NASA Education Apps

17 04 2014

When Apple released its first iPad in 2010, forward-looking universities around the world started research studies on how this device could be integrated into learning and teaching.

Research initiatives had to find out where an iPad could improve the learning and teaching process in general.

  • Shifts in paradigms
    The integration of the iPad in the classroom is not only enhancing the way students learn but also changing the way instructors teach. Students now expect stimulation and immediacy; everyone wants everything faster and easier than before.
    “Our students are already so visual as far as learning styles are concerned that it’s becoming the new wave,” says Dr. Garcia. “We, as instructors, are going to have to adjust our teaching methodology in order to keep them engaged and in using the iPad, we can show the students movies and animations and give them a wide array of multimedia resources that they can tap into.”
  • Adjusting the content to its needs
    “The iPad is typically thought of as more of a consumer product”, says Dr. Garcia “but with the right fine-tuning we were able to modify some applications to make the lectures easy to view for the students.”
  • Easy deployment of course material
    About 30 years ago I myself was a teacher of physics, maths and informatics. Course material was produced by duplicating stencils written by hand or with a typewriter. Today teachers can develop their courses on a PC or an iPad and send it to a commonly used resource e.g. cloud storage from which students download it to their mobile device.
  • Reducing costs of learning
    HCC Houston Community College
    “It’s hard having to come up with the money to buy books every semester,” says Mari Hernandez, an Anatomy and Physiology student. “With the iPad, I was able to download it for free and start studying right away, instead of waiting until I could afford to buy the book.”
  • Increased mobility
    one device for the classroom, the campus and at home
  • Improved collaboration techniques
    Young people today are highly engaged in social networking and it’s an everyday experience to exchange information via Twitter or Facebook.
    Learning methods have to accept these new ways of how young people communicate with each other. The professor standing in front of his students and using a chalkboard for hours does not enhance collaboration which contradicts the expectations of young people how to get in touch with learning material and at what time they want to do it.

The App Store features over 65,000 education apps – designed especially for the iPad – that cover a wide range of subjects for every grade level and learning style.

Apple about education apps …

The App Store gives you endless ways to help students learn new concepts and express their creativity. Let your class explore the properties of magnesium with an interactive periodic table of elements. Teach young readers new words with an app that turns word-building into a game. Or find a digital painting app to make art anywhere without brushes or paint. You can find study aid apps built specifically for drills and practice. And apps that complement different learning styles. Whatever you’re teaching, apps help you do what you do best – inspire students to think in new ways.

Today I would like to present an overview about the development of education apps for the iPad and the iPhone by the NASA.

The NASA …

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

Since that time, most U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, the Space Launch System and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches.
Wikipedia

Apps of the NASA …

The actual offer of the NASA as of January 2014 …

Images of Change

Natural disasters, a warming climate, and human activities are rapidly altering the face of our planet. NASA’s Images of Change app lets you take a close-up view of many of these changes in an exciting and hands-on format. The app presents a curated collection of the best image pairs from NASA’s Global Climate Change website. These image pairs show areas that have been subject to natural disasters or seen significant change over time. Compare Alaska’s Muir Glacier in 1941 to the glacier as it Looked in 2004. Take a before-and-after look at flooding in the Missouri River or at wildfires in Colorado. See the expansion of agriculture in Saudi Arabia as viewed from satellites. All photo pairs can be viewed individually, side by side, or overlaid with a slider bar for easy comparisons. Each image pair contains background information and a map showing its location. The images presented in Images of Change are meticulously selected and constantly updated to give you an informative, compelling, and up-to-date visual experience.

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NASA Earth As Art

In 1960 the United States put its first Earth-observing environmental satellite into orbit around the planet. OvE the decades these satellites have provided invaluable information, and the vantage point of space has provid new perspectives on Earth. This app celebrates Earth’s aesthetic beauty in the patterns, shapes, colors, and textures of the land, oceans, ice, and atmosphere.
The app features stunning images of Earth from the Terra, Landsat 5, Landsat 7, EO-1, and Aqua satellites.
Sensors on these satellites can measure light outside of the visible range, so the images show more than what is visible to the naked eye. The app draws on several images from the USGS Landsat image gallery and introduces many new images.
This app features time-lapse satellite images of locations on Earth undergoing significant change over decad linking to NASA’s Earth Observatory website. The app has a thumbnail gallery of the images as well as an interactive directory with images organized by geographic region. Each image has a brief caption and the abi to enlarge each scene.
The beauty of Earth is clear, and the artistry ranges from the surreal to the sublime.

EAServices

The Johnson Space Center Engineering Directorate provides core engineering disciplines, facilities, and laboratories for Human Spaceflight Programs. The Engineering Directorate develops many of the technologies that are needed for the exploration of space. This application highlights some of the innovative technologies developed at NASA JSC and the technical facilities used to evaluate these technologies. Engineering is uniquely positioned to tailor and apply technical solutions developed for spaceflight to the challenges of other industries.

Spinoff 2012

NASA Spinoff profiles the best examples of technology that have been transferred from NASA research and missfons into commercial products. From life-saving satellite systems to hospital robots that care for patients and more, NASA technologies benefit society.
This app features shortened versions of all of the articles from the Benefits section of the 2012 edition of Spinoff, which is available in print, PDF, and HTML versions on the Spinoff website.

30 Years Shuttlebook

The Space Shuttle fleet set high marks of achievement and endurance through 30 years of missions, from its first, when STS-1 launched on Apn112, 1981, to its last, when STS-135 landed on July 21,2011. Beginning with the orbiter Columbia and continuing with Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Space Shuttle has carried people into orbit; launched, recovered, and repaired satellites; conducted cutting-edge research; and helped build the largest artificial structure in space, the International Space Station.
As humanity’s first reusable spacecraft, the Space Shuttle pushed the bounds of inquiry, requiring not only advanced technologies, but the tremendous effort of a vast workforce. Thousands of civil servants and contractors throughout NASA Centers and across the Nation have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to mission success and the greater goal of space exploration. For an entire generation, the Space Shuttle program defined NASA. This book is a tribute to everything accomplished during the Shuttle program’s 30 years of operation.

iMorpheus

Project Morpheus is testing a new NASA spacecraft at the Johnson Space Center, and the iMorpheus lOS app aims to bring you right to the center of the action! iMerpheus streams real lander telemetry from the Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center and builds a live, real-time 3D simulation during actual engine and performance tests. If the lander isn’t being tested, you can just go to manual and have your own virtual test flight around JSC.
Features:
Live rocket telemetry during Morpheus lander tests rendered as 3D simulations
Recorded telemetry from previous flights when not testing
Fly your Morpheus lander around a virtual JSC, in daytime and nighttime[
Test your Morpheus Lander by flying through a series of GPS checkpoints
Live streaming of @MorpheusLander’s Twitter feed

Space communications and navigation: NetworKing

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Communications and Navigation (SCAN) Program is responsible for providing communications and navigation services to space flight missions locate, throughout the solar system. Astronauts, mission controllers, and scientists depend upon the reliable transmission of information between Earth and spacecraft in low Earth orbit (LEO) or deep space.
As a new Network Manager, your job will be to build and upgrade a complex communications network in order to support scientific missions.
Objectives: Build the Near Earth Network. Enable periodic communication with satellites in low Earth orbit, Buird the Space Network. Deploy a constellation of geosynchronous relay satellites to support LEO mission that require continuous coverage, Build the Deep Space Network. Support interplanetary spacecraft missions with powerful antennas, Manage and Improve Your Networks, Manage your network usage, deal with disasters, and research upgrades to enhance your networks’ capabilities, Support NASA Missions. Advance your networks to unlock special NASA missions that show the networks in action.

Ascent: Commemorating Shuttle

Ascent is a compilation of film and video representing the best of the best ground based Shuttle motion imagery from the STS-114, STS-117, and STS-124 missions. This app includes the entire Ascent production with commentary, numerous additional scenes, selected images, production notes, and an unreleased trailer.

Rocket Science 101

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to launch a NASA spacecraft with NASA’s Rocket Science 101 (RS101). Select your favorite NASA mission and build a rocket to send the spacecraft into orbit. As you take the RS101 challenge, you can learn more about thrilling missions and the various components of the launch vehicles, how they are configured and how they work together to successfully launch a NASA spacecraft. NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP) does the same things for real rockets and exciting spacecraft missions every day. About LSP:
NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP) leads the agency in providing access to space for the exploration of our home planet, solar system and the universe. LSP is located at the Kennedy Space Center and acts as a broker to match unmanned payloads with specific launch vehicles for customers to ensure mission success. The principal objectives of LSP are to provide safe, reliable, cost-effective and on-schedule processing, mission analysis and spacecraft integration and launch services for NASA and NASA-sponsored payloads. To learn more about LSR rockets and NASA missions go to: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/launchingrockets/ index.html

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NASA Technology Innovation 16.1

Technology Innovation is a digital publication of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate which will feature the latest space technology innovators and project developments across the agency. It will also highlight the American inventors, entrepreneurs and application engineers who have transformed space exploration technologies into products that benefit the nation. This issue focuses on a few of the innovators, systems, and materials that helped to make 2012 a groundbreaking year in Mars exploration. The technologies pioneered by these scientists will be vitat components of future space missions, but they are also improving life on Earth through a wide variety of industrial, educational, and humanitarian applications.
Volume 16, number 1, contains four feature articles:
Time Fries: MEDLI, Tailor Made: Woven Thermal Protection Systems, Innovation Without Borders: International Space Apps Challenge, Photon Express: Optical Communications, plus short articles on the commercial evolution of a heat-resistant coating invented by scientists at Ames Research Center and airflow sensors developed by a former NASA engineer. The issue closes with an “Insight” piece by Nell Cheatwood, the Principal Investigator for Planetary Entry, Descent and Landing at Langley Research Center.

NASA Technology Innovation 16.2

Volume 16, number 2, contains four feature articles:
The Ions Have It, Setting Sail, Big Ideas, Small Packages, Tapping the Source, plus short articles on how a rocket engine designed at Marshall Space Flight Center produced the development of a new ultra-high-pressure fire-suppression system and how a superconducting wire created for NASA’s advanced turboelectric distributed propulsion system is now being used in the manufacture of MRI scanners. The issue closes with an “insight” piece by Michael Gazarik, Associate Administrator of the Space Technology Mission Directorate.

