Graphic Arts’ IT Guy – July 2010

What size shoudl I getI’m thinking of buying an iPad. What size should I get?

The iPad is really a great device to use and I recommend them to everyone. At this point, the iPad is only available for purchase from Apple’s retail and online stores. You can also buy them in Canada at Best Buy and Future Shop as well. AppleCare is also available for them.

There are also two network options; one with Wi-Fi and a second with both 3G cellular & Wi-Fi. The 3G funtionality adds $130.00 to the price and an optional monthly service. The available memory sizes relate to the storage capacity of the iPad, not the performance. Both versions come in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB configurations. All the models use only 256 MB of RAM for the operating system. You may find that all of the 3G models and the 64GB Wi-Fi models sell out quickly.

The Apple iPad case, $45.00, is one of the best cases available and also sells out quickly. The case protects the iPad while you transport it, making it easer to hold. It also folds over to support the iPad in an angled position for typing.

If you’re thinking of getting a 3G model: the current Rogers data plans are 250MB for $15.00/month and 5GB for $35.00/month. These are “no contract” accounts, which means that there is no long-term commitment required. You can also switch between plans as many times as you like. Similar plans will also be available for the iPhone 4.0.

Apple is reportedly pushing for its users to sign up with another data provider when traveling. I was surprised to find out that I could not use data roaming while in the U.S. with the Rogers plans – so you may want to check your options before you leave, if you plan on using the device in the U.S. Apple wants to make the iPad and iPhone user experience to be as painless as possible. With flexible plans users won’t be caught by huge data charges.

The iPad is a perfect fit between a smartphone and a computer.

When I’m in the Mail application and I hover my mouse over an address, a little arrow shows up. How does that work and what else can you do with it?

What you have stumbled across is part of Mac OS X called Services, which is a special set of scripts that allow applications to interact and share features and information. It was originally introduced in the Next OS and utilizes a special pasteboard to move chunks of data to another application automatically.

For instance, if you select the address in a senders signature a contextual menu will pop up offering to create a new contact for you. Behind the scenes a script in Services is willing to take the sender’s information block (name, address, email, phone number) and update or create a new contact in the Address Book application all at once.

Hover over, right click or control click on a street address and you can find the address in Google Maps (on your Mac, iPhone or iPad). Click on a list of items and you can create a new Sticky Note, select a URL and it will open in Safari. In the Finder, select a series of images and it will offer to rotate the images, set your Desktop image or even create a web gallery or iPad gallery – with the addition of a simple script.

There are several third-party scripts out on the Internet that will add automation to your applications. You can download some “.services” files that will select data and images from FileMaker Pro and move it over to Pages and create a catalogue. You can find out more at macosxautomation.com.

To test what is available, select some text or images and either control click them, or visit the Service Menu in the current applications menu and see what is available. Try this: open a web page in Safari, select some text, control click and choose Start Speaking from Speech and sit back while your Mac reads the page to you.

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