Support SaysBrad
  • (Most Compact 20000mAh Portable Charger) Anker PowerCore 20100 - Ultra High Capacity Power Bank with Most Powerful 4.8A Output, PowerIQ Technology
    (Most Compact 20000mAh Portable Charger) Anker PowerCore 20100 - Ultra High Capacity Power Bank with Most Powerful 4.8A Output, PowerIQ Technology
    Anker

    This thing, you need. Run your smartphone for days.

  • Klear Screen iKlear Cleaning Kit for iPad, iPhone, Galaxy, LCD, Plasma TV, Computer Monitor and Keyboard (Cloth, Wipes and Spray)
    Klear Screen iKlear Cleaning Kit for iPad, iPhone, Galaxy, LCD, Plasma TV, Computer Monitor and Keyboard (Cloth, Wipes and Spray)
    Klear Screen

    I use this cleaner for my iPhone, iPad 3, iPad mini and MacBook Pro. It’s great all-around and won’t mess up the oleophobic coating on iOS device screens.

  • Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound 3.5 Grams
    Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound 3.5 Grams
    Artic Silver

    If you’re having problems with your Adonit Jot capacitive touch stylus or Hex3 Jaja, you can improve its performance and reliability with careful application of thermal paste! For more on this, check out my capacitive touch stylus how-to fix-it guide. Months later (Sep 2013), my styli are still performing great!

  • Adonit Jot Touch with Pixelpoint pressure sensitive stylus for iPad - Black
    Adonit Jot Touch with Pixelpoint pressure sensitive stylus for iPad - Black
    Adonit

    Adonit Jot with Pixelpoint, works with a lot of new drawing apps on iPad.

  • Klear Screen's iKlear 8 oz. Pump Spray Bottle 7351-IKHP, Others, Electronics & Computers
    Klear Screen's iKlear 8 oz. Pump Spray Bottle 7351-IKHP, Others, Electronics & Computers
    Klear Screen

    The stuff I use to keep my iPad screen nice and clean!

  • Cosmonaut: Wide-Grip Stylus for Capacitive Touch Screens
    Cosmonaut: Wide-Grip Stylus for Capacitive Touch Screens
    Studio Neat

    Awesome capacitive touch stylus created by Studio Neat. Great guys, great product. I use mine every day! Bradtastic Approved.

  • Adonit Jot Pro Stylus for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Other Touch Screens (ADJPG)
    Adonit Jot Pro Stylus for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Other Touch Screens (ADJPG)
    Adonit

    Adonit Jot Pro is an awesome capacitive touch stylus for iPad & other tablets.

  • Pencil by FiftyThree Digital Stylus for iPad Air, iPad Mini and iPad 3/4 - Walnut
    Pencil by FiftyThree Digital Stylus for iPad Air, iPad Mini and iPad 3/4 - Walnut
    FiftyThree

    Even if you consider yourself a casual doodler or note-taker, you’ll love this well designed stylus. Built for Paper by FiftyThree, the iPad app — however, many other apps support Pencil.

  • Bicycle Standard Index Playing Cards (Pack of 2)
    Bicycle Standard Index Playing Cards (Pack of 2)
    Sportsman Supply Inc.

    Playing Cards for your password creation or poker game!

My Amazon.com Wish List
If you’re looking for an app, need personal or corporate branding, marketing material, an illustration, logo, sketch or design — there’s a Brad for that!

Entries in icloud (6)

Tuesday
Dec162014

iCloud Drive Sucks: Apple is Screwing Up

Presently, iCloud Drive is unreliable crap.

If it’s working for you, I’m happy for you and hope that it continues to work well. For me and probably tens of thousands of other people, files appear, disappear, appear but won’t open, take days or weeks to sync…

It’s a mess.

I’ve been working on more substantial, long-form content for this site and other things, but since iOS 8 and Yosemite, I haven’t been able to reliably work on documents on my various devices.

I prefer to work in Ulysses III/Daedalus Touch, iA Writer Pro and Day One, and all three worked great before the switch to iCloud Drive. Now I’m having issues with all three.

  • Ulysses/Daedalus — None of my documents from Ulysses III show up in Daedalus on iPhone/iPad. Waiting for a sync to spontaneously occur yields nothing. Tried the reset troubleshooting instructions; nothing.

  • iA Writer Pro — Numerous documents aren’t listed on iOS. They are viewable when using the iCloud Drive folder feature, but are gray and won’t open. New documents take over 20 hours to sync — some have failed to sync entirely.

  • Day One — After waiting weeks and trying the troubleshooting methods repeatedly, the majority of the entries have synced across the various devices. However, 14 entries from my iPhone 5S wouldn’t upload for another few weeks, and finally synced today. During this time, entries would appear synced and then disappear a day later.

