Saturday, December 22, 2012

How to enable AirPlay






Want to mirror your iPad screen onto your television using an AppleTV? This is a quick little iPad tip video showing you how to setup AirPlay on your iPad.


  1. Double press your Home Button
  2. Swipe from left to right
  3. Tap circle with triangle
  4. Select AppleTV
  5. Turn Mirroring = ON

Moka for OS X



Moka is a Google Reader RSS application that runs in your menu bar in OS X. It has a very minimalistic approach regarding the design, you do not have any actual dock icon as everything is handled in the menu bar. It is a beautiful application.




Download in the Mac App Store: http://j.mp/12HUvXg

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bloglovin' for iPhone


A great new RSS reader for the iPhone. Follow your favorite blogs with a clean layout. Free to download in the App Store.




More info or to download: http://j.mp/T7kUJR

Monday, December 17, 2012

Clash of Clans - Strategies


Clash of Clans has easily become one of my all-time favorite iOS games. Before I played Clash of Clans I was mostly playing Kingdom Rush and Strategery on a daily basis. Both of those games are different types of games compared with Clash of Clans but I enjoyed myself immensely when playing both of them. I have not played either game in over a month, it is mostly Clash of Clans and I have mixed in some GTA: Vice City along the way.

This video is mostly about the strategies that I use when attacking opponents. My strategy may not work for you but you can always try and see if it helps any. Everyone has a different way of playing, attacking, setting up defenses, etc. These are just my tactics and what I have found the most success in doing.



One the offense side of things I always check for 2 things:
  1. Do they have barracks or workshops tucked in the corners of the map?
  2. Do they have any reinforcements in their clan castle?
If normally check for reinforcements first by placing either 1 goblin or 1 warrior close to the clan castle. If they have reinforcements then I will find a spot on the map which is away from all other defenses, normally a corner and I will set a couple of warriors there to draw the reinforcements away from the other defenses. Once I get them in the corner I will launch a few more warriors and archers to defeat the reinforcements. It is much easier to defeat the reinforcements away from the other defenses.

Once the reinforcements are defeated I will then focus on a point of attack on their walls. I will try to find the weakest spot or if I am farming I will look for a spot that I might be able to use wall breakers on so I can unleash my goblins.

My usual offense for farming gold and elixir:
  • 80-100: goblins
  • 10-20: archers
  • 10: warriors
  • 5-8: wallbreakers
  • 5-8: giants
That is my basic attack setup, also I only attack players that I know I can raid for all their lucky charms. Sometimes it takes me 10-15 tries before finding the perfect village to raid = lots of gold/elixir and a weak defense. It is always worth it in the long run.

Be sure to check out my other Clash of Clan video: Clan of Clans Review

Check out Simon's Clash of Clans strategies: CoC

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Drafts for iPad




Drafts for iPad is an excellent productivity application from Agile Tortoise. Drafts is a super simple and easy way to jot down an idea with the tap of an icon. When you open Drafts you are presented with a blank screen and a blue blinking cursor which reminds me slightly of iA Writer. It is more than just a note taking application though, you can add calendar entries, send Tweets, or even write full articles similar to what I am doing now with this review.



The iPad version of Drafts cost only $2.99 and will sync perfectly with the iPhone version of Drafts if you sign up for a free Simperium data service account. Simperium is an iCloud like service that syncs behind the scenes and once you save a document it just 'automatically' appears on your other device. Sadly Drafts does not include iCloud itself as an option for syncing. Do not fret though, if you don't want to use Simperium you can always sync via Dropbox and choose to 'Open In' within the Dropbox application on your other iOS device.

I find Drafts to be very useful with helping me increase my productivity on my iPad. For example: I will be interviewing a co-founder of a successful company this Thursday on Total iPad, so I can open Drafts and write up a short reminder on the subject and send it to my Events in my calendar, then I can take that same text and post it to Facebook and Twitter to let my followers know about it. I have just killed 2 birds with 1 stone essentially. This keeps me from having to open Facebook, Tweetbot and the Calendar app. Drafts also includes a pretty cool link detection option for linking to phone numbers or addresses within your text.

