Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Kickstarter Fail? Brydge Alters iPad Hinge Design, Angers Backers

It was one of the more successful Kickstarter campaigns, lauded by everyone from CNET to TIME and bringing in over $700,000 over their initial goal.

The Brydge team promised to turn your iPad into a "laptop" using anodized aluminum keyboard and an elegant "hinge". Its durability proven by a "shake test" captured on video, the patent-pending hinge boasted 180 degrees of positioning and promised to revolutionize the iPad: "When paired together Brydge and your iPad appear to be two parts of the same device, blending style and functionality seamlessly. Unlike other products made of painted plastic in an effort to look similar to the iPad, Brydge does not fake it. Not only does it look good, but when held in your hands you can feel the quality craftsmanship Apple lovers demand."
And then, some time after the Kickstarter ended, the following update was emailed to backers:
Hi Everyone,
Exciting progress is being made over here at Brydge HQ. As we mentioned last update, we have now officially completely redesigned the hinge, and we think you will be as happy with the results as we are. We redesigned the hinge for several important reasons, but before getting into that, here is how the new hinge looks compared to the old hinge:
New Hinge Design (plastic)

Original Hinge Design (anodized aluminum with silicon shim inserts)

This change in design did not, apparently, go well with some of the backers. Here's a sample of the comments left on Brydge's Kickstarter in response to the "New Look":
"I think the original design looked a lot better. The new hinges look incredible FAT. I need to be able to attach and detach this keyboard easily & frequently and this new design does not look like it can do that the way the old design did. If you are doing it because it's cheaper or because it MAY be compatible with some future iPad Apple is sure to completely redesign. Please go back to the original design"
"Agree - hate new design and it's frankly very ugly. I want to cancel my pledge!"
"I'm sorry to say so, and it's not like you can do anything about it, but the new design is bad. It's not elegant, not clean but just bad. It looks like a DIY kit."
"Design of this hinge is terrible! Decided to purchase because the first wonderful design. You want to cancel if you change the design at this stage."
"I am afraid that I agree as well. A definite step in the wrong direction! Sigh... Kickstarter really ought to provide a way to back out of a project when major design changes such as this one occur. This is no longer the product I had ordered!"
This goes on and on and on in the comments section (not accessible unless you're a backer); you get the idea.
In Brydge's defense, they said they altered the hinge design because some backers wanted to have upgradability with iPad 3 and beyond. Still, it looks quite different from the original model advertised in the initial Kickstarter campaign.
With more and more products being funded and purchased through Kickstarter, situations like this might become far more frequent. At what point is a manufacturer on Kickstarter responsible for changes to the final product?

Should some of the Brydge's 3266 backers have the option to get their money back?

Let us know in the comments!

Posted 7/30/12 12:42 PM ET by Valerie Gallaher on MTV.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Watching TV on the iPad

There are many different ways to watch TV (limited to all) content on the iPad.

There are free ways like ABC player, NBC, TBS, and the PBS apps. These
apps are maintained by the specific content provider and usually offer
non-live content. You can usually what 4-5 back episodes of most
series or programs. They usually have their own commercials that get
pretty repetitive.

There are apps that the cable companies provide that don't cost any
additional money than what you already pay monthly. These usually
require that you be on wifi, connected to your cable company's router
which means you can only watch while at home. They stream live
broadcast content with commercials and all. They usually offer only
non-premium channels without features like pausing live TV.

You have other apps that provide content that is usually viewable
online for free from a computer, but on a mobile device you have to
have a login to limited list of contributing cable providers. You do
not have to be at home. An example is the TRU TV app. It provides
limited clips to non-subscribers and full episodes only to the
contributing cable providers' members.

You can pay for services like Netflix and Hulu Plus that offer certain
TV programs to its members.

Another option is a buy a Slingbox device for about $250 - $400 plus
$30 for the iOS app. This option allows you to view all content that
you can view on your actual TV. Regular TV, cable, VCR/DVR, Xbox, etc.
Your devices streams your watch your TV content from your home devices
to the Internet. You can watch it from any connected device. You have
to have a "free" TV or the people at your house will have to watch
what you are watching. When you change the channel on the TV remotely,
it literally changes the physical TV at your place.

There have numerous online sites that wrongly streamed live broadcast
TV content to the web and were viewable form the iPad. These quickly
receive cease and dismiss orders from the channel which lead to short
and unreliable viewing availability.


Carl W. Brooks

On Jul 22, 2012, at 9:39 AM, Terry P. wrote:

> Why does one need an app other than the one that is shipped on the iPad? I have Netfix app but only because I want to watch Netflix movies in my queue. I must be missing something. All the video apps I have view their own content like HBOTOGO and SHOWTIME.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Kickstarter - I want a TekSling and You Might Too!