NASA Glenn Research Center: The Early Years

A photographic retrospective of the first forty years of operation at NASA’s Glenn Research Center, located in Cleveland, Ohio. Drawn from a large collection of archived photos, these images and in-depth descriptions provide an insight into the research, people, and activities that herped pioneer America’s advances in aeronautics and space technology. Get a unique view and understanding of NASA Glenn’s history from 1941 through 1979.

NASA Science Mission Highlights

This digital publication highlights just a few of NASA’s many exciting science missions. Here you will learn about the missions designed to accomplish NASA’s overarcbing science goals in Earth science, heliophysics, planetary science, and astrophysics.

NASA Science: A Journey of Discovery

NASA leads the nation on a great journey of discovery, seeking new knowledge and understanding of our planet Earth, our Sun and sorar system, and the universe out to its farthest reaches and back to its earliest moments of existence. This NASA Science application brings you the latest information from NASA’s Science Missions, including the spacecraft, their instruments, the data, and what we are Jearning about the questions we seek to answer. NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and the nation’s science community use space observatories to conduct scientific studies of the Earth from space to visit and return samples from other bodies in the solar system, and to peer out into our Galaxy and beyond.

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ISSLive

See Real Time Data and what’s happening onboard the International Space Station
Interact with live streaming data from the International Space Station (ISS), Take virtual 3D tours of the Mission Control Center (MCC) and ISS, and View console displays, crew and science timelines, descriptions how the ISS works and how the MCC supports the ISS.
There are educational lessons available that interact with the live streaming system data accessible through the website link ISSLive! that tie ISS streaming systems data and operational timelines into one “Rich Intemet Application (RIA)” experience. The application offers data on real time parameters such as station position, internal environment, altitude, payload rack science activities and other interesting data and crew activities.

NASA Office of Inspector General (OIG)

The NASA OIG provides independent and objective oversight of NASA programs and operations. Get the latest information on the OIG audit reports, investigations, special reviews, semiannual reports, and congressional testimony.

NASA Visualization Explorer

This is the NASA Visualization Explorer, the coolest way to get stories about advanced space-based research delivered right to your iPad. A direct connection to NASA’s extraordinary fleet of research spacecraft, this app presents cutting edge research stories in an engaging and excitJng format. See the Earth as you’ve never seen it before; travel to places otherwise unavailable to even the most intrepid explorers.

NASA Television

The NASA Television App brings live and on-demand TV programming to your iPhone or iPod Touch. Watch the latest NASA events unford in real-time or select from a list of recently uploaded videos. Plan your viewing up to a week in advance with the NASA TV schedule, and check out a list of NASA-related programming on other networks.

NASA App

Explore with NASA and discover the latest images, videos, mission information, news, feature storie tweets, NASA TV and featured content. Features:
•Current NASA mission information, over 12,000 images (and growing everyday), Latest news & feature stories, On demand NASA Videos from around the agency, Live streaming of the NASA TV, Third Rock internet streaming radio, Launch information + countdown clocks, Sighting opportunities (visible passes for the ISS), ISS and Earth orbiting satellite trackers, Featured content section, Latest tweets from around the agency, Programs section, Facebook Connect and Integrated Twitter client for easy sharing, Map, information and links to all of the NASA visitor centers, Favorites + image bookmarks, Printing support

Space Place Prime

Space Place Prime is a content presentation app that gathers some of the best and most recent offerings from NASA. A spinoff of NASA’s popular kids’ Space Place website (spaceplace.nasa.gov or science.nasa.gov/kids), Space Place Prime has intergenerational appeal. It taps timely educational and easy-to-read articles from the website, as well as daily updates of NASA space and Earth-from-space images and the latest informative videos.
The interface is a slidable, looping grid of images, one for each feature, with icons indicating whether they represent an image, a video, or an article. Alternatively, a list mode and a carousel mode present images, videos, and articles sorted separately. Content is updated daily, retaining the previous few days-worth of features. Favorites can be tagged for permanent archive.
Facebook, twitter, and e-mail connections make any feature easy to share.

Space365

When did Neil Armstrong land on the moon? When was Jon Stewart born? What space events happened around my birthday?
Free, fun Space365 lets you see what NASA events and quirky trivia facts happened each day of the year.
Features:
• Search by keywords, categories and dates, Over 4,000 events (updated weekly), Corresponding photos with events, Links for more detailed information about the event, Save your favorite events, View the NASA image of the day and it’s details, Send questions to the Space365 team, Tweet, Like and Circle about Space365.

Summary …

This mind map summarizes all the information above.

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If you use a mind mapping tool like iThoughts HD for the iPad you will see a small icon assigned to each topic. It points to additional textual information shown in the upper part of the screen. So all the app descriptions above would’t be necessary if the use of a mind mapping tool could be supposed.

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Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
Apple iWork/Microsoft Word DOCX
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

Further sources …

iTunes U is a part of the iTunes Store featuring free lectures, language lessons, audiobooks, and more, that you can enjoy on your iPod, iPhone, Mac or PC. Explore over 600,000 educational audio and video files, books, and other resources from top universities, museums and public media organizations from around the world (30 countries) on thousands of subjects from Algebra to Zoology. The relevance of iTunes U is validated by engagements of Stanford, Yale, MIT, Oxford, The Open University, MoMA, the New York Public Library, and the Library of Congress. It’s the world’s largest catalog of free education content.

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A further source with more than 65,000 apps for education is Apple’s App Store where one of the categories is ‘Education’.

Summary …

Apple takes cars of the educational sector. Teachers should learn how to integrate the usage of tablets in the curriculum.

Related links …

NASA, USA

Apple about Education

i(Space)Weather

iPad @ Universities

iPad @ School

Back to the roots

About the mind mapping tool …

iThoughts for the iPad

Thanks for flying with iNotes4You.





i(Space)Weather

13 04 2014

News from the stock exchange is always being discussed by investors. News about the weather is a mainstream conversation. I cannot present stats but I think it’s the most talked about topic, worldwide with quite different motivations.

Pray don’t talk to me about the weather, Mr. Worthing. Whenever people talk to me about the weather, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else. And that makes me quite nervous.
Oscar Wilde

It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life.
P. D. James

Importance …

Weather forecasting is the application of science and technology to predict the state of the atmosphere for a given location. Human beings have attempted to predict the weather informally for millennia, and formally since the nineteenth century. Weather forecasts are made by collecting quantitative data about the current state of the atmosphere on a given place and using scientific understanding of atmospheric processes to project how the atmosphere will evolve on that place.

When the number of factors coming into play in a phenomenological complex is too large scientific method in most cases fails. One need only think of the weather, in which case the prediction even for a few days ahead is impossible.
Albert Einstein

The chaotic nature of the atmosphere, the massive computational power required to solve the equations that describe the atmosphere, errors involved in measuring the initial conditions, and an incomplete understanding of atmospheric processes mean that forecasts become less accurate as the difference in current time and the time for which the forecast is being made (the range of the forecast) increases.

There are a variety of end uses to weather forecasts. Weather warnings are important forecasts because they are used to protect life and property. Forecasts based on temperature and precipitation are important to agriculture, and therefore to traders within commodity markets. Temperature forecasts are used by utility companies to estimate demand over coming days. On an everyday basis, people use weather forecasts to determine what to wear on a given day. Since outdoor activities are severely curtailed by heavy rain, snow and the wind chill, forecasts can be used to plan activities around these events, and to plan ahead and survive them.

Thunderstorms can create strong winds and dangerous lightning strikes that can lead to deaths, power outages, and widespread hail damage. Heavy snow or rain can bring transportation and commerce to a stand-still, as well as cause flooding in low-lying areas. Excessive heat or cold waves can sicken or kill those with inadequate utilities, and droughts can impact water usage and destroy vegetation.

Space weather …

Space weather is becoming a very important aspect of the weather services, and will continue to grow as we gain a better understanding of the physical processes of the sun and their effects here on the Earth as well as in space itself.

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Space weather can have significant effects to humans on Earth as well as in space due to the growing number of satellites in space, power grids on Earth, use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS), as well as commuter air travel and space travel. Solar flares, coronal holes, and coronal mass ejections (CME’s) can emit large bursts of radiation, high speed electrons and protons, and other highly energetic particles that are released from the sun, and are sometimes directed to the Earth.

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There are 3 main categories of space weather storms: geomagnetic storms, caused by CME´s and the high speed wind from coronal holes, that can create beautiful auroras, as well as cause problems for electrical systems, satellites, GPS navigation, radio systems (radio blackouts), power line transmissions, cell phones, health of astronauts, people flying at high altitudes, and satellite orbits. For this reason, the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) located in Boulder, Colorado issues a variety of space weather forecasts and warnings daily to alert those concerned with these effects.

There is a universal free app called SpaceWeather (by Utah State University, icon name SpaceWx) which tells you what’s going on in space. It should be mentioned that you need some knowledge to understand all the measured parameters shown in the app.

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For example, say that a flare occurs and you want to know its effects at Earth right now. The app uniquely extracts data from real-time, operational systems linking the four major space environment domains (Sun, solar wind, magnetosphere, thermosphere/ionosphere). With a tap of the finger you see a detailed chain of energy events including SDO Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) solar images, the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) solar wind calculations, the forecast of the Dst geomagnetic disturbance at Earth, and even the real-time ionospheric total electron content (TEC).
The app provides the most up-to-date visualization of the entire energy transfer from the Sun to the Earth at your fingertips.

Data comes from participating institutions, including NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center, National Solar Observatory, Solar Dynamics Observatory, Space Environment Technologies, SOHO consortium, STEREO mission, NorthWest Research Associates, NASA Community Coordinated Modeling Center, Rice University, Kyoto University World Data Center, Oulu University, Space Environment Corporation, U.S., Geological Survey, Utah State University Space Weather Center, and Virginia Tech University.

Real-time space weather data includes:

  • 60 solar data sets
  • 16 solar wind data sets
  • 23 magnetosphere data sets
  • 53 atmosphere data sets
  • 13 alerts

NOAA …

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere.

NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), located in Asheville, North Carolina, maintains the world’s largest climate data archive and provides climatological services and data to every sector of the United States economy and to users worldwide. Records in the archive range from paleoclimatology data (collected through the study of changes in climate taken on the scale of the entire history of the Earth) to centuries-old journals to data less than an hour old.

The Center’s mission is to preserve these data and make them available to the public, business, industry, government, and researchers.

Apps …

The iPhone comes with a built-in app which allows to retrieve actual information from Yahoo about the weather as well as a forecast for configurable locations. Shortened information is also shown in the notification center.

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You will find many apps in Apple’s App Store showing information about the weather which can be installed on both iOS devices, the iPhone and the iPad.

Retrieval of data …

Developers of weather apps can use so-called APIs (Application Programming Interface) which, integrated in the application’s code, retrieves information from weather data providers. Data are based on countless earthbound weather stations as well as data from satellites and airplanes.

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Living Earth …

Living Earth is a universal app (that means, once downloaded it’s available on all your iOS devices) by Radiantlabs, LLC. It comes with a live 3D simulation of our planet with global weather, forecasts and world clock for cities around the world. If you start the app a rotating globe is shown with live sunrise and sunset borders.

Features …

  • live cloud patterns from near real-time satellite cloud data updated every 3 h
    hurricanes and tropical storms
  • live 3D weather maps with temperature (max, min, mean) humidity, wind, and 7 day and 2 h forecasts
  • tropical cyclon push notifications and updates on current storm systems
  • sunrise and sunset borders and times for sunrise and sunset around the world
    snow and ice coverage
  • alarm clock with music playlist
  • home screen temperature icon
  • iCloud city syncing with the Living Earth app for Mac
  • sharing of the actual screen on Facebook, Twitter, and by mail
  • changing the rotation speed and rotation direction by swiping fast/slow or left/right/up/down
  • comprehensive overview about the actual weather for all defined cities

The app was first published in Sep 2010 and got 25 updates until the end of 2013.

See these impressions of the UI …

Summary …

There are many apps retrieving weather data from various providers. In many cases these providers are not mentioned so it’s not easy to assess the quality of shown data.

Related links …

Weather forecasting

National climate data center

Space Weather

World Weather Online APIs

Thanks for visiting iNotes4You.





Jailbreak

9 04 2014

Many people are talking about restrictions in Apple’s operating system iOS for their mobile devices.

They obviously miss the point that these restrictions are well-considered and part of Apple’s strategy of seamless usage and a perfect user experience within an ecosystem which is developed for serving people.

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What does ‘Jailbreaking’ mean?

iOS jailbreaking is the process of removing the limitations on Apple’s iOS devices through the use of software and hardware exploits; such devices include the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and second-generation Apple TV. Jailbreaking permits root access to the iOS operating system, allowing the download of additional applications, extensions, and themes that are unavailable through the official Apple App Store.

Jailbreaking is a form of privilege escalation. The name refers to breaking the device out of its “jail”. Jailbroken devices can still use the App Store, iTunes, and other normal functions, such as making telephone calls. Many other built-in features are no longer available.
Restoring a device with iTunes or iCloud removes the jailbreak.

Jailbreaks (JB) are not supported by Apple, quite the contrary, Apple fights against it and people jailbreaking a device violate Apple’s iOS End-User License Agreement (EULA). JB can make your device less secure and you may loose the warranty. If people do not accept the original operating system with its limitations it might be better for them to move over to an other platform like Android. Additionally JB is illegitimate in some countries because DRM (Digital Rights Management) can be affected.

The main part of the agreement is

“2 c. You may not, and you agree not to or enable others to, copy (except as expressly permitted by this License), decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, attempt to derive the source code of, decrypt, modify, or create derivative works of the iOS Software or any services provided by the iOS Software or any part thereof (except as and only to the extent any foregoing restriction is prohibited by applicable law or by licensing terms governing use of open-source components that may be included with the iOS Software).”

Jailbreaking a device is a kind of ‘reverse engineering’.

Reverse Engineering
Reverse engineering is the process of discovering the technological principles of a device, object, or system through analysis of its structure, function, and operation. It often involves disassembling something and analyzing its components and workings in detail – for either purposes of maintenance or to support creation of a new device or program that does the same thing, without using or simply duplicating (without understanding) the original.
Jailbreaking is a kind of reverse engineering and users jailbreaking their iOS devices infringe Apple’s EULA which they already accepted when setting up the device.

Fair use seems to be safe ground for reverse engineers, almost always using it as a defense. However:

An EULA is a legally binding contract.

If a user agrees to terms which are in conflict with fair use, the user has effectively waved their rights to fair use.

Legal Aspects of Reverse Engineering

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act …

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act was put into place in 1998 in order to make any service or device with purpose of undermining or removing DRM (Digital Rights Management) copyright infringement. The act forbids any service or device from being designed to circumvent, or even being marketed to circumvent any DRM.
There is, however, an exception in the DMCA stating that reverse engineering can be done under the purposes of inter-operability between software components. It states the following:

  • Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a)(1)(A), a person who has lawfully obtained the right to use a copy of a computer program may circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a particular portion of that program for the sole purpose of identifying and analyzing those elements of the program that are necessary to achieve interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, and that have not previously been readily available to the person engaging in the circumvention, to the extent any such acts of identification and analysis do not constitute infringement under this title.
  • Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a)(2) and (b), a person may develop and employ technological means to circumvent a technological measure, or to circumvent protection afforded by a technological measure, in order to enable the identification and analysis under paragraph (1), or for the purpose of enabling interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, if such means are necessary to achieve such interoperability, to the extent that doing so does not constitute infringement under this title.
  • The information acquired through the acts permitted under paragraph (1), and the means permitted under paragraph (2), may be made available to others if the person referred to in paragraph (1) or (2), as the case may be, provides such information or means solely for the purpose of enabling interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, and to the extent that doing so does not constitute infringement under this title or violate applicable law other than this section.

    For purposes of this subsection, the term ‘interoperability’ means the ability of computer programs to exchange information, and of such programs mutually to use the information which has been exchanged.

Fair use does still apply. However, it is not fair use to gain unauthorized access to copyrighted work.

Further information …

Apple wants iOS to remain secure on the whole, and jailbreaking can threaten that. Apple identifies these concerns:

  • Security
    Jailbreaking removes the security layers on iOS devices.
  • Instability
    Jailbreaking causes an iPhone to behave erratically.
  • Shortened battery life
    Jailbreaking apps and services may not run correctly which may drain your battery.
  • Unreliable voice and data
  • Disruption of services
    Services such as Visual Voicemail, Weather and Stocks have been disrupted. iCloud, Exchange and Apple Push notification all suffer (according to Apple) on jailbroken devices.
  • Inability to update
    Because Apple frequently removes jailbroken software in its updates, many jailbroken phones do not update. This can result in running an out-of-date phone.

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Evad3r …

Shortly before Christmas 2013 some Jailbreak fans got an early gift of a Jailbreak for iOS 7.
See what McMurmor wrote about this “Christmas present“:

This allowed users of their new iPhone 5S/C, iPad mini Retina Display and iPad Air users unlock their device for tweaks outside Apple’s community.

However, after the crack was released, major controversy with Evad3rs grew with the Chinese store called Taig which also included mass amounts of pirated content, with no reason as to why Taig was included and not an official Cydia.

After a horrific response from the public, the Evad3r team worked frantically to remove Taig. They claim Taig installed themselves with their cracked version, and didn’t have permission nor source code. (How upon release, is still remaining as the big question.)

Yet, how would Taig be able to get their app store version in the Evad3r jailbreak so easy, still baffles users and has created a lot of disappointment towards to jailbreak community. The team touched on the mistake in multiple open letters, but the damage had already been done.

Apple has taken a silent approach aimed at the consumer who bothered to crack their device. Apple has internal software that can see not only how many times your device has been restored, what software version and even if your iOS device was jailbroken.

Once you jailbreak your device, you can kiss your warranty/Apple Care goodbye.

Jailbreaking is a direct violation of Apple’s intended use of the product, so they will treat it with the exact same respect as the person who has jailbroken the device has shown.

This means Apple will refuse all help that would be given to a non-jailbroken iOS user, but Apple’s forums will also refuse help on the matter.

What can be done with a jailbroken iPhone?

The main reason people jailbreak their phones is to run pirated (copied) software and install it without paying for the privilege. We’re not here to moralize: whether you pay for software is up to you. Although given the amount of free software on the app store, and the sheer hassle it is to jailbreak an iPhone, we do rather wonder why people bother.

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The other – perhaps more viable – area is to run apps and services that are not allowed by Apple. Jailbreaking installed a rival to the Apple Store called Cydia. This features apps in areas that Apple bans, such as pornography. But there are also apps that allow you to perform blocked tasks such as tethering; apps that have been removed from the store such as Sparrow. You can also change the default apps replacing Maps with Google Maps and the default keyboard with a version called Octopus. It’s perfect for tinkerers.

Cydia …

Wikipedia explains …

Cydia is a software application for iOS that enables a user to find and install software packages on jailbroken iOS Apple devices such as the iPhone. It also refers to digital distribution platform for software on iOS accessed through Cydia software. Some of the software packages available through Cydia are free, and some require purchasing.
Cydia is developed by Jay Freeman (also called “Saurik”) and his company, SaurikIT. The name “Cydia” is an allusion to the Codling Moth, with a scientific name of Cydia pomonella, which is the proverbial “worm in the apple.”

Cydia provides a graphical user interface to jailbroken users using Advanced Packaging Tool (APT) repositories to install software unavailable on the App Store. Cydia is based on APT, ported to iOS as part of Freeman’s Telesphoreo project.
Software packages are downloaded directly to an iOS device, to the same location as Apple’s pre-installed applications, the /Applications directory. Jailbroken devices can also still buy and download apps normally from the official App Store.
Cydia can be installed during the process of jailbreaking an iOS device. Some Jailbreaking tools (each of them supporting a specific set of devices and iOS versions) install Cydia automatically, while others provide a choice to the user.

