visit academiPad for the original post, which might be updated or improved. Copyright 2010-2012 . All rights reserved.

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Have you maxed out your Dropbox folder? Is your Google Drive filled up? No need to buy more cloud storage! Just check out Copy, a new online storage service which gives you 20GB of free cloud storage in three easy steps:

  1. Sign up for Copy's free plan by following this link.
  2. Validate your email address
  3. Install the Copy app on at least one computer or mobile device

And done! On top of Copy's 15GB free online storage, you and I both got topped up with another 5GB because you signed up via my link. Just because – how great is that?

Get free cloud storage here

One moment, didn't I say 22GB? Yes, I did. In order to scoop up two more free GB of cloud storage, simply go to the online File Browser on Copy's webpage. Copy has a little tour there for you to show you around, and the first step asks you to tweet about this awesome new service. Yeah, I am not too proud to tweet for free storage space. One moment later my account grew to 22GB – free storage, forever.

Tweet about Copy's cloud storage service for an additional 2 GB

Once you got your inital free 22GB, you can earn an additional 5GB of cloud storage for everybody else you invite to Copy. Just keep spreading the word, because for a limited time, Copy is handing out extra space for every new signup. Both for the new person who signed up, and for the person who referred the new member. This is how I got my first extra 5GB – thanks to the wonderful Mr. Pete Brown from @iLearnDifferent. Pete also happens to share great information on twitter, so please check him out.

Earn 5GB extra free space with Copy's referral program

 

Is Copy’s cloud better than Dropbox or Google Drive?

Now that you have all that free cloud storage space, is it any good? Yes it is.

Obviously Dropbox and Google Drive have something of a lead when it comes to how many apps have integrated these cloud storage services, but Copy comes with a couple of features that make me think that it will catch up soon.

First of all, Copy offers a lot more free space right from the start. Dropbox's 2GB and even Google Drive's 5GB look dwarfish next to Copy's 15GB or, if you read this in time to benefit from its referral promotion, 20GB of free space.

And if you are running out of space, becoming a paying customer with Copy is a much better value than Dropbox or Google Drive. For $10 per month, Copy gives you 250GB. At Google Drive, the same money only buys you only 200GB, and Dropbox tails the list with only 100GB.

 

Don't let shared files eat up your cloud storage

Another important issue in which Copy excels is its "Fair Storage" feature. Instead of counting data in shared folders against all members’ individual storage quotas, Copy allows users to “split the bill” and control which files count against their cloud storage capacity. As a result, other people's files won't eat away from your free storage, and vice versa. What does it mean? You can finally share images from your last vacation totally guilt free.

Here's a video that explains Copy's "Fair Storage for All" feature in more detail:

 

 

Other great features include easy file sharing options, versioning / history of files, and having more than one email associated with your account. Especially the versioning control is priceless! While writing a journal article, you can go back and open a previous draft and recover that one paragraph you kicked out because it didn't seem to fit.

In short: Copy is packed with features and looks very promising.

 

Clean web interface

Copy has a very clean web interface that lets you easily browse your files. You drill down through the file structure via multiple planes, and it is very easy to find your way around.

Unfortunately, I haven't found a way yet to change the file structure from within the web interface. I hope that this feature will be added soon.

 

Copy is tightly integrated with your computer and mobile devices

For me, a cloud storage service must be tightly integrated with my other devices – otherwise I am not even bothering signing up. Luckily, Copy supplies you with apps for Mac/PC/Linux and your mobile devices (iOS and Android) that let you access your files seamlessly without the web interface. Like Dropbox, Copy does a fantastic job of integrating the cloud into your local machine.

On your Mac, you can access your files on the Copy cloud in the Finder. And via the context menu, you can look up a file's history and share it publicly or privately. Last, you can re-arrange the file structure, as you would of course expect from any other folder on your Mac.

Copy tightly integrates the cloud with Mac OS

On iPhone and iPad, you can do exactly the same. In addition, the mobile app offers you quick access to recently modified files to help you staying on top of your files. This is a really great feature when you are sharing article drafts with a co-author!

 

Ownership and Safety

When it comes to its Terms of Service, Copy is pretty straightforward: All the data you upload to Copy’s cloud remains your property:

When you use the Product, you agree that Copy may duplicate and store your data, information, files and folders in accordance with Copy’s policies and these Terms. As between You and Copy, all information You provide to Copy remains your property.

However, take note that while a cloud storage service offers you some security against loss of data when your computer crashes, Copy is not a backup service (but neither is Dropbox or Google Drive).

You are responsible for maintaining and protecting your data in Copy and Copy is not responsible for any loss or corruption to your files or information or for backing up such information.

In most cases, your data should be safe when being stored on a cloud server. However, cloud services do not assume responsibility for your data unless they operate as an explicit cloud back-up service such as SugarSync or CrashPlan. You can read more about securing against a crash here.

https://twitter.com/academiPad/status/337572646571089920

Get Copy and start spreading the word

Copy is the new kid on the cloud storage block, and this is your chance of cashing in big time. Its feature set is very convincing, and you won't regret signing up for the free 22GB.

And once you start, why would you stop? Share your own sign-up link with friends and family to get even more space. Because Copy is so new, hardly anybody has signed up yet – and who turns down a free cloud storage drive that is larger than the storage on most people's phones!? But act fast, because the extra 5GB promotion is running only for a limited time.

Invite your friends to Copy's cloudIn order to share a sign-up link with other people, just click on your name in the right upper corner in Copy's web interface and select "Invite someone to copy". It really works: I am with Dropbox for five years now, and through various tricks and conincidences I manage to rack up 23.2GB of free space. I know about Copy for roughly five hours, and I already accumulated 27GB – for free, forever.

Just remember the three steps that need to be completed for bonus space:

  1. Sign up for Copy's free plan by following this link.
  2. Validate your email address
  3. Install the Copy app on at least one computer or mobile device

Get free cloud storage here

Actually, there is a fourth step now: Create your own referral link and share the good news. Happy cloud storage partying!

Join the free 5GB party with Copy

 

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links.

This post originally appeared on academiPad.com. Please visit academiPad for the original post, which might be updated or improved. Copyright 2010-2012 . All rights reserved.

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Use Diigo to annotate and organize the web http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/2013/05/21/diigo-annotate-organize-websites/ http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/2013/05/21/diigo-annotate-organize-websites/#comments Tue, 21 May 2013 12:46:02 +0000 Jo http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/?p=2738 Do you sometimes wonder how people were doing research in the pre-internet age? I do this quite often, and do you know what I am thinking right after? How the hell did I do research on the web before I knew about Diigo?!! Diigo is one of my core information management tools. Some people call [...]

This post originally appeared on academiPad.com. Please visit academiPad for the original post, which might be updated or improved. Copyright 2010-2012 . All rights reserved.

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Do you sometimes wonder how people were doing research in the pre-internet age? I do this quite often, and do you know what I am thinking right after? How the hell did I do research on the web before I knew about Diigo?!!

Diigo is one of my core information management tools. Some people call it a social bookmarking service, but it is far more than that. With Diigo, you can:

  • Highlight text on webpages in up to four colours
  • Add comments to your highlights
  • Add floating sticky notes to record your own thoughts
  • Save bookmarks and organize them via tags in your Diigo database
  • Save webpages into Diigo's Read Later list
  • Add a description to remind you why you saved this particular bookmark
  • Save the entire webpage into your Diigo database via its Cache function
  • Share your annotations and bookmarks with the world, or with colleagues via lists and groups.

In short, Diigo is an amazing tool for knowledge workers to annotate, archive and organize the web – either for yourself or in collaboration with others. And as an educator, you even get a free upgrade to a Diigo Education account with unlimited highlighting. Cha-ching!!

Diigo - highlighting and annotate the web

If this sounds like a lot of features for no money, you are absolutely right. In this post, I am telling you what I use Diigo for and what setup (browser, apps) work best for me. So if you haven't heart about Diigo before, this post is absolutely for you. And if you are already a Diigo fan like me, keep reading: I am sharing some cool tweaks in the settings menu that make Diigo even more awesome.

 

What I am using Diigo for

Diigo is an incredible versatile tool and will help you with most of your needs. For some, this might include sharing their bookmarks and annotations, or exploring what other people are saving into their Diigo library. However, I am not really using Diigo for discovery and sharing. Maybe I should, but I believe that services that are linked in with twitter, facebook and pinterest are much more suited for this. Simply because they are more widely used. However, your milage might vary, especially if you invest some time into building your social network with other people on Diigo (see my upcoming post on Diigo for power users – coming soon).

I am using Diigo foremost in "private" mode: as my own personal internet library. Call me anti-social if you like, but I am not a big fan of people knowing what I am highlighting, Since these are often related early research interests of mine, I want to rather keep my highlights under the covers. Diigo lets me keep my stuff private, which is great.

So what can you use Diigo for?

 

Use Example 1: Building your Knowledge Database

Whenever I am reading an article that I think might be helpful sometimes later, it goes straight into my Diigo database.

It might be about a phenomenon that I am interested in exploring with future research, or something I want to write about on academiPad some day. I quickly highlight passages that are most relevant, which automatically adds this page to my database. In addition, I assign some tags so that I can easily find this page when I am coming back to the topic.

