Civic Involvement



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iOS 7

Sep 24th, 2013 by Atelier | 0

iOS 7 is a major upgrade of the mobile OS for iPhones and iPads.

As Apple always focus on providing a great user experience over support for older models, the introduction of iOS 7 leaves behind a few devices.

iOS can only be upgraded on the following devices

  • iPhone 4
  • iPhone 4S
  • iPhone 5
  • iPad 2
  • iPad 3rd Generation
  • iPad 4th Generation
  • iPad Mini
  • iPod Touch 5th Generation

For the early adopters of the iPad, sorry but it’s time to upgrade. I do have the first version of the iPad and it’s running the most up to date iOS 5.1.1.  It’s still in daily use although it feels a bit sluggish compared to my iPhone 5 running iOS 6.

iPhone 4 users can upgrade to the latest iOS 7 but I’m going to leave my old iPhone 4 on iOS 6. Some people have reported that the user interface is a bit slow.

The iOS 6 is still quite good with notification center over the iOS 5. However closing apps is a chore as you have to hold the icon down for a few seconds to close it. Other than that, I would choose to have the speed over the extra features of iOS 7 on the older iPhone 4.

Although some of the features of the iPhone 5C are nice like the much improved camera, like most people who are locked in a two year mobile contract, I can’t upgrade to the latest.

Updating to iOS 7 feels like getting a new phone and will tide me over till the iPhone 6 is out. If you have the iPhone 4S or 5, do make the upgrade.

The new icons and animation is very beautiful and smooth. I found it fast and it does not feel sluggish on the iPhone 5.

Upgrade Process

1. Update your iTunes to the latest version

2. Backup and sync your iPhone

3. Ensure that purchases done on iPhone are transferred.

4. Download and update to iOS 7 from iTunes.

The iOS 7 is a hefty download at more than 700mb depending on the device. As such, I would recommend updating while connected to the computer instead of over the air.

Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit

Mar 29th, 2012 by Atelier | 0

The Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit or commonly referred to as the CCK for short in online forums consists of two dongles. It was launched shortly after the 1st iPad was introduced by Steve Jobs in 2010. It originally retailed for USD 29.

The box is quite small and as it was just purchased shortly after the iPad 3 or “new iPad” as officially named by Apple was launched, the box still lists this product as compatible with iPad 1 and iPad 2. However, the iPad Camera Connection Kit does work with the iPad 3.

Inside the box are the two dongles, instructions and a warranty booklet. One dongle has a USB port for connecting to cameras through a USB cable. The other dongle accepts SD memory cards otherwise known as Secured Digital. It is one of the most commonly used type of memory cards in digital cameras.

However, do note that although it supports the higher capacity SDHC (Secured Digital High Capacity) standard, it does not work with the latest SDXC memory cards. If your memory card is 32 gb or less than it should be up to SDHC. Once the capacity is more than 32 gb it will not work with the iPad Camera Connection Kit.

So why would anyone buy this product? Well, the iPad Camera Connection Kit means traveling with less weight on short holidays. Instead of lugging around a laptop weighing around 3kg excluding the other accessories like the power supply, all that is needed is an iPad and the SD card dongle.

Some would say there are lighter notebooks like the MacBook Air which for the 13 inch models even comes built in with an SD card reader reducing the need for additional cables or adaptors which may be easily lost. It is not that much heavier at 1.35 kg but is a lot more powerful and capable than the iPad. But it also runs on flash memory which comes with only 128gb as standard for the base 13 inch model. Sure it has double the storage of a 64gb iPad but it’s also double the weight and bigger in size. If you consider the MacBook Air 11 inch, it also requires an additional USB SD card reader and comes with only 64gb of storage for the base model.

Just for interest, the iPad Camera Connection Kit originally allowed users to plug in many external USB devices such as keyboards and microphones although it was all unofficial and not supported by Apple. It also allowed external drives for storage through jailbreaking the device.  They stopped all this from happening with the introduction of iOS 4.2 by limiting the power output to work with high power devices.

Overall I think it’s a useful accessory for short trips to backup photos. The process is quite seamless as the photo app launches once the dongle is plugged in with the SD card. There is the ability to import all photos or tap to select specific photos to import.

Apple AA Battery Charger

Oct 2nd, 2011 by Atelier | 0

What’s in the box?

  • Charger for two AA size batteries.
  • Appropriate AC plug for the country where the charger was purchased.
  • Six 1.2v 1900mAh rechargeable NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) AA size batteries.
  • Quick start user guide.
  • Warranty information.

