Photostream

12 06 2014

Photo Stream is Apple’s cloud-based photo sharing service that allows easy sharing of photos between devices regardless of their operating system. The photos can be viewed on the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch an Apple TV as well as on Macs and Windows-based PCs.

The feature was added to iOS 5 received some new features in iOS 6 and a few minor tweaks in iOS 7.

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You can turn on Photo Stream for any of these supported devices, and your latest photos will automatically be shared between any devices on your Apple account that have Photo Stream turned on.

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This means you don’t have to actively download photos on your iPad that you took with your iPhone, if both devices have Photo Stream turned on, the photos will be privately shared automatically.

Shared Photo Stream …

Apple’s Shared Photo Stream was introduced in iOS 6.0. While the default Photo Stream works for any device on the same Apple ID, Shared Photo Streams allows you to share a specific set of photos. You create a Shared Stream, give it a name, collect photos you want to share and then post it as a Shared Stream to family, friends or colleagues. You can even have multiple Shared Photo Streams with different recipients.

Photos taken with the device are not automatically shared. So there is no worry that the photo you take will automatically goes out to everyone. In order to share a photo with your Shared Photo Stream, you have to select the photo in the Photos app and specifically share it. You can also access Shared Photo Streams between your own devices, including Apple TV. And while the name implies ‘Shared’, you don’t have to share the photo stream with any of your friends. You can use it as a private stream between your devices.

Understanding Photo Stream …

On iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) every photo you take (screen shots too) will be added to your Photo Stream and automatically uploaded to iCloud.

Note
Photos will only upload when the device is connected to Wi-Fi and only the photos taken after Photo Stream is turned on will upload to iCloud. Once those photos are uploaded they are viewable in My Photo Stream album on your iOS device. ‘My Photo Stream’ album is located inside the Photos app, under albums, on devices that are connected through iCloud. This only works if Photo Stream is enabled on each device and all devices use the same iCloud account, that means the same Apple ID. Once you have each device logged into the same iCloud account you can setup Photo Stream.

If you want to use Photo Stream it’s worth knowing what it’s not. It is not an online photo container (like Google Drive) that just syncs photos between all of your devices. This might be the source of misunderstanding and complaints of iOS users.

Think of it like this …

Photo Stream is a constant flow of images (a stream) that acts as a conduit to route photos to your other devices. It’s like water. At anytime you can grab a bucket, dip it in, fill it up and haul it to a different location (the camera roll, a friend, etc). Otherwise you have no control over the water; just how much you take and where you forward or save it.

If you take a photo with an iPhone without connection to a WLAN (which is almost often the case when making a walk) the photo is saved in the Camera Roll of your device. Coming home, your device connects to your WLAN and the upload of photos to Photo Stream starts. Now you can view them e.g. on an iPad.

Photo Stream is totally automatic, but if you have a Mac, you can choose to turn off automatic uploading when you set up Photo Stream in iPhoto or Aperture. This can be useful if you regularly import very large numbers of photos.

iCloud stores your new photos for 30 days so your devices have plenty of time to connect and download the photos. Your iOS devices keep a rolling collection of your last 1000 photos, and you can save your favorite shots to your Camera Roll or any other album to keep them on your device permanently. Because your computers have more storage, they can keep all your Photo Stream photos.

Manual transfer …

If you deleted photos in your Photo Stream they will be deleted on all of your devices which is a consequence of the automatic syncing feature.

In some cases it’s necessary to re-transfer photos deleted from the Photo Stream to your other devices. This can be done

  • by using a cloud storage like Box or Dropbox
    Open the cloud provider’s client application, choose photos from Camera Roll and upload them to the cloud storage. On your other device then download them to its Camera Roll.
  • by using an app
    like PhotoSync (by touchbyte) instaShare (by Lukas Foldyna) or Safety P+V (by 83 Technology) which allows direct transfer between two devices using a common WLAN or a Bluetooth connection.
  • by using Airdrop
    which lets you quickly and easily share photos, videos, contacts — and anything else from any app with a Share button. Just tap Share, then select the person you want to share with. AirDrop does the rest using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. No setup required.
    Unfortunately AirDrop is not available for previously supplied iPhone 4S, 4, etc. and iPad 3rd Generation, iPad 2, etc. So there still will be a need for other ways.