To be fair, a lot of the first-party iCloud Drive features are working okay. Photos enter the stream much quicker, and that’s nice.

Additionally, iOS 8 is problematic in general.

Shame on you, Apple. I’m really glad that I never moved beyond iOS 6 on my old iPad 2, because iOS7 ran and iOS8 runs so poorly on the iPad mini (first gen). My iPad 3 has issues with iOS8 as well; random lag and crashes. For the most part, the iPhone 5S handles iOS 8, but there are still random crashes and occasional device restarts.

In an attempt to beautify the OS, you’ve made it slower and glitchier. Turning off the fancy visual effects makes for a minor stability improvement, but overall, iOS devices haven’t seemed faster than iOS 6. When I first received the iPad 2, I was impressed by the lack of slowdown and minimal (if any) wait times. Now, idling has become the standard. In many ways, it feels like devices have taken a step back. I really miss Steve Jobs.

It’s as if these new iOS iterations are designed this way to force people to upgrade to the newest devices every year — and yet most of their phone deals with the major carriers are based on two-year contracts and upgrade cycles.

While it’s a nice idea to have synchronicity across devices with iOS 8, I’d prefer speed and reliability. Ideally both is best, but right now, that’s not reality. Also, Apple removed the Camera Roll in favor of a new organization system; while some may prefer it, it’s not optional. This seemingly small change has serious consequences for many apps and is far less usable for me.

Apple, please don’t be like Microsoft. Put your customers first and you’ll continue to stay on top.

If you try to put short term gains in profit and market penetration ahead of the user experience, put the desires of shareholders ahead of the needs of the consumer, your supporters will begin looking elsewhere. As I’m sure many already have.

Saturday
Aug102013

Taking Notes on the iPad & iPhone!

Well — the groosoft sale that I'd mentioned was certainly short lived. Hopefully you picked up both amazing apps! If you didn't, that's a bummer, but let me explain why they might be worth your money.

If you're looking for text-only notes, check out my ThinkBook review.

 

Scrapnote Handwriting Scrapbook (iPad 2 & newer, $4.99)

Scrapnote is an amazing consolidation of productivity tools presented in an elegant package. It isn't the most visually stunning app, but it is powerful and straightforward — perfect for quick and dirty note-taking. Imagine Evernote, Skitch, Penultimate, Noteshelf, Pages and Adobe Reader features all in one app.

You say "scraping," I say "scrapping."

The main feature is its Scrap tool (a process misspelled as "scraping" in their materials). It's basically a clipper; take images, or even a stack of images, videos, text, (no audio, though) and insert them right onto editable pages. These objects can be drawn over and snap-aligned with guides (just like in Apple's Pages).

There are many practical note-taking uses for Scrapnote, but it can also be used as a presentation tool. Each notebook can be set as read-only — the app even comes with an example in the form of a detailed how-to guide. Scrapnote has several different handwriting tools (eraser, highlighter, pencil, pen) each with its own settings and properties, as well as a decent color palette (but no option to choose your own colors). Images can have custom borders (or not) and can be rotated and cropped (clipped, rather, as if set inside a frame) in-app, and text can be presented in various styles and fonts, with optional boxes and drop shadows.

There are some missing features. The major ones:

No zoom. It's a shame, because I could ditch my other handwriting notes apps if it had the ability to zoom into areas for more control. Well, almost, except...

No backup. This is so strange to me, because groosoft's $0.99 Jotter has iCloud sync. No backup makes this app somewhat limited in longevity, so hopefully they'll rectify that. iCloud and Dropbox backup would be preferred. Also...

No PDF export. Single pages can be emailed or sent to images, but the entire notebook cannot be easily presented together in a single file. Each page could be exported and backed up, but those documents would no longer be editable in-app.

Limited colors. The selection isn't bad or that small, it's just not ideal for me. This won't be an issue for everyone, and I'm sure someone out there prefers the simplicity of a set palette.

At the wonderful price of free, I couldn't complain much about these omissions, but for $4.99 — I expect more. If you're on the fence about this app, check out the "trial" version, Scrapnote Lite.

 

Jotter Handwriting Notebook (universal, $0.99)

I have no idea what "real tactile note app" means to groosoft, but I do know that the poor typesetting (look at "app" — "a pp") and misspelling scrapping (in Scrapnote) is indicative of oversight and carelessness... and that is concerning...

But for 99 cents, Jotter is pretty cool.

Especially as it's an iCloud-synced, universal app. Many of my favorite handwritten notes apps are iPad-only, limiting my ability to view and modify these notes on-the-go with my iPhone. The mobile-friendly feature makes it worthy of mention, and perhaps, a download.

