Tag Archives: ios

(Not) using the Apple Wireless Keyboard (Japanese layout) with iPad Air

I keep coming back to this issue of pairing and setting up an external foreign language external keyboard with the iPad Air. The problem is not that it outright rejects such a keyboard but that it depends on a particular app’s ability to recognise it or not.

Strangely enough Apple’s very own wireless keyboard for its own desktop computer does not work alway recognise the keyboard. Apple of course seems to know how to make its own software to work but that is lost on third party app makers so that buying apps which rely on keyboard input (productivity apps, for example) could mean your input method may have to forego keyboard hardware (or else rely on your memory of where certain punctuations are).

Of course if you are using the virtual keyboard this is not a problem. But that makes my purchase of an external keyboard (an Apple one at that) seem downright silly and a waste of money.

Still nothing beats a physical keyboard for the input experience which why we still want to buy one. The ability to be wireless is again part of the deal. The hardware – an iPad with its minimalistic external keyboard – is just so sexy.

So why is it that Apple can’t get the software or OS right, least of all its own?

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).