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I can’t sleep, So I surfed the internet. I discover that Scotch Brite brand sponges are conductive. I looked in our supplies and found some unused ones. I busted it out of its packaging to find out it it’s true. Or, like many things on the internet, full of lies. Turns out it’s totally true.

So I cut myself a hunk off the sponge and attached it to pogo.

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It’s hella ugly. But you know what? It is totally way better than conductive foam. I don’t need to press hard at all. The thing is though, don’t wash it before you put it together. I mean, you could, but my sponge always gets hella hard when it dries. Noe if you know a way to wash it without getting hard and dense, let me know. Otherwise, don’t wash it first.

I thought that it needed to be wet because water is conductive, but no. My sponge is dry and it works. I wouldn’t try a wet one on here!!

I used craft wire to secure it. I had some from making jewelry.

Tomorrow, l will try Jerry rigging this to a real pen.

I saw something on the net that looks real easy to do. I just need to find me a drafting pencil.

I’m going to try to sleep now. Wish me luck!

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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It’s the end of iPad week and I wasn’t sure what to write about. I could talk about apps, carrying cases, bags, screen protectors, other accessories. I may write about them eventually. I may not do a whole week like this week. Not sure how many of you regulars care. I think random people might stumble by who care. I’m sure you want to get back to the fish journal. I know you love the fish. But I’m getting sidetracked here.

I’ve decided to write about the pogo sketch stylus because I have strong feelings about this. How ipad and iphone touch screens work is by conductivity. It has to do with electrostatic fields. This is why any old stylus doesn’t work and neither does your perfectly manicured fingernails. You basically need something that conducts electricity.

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This is where the pogo Stylus comes in. It’s a stylus that has a little foam piece at the end. It’s not pointy because these devices are made for fingers and our fingers aren’t pointy like a pencil. Unfortunately, this means that we will never have a stylus similar to the Wacom tablets.(but I can still hope.)

The foam piece at the end is a little piece of conductive foam. It’s the same stuff that’s used to keep your computer ram safe from static charge. Now if you have that lying around or can find it really cheap, you can DIY a stylus. They are all over the interwebs. All you need is an old pen and some copper wire or an old drafting pencil. I did not have foam nor copper wire. It was not cost prohibitive to go out and buy some just to try out my handwriting recognition app. So I just bought the stylus. Was cheaper in the short term.

Here is the thing about the foam. Like any soft materials that gets rubbed against a surface, even a very smooth surface, it will begin to wear down. I’ve only had this for a day and it’s already deforming horribly. If you plan on using the stylus for handwriting recognition software, you are better off using your finger. This thing won’t last a week. You have to press the stylus down a little bit hard for the pad to recognize your strokes.

You can see that it’s already deforming from writing this entry using WritePad (an app that I may or may not review later.)

Someone in their garage invention lab needs to create a substance that is capacitative, soft enough not to damage the screen, and yet durable enough to withstand constant use. Until then, we have to make due with squishy foam. (Or in the case of a different brand, a brush- like tip. I don’t find that a viable alternative for writing.)

It’s also too thin. Your hand may get cramped writing with it for any period of time. But since it was originally made for the iphone, portability was important. Portability isn’t such a big deal for me, so I want something that’s thick like a pen.

I think if they made replacement foam tips, I would be more inclined to recommend this stylus. But since there isn’t, I’d say skip this altogether. For as much as this costs, it should last more than a few days. As of right now, it’s a total waste of money. Wait for something better or just save your money altogether and use your finger.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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I am using Documents to Go to do all of my writing and editing. I had it on the iphone so I could look at documents sent to me via work. All the documents I received were in word or excel format and I never had any problems. I also read several manuscripts this way.

I didn’t notice a problem until I tried to download an rtf of a manuscript. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t download the file.

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This is from the native ipad mail program. When you hold down the attachment icon, a popup comes on letting you choose between open in native reader or open it in documents to go.

Not so much with RTF.

Or txt.

If you read the documentation from dataviz, you’ll see that both txt and rtf are supported files. However, it just won’t let you download from the native email client.

You can transfer txt files using the Docs2Go desktop wireless sync, which bypasses the need to boot up itunes and hook up the ipad. But it doesn’t support syncing of rtf files. I don’t even know how else to sync it, but docs2go has been around for so long that they really should have that ability, but whatever. It all became pretty moot anyway.

I downloaded the rtf to my laptop thinking that I could convert it to doc, but word just decided that it wanted to capitalize various sections of the manuscript. I was just screwed either way.