Jotter has the same drawing tools and color palette as Scrapnote and has various background options (paper types) including lined/ruled, graphing paper, white, black, etc. — but the pages aren't arranged into notebooks, and images cannot be added into the documents.

However, you can use an image as a background.

For FREE, there's no debate about downloading Jotter. For a buck, it's still probably worth a try. There are other handwriting apps for iPhone, but most have similar issues and cost the same as or more than Jotter. The iCloud sync is a great bonus, and until Evernote makes Penultimate for iPhone (they really should), this is basically the only choice.

But still — no zoom. :-(

 

For iPhone handwritten notes, you could try Draw Pad Pro or Muji Notebook for iPhone — both offer zoom, and Draw Pad Pro is universal and has backup!

Draw Pad Pro is feature-rich and supported, but for some reason, it just doesn't feel right; it also isn't visually attractive, but there's something about the drawing tools and interface that doesn't work for me... so at $2.99, it's difficult for me to recommend (there are occasional discounts on it and it is free from time to time, however).

Muji Notebook is a text and handwriting notes app with a distinct Japanese esthetic and Japanese paper styles. So naturally, I like it (In general, I like Japanese design); but it is limited, and though there are iPad and iPhone versions, the two don't sync with one another. Muji is based on less is more; and with fewer color options, paper styles, and export options, it is a single-purpose tool with more style than substance — aimed at a niche audience. Still, the iPhone version ($3.99) is worth trying because the Muji zoom tool makes writing small, detailed notes a breeze. Developer/publisher Ryohin Keikaku offers trial versions: iPad Lite and iPhone Lite.

 

Final thoughts on note-taking tools for iOS

If I had to score these apps based on my needs, Scrapnote would earn 7/10 and Jotter a 3/5. Both are good, but need improvements to replace my go-to, everyday notes apps. If you've got a back-to-school iPad mini and automatic online backup isn't critical, Scrapnote is probably a worthwhile investment. If groosoft ever adds zoom and backup, Scrapnote would be an 8.5 or 9 out of 10.

If you have a favorite handwriting app for iOS that I haven't mentioned before, please let me know about it!

Also, if you're an app developer or publisher and would like an honest review and feedback, please get in touch. I'm easy to reach online! :-)

 


I've written about the wondrous — yes, magical — iPad, time and time again. I had had concerns that the device was just an overgrown iPod touch, but those fears were quickly dismissed by just using the original iPad for about two minutes. Since that life-changing day, I've dedicated a significant portion of my life and blog to it, and have written before about note-taking on the iPad.

Also, I let the superfloo.us domain expire, but nothing else has changed. Same content, says Brad.

 

Tuesday
Aug062013

Two Fantastic Free iOS Apps!

Some things in life are free! (Saving: $5.98)

My recent posts, and some soon to follow, are quite serious — but saysbrad isn't becoming a pure-politics blog! I'm writing a review of two great note-taking apps gone free! Scrapnote (iPad, was $4.99) and Jotter (universal, was $0.99), both by groosoft. I'm not sure how long these apps will remain free, so instead of waiting for my reviews, you should go download these apps!

 

Tuesday
May012012

Free virtual workstation! OnLive Desktop for iPad

I'll get right to it: OnLive Desktop is awesome.

It's free. It's amazing. Made by the mad-scientists behind the uber cloud gaming service, OnLive Desktop for iPad offers users a cloud-based virtual desktop, complete with Microsoft Office, storage and basic apps/tools like Calculator and Paint. The paid version includes web browsing as well. All of the processing happens on their end, they simply take your keystrokes and inputs and give you the visual.

Love the clouds

Current technology trends remind me of a character from the manga/anime Naruto: Shikamaru, the cloud-loving loafer. Years ago, technology enthusiasts obsessed about terabyte hard drives, but now that we have them, we prefer smaller solid state drives. Why? It's all about speed and convenience.

We're impatient. We need it now!

Luckily, ISPs have kept up with our increasing demands (though they demand their pound of flesh and price gouge us to near-death), offering super-fast net connections that offer incredible connectivity and mobility. Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G... powerful 2lbs notebook computers and fantastic do-everything tablets — there are too many reasons to get away from the desk, and now there are plenty of ways to do it.

But desktops have advantages. At least, they used to. Now you can get that power and stability on-the-go! If you have an iPad, try OnLive Desktop. it's better than buying Windows and Microsoft Office, and you really don't have much to lose if it's not for you — you may even know someone who could really use it. I haven't tried it in any other form (other than the iPad app), but if it can run well on iOS, it should be great everywhere.

Need something else?

