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Wednesday, 05 September 2012


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Humans and food..strange, strange stuff when you get down to it.

That sort of feeding represents the most extreme opposite to the absolute hungriest child on Earth trying to make one bean last a day..just saying. Sorta freaks me out.

I'm still surprised at how many iPads I see being used as cameras at weddings and other events. I don't really get it (I only use the cameras on mine for Skype/FaceTime) but it's in the same vein as people taking pictures of a cityscape without turning off the flash. It's best to just appreciate people's enthusiasm for wanting to capture something than to get increasingly ornery ... right?

Uh, wait. What?
Only after you mentioned the iPad2 did I realize you were reviewing the iPad-Retina/iPad3. Why did Apple choose to be so obscure and difficult about naming?

Truly a man with an open mind. Would there were more.

By the way, for iPad owners who wish to print wirelessly via a PC, consider the program Fingerprint from Collobos Software.

It seems to work flawlessly (once you've turned on "printer sharing" in the Windows control panel).


Currently using the Logitech keyboard/cover with the iPad. Adds negligible weight and bulk, and increases the usefulness (for me) hugely.

Steve G
Currently in Paris

Sheesh, you should probably just send the photo to the other box and print from there. Seems about as much hassle, and you get full control.

Is your ergonomics rating (improved from -273 to -100) in fahrenheit, celsius, or kelvin?

I have Printopia (google it) setup to share my Epson Artisan with some Ilford 4x6" pearl in the tray. You can configure the print settings on the computer to give a reasonable quality output... at least as good as a consumer photo lab.
So whenever we get a decent iPhone snap, we just hit print and there's a print for the fridge. I don't think we printed so many even in film days!

It's not that easy to run out of gas if you spend a few minutes thinking about it. I no longer use an iPad much -- I've replaced it with a combination of MacAir and iPhone -- but when I did, I always traveled with the regular charger AND the extension cord that comes with it, AND a car charger. Since the battery on an iPad will give you enough gas to cover almost any US flight, and since most airports now have charging stations where you can top up the tank before you leave, there's no real excuse for running out unless you're on a camping trip or something. One thing that I've found exquisitely useful for traveling are those zippered nylon-mesh envelopes that you can buy at travel stores. I had separate ones for the iPad charger and the car charger, just to keep everything handy and neat. I do the same with the MacAir charger, the iPhone charger and the iPhone car charger. Did you know, by the way, that you can buy small transformer that will give you a few gallons* of 110 from your cigarette lighter, so you can charge your Mac laptop while you're driving? Those are really useful when you're driving with a range of camera and computer equipment...

*I hate to change metaphors in midstream.

I had not heard of the dictation app on the iPad. Could be enough reason by itself to upgrade from the iPad 1.

But what on earth are the two large pink objects in the glass on the 2nd photo? They look like large straws, to suck up whatever it is in the glass. I hope not, as that would completely ruin the very precise and abstemious and delicate arrangement of the food. But this is America, so I suppose super-sized straws in sushi may be acceptable, along with a 16 ounce drink in a waxed paper cup, and no doubt thought an improvement.

Dear Dennis (& Frank),

Yup, 110%. I try to never prescribe how other people should make their photos. Whether in Kelvins, Celsius or Fahrenheit. [g]


Dear Steve G.,

Yeah, Beth has one of those Logitech cover/keyboards. If I didn't have a Smart Cover (or were doing a bit more typing on the iPad) I would definitely get one. I think it's the superior keyboard option.


Dear -et-,

I did not know about the cigarette lighter limitation. Thanks! That explains some odd charging behavior I saw on my last trip.

Indeed, it's important to use the iPad charger and its accompanying cable with the iPad, else you may not see the 10W charge rate. Since, on average, the 2012 iPad draws more than 5W, plugging it into a 5W charger/cable while using it will slow the rate of drain but not recharge the device.


Dear Tom,

Well, sheesh right back, if you really think printing via TWO devices is as convenient as doing it via one. I have to do that all the time; I know of whence I speak.


Dear Josh,

Thanks for the recommendation! I'm on back-to-back trips and likely can't check this out for a couple of weeks, so a question for you: When it says that you can configure print quality, can you do that from the iPad or do you have to do it via the Mac? If the former, it has an advantage over Activator. If not, sounds like they are similar in features.

pax / Ctein
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

Dear JC,

You're right. I should elaborate.

I regularly ruin the batteries for my MacBook Pro because I don't regularly fully discharge and charge them. Over time, that's really bad for these kinds of batteries. With my iPad1 and 2's, it was easy to do the right thing (fully discharge and fully recharge), because I'd rarely run out of juice midday, and it was quick and easy to recharge it. With a 7-8 hour run time and a 6-7 hour recharge time, I find myself doing partial charges and recharges much more often.

It's not good that the device is inducing me to engage in habitual behavior that can be harmful to it.


Dear James B.,

I know dictation is not available on the iPad1. I don't recall if it is on the iPad 2 as well as the new iPad(3). It is built into iOS (as well as OS 10.8 (Mountain Lion) for Macs), but it requires a certain level of client-side hardware support. Perhaps the GPU is doing a heavy load of signal preprocessing. I dunno. Readers? What can you tell me?

As for the dish in the photo, yes, those *are* bright pink drinking straws. It was the first dessert course, which included a small mug of root-beer-float fluff that you sucked up through the straws, so I'd consider the frivolity appropriate.