Diigo saving bookmark with tags

Diigo will recommend some tags based on the content of the webpage, and it also remembers what tags you used last time when saving a bookmark. But it gets more awesome: In Chrome, Diigo also suggests previously used tags when you start typing. That's pretty cool, and a good reason why to use Chrome as your primary browser. I will discuss some more differences between Diigo in Chrome and Firefox further down.

 

Use Example 2: Read it later

One thing I am trying to push myself to is to do one task at a time. I call this mono-tasking. As a grad student, nobody except myself monitors my time or what I am doing with it. And in order to not fall into the rabbit hole of reading one story after another, I save articles I am coming across during the day in Diigo's Read Later folder.

There is a custom bookmark that lets me do this nice and easy, or you can use the menu in the Chrome extension / Firefox toolbar. As a third alternative, you can add pages to your Read Later list via the context menu.

At the end of the day, or whenever I have time to catch up, I can visit my Read Later list either from the Mac or on my iPad via the free Diigo Browser.

Check further down for some extra tips on how to make adding and accessing stuff in your Reading List even easier.

 

Use Example 3: Primary research with Diigo

Because Diigo can cache webpages, it is also a great tool to do primary research. Caching a webpage basically means that you save its current state to the database. So even if the webpage changes or goes offline some day, you will still have the exact same webpage to work with as when you saved it.

Obviously, this is really important when webpages are a primary data source for your research, for example when you are conducting a content analysis on a discussion board or a visual analysis of a corporate webpage.

Highlighting and assigning tags to cached webpages are great tools to analyze this data for your research. However, if you are planning to use Diigo for primary research, you will probably need the Premium Plan ($5/month or $40/year) to unlock unlimited page caching and screen captures.

Are you liking Diigo so far? Please retweet and read on, there is more to come (look, it rhymes!):

 

Setting up Diigo for optimal performance

In this section I describe what different tools I am using with Diigo on both Mac and iPad. The short version is: Use Chrome on the Mac to leverage the power of extensions, and use the free Diigo Browser on your iPad to take your Read Later list to bed.

 

On the Mac: Chrome vs. Firefox

I was on the fence what browser I should use for quite some time. While Safari isn't the best browser anyways, its almost complete lack of Diigo tools broke the straw for me; nowadays you will hardly find me on Safari.

Both Firefox and Chrome have decent support for Diigo. Spoiler alert: I find the integration with Chrome slicker and more comprehensive (Google search support), and this is why I adopted Chrome as my primary browser. Let's look into the differences in a little bit more detail, because there are a couple of settings that can make your Diigo experience even more awesome.

Firefox has an advantage in that the Diigo add-on installs a toolbar that gives you instant access to all Diigo features. So if you prefer to have all options clearly laid out, Firefox is a better browser for you – at least when it comes to Diigo.

Chrome, on the other hand, operates via an extension button and a somewhat less cluttered (but also less comprehensive) floating menu for annotating webpages. It still offers most functions, and in my opinion Diigo looks a little bit more polished on Chrome.

In practice, however, you don't really have to worry about all of this, because both browsers let you easily highlight text by simply selecting it with your mouse and then choosing the "Highlight" text/symbol. This is how it looks like in Chrome:

Diigo Highlighting in Chrome

 

Optimize the settings to make Diigo even more awesome

For things like easy highlighting and tagging, you have to tweak the settings a little. In Firefox, this looks like this:

Diigo Settings Firefox

On the right side of the picture above (click to enlarge), the "private" as default checkbox is an important one you might want to enable, depending on your own taste of how much transparency is too much. Another great feature to enable in the "Toolbar and Menus" tab (left side) is the second checkbox, "Show drop-down menu when text is selected". I highly recommend to enable this, because it makes annotating so much faster.

In Chrome, the settings look like this:

Diigo Settings Chrome

The first checkbox in the "Bookmarking" box and the second checkbox in the "Enable annotations…" box do the same as in the Firefox version shown above. Also, note that the very handy "Keyboard Shortcuts" are also available in Firefox; you will find them in the "Miscellaneous" tab.

There are a couple of features though in the Diigo for Chrome settings that you won't find in Firefox, and this is the reason that Chrome became my browser of choice. You heart right: Google's Chrome, not Apple's Safari, is my default browser, and I don't even use Gmail! All because of Diigo, this is how much I am a fan of this web annotation service.

 

Read Later: This is where Google Chrome really shines

There are two Diigo features in Chrome that sealed the deal for me: First, you can set Diigo to automatically close a tab or window that you have sent to your Read Later list. This only works when using the right click context menu or the extension button, not with the Read Later Bookmark that you can place in your Bookmark Bar.

Unfortunately, Chrome groups context menu commands for the same extension in a folder, so the Read Later command is a little bit tucked away in the context menu. I know this counts as a first world problem, but if you want a slightly easier way to add pages to your Read Later list, another Diigo-enabled Chrome extension called Read Later Fast is ideal for you. It adds its own, more accessible context menu command, and you can also set a keyboard shortcut for sending tabs to your Read Later list.

So how fantastic is this? All I have to do is to hit "Control + Shift + L" (customizable), and PUFF! – the tab I was just on is closed and safely tucked away in my reading list.

Read Later Fast also has its own reading interface in Chrome, which is more lightweight than Diigo but obviously lacks Diigo's tacking functionality. However, I go through my Read Later list most of the time on the iPad – see below.

 

Get quick access to your Diigo database when googeling on Chrome

The second, more important reasons why Chrome is the best browser when it comes to Diigo is because you can integrate your Diigo library with all your Google searches. I highly recommend to keep the two checkboxes in the "Search" box of the settings enabled. Whenever you search something in Google, you will be notified if anything that matches your search query already exists in your Diigo library.

There is a little delay that sometimes irritates me (because I am already clicking on the first line and then the window changes and I click on Diigo instead), but having such a convenient way to know that you already have something similar in your library is well worth it.

So go on, install the Diigo extension on your (now) favourite Google Chrome browser, and make the web your own.

 

On the iPad

The iPad is a little bit Diigo's Achilles heal. Why I am a huge fan of Diigo's web services, the folks over at Diigo are excruciating slow when it comes to rolling out decent companion apps for iPad and iPhone. Your best choice is to totally ignore the Diigo for iPad and Diigo for iPhone apps for now.

But that doesn't mean that Diigo has nothing to offer for you iPad user:

First, you can install Diigo's Web Highlighter for iPad Safari to get the exact same web annotation and organizing functionality onto your portable device. What it does is adding a little bookmark into Safari on iPad (or another browser on the iPad). Tapping on this bookmark will bring up what is called the "Diigolet": a small tool for highlighting and tagging webpages not unlike what you are getting in Chrome.

 
Diigo on Safari iPad

I totally recommend doing that. It requires a few steps, but the linked webpage above does a good job explaining what to do. And it is always good to have the option to quickly tag some webpage while browsing on iPad's Safari.

One problem with this Safari-addition is that you won’t see any annotations on a previously bookmarked page until you display the Diigolet. And once you jump to the next page, the Diigolet is gone and you have to display it again in order to keep highlighting. For me, this is way too effortful. It’s still good to have the Diigolet installed to have it ready when you need it, but in my opinion, using the Diigo Browser as your default browser is the by far better option.

 

Diigo Browser might very well be your only browser on iPad

Second, you have to check out Diigo's other free app: Diigo Browser (iTunes link). It might take you a little while to get used to this browser, but after a while you will find that it is an amazing app. Heck, it might very well replace Safari on my iPad altogether.

As you would expect, Diigo Browser tightly integrates with Diigo and lets you easily highlight and annotate webpages. Like in iBooks, Papers or Sente, simply select text and choose "Highlight" or "Note" to annotate this passage. I haven't found a way to change the highlighting colour or to add sticky notes that float around on the webpage. It would be nice if this functionality was added some time, but its not a deal breaker, especially since Diigo Browser is free anyways.

 
Diigo Browser on iPad

And there is a lot of more stuff why Diigo Browser might easily replace Safari on your iPad: Incognito mode, MultiTouch Options, Desktop Browser mode, and, drumroll… Ad Blocking!

Again, Diigo Browser might take a little time to get used to, but it is so feature packed that it is well worth an extended try-out phase. If you like Diigo, and you will like Diigo if you are into information management, this app is a jewel.

 

Start Diigo today, and make the web your own

Diigo is an amazing platform for organizing the web. Getting started with Diigo is really simple, but once you dive deeper into its sharing and collaboration functions its getting complicated pretty soon. You are not alone in this: I will talk in upcoming posts about how Diigo fits into your overall information management workflow and what tricks Diigo power users can use, so make sure to follow academiPad via email, RSS, twitter and/or facebook.

But try it out for anything between 5 minutes and a week, and I am sure you will agree with me: Diigo is one of the best information management tools out there. If I could use only one web app until the end of my days (or the end of the internet – whatever comes first), I would choose Diigo.

 
Disclaimer: All images by academiPad.

This post originally appeared on academiPad.com. Please visit academiPad for the original post, which might be updated or improved. Copyright 2010-2012 . All rights reserved.