Two things that I like a lot are Kickstarter and my iPad.  I take my iPad everywhere because I use it often through the day.  I have a Thule bag that is very compact which allows me to carry my iPad in addition to  all my other items; including my Ultrabook laptop. I love this bag to get me to and from my venues.  Once I am onsite or in transit on my commute, I would like the TekSling to allow me to carry the iPad without all the other gadgets - and to free my hands for other things while not using the iPad. There are times when I have left my iPad at someone else's desk - the TekSling would allow me to carry it without having to sit it down at other people's work areas.

The TekSling is a revolutionary product that will change the way you work and play.

The TekSling is a streamlined iPad carrier, worn around your body that allows for quick, easy access and secure, worry-free storage when not in use. Many people use an iPad in their daily professional and personal lives but need to be on their feet and on the go. The TekSling allows you to keep your hands free and have your iPad only a second away when you need it.
The iPad snaps securely into the TekSling carrier and rests comfortably on your back when not in use. When you need your iPad, simply swing the strap around and pop the iPad out. One quick motion releases the iPad from the holder, while the security strap ensures that you will never drop the iPad. Easy in, easy out, worry free.
The TekSling was designed in alignment with the principles of the iPad- sleek, lightweight and intuitive. It weighs less than a pound, is incredibly easy to use and is small and easy to carry. It can be worn over any attire and fits seamlessly under a jacket, blazer or suit coat. It is suitable for a use in a professional business setting, a casual work environment, a construction site, a subway ride or on a bike.
The TekSling can be used in virtually in any setting. With iPad use growing at an exponential rate, more and more businesses are incorporating the iPad into their everyday work. With medical professionals required to move to complete medical records, many doctors, nurses and physical therapists are using iPads for medical notes and records. Teachers and Professors are using them in the classroom and schools are distributing iPads to their students. Restaurants are using them for their servers to take and place orders and for customers to pay bills. Professional and amateur sports teams are using them to replace their playbooks and coaches and players are using iPads on their sidelines. Building inspectors, project managers and construction workers are using them for plans, notes and pictures. Delivery people use them for convenient electronic records. And there are thousands of other ways the iPad is being used daily. The TekSling will enable these people to do their work more easily and effectively, by allowing them to be on their feet, using their iPad wherever and whenever they need, without the fear of losing or dropping the iPad.
The TekSling makes your mobile technology mobile.

The Evolution of the TekSling
From Left to right, the TekSling has gone from a late night innovation binge (which was suitable to hold Fred Flinstone's Stone Tablet) to a streamlined, lightweight, digital print which has been used by physical therapists for weeks without even a minor glitch.
The next picture in this series is pending this successful Kickstarter campaign! We have all of the manufacturing lined up and the engineers waiting to create the mold! The final version will be a strong ABS material that will withstand any demands that should be placed on it! But it is very expensive to make the mold and we can't move forward without your support. Please help us make this dream a reality!
The Next Step
With your support we will be able to fulfill our dream of having this American made dream fully manufactured in America.  We have been working with an outstanding team in Washington state that is ready to pull the trigger on our mold, however the cost is staggering.  With the mold alone costing over $20,000 we have been forced to put everything on hold until we can raise funds.
We have also been in talks with a NYC based company that can make the TekSling at a lower cost, however will send portions (the ABS piece) overseas in order to cut costs.  This company is American owned and operated, so still keeps our hopes alive, but we are concerned about the potential delays of working overseas.
Both companies have ensured us that the product can be ready within 2 months, so we can still reach our projected goal of Fall 2012.

If this project makes as much sense to you as it does to me, surf on over to Kickstarter and pledge your support for this project.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ouya’s Big Day on Kickstarter

It is no secret that I love Kickstarter. I have backed a few projects and would have back many more if the timing was right with my finances and committments. Here are some interesting facts concerning some of the biggest noise makers (and money makers) on Kickstarter.com to date.