Mixed in with small, elegant sushi-like presentations is a distinct streak of whimsy that I suspect may be inherent to molecular gastronomy. I think it derives from the incongruity some of the novel preparations evoke. A startled-laugh-of-delight reaction is not uncommon, either at the presentation or the tasting. The leading amuse-bouche, for example, was a "lemon shooter"-- A shot glass containing tea foam which surrounded a lemon gel balloon and sprinkled with lemon pixie dust.

pax / Ctein
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

@ Frank: "Is your ergonomics rating (improved from -273 to -100) in fahrenheit, celsius, or kelvin?"

Frank, the unit of measurement for ergonomics is the Fumble. : ]

The post is an interesting one. Now, I was just thinking of sharing something not connected to the iPad, but that can be of use to anyone uses Android OS: if you have any tablet or smartphone with "USB-on-the-Go" capability (it means that you can connect with an usb cable a device as a digital camera and it sees it as an external memory unit) as an Asus Transformer or Galaxy S3, there's a free app called RawDroid that allows you to open and import .raw files - they can be viewed and then saved as .jpeg.
Add the possibilities of free basic progs as the portable edition of Photoshop, you now have a simple way of managing your files while on the move...

For charging devices while driving I use an inverter and extension cord. The inverter (it has two AC outlets) is plugged into the accessory port in the cargo area of the CR-V, and I run an extension cord with three sockets under the carpets to the front, and from there multiple devices can be charged with higher current delivery.

For printing on the Touch I use ePrint from Microtech. It's available for iPad as well, though I haven't really used it on my wife's iPad yet. I have a Brother monochrome laser printer in the home office, which is connected to a switch and the router via Ethernet. Printing is via LPR/IP direct, and it works flawlessly. There are free and paid versions, and after using the free version I paid for the app.

You trashed the camera ergonomics unfairly im your first post. When I have the home button under my right thumb in horizontal view the other buttons are convenient to my left index finger and the lens is on the upper left or upper right in vertical. You should do a 180 and let us know how it works.

To answer one of Ctein's questions, Apple's speech recognition (at least as used in iOS, not sure about Mac OS 10.8) apparently requires both a fair amount of processor horsepower and an Internet connection. The device does some fairly intensive processing (which is why Siri only works on the iPhone 4S, not earlier devices) and then sends the results to Apple for further processing. The upside is much better speech recognition than they had in the past. The downside is that you can't just keep talking and expect the device to keep up with you -- the need to send the partially-processed data to Apple and get a response means you have to do things in small chunks.

Since everything gets sent to Apple for processing, some companies have banned their employees from using Siri or iOS dictation for work-related stuff as they're concerned Apple could snoop on the contents.

As a compulsive picker of nits, I feel the need to correct an omission in my previous comment.

I stated that cigarette lighter adapter chargers are limited to 0.5 amps of current flow. That should have read "0.5 amps of current flow to a USB connection." The outlet itself is capable of providing much more, but most of the USB chargers limit the amperage to 0.5 amps because this is the norm from a USB outlet on a computer.

With the arrival of tablets and other devices that need more than 0.5 amps, and use a USB cable for charging, there are USB CLA chargers that can provide higher amperage. However, you need to specifically look for them and read the specs carefully.

Also, to emphasize the comments about using the "correct" USB cable, I have acquired far too many USB cables that came with assorted electronic devices. Only two of my plethora of USB cables will "ask" for more than 0.5 amps. I've been forced to keep my cables physically separated into categories to avoid erroneously imposing the 0.5 amp limit.

With best wishes,
- Tom -

A dear friend, and electrical engineer surveyed the research literature on "battery memory" and determined that draining to empty/charging to completion didn't have a real-world* measurable effect on battery life. Sadly, he has been deceased for quite a few years now, and given how technology marches on, this might be less than useful. I would expect that the recharge control circuits are tweaked in Apple products to prevent shortened battery life. Also, as you probably know, 'fully' discharging any battery can get you into a nonlinear state where recharging can have unpredictable results. The recommendations that I have received are to keep most batteries, mostly charged, most of the time.


*statistically significant over a large number of trials yes, but below the threshold where you could tell on individual batteries. Perhaps the effect is magnified when large numbers of small cells are ganged together?

Ctein, unfortunately no, you have to configure on the Mac - but I only use one configuration for those quick prints.

And regarding battery discharge: that is no longer true with Li-Ion based tech. They are not damaged if you don't do the recharge; what *does* happen is that the calibration goes out, so estimates of time remaining become inaccurate. What does damage them is discharging them completely and then leaving them flat.

Dear Will,

I am familiar with this research and it bugs the hell out of me that it doesn't correspond with what I (and many others) have experienced. Keeping the battery mostly charged, most of the time, seems to work out really badly.

The reason it bugs me is I don't doubt the research... or our experiences. Which means there's something big we don't understand about this.

Anyway, keeping the iPad topped off, which is what short battery life + long recharge times encourages, makes me nervous.

pax / Ctein

Dear Josh,

To be clear, it's not the discharge that bothers me-- it's nearly impossible to deep discharge an iPad (or MacBook Pro) battery. They shut themselves down with an ample safety margin, so you'd have to wait a substantial time afterwards for further self-discharge.

It's the "rarely if ever run the battery much down" scenario. As I said, that's the norm for my laptop use, which functions 95% of the time as a desktop machine, and it kills batteries with appalling regularity. Others have reported similar problems.

When I replace my current MacBook pro with an integrated battery one, I'm going to have to work out a routine to regularly remove it from the charger on the desk where it normally gets used or I'm gonna screw myself.

This sounds really easy on paper. Amazingly hard to change one's normal habits, in practice.

pax / Ctein

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