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Seven simple tricks to impressively speed up slow iPads http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/2013/05/08/speed-up-slow-ipad/ http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/2013/05/08/speed-up-slow-ipad/#comments Wed, 08 May 2013 11:49:30 +0000 Jo http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/?p=2709 Remember the day when you took your iPad out of its box for the first time? How fast it ran? How snappy it was? Yeah, those were the days. For me, these days are long over; I am still rocking a first gen iPad that is getting a little old after more than three years [...]

This post originally appeared on academiPad.com. Please visit academiPad for the original post, which might be updated or improved. Copyright 2010-2012 . All rights reserved.

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Remember the day when you took your iPad out of its box for the first time? How fast it ran? How snappy it was? Yeah, those were the days. For me, these days are long over; I am still rocking a first gen iPad that is getting a little old after more than three years of great use. But why upgrade when it still works? In this post, I am sharing 7 simple tricks how you can speed up your iPad (and iPhone) to squeeze some more life out of it.

I am not pretending that this will make your old iPad act like a new one. There are some physical limits on what an older model can do. But I can tell you this: These seven tricks transformed my iPad from “a pain to use” to “reasonably fast”. In my books, this is a huge win, because I am able to wait out another entire iPad generation before upgrading.

I know what you are thinking: You have seen posts like this before, so how is this one different? Well, because I actually took the time and researched it. And guess what: what most people will tell you about how to speed up your iPad – closing apps and rebooting the device – will in most cases not help a bit.

Speed up slow iPad

Is your iPad running slow? Check out these seven simple tips to impressively speed up your iPad.

 

How to NOT speed up your iPad

You have heart this before: close down apps in the multitasking bar and restart your iPad in order to speed it up. Although virtually every “speed up list” out there will tell you to fiddle around in the multitasking list, your efforts will not result in any long-lasting improvements. Often, nothing will even change in the short term.

The idea that closing all apps in the multitasking bar would free up massive resources in working memory is just a myth. You can read my more detailed post in order to get the full picture, but trust me on this: Generally speaking, it is not worth your effort.

There are a few exceptions: Apps that perform background tasks (pretty much limited to email apps, GPS apps, active music apps, Skype and other VoIP apps) can be closed down via the multitasking bar in order to free up working memory. And of course, if an app constantly crashes, closing it manually or rebooting your device can help. You can get the full info in my original post.

For all other apps: relax. There is really no need to micro-manage your multitasking bar – iOS is doing this just fine.

The other tip you read everywhere is of the “kill ‘em all” variant: Completely wipe your iPad and do a fresh install of iOS (see step-by-step instructions here). I don’t think this is a good way to speed up your iPad. First of all, it will take you much longer than following my seven tips described below. And second, you probably revert back to the old sluggishness in no time if this is all you do. Again, your efforts would be (soon) wasted.

 

Things to do on a regular basis

Following the seven tips described below are much more important to keep your iPad speedy. I tried them out with my first-gen iPad, and it is much snappier now! And even if you are working with a newer model – give them a try! It’s always good to do a little spring cleaning session once in a while.

 

Tip 1: Update to latest iOS

Updating the firmware is always a good idea in order to get the latests features and security fixes. For updating your iOS, just go to the General tab in Settings and tap on Software Update on the right side. The device will check if a new iOS is available, and if so, will guide you through the process.

 

Tip 2: Delete not-needed apps

This tip is only relevant when you hardly have any disk space left – and I mean really no disk space left. Something in the order of less than 1 GB.

In order to find out how much space you have left, go to the General tab in Settings and tap on Usage on the right side. Give it a second, it’s going to space (no, it doesn’t, I just needed an excuse to share Louis CK with you), and after a short moment you see how much storage you have available / used.

Capacity used on iPad 64 GB after two years

If you still have a GB or so available, don’t worry – you are good. Only if you are really running out of space, you can go through this list and see what hardly used apps gobble up all your storage space. That’s the guy who gets deleted first.

This is for music lovers: If you are anyhow like me, your music library probably takes up a large part of your storage space. I ran into acute problems with that on my iPhone. My solution wasn’t cutting down on music – no way! Instead, I started a music subscription with rdio. Since rdio requires a monthly fee this is not the cheapest solution, but it is a way better value than buying devices with higher storage capacities. You can read the full story on how I decided on how much storage I need on my iPad here.

But back to the current topic: When you are running out of storage capacity, deleting some bigger apps or switching to a music subscription can speed up your iPad.

 

Tip 3: Clear browser cache

Your browser cache is another place where you can reclaim some storage space, which might result in slight speed improvements.

Whenever you visit a webpage, Safari will automatically save its content in its memory cache. The idea is that it will be faster to re-visit a webpage, but over time the browser cache fills up to an extent that it can slow down your browsing experience.

So from time to time, it makes sense to “bring out the trash”. Clearing the browser cache is something worth doing once every few weeks or months – depending on how much you are browsing around.

In Settings, find Safari on the left side and tap on Clear Cookies and Data on the right site. Affirm by tapping Clear in the popup window.

Speed up iPad - Clear Browser Cache

 

Bonus tip: iMessage (iPhone)

This is a bonus tip which obviously will only work for your iPhone: Clear out old text messages. I was impressed with the results. Inserting text on my iPhone 4 got horribly slow, and this tip gave me a real speed boost.

 

Things you do once – and that work best

The above tricks are mainly about reclaiming storage space and slimming down apps to run faster. The most important thing when it comes to speeding up an aging iPad, however, is to maximize available working memory (RAM). Since the first-gen iPad is equipped with only a quarter of the RAM that is found in gen 4, freeing up RAM becomes imperative.

The next four tips tell you exactly how to maximzie working memory, so that you will enjoy a long-term speed enhancement. The good news is that these are settings which you only have to do once. Do it now, and then be done with it.

There’s one catch though: It means that you have to say good-bye to some of the latest iOS featues. I know that this is not cool, but these four simple things also offer the greatest results. And at the end, cutting down a little bit on the bells and whistles of iOS is a small price to pay when it means that I can use my device for another twelve months or longer.

 

Tip 4: Turn off notifications

This is a great but little know tip! Many apps, when first launched, ask you whether you want them to notify you about important updates and other stuff. At the time, it seemed like a good idea, but after a while you have a ton of apps that want to push notifications to you that are – let’s be honest – often not that important. Get rid of these notifications in order to free up resources.

Speed up iPad - Notifications

 
In Settings, go to Notification and clear out all the apps like in the screenshot. Don’t worry about alarm clocks – they will still wake you up. You will be also still reminded of upcoming events in iCal, provided that you have scheduled an alert.

 

Tip 5: Turn off location services

The next thing you want to turn off are location services. In Settings, go to Location Services on the left site. On the right site, you can either turn all location services off or you can decide this on a case-by-case basis.

I suggest you switch off lcoation services on a case-by-case basis, because using the “kill all” switch will also disable the “Find my iPad” service. That’s too much of a security risk.

I personally only activate location services for Safari (for local search results), weather apps (for getting the right weather), and obviously maps.

 

Tip 6: Turn off indexing

Another great way to take some burden off your iPad is to give it a break indexing content on your iPad. By default, iOS systematically goes through your contacts, applications, mails, notes, messages and much more in order to be “ready” whenever you use Spotlight Search.

Now the thing is: How often do you really need to search your emails or contacts on a global level? When I am searching for an email, I search from Mail. When I am searching for a contact, I open Contacts. The only time I really use Spotlight Search is when I am looking for an app that I can’t find in the chaos that Apple calls homescreens and folders.

If this sounds like you, then switch off Spotlight Search for all items except Applications. To do this, go to Settings, General, and then Spotlight Search on the right side to uncheck all unwanted items.

Speed up iPad - Spotlight Search

 

Tip 7: Multitasking Gestures

One more thing you can switch off are the four-fingers multitasking gestures. This is where it begins to hurt a little bit in my opinion, since it is quote convenient to circling through the last used apps via four-finger swipes to the left and right. But hey, doing a double click on the home button isn’t the end of the world, so I switched off Multitasking Gestures in the General tab of Settings.

 

More things you can do to speed up iPad

Other things that have been reported to speed up sluggish iPads are to turn off keyboard Auto-Correction and Check Spelling in the Keyboard part of the General tab. However, I don’t want to miss these features, so I left them on.

The same is true with everything iCloud related. By switching off iCloud sync you can gain some working memory back, but this would really hurt. In my experience, it’s not worth it switching this off.

 

Conclusion

These tricks really helped speeding up my aging first-generation iPad, and I didn’t even have to resort to the clean-slate, sledge-hammer, wip-it-all-and-re-install approach. My first-gen iPad is not super fast now, but it is also not super sluggish any longer. I got some more life out of it, and that’s all I wanted to achieve.

Did these tips work for you? Do you have another great idea for how to speed up a slow iPad? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

 
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links.

This post originally appeared on academiPad.com. Please visit academiPad for the original post, which might be updated or improved. Copyright 2010-2012 . All rights reserved.