Summary …

Jailbreaking an iOS device might be interesting for tech freaks but it’s definitely not useful and a customization of a device without limits is not what Apple intends with it’s strategy of seamless usage, focusing on essentials, and security. It’s a kind of error in motivation to jailbreak an Apple devices. It seems to be clear that it’s primarily not the meaningful usage but the demand of getting more control over a technical product which let people jailbreak their device. In my humble opinion they should better move over to an other platform like Android.

Enough reasons to not jailbreak an iOS device and instead focus on useful things which can be done with the original?

Jailbreakers cannot claim to be Apple fans. It’s a blatant ignorance of all the hard work of Apple’s software technicians which is expressed in this statement:

True simplicity is so much more than just the absence of clutter or the removal of decoration. It’s about offering up the right things, in the right place, right when you need them. It’s about bringing order to complexity.
(Sir Jonathan Ive)

The internet era supports criminal activities and the main reason is that people mostly remain anonymous when violating clearly defined rules. Look at my blog posts and see what can be done with an original device to improve communication, knowledge, creativity, and personality. JB doesn’t pay. All you need is already implemented in Apple’s operating system and the many excellent apps supporting your daily tasks or your creativity. Changing a theme, a wallpaper, or downloading apps from more or less dubious companies might be funny but in whole it’s pointless.

Some tech nerds may forward many arguments to extract advantages from jailbreaking but they never will convince me. It ‘s simply a question of priority in regard to a meaningful usage of a mobile device.

Related links …

Apple’s Focusing

Apple’s Ecosystem

Security made by Apple

Thanks for visiting iNotes4You.





Li-Ion Battery

5 04 2014

Your iOS device gets its energy from a Li-Ion battery.
Li is the symbol of Lithium discovered in 1817, weighs about o.5 g/cm3, and melts at about 180C (360F). It is a soft silver-white metal, the lightest metal, and as all alkali metals it’s highly reactive and flammable. Lithium mine production is mainly done in Chile, Australia, China, and Argentina. Due to its high reactivity it does not naturally occur in elemental form.

Lithium is corrosive and requires special handling to avoid skin contact. Breathing Lithium dust or compounds initially irritates nose and throat. Carriage and shipment of some kinds of Lithium batteries may be prohibited aboard certain types of transportation (aircraft) because of

the ability of most types of lithium batteries to fully discharge rapidly when short-circuited leading to overheating and possible explosion in a process called thermal runaway.

A thermal runaway is not very common (just two or three battery packs per million burst into flames) but when it happens, it’s extreme. In some situations, the failure rate can rise, and when that happens you end up with a worldwide battery recall that can cost manufacturers millions of dollars.

But don’t worry, batteries in your iOS device have thermal overload protection.

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The specific energy density of Li-Ion batteries is 100 to 250 Wh/kg (o.47$/Wh) and so it’s only comparable with Alkaline long-life batteries 0.19$/Wh). Because of the increasing usage in the automobile industry costs will decrease down to 0.20$/Wh in the near future.

Li-Ion batteries have a self-discharge rate of approximately 5–10% per month, compared to over 30% per month in common nickel metal hydride batteries, approximately 1.25% per month for low self-discharge NiMH batteries and 10% per month in nickel-cadmium batteries.

The electrical charge …

In tech specs you find the physical unit Milliamps Hour (mAh). It characterizes the ‘strength’ (the right physical term is ‘charge’) of a battery. The higher the mAh, the longer the battery will last.

Milliamps Hour is 1/1000th of an Amp Hour, so a 1000mAh = 1.0Ah

Think of it as a car’s gas tank. Voltage is how much gas is being used, and mAh is the size of the gas tank. The bigger the gas tank (mAh) rating the longer the device will run. If your battery is rechargeable, then think of the gas tank as refillable (rechargeable).

In physics an ampere-hour or amp-hour (symbol A·h, A h, Ah) is a unit of electric charge, with sub-units milliampere-hour (mA·h or mAh; often used in rechargeable and disposable battery specifications) and milliampere-second (mA·s). One ampere-hour is equal to 3600 Coulomb, the unit for electrical charge. The commonly seen milliampere-hour (mA·h or mAh) is one-thousandth of an ampere-hour (3.6 Coulomb).

Basics …

Get familiar with some physical units to understand the calculation.

  • Volt
    unit of electrical potential or motive force
    Potential is required to send one ampere of current through one ohm of resistance
  • Ampere
    unit of current
    One ampere is the current which one volt can send through a resistance of one ohm
  • Watt
    unit of electrical power
    Power is energy per time.
    One watt is the product of one ampere and one volt – one ampere of current flowing under the force of one volt gives one watt of power
  • Coulomb
    unit of electrical charge
    One Coulomb is transported if a current of one Ampere flows through a conductor for one second.
    It is equal to the charge of approximately 6.241×10 to the power of 18 electrons (6,241,000,000,000,000,000).
    So you can see that your investment in an iPhone is accompanied by a significant countervalue.
  • Joule
    unit of energy
    One Joule is one watt (power) being effective for one second. The unit is named after the UK physicist James Prescott Joule.

Electrical energy is potential energy before it is delivered to the end-use. Once converted from potential energy, electrical energy can always be described as another type of energy (heat, light, motion, etc.). In case of your iPhone most of the energy is used to enlighten the touchscreen and connecting to the outer world, aka internet.

Energy stored in your iPhone …

With these basics and Apple’s tech specs for the iPhone 5S we now can calculate the energy stored in the Li-Ion polymer battery.

Energy = Power x Time

The battery of the iPhone 5S has a electric charge of 1510 mAh (1.51 Coulomb) and works on 3.8 volts.

So the electrical energy stored in the battery is

1.51 A x 3,600 sec x 3.8 V = 20,656.8 J

that means approximately 21 kJ (kilo Joule).

Note
In reality this calculation is not fully correct because the voltage varies.

One Joule in everyday life represents approximately:

  • the energy required to lift a small apple (with a mass of approximately 100 g) vertically through one meter
  • the kinetic energy released when that same apple falls one meter to the ground.

So your fully charged iPhone approximately offers the energy released when 21,000 apples fall one meter to the ground.

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As an Apple fan you might feel sad with these many crashes of apples so just replace apples by bars of chocolate.

Safety …

Lithium-Ion batteries can be dangerous under some conditions and can pose a safety hazard since they contain, unlike other rechargeable batteries, a flammable electrolyte and are also kept pressurized. This makes the standards of these batteries high, and it consists of many safety features. There have been many reported accidents as well as recalls done by some companies.

Reducing energy consumption

Follow the instructions in this mind map to reduce energy consumption of your iOS 7 device.

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Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited. The DOCX file format is suggested for those who don’t use a mind mapping tool. The file contains the image as well as a detailed outline of all topics.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
Apple iWork/Microsoft Word DOCX
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

Summary …

There is much energy stored in a fully charged iOS device but it’s still not enough to cover a whole day of frequent usage. With larger form factors for the iPhone battery life might be improved. There are already some innovative features in Apple’s operating system to reduce energy consumption up to the user behavior. The target however should be a 12h usage or, more convenient, an energy equivalent of 42,000 apples.

Related links …

What is electrical energy?

Li-Ion safety concerns

Apple about iPhone batteries

Thanks for stopping by and charging your brain.





Ap(pl)es

1 04 2014

It’s easy to forget that people once marveled at the interactive tablets carried around by characters in Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek, or the touch screens in Spielberg’s Minority Report – dream futures that have become reality.
In 1983 Apple co-founder Steve Jobs stated that his ultimate ambition was

“to put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in 20 minutes…”.

That vision would take him 27 years to realize.

With the release of the iPad mobile devices reached a new quality because of it’s screen size and the possibility to operate them just with the fingers and without any peripherals. They initiated a shift in paradigm of teaching and learning as well and from that time ‘people could hold the internet in their hands‘.

Historically the term first originated when Apple‘s founder Steve Jobs discussed the future of personal computing during an interview alongside Bill Gates at the fifth All Things Digital conference in 2007. At that time he described

“a category of devices that aren’t as general purpose, that are really more focused on specific functions, whether they’re phones or iPods or Zunes or what have you. And I think that category of devices is going to continue to be very innovative and we’re going to see lots of them,”

Jobs said.

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It wasn’t the first tablet computer by any means, and the iPad faced significant criticism when it was first announced – most pointedly the accusation that it was trying to fulfill a demand that didn’t exist. But the iPad surprised everyone, instantly spawning a market for a new form of computer that made the internet touchable and found its way into the hands of 170-million customers in its first three-and-a-half years.

There are some quite astonishing engineering feats behind the iPad. The iPad Air (launched in 2013), for example, weighs twenty times less than an Apple Mac from ten years ago, but packs four times the memory and four times the processing power. The glass that covers the screen is manufactured via a process which makes it harder than sapphire, and is coated with an invisible oil-repellant to reduce fingerprint staining.

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But most incredible of all is the fact that Jobs succeeded in coming up with a portable – and connected – computer that even orangutans in the Smithsonian National Zoo have worked out how to use, forever altering the future of digital media in the process.

A tablet …

When Steve Jobs ended years of speculation in 2010 by announcing the iPad tablet device, he helped launch a new era in computer hardware. Though tablet PCs have been around for years, the iPad was the first device to use the form factor successfully in the consumer market.

So what exactly is a tablet?

At its most basic level, a tablet PC is a mobile computing device that’s larger than a smartphone or personal digital assistant. In general, if the computing device uses an on-screen interface it’s a tablet.
To confuse matters, some manufacturers produce hybrid devices that are part tablet, part laptop computer. The device might come with an attached keyboard — the screen swivels or folds down to cover the keyboard and voila, you have a tablet!

In 2010, Lenovo introduced a prototype device called the IdeaPad U1 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nev. At first glance, it looked like a normal laptop computer. But if you detached the screen from the base, the laptop converted to a tablet computer with its own, independent operating system. Lenovo rebranded the device, naming it the Lenovo LePad and launching it in China in 2011.

The touch screen …

Thousands of scientists, their researches and inventions, the ongoing miniaturization, and improvements in sensor technology made a smartphone and a tablet ready for use.

All tablets have a touch screen interface and an operating system capable of running small programs and interpreting gestures. Further sensors are used to automatically change the orientation from portrait to landscape mode.