Later on I'll share thoughts on two more similar apps, Splashtop Remote Desktop, and Air Desktop (an app that allows the iPad to become a second computer screen). I'll also share some sweet accessories!

Monday
Apr302012

Migrating from iPad 2 to new iPad

The new iPad — so exciting!

But not without its own issues. (This update applies most to people thinking about upgrading to the new iPad from an earlier model) The new iPad, or iPad 3, is slightly thicker and heavier than the 2, but is otherwise similar in look, shape and feel.

I won't go into the specs too much, but for those unfamiliar with it, here are the highlights.

  • retina display, 2048x1536 resolution (versus 1024x768), 4x pixels!
  • 5MP camera, 1080p video & FaceTime camera
  • dictation (translates spoken English into text in the cloud; requires net connection) — works well!
  • optional 4G LTE (Verizon model can act as a hotspot)
  • still no Siricome on, Apple, give it to us! Please send them an email and let them know you want Siri on the iPad. Maybe if enough people complain… (let us be the squeaky wheel)

Two things to keep in mind

For $99, Apple offers AppleCare+ protection for the new iPad. This coverages extends the warranty to two years and also covers two instances of accidental damage ($49 service fee per instance). For the price, it's a great deal for the higher end models; it's peace of mind, and will cover screen scratches, coating wear and more.

However, if you intend to get AppleCare+, purchase it together with the new iPad. It must be purchased within 15 days otherwise, and if the iPad is opened, you'll need to make a genius bar appointment at a retail store for an "iPad inspection." Trust me, this is a huge hassle.

Last, if you're "restoring" from an iPad backup (migrating/transferring from iPad or iPad 2 to the new iPad), many apps will sync without converting to retina graphics. Example: although I had the newest version of SketchBook Pro installed on my iPad 2 when I made the backup, when I opened it on the iPad 3, no retina graphics. It's like it was running in iPad 2 mode. Many of my favorite apps ran similarly, and needed to be reinstalled to correct the issue.

Unfortunately, many of my favorite apps still lack new iPad versions. With time, developers will update apps and the retina display issue should be resolved. For now, I'm using it as an opportunity to start fresh — my new iPad will run my favorite apps, and the iPad 2 will be a testing ground for new apps I'm not yet sure about.

Don't let me dissuade you from the new iPad, however. It's awesome. Whatever the hassles, I think it's worth it!

Tuesday
Jun142011

Apple, Stuff of Intrigue

I'll keep this short, because it won't interest everyone.

Apple: In Trouble?

If you follow tech stuff at all, you might know about the lawsuit filed against Apple for their upcoming "iCloud" service. Apparently, there's a company by that name that does stuff with the cloud — and it's similar to what Apple wants to do. I think that it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Apple isn't known for playing nice.

But, I like their stuff.

Particularly, I love my iPad 2. Bradtastic Approved. What a great device... seriously. What makes it really fantastic, however, is the software. The App Store offers some amazing stuff — apps created by some of the coolest developers anywhere. I've personally contacted dozens of them; they've ALL been quick to reply, and each has taken my opinions and suggestions seriously.

Their dedication makes iOS phenomenal. I like to support people and businesses that truly believe in what they offer, and I'm happy to see that success hasn't given them the "greater than thou" mentality.

In closing, I'd like to recommend some apps:

For writers: check out OmmWriter. The new desktop version, Dana II, is available for Mac and PC. You can download Dana I for free to try out the app; however, Dana II has many worthwhile features, and for the price, it's a great deal. I especially like the chroma therapy background and adjustable text area.

If you don't consider yourself a writer, that's okay — OmmWriter Dana I might be a spark. Check it out anyway, and let me know what you think. Better yet, tell the devs!

For Mac owners, Day One (Journal/Diary) is amazing. I've mentioned Momento before, but I prefer Day One, for several reasons. First, it syncs with Dropbox — if you don't have an account, you really should get one. (Please use that link; in doing so, I'll get a little extra storage space for free. It's a wonderful service, and many apps use it for backup.) Second, Day One is incredibly usable. If you have an iPhone and/or iPad, the Day One universal app keeps everything synced with the desktop version, and creating entries couldn't be easier. There aren't any complicated or useless features, and a simple reminder system effectively aids the user to remember to write something.

Writing is a healthy process that people don't always make time for, and Day One is great because it doesn't seem to demand long entries or a particular style. I've exchanged emails with the developer — features will continue to be added, and if you think of something, he's more than happy to receive your suggestion. I've used each version of Day One extensively, and can affirm that each is stable.

I've got a lot of things that I'd like to share (on multiple subjects, too) but I haven't yet made the time to write it all out. I want to convey things properly... and I would like to include more images in my posts.

Also: please don't be shy. If you're reading this, let me know — say "hello!"