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Stop wasting time closing all apps in the multitasking bar – it’s a myth http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/2013/04/23/stop-wasting-time-closing-all-apps-in-the-multitasking-bar/ http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/2013/04/23/stop-wasting-time-closing-all-apps-in-the-multitasking-bar/#comments Tue, 23 Apr 2013 22:35:29 +0000 Jo http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/?p=2679 Many people on the web, including some “Geniuses” working in Apple stores, claim that you should regularly clear out all the apps from the multitasking bar in order to speed app your iPad and to preserve battery. I will tell you a secret: it’s a myth – so save yourself the time and don’t do [...]

This post originally appeared on academiPad.com. Please visit academiPad for the original post, which might be updated or improved. Copyright 2010-2012 . All rights reserved.

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Many people on the web, including some “Geniuses” working in Apple stores, claim that you should regularly clear out all the apps from the multitasking bar in order to speed app your iPad and to preserve battery. I will tell you a secret: it’s a myth – so save yourself the time and don’t do it. There are a few exceptions in that sometimes it makes sense to close a few certain apps – this post tells you what these are.

Copernicus wasn't a great fan of superstitious beliefs - what would he have said to the "clear-the-multitasking-bar" myth?

Copernicus wasn’t a great fan of superstitious beliefs – what would he have said to the “clear-the-multitasking-bar” myth?

Manually closing all apps in the multitasking bar won’t increase the performance of your iPad or iPhone. It is a superstitious belief, like lets say, that the sun revolves around the earth. And like every good myth, believing in it makes total sense. Isn’t it obvious that the sun revolves around the Earth? We are standing here still, but the sun rises in the East and sets in the West! And isn’t it obvious that apps that are running in the multitasking bar take up resources? Its called a multitasking bar, after all, they must be doing something!

But it is a myth, and if Copernicus was still around, he would squish the regularly-close-apps-from-the-multitasking-bar myth as much as he squished the other one.

Read next: How you can really speed up a slow iPad with seven simple tricks.

At least this time, we can blame marketing. What Apple calls a multitasking bar would be much better described as “a list of recently used apps”. Some of them are running, but most of them are not. And closing an app that is not even running, well, that doesn’t make any sense and just wastes your time.

Rene Ritchie from iMore points out:

You don’t ever – never as in not ever – have to close ALL the apps in your multitasking, fast app switcher dock. It’s a sniper rifle, not a nuke. So just relax and enjoy your apps and let iOS do the heavy lifting for you.

 

Close down misbehaving apps

So how do you use this sniper rifle? First of all, an app might sometimes act up on you and randomly crash. Safari does this on me sometimes, and unfortunately does the very awesome Settlers of Catan. In such a case, you can kill that particular app by entering the multi-task bar with a double click on the home button, tap-and-hold on the misbehaving app until all apps wiggle, and then tap the little close icon in the upper left corner.

clear multitasking bar myth

 

How does multitasking work in iOS?

Besides force-closing a crashing app, there is little need to kill apps in the multitasking bar. Let me indulge you with a little bit of techtalk:

When you return to the home screen or open another app, the previous app moves from “active” to “background”. Backgrounded apps can still perform tasks, but most apps are only allowed to be executed in the “background” for 5 seconds.

Once this time is up, they are moved into a “suspended” state in which they no longer use CPU time or drain power. An app may request an additional 10 minutes of “background” running time to complete a big task (e.g., downloading RSS feeds) before becoming “suspended”.

Suspended apps do not claim CPU or battery resources. They take up some working memory (RAM), but if this is getting scarce, iOS will automatically move “suspended” apps into a “not running” state and reclaim their memory.

 

Closing certain apps can make sense – but never all of them

Only a few apps are allowed to run in the “background” indefinitely (or until they complete their task) – these are the ones you have to take care of with your “sniper rifle”. You can get the full story in this excellent post by Freiser Speirs, but here is the most important part:

All apps get 5 seconds of Background running. Some apps can request a 10-minute extension. There are a small number of apps that genuinely need to run indefinitely in the background and iOS allows this.

There are exactly five kinds of apps allowed to run indefinitely in the Background state in iOS 5:

  • Apps that play audio while in the Background state. A good example is Instacast while it’s playing a podcast.
  • Apps that track your location in the Background. For example, you still want voice prompts from your TomTom navigation app, even if another app is Active.
  • Apps that listen for incoming VOIP calls. If you use Skype on iOS, you can receive incoming Skype calls while the app is in the Background.
  • Newsstand apps that are downloading new content.
  • Apps that receive continuous updates from an external accessory in the Background.

 

What does this all mean?

What does this mean for you? Besides force-quitting crashing apps, you can also micro-manage apps that you know are allowed to indefinitely run in the background or to request a 10-minute extension. Those are primarily GPS apps or voice over iPad apps such as skype. Other apps like RSS readers and Newsstand are also allowed to remain running in the background until they have finished downloading all feeds / issues (for a maximum of ten minutes).

Thus, if you don’t think you will come back to them soon, kill these apps. If you are not waiting for a co-author to reach you on Skype, terminate it (not your colleague!). If you can play your iTunes or Rdio music from a different device, that’s what you want to do of you are short on memory or battery power.

 

Pro Tip: Shut down Mail

Some built-in apps such as Mail will run indefinitely in the background, because their task is never complete. Most people set up their email accounts to check every five minutes or so, which means that Mail will communicate with a server in short intervals, indefinitely. In other words, Mail will never transition into the “suspended” state.

Therefore, always close down Mail. Not only will you reclaim some scarce RAM resources, but it will also help you to better focus on the task at hand.

 

This myth is busted: Spend your time on more useful things

In short, don’t waste your time and effort on reguglarly closing un-used apps on your iPad and iPhone. iOS takes care of that by itself, and most apps in that list aren’t really running.

Focus on the rare occasions in which an app is acting strange, and close down Mail, Skype and active GPS and music services if you want to preserve battery life and free up RAM for other apps.

 

A message to my regular (and new) readers:

You might have noticed that academiPad was a little quiet over the last few months – teaching my first Integrated Marketing Communications course took a lot of time away. But academiPad is back, and there are some exciting news: academiPad is now active on Facebook! Please check it out, and please show your support for academiPad by liking and sharing the page on your wall. I know you are awesome – so thank you really a lot for jumping over to Facebook right now.


Check out academiPad's facebook page today

Do you like academiPad? Check out our facebook page to show your love and to participate in our community.

 

Read next: How you can speed up a slow iPad with seven simple tricks. And I give you a hint: it’s not about closing down apps in the multitasking bar ;-)

 

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links.

This post originally appeared on academiPad.com. Please visit academiPad for the original post, which might be updated or improved. Copyright 2010-2012 . All rights reserved.

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Android vs. iPad: What platform will be the long-term winner? http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/2013/04/07/android-nexus-10-vs-ipad/ http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/2013/04/07/android-nexus-10-vs-ipad/#comments Mon, 08 Apr 2013 01:53:30 +0000 Jo http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/?p=2490 Once upon a time, one tablet ruled over the post-PC world, and this tablet was called iPad. Competing Android tablets soon entered the market, but an “iPad Killer” was nowhere to be found. Life was simple. However, three years after the first iPad has been unveiled, the tablet world is rapidly shifting. Microsoft entered the [...]

This post originally appeared on academiPad.com. Please visit academiPad for the original post, which might be updated or improved. Copyright 2010-2012 . All rights reserved.

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Is the Nexus 10 Android tablet killing the iPad 4?Once upon a time, one tablet ruled over the post-PC world, and this tablet was called iPad. Competing Android tablets soon entered the market, but an “iPad Killer” was nowhere to be found. Life was simple.

However, three years after the first iPad has been unveiled, the tablet world is rapidly shifting. Microsoft entered the market with its Surface tablets, and Android powered devices such as Google’s Nexus 10 lure consumers with better hardware specs than the mother of all tablets – the iPad.

There are several detailed reviews out there that compare the iPad 4 with Google’s Nexus 10 Android tablet (see here and here), and all conclude that the Nexus is the closest competitor to the iPad. In many hardware specs, including screen resolution, the Nexus indeed outperforms the iPad! Maybe it makes you wonder: Is the iPad still the best choice for you? Maybe you can save some dollars by going for a less expensive Android tablet? (I willfully ignore the new Windows tablet for now, whose initial sales and reception were quite a disappointment.)

The “Android vs. iPad” decision is a tough call because of its long-term consequences: I don’t know about you, but I rather build and fine-tune my computing workflow only once. And the situation is even trickier when not only your own time and dollars are on the line, but when you are trying to decide what platform should be adopted for a school-wide tablet program.

I don’t pretend to have the answer here. I don’t even have an unbiased opinion, since my own workflow is heavily based on Apple’s ecosystem: I sync between my iPad and my Mac when annotating papers, organizing my tasks and notes, conceptualizing ideas, and I use all kinds of helpful iPad apps in my research and studies.

See, I am a big advocate of integrating tablets with traditional computers, which gives me a somewhat different perspective on the iPad vs. Android debate: Hardware specs are less important than you think – its the ecosystem that is all important!

 

How do iPad and Android fit into your computing ecosystem?

In my opinion, one of the most important things in understanding tablet computers is that the tablet is not meant to replace your laptop or desktop computer. At least for knowledge athletes like you.