Summarized, it was the touch screen first introduced with the iPhone in 2007 and it’s multi-touch capable operating system iOS which made the iPad to a device capable to replace computers for an increasing number of people.

The development of the Touch Screen Technology started in the 1960s although there are many results of basic scientific researches in physics starting hundreds of years earlier.

1960s

Historians consider the first touch screen to be a capacitive touch screen invented by E.A. Johnson at the Royal Radar Establishment, Malvern, UK, around 1965 – 1967. The inventor published a full description of touch screen technology for air traffic control in an article published in 1968.

1970s

In 1971, a “touch sensor” was developed by Doctor Sam Hurst (founder of Elographics) while he was an instructor at the University of Kentucky. This sensor called the “Elograph” was patented by The University of Kentucky Research Foundation. The “Elograph” was not transparent like modern touch screens, however, it was a significant milestone in touch screen technology. The Elograph was selected by Industrial Research as one of the 100 Most Significant New Technical Products of the Year 1973.
In 1974, the first true touch screen incorporating a transparent surface came on the scene developed by Sam Hurst and Elographics. In 1977, Elographics developed and patented a resistive touch screen technology, the most popular touch screen technology in use today.

In 1977, Siemens Corporation financed an effort by Elographics to produce the first curved glass touch sensor interface, which became the first device to have the name “touch screen” attached to it. On February 24, 1994, the company officially changed its name from Elographics to Elo TouchSystems.

1980s

In 1983, the computer manufacturing company, Hewlett-Packard introduced the HP-150, a home computer with touch screen technology. The HP-150 had a built in grid of infrared beams across the front of the monitor which detected finger movements. However, the infrared sensors would collect dust and require frequent cleanings.

1990s

The nineties introduced smart phones and handhelds with touch screen technology. In 1993, Apple released the Newton PDA, equipped with handwriting recognition; and IBM released the first smart phone called Simon, which featured a calendar, note pad, and fax function, and a touch screen interface that allowed users to dial phone numbers. In 1996, Palm entered the PDA market and advanced touch screen technology with its Pilot series.

2000s

In 2002, Microsoft introduced the Windows XP Tablet edition and started its entry into touch technology.

Note
Until today I use a Siemens T4010 Convertible running on the XP Tablet edition with a stylus and an incredible weight of 2.5 kg.
It just works, but it works more like a heater if you place it on your lap and because it’s running XP you have to take care of it’s health with an antibiotic therapy each week.

However, you could say that the increase in the popularity of touch screen smart phones defined the 2000s. In 2001 Mitsubishi launched the DiamondTouch (a human interface device that has the capability of allowing multiple people to interact simultaneously while identifying which person is touching where).

Various companies expanded upon these inventions in the beginning of the twenty-first century. The company Fingerworks developed various multi-touch technologies between 1999 and 2005, including Touchstream keyboards and the iGesture Pad. Several studies of this technology were published in the early 2000s by Alan Hedge, professor of human factors and ergonomics at Cornell University. Apple acquired Fingerworks and its multi-touch technology in 2005. In 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone still seen as the king of smartphones with nothing but touch screen technology follwed by the iPad in 2010.

There are basically three components used in touch screen technology …

  • 1 The touch sensor is a panel with a touch responsive surface. Systems are built based on different types of sensors: resistive (most common), surface acoustic wave, and capacitive (most smart phones). However, in general sensors have an electrical current running through them and touching the screen causes a voltage change. The voltage change signals the location of the finger.
  • 2 The controller, is the hardware that converts the voltage changes on the sensor into signals the device can receive.
  • 3 Software tells the device what’s happening on the sensor and the information coming from the controller. Who is touching what and where; and allows the operating system and apps to react accordingly.
    To improve the features multi-touch was introduced to recognize the presence of two or more points of contact with the surface. This plural-point awareness is used to implement advanced functionality such as pinch to zoom.

Summary …

The iPad is in the line of disruptive innovations. It seems to become a tool supporting all areas of life, household, education, science, health, communication, etc. It’s for primates but still not for apes who grant preferences to other activities.

Related links …

Sensitiveness

The Post PC era

iPad attends meetings

iPad @ Universities

Troubleshooting touchscreen response

Thanks for stopping by.





Younity

28 03 2014

Younity by Entangled Media Corp. (USA) is an iOS app for remote access of files stored on local hard drives. A desktop companion app has to be installed on the computer to provide information about files and folders on iOS devices. The version I reviewed was 1.7.4 of 2013-12-19. The app is a free universal app that means, there is just one version for the iPhone and the iPad. The app was first released on Feb 1, 2012.

The company in it’s ‘About’ section …

Younity is brought to you by Entangled Media, a company focused on changing the relationship between people, data and devices. While we obviously design and build software/online services, we consider ourselves a user experience company. Our design philosophy is structured around user behavior and unlocking the potential we all see in the technology and content around us. That is, the potential for it to exist simultaneously everywhere for us to access easily and on demand.

Younity is similar to point.io but for local storages (Point.io offers access to several cloud storages with just one login; see my app review of Point.io under ‘Related links’). Younity doesn’t include remote control, it’s just intended for viewing or downloading files from remote computers.

The company about it’s app …

Younity gives you access to all your files, from all your devices, without ever needing to “sync” your mobile devices again. With younity, you have all your music, photos, videos and documents on all your devices regardless of storage. All your files, from all your devices, all the time. You can share any file, stored on any device, with any of your friends right from your iPhone or iPad. No planning ahead required!

Younity creates a personal cloud for all your files, generated by the stationary devices. The Personal Cloud is a private cloud – younity as the provider doesn’t store your files online, it can’t access them and doesn’t know anything about you or your files (promises the company).

You don’t have to log into each computer or browse them separately. You don’t have to put files in special folders or flag them to be synchronized. There is no storage limit because you are streaming files from your devices, so you can have 2GB, 2TB or 2PB of files. If you want to download your files to a local storage of an iOS device for offline use, you can, but it isn’t required. Younity gives you instant, easy access to all your music (including iTunes libraries/playlists), videos, photos and documents on every computer you own.

Installation …

Install Younity on your iOS devices and all computers you want to have access to.
Register for the service from within the apps by using an email address and and a password. It’s recommended to use the same registration procedure on all of your devices to avoid different authentications.

You will get a confirmation mail for every registered device.

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On the desktop companion app select the folders you want to have access to.
Younity then starts a scanning process to retrieve just basic information about files on the computer.

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Scanning an entire hard drive takes a long time.
I used a pretty fast Windows 7 PC with a 115 GB hard drive with 95 GB storage utilization and it took about 2 h to scan the drive and generate the meta data containing information about all locally stored files.

Note
Younity generates metadata files which are retrieved by the iOS device later after the scan process is complete. On a computer Younity will typically use about 0.1% of your computer CPU and usually uses less than 100MB of memory (although it will often report more because that is “reserved” for use if necessary). After the scan is complete Younity typically “listens” and updates the metadata if changes of file locations or file names are made. The iOS app then downloads the updated metadata.

When you first open Younity on an iPhone, after having registered at least one computer, younity will download metadata about your files. The speed at which it does this depends on your mobile hardware (i.e. newer mobile devices are much faster than older devices) and the number of files you have. For example, 30,000 files worth of metadata going to an iPhone 4S will take about 4 minutes with a 30 MBit/s WiFi connection, whereas an iPhone 5 will take about 3 minutes. If you have over 100,000 files (only photos, videos, music and documents), it may take a very long time.

The features …

Younity offers these basic features

  • Easily and securely share files with your friends via younity or Facebook.
  • Search for files across all devices simultaneously, without having to even know which device or cloud service (ie. dropbox, google drive, etc…) the file is stored on.
  • Converts unusable file formats (e.g. WMA, OGG, etc.) to iOS-compatible formats in real-time when you stream so you can keep your media in whatever format you like.
  • Compatible with iOS, Mac OS X, Windows and soon Linux.

If you need a file that is saved on a desktop computer Younity helps to view or even download the file to your iOS device for further actions e.g. mailing it to somebody, share it on Facebook, or use the iOS ‘Open in’ command to transfer it to an appropriate app.

The core value of Younity is that there is no need to intentionally sync files to make them available and that there is just one place to access all registered ressources.

First impressions …

After installing the app on an iOS device and entering the credentials you will see this Home Screen

20131220-132213.jpg

with the following settings

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A really useful ‘Search’ functionality is available which shows all files on your registered computers matching the search term. Searching within content is not supported.

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To display a file stored on a remote computer just tap on it and some standard actions are available.

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The cons …

I found the following cons in the actual version of Dec 2013:

  • 1 Complex MS Word/Excel files are not shown correctly.
    Apple’s iWork file formats for Keynote, Numbers, and Pages are supported.
  • 2 Many file types are not shown at all, e.g. exe, ini, cfg, etc. This is a bit confusing although they cannot be handled on an iOS device they should be shown in file lists.
  • 3 Really nerving is that if you tap on a file to display the content and return to the file list it’s not positioned on the file you choosed. So you always have to scroll within the file list of Younity to go to the next file.
  • 4 An option for sorting files is not available.
  • 5 Information about files is incomplete. If you start a file search the file list doesn’t show the device and folder where it’s located. Younity lets you filter views so that you can see only files that you’ve downloaded to local storage and/or only see files that are available (i.e. they are on a device that is online and ready to stream files), but you can not browse files on a per device basis.
  • 6 Uploads of files from an iOS device to a remote computer is not supported.

During my app review the iPhone version didn’t show all ressources of my Windows 7 PC.

20131220-142132.jpg

The problem couldn’t be solved although I removed the iPhone app, installed it, and registered the device again. The app showed the ‘Downloading metadata …’ message but still didn’t show the missing resources.

Summary …

The idea is pretty good but but there is still some work to do for the developers.
The main benefit compared to many other remote access apps is that there is just one place for accessing all computers.

Related links …

Point.io

TeamViewer

Apps for File Management

Thanks for stopping by.





AiO Remote by Hewlett Packard

24 03 2014

Printing documents seems to be old-fashioned in the modern era of digital communication. But occasionally printouts of documents are necessary. I for example use it for if I have to look on two or more documents to compare the contents which is pretty uncomfortable on an iPad because of the One-Window-Technique.

