Now For Something A Bit Different – MOBiLE CLOTH

 

I wear glasses and shoot photos with a camera. Both have lenses that are prone to smudging. I also have lots of shiny gadgets. And I prefer glossy screen for the color saturation. That means fingerprints and lots of them. Especially on my touch screen devices. I am not a fan of the oily build up so I try to keep cleaning cloths scattered around my various work spaces and in my car for those times when enough is enough. The cloths I have been using generally are quite thin, even silky, and do a passable job of getting the smudges off, usually with some degree of elbow grease.

 

A few weeks back, John Hartigan of MOBiLE CLOTH contact me and asked if I would like to try his company’s cleaning cloth product. “Sure,” I replied, so he sent me a few examples of his wares, free of charge. I gave one to my attorney – smartphone-toting husband and kept a couple for myself. They come in two sizes, the Nano (a 4″ by 4″ cloth) and the Classic (a 9″ by 9″ cloth). The cloths have a thicker, almost chenille-like feel from the nubby texture, and an approximate 1/4″ binding. They are quite soft as well. Apparently, the nub design comes from weaving  extremely thin fibers. The pitch is that the nubs pull or suction away the grime, oils and germs more effectively than a flat cloth. I can attest to that. I could pull most of the prints off my iPhone with a single swipe, although the perfectionist in me added a few more passes to ensure cleanliness. No water or cleaning solution is necessary, which is a good thing since most manufacturers recommend against using solutions on these delicate screens.

 

I have been using the wipes for a few weeks and they have been holding up well. I haven’t yet had to wash them but apparently they are washable, as long as you don’t use an iron, bleach or a fabric softener. Instead, use warm water in your machine or via hand washing and don’t wash them with cotton or your cloth will become a lint magnet. My only question on this product is the choice of white background, which invariably will require more frequent cleanings. Hopefully the cloth can stand the test of more frequent washings.

 

 

I find their prices quite reasonable. If you are interested in purchasing for yourself, they offer several gift pack options, starting with two packs of either the classic or nano for $6.99. The price per cloth goes down from there, depending on the number you purchase. Shipping is free over $17 so buy a couple of packs – starting with the four pack sizes you get a free cloth. Strew them around your work spaces, store in your car or briefcase and you are all set for smudges. MOBiLE CLOTH also stands behind their product with a 100% money back guaranty within 30 days for any reason.

 

 

For an even cooler idea for your business, you can get them imprinted with your logo. The samples John sent me are imprinted and they do look quite nice even on the nubby surface. Promo orders start at 200 units for $399, which isn’t a bad price when you consider the various options. Plus, who doesn’t need a screen cleaner these days? I haven’t had the opportunity to see how the imprint holds up to multiple washings, so I can’t comment on that.

 

 

All in all, MOBiLE CLOTH seems a great product for its purpose and something a bit different if you are looking for a custom promotional product. My husband is enjoying his too. Thanks John for the nice cleaning cloths!

The Advocate's First, Official iPad Post

The Studio, a blog closely affiliated with all things shiny and tech-y, has been strangely silent on the impending approach of the allegedly game-changing and eminently touchable new toy from Apple, the iPad.

.

Maybe you noticed. Or not. Maybe you wondered why.  Or not.

Sure enough, it is shiny and cool. It comes from the world’s, number one, tech-toy design company, Apple. I am, admittedly, a fairly well-devoted iPhone fan. So why the silence?

Truth is, I have been silent on the iPad because I have been thinking deeply about it. In order for me to shell out money like that for any type of gadgetry, I have to see a legitimate need that will be filled. Call me a frugal Yankee, but I can’t stomach dismissing hundreds of dollars out of my bank account for no viable reason other than to don an early adopter badge. I also have a fairly rigid rule: no purchasing Version 1.0 of anything – wait until Version 2.0, which hopefully has removed most kinks and installed the next wave of cool features.

As I said, I have been thinking. Wondering, in fact, whether the iPad really fills and important niche between laptop and iPhone for me. Fun is good, but there has to be utility for me to buy. I depend quite heavily on my iPhone and its 3G connection to compute while I am out and about. I also have a capable little netbook that can handle larger typing or more traditional computing tasks and isn’t too hard on my back. Finally, I have a big laptop that sits at home and provides me with a full-on desk-bound experience, sports extra screens, a large mic and a cute little Wacom Bamboo tablet for pen input.