My mom’s next (and only) computer will be a tablet, but I am sure I will continue to use both laptop and tablet computer throughout my working life. My iPad and my Mac excel in different things: I can annotate papers and design presentations on both devices, but I prefer to do the former on my iPad and the latter on my MacBook.

The most important question, thus, is not whether a tablet replaces pen & paper or your laptop, but how you can integrate a tablet with all your other digital and analogue devices in a seamless workflow.

From such an ecosystem perspective, I couldn’t care less that the Google Nexus 10 or any other Android tablet (momentarily?) outshines the iPad in terms of hardware specs and price. What company will offer the better hardware will probably change back and forth over time (based on what company updated its lineup last). I also don’t see any reasons to always upgrade to the latest model – I am still rocking my first-gen iPad! Given my slow update cycle, I also don’t care much about paying the “Apple tax”. The longevity of my iPad and the ecosystem benefits are return enough for me to justify the higher price tag.

iPad 4 vs. Nexus 10 Android tablet - Display

Google’s Nexus 10 Android tablet outperforms the iPad 4 in many hardware aspects, including screen resolution, at a cheaper price. But apps and the overall ecosystem are more important than hardware specs!

 

What ecosystem has the best long-term advantage?

When deciding between Android and iPad, the situation is relatively simple when its only about your own purchase decision. Forget about minor differences in specs and price, and just get the top of the line tablet in the ecosystem that is most closely integrated with your other computers. If you are a Mac user, I am pretty sure that this is the iPad.

Things are a little more complicated when you are in charge of outfitting your school with a tablet program, or when you are willing and able to build your own workflow from scratch (e.g., you can go either Mac or PC). But again, it is a matter of picking the best ecosystem. Minor differences in specs and price don’t matter, because the highest costs in choosing a tablet lie in the time you invest to incorporate it into your own and other peoples’ workflows.

When choosing an ecosystem from scratch – either for yourself or for your school – another important question must be asked: What eco-system is most likely to produce high quality tablet apps (now and in future) that will assist you in research, teaching and learning?

 

7 out of 10 mobile apps are developed for iOS

Great apps are not only a result of great ideas, but also of developers’ commitment to invest significant resources into the development process. It sounds very simple, but at the core, you and I enjoy great apps (on the iPad and Android tablets!) because developers decided to support its platform. When trying to forecast what ecosystem will have the best user experience over the next years to come, it is therefore important to look into developer loyalty.

Flurry is a service that tracks a massive amount of data to do exactly that. In a report from June 2012, it found that seven out of ten new project are started for iOS. That number includes both phones and tablets apps, but since Apple already has a higher amount of apps specifically designed for iPad, it is safe to assume that, at least over the next few years, the iPad will probably stay a few steps ahead of the Nexus and other Android tablets in terms of high quality tablet apps.

Developers prefer to invest their resources more in iOS apps than Android apps

 

There is a simple reason that developers prefer to focus their resources on iOS rather than Android: Return on investment. According to Flurry’s data:

“the difference in revenue generated per active user is still 4 times greater on iOS than Android. For every $1.00 a developer earns on iOS, he can expect to earn about $0.24 on Android.”

There are multiple reasons for the higher return on investment in the iOS ecosystem, and a big one is the prevalent fragmentation within the Android world. Many Android devices still run an OS that is three to four generations old, thus limiting the base of devices that can take advantage of more advanced features in apps. Worse yet, Android devices often have different screen resolution and sizes that make developing apps for Android more complicated than developing iOS apps.

The Apple world has recently become a little more fragmented as well, mostly due to the new screen size of the iPhone 5 and, to a lesser extent, due to the higher resolution of the 3rd and 4th generation iPads. However, iOS apps can be relatively easily scaled between different devices. Even the 7.9 inch iPad mini can comfortably run the same iPad apps that are developed for the original 9.7 inch screen.

 

Developers’ incentive structure suggests long-term dominance of iOS ecosystem

Flurry’s data then suggest that many developers will continue to focus their resources on Apple’s ecosystem, thereby helping Apple to defend its first-mover advantage against Android: Many high quality tablet apps will arrive first (and often exclusively) on the iPad.

In other words: the fact that Android tablets are closing in on the iPad in terms of hardware specs does not mean that Apple has lost its allure for academic users. No doubt, Android tablets (and maybe Windows tablets) will continue to gain market share, and lots of users will find that the Nexus offers a good value and tablet experience. And if this experience results from a close integration of the Nexus with the rest of their computer ecosystem, then this is a great thing!

But don’t worry about minor hardware differences between the iPad and Android tablets like the Nexus! For power users, the ability to integrate tablets with the rest of their computing ecosystem and the long-term availability of high quality tablet apps are more important than minor differences in hardware. Given the data from Flurry, it seems like Apple will continue to attract talented developers to focus their energy on producing great iPad apps. For this reason, I am feeling comfortable with my (money and time) investment into Apple – but of course, this is only my biased opinion.

 

Disclaimer: Images from gizmag, gadget review and Flurry.

This post originally appeared on academiPad.com. Please visit academiPad for the original post, which might be updated or improved. Copyright 2010-2012 . All rights reserved.

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Being a Blogger for 12 Months: A Festschrift in Honour of academiPad http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/2013/01/06/blogging-for-12-months/ http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/2013/01/06/blogging-for-12-months/#comments Mon, 07 Jan 2013 03:45:44 +0000 Jo http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/?p=2615 It has been exactly one academic year since academiPad was reborn in January 2012. On the last Sunday before university would pick up again after the holidays, I finally put a New Year’s resolution into practice: I started blogging. Just about ten days earlier I realized that, being a PhD student in Marketing, I really [...]

This post originally appeared on academiPad.com. Please visit academiPad for the original post, which might be updated or improved. Copyright 2010-2012 . All rights reserved.

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It has been exactly one academic year since academiPad was reborn in January 2012. On the last Sunday before university would pick up again after the holidays, I finally put a New Year’s resolution into practice: I started blogging.

Just about ten days earlier I realized that, being a PhD student in Marketing, I really had no excuse not to participate in this global phenomenon that so radically is reshaping consumption and marketing alike. Maybe ten years ago, it was permissible to procrastinate watching TV – after all, you had to keep in touch with advertising in order to inform your studies in marketing! But when was the last time you watched a full block of commercials? Me too. Today, in order to stay on top of what is happening in marketing, you have to participate in the creation and curation of content, in the exchange of ideas, in word of mouth, in the chatter of social media, and even in the modest gains of affiliate marketing. As a PhD student in marketing, you have to be a blogger.

Happy Birthday, academiPad!If there ever was a successful New Year’s resolution, it has to be academiPad. In the last 12 months, I published 68 articles on academiPad. Most of them I wrote myself, but I also had some help by amazing guest authors who published six articles. Thanks to all of you, and especially to my friend Bryan, who contributed with three articles. academiPad attracts a steady stream of visitors every day and had been viewed over 300,000 times in its first 12 months. I also know that many people got an iPad for Christmas: Between December 24 and 25, viewership doubled.

I also learnt a lot about blogging, social media, and the post-PC, post-Draper and post-traditional world of marketing and consumption. academiPad first moved from a free wordpress.com account to a self-hosted wordpress.org account. acdemiPad got a new design that makes finding the best articles much easier. And beyond academiPad, I expanded my online presence by blogging and curating content about my research and teaching.

As a side note: When I started academiPad, searching “Joachim Scholz” wouldn’t spit out my webpage until long past the tenth page. Today, it’s number one on google.ca and number 4 on google.com. If you want people to find you, blogging (about anything, as long as it is interesting) is a good idea.

 

A retrospective of academiPad’s first 12 months

academiPad published a number of great stories over the last 12 months. If you are new to academiPad, I am sure that you will find the following posts to be a great read:

 

What coming in the next 12 months on academiPad?

I am teaching again this year, and this made me reflect and update my teaching methodology. In my new course I am doubling down on Real World and Collaborative Learning as well as Student Empowerment.

These are refinements in my teaching philosophy, but I wouldn’t be a good academiPad host if I also didn’t come up with a couple of great digital tools that allow me put my teaching philosophy into practice. Thus, academiPad will publish some great articles about how to use iPad, Mac and especially the web for creating a Digitally Enriched Learning Environment.

I also would like to share more ideas about how to brand yourself as a researcher. I already started to tell you about QR codes, and this is just the first step. I am planning to talk a lot more about on academiPad of making designer QR codes, tips and workflows for social media, as well as content creation and curation. And of course, there are hundreds of little productivity tips and apps I want to share with you over time.

 

academiPad needs your help

There is no shortage on topics to pursue, but there is one thing you will not find on academiPad: generic and shallow content. academiPad is committed to bring you the finest articles on the web that give you an in-depth understanding of an app, workflow or device. It is written with a specific audience and purpose in mind: how to use iPad, Mac and the web in research, teaching and learning. It is based on first-hand experience and a deep understanding of what it means to be in higher education.

academiPad had a great first 12 months, and in order to have an even better second year, I need your help. I am not asking for money, but for your trust and time.

If you like academiPad, please consider to join the free updates via email, RSS or twitter.