But there is also a simple solution which lets you transfer photos without using a cloud storage, an app, or Airdrop even if the devices you want to transfer to are not in the same WiFi network and cannot be connected via Bluetooth. What you need is a connection to the internet (cellular or WiFi). It’s a kind of transfer to remote devices with the help of Shared Photo Stream.

Here are the steps …

Creating a stream

In the example I called this stream (photo) EXCHANGE.

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The new stream is immediately created on all of your devices even if the device is not connected to a WiFi network but to a cell net. Even if there is no internet connection yhe stream is created but only on your device and it’s created on all other devices if your device reconnects to the internet. Try it out by creating a stream in Airplane Mode.

If you didn’t enter any recipients of this new stream you will see the subtitle ‘Shared by you’ which indicates that shared photos are only available on devices using your Apple ID.

Streaming photos

If you now want to stream photos, select them, tap on iCloud, and select the stream you want to assign them to. Tap on Done.

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Depending on the transmission rate of your cellular connection it takes just some seconds and the photo is already available on your other devices which might be thousands of miles away. A family member (or all optionally entered recipients) can view the shared photos.

Deleting streams …

If you delete selected photos or Shared Photo Streams they are immediately deleted from all your devices and people you shared photos with cannot access them any longer.

That’s what you should keep in mind when removing photos from the Photo Stream. If you didn’t save them in the camera roll or any other local storage you will lose them forever.

Limitations …

iCloud limits the number of photos that can be uploaded to My Photo Stream or shared photo streams within a given hour, day, or month to prevent unintended or excessive use. Learn more in My Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Sharing.

Photo Stream upload limits

The My Photo Stream limits below are established based on anticipated upload patterns. Currently, My Photo Stream upload limits are as follows:

  • 1,000 photo uploads per hour
  • 10,000 photo uploads per day
  • 25,000 photo uploads per month

If you exceed one of these limits, your uploads to My Photo Stream will be paused temporarily and you may see a notification message on your device. Your uploads will resume automatically after you no longer exceed one of the limits, such as in the following hour or on the following day.

iCloud Photo Sharing limits

The current iCloud Photo Sharing hourly and daily limits are as follows:

  • Maximum combined number of photos and videos from all contributors per shared stream, per hour: 1000
  • Maximum combined number of photos and videos from all contributors per shared stream, per day: 10,000

These sharing limits are separate from the upload limits above. For example, in the same day you could upload 10,000 photos to My Photo Stream and then share those 10,000 photos or 10,000 other photos.

Additional Limits

  • Maximum shared streams an owner can share: 100
  • Maximum shared streams a user can subscribe to: 100
  • Maximum subscribers per shared stream: 100
    (the number of subscribers on each shared stream)
  • Maximum combined number of photos and videos from all contributors per shared stream: 5000
  • Maximum number of comments per photo or video in a shared stream: 200
    (a comment can be either a Like or a text entry)
  • Maximum characters per comment: 200
  • Maximum number of invites a shared stream owner may send per day: 200

Some further information …

Storage

Photos uploaded to My Photo Stream or shared photo streams are not counted against your iCloud Storage. The photos that you upload to My Photo Stream are stored in iCloud for 30 days to give your devices plenty of time to connect to iCloud and download them. Find out how to save photos from My Photo Stream or a shared photo stream to your Camera Roll or computer.
The following image file types are supported for Photo Stream: JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and RAW.
The following video file types and file formats are supported for iCloud Photo Sharing: MP4 and QuickTime file types, and H.264 and MPEG-4 Video file formats. Videos can be up to 5 minutes in length.
When importing photos to an iPad using the Camera Connection Kit, photos are saved directly to Camera Roll. If Photo Stream is enabled and you are connected to a wireless network, you could potentially reach any of the limits listed above. To avoid this, disable Photo Stream when importing photos to iPad when using the Camera Connection Kit.
When importing large numbers of photos to either iPhoto or Aperture, you could potentially reach any of the limits listed above if you have selected Automatic Upload in the Photo Stream preferences. Both iPhoto and Aperture will pause uploading to Photo Stream when the maximum has been reached. Uploading will automatically restart at the next hour, day, or month, depending on which limit was reached.

