Hands On / First Looks
Adobe’s Photoshop Elements has been the benchmark application by which consumer (ie: relatively affordable) image editing apps are judged for 18 years. First introduced as Photoshop LE in 1996, Photoshop Elements 12 is still the image editor to have if you’re only having one in the sub-$100 class.
scriptus is an iOS notepad and text editor, with a raft of cool features, some of them unmatched by ostensibly full-featured iOS text editors. The just-released version 3.2 adds more gestures (such as two fingers to move the cursor and three to select text), auto-capitalization, auto-correction, and status bar on and off. If you’re not a scriptus user and work with text on an iPad, this extraordinary and innovative text editor app is worth checking out.
You can’t really evaluate a workhorse computer until it’s been used for a while in your work environment, but early days impressions are mostly positive. It’s amazingly slim, but not much different footprint-wise than the old MacBook. I had been curious about how it would perform and feel in tasks and venues that have been more and more shunted to the iPad. My verdict is that this 13-inch MacBook Air really isn’t an iPad substitute, but at $1,099 represents the most laptop for the money Apple has ever offered.
I’ve only been using the free iWriters for a few days, and it’s already become integral to my workflow on the iPad, more than making up for the sluggish performance and crankiness of certain other text apps subsequent to the iOS 7 upgrade. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that this app is lowering my sense of urgency about upgrading to a faster iPad than this old iPad 2.
The Document Foundation, LibreOffice’s developer, affirms that the most recent version of LibreOffice is available on the iPad and Chromebooks as a cloud application, via rollApp online virtualization technology. Well, as I said in the headline, “sort of.” Upon trying out rollapp’s LibreOffice Writer in Safari on my iPad 2 running iOS 7, my impression is that it still needs some work. Actually a lot of work.
If you don’t want to pony up for Microsoft Office or even Apple’s iWork Suite (incidentally, now free for iOS and bundled with new Macs), there are plenty of free or very inexpensive Office alternatives. Here are profiles of several popular ones, including Apache OpenOffice, NeoOffice Mac Native Suite, LibreOffice for OS X, along with Savy Soda Documents and Savy Soda Documents Free for iOS.
The FineGrain team is back on Kickstarter with a new iPad accessory, the COBURNS iPad stand. Minimalist to a fault, COBURNS is a set of two wooden slats that can be used to hold your iPad at any angle without adding bulk to your iPad. Even though they use less material than FineGrain’s cases, the materials in each COBURNS are no less exotic; not only will your iPad stand up, but your iPad will also stand out with a pair of these fine looking wooden beauties attached.
I’ve now been able to spend about 24 hours with the iPad Air, my first iPad upgrade since the 3rd gen model, and it was worth the wait. From the slimmer design to the better camera to the faster processor, there’s little to not like about Apple’s newest upgrade. I even like the new name; iPad Air sounds so much better than iPad 5. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t found a couple things to nitpick in my early bullet point impressions.
As Apple announced at their media event in San Francisco yesterday, we now have OS X Mavericks, which brings a lot of new functionality to the Macintosh. Most of it is pretty slick, some of it is quite intrusive, and a lot of it you’ll never even notice. I’ve been playing around with the new OS since soon after its release yesterday, and here are my initial thoughts.
Maxthon Cloud Browser v4.31 is now available, providing bug fixes, stability, speed and performance enhancements. The latest update also includes “shake and send” cloud push and localized content in 15 languages. The free browser for iPhone and iPad is well worth downloading to take a look, and you’ll likely want to stick with it longer.
In spite of my misgivings about being an early adopter of anything as important as a major operating system upgrade, curiosity got the better of me, and I took the plunge and installed iOS 7. If you’re pondering an upgrade to iOS 7, make sure you’re ready to make the leap, because for better or worse, there’s no going back.
It’s taken me a couple days to formulate my bullet-point impressions of the iPhone 5c, mainly because this one is my wife’s. We alternate updates, with her being on the “incrementals.” With the iPhone 5c, however, Tieraney is mostly pretty thrilled. The different design and the striking color make it feel like a more significant upgrade than it is, considering the internals are pretty much identical to my iPhone 5.