And if you think that the information provided on academiPad would be also helpful for your students, colleagues and peers, please be so kind and spread the word about academiPad. This can be online and offline, in faculty meetings or in the classroom, on facebook or twitter. It often takes only 5 seconds (there are sharing buttons on the left side and at the bottom), and you can read more on this page if you want to help academiPad with one or five minutes of your time.

Last, you can contribute to academiPad by becoming a guest author. There are some ground rules to ensure that academiPad remains one of the best places on the web to learn about technology in higher education – its like a peer review process. The rewards are great: Your service contributes to the wider academic community and maybe you get started on (or expand) your blogging activities as well.

Thank you for all your support: page visits, comments, messages, likes, +1s, tweets, pins, talks in the hallways and even in elevators en route to conference rooms. It means a lot to me to hear you are liking academiPad!

Happy birthday, academiPad, and cheers to another 12 months!

 

This post originally appeared on academiPad.com. Please visit academiPad for the original post, which might be updated or improved. Copyright 2010-2012 . All rights reserved.

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Looking for a stylish iPad case? Check out these 9 beauties! http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/2012/12/30/stylish-ipad-case/ http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/2012/12/30/stylish-ipad-case/#comments Sun, 30 Dec 2012 23:48:49 +0000 Jo http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/?p=2574 The iPad’s sleek design is one of the main reason why I am so fond of this particular tablet. I simply enjoy a beautiful design, and I always found that a stylish iPad case can add, not distract, to the overall iPad experience. This post is a running list of beautiful iPad cases that I [...]

This post originally appeared on academiPad.com. Please visit academiPad for the original post, which might be updated or improved. Copyright 2010-2012 . All rights reserved.

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The iPad’s sleek design is one of the main reason why I am so fond of this particular tablet. I simply enjoy a beautiful design, and I always found that a stylish iPad case can add, not distract, to the overall iPad experience. This post is a running list of beautiful iPad cases that I find around the web.

TwelveSouth BookBook iPad case

Before I indulge you with my favourite iPad case designs, let me just quickly address a few points:

  • Do you need an iPad case? No, certainly not. Even if you are concerned about scratches when carrying around the iPad, a sleeve is in many cases a more economical solution that can be just as stylish. A really good place to look for unique and stylish iPad sleeves is etsy.
  • Shouldn’t you buy a smart cover or smart case from Apple? Not necessarily. In my opinion, Apple makes great hardware and software, but Apple is not an accessory company. There are plenty of more stylish (and more durable and functional) alternatives out there.
  • Do I recommend all cases in this post? I can’t. I only recommend things that I have tried out personally, and many of the cases are on this list because I would like to try them out. This post is more my personal wish list.

If you ask me for a recommendation: I personally use a Spigen leather case for my current iPad, and once I upgrade to a new iPad, I will highly consider the Spigen SGP Leinwand Leather case to carry it around (the first in this list). More likely though I will opt for a keyboard case such as the Adonit Writer Plus (the last one in this list), just because I want to use the iPad for extended writing projects.

 

Stylish iPad Case Gallery

 

SPIGEN SGP SGP09162 Leinwand Leather Case for The New iPad

Spigen SGP Leinwand leather case: Based on my experience with a previous version of this case, I can highly recommend this iPad case. Its a beautiful blend of high-tech and vintage feel. I especially like how this case does not hide away the iPad in a pocket but leaves the shorter edges exposed. Plus: The vintage look is just getting better with age.

 

The Twelve South BookBook iPad case seems to be made for scholars – especially if you are in the humanities or have any other reason to dig around in the compact shelf section of your library. This iPad case bridges the gap between the old and the new in an incredibly ingenious way, and when closed it may also keep your iPad out of the eyes of those who would like to have one but don’t want to spend money on getting one – capiche?

 

Spigen SGP Hardbook

The Spigen SGP Hardbook is a good alternative when you are less into vintage leather and more into a moleskin kind of design. This iPad case also leaves the shorter edges exposed, which gives this case a minimalist appearance.

 

You are looking for something more colourful? Check out the Speck Fitfolio iPad Case. It comes in multiple colours and patterns to give your iPad a playful, individualistic look.

 

JAVOedge Axis Case

The JAVOedge Axis iPad Case earns points both for style and function. You can choose from different patterns and colours to match the case to your style. More important, however, is that this case lets you also put your iPad into portrait mode. Why is that important? When you write with an external keyboard, for example. Writing in portrait mode is much easier on the eyes, because they don’t have to move around so much.

 

Dodo Case

I wrestled with myself whether or not to include the DODO Case here. On the one hand side, it is a really stylish iPad case that closely mimics the moleskin style, and it comes in a variety of colours and patterns. On the other hand, it adds some bulk to the iPad. Most importantly, however, is a word of caution: I bought a Dodo case as a present, but just a few months later a corner was breaking off. Replacement was a non-issue (good service), but after another year of use, 1.5 corners are gone again. Maybe thats just bad luck, I do hope so, because the feel of this iPad case is really nice.

 

PQ Contega

The Pad and Quill Contega case is very similar to the Dodo Case, except that it comes with some added functionality such as folds to use it as a stand and an extra pocket for paper. However, it is also quite a bit more expensive than the Dodo case.

 

Elago Note Leather cover

The elago Note Leather Cover is a great choice for people who like to switch fluently between digital and analogue notes. I also like the minimalist holding mechanism on the left side, which would also make it easy to take out the iPad to capture your handwritten notes via the integrated camera.

 

Adonit Writer Plus

The Adonit Writer Plus is my favourite keyboard iPad case. It is universally praised for its near Apple style keyboard and its overall clever design. I especially like that the keyboard is detachable: This allows you a more ergonomic setup, for example by propping up the iPad on a couple of books to have it on eye level while typing. Keyboard cases are really a good idea if you want to write a lot on the iPad. Check out more keyboard cases here.

 

I hope that you like these cases as much as I do. Since the prices of these things are constantly on the move (be sure to check for discounts!), I decided to not give any price details. As a rule of thumb: Non-leather iPad cases posted here are in the range of $40 to $60, and leather / keyboard cases can go up to $80-100. That’s roughly around the prices for Apple’s smart cover of the same material, but you get a lot of added style.

And functionality! If you are planning to type a lot on the iPad, Adonit’s Writer Plus is definitely a good choice. To learn more about keyboard cases, I recommend to check out these post on why the iPad can be your ultimate writing machine and how to select a keyboard case that fits with your own writing style.

In addition, you might also find other academiPad articles about screen protectors (spoiler alert: don’t get one!) and styluses for handwriting helpful.

Is your favourite iPad case missing? Please let us know in the comments! And as always: Please share this post if you liked it :)

 

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links.

This post originally appeared on academiPad.com. Please visit academiPad for the original post, which might be updated or improved. Copyright 2010-2012 . All rights reserved.

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How to use QR codes in research and teaching http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/2012/12/25/qr-code-research-teaching/ http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/2012/12/25/qr-code-research-teaching/#comments Tue, 25 Dec 2012 23:03:53 +0000 Jo http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/?p=2556 Nowadays it is hard to not see QR codes printed in advertisements, on products, and everywhere else. QR codes are one of the biggest trends in marketing right now, and you might wonder: can QR codes be of any use for academics? I say yes, and I urge you to use your own QR code [...]

This post originally appeared on academiPad.com. Please visit academiPad for the original post, which might be updated or improved. Copyright 2010-2012 . All rights reserved.

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Nowadays it is hard to not see QR codes printed in advertisements, on products, and everywhere else. QR codes are one of the biggest trends in marketing right now, and you might wonder: can QR codes be of any use for academics? I say yes, and I urge you to use your own QR code everywhere it makes sense. That is, whenever there is an opportunity to supply an offline audience with additional online information including, but not limited to, your personal webpage, a research paper that accompanies your talk, or web resources that supplement your lecture.

This post is about the basics of why, where and how to use QR codes in your research and teaching. In addition, it will also suggest a few design tweaks that allow you to blend QR codes with the surrounding context (e.g., the keynote slide or a poster). And if you invest some time you can even closely integrate a QR code with your overall self-branding efforts.

 

What are QR codes, exactly?

QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes that kind of look like somebody with severe ADD tried to paint his own chess board: A scramble of black and white squares in seemingly random order, with only three corners bringing some structure to the chaos.

QR Code

The idea behind QR codes is to link offline environments with online content via a mobile device. Most often, a QR code contains the address of a webpage that is displayed in your browser (or the QR scanning app) once you have scanned the code. However, a QR code can hold any other textual information.

A really good iPhone app for scanning QR codes this is Paperlinks (free, iTunes link): its fast, reliable and ad-free. You can also scan QR codes with your iPad (second generation and older).

 

Why and when would you use a QR code

QR codes are a great way of giving additional information about either yourself or your research and teaching portfolio. For example, I display QR codes on conference posters, on presentation slides, and on class handouts to point my audience to additional information. You can also display a QR code outside your office’s door to give people an alternative way to reach you when you aren’t there.