Quality

On a Mac or PC, your photos are downloaded and stored in full resolution. On iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV, your Photo Stream photos are delivered in a device-optimized resolution that speeds downloads and saves storage space. Dimensions will vary, but an optimized version of a photo taken by a standard point-and-shoot camera will have a 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution when pushed to your devices. Panoramic photos can be up to 5400 pixels wide.

Turning off Photo Stream

If you sign out of iCloud or turn off My Photo Stream on an iOS device, all the images in My Photo Stream are removed from that device. The images in My Photo Stream on your other devices are not affected. Images added to My Photo Stream are saved on the iCloud server for 30 days from the date you added them to My Photo Stream. If you sign in to iCloud with the same Apple ID and turn on My Photo Stream on another device, those photos will automatically download to this device. Before turning off My Photo Stream, it’s a good idea to save any photos that you’d like to keep to your Camera Roll. To do so go to My Photo Stream, tap on Select, tap on the photos you want to save, tap on the sharing control (bottom left), and tap on Save to Camera Roll.

Backup

Shared photo stream content is not automatically backed up. Photos and videos must be saved locally before backing up your device. Any comments or Likes attached to a shared stream photo or video are not be saved with the photos or video.

Source Apple Support (modified)

No normal user will exceed these limits. The good news is that photos uploaded to My Photo Stream or shared photo streams are not counted against your iCloud Storage. But what you should know is that your iCloud backups include images saved in your camera roll. So don’t forget to organize the storage by periodically transferring photos from the camera roll to an appropriate storage e.g. your computer or to other cloud storages like Box, Dropbox, iDriveSync, OneDrive, or Google Drive.

About people …

If you open a Shared Photo Steam you will find the control ‘People’ with the following options:

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With ‘Public website’ you get a link for sharing an album on social networks.

Summary …

Using Shared Photo Stream is a simple way to transfer photos by just using Apple’s built-in apps. It just works.

Related links …

Photo Syncing

iOS Device Backup

iCloud Troubleshooting

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iCloud, a paradigm shift

16 05 2014

Data has never really been where you thought it was. It was sprinkled across the blocks of a spinning disk and managed by a file allocation table which could retrieve it instantly as if it was all in one place. But it never was, like data traveling across the internet doesn’t always use the same path or is stored in a unique part of a cloud account.

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Note
Without a file system, information placed in a storage area would be one large body of data with no way to tell where one piece of information stops and the next begins. By separating the data into individual pieces, and giving each piece a name, the information is easily separated and identified.
Taking its name from the way paper-based information systems are named, each piece of data is called a file. The structure and logic rules used to manage the groups of information and their names is called a file system.

Using Apple’s Finder or Microsoft’s Windows Explorer gives us an outlined overview of what’s stored on our hard disk. A first step to access files more comfortable was the assignment of apps to file types, e.g. double-clicking a PDF opens the Adobe Reader but the app doesn’t help is to find out where other PDF’s are stored on a hard disk.

After 35 years of using computers I got tired to take care of folders and subfolders, file versions, backups, and scanning the storage for viruses.

Manual file handling is an anachronism.
We have apps to do it for us.

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That seems to be the philosophy of Apple when introducing iCloud services on June 6, 2011.

Press Info: Apple Introduces iCloud

In October 2013 Apple added iWork for iCloud to support web-based collaboration on documents regardless of the user’s Apple ID, the device, and the place from where he wants to work on them.

The idea …

To explain what the concept of Apple is let’s take a look on the internet.

The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to serve several billion users worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks, of local to global scope, that are linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries an extensive range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents of the World Wide Web (WWW), the infrastructure to support email, and peer-to-peer networks.

The funding of a new U.S. backbone by the National Science Foundation in the 1980s, as well as private funding for other commercial backbones, led to worldwide participation in the development of new networking technologies, and the merger of many networks. Though the Internet has been widely used by academia since the 1980s, the commercialization of what was by the 1990s an international network resulted in its popularization and incorporation into virtually every aspect of modern human life.

