After about 10 months I’m finally departing with my paper wallet! I enjoyed how slim and light it was and even renewed it once! But it’s time to try something new and what’s recyclable must be recycled! besides, finding a good wallet is no easy task so once a good one is discovered you shouldn’t turn your back on it! trust me the next discovery may not happy any time soon!
The replacement is of a similar concept, a flat foldable design but this time in leather! yes it smells good! There’s not much to see, three same size pockets with a red strap making sure nothing is going fall out, a nice compact wallet that can easily be the home to up to 9 cards and with a little push you can fit even more, but I like my pocket to be light and don’t really wanna feel it there, the keys and changes (coins) already making enough fuss there!
The only downside for me and in comparison to slimfold wallet is you have to fold the cash notes too to fit inside the pockets which mean at time you need to take them all out to find the right one! not a deal breaker but design wise a small flaw.
Designed by Bandit Manchot, it’s currently being sold at London Design Museum shop for a very reasonable price!
Kickstarter has given birth to many styluses last year and Hand was one of the most successful ones bagging $313,490 from their original $25,000 goal. Created by Steve King, this stylus is inspired by the design of the mechanical pen and pencils. Featuring one of the smallest tips at 4mm diameters, it does look and feel great and the retracting pen is a nice touch although not necessary. It comes with an optional pack of 6 back up nibs all nicely presented in beautifully aluminium cases.
Unfortunately Hand doesn’t perform as good as it looks and its main feature remains the design. The smaller tip means you need to press it harder on the screen to register, something that becomes rather tiring especially when you are drawing. The body made of anodized aluminium is durable enough but the nib tends to wear out easily feeling a little dry explaining the need for the additional ones! So if you are planning to get one you should get the nip pack too. I wish they had been more careful with the design of the nib as there’s no point making it smaller since it’s not possible to obtain more accuracy. Wacom’s Bamboo Stylus has the best size with 6 mm and the majority has 8mm in dime meter to ensure an easy and effortless interaction with the screen. I’m hoping they’ll improve it in the next generation as Hand has one of the best designs out there. Let’s see it in action!:
A few months back while browsing The Fancy, I came across a little interesting project, a paper wallet. I found this thin, light, strong concept very interesting and decided to get one ($25). I had completely forgotten about it when it was finally delivered after almost four months. A very neat packaging with a nice little instruction gave a very good first impression and I was excited to move everything from my old wallet into it right away! It looked pretty cool! And fitted all my things, except the coins which were moved to their new house as well, but I’ll get to that later! Now the question was; how long is this going to last?
After a month of use, apart from the expected signs on wear and tear especially on the edges, everything is intact! While this is not something that would be a long term replacement, but I like the idea of having a recyclable wallet and trying a new one every few months if more designs were available, but what about the coins now?
Carrying coins is always a hassle! still required nevertheless. The weight and the sound it makes in your pocket, makes you wonder why we still have them around, but when you find something with a good design, it can make all the difference. This little triangle, gives you access to your coins from both ends, has a tight grips on your little fortune eliminating the sound and feels very nice to hold and flat in your pocket. Who thought carrying your coins would be fun?!
Lunatik, the creators of the stylish ipad nano watch TikTok, proposed the idea of a Pen/Syulus for ipad in KickStarter back in December 2011, and after a long period of seven months they finally delivered the product. What attracted me to the project was their design and pervious successful work, so amongst many other similar products I decided to go with them. I’m used to Wacom Bamboo stylus which has a soft tip so the first impression of “Touch Pen” stylus functionality wasn’t very good. The pen however felt great, very smooth and comfortable to hold.
After a little more playing around and testing the pen and getting used to the harder tip, it started to feel more natural and it performed quiet well in paper. The Stylus works the best when held at 90 degrees and at other angles sometimes, although not very often, it doesn’t register. What’s really interesting and pleasing is the accuracy. Although no rubber tip stylus can be 100% accurate or anything even close!, Touch Pen is doing a very good job at initiating the lines from the centre of the pen (depending on the app – some apps offsets the touch for fingers e.g. Paper is a good app to try this on) meaning you can easily join lines together. See it in action in the video below:
3D photography has been around for over 150 years capturing the history in depth! Being able to add depth to flat images is something somewhat magical, although it’s something we are doing all the time with our eyes without even noticing! It could also be very helpful when capturing reference images when you can also capture the volume of the object.The digital age has made a lot of things easier and Stereo Photography has a much bigger fan base now due to the simplicity of producing 3D images, however, for many it’s still an expensive process.
