Laptop Stickers

What is it with developers and laptop stickers? It seems that in every coffee shop there will be individuals scattered around hunched over their (usually) Apple Macs and the lid will be covered in stickers. And you know what? I’m exactly the same!

The laptop above is my old trusty Macbook Air along with its accompanying stickers. In fact since that picture was taken it has gained even more. It has stickers covering all my areas of interest:

  • development (including the “Cutting and pasting from Stack Overflow” classic)
  • music (from Real World records)
  • Evernote
  • Star Wars (from here)

Many … Read the rest

Mouse support in iPadOS/iOS13 Public Beta 3

The latest beta version of iOS13/iPadOS was released yesterday evening and I gave it a quick test this morning to see how the mouse support was coming along.

I know form comments made elsewhere that mouse support is not for everyone and some don’t understand why it is even necessary. For me it is a useful tool for when working away from my desk as I find it speeds up my work and make it a more pleasant experience. I still don’t think I could ever use the iPad as a permanent desktop replacement but it is a lot more … Read the rest

iPad Pro, iOS13 and USB-c Dongles

Each year, regular as clockwork, Apple releases a new version of their operating system for mobile devices – iOS. This years version, iOS13, has recently been release for public beta and I took the plunge and installed it on my iPad Pro so you don’t have to!

Can’t we all run the beta?

Before we get too much into the new features of iOS here are a couple of reasons why you might not want to be installing it on your main device just yet. Beta software by definition is not fully baked and still has a number of bugs … Read the rest

iOS (finally) supports QR codes!

QR codes are a more modern equivalent of the ubiquitous bar code but hold both more data and more intelligent information – if you can read them. Until this week, if you had an iPhone and wanted to “read” a QR code you needed a third party app but with the introduction of iOS11 the camera now, finally, supports them natively.

The animated gif below shows this in action and how easy it is to use:

Of course you might wonder why this is important given that you don’t see QR codes that often. Well I would counter that you … Read the rest

You might want to think twice before removing the mail app in iOS 10

I wrote last week about the forthcoming iOS 10 release that finally will allow you to remove some of the stock apps including Mail. I speculated at the time as to what this would mean for third party mail apps and clicking mailto links:

What is most interesting about this is that Mail is included in the list. There are many third-party mail apps on the app store at present but one issue has always been that when you click an email address in, say, a web browser the email opens up in the stock mail app. This change implies

Read the rest

Remove (Some) Stock Apps in iOS 10

By and large the Apple announcement last night was pretty dull. That so much time was devoted to emojis showed (to me at any rate) that there wasn’t anything ground breaking to offer. What was interesting was one thing that wasn’t discussed and that was the ability to remove (some) of the stock apps in iOS10.

iOS comes with an ever increasing number of preinstalled apps such as stocks, mail, weather, compass, calendar etc. and many, myself included, have long wanted to remove these from the device but that hasn’t been possible – until now. It now appears that on … Read the rest

Google Cardboard. VR – the Future or Passing Novelty?

A friend of mine turned up recently with a Google Cardboard a, well, cardboard phone holder that allows you to watch virtual reality content. I was interested to have a go but skeptical as to the longer term possibilities of the technology.

As you can see from the picture above the box has a place to put your phone which is held a few inches in front of a couple of lenses. You need specific apps in order to see the content which create a sort of stereoscopic effect. Although this is made of cardboard it is pretty robust although … Read the rest

Raspberry Pi GPS tracker – Getting it Together

Having secured a Pi Zero from the cover of a the magazine MagPi I thought I would start out simple by trying one of the projects shown there. The one that caught my eye and required no soldering was to build a GPS tracker.

Getting hold of a cheap USB unit was pretty easy but make sure it is Linux compatible. I bought this one from eBay.

The first thing I did when I got the unit was to try it out on the Pi and while it was working I could see that it had got a satellite … Read the rest

Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard

Now that screens are getting bigger on mobiles it is becoming increasingly more practical to do work on them, especially now that Microsoft Office is available on most mobile devices.

The biggest issue I have though is typing on the screen. While it is fine for short emails and text messages it isn’t really practical for longer pieces such as this blog post. One issue is that the on-screen keyboard covers too much of the screen real estate. To overcome this I’ve had portable keyboards before but they have either been clumsy or heavy to carry.

Now enter Microsoft to … Read the rest

Halo Back: Good idea, but does it work?

A while back, although in terms of Kickstarter dates it was positively recent, a project was posted that caught my eye called Halo Back. This was a glass screen protector with a difference – the bottom left area was “mapped” to the top left making it easier to click the back link on apps. That’s poorly explained but this cheesy video from the project does a better job:

Last week the Halo Back arrived and so I stuck it on. Unlike other screen protectors the positioning is quite important and so the makers have included a frame that fits over … Read the rest