Turn Your iPad into a Full-Fledged Desktop with the myKeyO.

ncreasingly, iPads are replacing laptops and even desktops as the computing platform of choice, especially in schools. But the onscreen keyboard is often the weak link. There are a plethora of Bluetooth keyboards, notably Apple’s own pricey Wireless Keyboard. It could get expensive to outfit each student with one.

mk1800  - Another award winning 6 in ONE  Keyboard w/Organizer  with "the restt" tablet stand, this is the basic model

Enter the myKeyO. This is a unique combination of a Bluetooth keyboard with something I haven’t seen before. Indeed I was skeptical of this item when the vendor first emailed me about it, but now that I’ve had a chance to use it, I totally get it.

First, there is a base station, made of heavy duty silicone. There are cutouts to hold an iPad (or other tablet) in portrait or landscape mode. More cutouts can hold a variety of things, like a pen or stylus, business cards, paperclips, and more.

The most important slot is for either the official Apple Wireless Keyboard, or their own keyboard. They have designed a lower cost, tough plastic keyboard that shares the exact same dimensions as Apple’s version. In some ways, this keyboard is better because it has iPad-specific buttons like the Home button. It also could work with Microsoft Windows computers or tablets, as it has labels for Windows.

I could easily see the myKeyO units being placed throughout a school or office, so students could set down their tablets and get to work. Ideally, each student would work at the same spot, so the Bluetooth keyboard would already be paired, but if not, pairing is an easy process with the Connect button on the bottom of the keyboard.

The base station is really heavy and should stay put on most desks. It’s also available in assorted colors, so students can have some customization. It’s one of those accessories you didn’t know you needed until you see it. But now it’s earned a dedicated spot on my desk.

Tinkering Monkeys WoodFlip stand secures iPad and credit card reader.

woodflip

Tinkering Monkey — has announce a great looking product called the WoodFlip. It’s made specifically for businesses that use an iPad in combination with a credit card reader.

The WoodFlip stand comes in two models; one works with an iPad and the Square card reader while the other works with the uDynamo reader. Both models cost $200 each. The company offers the WoodFlip in three wood versions; Natural Light, Dark Walnut Stain or Black Stain. The stand words with any large iPad except the first generation model; it will not work with the iPad mini.

Tinkering Monkey even offers a free laser engraving of a company’s logo for each WoodFlip and the nine inch tall stand can be tilted while also offering an integrated but discreet charging port for the iPad.

The Qwerkywriter is an old school typewriter for your iPad and iMac.

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Are you the kind of nostalgic soul who looks back at the Underwood, Remington, and Smith-Corona typewriters of yesteryear and sigh plaintively? Yet are you simultaneously a modern tech nerd, who couldn’t go without the conveniences afforded by an iPad or iMac? Well, then, the Qwerkywriter — an 84-key keyboard that looks just like a vintage typewriter — might be just the thing for you.

Now on Kickstarter, the Qwerkywriter is essentially a mechanical switch keyboard, like the Das Keyboard. This style of keyboard makes keys feel more tangible when pressed, and is notorious for withstanding all the abuse a writer can throw at it.

What makes the Qwerkywriter more than just a mechanical switch keyboard is that the key caps have been replaced with old typewriter keys, while the casing has been modeled to look just like an old analog typewriter, circa 1920.

This little design conceit also allows you to balance an iPad in what would otherwise be the Qwerkywriter’s paper feeder. And since the Qwerkywriter is Bluetooth enabled, it can work just as well as an iPad keyboard as it can a way of banging text into your iMac or MacBook.

A beautiful throwback design, the Qwerkywriter is now available for preorder. But there’s bad news: not only is the Qwerkywriter expensive at $289 each, but they won’t start shipping until August 2015.

How to build a homemade version of the Adobe Ink stylus and Slide ruler for iPad.