Having two cameras and setting up a rig could also be a little complex, and the 3d stereo digital compact cameras are a little too pricy for what they’ve got to offer! The good news is if you are really interested in taking a few 3D photos and experiment with this technique, for most cases and when shooting static objects, one camera is more than enough! All you need to do is to take two photos with a little offset! It’s better to set the camera to manual control so the photos look as close as possible in terms of the exposure. This works best for landscapes and architecture.
The distance between the lenses (or in this case the lens for each photo) represent the distance between the human eyes. It’s called the inter-pupillar distance or inter-ocular distance. The greater this distance the greater the 3D effect.
After you are happy with the photos taken, import them in Photoshop and copy both in one project.The right eye is sometimes chosen as the primary eye or “hero” eye (The photo taken from the right side*). Make sure this photo is on the top layer; select and go to the Blending Options (right click/double click). Disable the red channel and click ok.
Now you need to line up the photos and choose your convergence point. Wherever the photos are aligned becomes the screen plane, and from there the object/s will appear to come forward or behind, i.e. if the convergence point is on the nose, then the mouth is coming forward and the hands are going inwards from the surface of the screen. There you have it! Your very own 3d photo! All you need is a pair of anaglyph glasses easily available from eBay or Amazon (red & cyan).
*if the 3d image looks a little strange then change your hero eye
Adonit has been hard at work after the successful launch of their Jot stylus. (read the review here). They’ve recently introduced two new additions to their touch screen stylus line; Jot Mini and Jot Flip and they have one more in development which is supposed be a pressure sensitive version of the same design; Jot Touch.
Jot Mini as the name declares is the smaller version of Jot, but it’s not just the size that has shrunk, the precision disk is smaller too which makes the experience much better. Seems Adonit has applied what they’ve learned from the earlier version and Jot Mini feels more responsive, however, when it comes to tapping it doesn’t always register and requires more pressure.
It’s well built and beautifully designed. There’s clip machined right into the piece which adds to the elegant of the stylus but it’s not very practical as the angle of the cut is too sharp and the mouth is so narrow making attaching and removing it very difficult unless it’s been used on a very thin material (hard to use on your jeans!)
Overall Jot Mini is a very good addition to the competition and it has already replaced my Bamboo and Jot Pro! I do hope Adonit will do more with Jot Touch as I think the precision disk can still become a little thinner and more durable and they should include at least one spare disk with each product.
The new iPad was Apple’s BIG chance to continue keeping their position at the top of the tablet market and perhaps guaranteeing it will stay that way before Windows 8 comes out. Regardless of W8 being a success or a flop, there will be a big shift in the tablet computers market as pretty much all the companies competing will put out a device running Redmond’s latest. From what we’ve seen so far W8 will marry the touch interface with an option to access the classic windows desktop interface, a very attractive concept, the idea that will sell enough devices to shake Apple’s dominance. So did Apple release the right product given the upcoming battle? Not even close!
Focusing on the wrong upgrades!
Don’t get me wrong! This is a stunning display! Just imagine holding 2048 x 1536 resolutions, 3.1 million Pixels in your hands! That’s fantastic, necessary? Nope! You can barely tell the difference at the first glance! Did we even need a bump in resolution? Not really! Maybe Full HD but there’s not much multimedia content available for this resolution and even if it did, it won’t be that impressive on a 9” display.
CPU and Graphics Processor
Still the same CPU but an upgraded quad core GPU which is mainly there to handle the retina display! There’s no big performance improvement between iPad 2 and the new iPad when it comes to online surfing, gaming and day to day use.
Ok! by now everyone knows using your iPad to take photos is not the best idea! But having the camera for video calling is of course required so any upgrade in that department is welcomed, but why the front camera is not improved?! With all the faster internet connections Apple surely we can have added a HD front facing camera for a better Face Time experience!
It’s great to have the latest mobile connection technologies, but many countries don’t even support 4g yet! but it’s a good upgrade nonetheless.
What should they have focused on instead?
Product design is without a doubt one of Apple’s main strengths, so why releasing the same design again? A thinner, lighter and more portable device would have guaranteed iPad 2 owner’s upgrade as well as expanding Apple’s reach to Androiders! Something attractive that leaves you with no doubt whereas now all Apple’s done is leaving people with questions and second guessing wehtehr they should upgrade.
A Quad Core cpu to stay at top of the hardware race. The technology is there so why hang on to the dual core? Apple tends to provide a good balance between and the Hardware and Software and usually ignore the hardware race but this time it was different, they should have foreseen the future better and make a device that will stand the aftermath of W8. The most desired SD card reader and HDMI output would have been a great addition too. We know apple will never add USB or Stylus support! But this is something that they could have done.
iPad’s current battery life is great, can easily last a day but this is the area where apple could again make a huge jump and leave the completion behind, instead all they’ve done is trying to keep the same 10hrs which has caused the new device to become slightly warmer perhaps the side effect of the retina display.
