Twenty-First Century Blue Book

 

Might sound a bit like an oxymoron, but it's not. Thanks to Bob Ambrogi's LawSites, I learned the the Uniform System of Citation, a/k/a the Blue Book, which has been haunting law students (mostly) since 1926, is going mobile-digital. Instead of carrying that dogeared, spiral bound little monster in your briefcase, you can now tote it on your iPad. You can get your “copy” via the rulebook application for iPhone and iPad. Rulebook allows you to purchase and download federal and state rules and now the Blue Book. Like its web subscription form that has been around since 2008, you can do some trick you can't with the paper version, like click on hyperlinks, do full text searches and such.

 

Such convenience does not come cheap. In fact, purchasing the Blue Book through rulebook costs more than purchasing the paper or subscribing to the web version. But, for $39.99, you can have your trusty citation companion with you wherever you go and you won't suffer torn pages.

 

According to Bob, rulebook is running a special on Wednesday, August 22 for existing users of the Rulebook app – you can download the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, Bankruptcy Procedure, Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure and Evidence at no charge. This will save you $10 off the normal price, which is nice. Thanks Bob for the tip

 

What's New, Google? Drive & Chrome for iOS

 

Earlier today, a couple of colleagues and I were talking about what’s new in tech this week. I didn’t even hesitate – for me, the big news is Google Chrome and Google Drive for iOS. Not surprisingly, the news is full of Google right now with the Google I/O in full swing. While Chrome for Android is now officially out of beta as well, which is very cool, Apple device users have had to wait to leverage Chrome on their mobile devices.

 

So, what can you expect from the free apps? Chrome is, of course, Google’s agile browser. Drive is Google’s answer to Dropbox. Chrome for iOS, while slower than Safari because of some technical advantages offered to Apple’s own browser, Safari, still syncs bookmarks, passwords and your history pages, has unlimited tabs, offers incognito mode, it comes with Omnibox and Google Voice Search. In short, you can access your saved stuff – bookmarks and pages – from you desktop to your mobile. If you are a diehard Chrome fan, you will love it. If not, then it might not sway you from Safari, with the superior speed and native integration.

 

Like the Chrome for iOS, which is missing some of the features of the Android counterpart (what do you want? Android is a Google property), the Drive app is also less full figured than the Android version. You can’t edit documents or upload. You do get a much better interface than the web, and you can leverage the awesome image search Drive offers via Google Goggles. And, you can access files,  share with others, preview or open files with other applications and download the files for offline availability.

 

While there are some features left desired, hopefully we are dealing with Version 1.0 here and Version 2.0 will pick up the slack. In the meantime, it is far better to have them than to want them, so I see these infant apps as a good first step. And, just to throw something else in there, Google Docs is now offering offline editing of Google’s own docs – long awaited and highly anticipated. Thanks Google.

 

Google Chrome vid:

The Advocate Speaks: "What's On My iPad"

 

I subscribe to the most excellent iPad-centric blog iPad Insight and have been enjoying their series called “What’s On My iPad.” The posts are interviews with a wide variety of iPad users and get into some details on how these people use their iPad and their favorite apps and such. iPad Insights is authored by Patrick Jordan, a friend of mine from Friendfeed and Google+. So, the other day, when Patrick asked if I would agree to participate as an interviewee, I jumped at the great opportunity.

 

If you would like to see “What’s On My iPad”, hit the jump here to see the post. If you want to get great iPad-related information, you might want to subscribe to this great blog. And big thanks Patrick for the fun.

 

Sharepoint on the iPad? Yes, with Harmon.ie

 

We use Sharepoint at my company. And, we’re not alone. Better than 78% of corporate America uses Sharepoint, the web application platform developed by Microsoft that handles web content management, document management, collaboration, document management and report creation. It feels a bit like an internal enterprise social network, with not so much of the social elements, but heavy on the information sharing.

 

When more  than three-quarters of corporate America uses Sharepoint and about 94 percent of the Fortune 500 are either testing or deploying the iPad in business, it makes some sense to marry the two. Harmon.ie has done just that – the app makes Sharepoint accessible on the iPad via HTML5, making it possible for users to enjoy the same SharePoint experience on the  iPad as on a desktop.

 

View the Sharepoint site on your iPad, get real-time updates, access and share information with colleagues while on the go, and access Microsoft Office Online.

 

There are three pricing tiers: Free, Premium and Enterprise. The biggest difference between Free and Premium is the ability to upload and edit documents and manage email. Check out the comparison chart here. Premium costs $19.99; Harmon.ie Enterprise edition for the iPad is coming soon.