The Internet has no centralized governance in either technological implementation or policies for access and usage; each constituent network sets its own policies. Only the overreaching definitions of the two principal name spaces in the Internet, the Internet Protocol address space and the Domain Name System, are directed by a maintainer organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The technical underpinning and standardization of the core protocols (IPv4 and IPv6) is an activity of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a non-profit organization of loosely affiliated international participants that anyone may associate with by contributing technical expertise.
(Wikipedia)

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So the idea of Apple when launching the iCloud services is not new.
It was the rapid development of the internet which provoked the idea to a private counterpart, the iCloud services with some added and powerful features.

  • Optimized automated backup of the content of iOS devices
    • Apps are not stored in the cloud because they can be restored from the purchase list of your Apple account.
    • if your device is locked and connected to a WiFi network backups are automatically initiated.
  • Syncing across your devices
    • Contacts
    • Reminders
    • iWork Documents
    • Purchased apps
    • etc
  • Collaboration on iWork documents across different Apple IDs

Here is the full feature list of iCloud capabilities:

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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 Office DOCX
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

Apple’s way …

Apple is well-known for reducing features to it’s needs and for seamless usage of it’s devices.

When you turn on a new iOS device or after you’ve completed the update to the latest version of iOS, follow the instructions in the setup assistant to activate your device and set up iCloud.

Using all the benefits of iCloud is as easy as switching on the light.

If you skipped the setup process, tap the Settings icon on the Home screen, select iCloud, then enter your Apple ID.

From now on iCloud does the work for you including advanced security with features like Activation Lock and Find My iPhone if you lose your device or it’s stolen.

It’s that simple. No further action is ever needed to sync all your devices or to backup content. Your Apple ID is the key to move into a perfectly designed ecosystem.

Special features …

Beside the well-known syncing features for contacts, reminders, iWork documents etc. Apple offers some more powerful features.

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  • iCloud Keychain
    keeps your Safari website usernames and passwords, credit card information, and Wi-Fi network information up to date across all of your approved devices that are using iOS 7.0.3 or later or OS X Mavericks v10.9 or later.

    iCloud Keychain can also keep the accounts you use in Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Messages up to date across all of your Macs. If you’re signed in to Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, or any other accounts in Internet Accounts on OS X Mavericks, iCloud can push those accounts to your Macs as well.

    Setup

    Go to Settings – iCloud and turn Keychain on.
    Follow the onscreen instructions to complete setup.

    Security Code

    When you set up iCloud Keychain, you’re asked to create an iCloud Security Code. It can be a 4-digit code similar to the passcode lock for your device, or you can have a more complex code automatically generated for you. The iCloud Security Code is used to authorize additional devices to use your iCloud Keychain. It’s also used to verify your identify so that you can perform other iCloud Keychain actions, such as recovering your iCloud Keychain if you lose all your devices.

    Additional devices

    Follow the iCloud Keychain setup steps above for each device that you want to add. When you enable iCloud Keychain on an additional device, your other devices that use iCloud Keychain receive a notification requesting approval for the additional device. After you approve the additional device, your iCloud Keychain automatically begins updating on that device.

    Incorrect Security Code

    If you enter your iCloud Security Code incorrectly too many times, you won’t be able to use that iCloud Keychain. You can contact Apple Support, who can help verify your identity so that you can try again to enter your iCloud Security Code. After a number of incorrect attempts, your iCloud Keychain is removed from Apple’s servers and you will need to set up iCloud Keychain again.

    Local Keychain

    When setting up iCloud Keychain, you can skip the step for creating an iCloud Security Code. Your keychain data is then stored only locally on the device, and updates only across your approved devices.

  • Optimized Backup
    iCloud backup is a differential backup (only changed items are backed up after the first backup was initiated). Apps and other purchases are not backed up because they can be restored using the purchase history of your Apple ID. This saves time and space.
  • iWork in the cloud
    Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are the best way to be productive on a Mac or iOS device. Apple brought that productivity to the web in October 2013 for Mac and PC. The apps make it easy to work together with people everywhere. And since it’s all powered by iCloud, your documents are always up to date on each of your devices.

    iWork for iCloud works with Safari 6.0.3 or later, Chrome 27.0.1 or later, and Internet Explorer 9.0.8 or later.