AirPrint

Apple is known for simple and user-friendly solutions.
In cooperation with Hewlett Packard the company developed the AirPrint technology.

AirPrint is a feature which is implemented in Apple products starting with OS X Lion and iOS 4.2 in November 2010, for printing using a wireless LAN, either directly to any AirPrint compatible printers (such as HP’s entire ePrint range, Brother, Canon, Dell, Epson, Gestetner, Hewlett-Packard, Infotec , Lanier, Lenovo, Lexmark, Ricoh, Samsung, Savin, Xerox and more) or to non-compatible printers through a MS Windows, Apple Mac OS X, or GNU/Linux PC. AirPrint does not require printer-specific drivers.

The current list of AirPrint compatible printers (at the time more than 1000) can be found on

Apple Support HT 4356

Manufacturers supporting AirPrint with their printer products are

Brother, Canon, Dell, EPSON, Fuji Xerox, Gestetner,
Hewlett Packard with 95 Printers
Infotec, Kyocera, Lanier, Lenovo, Lexmark, NRG, NTT, Oki Data, Olivetti, RICOH, Samsung, Savin, Sharp, TA Triumph-Adler/UTAX, Toshiba, Xerox, Zink

A number of software solutions allow for non AirPrint printers to be used with iOS devices. For such printers, AirPrint support can be achieved by configuring such support on an intermediary system already having such printers configured for local printing, shared on the same network. Since AirPrint is driverless, such a configuration compensates for the lack of native AirPrint support by using the drivers on the intermediary system instead.

Note
The simplest solution for all platforms is to create a new Bonjour Service that tricks iOS clients into believing they’re talking to an AirPrint device.
Presto by Collobos Software Inc. is an example for such a desktop application which allows printing from iOS devices to every printer connected to the same network.

Bonjour is Apple’s implementation of Zero-configuration networking (Zeroconf), a group of technologies that includes service discovery, address assignment, and hostname resolution. Bonjour locates devices such as printers, other computers, and the services that those devices offer on a local network using multicast Domain Name System (mDNS) service records. Bonjour comes built-in with Apple’s OS X and iOS operating systems. Bonjour can also be installed onto computers running Microsoft Windows.

AirPrint in details …

My home configuration consists of an Apple Airport Extreme Router and an HP Photosmart 6510 which is AirPrint capable. That means the printer has just to be connected to the power supply. In a further step the connection to the WiFi network is established via the iPhone-like control panel by entering the networks password.

After connecting the printer to the WiFi network it appears in the print menu of every printing-capable app. No installation of drivers, no cables, no additional software which usually comes from an installation CD and is nothing more than ad of the manufacturer.

AiO Remote app by HP …

There are two ways to connect an iOS device to a HP printer:

  • 1 HP wireless direct allows you to connect your iPad directly to your printer wirelessly, without a wireless router. The printer must be equipped with HP wireless direct, and HP wireless direct must be turned on to connect to any iOS device.
  • 2 When connecting to the printer over a WiFi network, you are connecting to the printer using a wireless router. The printer might be wirelessly to the router or with an Ethernet cable. A connection is established after entering the WiFi password.
  • The features …

    • 1 Take a photo and automatically transform it into a PDF.
    • 2 Scan pages placed on the device by using the control buttons on the printer’s display or controls displayed in the app. Save scanned documents in the app specific folder on your iOS device or in the cloud (Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, Evernote, Photostream, or many other cloud storages like iDriveSync via WebDAV).
    • 3 Copy documents using the control buttons on the printer’s display or the controls shown in the app.
    • 4 Show printer details like settings, comnections, supply levels, and print reports like network configuration, wireless test report, or print quality report.
    • 5 Automatic upload of new documents to iCloud and syncing documents across all your iOS devices.
    • 6 As already mentioned AiO Remote can be connected to different cloud storages. So it’s also possible to download documents from there. They can be printed, saved locally, sent by mail, or transferred to other cloud storages.
      Unfortunately Apple’s iWork file formats are not supported.
    • 7 Optional usage of the HP ePrint Service which allows to send print jobs to an E-Mail address registered on the HP ePrint website. If the registration process is finished your printer gets an E-Mail address from HP. Print jobs can be sent to this address and the printout is done if the printer is turned on. So you can print documents from anywhere by sending an E-Mail to your printers E-Mail address. All these print jobs can be managed using the HP ePrint app or the HP ePrint website.
      The HP ePrint service can also be used to print documents on nearby HP ePrint centers e.g. hotels. Nearby centers are shown within the app if Apple’s location services are turned on.

    Document management …

    I summarized some features of the configuration by taking screenshots.

    1 AiO Remote home screen if the printer is turned on

    20131219-093914.jpg

    2 Multipage scanning with a special feature, rearranging pages with Drag+Drop

    20131219-094056.jpg

    3 Saving the scanned document to a cloud storage or mailing it

    20131219-094156.jpg

    Non-AirPrint capable printers …

    When people are evaluating mobile printing solutions, one of the options is to buy a new printer. If you already use a non-AirPrint capable printer it cannot receive print jobs from your iOS device. Presto (former name FingerPrint) by Collobos Software Inc. addresses this problem. The application finds your classical printers automatically and makes them available to your iOS devices if both, printer and iPhone or iPad, are in the same WiFi network.

    How to …
    Consider a network with an attached printer and an iOS-Device in the same network. Install Presto on a Mac or a PC connected to this network. For your iOS-Device no further action is needed that means no special app has to be installed.
    Presto finds all network attached printers automatically and they can be selected on the iOS-Device with the SELECT PRINTER dialog within every app which supports printing.

    See this video for a short description of Presto by Collobos.

    Summary …

    AiO Remote is a continuously updated app from a reliable developer with outstanding features. UI and UX are perfect and the iCloud integration lets you take photos of documents with your iPhone which already arrived when you come home and use your iPad for further actions.

    Related links …

    HP Mobile Printing

    HP ePrint Center

    Thanks for stopping by.





Inspiration

20 03 2014

Mind maps and concept maps are a perfect way to visualize creative processes like brainstorming or summarizing hierarchically or non-hierarchically organized content like feature descriptions of a software product or processes.

In contrast to a mind map a concept map visualizes the whole system with it’s interdependencies and it’s not limited to a strict hierarchy as some points are bound to more than one parent topic.

There is an app named Inspiration (Inspiration Software Inc., USA) for Apple’s iPad which is suitable for creating concept maps whereas the app iThoughts (Craig Scott, UK) is recommended for creating mind maps.

Concept Maps …

Concept Maps visualise and communicate knowledge.

Joseph Donald Novak (born 1932) is an American educator, and Professor Emeritus at the Cornell University, New York, and Senior Research Scientist at the Florida Institute for Human + Machine Cognition. He is known for his development of concept mapping in the 1970s.

From the outset, Concept Maps were designed to communicate. A student’s Concept Map can be systematically evaluated by their teacher, to assess their grasp of a subject. The scope of their maps and their level of understanding of the relationships between ideas are a reliable indicator of their “knowledge” – what they have learned and integrated, not just learned by rote. It is one thing to know facts, but relating them to each other and understanding their influence on each other takes us from information towards knowledge. Facts alone do not help us to predict behaviour, whereas knowledge represented by models does.
(Nick Duffill)

Summary …

Bringing Nick Duffill’s analysis of the differences between mind maps and concept maps to a very shortened summary:

Mind Maps are captured visualizations of fairly independent objects gearing for extensions and loosing much of their relevance for people who weren’t involved in the creation process.
The tree limb is just connected to the bole.

Concept Maps visualize knowledge of whole systems with interacting elements and logic operations. In contrast to a tree limb objects are connected with basically all other objects like the orbs in the solar system where the gravity and the magnetic and electric fields define the interactions.

If you are interested in a comprehensive description of the differences please read Nick Duffill’s excellent article about mind maps and concept maps (see the link below). He hit that nail square on the head.

The app Inspiration …

The app Inspiration (Inspiration Software Inc., USA) for the iPad (an iPhone version is not available) is intended to create concept maps as well as mind maps for:

  • Brainstorm new ideas and capture insights
  • Analyze information
  • Understanding cause and effect
  • Organize projects
  • Organize thoughts and topics for writing
  • Take notes

20131211-083308.jpg

Features ..

  • Simple usage because of a perfect UI
  • Diagrams are easy to build and saved instantly
  • Diagrams transform to outlines by just a single tap
  • Personalization with images, colour, shape, arrow style, and backgrounds
  • Using images from the web or the camera roll
  • Notes can be attached to any item
  • Hyperlinks can be added as floating shapes
  • Templates are available after installation

Filesharing …

Inspiration files can be shared as PDFs or in their native file format

  • with other apps by using the ‘Open in’ command
  • with other iPads via Dropbox or iTunes
    (iCloud is not supported)
  • E-Mail or export diagrams or outlines in vector PDF format

Impressions of the UI …

Work screen …

20131211-083501.jpg

Formatting of objects …

Tap on ‘i’ to access the formatting options.
Symbols automatically resize to fit the text that you put in them. You can also manually resize any symbol using the natural pinch interface of the iPad. To resize, touch and hold the symbol with two fingers then drag your fingers outward to make the symbol larger or pinch your fingers together to make the image smaller. The image will grow or shrink proportionally.

20131211-084321.jpg

Sometimes you may want to fine-tune the layout of your diagram. Inspiration Maps includes functions to align, evenly space, or nudge the symbols in your diagram. You must have at least two symbols selected to use the align function and at least three symbols selected to use the evenly space function. In order to select more than one symbol at a time, you’ll need to turn on Multiple Selection using the on the top toolbar.

Layout enhancements …

  • To align selected symbols
    Make sure you have at least two symbols selected.
    Then tap ‘i’. Tap the Style tab. Tap Layout Enhancements.
    Choose how you want the selected symbols aligned by tapping the top, center, bottom, left, middle, or right icon.
  • To evenly space selected symbols
    Make sure you have at least three symbols selected.
    Then tap ‘i’. Tap the Style tab. Tap Layout Enhancements.
    Choose to evenly space the symbols vertically or horizontally.
  • To nudge selected symbols
    Sometimes you may find that it’s difficult to be precise with your finger when you’re moving a symbol to a specific spot. Nudge comes in handy because you can have more control over the movement of a symbol or multiple symbols.
    Tap to select the symbol(s) you’d like to nudge. Tap the Style tab. Tap Layout Enhancements. Choose to nudge the symbol(s) left, right, up or down.