 

It is a great, business and iPad-friendly addition to your mobile Microsoft experience. Check out the screenshots below for more details on what you can expect from Harmon.ie mobile.

 

 

 

Make Your New iPad Background POP

 

Got a new iPad with a gorgeous retina display and want to make that background sing like Pavarotti? Check out these gorgeous retina-friendly iPad backgrounds over at Beautiful Pixels. These are some of the prettiest I have seen yet. I have copied a couple of them below, but you really need to head over their and click the links they provide for full range.

 

Bjango by Marc Edwards

 

Lucas Schvindt

 

Michael Toye

Some Minor, But Welcome, Changes in iOS 5.1

 

Along with the shiny new iPad hardware, Apple has released the newest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 5.1, which is compatible with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch 3rd Generation, iPod touch 4th gen, iPad, iPad 2, and “new iPad.” I got prompted to update the software last night. If you haven’t seen this yet, go into Settings > General > Software Update and get it for yourself (back up your device first). While the only major benefit to 5.1 discussed in the keynote was Siri in Japan, there are a few additional touches in the system that improve the iDevice experience.

 

So what do you get? First, you can now delete photos from the Photo Stream on any iOS 5.1. device. The deletions will only appear effective on devices running iOS 5.1. Additionally, you will only be able to delete photos uploaded to the photo stream on a 5.1 equipped device, so those older photos will remain for 30 more days. You can clear out the entire Photo Stream on icloud.com.

 

Next, Apple’s has improved the quick camera access via the home screen – no longer will you have to double tap the home button to bring up the camera button. Now the camera button will appear on the bottom right corner of the home screen: simply slide the camera button up to access the camera and slide it back down when done.

 

Next, iTunes Match has been improved. You can get Genius Playlists and Mixes now. Settings now includes a “use cellular data” option so that you can shut off streaming when away from wifi. Along with the  iTunes 10.6 update that came this week, users are reporting smoother, less bumpy playback so it appears the new OS fixes some bugs.

 

The new OS also adds greater granularity to the location notifications – check Settings > Location Services, where the new notifications are described. The notifications will show which apps are using what types of services.

 

iOS 5.1 comes with improvements to the iPad camera and facial recognition as well. Playback speed and skip back controls are now available in iPad podcast player. And, a curious “4G” indicator is now showing up on iPhone 4S – no, this doesn’t mean that your iPhone is now 4G capable. It appears to now detect when you are in a HSPA+ network. The new iPad will show an LTE indicator when it is actually in an LTE network.

 

That’s about the size of it. While not earth shattering, certainly better than the old version so its worth updating.

iPad 3, iPad HD, New iPad – Take Your Pick

20120308-082658.jpg

Yesterday came and went and the rumors have moved into the recycle bin as the reality sets in: the new iPad is here! With all the fanfare and hoopla that accompanies any Apple product launch, there necessarily comes the excited cheers of approval mixed with the bitter tears of disappointment. I marvel at the range of emotions an Apple launch invariably brings. But that is not what I really want to talk about here. I would rather talk about specs.

So, what is the iPad 3 – HD – New all about? Mostly processing muscle and display resolution. A lot of both. The new tablet does indeed support a retina display like its little brother iPhone 4S, with a whopping 2048 x 1536 pixels, 264 pixels per inch, for a grand total of 3.1 million tiny points of light. That’s a whole lot for a 9 inch screen. Four times the pixels of the iPad 2, and about a million more than your standard HDTV. The new screen should appear mostly pixel free with a great deal more color saturation. And, to run this visual marvel, the tablet is powered by dual core processor with quad core graphics capabilities – for you geeks, its an A5X chip. So, its going to run fast, and look great doing it.

What else is new? An iSight camera on the front and a better rear camera, along the design lines of the iPhone 4S’ camera (backside illumination, 5-element lens, hybrid IR filter), albeit with a lower resolution sensor at 5 MP. It will shoot 1080p video, though, which should look great in playback on that awesome screen.

With similar battery life and slightly thicker and heavier body, it is virtually indistinguishable to the eye from the iPad 2.

And that’s it for hardware.

UPDATE: I just learned the new iPad also employs the new Bluetooth 4.0 technology, which means it is Bluetooth Smart Ready – the first tablet to have this. What this means is crazy-long battery life for accessories like keyboards and headsets, and better functionality with the new health monitoring gadgets that are looking to bond with iPad apps.