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The future …

iCloud will connect all your services with each other. Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, SkyDrive and other clouds just operate as remote storage servers. Files are transferred to the cloud and taken off if needed. Some apps like ByWord (a simple text editor for iOS devices) automatically save content on DropBox servers which then can be accessed in a wide variety of ways.
All these approaches are isolated applications.

Apple is in a unique position. The company develops soft- and hardware which is the basis for building an interconnecting service and not only a file sharing application. This makes it a bit more confusing to think about because there is no precedent or metaphor to compare it with.

More and more developers implement iCloud storage and synchronization (e.g. the password keeper 1Password, the database application Tap Forms, etc.). They seamlessly connect to iCloud and users must not care about saving or syncing. Create an iWork document on one device, edit it on another device, and collaborate with people not using an Apple device but one of the supported browsers.

What I’m driving at is how there seems to be a difference between managing files on a remote located cloud through some dedicated App or having files available to specific Apps and not worrying about whether they are remotely located in a cloud.

Managing files manually seems to be a bit more work than necessary. If I am with a client and we change a document together, I could return to my office to see those changes without having to ask the client to upload the newest version. So I feel it is probably a choice we make about how we want to handle our data. Do we want Files? Or do we want access to our data? If the file needs an app to open it, then why not just have the app retrieve it from iCloud?

Everything we see from Apple regarding cloud services seems to be pointing toward empowering the apps themselves to handle their data in the cloud and to have hooks into iCloud which deal with this seamlessly. We all used to deal with filing our data on hard drives and organizing it into categories, labeling it, and adding tags. Lately it has gotten easier to manage documents without having to think about where they are located. We may have to evolve a new way of using computers where the desktop metaphor gets replaced with a data access model shared by all apps.

It may get to the point where we no longer need to be aware of exactly what location the data is in.

We should not be constrained by the metaphors which once allowed us to simplify our understanding. If the new paradigm is to have our data available no matter where we are on the net then we will have to let go of our older notions of it being “stored” in the cloud somewhere far off.

Summary …

iCoud is a giant step forward to seamless managing and syncing of information across all your devices. But it’s also the way into an extreme dependency. Access to data is dependent on the availability of an Internet connection and bug-free software applications on web servers as well as on connected devices.

Credits …

Thanks to Dave Trautmann, President at EncycloMedia Ltd., for publishing his forward-looking statements on Google+ and giving me the idea to write about this topic.

Related links …

iCloud Setup

iCloud Keychain

The cloudy iCloud

The Apple ID

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Presenting with iPad (2)

16 05 2013

In ‘Presenting with iPad (1)’ I talked about the possibilities to present any kind of information for an audience using additional hardware.

This article is about an app called ‘Electric Slide’ working with minimal hardware requirements: a screen and a browser.

About
Electric Slide is a product of elucidate llc. We’re a DUMBO (Brooklyn, NY) based business that designs and develops mobile applications for business productivity and healthcare. Elucidate was founded by Angelo Alduino and Jim Phelan in April of 2012. Angelo and Jim are veterans of the web based collaboration field. Electric Slide was borne out of the idea that presenting is an inherently mobile activity trapped in a PC based presenting model, largely due to a lack of appropriate tools.

The app Electric Slide is designed to provide simple wireless presenting by giving each user a unique URL. Upon entering a meeting, a user can simply type their URL into a web browser and begin presenting wirelessly with their device. After uploading the content to a webserver of the company it’s delivered back to the audience controlled by e.g. an iPad, an iPhone or any other mobile device with the app installed on it.

If an internet connection is not available the presentation device can connect directly to a TV using an HDMI/VGA adapter or Apple’s AirPlay. The app also allows multiple devices to pair via Bluetooth.

Electric Slide uses the company’s proprietary technology to convert all content to HTML5. Animations and effects are preserved so that PowerPoint presentations and other documents can be viewed without loss of formatting.