Yesterday a video game project called Ouya became the eighth project in Kickstarter history to raise more than a million dollars, and the fastest ever to do so. Ouya hit the total in just over eight hours, shattering the previous record. Here’s how long it took each million-dollar project to cross the threshold:
  1. OUYA — 8 hours and 22 minutes
  2. Double Fine Adventure — 17 hours and 30 minutes
  3. Pebble — 27 hours
  4. Wasteland 2 — 41 hours
  5. Shadowrun Returns — 7 days
  6. The Order of the Stick — 27 days, 5 hours
  7. Amanda Palmer — 27 days, 12 hours
  8. Elevation Dock — 57 days
As you might expect, Ouya also has the biggest single-day total in Kickstarter history. It received more than $2.5 million in pledges from its launch on Tuesday at 8:44am to Wednesday at 8:44am. Here are the ten biggest 24-hour tallies on Kickstarter so far:
  1. OUYA — $2,589,687.77
  2. Double Fine Adventure — $1,064,652.05
  3. Pebble — $863,132.92
  4. Wasteland 2 — $555,407.84
  5. Shadowrun Returns — $378,008.28
  6. Amanda Palmer — $223,348.50
  7. The Icarus Deception — $178,194.00
  8. Elevation Dock — $161,507.00
  9. Penny Arcade Sells Out — $151,221.17
  10. gTar — $138,891.00
Ouya’s big day lead to another Kickstarter record: dollars pledged in a single day. On February 9th Kickstarter saw more than $1 million in pledges in a day for the first time. Until yesterday, Kickstarter's biggest day was on April 12th, when nearly $1.9 million was pledged. The amount pledged yesterday, July 10th? $3,174,820.
So what is Ouya, you ask? Ouya is a game console built on the Android operating system. Its creators pitched it as a platform for independent developers, and it clearly has big potential. In just 24 hours, 20,000 people bought an Ouya console — a product they had never heard of before yesterday. By way of comparison, Microsoft sold 326,000 Xbox 360 consoles in its first week after many millions of marketing dollars.
Congratulations to the Ouya team and their backers on the incredible debut!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Plague Inc. Disturbing and Very Entertaining iOS Game

Plague Inc. is the latest and perhaps the greatest entry in the perplexingly popular simulation genre. Players must design the most lethal and effective plague possible, with the darkly satisfying end goal of killing every human on earth before they discover and cure the engineered disease. Your infection starts off basic, but can be mutated regularly to infect and spread more rapidly, modified to be made more lethal, or enhanced to resist research techniques designed to cure the disease.

Plague Inc. seems simplistic at first, but actually eradicating humanity is a satisfying balancing act between spreading your pandemic as quickly as possible without putting the human race on high alert and determining when the best time to increase the lethal qualities of the plague. My very first game, I did good with transmitting my disease thoughout the whole planet and effectively spread it to every living person. The problem was that it wasn't lethal and the good people of the Earth had all the time in the time in the world to cure the disease. They did just that - game over.

Although balancing your plague’s hardiness, severity and infectivity is a fun and addictive line to walk, Plague Inc. does suffer from a few drawbacks. The big issue is that there is simply too much downtime. Too much time is spent passively waiting around for DNA points to accrue or for your disease to fully infect a territory, even with a fast forward button.

There are some design issues as well. The news banner area, at the top of the screen, blocks visibility of DNA points that pop behind the banner. This news banner zips the headlines by so fast that it is ineffective. There are also news alerts that pop up and block the screen which makes acquiring DNA sample impossible until the pop up is dismissed. The speed and pause buttons box, at the top right, can block DNA bubbles as well Additionally, there is wasted space at the bottom of the screen. Instead of showing water, the whole map can be shifted down to eliminate the issues described at the top of the screen. There is an area of water on the left of the screen that could be better used. I would rather have quick access buttons to transmission, sympthoms and abilities in this space.

Gamers that can look past any moral issues should find Plague Inc enjoyable. To keep replay value high, players have seven disease types to choose from, each with their own special gameplay wrinkle. Viruses mutate on their own, sometimes introducing unwanted high-profile side effects like vomiting, for example. Fungal Spores, Bacteria, Parasites and other disease types each have their own specific hook to figure out. Players must complete earlier stages in order to unlock newer and more potent plagues.

I like to start my plague in Argentina which has ship ports and a warm climate. I make sure it is transmissible via water. I then collect enough DNA to make my disease work in colder climaxes and transmissible through the air. Once the entire world is infected, I make it lethal by adding pneumonia and total organ shutdown. Additional DNA is used make the disease immune to research and and transmissible via livestock, mosquito, birds and rats. If this can be done before a cure is developed and dispersed, victory is assured.

The Plague Inc. game is not good for humanity. Plague Inc should be banned from the AppStore for being disturbingly entertaining. I can't help but feel sorry for the virtual earthlings that must suffer and die at my hand in order for me to be victorious.  Four (4) stars for originality. Four (4) stars for entertaining. Four (4) stars for addictive. One (1) star was removed because of the realistic remorse that can be felt. 

iPad Tips - Share the One you Know

This tip works on all iOS 5.x and above devices, but it is best
performed on an iPad.
Most of you are aware that if you press the spacebar twice at the end
of a word (or a single character), a period and space will be inserted

If can achieve the same by using two fingers to tap the spacebar at
the same time. I know it is not a huge difference in pressing the
spacebar twice in a row versus pressing it once with two fingers, but
it is always better to know your options. If you are typing a huge
paper, the extra clicks could add up.