Of course, Apple has to give a bit on the software too – iOS 5.1 is available right now for all your iDevices and will come preloaded on the iPad 3. While Siri is not built into this iPad (sadly enough), it does come with the ability to take dictation via a mic button on the keyboard. It will also be able to access the data net at quad core LTE 4G speeds – as soon as the carrier nets catch up. The tech does actually offer greater download and upload speeds, as the demos showed during the keynote yesterday. So, the new iPad will be faster on the Web as well. And, it can even act as a 4G hotspot, to serve as liaison between your other devices and the Web.

Of course, Apple’s proprietary apps are being updated to take advantage of the new speeds and resolution. Look for updates to iWork, iMovie and Garageband. With the feature set in these apps and the specs of the tablet, you have to take very seriously the iPad as content creation tool now. Take, for example, the new iPhoto app for the new iPad – you will be able to leverage that awesome touch interface to work some serious editing magic on your pics – up to 19 megapixels in size, as well as share and combine photos into metadata-laden journals. iTunes in the Cloud will now allow seamless streaming of purchased movies to all iDevices, which again should look wholly awesome on the new iPad.

The new iPad will hit the same price points as the iPad 2, which will be dropped $100. That’s good news – you can now get a very VERY nice tablet from Apple for $399 starting, and the new features at the same old price.

Of course, Web pundits are all over the map on the release, some bemoaning the label “New iPad”, others left wishing for more. Complaints and praise abound. But the bottom line is that Apple is still the tablet maker of choice and the iPad continues to set the standard that everyone else is trying to approach.

What do the new features mean for business users? Obviously, faster speeds and connectivity mean more efficient computing. For those who are not so fond of the on-screen keyboard, dictation mode will be a nice add. Improvements to iWork should also assist on the work front. If your biz is more artistically oriented, the new iMovie and Garageband, as well as new third party apps from developers such as Autodesk with their awesome Sketchbook app, will move the iPad further away from toy and further towards serious tool for creating music, movies and art.

Should you buy it? Well, I have developed a new philosophy with Apple’s mobile devices – skip a generation and get at least a couple of years use out of each one. Apple is not wildly innovating between models, offering only modest rather than life-changing improvements with each new release. Not that these improvements aren’t great and desirable, but they do not necessarily compel me to plunk down hundreds every time a new Apple device is unveiled. So, if you already have an iPad 2, maybe the new iPad isn’t so attractive, unless you can’t live without that fantastic display.

I currently use the original iPad. I still love it – it is a solid device that performs great and offers me tons of use. I take it with me instead of my laptop on business trips as I have enabled enough work arounds on it to meet pretty much every need I have. But, I will be buying a new iPad, having skipped the iPad 2’s cameras and software improvements, as the leap in functionality is much bigger between the original and the new, justifying the expense. I already know I will use the device, something I wasn’t sure of when I purchased the original iPad. And my son can’t wait until I hand down the original to him, so it is win-win-win all around for me.

For the record, I am going with the 32 GB, 4G model, which mirrors my original iPad’s specs. And, for the record, I had zero problem pre-ordering on Apple’s site, which apparently hasn’t been a universal experience. After I get my hands on it, I will check back here with my actual usage impressions and let you know whether it was worth the hype and the change. I am guessing, though, that I won’t be disappointed.

 

Digitizing Your Paper Manuals

Trying to go paperless here. While I can definitely see the prize to be won, I am finding the process quite cumbersome. It has been made more difficult by the unanticipated rupture of a main water line and unwanted intrusion of a great deal of water into my basement office where Scan Central previously was located. While I struggle with insurance adjusters (nothing like being on the other side of the fence), my scanning project has hit “hold” status.

So, I of course was attracted to an article over at Apartment Therapy about finding and saving product manuals into the iPad-friendly iBooks format. This is a very cool process that doesn’t require a scanner.

If you have ever lost a manual and needed to recover it, you probably are familiar with the process of searching for the manual online in your favorite search engine of choice. For the most part, I have been successful in finding the manuals I have needed. Expand that effort to include all manuals you may someday need (take a look at that bursting at the seams paper manual file for a decent start on your list). Search, find and download. Then toss the paper.

Open iTunes, hit the File Menu and select Add To Library. Find the documents you have downloaded and select them. Grab the iPad and connect it – make sure you have books selected to sync and check all those manuals you captured. After they hit the iPad, slot them all into a Collection / Category within iBooks on the iPad itself. After you organize within iBooks, sync again and that organization will transfer back into iTunes for easy filing and reference. Because they are already saved on the desktop, you need not keep them all in iBooks, but they are there and available if you want to shift them on or off the iPad for ease of use. And, because I am a search-head, digitizing this way makes it easy to jump right to the section you want with a keyword and a click.

