Monday, December 05, 2011

4 iPad2 Tips and Tricks

It's been nearly a year since I won my iPad2 at Web 2.0, and I have to say, it's been quite a ride. The timing on this was true "cyber karma," so to speak, as the video card on my Mac had  fizzled after 6 years, and I jumped at the iPad as a possible replacement for a full computer.

That being said, I have found I can perform nearly every task I did before on a full computer, with some exceptions I'll go into in a future post. In a nutshell,  blogging like I am right now using Blogsy works well. as My enews program, Constant Contact, has only a limited app which allows you to update your contact list, but has no layout features...maybe this will be forthcoming.  

So, each day I'm learning more and more about the iPad's functions and capabilities. Here are a few tips In the meantime, particularly in light of the recent IOS5 upgrade.

1. Loss of sound after Cloud upgrade.
You may find that after updating your iPad to the Cloud (IOS5), you have lost your sound functionality-- specifically the alerts and ringtones you had set up for sent email, alerts, etc.  In other words, it's as if you have your system set up on Mute, even though it's Unmuted. Yipes. I Googled this little problem and found some other folks had experienced it as well, although there was no universal solution cited anywhere. So, I kept checking my Settings under Sound to determine what the problem was, and finally over the weekend brought my iPad to a nearby Apple store, where two assistants on the floor took a look, and also were stumped. They did the right thing, however, and set up an appointment right away at the Genius bar, where I waited under a minute for them to call my name, even amidst early holiday frenzy at the mall. Yes! 

So here's the fix. Double click on the Home button, and a new menu opens up at the bottom of your screen that shows all the applications you've used recently, as shown in this screenshot. Voila! A hidden menu. If you scroll all the way to the left, you'll find an additional volume control icon. Just go ahead and unmute it by clicking on it, and you're good to go. With this menu, you can also:
*Lock the screen orientation
*Adjust the screen brightness
*Adjust the volume
*Control your music playback

2. Video playback sticks and buffer is slow.
We all know that Flash isn't an option for viewing video on the iPad, so that mainly leaves YouTube as the platform of choice. If you find the video playback sluggish, chances are it has more to do with your internet setup then any hardware problem. If you have a slower DSL connection, your videos won't  play back smoothly.

Try This. Try playing videos in different locations and see if they run better. An Apple store is a great testing environment, since the Wifi is optimized. That way at least you can confirm that it's a connection issue.  There's also a cool app you can download for free called, pictured in the screenshot above, that automatically runs a diagnostic on your connection speed. My results ended up nowhere near the optimal red range, (under 3M is not great), so I have my work cut out for me trying to maximize my wifi.  (See cool Yahoo article, "How to Extend Your Wifi Range.")  The results, by the way, are measured in "MBPS," or Megabits Per Second.

3. Screen attracts smudges and fingerprints.
There isn't much you can do to avoid the inevitable screen smudges, but here are a few suggestions.
Try this. I picked up a microfiber, lint- free cloth from Best Buy for about $7, and it works well. Don't use any water, just rub the dry cloth over the screen. Also, here is how Apple suggests cleaning the iPad:
  • unplug all cables and disconnect the iPad from any accessories or docks
  • Turn off the iPad by holding the Sleep/Wake button and sliding the onscreen slider off
  • Use a soft, slightly damp cloth or a cleaning solution like SQUEEGiT but be sure to not allow moisture in any openings in the iPad
  • DO NOT use window cleaners. These can damage the oleophobic coating on the iPad screen and reduce the functionality of the iPad over time
  • Wipe the iPad in a circular motion and be sure that no sand, dirt, or dust is on the cloth used to whip the screen

The iPad Screen coating is designed to repel oil, which is why fingerprints show up so quickly on the screen. You can easily wipe them off with the lint-free cloth and have the iPad screen looking new and clean again.

4. Focus, compose, and edit photos.

The IOS5 upgrade features some handy photo applications that aren't offered in the earlier version. If you want to focus, edit, and crop photos,

Here in these wedding photos of myself and Mr. P, the original photo is on the bottom, while the enhanced version is on top. To me, the enhanced version just looks more pink in tone, but I don't see any increased quality. (Both versions, however, make me hungry for cake.)

Try this. When taking a photo, select Options on the top of the screen, and you can enable the Grid feature, which helps you align the image. The grid lines won't appear in the photo. You can also Zoom in or out by using the slider bar at the bottom of the screen, which you activate by pinching two fingers together on the screen. Focus by pressing lightly on the screen on the srea you want to focus. After you take the photo, click on Edit and you can crop, rotate, enhance, and red eye control the image. Is the camera on the iPad2 anything great? Not really. I find that outdoor shots are decent, while indoors they tend to be grainy. However, I do like the convenience of being able to email photos right away, as well as Tweet them and create a slideshow, although why there is no upload to Facebook feature is a little odd. 

So, these are just a few tips and tricks, but I'm sure there are lots more. I'll be covering some of my favorite apps soon, as well as more adventures blogging on the iPad! What tips do you have to share, and what are your favorite Apps? Did you have any post IOS5 issues?

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