If you are like me, you still believe two spaces are needed after a
period - use three fingers to accomplish this. Of course this is even
more difficult to accomplish even on the iPad.

You may also know that you can press and hold letters like a, e, i, o
and c to create accented letters like à, è, í, ö or č.

Do you have any type of iPad tips to share?


Carl W. Brooks

Saturday, July 7, 2012

7" iPod Touch Makes More Sense than a 7" iPad

Everyone is predicting that Apple will release a 7" iPad; I believe this would be a BIG mistake. The iPad is doing so great, why mess with a good thing.  Don't get me wrong, a 7" device would do well.  It just shouldn't be called an iPad.  I believe the best thing for the market would be a larger iPod Touch.

I believe a bigger iPod touch would re-ignite the iPod product line, give the users what they want and solidify Apple position as the dominate tablet maker. Sure it might cannibalize iPhone & iPad sales slightly, but it will reduce the number of 7" tablet lovers that choose an alternative brand.

Many will argue that Apple has extensively tested all the possible tablet sizes and settled on the 3.5 and the 9.7 inch as optimal sizes as far back as 2005 or 2006. Others will rant about Steve Jobs' dismissal of (or attack on) the 7 inch form factor; that He (or Apple) does not believe that it is an appropriate size for a tablet - it’s a tweener neither small enough to carry around or big enough to use for work and documents.

There in enough interest and demand for a 7" device, so it something Apple is definitely considering.  They would be crazy not to do so.  Likewise, they would be crazy to monkey around with the iPad brand.  The iPod Touch currently starts at $199 for a 8GB model; reaching $399 for thee 64GB model.  Apple could easily price the 16GB New 7" iPod Touch at $199 and simply steal the show from Amazon and Google. Apple could afford to offer the $199 device with 32GB and still do well.  Apple could even sell a unit for $299 with added 3G or 4G antenna in addition to the WiFi capability. Will a 7" iPod Touch device squash the competition completely? No, there are enough people who would never buy Apple or better yet simply will only buy Android.  But Apple would gain enough of this market to make it an non-issue.

The iPod Touch would continues to be a gateway to all things Apple; leading to eventual sales of iPhones, iPads and Mac computers. It would be comparably inexpensive and even offer features like Siri to help seal the deal.

Would Apple be foolish to call the 7" device an iPad?  Is the 7" iPod Touch a better product for Apple to release?  What do you think?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Google's Chrome Browser makes it to the Apple AppStore for iOS

Chrome is a browser made by Google. It happens to be my favorite browser on the desktop of both my Windows machines and my Apple MacOS machines. The Chrome browser finally makes its way to the iOS devices.

Google’s Chrome, the world’s top Internet browser, is now available on the iPhone and iPad, as Apple finally granted access to its arch-foe’s more popular Web-surfing app.

At Google’s annual developer conference yesterday in San Francisco, executives also announced the limited launch of a cloud-computing and hosting service to take on Amazon.com’s thriving Web services arm.

Both moves underscore how Google is moving to protect its Web dominance.

Launched in 2008, Google’s browser overtook Microsoft’s Internet Explorer in May as the world’s most popular, according to analytics firm StatCounter.

Chrome, which has 310 million active users, is now available in Apple’s AppStore.

The features that Chrome offers include the following:
  • Search and navigate from the same box. Choose from results that appear as you type, getting to what you want in a snap.
  • Open and switch between an unlimited number of tabs. On your iPhone and iPod Touch, flip through tabs the way you would fan a deck of cards. On your iPad, swipe from edge to edge to switch tabs.
  • Use Find in Page to locate specific words and scroll to see each match.
  • Browse the web in Incognito mode, without leaving your history behind on your device.
  • Sign in to Chrome to bring your open tabs, bookmarks, passwords and omnibox data from your computer to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. That way, you have your Chrome, on all of your devices.

When Signed in to Chrome on the desktop. laptop, iPad and iPhone; the following can occur:
  • Need to step away from your computer? Access the tabs you have open on your computer on your iPhone or iPad and pick up where you left off.
  • Sync your bookmarks on all of your devices. Quickly go to your favorite sites, no matter where you are.
  • Spend less time typing. Visit a site on your computer and Chrome will autocomplete its address in the omnibox on your phone or tablet.
  • Send pages from your computer to your iPhone or iPad with a single click. You can read them on the go, even when you're offline.
  • Automatically sign in to Google sites, like Gmail, for fast and seamless access.
  • Sync your passwords across all of your devices to sign in to your favorite sites faster.

Is Your Mac protected? Orbicule's Undercover for Mac

Hey gang, many of you have Macs so I'll share this with you. I know Kris recently had his iPad stolen and most of you already kno...