According to the user guide, the charger requires 5 hours to fully charge a pair of AA batteries. There is a small LED light at the top of the charger in amber when charging which turns Green when fully charged much like the charger for Apple portables such as the iBooks, PowerBooks, MacBooks and MacBook Pros.

The light turns off automatically after 6 hours to conserve energy. If it flashes in amber when batteries are inserted, it could mean an unsupported battery type, faulty batteries or just not seated properly.

The AC plug is similar to those used for Apple portables and older iPod/ iPhone chargers. Thus this AA battery charger is compatible with the Apple World Travel Adapter kit making it easy for use during holidays abroad.

Most batteries come in packs of two or four but Apple chose to bundle six with the battery charger. Two went into a magic mouse while the next pair was used to power a magic trackpad. The last pair could be kept charged ready for use or for the newer apple wireless keyboards that use two batteries instead of three.

The batteries came fully charged and ready to use and should hold most of their charge for more than a year. It sounds similar to the Sanyo Eneloop batteries which I did consider buying except that the prices were similar to the Apple battery charger where I live.

I would love to buy more rechargeable batteries for use in other devices such as camera flash, torch lights and more but unfortunately Apple does not sell the AA rechargeable batteries on it’s own.



8 reasons to get an iPad instead of iPad 2

Jun 23rd, 2011 by Atelier | 0

Listed below are the 8 reasons I bought an iPad instead of iPad 2.

1. Same resolution and size of LCD screen.

2. Same memory and connectivity options except for new CDMA model.

3. 730g for iPad 3G vs 613g for iPad 2 with 3G. Difference of only 117g or 16% less.

4. iPad is 13.4mm thick vs iPad 2 at 8.8mm but still thinner than MacBook Air’s 17mm or difference of 1.42mm of the Samsung Galaxy Tab at 11.98mm.

5. iPad 2 may be thinner and lighter than the iPad but if you are getting your first tablet, the iPad 2 will also have a slimming effect on your wallet.

6. Sure it’s fun having the latest gadget but it’s a 2 week waiting time for online orders of ipad 2 while I can waltz into a shop to get the iPad immediately.

7. Apple has announced at WWDC 2011 that iOS 5 is supported by the iPad so there’s still support and updates for more features.

8. And the last reason that is more a post justification when a friend commented on my facebook page on my new iPad ‘that’s so 2010, iPad 3 is coming out soon’. The iPad is still great for reading, email, web surfing and more. Technology keeps improving so there’s no point holding out for the next model if the older model serves your needs. More cash in the pocket means I can upgrade to the iPad 3 next year if it’s really compelling.

That’s enough typing for now, back to browsing through the Flipboard app on the iPad.

Lisa OS & OS X Lion 10.7

Feb 25th, 2011 by Atelier | 2

In 1983, Apple released the Lisa computer system. It ran on it’s own operating system called the Lisa OS. Fast forward to 2011 and Apple is preparing OS X 10.7 Lion for release.

So what else is new in OS X Lion? Marketing materials tout a new feature called Resume that allows applications to resume as it were when you last closed it. Another feature is Auto Save which automatically saves your work solving those annoying situations where a power failure causes data loss on open files.

These features are actually available 28 years ago with Lisa OS. Pressing the power button does not turn off the electricity to the Lisa. It instead sends a signal to the Lisa OS to save and close all applications and position of the desktop before going into a low power mode much like sleep mode on modern day Macs. Turning the computer on again, users are greeted with the same screen just as where they had left it.

It’s interesting how far technology has seemingly progressed. Monochrome screen to millions of colours, megahertz to gigahertz, kilobytes to terabytes and yet fuctionality remains largely unchanged.

Dell 2709w 27 inch LCD Monitor

Nov 22nd, 2010 by Atelier | 0

After getting  a new 2010 unibody Mac Mini Server, it was time to look for an LCD monitor.

Having a matching Apple LED or Cinema Display would have been nice. The 24inch LED display has been discontinued as of 26th July 2010 and is available while stocks last. So has the monstor 30inch Cinema Display. Apple currently only offers a 27in LED display.

Due to a limited budget with the purchase of the Mac Mini, a Dell LCD monitor was considered. The are many rave reviews of the Ultrasharp U2410 24 inch LCD display which uses an IPS panel. There is also a cheaper 23 inch model U2311H.

When about to place the order for the 23 inch display, a good deal on the bigger 27inch 2009 model 2709w was found online.

With a resolution of 1920 x 1200, it is similar to the 24 inch U2410 and lower than the newer U2711 of 2560 x 1440. However, it is still higher than full HD resolution of 1920×1080 pixals.

The plus point of this LCD monitor over the 23 inch are the plethora of ports. Almost any vintage of computers that are in use can be hooked up to this display from VGA, DVI, HDMI to DisplayPort.