Adobe Ink & Slide

Earlier this year, Adobe introduced Ink & Slide, an iPad stylus and ruler combination that works with its new drawing and drafting app, Adobe Line. The accessory pair will set you back US$200, but you can build your own for a fraction of the cost.

qtip-stylus

The easiest way to duplicate most of the functionality of the Adobe Ink is with a basic Q-tip and aluminum foil stylus (CNET video instructions), which will cost less than $10 to make. It’ll allow you to draw on your iPad, but lacks the pressure-sensitivity that is available in the Adobe version. You’ll have to decide if the pressure feature is worth the extra cost.

Adobe Slide

The other half of the toolset is the Slide, a digital ruler that interacts with the Line app, allowing you to quickly draw lines and other shapes. The Slide has two capacitive points that interact with the iPad and relay information to the Line app. As shown in this DIY video from Great iGear (via PadGadget), you can duplicate the functionality of the Slide with two pieces of capacitive foam and a 4-inch screw from your local hardware store.

If you don’t mind the homemade look of the DIY tools, you can easily build them for less than $30 and in less than an hour.

Beautiful leather folio puts absolutely everything in its place.

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

I’m a digital pack rat. I’ve got an iPhone, an iPad mini, a Barnes & Noble nook eReader, a space pen, several USB flash drives, and various earbuds along with a few charging and adapter cables.

I usually just jam all these things into my backpack as I head out the door, hoping they don’t get lost or tangled in the process. They get lost in my bag of choice, and I spend a fair bit of time searching around for stuff I need in any given moment when out and about.

Honestly, though, it hasn’t been much of an issue. I’ve been ok with taking the extra effort to find my headphones, say, and unwrap them from the unholy tangle they’ve become in my bag, for the simple fact that I’m not super organized.

This new leather folio case, however, has me re-thinking all that. What if I could keep track of all the little digital ephemera I carry with me in a more compact, organized way?

Turns out that I can, and look great doing it.

It also seems that I’ve become somewhat of a high-quality materials junkie with all this great stuff I get to test out for review. The Mod, the leather folio with interchangeable inserts made with loving care by This Is Ground, is yet another fine fit for my love affair with leather.

Leather is a gorgeous, durable material that only gets cooler looking with age and use. The Mod I received is a lustrous, thick dark brown leather with a wickedly sturdy zipper that folds it’s rich-smelling covers together to keep all my stuff safe and organized.

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Inside front has a pen strap at the top for my space pen, a business card sized pocket for all the dead tree contact cards I get at conferences, a larger snap-closing flap for my earpods, and a larger sewn-in pocket on the bottom that holds larger bits of paper or money when I actually have cash. It also fits my iPhone when it’s not in it’s own case. The inside back has a thin stretchy strap to hold a paper pad or small paperback book in place, and a large slide-in compartment that fits my iPad mini (or Nook) perfectly.

What the Mod excels at, however, is the magnetic snap insert. There are ten different insert options, including one for an executive (the one I received), one for a writer, one for a photographer, and even one for a guitarist with little sewn in pockets for guitar picks.

The insert I tested has a second snap flap, a larger pen loop and a big pocket with snap enclosure that fits my minimalist wallet perfectly when on the go. The back of the insert has a perfectly fit pocket into which the back cover of an included This Is Ground blank paper notebook can slide, along with another little strappy thing that holds the top cover of the notebook securely closed.

Now I can’t go anywhere without my Mod, with it’s cute yet rugged little handle on the spine and subtly burned-in This Is Ground/Los Angeles logo on the lower part of the rear panel. It’s small enough to take with me all the time, and slips into my computer bag when I need the Macbook to come along, too.

And yes, I’m still sniffing the thing every time I open it, getting the rich new-leather tones of the folio each time.

The Mod is a lustrous, thick dark brown leather folio with a wickedly sturdy zipper that folds it’s rich-smelling covers together to keep all my stuff safe and organized.

While the price is a bit on the “luxury” side of things at $260 for a Mod with one insert you can choose from the company’s website, I can see the well-heeled digiterati using a Mod for their daily travel needs. It’s perfect to tote around town, or use as your minimal carry-on as you jet set from one locale to another.

The extra inserts run from $60 to $100 depending on their functionality, and they seem like a relatively small price to pay for the extended use cases they’d bring. I’d love to have a musician insert with the extra pocket for strings for when I head to a gig, or the charger insert with its included battery pack for when I’m planning to need extra battery power to keep my digital self going long into the evening.