Voila! Instant manual order. Thanks, Apartment Therapy.

Mobile Blogging Battle: Android or iOS

Little did you know it but my last two posts, Slapping Microsoft Word Into Shape and Evernote Clearly Improves Reading Experience across Platforms, Devices, were part of a grand experiment – a test of mobile blogging experience on my two smartphone, one iOS and one Android. I used the free WordPress app for this self-hosted WordPress blog for both posts. Slapping was written on my iPhone and Evernote was written on my Android powered LG. I started from scratch – finding my topics through my mobile reader program on the respective device, capturing images, and then writing and publishing the posts to see if there was a clear winner in the user experience area. And what did this mad scientist discover?

 

While I preferred the WordPress UI on the Android phone, the experience overall on the iPhone was smoother. This was mostly due to some glitchy performance on the Android phone, which I am generally accustomed to, but it did make the process longer and a bit more difficult. I find it easier to navigate in mobile Safari than I do on mobile Google. Image capture is simpler on the iPhone. But the WordPress Android app is a superior product: the post text and layout is easier to read and you can even access your WordPress Dashboard within the app – you can’t do that in the iOS app, and can only get there via the browser.

 

I have gotten use to typing on these tiny touch screens, so that aspect of the process isn’t a bother. However I have to add that the keyboard on the Android is not nearly as elegant as the iPhone’s keyboard – the Android feels pretty much like you are bludgeoning the language, relying heavily on a sketchy spell checker to fix the ham-handed errors.

 

But, when it is all said and done, the latest versions of these mobile apps are a huge improvement over my early mobile blogging experiences from two or more years ago. I am happy to report that mobile blogging is not the agonizing experience it used to be and is more than doable now, making posting one more time killing option while waiting for an oil change or Motion call. That is, if you can tear yourself away from Angry Birds. And WordPress isn’t your only option. Tumblr, Posterous, and Blogger all have their own mobile applications.

 

And, because I can, this blog post is being drafted on my iPad using the very robust cross platform app, Blogsy. Now. Go forth and write!

 

Remarks: An iOS PDF Mark-up App With Something Different

I usually save the mobile apps for my Mobile App of The Day blog, but this one seems particularly useful for attorneys and worth a mention here in the Studio. Remarks is a new PDF app designed for the iPad from the fine folks at Readdle who know a thing or two about annotation and PDFs on the mobile screen. It is a fully featured PDF annotating application, with a variety of tools to fine-tune your marks. You can highlight, underline, strikeout text, draw upon the documents – that means pretty much anything you can do with the document on paper. But what sets Remarks apart from other apps, like another fav of mine iAnnotate and the like, is the extremely simple view / interface. It drops the complex layers and just gives you the WYSIWYG experience. Combine that with an able note-taking interface and it seems Remarks might be a replacement for more than few apps on your iPad. Notes become PDFs, which can then be easily viewed, printed and edited on your computer. Share notes with others for their perusal and comments. From the iTunes description, here are a list of features:

★ Make notes

Write everything you think is important on a meeting, lecture or presentation.
★ Sketch new ideas
Draw the plan to take over the world. Maybe even two, just in case.

★ Type in text notes
Prefer typing text to handwriting? We have a tool for that.

★ Annotate PDFs
Mark important things in books, journals or documents that you need to review.

★ Draw with your finger
Use it to make remarks in scanned books or simply draw something beautiful.

★ Co-edit notes with friends
You can edit notes made by any other Remarks user and vice versa.

What else Remarks lets you do:

✓ Add Notes Quickly
Only one tap is needed to start new a note, no matter where in the application are you located at the moment.

✓ Exchange documents with your computer
Use a USB cable and iTunes File Sharing to transfer notes and PDFs between your iPad and your computer.

✓ Edit your notes on the Mac or PC
You can make changes into your notes using any PDF editing application like Preview on the Mac or Adobe Reader on the PC

✓ Annotate Email Attachments
Open PDF attachments directly from the Mail app to annotate them.

✓ Share Notes With Your Friends
Email your notes to any other person with Remarks and they will be able to edit it like their own.

✓ Import PDFs from Dropbox, Box.Net, Safari and other applications.
Use “Open In” to transfer documents for note-taking or annotation from any popular cloud storage or iPad app.

 

You can get Remarks for $4.99 in the app store – a small price to pay if it becomes your favorite note-taking, PDF annotating, document collaboration app on the go.