When iPad came out I gave it a few months to see how the reviews will turn out and when I finally got it I was very happy with my experience and thought this is a great bridge between my desktop and phone. When iPad 2 came out I was very excited and got it right away! The hardware upgrade was the key factor for me and again I was pleased with the product. When the new iPad was released however, for the first time I had no desire what so ever to get it! It took me just three weeks to find time to go check it out and it was disappointing and really made me wonder whether if Steve Job was still alive had he done the same? On the other hand, I’m looking forward to Windows 8 slate and the opportunities that Microsoft will bring to the table. Where Apple failes to hear customers voice, Microsoft usually listen!
iPad has been increasingly entering our digital lives and although it was never designed to replace personal computers and laptops, for many people it is becoming their only digital hub. One of the areas where Apple is yet to dictate the way we record our thoughts and ideas is writing. As much as using fingers is convenient for basic navigation, web browsing or re-touching photos, when it comes to writing or drawing it just doesn’t feel right. This is where a lot of third party companies have been taking advantage of and created a new market for iPad’s styluses. The limitations caused by the technology used in making iPad’s touch screen have pushed these products to be experimental and try different approaches. There are many styluses available in the market today each offering a slightly different experience, but which one is the right choice for you?
Griffin was amongst the first styluses in the market that offered something practical. Balanced in size and design, it’s a good choice for people looking for something simple and fairly cheap.
|Ease of use||5|
|Value for Money||4.2|
Just Mobile AluPen
Just Mobile AluPen briefly enjoyed its popularity after the release due to its interesting design, however, the competitors offering more pen like designs were ultimately wining this race! The pen has a nice weight to it and overall provides a pleasant experience if you are not going to use it consistency over long hours.
|Ease of use||4|
|Value for Money||3.5|
Bamboo is Wacom’s entry into the capacitive screen’s stylus market and as expected from a company specialized in designing tablet and stylus; it seems to be the best option amongst the rubber tip choices. The tip is slightly smaller than the other models which makes writing easier, but it needs slightly more pressure for it to register on the screen as it’s softer. Also the tip is replaceable which makes this a more durable stylus. Wacom has also released its own app “Bamboo Paper” for this stylus. It’s a very responsive app with nice smooth ink effect. The only design flaw is the pop up colour and pen size window that shows up sometimes when drawing.
|Ease of use||5|
|Value for Money||4.5|
Jot by adonit is a recent addition which uses a different method by using a plastic desk (precision disk) on the top that allows you to see what you write. This means unlike other styluses where it’s very difficult if not impossible to connect your lines together, with Jot you can do precise writing. This is not exactly an invention as DAGI has a similar product. The pen is designed beautifully and comes in two models; basic and pro. There’s also an app being developed for it. The main issue with Jot is the disk that wears off after a while and need to be replaced. Also it doesn’t work with some of screen protectors.
|Ease of use||5|
|Value for Money||4.5|
Nomad brush is designed for drawing with artists’ desire to use a more traditional tool to interact with their iPad in mind. It feels like a real brush and is great for loose drawings. It’s not designed to be very precise and it’s not, but very sensitive requiring minimum amount of pressure and works great for painting or colouring your drawings. I’m yet to see how durable the tip is, it started to loosen up just a little after a few weeks of use and hasn’t changed ever since.
|Ease of use||5|
|Value for Money||4|
Aiptek MyNote Pen
MyNote Pen by Aiptek is one of the products of a new wave started by Byzero. It’s an ultrasonic device and uses a transmitter on the pen (pen needs 2x SR41 batteries included in the package) and a receiver (uses iPad as power source) attached to iPad. It’s by far the most innovative way to handle writings on iPad. You need to calibrate the pen first which is a very important step and you need to make sure you are resting your palm on the screen and holding the pen the way you would when writing. It’s not 100% accurate and there’s a few pixels offset which gets worse towards the end and edges of the screen, but with a little practise and getting used to the device, it’s very usable. There’s a little dot on the screen showing where the tracked pen is which helps you re-adjust holding position. The pen needs to be pushed in a little, it makes clicking sounds similar to ball point pen supposedly activating the transmitter, it was better if the tip was more sensitive. It comes with two hard and soft tips and the only different between them is the soft tip is a bit longer.
At the moment it’s only supported by one app; Studio Basic lite and only works in vertical position. The app is overall ok but limited to one page only per notebook and has stability issues causing it to crash from time to time. The good news is soon the support will come to other apps such as Notes Plus, Pro create and NoteShelf.
|Ease of use||4.5|
|Value for Money||3.8|
To get a better feel for MyNote’s performance have a look at the test video below;