Not only does Drafts increase my productivity with a few services but Drafts also supports a ton of my favorite iPad applications. I can also create notes that I can turn into calendar events as mentioned above, SMS messages, Day One entries or I can copy my content to the clipboard that I can 'Open-In' other applications that do not have built-in support within Drafts and then paste my content in that application. One example of an application that is not supported in Drafts but an app that I use daily on my iPad is Blogsy. Even though Drafts does not support 'send to Blogsy' it does support a large number of other popular applications.

Some of the supported Apps:
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Email
  • Evernote
  • Tweetbot
  • OmniFocus
  • Things
  • Simplenote
  • Sparrow
  • The Hit List
  • Echofon
  • Due
  • Byword
  • WriteUp
  • Buffer
  • Bang On
  • Agenda
  • Day One
  • Writing Kit
One of the great things about Drafts is it includes built-in support for Markdown text within the application. You can format your text in Markdown and then tap on the Markdown preview to check that your text is formatted properly. I am a huge fan of Markdown and normally write all my post for Total iPad in Markdown on my Mac when I am using MarsEdit or iA Writer + Marked (for preview).

Drafts also includes a very useful top keyboard menu bar with some useful features when you are using the built in iPad keyboard. Some of the options include some of the most used keys for typing with Markdown and appear on the top right above the keyboard and  include the following keys:
 @  #  *  _    "  -
On the top left of the extra keyboard keys there are options for: forward and backward keys for one letter or one complete word, as well as undo and redo keys.

Pros:

  • Beautiful UI
  • Share to some of my most used applications
  • Dropbox Support
  • OmniFocus Support
  • Supports Markdown
  • Nice selection of fonts
  • Color Themes

Cons:

  • Not all applications are available
  • iPad version is separate app from the iPhone version
  • No iCloud support

Final Thoughts:

I have been using Drafts on my iPad for about a week now and I have found it to be extremely useful as a productivity application. I love the way I can measure once, cut twice with post I write and send them multiple places at once enabling me to focus on other task instead of wasting time to open multiple applications. The layout is beautiful, the fonts selection is superb, the themes are nice and really give you that minimalistic feel that do not overwhelm you with too many options but offer enough to beautify the application. If you are using your iPad as a creation tool then you will definitely want Drafts on your iPad, Drafts is the Swiss Army Knife of creation applications.

You can purchase Drafts for iPad in the App Store for only $2.99:
Drafts for iPad - Agile Tortoise

There is also an iPhone version of Drafts in the App Store which is a separate purchase for only $1.99:
Drafts for iPhone - Agile Tortoise

Monday, December 10, 2012

Enigma for iPad mini



The Enigma is a flexi-folding folio case for the iPad mini. The flexi-folding aspect is almost an origami like design where you bend the front cover back and fold the cover so that you can stand the iPad up. You can prop up the iPad in both portrait and landscape positions. The Enigma comes in 3 colors for you to choose from: black, blue, and pink.



The Enigma is crafted of 3 different materials: the back is a hard plastic, the front is a rubber, and the inside is a microfiber material. The Enigma will offer almost total protection of your iPad from scratches. The top of the iPad mini will still remain exposed though as the entire section of the Enigma is one giant cutout versus a cutout for each individual button/hole.




The front cover of the Enigma is pretty awesome with the exception of one small detail. It does not include the magnets that will wake/sleep your iPad mini. That is my only negative about the case, I really wish Cygnett would have included that feature when they launched the product. Even though it is a negative it is not a deal breaker. I would still highly recommend the Enigma to anyone with an iPad mini who is looking for simple protection of their device. The Enigma will not offer much protection from drops, it is more designed to protect your iPad from scratches and bruises.