It also includes a useful media card reader on the left side supporting CompactFlash, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick Duo, Secure Digital (SD), MultiMedia Card (MMC), SmartMedia and xD Picture Card. Located below this are two usb ports perfect for plugging in flash drives and other peripherals.

After using it for a month, I have to say there are no regrets. The extra screen real estate allows multiple documents, webpages and pdfs to be open at the same time and is a huge step up from a 13 inch MacBook. As my desk is quite deep, the similar resolution of this 27 inch to a 24 inch makes it easy for my eyes during extended periods of use.

Mac Mini Server Mid 2010 Unibody

Oct 18th, 2010 by Atelier | 1

As my primary computer, a first generation Intel Core Duo Black MacBook, starts to struggle in keeping up with my ever growing iPhoto collection a new Mac was on the horizon.

Earlier in the year when the new updated unibody Mac Mini was released, I was really tempted to get it as a media computer in the living room. However, a good deal on a used early 2009 Mac Mini was a better choice. It was half the price and had an upgraded ram of 4 gb memory but with a slower processor and graphics card. Functionality would not be much different but I would have extra cash in my pocket.

The iMac’s were tempting compared to the Mac Minis as once the screen, keyboard and mouse are included, the prices will be comparable. Plus the iMac would still be faster based on the specifications. Although I did not have a spare or old LCD screen, I did have a spare apply keyboard and mouse.

What swayed me to purchase the Mac Mini was it’s minuscule power consumption and Snow Leopard Server that came with the Server model. I would now be able to tinker with and setup a server and small home/ office network.

Now that the Mac Mini has arrived, it’s time to get an LCD monitor and start planning the network setup. The Mac Mini Server will store Time Machine backups of all the rest of the macs and act as a file server. It will also be setup to host email and websites for a start.

Performance wise, the two internal hard drives will be setup as a Raid 0. It will have the full 1 terabyte of storage and be faster for sequential read and write. However, failure rate is higher than Raid 0 where both hard drives are a mirror of each other.

An external 1.5 terabyte hard disk will be connected as a time machine backup. This could be alternated with another hard disk to be stored off site.

The memory is upgraded to the maximum 8 gb from the standard 4 gb in the Mac Mini Server edition and 2 gb compared to the stock Mac Mini.

AutoCad For Mac Released

Oct 15th, 2010 by Atelier | 0

AutoDesk has officially launched AutoCad for Mac and is now available for sale.

A free 30 day trial is available for download from their website. A form is required to be filled before downloading the trial version.

According to the product information, AutoCad for Mac will have similar functions as it’s Window’s counterpart. However, there is no cheaper Lt version at the moment for the Mac platform.

AutoCad On Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad

Sep 30th, 2010 by Atelier | 0

A few months ago, AutoCad for Mac beta was released under a code name called Sledgehammer. This marks the return of AutoCad to the Macintosh platform since the last compatible version at AutoCad R12.

With the proliferation of the iPhone and iPad in the business environment, AutoCad WS was released for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad as a free application on 29th September 2010 before the launch of AutoCad for Mac. While Autocad WS is free, AutoCad for Mac will be priced the same as AutoCad 2011 for Windows PC’s.

iPhone 4

Sep 14th, 2010 by Atelier | 0

The iPhone 4 design and specifications have changed significantly from the iPhone 3G. It’s form is now rectilinear and looks more masculine compared to the iPhone 3G smooth pebble look.

It now includes a front facing 3 megapixel camera and 5 megapixel with auto focus and an LED flash at the back. Included in an iOS 4 software update is the HDR function.

What it does is take two quick successive photos at two different exposures and combines it together. It results is nicer photos where there is a large contrast, the areas in shadow would otherwise be lost.

In fact, I hardly used my Olympus Pen EP 1 during a short trip. The iPhone 4 was smaller and easier to whip out and capture the shot.

Another area I found to have improved was the GPS chip. It could possibly be due to a faster processor and more memory. Using the Tom Tom navigation app, the iPhone 4 was the fastest to lock on the location. It also tracked the position more accurately and kept up even when making lots of turns.

For users on the original iPhone or iPhone 3G, I would recommend upgrading to the iPhone 4. However, users of the iPhone 3GS might want to hold out for the next version especially for those still locked in a contract with their mobile operator.

The iPhone 3GS is compatible with the iOS 4 upgrade and supports useful functions such as multi tasking and folders. Users like myself who upgraded the iPhone 3G to iOS 4 will be frustrated with a very slow interface and possible faulty wifi. So leave that iPhone 3G alone on iOS 3 and get the iPhone 4 if you really want to extra features in iOS 4.