The app is free and the free account offers 50 MB of storage, up to five simultaneous live viewers and presenting videos of a maximum length of one minute. The meeting length is limited to 90 minutes. The PRO account limitations are: 1 GB storage, 50 live viewers, 30 minutes video length

The pros …

  • Present to small groups or remote viewers just using a browser without any setup procedure
  • Optional connection to TV using an HDMI / VGA adapter or AirPlay
  • iPad as the presenting device can be controlled by an iPhone via Bluetooth
  • Live broadcasting of photos

The cons …

  • Right now, Apple’s Keynote presentation files are not supported – though support for them is planned for a future update. This should be added as Keynote is by far the best presentation app right now for the iPad.
    Keynote presentations have to be uploaded as PDFs.

  • Internet Explorer 10 is not supported.
    The viewers have to use Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.
  • No audio support
    All viewers must share the same room.

How it works …

  • Register at http://www.electricslide.net
  • Create a ‘Room Name’ that will form part of your custom URL used when you present.
  • Once the file uploads to the Electric Slide’s webserver and gets processed you can broadcast it to your custom URL right away.

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Look at this image to see the options for controlling the presentation.

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Summary …

An impressive idea where, I hope, some features will be added in the near future to bridge the gaps.

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Presenting with iPad (1)

13 05 2013

With an Apple TV you can use Apple’s AirDisplay feature to display the screen of any iOS device on a TV.

If you don’t need all the further functionalities of Apple TV there is a low cost alternative for e.g. displaying Keynote presentations on a TV or on a wall with the help of a beamer.

To do so you need

  • Apple Digital AV Adapter
    available in the Apple Store for iOS devices with 30-Pin or Lightning adapter
  • HDMI cable
  • HDMI capable TV / Beamer

The connection …

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The running system …

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Keynote presentations …

Connect the iPad with a HDMI capable beamer instead of a TV.
The app

Apple Keynote Remote

installed on an iPhone allows you to control Keynote presentations. The iPhone works like a remote control for the iPad, which displays a Keynote presentation. As you may know, you can add notes to each slide of a Keynote presentation. These notes can be displayed on the iPhone while presenting the slides. To change from slide to slide you use the swipe gesture.

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The Alternative …

A disadvantage of any adapter connected to the iPad is the immobility of the device.
The alternative is an Apple TV connected to a HDMI capable TV and your local WiFi network.

Fo more information see

Apple TV

Keep in mind that if you decide to purchase an Apple TV you may additionally need the Apple Digital AV Adapter to connect to a beamer.





Short-Haul Flight

3 05 2013

iOS Airways welcomes you on our flight from iPhone to iPad.
Please be sure your seat belts are fastened as our captain will go by the speed of light.
If you’re going to leave anything after touch down, please make sure it’s something we’d like to have.

The basic idea …

M2M or machine-to-machine communication, or technology that supports wired or wireless communication between devices. An example of M2M technology might be a set of devices that monitor traffic in a city and communicate the information to the city’s traffic lights in order to regulate the flow of traffic.
(http://searchnetworking.techtarget.com)

There are several ways to establish M2M for sending files from one device to another.

  • iOS device – Computer
    Using iTunes File Sharing or computer software like iExplorer which allows access to app specific folders on an iOS device
  • iOS device – Any device
    Send by E-Mail using Apple’s mail client
    A suitable app must be installed on the destination device to open attachments
  • Send to a cloud storage and share the file
    An app with the original file must support server access with built-in access for well-known providers WebDAV
  • iOS device to another own iOS device
    Transmit via iCloud
    Not all apps support iCloud at the time
    Access is only possible if both devices use the same Apple ID
  • iOS device NAS
    NAS (network attached storage) can be a computer’s hard disk or a hard disk or a USB storage attached to Apple’s Airport router or Time Capsule

Examples …

Here are some apps supporting direct transfer from one iOS device to another even if the destination device is running under a different Apple ID:

  • Tap Forms Database
    by Tap Zap Software, Inc.
    WiFi and Bluetooth
  • Safety P+V
    by 83Technology
    Bluetooth and WiFi
  • Safety Notes
    by 83Technology
    Bluetooth and WiFi
  • Phone Drive
    by 83Technology
    Bluetooth and WiFi
  • GoodReader
    by Goodiware
    WiFi
  • USB Disk Pro
    by Imesart
    Bluetooth and WiFi
  • Air Sharing
    by Avatron
    WiFi
  • Documents
    by Readdle
    WiFi
  • Instashare
    by Lukas Foldyna
    WiFi and Bluetooth

Transfer Methods …

  • WiFi and Bluetooth
    One device acts as a push server.
    Usually the destination device firstly has to accept the connection.
  • WebDAV support
    The iOS device acts as a WebDAV server for a computer.
    On the computer you access the device by entering an URL like
    http://10.0.1.3:8080 (IP address of the iOS device and Portnumber for communication).