Bottom line is that if you want a high-quality folio case for all those little things you carry with you from day to day with the ability to quick-change to an insert that meets your specific needs perfectly, the Mod is the one to beat.

The 80s Back-to-School Staple The Trapper Keeper Makes a Comeback as an iPad Case.

Remember the Trapper Keeper? That great catch-all notebook/random access paper filing system you kept in your school locker back in the ’80s? Well, it’s making a comeback in a form today’s kids will likely find much more useful than its previous incarnation: As an iPad case!

trapper_keeper_1

Case-maker Kensington is partnering with Mead for the Trapper Keeper relaunch, so in addition to the gloriously 80s graphics, there is also a composition-style notebook, as well as a version of the Pee-Chee sketchbook you might have doodled upon in class.

The new Trapper Keeper tablet cases will come in two sizes, 7-inch and 10-inch, and will be priced at $25-$30. They will, of course, open into stands so you can catch reruns of Saved by the Bell in between classes. (Or let’s face it, business meetings.) The entire Kensington Trapper Keeper lineup can be seen at the Kensington website.

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Oh, and if you want to go totally old-school, traditional versions of the Trapper Keeper are available too.

Source: MacTrast.

Adobe Announces Ink Stylus and Slide Ruler Duo, New Mobile Apps.

Adobe today announced the launch of a new suite of mobile apps and accompanying hardware that includes its Adobe Ink digital pen and its Adobe Slide digital ruler. Previously known as the “Mighty” stylus and the “Napoleon” digital ruler while in development, Adobe’s new tools were created in partnership with Adonit, the company behind a line of popular styluses.

Adobe’s three-sided aluminum Ink stylus is pressure sensitive and connects to Creative Cloud, allowing users to access photos, color palettes, drawings, and more, while drawing within Adobe’s mobile apps. Adobe Slide, the ruler that accompanies the stylus, is designed to enable precision sketching, including straight lines, perfect circles, and balanced shapes on Apple’s iPad.

adobeinkandslide
The Ink and Slide are complemented by two new iPad appsAdobe Sketch and Adobe Line.Sketch is a social sketching app for free-form drawing, with a set of simple tools (pencil, ink pen, blending markers, and eraser) and Behance integration to share sketches with the creative community. Line allows iPad users to create precision drafts and drawings, with a reimagining of traditional tools like rulers, T-squares, and shape templates.

Along with Line and Sketch Adobe is introducing Photoshop Mix, an iPad app that interfaces with Photoshop on the desktop and makes it easy for users to do masking and compositing of images. It’s a simple way to create masks on a touch screen, which can then be transferred to the desktop version of Photoshop. It is able to open PSD files and it includes features like Content Aware Fill and Camera Shake Reduction.

photoshopmix
There are also new Creative Cloud apps for the iPhone and the iPad, which allow Creative Cloud members to access and manage their files and assets from their mobile devices. Finally, the mobile version of Adobe Lightroom, initially available only for the iPad is now expanding to the iPhone.

Adobe’s new apps have been built using the Creative SDK, which is currently undergoing private beta testing but will be released to developers in the future, allowing for additional apps that will be able to take advantage of Adobe’s new hardware and Creative Cloud connectivity.

Adobe has also updated all of its Creative Cloud apps for the desktop and introduced expanded Creative Cloud profiles to improve connectivity between mobile devices and apps.

Ink and Slide, Adobe’s new hardware tools, are sold in a set and are available immediately from Adobe.com for $199. Ink and Slide are currently limited to U.S. customers only, but Adobe has plans to expand availability in the future. Adobe’s new apps, SketchLine andPhotoshop Mix will all be from the App Store today for free, as will the new Creative Cloud app and Lightroom for iPhone. Download links below:

Adobe Line [Direct Link]
– Adobe Sketch [Direct Link]
– Photoshop Mix [Direct Link]
– Lightroom for iPhone [Direct Link]
– Adobe Creative Cloud [Direct Link]