Solution to problem with Japanese input in Apple Pages

Equipment used in this problem: iPad Air, Apple wireless keyboard (MC184J/B), Apple Pages app (2.2.1).

This problem occurs when you are using an external keyboard like Apple’s wireless keyboard on an iPad to input Japanese text into Apple’s Pages.

When zoomed at greater than the width of the entire page text alternatives for your input is off the left side of your page as in the image below. This makes it difficult to select which input alternative you want.

keyboard only

To work around this bring up the virtual keyboard. The alternatives are then displayed at the top of this. You lose a lot of screen space but at least it works.

virtual keyboard

Not sure why Apple has not noticed this problem before or even fixed it (where do customers go to make complaints and suggestions?).

Skitch – Quick Review

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Have you ever wanted to annotate an image to highlight something important and had to resort to low-tech techniques like using the default Paint program in Windows? Are you looking for a better alternative? Look no further. Skitch is the quick and easy way to add annotation to your images.

Overview
Skitch, by Evernote, is a free app (iOS and Android) and software (Windows and Mac) to annotate images or PDF files. You can select import images from your camera roll, snap a photo, digital maps, webpage, draw a simple diagram or PDF (purchase required) directly in the app.

You can add mosaic, various arrows, emoticon arrows, draw, add shapes and text with this tool. There are eight colours (black, white, pink, blue, green, yellow, orange and red) five pen sizes in all of the tools bar mosaic. You can even undo or clear all annotations, and crop as well as rotate your images.

Sharing in Skitch is easy also. You can make an Evernote link and publish directly to Twitter and Facebook, send in Message and Mail. You can also share directly onto your iCloud enabled Calendar to schedule as a meeting diagram.

There are various options for saving your image as well. You can do this by saving to Evernote (obviously), save to clipboard and also to your camera roll. You can also send directly via AirDrop, attach it to a contact or print via AirPrint.

And once you’re ready to save or send you can add a caption to your image.

Additional settings include linking to your Evernote account and choosing which calendar to attach to. You can also set Skitch to automatically resize your canvas, turn on quick markup in camera mode and copy to your camera roll after sharing. And if you are sending via email or SMS the Skitch promo text can be appended to the end of your message.

Quick Review
Skitch does pretty much what I need it to do specially for photo images. And it does it well – really well – even on the small iPhone screen. The design is intuitive with side swiping for your main tools.

However, more features would be welcome for annotating maps. Drawing paths and routes to take was not easy on the iPhone and had worked much better on the iPad with a stylus.

One main disappointment was that the mosaic tool is not available in the PDF markup purchase. I had specifically purchased it for this tool so that I can mosaic out students’ names for presentation on the projection screen or CALL monitors. Not only was that not written up clearly (I had to look hard to find the disclaimer) but that it seems not to be diffcult to include. Considering the iOS purchase was $2 USD it wasn’t such a big deal but still it was a disappointment.

Summary
Still I am happy with this app. The software version, compared to the app version, is a bit slow and heavy like all software on traditional computers. It is handy to have especially on web-connected devices but for me it is still a low-usage app requiring preparation rather than being a tool to be used in class on the fly where I do most of my editing. And the PDF markup feature may not be worth the $2 USD pricetag since I can do most of my same annotations on the free Adobe Reader app.

Note: This review pertains to the iOS app version only, not the Windows or MAC versions. The version used for this review was 3.2.1 (3940).

Zamurai Mobile Whiteboard – Short Review

Back in the 1990s I was fascinated with electronic whiteboards. These things work like ordinary whiteboards on which you would write then press a button to print the content of the whiteboard for copying and distribution. It was better than taking a photograph, print or nowadays digital. The problem back then and still now is the prohibitive cost and that of the single format in the form of a physically printed page.

Now fast forward to 2014.

45NxYn2jsJgYg0yJNsFjOw-Zamurai_Logo_HorizontalZamurai Mobile Whiteboard is an app for the Apple iPad that works like a whiteboard for projectors. You simply write, draw or attach images to your tablet whiteboard space and it shows up on the big screen during meetings or in lectures. It is better than a whiteboard – electronic or otherwise – because you don’t need to physically be at the board. The physical act of drawing and writing is translated on to gestures you make on a tablet surface. It will also automatically be saved on your device as a note, or to be used in future meetings or lectures, or else can be saved for distribution later in various useful formats. Finally you can supplement it with image icons and digital images to make electronic whiteboarding just like old fashion displaying of photos and pictures.

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Apple Wireless Keyboard and iPad Air – Hands-on test

The other day I made friends with someone who had a similar approach to technology as me. He had bought an Apple wireless keyboard to go with his iPad.

As logic would dictate genuine Apple products should work seamlessly with their other products. But this was not the case.

Soon after I bought my keyboard I immediately found problems with compatibility. Not so much that it didn’t connect with the iPad but rather some apps just didn’t recognize the keyboard as Japanese layout (which is the country I bought the keyboard in). That really isn’t the problem as I also require Japanese. But not being to find characters because your iPad thinks you are using an English keyboard is really really annoying.

Thinking that this was an issue with the keyboard and Apple’s manufacturing error I went online to find a solution but to no avail. I gave up and continued to rubbish Apple for its lack of language compatibility.

But as I said, I made friends with this guy who had a similar to mine and asked him about whether he had this problem or not.

“No,” was his answer.

So this got me thinking: perhaps the problem isn’t with the keyboard but with specific apps.

So I went home and began testing all my apps to see which worked with keyboard and which didn’t. And these were the results.

Text-input-driven apps that didn’t work with the keyboard:
Gmail
Instagram
Facebook
Moleskine
Simplemind (mindmapping)
Blogger
Twitter

Text-input-driven apps that worked with the keyboard:
ALL Apple made apps (including Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Notes and Calendar)
WordPress
Tumblr
My Wonderful Days (journal)

Of all the apps listed Gmail and Simplemind are perhaps the most missed. It literally means I cannot write emails or produce mindmaps effectively with the keyboard hardware. The point of a keyboard is to make typing easier, as an alternative to the virtual keyboard. But since most of my work is done on the Apple apps and the WordPress app not all is lost.

And Apple are not the ones to blame for this since this seems to be a problem on the individual app makers’ part. So now I wish there is a list of apps out there that would tell me which apps are not compatible with Japanese keyboards. This would save me from buying unusable apps.

Man vs. X … The language of literature

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Grant Snider has come up with another great comic summary of life. This time his attention is turned to literature and the concept of conflict within it at different stages of Western culture. Check out more of his work here.