Luckily, in this strange wacky world of ours, we have choices. And those choices won’t bankrupt us. I downloaded Goodreader, which allowed me to download the rtf attachment using its internal email and managed to open it up perfectly. No funky caps in random sections. It also allows you to open docs, pdfs, txts,etc. And it only cost me $.99.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend docs2go, but it’s what I got. When reading reviews about Pages and quickoffice, it seems that they have problems of their own. So the choice seems to be between 3 evils.

If all you need is the ability to read files, from my very limited experience with goodreader, I would suggest that instead. It’s the difference between a dollar and ten.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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So I recently received a mini bluetooth keyboard made by Brando. It’s an asian manufacturer so this thing came all the way from Hong Kong. I wanted this thing for portability. I already carry around a bunch of junk and I didn’t want to add to the weight. It’s about the size of the iPhone in both width and height and weighs next to nothing. In this department, this is totally a win. i wish the width was a little smaller since I have to stretch out a little bit to hit the middle keys, but it’s still way better than trying the onscreen keyboard. Since I’m so used to thumb typing anyway, this isn’t a problem.

Taken with SmugShot on my iPhone

It’s got a dedicated row of numbers and has arrow keys that work for moving around in a document, but it doesn’t work for highlighting. There’s no control key so you can’t copy and paste using hot keys. but since you can’t highlight anyway, I find that it’s a moot point.

It paired super easily with the ipad. Though there was a dinky little cd, the device came with no it other instructions. _ just turned it on and hit the button that looked like it was needed for pairing.

Charging it, though, looks like requires a laptop. It comes with a mini usb cord with a regular usb at the other end. I don’t like this at all because I like plugging things into the wall. I haven’t used it a whole bunch yet, so I don’t know how long this thing lasts on one battery charge.

There are tow things that I don’t like about it. the first is that the thing feels cheap like if I sit on it, I might break it. It’s really thin, which probably attributes to its light weight. this doesn’t bother me as much since I try to take care of my gadgets. what really bothers me is that the keys are hell a stiff. and they clack when you hit the keys. Remember way back in the day when cell phone buttons used to clack when you were making a call. Yeah, me neither. I’m surprised at how loud this thing is. I’m hoping that it will go away with some use, but I’m also afraid that the buttons might just stop working.

Another odd thing, but not worrisome is that there is the regular qwerty keys and above those keys are alternative characters like ‘”;_+=, which are blue and use the function key. But the keys above the number row use the shift key even though it is also blue.

The only thing going for it is that it’s only forty dollars. It’s cheap for a bluetooth keyboard. My initial recommendation is not to buy this keyboard. The keys are too hard to press and it’s loud. Find something else.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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I love gadgets. I love that there are so many different little devices out there that does so many different things. And if I had all the money in the world, I’d probably have all these gadgets. But since I do have a budget, I only have a handful of gadgets and some are several years old. Like my iPod for example is the old black and white version with only 20gb of storage. That’s positively ancient and small by today’s standards, but it still works and I still have plenty of room on it to hold several thousand more songs. But I do covet the iPod Touch. I tell myself if my iPod dies, that’s the one that I’ll get.

My current covet worthy gadget is the Google G1 phone. I like it mostly because it’s new and shiny. The only reason that I haven’t gotten it is that it’s T-mobile only and I’m on Verizon. I’ve had really good service with them, and T-Mobile is hit or miss in my area, so I’m holding off for now. Plus, the additional required data plan would also add another $30 to each month. Though $30 isn’t a lot, it is the amount of a nice dinner out each month. But mainly, the phone doesn’t have enough apps for me to covet it enough. For a relatively sleek phone, it still won’t let you edit word documents, and though that has been promised, I’m not holding my breath.

Earlier this year, I bought he Nokia N810, which I absolutely love. But the problem is that there aren’t any good productivity apps on it. Nobody at a company is saying,”We can make a lot of money making apps for the Maemo platform” and so there aren’t. Any new apps that come along are by people who do it for the love and so the lovely Abiword that worked on previous versions of Maemo aren’t working now. And it seems like there’s only one guy working on it. In his copious spare time. The same with Google Gears for Maemo. I can’t edit things offline. The best I can do for word processing is using a plain text editor, which is fine, I suppose, but not as great as a fully functional word processor.

But I still love the N810 because it allows me to write using a thumb keyboard, which helps alleviate my shoulder problems from sitting at a computer all day for my dayjob. No matter how I adjust my desk, my shoulder continues to hurt. I’m not sure what else to do with that, but I’m grateful that I can write without exacerbating my shoulder any more.

Because of the lack of apps for the N810 however, I have no rush to buy the G1 Google Phone. I’m afraid that I’d end up being frustrated by that device as well. But, you know, that won’t keep me from coveting it and reading about its developments.

What do you covet?

Originally published at Samantha Ling. You can comment here or there.


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Samantha Ling

August 2013

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