Getting the iPad mini into the Enigma is really easy, the mini just snaps into place in the 4 corners of the case. Once it is snapped into the 4 corners it feels really sturdy while in the Enigma. I never once have felt like the iPad mini will slide out of the case, it is designed well and will do a great job of protecting my iPad mini.




All of the buttons and ports line up perfectly, as I mentioned above the top of the Enigma is one giant cutout, same with the bottom of the Enigma. The speakers and lighting connector port have one cutout for both holes on the bottom of the iPad mini. The volume rockers and mute/lock switch are the same, one cutout for all three buttons. The camera hole on the back of the Enigma is a perfect cutout and leaves enough space around the camera so when you take a picture you do not get any interference with the case itself.

The Enigma does not any bulk or much extra weight to the iPad mini. The Enigma for the most part is a super thin, light weight way to protect your iPad from the rigors of daily usage.

The Enigma retails for $39.99 and can be purchased directly from Cygnett.

Check out my other Cygnett iPad mini reviews:

Workmate by Cygnett
FlexiGel by Cygnett


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Figure by Propellerhead




Figure is a universal iOS application that will run on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Figure is $0.99 in the iOS App Store and easily worth every penny for music lovers. Even if you are not a music lover then you should honestly download this app as it is really fun to play with.

I bought this App back in March I believe or sometime around then and when it first launched there was not much you could do with the app then. But, the developers have recently added the export to iTunes feature, you can now open your creations in a limited number of other applications, you can sync via Bluetooth with other iOS devices, and just last week the app was updated to support the iPhone 5 and the iPad. This is one of those apps that you show to people who say the iPad is a consumption only device. Let your creativeness shine through on your iPad.

Download Figure from the iOS App Store:

Figure for iPad
Figure for iPhone / iPod Touch



Sunday, December 2, 2012

iPad mini (review - kinda)





I finally decided to post a short review on the iPad mini. No, I do not own an iPad mini yet but I bought one for my daughter for her birthday and have been using her mini for a couple of weeks now. I do plan on getting a cellular version of the mini after the holidays. I love the lightness of the mini, the thinness, the design, the feel, the look, the sound. I love everything about the mini except the lack of retina. Of course that is the same thing anyone else who has reviewed the mini has stated and like all those "anyone else's" after a few days of using the mini you do not really notice the lack of retina.




Everything about the mini makes it a joy to own. I ended up getting my daughter the 32GB Wi-FI only version and only opted for the 32GB because I know she will be watching a lot of movies on it. The one thing about watching movies on the mini is the improved quality of the speakers. With my big iPad sometimes I have to grab my EarPods because the speakers are not loud enough. You do not have this problem with the mini as the iPad mini sports stereo sound. Sure you will only be able to take advantage of stereo sound if you are watching in portrait mode but the speakers are really that much louder and do not sound muffled when you have it propped up using the Smart Case or another iPad mini case with a built-in stand.




Should you buy an iPad mini if you already have a bigger iPad?


If you own a third-generation iPad and you mostly use your iPad when you are at home whether it is on the couch or in bed then you probably do not need the iPad mini. Unless the weight and the size of the larger iPad is uncomfortable to hold when you are reading on it. If those things do not bother you then you should be perfectly set with the big iPad you have now.


If you are someone who takes your iPad everywhere with you, you know when you go out to a coffee shop or on vacation, then I would highly recommend grabbing an iPad mini because it is that much more portable. It does fit right in a jacket pocket, if you watch my video review you will see me actually demonstrate this.


I can honestly say without a doubt in my mind, if the iPad mini had a retina display then I would sell my larger iPad and get a mini as long as it stayed the same thickness and weight. That is probably the reason the iPad mini doesn't have retina though. Retina would require a larger battery which would make it heavier and mostly likely thicker.


The iPad mini will make a great Christmas gift for the wife, husband, or kids. If you are thinking of getting a friend or family member an iOS device then I would put the mini at the top of that list!


Be sure to check out some of my iPad mini case reviews:

FlexiGel for iPad mini

Workmate for iPad mini