Establishing connections …

This description is valid for Phone Drive by 83Technology and explains the different connection methods.

File transfer between Mac or PC

Connect your device to same Wi-Fi network with PC or Mac.
Tap “Sync” icon and select “Mac / PC File Transfer” button to find out your device address.
Web Browser
Enter the IP address on your computer web browser to access file transfer interface.

Mac OS X

Open Finder.
Select “Connect to Server” from the “Go” menu.
Enter the IP address and click “Connect”.
Note : If you do not enable Authentication just select “Guest” and click “Connect”.

Windows

From My Computer click on the “Map Network Drive” toolbar button.
Enter the IP address and click “Finish”.

File operations
Click on “Edit” button or swipe right and select the file you wish to perform operations.
Tap on “Menu view” icon to choose file operations. (Copy, Move, Zip, etc)

File sharing to another iPhone or iPad (Bluetooth / Wi-Fi)

Connect both devices to same Wi-Fi network or enable bluetooth.
On of the device tap on “Sync” icon and select “iOS to iOS File Sharing” button to search for nearest device.
Select the device name that found and accept connection for file transfer.

The UIs of assorted apps …

Rate the developer’s approaches to UIs for transferring files.

Instashare …

Instashare is an aptly named utility that lets you instantly share files between your iOS devices and your Mac and Windows PC (Beta).

Sharing is quite simple. Open the app on both iOS devices.
On a device all connectable other devices appear on the right side and the file list on the left side. You transfer files by Drag and Drop from left to right.

Instashare uses WiFi or Bluetooth. An Internet connection is not required.

In addition, you can transfer files of any file type from a Mac to your iDevice, and vice versa. Files received by a Mac appear on the Downloads folder, while those received by an iOS device can be found in Instashare’s local app folder.

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Public Wi-Fi …

Sometimes, when using public WiFi for transfering files, problems might occur when starting the file transfer or displaying the list of nearby devices. Instashare is using ports 1000 and higher but public WiFi’s (Coffee shops, Airports, …) may block these ports. Best practice to settle this problem is creating your own WiFi access point which in iOS terms is called ‘Personal Hotspot’.

Personal Hotspot
A Personal Hotspot is one of your iOS devices with a connection to the internet.
This device may act as an access point for an other device that means, the other device does not connect to the internet directly but via the device serving as Personal Hotspot.

Go to Settings – Personal Hotspot and turn the switch to ON.
With your other device you now can connect to the Personal Hotspot in the same way you would connect to any other WiFi network.

Summary …

Instashare is the winner when it comes to a rating of the UI.
Simplicity and intuitive handling is the key to a top rating.

Transfer is only supported for one file at a time.
Selection of multiple files should be offered in an upcoming feature update.

Note (2013-05-02)
At the time I wrote this article PDFs could not be transferred from other apps to Instashare by using the ‘Open in’ command. But this problem was settled by Lukas. So now it works. Thanks Lukas.

Summary …

I myself use the mentioned apps and assessed them all very critically.
Tablets are a new technology (first iPad came in 2007). While the hardware is already grown up the software is still embryonic. Apple’s App Store makes no difference between hobby and professional developers. So for customers it’s not easy to find out the right app. And there is a further problem: the reliability of a developer, the power to refine the product and the energy to survive in the fast growing market of rock-bottom goods.

Most of the users working on an iPad without it’s big brother perceive the desirable features an app should have. But it seems to me that most of the developers are not able to adjust to the market.

Please comment on this blog.
Both, positive and negative comments are welcome.





Syncing Bookmarks

27 03 2013

You can sync Safari Bookmarks on iOS devices with Safari bookmarks on a Windows PC.
This is pretty cool (to say it with the most frequently used words of Tim Cook) if you started reading on a website in the office and want to continue reading on a mobile device.