The great thing about QR codes is that they are super easy to make. Hence, you can provide very specific web addresses that are tailored to the task at hand. In case of presentations and general use, it might be best to link to your main webpage like I do in the example above and below. However, you can also link directly to a research project you present: I use to do this in poster presentations. In handouts for my class, I include QR codes that link to youtube videos or other additional information that students might find helpful to prepare and review the class.

One thing you should keep in mind is that QR codes are deciphered using mobile devices – most often phones. If you link to your webpage via a QR code, it would be nice if your webpage is readable on a small screen (look up “responsive design” in a search engine for learning more about that). I admit that academiPad doesn’t use a responsive design right now (shame on me!), but my main research page does. Go and scan the barcode with your phone, and you will see a different layout as if you visited my research page on your Mac.

 

How do you make a QR code?

There are plenty of online and offline tools to make your own QR code. On the mac you can use QREncoder (free, App Store link), and on the web you can use this free QR code service from RACO industries. Creating the actual QR code is dead simple: You specify the information the code should provide (e.g., a web address such as http://www.joachim-scholz.com) in the “Content” or “Properties” box and tell the app or webpage to create your barcode.

 

QR codes are ugly, are they not?

The only problem with QR codes is that by default they are not a piece of beauty. The standard black on white design has a very functional appearance that might conflict with your overall design and branding efforts.

A very simple step to mitigate this problem is to change the color scheme of your QR code, so that the box with the code blends in with its environment. On the Mac, your can use the pre-installed “DigitalColor Meter” to inspect and chose a color available in the vicinity of the QR code to replace the standard black.

Tip: It is always a good idea to have strong contrasts in a QR code. Yellow on white will be difficult to read for many apps. Inversing the colors (e.g., white on black or blue) might also confuse some scanning apps, but its worth a try if it benefits your design.

Here is an example how I use color to fit a customize QR code into the handout for my students. Note that my students are given three different ways to access the online supplement: A “click here” link for when they read the handout on their computer, a QR code to scan when they read a printed hard copy, and a backup link to know where to find the supplements – just in case everything else breaks down.

QR code in lecture handout

A QR code can be used to point students to an online collection of supplements or to individual youtube videos. Many students prefer to print out lecture slides in order to prepare and review class content. Since many students also own smart phones, QR codes are a great way to link their offline study habits with online content that is relevant to the course.

 

Show off with a Designer QR code

If you want to take your self-branding to the next level, a Designer QR code is the way to go. Lets face it: even when you use a different color, the sharp edges and the noisy appearance of a QR code is nothing that I would like to start and end a conference talk with. However, these are also the exact times when you have to show your QR code. What a dilemma!

The way out is to follow one of the latest trends in marketing communications: Designer QR codes. The cool thing about QR codes is that they allow for some “margin of error”: even if some of the code is not readable by the scanner, the message (e.g., the URL) is still fully recognized. That means that you can replace some of the boxes with other information, such as your initials or a logo that you use in your self-branding.

In addition, current scanning technology will work even when you shave off the corners from each square. Using image editing apps like Pixemator ($15, App Store link), you can in a few steps smooth the edges and add some color to your QR code, turning what was once a cold and industrial image (as shown above) into a warm expression of your individuality.

I combined these two design tips to come up with the following QR code. It contains exactly the same information as the first one in this post. Go ahead and scan it to see for yourself.

Designer QR code

It takes some effort and therefore you won’t want to do this with every QR code you generate. But for your main QR code that points to your website, your design efforts will pay off in two ways: First, a nicely designed QR code is more likely to encourage your audience to scan it. After all, you offer something special there, which might be more worth checking out. Second, you demonstrate some taste, skills and digital literacy by using QR codes, especially when they are nicely designed.

If you are interested in how you can create your own Designer QR code, please follow academiPad on twitter and email/RSS. I will share detailed steps of how I created my Designer QR code here soon.


Disclaimer: All images by academiPad. This post contains affiliate links. 

This post originally appeared on academiPad.com. Please visit academiPad for the original post, which might be updated or improved. Copyright 2010-2012 . All rights reserved.

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Reeder: RSS Readers for iPad, iPhone, and Mac http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/2012/11/20/reeder-rss-ipad-iphone-mac/ http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/2012/11/20/reeder-rss-ipad-iphone-mac/#comments Tue, 20 Nov 2012 21:47:50 +0000 Guest Speaker http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/?p=2440 Where do you go to find the latest information of your interests? Twitter may be the best place to find the constantly updated site of news and rumours, and Facebook Pages and groups start playing a similar role to seed out information to us. While these two sources are useful if we use them strategically, they can [...]

This post originally appeared on academiPad.com. Please visit academiPad for the original post, which might be updated or improved. Copyright 2010-2012 . All rights reserved.

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Where do you go to find the latest information of your interests? Twitter may be the best place to find the constantly updated site of news and rumours, and Facebook Pages and groups start playing a similar role to seed out information to us. While these two sources are useful if we use them strategically, they can overwhelm us very easily because of their constant flow of massive amount of information.

I use Facebook Pages and Twitter to find some latest information, but these two sources may not be necessarily suitable to check if my favourites blogs like academiPad have published new posts or to see if news websites updated their content. Many of us likely have a handful of blogs and websites that we regularly follow, and if we check their update status one by one, it would take a lot of effort and time. To make this routine of checking blog and website update status more efficient, I use RSS feeds through Reeder.

 

What Is RSS?

RSS Icon

RSS, often dubbed as “Really Simple Syndication,” is a web feed format, and even if you’ve never used it, you most likely see RSS icons on news websites, blogs, and podcast pages. Its basic function is to send out updates as rss, xml, or atom formats. (For your information, Atom is an alternative to RSS and it is different from RSS, but their basic functions are the same.) If you’re subscribing to podcasts, for example, you may actually receiving the latest episodes of your favourite shows via RSS.

An advantage of using RSS feeds is to receive often summarized updates from your favourite news websites, blogs, journal websites, and so on. If you want to read more, you just need to click links or titles to go to the actual pages to read the entire posts or news articles. Unlike Twitter, you’ll receive more information because RSS feeds don’t have a 140 character limit, but like Facebook, the feeds contain images, videos, and even audio so the information you receive through them are more dynamic.

We have a wide range of RSS reader apps available, from Vienna RSS, to online Google Reader, to previously shareware but now freeware NetNewsWire (also for iPad, $10, iTunes link), to social media “magazine” Flipboard (free, iTunes link). Among many great apps,  I want to talk about my favourite app, Reeder (for Mac, for iPad, for iPhone).

 

What Is Reeder?

Reeder for Mac

Reeder for Mac

Reeder for iPad

Reeder for iPhone

I used to use Vienna RSS as my main reader until the beta version of Reeder for Mac came out. I started using Reeder for Mac and have been using all the versions – Mac ($5) , iPad ($5), and iPhone ($3, iTunes links) – since I got my iPad this year. The reason I’m using the same apps on the different platform is most likely for consistency, but I’m not using them just for this one reason. Here are a few reasons why I enjoy using these apps.

 

1. Sync with Google Reader

I originally didn’t like the idea of getting RSS feeds through Google Reader. I may be wrong but I think that there is some time lag between the feeds that Reeder receives and those that Google Reader receives: the feed updates are coming through Google Reader so this isn’t a surprise if it’s indeed true. Eventually, I realized the benefit of syncing with Google Reader.

What is the benefit? This does not apply to those who check RSS feeds on a single platform, but those who, like me, check them on multiple platforms most likely want all their devices to start on one device where you left on another. Through Google Reader, Reeder apps snyc both RSS feeds and the status of feeds–read, unread, starred/favourite. This means that all the read articles on Mac will have the same status on iPhone and/or iPad when you open the apps next time. If you check some feeds on Mac before leaving for school/work in the morning, you can start where you stop.

 

2. Appearance

I prefer a simple interface so that I can focus on checking RSS feeds. Those who like more visually appealing apps may want to check Flipboard instead. The iPad and Mac apps share similar interfaces while the iPhone has a divided/abbreviated interface. I like the off-white tone since it is least distracting and much nicer to eyes especially when you have to go through many feeds quickly.

Reader for Mac

Reader for iPad

Reader for iPhone

Reader for iPhone

While all the versions of Reeder have various ways to render feeds and their original pages, all the apps use Readability, which, like Instapaper, lets you save web pages for reading later and also render the pages into more reader-friendly layouts. As you may notice in the above images, all the versions have Readability icons within feed views and tapping them opens feed articles in Readability rendering. (Tapping the titles can open the original pages in Readability, Instapaper, and/or Google Mobilizer based on your settings.)

 

3. Functionality

As all the versions share similar functions, let me focus on the iPad app here.

Accounts

Services Panel

As you can see in these screenshots, Reeder allows you to share feeds with other very easily through other various services. If you use any of the services in Accounts, all you need to do is to turn on the service on Services Panel and to add your usernames in Accounts. From the share icon on the app interface, you can access these services.

Settings

Here is the settings page for Reeder for iPad. You can tweak all the details so that you can optimize your usability. A the bottom of image is the setting for sliding or swiping. As you may can expect, all the Reeder apps use up/down and left/right swipe motions to the full capacity. With my settings, swiping left on an article in a list will mark it as a starred, while swiping right will make it as a read/unread. In the article/feed view, swiping up goes back to the previous article, and down to the next one.

