John Galea's Blog

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Apple AirPrint for iPads/iPhones

As with everything Apple they have their own way of doing things. Bringing a new disparate architecture device presents challenges. Everything else in my house is Windows so when I bought a iPhone and iPad I had to look into how to make printing working. One would hope that cloud printing would be possible, if it is I don’t see it, at least not without paying for apps. The google apps (Gmail for example) have some cloud printing within them. HP have an ePrint app but it literally creates it’s own app to get at your photos, to browse the web from, read email from etc. It does allow printing from anywhere but isn’t really what I was hoping for.
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The network standard for an iPad/iPhone is called Airplay. My HP 1102W while not officially on the Apple site does support Airplay and my iPhone found it when I was on the home network allowing me to print easily. But what if you have another printer that isn’t actually supported? Well, while not simple by any means, you can add AirPlay support to any printer on a Windows PC using this guide. I did it and got both my printers working on the network. While this does not solve the issue of cloud printing it does however give you a way to do it. That’s about it.

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May 19, 2016 Posted by | iPhone Stuff, iPhone/iPad | Leave a comment

Whatsapp mini review

Many of us have multiple devices we use on a daily bases. Why companies continue to not understand and exploit this is beyond me. A desktop, a laptop, a tablet, a phone etc and it would be great to be able to have one cross platform app from which to chat with friends over. Google Hangouts is probably one of the best at this. It lets you use however many devices you want. And whatever was the last device to get used is where a notification is sent. BBM is one of the worst in that it can only be installed at one device at a time and you literally have to uninstall and reinstall to move it to a different device. And BBM has been absolutely plagued lately by a constant stream of spam from people asking to connect and businesses too.

So along come Whatapp. It is an interesting concept. You install an app on your phone (iPhone, Blackberry or Windows phone). This device becomes the gateway that all other devices can then send messages through. It’s worth noting that you have to keep your phone, on, and online or Whatsapp breaks.

In addition to your phone you can also use Whatsapp and sign into the web, a PC or Mac (No official iPad support and you can’t use the web app from an iPad either). You log onto the web interface (or start the PC or iPad app) and it brings up a QR code which you then from your phone you authorize. You can authorize as many devices at a time but can only log in to your phone plus one device at a time. Not perfect, but not horrible. You can logout from all computers from the phone but not just one device.

When you install it for the first time it goes through your contacts based on phone numbers and finds the list of people already on whatsapp and adds them to your favorites. Now that sounds like a good idea but it created a plague of people in my favorites. Fortunately there is a delete all favorites button and then add back the folks you really want. I see no way to see which of your friends is actually active on Whatsapp Vs tried it and are no longer using it. Once you start a chat you can see when they were last seen so at least at that point you will know if they are active on Whatsapp.

There is no approval process for adding friends, or allowing someone to send you a message. This would imply spam is quite possible. You can block people from within the phone app.

The default privacy policy is terrible (or should I say no privacy), but fortunately can be easily changed. Your status, profile photo, and Last seen are visible to everyone by default. Yuk. Be sure and change that. (Settings, account, privacy).
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Messages are confirmed when sent (single check mark), confirmed when read (two check marks), and you can see them typing (replying). Whatsapp supports text chats, and voice calls. But there is no voice out calling (as there is in Skype), and no voice in (other than from Whatsapp clients).

You can manually send your location (from the phone app only) to a contact, but I see no way to do live tracking of friends, and no way to request a persons location. A crying shame.

Messages are encrypted if you care.

May 12, 2016 Posted by | iPhone Stuff, iPhone/iPad | Leave a comment

Apple Pay now adds Canadian banks

I’ve had phones that would support NFC tap and go credit card payments for years now. But up until now it has been virtually useless/inaccessible to most Canadians. You could only do it with an American Express. Well all that changed As of Tuesday two of the major banks in Canada, and more to come soon now allow Apple Pay. I have a CIBC card that is supported, and I bank with BMO (that isn’t yet, although supposed to be coming). The process to add the card is dead easy. You take a picture of your credit card accept the end user agreement (I actually read it and it doesn’t seem too bad). And your done. Once setup from a powered off lock screen you can double tap the home button and Apple Pay comes up. You then enter your passcode (or use your fingerprint) and it’s ready to tap. You do not have to be using finger print for it to work. It is super convenient and works easily. I did quickly run into a vendor that did not have tap at all so you can’t abandon a physical card just yet. Once the transaction is complete you get a buzz on the device and record in Apple Pay to show the transaction. No email trace though. There is some discussion on the price the banks had to pay to make this happen.

My iPhone 6 is supported, it was one of the reasons I went with a 6 instead of a 5S!

All in all it’s been a long time coming and nice to see it finally here.

May 11, 2016 Posted by | iPhone Stuff | Leave a comment

Zagg Folio iPad mini case

I hate on screen keyboards. Inevitably they drive me nutz. So when I saw this I was super curious to see how useful it might be. I snagged one used on ebay for a price I could swallow. Physically speaking the case is well designed. The top portion of the case completely envelopes and protects the iPad mini. The top has a hinge to the bottom that has just the right amount of resistance. It can be sat at almost any angle. From this point alone it is quite useful. At certain angles it is a bit tippy as you might expect. Adding weight to the keyboard would have solved this but it also would have made it heavier, so a trade off. The outside has a nice faux leather pattern on the plastic making it super easy to hold onto. Thickness and weight are about as good as it could get. It’s about the same as the iPad itself. They keyboard connects to the iPad through bluetooth. There is a battery in the base of the keyboard. There’s a switch on the front corner of the keyboard as well as a light. The battery is recharged by a microUSB port. Any charger for a non iPad will do. I do find it odd that they used a microUSB port instead of a lightning port that would have let you use your iPad charger. Reconnect times are a bit on the slow time and take a few key presses before it is reconnected. The keyboard goes sleep on it’s own after a period of inactivity so you can leave it on all the time. The keys are nicely recessed so they do not make contact with the screen. Overall the keys are well placed. Any OS be it Windows, Android and even iOS have specific keys unique to them. There’s something to be said about having a keyboard designed uniquely for iOS. Like the home button that actually works. The CMD key etc. There are a few blemishes on what could have been a perfect layout. The keyboard is small, and unless you have small hands don’t buy it. Oddities are expected on a keyboard of this size. Here are the ones I noticed, the number 1 key is smaller than any other key. And the q seems to be where the tab ought to be. The keyboard is even backlit and you can change the brightness (including off) and color of the backlighting. All in all it’s an excellent design, but as expected not something your going to use to bang out long emails or texts but perfect for short use on the go or on holidays.

I did run into an occasional issue where the keyboard would not connect. I’d go into bluetooth settings and it would show the keyboard was connected but no joy. The solution was to turn bluetooth off and back on. Seemed more reliable of the keyboard is turned off Vs gone to sleep.

I have noticed that swiping from the bottom of the screen up is virtually impossible with the keyboard on. I have to rotate the iPad to do this ..

$_57

May 6, 2016 Posted by | iPhone/iPad, Uncategorized | Leave a comment