Requirements …

After installing iCloud Control Panel for Windows you have to enter the credentials for your Apple ID.
Set the checkbox for Safari.
Set the other checkboxes if you want to sync other data too.

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From now on bookmarks set on any of your iOS devices will be synced with Safari on your Windows PC. If you found an interesting link on your iPhone bookmark it. When you return to your PC you will find the same bookmark in the same folder of Safari on your PC and vv. That means if you bookmark on your PC you can continue reading this website on your iPad after leaving the office.

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Syncing is also possible with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer but not with two browsers and not with Google Chrome. For Google Chrome there is a an option called ‘Other Devices’ that loads up current and recent tabs on any other device you own that’s signed into Chrome. Opening a new tab can go either to this screen, your bookmarks (also synced), or frequently visited sites.

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Further notes on Google Chrome for iOS …

Chrome’s sharing options are: Google+, GMail, Mail, Facebook and Twitter.
There is no way to install extensions like ad-blockers, interface customizations and add-on services.
Web pages look identical to Safari, probably because they use the same engine to render them – a restriction Apple places on browsers for iOS.
Chrome cannot be set as the default browser – again Apple won’t let that happen.





Mac Back

25 03 2013

If you use iCloud contacts can be automatically synced across your other iOS devices. Go to Settings – iCloud – Contacts and switch the slider to ON.

For backing up your contacts you can use iCloud or iTunes backup or sync your contacts e.g. with Microsoft Outlook. The disadvantage of iCloud backups as well as iTunes backups is that you cannot restore contacts (or other app specific files) separately. Apple’s backup system allows only to restore the whole device.

So in some cases it’s useful to backup the contacts separately.
To do so you need an app and it would be nice to have some additional features like Deleting Duplicates. Duplicates may occur if syncing via iCloud failed for any reason.

Here is an app available at Apple’s App Store which makes you independent of iTunes and iCloud.

My Contacts Backup Pro
by GLOBILE BILISIM BILGISAYAR HIZMETLERI ILETISIM DANISMANLIK SANAYI TICARET LIMITED SIRKETI

Note
This was not written by a child when exploring iPad’s keyboard it’s just the company name of the developer. It’s like my last name when multiplying the number of characters by 5.33.

The app has a plain and simple user interface with meaningful help text.
I myself use it since more than one year without any problem.

Here are the features …

  • Backup contacts using vCard or CSV file format
  • Send backup file via E-Mail
  • Save backup file to Dropbox by linking the app with a Dropbox account
  • Restore the generated backup file from within an E-Mail by simply tapping on the attached backup file
  • Transfer of contacts between different iOS devices with different Apple IDs
  • Supported iTunes and WiFi File Sharing
  • Remove duplicate contacts
  • Delete all contacts in Apple’s address book
  • Set reminder to backup regularly

Here is the UI …

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Feature requests …

While writing this article I contacted the McBackup support and here are the answers.

Can vcf backup file used for transferring contacts from Android to iOS devices?

Yes it can. iOS and Android platforms support vCard (VCF) since it’s an universal contact file format : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VCard

But because of following reasons, transferring VCF files between these platforms are not always %100 compatible or successful:

* Now there are 3 different versions (2.1, 3.0 and 4.0) of vCard format and some properties (fields) are not supported on some versions. But all iOS devices Mail clients support vCard 3.0 and some of Android devices (especially) support vCard 2.1. But new Android devices support vCard 3.0

* Device manufacturers use some non-standard (private) fields in their Address Book and vCard supports these private extensions, with an “X-” prefix but transferring these fields between platforms are not always successful. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VCard#vCard_extensions

Is there any option to encrypt the backup file?

Not yet but we can add an option like this easily such as storing backup file in a pasword protected zip file. But this backup file can not be restored with Mail clients easily. Our solution is very easy and simple because you need any app or program to restore contacts from backup file. But encrypting a backup file needs extra operations and apss.

Managing duplicates …

If you just want to manage duplicates in contacts use the free app OneContact developed by Hasso Plattner Insitute and CAS Software, IT Systems Engineering at the University of Potsdam, Germany.
With this app you can manually resolve conflicts of nearly identical contacts and delete duplicates. The app investigates about 1000 contacts per minute.

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Thanks for reading my blog.








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