Mouse Support in iPad OS is so freaking cool!

I broke down and installed iPad OS…. on my daughters iPad Pro to try out the public beta. I use my iPad Pro heavily and my daughter barely uses hers so I figured why not, let me install this thing and see what’s new. I didn’t play with it that much. The only thing I was really interested in was assistive touch for the mouse and the widget screens on the home screen. The widget thing is cool but the weather isn’t working, not a big deal.

The mouse I used for additive touch was my old work mouse which is a Logitech Thin Mouse. It doesn’t have any physical buttons on it but it recognizes left and right clicks. It took some getting used to when I started using it for work but it’s the only Bluetooth mouse that I own. Getting to assistive touch was a little cumbersome since it’s buried in the settings but once enabled it was pretty sweet to use. I Lil that the cursor is big and doesn’t look like a mouse cursor. The cursor is really responsive when I move it around and when I use the left click it opens the apps just as if I was using my finger.

The right click action and the assistive menu is excellent. There are menus for doing custom actions, going to the home screen and adjusting settings like volume up and down. I thought it would be weird but after about 10 minutes it’s pretty natural to use. I was having trouble with getting the app doc to come up with the mouse, I still had to use my finger to get it to work but that might be a bug. I’m hoping it’s not a 2018 iPad Pro feature since I have the 2017 model. I still can’t justify spending another grand for another iPad since I just got this one only a year ago.

I almost want to install the beta on my iPad just to have mouse support. I’ll wait though for the GM for my personal iPad. I also need to start trying out the Files app. Personally the files app for me is fine as it is. I don’t use it much anyway, all of my files are on Box, Google Drive, or my NAS and even then I don’t access them too often. I’m still waiting for profiles. If I could have a segmented work profile that would be so awesome. This way I could keep work separate from personal and if they blew away my work profile through MDM my personal stuff wouldn’t be affected.

If I have time tonight I’m going to play around with the mouse and iPad Pro some more. I’m surprised at how useful it is and changes how I interact with my iPad when I have the keyboard on it.

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No new tech to blog about…..

I’ve come to the point where I’m not acquiring tech in a regular interval (I used to get something new every few months) but I think I’ve stabilized on just a few different platforms rather than trying new things out. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that the entire family is locked into the Apple Eco system when it comes to mobile devices (iPhones and iPads) but we’re not upgrading as fast as I used to. The family has an iPhone 7,8, and 6S Plus as well as 2 iPad Pro’s from 2017 and a newer iPad mini 5. That keeps things pretty simple in terms of getting apps and support and also reducing the complexity for syncing phones with music and videos. I personally use a MacBook Pro at home (very little though since my iPad Pro pretty much can do a lot of the things that I normally used my MacBook for)

I am becoming a little less reliant on computers in general (the traditional kind) and have simplified the things that I install and try to keep things vanilla. I still buy my computers with massive hard drives (at least 1TB and on SSD for speed). Thats just my old school thoughts on storage for computers but a lot of my audio and video files have moved over to the NAS and the NAS runs 24×7 unless I shut it down. I’ve also embraced more cloud storage with my main cloud storage providers being Box and Google Drive. I have more than enough storage in both accounts that I don’t have to keep a lot of “stuff” on my laptop. My MacBook Pro is a 2017 and its maxed to the gills but I don’t use nearly all the power that I could since I was originally going to use it for videos for the family but I’ve been able to do that on my iPad.

I’ve also consolidated my camera platform to just using my iPhones and GoPro’s. I don’t know how long GoPro is going to be around but they are pretty solid and they do what I need when I go on vacation. I haven’t bought a GoPro since 2018 but it does what I need it to do and the image stabilization is wonderful. It’s not as fast as a point and shoot camera but its good enough for what I need for it to do. All other devices have kind of fallen away. I still watch lots of videos about different kinds of hardware that seem cool, especially about Android phones like the OnePlus stuff but when I consider the ecosystem I’m in, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to switch over.