 

4. Drawbacks

I use all the versions of Reeder and I love them, but if you decide to use all of them, you have purchase them separately. In Canada, the iPhone app costs $ 2.99 and the other two $4.99: the total comes to $12.97 + tax, which isn’t really cheap. I bought them one by one gradually, so I didn’t feel like spending so much money on Reeder, but $12.97 + tax sounds a lot for a RSS reader.

If you decide to give a shot to Reeder, I recommend either the iPhone app or the Mac one. Why? Despite the price tag of $ 4.99, the iPad version is least functional. While the other two let you add new feed subscriptions on them, you can’t do that on iPad. Instead, you have to go to Google Reader to add new ones. The iPad version came out last, so I’m hoping the upcoming updates will add this function to the app, though.

 

5. Conclusion: Reeder merges functionality with great design

We have so many choices for RSS readers, and I can’t say that Reeder is the best app in the market since I’ve never tried that many apps (and can’t afford to purchase them just to try them). As a long-time Mac user, however, I can say that Reeder is up to the Mac standard: functionality with great interfaces. If you have never tried to use RSS, I highly recommend you to give it a shot: it can potentially save your time to go through all the latest updates.

Do you use RSS readers? If so, what apps do you use? What kinds of feeds do you receive?

 

About today’s Guest Lecturer: Masaki Kondo (twitter) is a PhD student in Cinema and Media Studies at York University. His academic research is in the field of experimental cinema with a particular emphasis on its theoretical integration into film theory. You can read more about his research interests and the educational use of technology on his blog Unruled Eyes

 

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links.

This post originally appeared on academiPad.com. Please visit academiPad for the original post, which might be updated or improved. Copyright 2010-2012 . All rights reserved.

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Productive Macs bundle: TextExpander and data management apps for 30 bucks (review) http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/2012/11/15/productive-macs-review/ http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/2012/11/15/productive-macs-review/#comments Fri, 16 Nov 2012 00:34:52 +0000 Jo http://www.joachim-scholz.com/academipad/?p=2473 Productive Macs is back with another app bundle, this time offering 9 apps for 30 bucks! That’s a steep saving compared to the $239 you would have to spend for buying all these apps individually, no doubt, but lets be honest: who would do this? In my opinion, huge savings (87%!) look great on the [...]

This post originally appeared on academiPad.com. Please visit academiPad for the original post, which might be updated or improved. Copyright 2010-2012 . All rights reserved.

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Productive MacsProductive Macs is back with another app bundle, this time offering 9 apps for 30 bucks! That’s a steep saving compared to the $239 you would have to spend for buying all these apps individually, no doubt, but lets be honest: who would do this? In my opinion, huge savings (87%!) look great on the screen, but they don’t say anything about whether or not a bundle is “worth it”. For this you have to ask: How many apps in a bundle will help you in your workflow?

When it comes to bundles, I would say that the Productive Macs bundles are among the better ones you will find online. I liked the previous Productive Macs bundle, which focused on information management, a lot. The current bundle is a little less amazing and a little more difficult to describe – but also ten dollar cheaper. This is the lineup:

  • TextExpander – Save countless keystrokes, time and effort
  • Path Finder – The Finder, Reinvented
  • iDocument – Smart & simple document management
  • TaskPaper – Stay organized with simple to-do lists
  • Trickster – Your files at your fingertips
  • Concealer – Secure your confidential files and information
  • DesktopShelves – From chaos to an organized desktop in no time
  • Optimal Layout – The ultimate window manager
  • DiskAid – Transfer files between your iPhone & your Mac

What is the Productive Macs bundle about?

Looking at the current offer, I think it can be described best as a bundle for boosting your “data management”. Most of its apps have to do with organizing and giving you quick access to your files. Thus, if you are dealing with a lot of different files that don’t fit into a PDF management system like Sente or Papers, I definitely suggest you check out this bundle.

Beside the “data management” focus, there is a second reason why you would want to buy this bundle, and this reason is called TextExpander. Bryan, who has written a guest post about TextExpaner here on academiPad, has convinced me to get it for myself, and it has soon become one of my favorite little productivity helpers. Download the trial version and try it for yourself – you won’t want to go back!

Whats the downside of this bundle? Most of the other apps aren’t really that interesting. Really. Your milage might vary, but I personally wouldn’t use most of the apps in this bundle. However, TextExpander, iDocuments, and Pathfinder are each alone more expensive than the bundle price. If you think that one of these apps is useful for you: go for it. And if you are interested in two of them (in my case: TextExpander and iDocuments) or if you like one of the other apps, this bundle is a no-brainer.

Productive Macs bundle

This Productive Macs bundle is a great deal if you don’t already have TextExpander installed and/or you want to improve your data management workflow. The bundle closes on December 1st.

 

TextExpander: The best app in this bundle

Bryan has already covered TextExpander, so I can do what academics do best and quote him here:

“TextExpander allows you to configure “snippets” of text that will expand to additional text when you type them in any application. Think of a long word, phrase, or paragraph that you often find yourself typing. If you can think of a short snippet for it, TextExpander is something to consider.”

Bryan then gives some examples of snippets he uses to save time (e.g., inserting date, time). Now that I use TextExpander myself, I can contribute my own examples: I use snippets to fill in all kinds of forms. For example, I use the snippet “;qemail” to spell out my lengthy Queen’s University email address. Another use for me is to quickly insert code while working on academiPad.

Writing standard emails is when TextExpander really shines. For example, I use some standard emails to recruit participants for my studies. Before using TextExpander, I had to open MacJournal where I saved this standard text, copy it to my clipboard, and then paste the text into the email. Not any longer! Now, all I have to do is to type “;HNRrecruit” – bang!

So here is where I add something to Bryan’s great post: He presented TextExpander as a wonderful tool for saving time, and it is! But it is more than just for saving time: TextExpander keeps me calm and relaxed, because I don’t have to jump around different apps and search for the bit of text I need.

Really, give it a try, and you will soon find that you will want this bundle just for TextExpander.

 

iDocument and Pathfinder: Reason number 2 to buy this bundle

iDocument and Pathfinder are the other reason why I think the current Productive Macs bundle is a good deal for academics. At least those of you who sit on a lot of files. You probably won’t need both apps, as both aim to substitute the aging Mac Finder.

iDocument is an iTunes-like document management system that helps you keeping all your working files together. First, you have to import your files from their current folder locations into iDocument’s database. You can organize them either in the classical structured way (your Finder structure will be imported), and/or you can use tags to organize your files.

Once your files are in the database, you can use all the advanced database features that you know from iTunes, iPhoto, Papers or Sente: Flag, label and rate files, add tags, sort them through smart collections, and so on. And just because your files are in the iDocuments database does not mean that they are gone: The app is fully integrated with the Mac OS Spotlight search.

Best: iDocuments has you covered even when you like to have your files in the cloud. It integrates with Dropbox, and there is  a free iPhone app that lets you manage your documents on the go. The only problem: the app is currently under maintenance and not available to try it out – great timing, guys!

iDocuments is similar to Leap ($26, Mac App Sore link), my favorite Finder replacement app. I would say that Leap is a little more powerful, but iDocuments is easier to learn and it recognizes the growing importance of cloud computing.

If you prefer to keep all your files in the original folder system, Path Finder is the better app for you. It basically is what Apple’s Finder should be: Its features include dual plane file browsing, file drop stack for moving files easier, tabs, bookmarks and much more. Path Finder also added tagging support recently, which I am very happy to see.

 

The other apps: Not for me…

Many of the other apps are about accessing your files and information, but I personally don’t think that they, by themselves, are compelling reasons to buy this bundle. Trickster and Destop Shelves let you access your most often and recently used files faster. I tried out Trickster and Desktop Shelves and don’t really see need for them in my own workflow.

Concealer makes accessing sensitive information more secure. That is good, but it won’t encrypt whole files or folders.

I used DiskAid once to see whether I could get audio recordings from my iPhone to my Mac, but in the end I was able to solve that problem through iTunes just fine.

Last, I personally also don’t see much use in Optimal Layout or TaskPaper. I don’t care much about how my windows look like, and I much prefer visually appealing (and free) task managers such as Wunderlist.

 

Conclusion

So bottom line: In my opinion, whether or not you want to spend thirty bucks on this Productive Macs bundle really comes down to whether or not you already have TextExpander and/or a need for improving your data management workflow. I am pretty sure that TextExpander is an indispensable tool for everyone in academia, so really make sure to give this one a try.

If you already have TextExpander and iDocuments is the only app that really appeals to you in this bundle, then I would suggest you compare it to ironicsoftware’s Leap ($26, Mac App Store link). You can download a free demo version here.

Was this review helpful? Do you think this is a good bundle for students and academics? If so, then please let your friends know of this Productive Macs bundle review by retweeting the tweet below, or by sharing this post in your social network.

You can get the Productive Macs bundle here. The bundle will close on December 1st.

 

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links.

This post originally appeared on academiPad.com. Please visit academiPad for the original post, which might be updated or improved. Copyright 2010-2012 . All rights reserved.

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