Is there room for the iPad in this set-up? It helps to consider what the iPad is intended to offer. It is meant to serve as a souped-up, content consumption device. Like the iPhone, the iPad will let you access and download apps on the fly. Apps will be designed to take advantage of multi-touch and orientation adjustment, tricks that most eReaders and tablet computers may not be able to fully accommodate. Content, such as photos, eBooks, and documents, promise to show better on the iPad. There is no question that the visuals, particularly on the built-in apps, are vastly improved over the iPad’s diminutive cousin.

The iPad is to include iWork, a productivity suite aimed at encouraging more traditional computing tasks than one might voluntarily undertake on a phone. But the iPad is still hampered by that virtual keyboard, unless you shell out for the accessory. And, like the little guy, there is no multi-tasking, if that feature is important to you. Also, no camera. Do you care? I actually don’t, so much.

Bear in mind, the iPad battery is equally as unremovable as the iPhone battery. That has been a personal problem for me in the past. No GPS means no advanced mapping navigation. While I care some on the first point, I don’t really care much on the second.

And then there is this whole Flash thing. Initially considered a deadly failing, more and more companies are looking for ways around this limitation as the drop date approaches. Big players like the New York Times have switched to iPad-friendly HTML5, employing Brightcove’s platforms, which have been supporting HTML5 since 2008. It won’t take long for the majority of developers to employ means to end-run the Flash limitation. Probably less time than it took to get the App Store up, running and profitable.

But, again, why? Well, what if you stored all of your content in the cloud. Your images, your documents, your music, your videos. What if you could easily access that content via wi-fi or 3G at any time, on demand and from an always on machine with ten hours of battery life and a very readable screen? What if you could quickly pull and notate PDFs and send and receive them with ease? What if the machine was smaller and thinner than a legal pad? Sure it won’t fit in your pocket unless you are a kangaroo, but it definitely could fit a backpack or large purse.

Of course, the iPad’s utility will ultimately depends to a great degree on the premium you personally place on touching your content and viewing it up close and personal. The iPhone’s popularity definitely owes much to the tactile relationship between device and user. I imagine the iPad will take that relationship much further.  The iPad promises to be an iPhone +++ relationship.

Perhaps, the iPad will push us all closer to digital content and turbo-boost us further into digital life. Perhaps the iPad is intended to virtually erase the device’s footprint in that equation. Maybe removing the barrier between content and user is what the iPad really is all about.  I cannot comment personally on whether the iPad or some other touchscreen, tablet-like device is the one to push this change. But I can definitely see it coming. As an avid reader of content, a device scaled to dramatically improve my access and consumption can muscle a place in my arsenal.

Guess I answered my own question. As long as I depend upon on-line content for my work and enjoyment, the iPad may well fit a niche worth the price. More thoughts on this are certain to follow in the Studio, so stay tuned.

By the way, in a Twitter discussion yesterday, a few of us thought that perhaps iPad-related discussions should have their own hashtag. So we christened our tag #followtheipad. Feel free to use this tag and join the conversation with thoughts of your own on the supposed-game changer and confirmed news magnet!

Typing Class – iPhone Edition

Mechanical desktop typewriters, such as this U...
Image via Wikipedia

I learned how to type on a manual typewriter. You had to press those suckers to make an impression. It wasn’t haptic feedback, it was more like haptic bludgeoning.  Studio readers probably have an inkling or two about my feelings regarding typing on the iPhone. It’s like the anti-Smith Corona.

Enter this truly useful post from Art of the iPhone with some great typing tips for working your way around that sheet of glass that passes for a keyboard. Learn the ins and outs of quick edits with cut, copy and paste, typing in landscape (o.k., that’s a duh tip), sliding fingers for quick punctuation and numbers, typing accents, dashes and other special characters, quick-contractions, using auto-correction as an efficiency aid, avoiding auto-correction when you don’t want it, dropping the .com, changing keyboard settings, and shaking to undo your last action and enabling emoji (those cute little icons and smileys in messages).

And if you really get frustrated with the keyboard, just give it up and check out Art of the iPhone’s helpful tips on voice control commands.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]