Outline interface …

Maps can be edited via the graphical user interface or, in case of hierarchical structures, via the outline interface.

20131211-084522.jpg

Shapes …

The update of Inspiration now contains 1000+ different shapes organized in categories.

20131211-084113.jpg

The pros and cons …

Pros …

  • Simple UI (user interface), perfect UX (user experience)
  • Maps can be organized in folders
  • Transfer of a map to a self-created folder is done by drag and drop
  • One and just one task bar at the top of the screen
  • Hyperlinks can be added as floating objects
  • Maps can be generated from an outline

Added new features in the update of December 9, 2013:

  • The app got tons of more or less useful shapes which can be accessed via a new control positioned top left and divided into several categories.
    Shapes also include well-known flow chart symbols.
  • Audio files can be added to every object.
  • Multiple selection of objects now can be turned on or off.
  • To refine the layout align, nudge and spacing controls were added.
  • Written or audio instructions can be added to any document.
  • Free templates can be downloaded for mostly scientific purposes in US English, UK English, French and Spanish.

Cons …

  • WebDAV is not supported
    The user is bound to Dropbox except he uses the ‘Open In’ command to transfer the map to a file management app. From their it can be transferred to other cloud storages.
  • Text color of hyperlinks cannot be changed
  • Text color doesn’t automatically change if the object color is changed
    Changing the background color from black to white should automatically change the text color from white to black.
  • Opening of hyperlinks only via dialog
    A nice-to-have feature would be the tap-and-hold gesture.
  • Connection symbols between notes and topics have a standard length
    Notes cannot be assigned to other topics.
  • Saving to Dropbox does not allow to select a folder
    The app uses /apps/inspiration maps as the default folder.
    So it’s recommended to install the free Dropbox client app to manage the files.
  • Multiple saving of the same map always creates new numbered file names
    So on one hand a version history of a useful map is created on the other hand it cannot be managed by the app (e.g. deletion of old versions). If you already shared a link it’s broken when saving an updated version.
  • Opening a map always changes the file date even if the map is not edited

Improvements …

This is an E-Mail I sent to the developer’s support in May 2013 and got this statement:

20130726-075543.jpg

The updated version of Inspiration still doesn’t fix the problems with Dropbox but solved the other problems mentioned in my mail.

Summary …

What I see is an app which is slightly improved but still has many cons.
It’s useful for easy tasks but a bit light weight for business purposes.

Notes …

Nick Duffill, Harport Consulting, Scotland

Mind Maps + Concept Maps

Nick is an expert in mapping technology as well writing sophisticated articles about mind mapping and concept mapping.

Inspiration Software Inc., USA

Inspiration for the iPad

developer of the reviewed app Inspiration and intensively taking care of my questions.

Related links …

Basics …

Mind Maps and Concept Maps

Mind Mapping (1)

Mind Mapping (2)

Mind Mapping (3)

Perfect mind mapping tools …

iThoughts for the iPad

Mindly for the iPhone

Other mind mapping tools …

Popples made by Popplet

BigMind

Three In One

Platform for shared maps …

The group ‘Apple’ on Biggerplate
created by myself in January 2013 on the world’s largest platform for shared mind maps with lots of mind maps regarding Apple and Apple products

Thanks for visiting http://iNotes4You.com.





Going Apple

16 03 2014

Apple has become a unique company in the last decades. Although of completely different industrial sectors it can be compared with the German company Porsche. Both companies are focused on a few products with the highest possible build quality and all their products simply do what they are intended for without bells and whistles well-known from Asian manufacturers. They just work over many years resp. decades.

Each new product iteration brings remarkable value.

Steve Jobs and Ferdinand Porsche are well-known for their restless efforts to find something new. After many throwbacks both visionaries became successful business men and both founded brands admired all over the world.

Steve with his iPhone and Ferdinand with his sports car 911 created a new market and both products were continuously updated until today. Both initiated a shift in paradigm regarding mobility, Steve with the iPhone and the iPad and Ferdinand with the Volkswagen.

Ferdinand Porsche (1875 – 1951)
was an automotive engineer and honorary Doctor of Engineering. He is best known for creating the first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle (Lohner-Porsche), the Volkswagen Beetle, and the Mercedes-Benz SS/SSK, as well as the first of many Porsche automobiles. Porsche designed the 1923 Benz Tropfenwagen, which was the first race car with mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout.

Steven Paul Jobs (1955 – 2011)
was an American entrepreneur, marketer, and inventor, who was the co-founder (along with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne), chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. Through Apple, he is widely recognized as a charismatic pioneer of the personal computer revolution and for his influential career in the computer and consumer electronics fields, transforming “one industry after another, from computers and smartphones to music and movies”.

20131214-095920.jpg

Bryan Appleyard, UK, wrote in his blog

Consider this …
Apple makes very few products – Cook once said its entire range could fit on a tabletop – and they are more expensive than the competition. So how has it become one of the biggest companies in the world? It has done so through the power of mystique, aspiration and industrial design; through, in short, the narcissistic, brutally competitive aesthetic obsessiveness of Steve Jobs. Apple continues to be formidably profitable – its stores, for example, have the highest sales per square foot of a retail outlet in the world. Yet Apple is not a viable business model: it is, like Jobs, an unrepeatable corporate freak show. Can it possibly be, post-Jobs, a freak show that runs and runs? The reviews are not yet in but doubt is priced into the shares.

Given the number of full-time Apple watchers in the world, you’d think that somebody would know – but nobody does, not even, thanks to the company’s internal as well as external secrecy, most of its employees. Products are developed in closed-off rooms entered only by those who need to know. The one small peephole in this wall of silence used to be patent applications, which are public documents. Apple’s used to be scanned for what would come next but now the company patents everything, even abandoned ideas, so there is no knowing which are the real possibilities.

However, when the watchers converge on a forecast, it tends to have at least a grain of truth. Currently, they say, an iPhone with a much larger, curved screen and pressuresensitive touch controls is on the way. But that simply augments the current product. Two possible and entirely new products could restart the company’s sigmoidal curve. “I’m pretty confident that they have at least two more technologies,” says Leander Kahney, editor of the Cult of Mac blog and author of a new book about Jony Ive.

Bryan Appleyard was educated at Bolton School and King’s College, Cambridge, graduating with a degree in English. He was Financial News Editor and Deputy Arts Editor at The Times from 1976 to 1984. Subsequently he became a freelance journalist and author. He is a three-time Feature Writer of the Year award winner and has been commended four times in the British Press Awards.

or see what Apple’s engineer Mark Zimmer wrote about the iPhone

Yes, this is one of the biggest vehicles for change because it raised the bar on handheld social media, on internet in your pocket, and on the spread of digital photography. The ability to make a difference was propagated with the iPhone and the devices that copied it. Did Steve Jobs know he was starting this kind of change? He knew it was transformative. And he built ecosystems like iTunes, the App store, and the iBookstore to make it all work. Without the App Store, we’d all still be in the dark ages of social media. The mobile revolution is here to stay.
Holding the first iPhone was like holding a bit of the future in your hands. It was that far ahead of the pack. Its amazing glass keyboard was met with skepticism from analysts at first, but the public was quick to decide it was just fine for them. A phone that was just a huge glass screen was more than an innovation. It was a revolution.
[…]
Each new iPhone iteration brings remarkable value. Better telephony (3G quickly became 4G and that quickly became LTE), better sensors (accelerometer, GPS, magnetometer, gyrometer, etc.), and better camera, lenses, flashes, and BSI sensors. Bluetooth connectivity makes it work in our cars. Siri makes it work by voice command. Each new feature is so well-integrated that it just feels like it’s been there all along. Now that I have used my iPhone 5S for awhile, I feel like the fingerprint sensor is part of what an iPhone means, now.
This all-in-one device has led to unprecedented spread of pictures. It and its (ahem, copycat) devices supporting Google‘s Android and more recently Microsoft‘s Windows Phone 8 have enabled social media to become ever more present, and influential, in our world.
Thanks to Storm Williams who posted this statement in his blog
Apple Engineer Mark Zimmer Writes About The iPhone And Its Effect

My decision …

You want to purchase a device which supports the usual tasks done by the majority of smartphone or tablet users?

Well, visit a shop and just buy one made by Samsung, HTC, Sony, or any other company.

But if you want more than just an intelligent assembling of standard electronic components you should buy artwork designed in California, more precisely in Cupertino.

Why?

Here are my reasons when I decided to move from a 30$ Nokia telephone and a Siemens Convertible to an Apple iPhone and an iPad.

  • 1
    The devices simply support me when blogging, creating mind maps for myself or the company, and accessing synced content on either the iPhone or the iPad by just switching iCloud to ON.
  • 2
    I’m no longer bound to a work desk and my brain is no longer plugged into a computer. Whether there is an idea in a coffee shop, on the sofa, or in the office, it immediately is moved into the device without booting it.

You might say that all the mentioned tasks can also be done with any other mobile device. Right, but …

  • 3
    After decades of configuring computers, updating virus scnners, installing Microsoft patches, watching blue screens, endless reading of knowledge base articles about failing drivers I got tired to see the machines stealing valuable time of my life. I needed a period of reflection without taking care of all the technical little helpers. They should support me when doing essential things and not spoil my enjoyment of being creative.
  • 4
    Slightly different from Neill Armstrong my upgrade from a 3GS to a 4S was a “One small step for mankind, one giant leap for me”. I don’t need a new device every year because my tasks basically don’t change. But it helps to see improvements in doing things even more user-friendly than before.
    The same strategy can be found when looking on an other admired company, Porsche. Perpetual improvements on their 911 flagship made the company to one of the most valuable brands in the world. No bells, no whistles, no new eye catchers every year but a product with constantly growing value and suitability for daily use. Engineers took care of the many details to achieve success.
  • 5
    I alteady bought the first available computer in Germany, it was a Sharp MZ 80K, driven by a Zilog Z80 processor with cassettes as the main storage. It was a device with advanced product quality and that’s what I again found with Apple devices. They are solid, feel valuable, and look like pieces of artwork.
  • 6
    In contrast to all the other companies in the fiercely competitive mobile market, Apple is cult, like Ferrari or Porsche. The whole world talks about the company and it’s importance comes up every day when users owning other devices again just talk about one topic: Apple, positive or negative.

