Monthly Archives: February 2013

Smart Watches!

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I’m a watch person…and I’m the kind of person that thought calculator watches were cool. So imagine my excitement when some of the early smart watches started appearing running Palm OS. Now imagine my disappointment when I saw one strapped to the arm of a grown man.

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An average size 1st grader has a larger wrist than me. But I REALLY wanted a watch with a touch screen interface and access to my calendar and todo list (I have memory issues).

Like many people, when the battery died on my watch a couple years ago I didn’t replace it, I started using my phone to tell time. But like I said, I’m a watch person, and all this talk recently about smart watches has me excited again. And they appear to be getting smaller…

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The previous generation iPod nano was attractive when paired with the right strap…

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…and Sony has a similar smart watch

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…but the clip makes it stand out from the wrist too far. Also worth noting, it’s not compatible with all android phones.

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Cookoo has a nice design, but I’ve seen one on a man’s wrist and it looked bulky.

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The Pebble Watch is the most intriguing prospect I’ve seen recently…

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…and it doesn’t look too bulky, does it?

I haven’t even begun to dig into the features of the various smart watches, so leave a comment if you have any advice about choosing one.

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Equation Editors for the iPad (or Android Tablets)

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Last year I tried replace my laptop with an iPad. I’m a math teacher and I needed to be able to create and edit word documents that contained equations…lots of them. I found a few apps (like MathBot) that would allow me to create equations. The downside with these type of apps is that they are not word processors. You have to export each equation as a photo or PDF, then you have to paste it into a document you’ve created in another app, then you have to adjust the size and if you have several equations on the same page it is nearly impossible to get them all a uniform size. And there is no editing the equations once they’ve been exported.

It’s a lot of work, and the end product is not that great.

I continued to look for a word processor with a built-in equation editor. I nearly bought a Microsoft Surface RT because it came with MS Office, but the price ($599) convinced me to keep looking for a more affordable option.

I found the perfect solution: Refurbished iPad 2 ($319) + CloudOn (free).

CloudOn is an office suite with built-in equation editor, just like MS Office.

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It’s a web app, so you must have internet access, but finally there’s a productivity suite with a built-in equation editor. I’ve used it on an iPad 2 and a Nexus 7 and it works great on both tablets.

Check out my overview of CloudOn’s equation editor.


Google Drive – Spreadsheet and Docs on a Nexus 7

I wrote a post last summer describing my experience using the spreadsheet editor in Google Drive’s Android app. My opinion was that editing existing spreadsheets was acceptable, but creating new ones was not very intuitive.

However, the spreadsheet editor is now much more user friendly. Here are some screenshots of Google Drive on my daughter’s Nexus 7.

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I find thumb typing in portrait mode very comfortable on the Nexus 7.

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I prefer landscape view on an iPad, but on the Nexus 7, you can’t see much of the document.

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Google Drive has a very clean, attractive user interface.

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Here’s a YouTube video showing a Google Drive Spreadsheet on my iPad.

…and here’s a Google Drive Document on my iPad.


Apple Refurbished iPads

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Like new.

Yesterday I unboxed my Apple Refurbished iPad 2 (16 GB) and posted the video on YouTube.
Apple Refurbished iPad 2 Unboxing

*The packaging is different than a new iPad, yet still very attractive.
*A new 16 GB iPad Costs $399, while the refurbished devices cost $319 (I couldn’t find a deal to beat that on eBay).
*Shipping was free and prompt – I ordered it and a new Smart Cover on Saturday and the cover arrived Wed. while the iPad arrived Thur.
*I could not tell the difference between the refurbished device and a new one.

Apple refurbished iPads have:
-a new battery
-a new outer shell
-a one year warranty

The less expensive models tend to go faster, so if you set your heart on getting one, you may have to wait until more of your desired model becomes available. I’s worth checking out.
Apple Refurbished iPads

You can also purchase refurbished laptops, desktops, and iPods from Apple.

I’m curious to see how much the iPad mini will cost when the start selling refurbished models.