The last reason that I don’t have a lot of tech to talk about these days is that I’m just hanging on to my stuff a lot longer. I’m still sporting an iPhone 7, it still seems to work pretty well and it hasn’t slowed down. I’m not really missing any feature that I consider “must haves”. The only thing that I’m really waiting for is 5G capability but I think those will come with the 2020 iPhones so I’m going to skip this generation again. The GoPro Hero 7 Black is good enough the way it is, its just really there to take videos during my ski trips and for soccer games but I think I start using it as a point and shoot too which would be cool. I have lots of extra batteries for it too so I know its going to last a while during the day. iPads will last a while too as long as there are software updates, again nothing really earth shattering that I need. They all work with the first generation Apple Pencil and frankly it works great, I don’t see a need to get a whole new iPad just for the Apple Pencil 2.

Maybe in the next few months I’ll find something compelling enough to upgrade to but in the mean time, I’ll have to look for something else to blog about.

Drawing with Procreate

I’ve been trying to indulge in my creativity by using my iPad Pro to practice drawing. I’m also using it for note taking at work using OneNote but off hours I’m trying to experiment with Procreate. I have used programs like Photoshop in the past but trying to draw using a mouse and keyboard is kind of difficult. Using a pen and tablet makes drawing much easier. When I was using my iPad Air 2 I used a pen by Paper by 53. It was pretty good but the thing I didn’t like was the squishy point. The Apple Pencil has a more firm point so its easier to draw.

I decided to draw Sharka, which is a character by Crazy Shirts that I saw a long time ago on a visit to Hawaii. I have a lot of shirts with his likeness on it and it was relatively simple to draw.

I added a pineapple and a palm tree too just for fun. I definitely liked using all the layers to refine the picture. I just need to start coloring it in and then it will be complete. I’m just trying to think of what sort of background I should draw in. Definitely something that’s Hawaiian but I haven’t decided what. I’m experimenting with some other drawings at the moment but this one is the most complete. The one feature that I do wish they had was a way to draw perfect shapes like circles and the like. There is a way to draw straight lines but I need circles and things with soft edges for some of my drawings that I’m attempting.

I think my 5th grade level drawings aren’t so bad. I think I’ll start drawing Pokémon for my daughter so that I can get better. Maybe my next one that I post online will be Pikachu or some other character that I remember from season 1 (can’t believe they’re on Season 21 now). I subbed drawing for creative blogging tonight, if there is time I’ll draw some tomorrow or start coloring in my Sharka.

iPad Pro for me!

I upgraded from my iPad Air 2 to a new iPad Pro 10.5. I know that its really late in the cycle to upgrade but given the rumors that the new iPad Pro is going to use FaceID, I decided to get the 10.5. The real reason I wanted it was to use the Apple Pencil. I could have gotten the cheaper iPad but I wanted a ton of storage and I wanted the four speakers too since I use this to watch a lot of movies while on the road.

Of course I have the pencil and it works great. I’ve been using it at work to take some notes in Notability which I then port over to OneNote. I also sprung for the keyboard which I’m enjoying. I don’t have to pair it with Bluetooth and it works really fast too for typing. I like to also use it as a more secure stand than the regular flip cover. I try and do a lot of my typing work for personal stuff on the road on the iPad Pro now rather than risk using my work laptop. It just seems safer that way.

I’ve been making good use of Paper by 53 but I think its time to step up my game and graduate to Procreate. I’ve been watching some videos on how to use the app and I especially like the layers feature. I created 2 hand drawn cards using the iPad Pro using Paper by 53. The palm rejection is awesome and so is the way that you can draw with the pencil. Truthfully, the last iPad that I bought was the iPad Mini 2, that iPad now belongs to my daughter. The iPad Air is too useful to sell so that’s my upstairs iPad. The MacBook Pro still has a purpose, there are still too many things that are better on a computer than on an iPad. But stuff like typing up this blog post, the iPad is actually a better medium than the computer.

One of the things I did add to this iPad Pro was something that I have on my original iPad and my iPad 2 which is a matte screen protector. I’ve watched a few videos on YouTube and apparently the writing experience is better since its more ‘paper like’. I haven’t really noticed a difference in my writing or drawing but the one thing that is awesome is how much less finger prints I have to wipe away from the screen. Also it seems easier to swipe and do multi touch gestures with the screen protector on. I had my wife put the screen protector on because she’s much better at it than me, but they need to make this similar to the glass screen protectors for easier application.

I’d write more with the iPad Pro, but there isn’t enough time to make a lot of blog entries. I like this new iPad Pro a lot though, it was definitely money well spent and with the extra storage, I might even get into a little video editing with my Go Pro and DJI Spark videos.