    There is a company-DNA and blood flows through the prominent veins of responsible employees. They are VIPs on stage, we know their names, parts of their biography and philosophy. We can feel their intention when using one of their valuable devices. There is a well-considered ecosystem.

    There is a company which reminds us if one of the top influencers of our times with a role function for all of us dies. I’m talking about Neson Mandela.

    There is a company strongly supporting the educational sector and a company which initiated a shift in paradigm of learning, teaching and mobility.

    Imagine these three concentric circles:

    the innermost labeled “Why
    the middle labeled “How
    and the outermost labeled “What.”

    and Apple’s official video about the company’s intention where “simple phrases with elegant visuals describe the thoughts and emotions that go into creating each Apple product”.

    The first thing we ask is what do we want people to feel?
    delight, surprise, love, connection

    Then we begin to craft around our intention.
    There are a thousand no’s for every yes.

    All employees of a company know what they do, and some know how they do it, but most of them don’t know why they do it. Apple’s competitors lead with messages about what they sell, but their leaders do not communicate why they do what they do.
    Apple’s why message is that “Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently.” Apple challenges the status quo is by making beautifully-designed, reliable products. So Apple can then say, “We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”

    People don’t buy what you do but why you do it. Almost from the beginning, with Jobs and Wozniak, Apple told you why it developed the Apple II – to create a more affordable computer. When Jobs introduced the Mac, he said he believed that computers were too boxy, unexciting, and difficult to use. If you watch the famous 1984 Apple Super Bowl ad you’ll quickly realize Apple believed it was breaking the mundane tyranny of the boring PC and creating the next computer for the Everyman. It had new graphical user interface, mouse drawing software, and was fun to use. He invited customers to follow him away from the stodgy old PC and into the new world of computing.
    Jobs started attracting new converts. Sure, most business stayed with the PC, but those who believed in Jobs’ vision followed him. He often uses the term “I believe” in his speeches at product launches as he preaches things like, “I believe people want products that are easy to use, and always work.” Every chance he gets, he shares his vision – the why that drives him and Apple forward.

    Watch Apple’s iPad ads closely. Unlike HP’s TouchPad ads that glorify stars, Apple’s simply show you what you can do with its products.

    People follow leaders or buy products they believe in. Apple knows that the vast majority (including me) is not necessarily interested in tweaking products for more personal customizations or they want to get rid of an ongoing personalization which, after some times, often leads back to the original state.

    It takes some time to internalize that using a device is more valuable than configuring it.

    The iPad ads convince you that it is elegant, easy to use, and will meet your needs as is.
    People are not only buying Apple products because they are great, but because they are also buying into Apple’s vision of why. They believe in the same vision and want the benefits that this vision gives them.
    I suspect Apple will continue to gain even more converts who also believe, like Steve Jobs, that tech products should make their digital lives richer. They relate to what the products do for them and are willing to follow Apple since they have adopted its vision for themselves.

20131214-095759.jpg

It’s #4, #5, and #6 that let me buy Apple devices. Admired leaders, a unique strategy not driven by market shares, and a consistent ecosystem makes the difference. I don’t like bloodless companies just looking on market share, stealing ideas, and claiming to be innovatove without being so. Market shares have never been indicators for quality, innovation, or usefulness.

Summary …

Similar strategies, skills, attitudes paired with obsession
=
Rainmakers with similar success and importance

Related links …

Steve Jobs

Ferdinand Porsche

Apple’s Strategy and Ad

Designed by Apple in California

Apple’s Ecosystem

Apple’s Customer Relationships

Apple’s Intangible Assets

Apple, a unique company

Thanks for dropping by.





Go Paperless with Tap Forms

12 03 2014

My last blog post was about going paperless with a document keeping app. This post is about a much more powerful solution using a database app.

About databases …

It’s out of question that databases on mobiles are the most efficient way to manage large amount of data.

The strong benefit of a database is the synopsis of otherwise widely spread information. Apple’s App Store offers a lot of apps suitable for productive operations but all the informations saved by these apps are cut into pieces saved in app-specific folders. Database management tools summarize all the different types of information in just one app.

If you create structured data (e.g. contacts, where every contact consists of a set of fields (e.g. name, email-address, phone number, account, bank) with different contents and save them as a file you have a very simple database. Its just a container in which similar data are stored like in a spreadsheet.

Lets call the set of FIELDS a TABLE (Form, Library) and the contents of one set of fields a RECORD and a subset of all records a QUERY (collection) and one or more tables and queries a DATABASE

20131209-065716.jpg

An improved version of a database contains many tables, stores your data securely, lets you collaborate simultaneously with other people and gives you fast information about people, stocks, insurances, words in other languages and beyond. But the pure data won’t let you do the jobs. It would be like searching in a very bulky phone book where data are not sorted.
So you need database management software (DBMS) to support your curiosity.

A Database Management System (DBMS) is a set of algorithms that enables you to store, modify, and extract information from a database, it also provides users with tools to add, delete, access, modify, and analyze data stored in one location. A group can access the data by using query and reporting tools that are part of the DBMS or by using applications specifically written to access the data. A DBMS also provides the method for maintaining the integrity of stored data, running security and users access, and recovering information if the system fails.

An powerful feature of databases comes up, if you connect data in different tables. If a record is about a device you might want to attach the receipt and a certificate of warranty. So the first table is about the device itself and the second table contains file attachments e.g. In PDF file format. Records of the two tables are linked together via a common key which could be the serial number of the device. When looking at the main table ‘Devices’ your DBMS retrieves the file attachments from the second table and shows it to you.

A database solves many problems with your otherwise widely spread data.
Where is the “egg-laying, milk-bearing woolly sow app” that makes it all easy to manage?

The short answer is: nowhere except with a database app.

Tap Forms by Tap Zapp Software is by far the best mobile database app for iOS devices and the company offers a desktop companion app which is fully compatible with the iOS version. So there is one and only one data pool accessible from all you Apple devices and syncing via iCloud.

Creating the form …

Within Tap Forms tables are called ‘forms’. So let us create the form to manage the personal repository. To do so just tap on the ‘+’ icon in the main screen, enter a name for your form and add fields by selecting them from the field list. Enter names for the fields and, if necessary, edit the field options.

20131209-065808.jpg

Notes …

  • Missing fields
    Don’t worry, you can add them later and remove fields you don’t need.
  • Pick List
    Use pick lists to choose text from predefined lists. It saves time and prevents from using different terms or different spellings. Use a pick list for the field ‘Keyword’ to quickly find related records with a query.
  • URL
    Add the field URL to a record to quickly access the website with further information from within the app.
  • Note
    Always add the field ‘Note’ to a form to enter annotations which otherwise don’t fit in any other field.
  • Alert
    Alerts are shown in the notification center and as a counter on the apps icon e.g. to remind you of an important maturity.
  • Audio
    An Audio field offers the ability to quickly comment on a record.
  • Layout
    After finishing the field creation procedure you can adjust the layout of the form: rearrange the order of fields, set colors and fonts for labels and values, decide which fields should be shown in the navigation area on the left side of the screen.

Attach files …

In my first blog post ‘Go Paperless’ I already mentioned that the PDF file format should be used for scanned documents. So now we have to decide how to attach the files generated by an All-In-One printer with the app AiO Remote by HP or with the help of Scanner Pro by Readdle with which a photo of the document is converted into a PDF file and transferred to Tap Forms.

Basically you can add multiple fields of type ‘File Attachment’ to a record so that several documents can be attached to a record. When creating the form you do not know how many files must be attached later. It can be just one or many updates of documents you get from your insurance company over time. So the best solution is to create a second form ‘MyRepositoryFiles’ which contains the files and is linked to the basic form ‘MyRepository’. In my example I used both fields, a field of the type ‘File Attachment’ and a field of type ‘Link to Form’ which sets the connection to files in the linked form.

Linking a second form to the main form is explained in my article DBMS on iOS devices (2).

Secure the data …

A personal repository contains sensitive data which should be secured by a password for the app as well as an encryption of the database. Tap Forms then encrypts backups of your database on Dropbox and iCloud with 256-Bit AES algorithms.

20131209-070203.jpg

Sync …

To update the whole database on all your devices activate iCloud Sync. If you use your iPhone for taking a picture of a document or scanning it with the app Scanner Pro by Readdle you usually create a new record, add the document, and want to have it on all other devices when coming home. iCloud Sync does it for you.

20131209-070315.jpg

Backup …

Because of the relevance of a personal repository it’s indispensable to regularly backup your data on an external storage. With Tap Forms you backup to Dropbox. So there are three copies of your database: on your device, on iCloud, and on Dropbox. This redundancy never let’s you loose your data.

20131209-070404.jpg

The workflow …

Here is the complete workflow visualized in a concept map.

20131209-135411.jpg

Summary …

In contrast to a document manager like Docunents by Readdle a database is definitely the better choice for managing your personal repository. It adds many useful features not available in pure file managers. To just save PDFs often is not suitable to keep all necessary information together and to complete a record over time with further data e.g. alerts, notes, or files like renewal certificates.

20131209-075735.jpg

Don’t worry about using databases. With Tap Forms it’s really easy to build your own ‘application’ for managing secured information in one place with accessibility on all your other Apple devices.

Related links …

About the company…

Tap Zapp Software Inc., Canada

About the desktop companion of Tap Forms …

Tap Forms for Mac

About the usage of databases …

DBMS on iOS devices (1)

DBMS on iOS devices (2)

DBMS on iOS devices (3)

DBMS on iOS devices (4)

DBMS on iOS devices (5)

Importing Data

Form Access To Tap Forms

zBase vs Tap Forms

Thanks a lot for visiting my blog.








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