Category Archives: Features

Unlocking the treasures of your home media library

What things can you store on a home media box?

Home media boxes have many uses and work with virtually any device.
Basically they consist of a box into which you can put one, two, or more hard disc drives as storage. Then you plug it into your home router/modem.
With a Network Attached Storage device (or Home media box), you can do:
  • Share photos, movies, music and any other sort of file, so that if you want to, everyone in the house can share them.
  • You can also optionally add, a TV receiver (via USB) which is able to record free-to-air TV shows
  • Time Machine backups of Apple Mac’s and backup’s of Windows PC’s and laptops, both at the same time if you need to.
Some really useful features that I use include:
  • Share with Family (overseas, interstate or next-door). You or your family can connect to the NAS remotely and copy files from anywhere in the world. This is protected via a password protected system.
    Yes, you can use “DropBox” or other programs,  but they usually come with a very modest amount of free storage. Questions have been raised about how secure those services are.
  • Play music from a whole bunch of different music files, all from the convenience of your iPhone or iPad
  • A NAS can also connect Internet-enabled cameras to it. This becomes a home or business security monitoring system. Like CCTV,  the cameras can detect movement and starts recording. I’ve heard that the files from these recordings are admissible in court.
Peace of Mind
A NAS often has the option to add two disc drives. You can delegate the role of one of the disc drives is to ensure that it’s doing  “mirror” or exact copy of what’s on the other drive. So if disc drive 1 fails (and they can!) you just unplug the “dead” drive and drive 2 will automatically copy everything back to the replacement drive. Ie a double back up or “to be sure, to be sure” as they say.
If you’d like to discuss this or get further information on them from me, simply click on the heading above and you’ll find a place on the page where you can comment on it or of course you could always phone on 0457 803 207
Hope this helps.

iPads in Education

At various primary and secondary levels, iPads are have taken off through their use in advancing learning outcomes.
Unlike “netbooks” that were introduced by a previous Australian Federal Government initiative, iPads can totally redefine what a student can do in a classroom.
In an ideal setup, iPads can be used by students the night before their lesson. Then the teacher can expand and identify difficulties on the day of the lesson. iPads allow interactivity both before, during and after a particular lesson.
Did you know that the Victorian Education Department maintains a list of recommended iPad apps for students:
And here’s a list of applications for special needs students:
For special needs students, I’d also highly recommend a free application named “Autism Applications” to help identify the right application for a student’s particular area of need.
To comment or share your thoughts with the blog audience, just click on the subject title and you’ll see an area at the bottom of the subject page where you can add your comments to us all.
Sincere Regards,
Rob

Really useful applications for business users on the iPad

The iPad has created a lot of interest amongst the business community and here are some of the most useful applications business users are telling me they use.
Microsoft Office for the iPad
You may not know but Microsoft has just realised free versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook for the iPad and iPhone.
Putting aside the iPhone versions because of the impracticality of the small screen, the iPad versions of these applications are really useful in that they provide full reading, editing and storage of those documents on the iPad.
You can start creating a file on any of these programs on your PC or Mac for instance, and save them to iCloud, Dropbox and other cloud services and edit them on your iPad. It’s incredibly useful and really worth checking out.

Invoice2go
This iPad app provides you with the ability to do quotes for your business customers and follow through to an invoice if they accept your quote.
I’m sure lots of electricians and other “tradies” have visited customers during the day and then laboured over doing quotes for them outside business hours.
This application lets you do the quote and email the customer on the spot, so that they have the information immediately and can give you the go ahead immediately.
It also sends you a copy of the quote and allows you to integrate that into your current accounting system so that you can order the parts required if you don’t have them in stock already.
Free word processor, spreadsheet and presentation graphics applications
Apple has just released the above applications free to all.
All you need to do is log on to www.icloud.com and use your free Apple ID and password and you can send Pages, Numbers and Keynote to anybody free of charge,
It’s a free alternative to Microsoft Office and really powerful.

Linkedin
Linked in is a powerful way for you to promote your business and network with others to promote yourself and your business.
If you haven’t already please visit www.linkedin.com.au and start promoting yourself and your business without any costs.

Oovoo
This is a free application that let’s you have up to 12 people on a video conference at the same time free of charge. All it will cost your is some of your internet data quota.
You can see, communicate with and share info and files with other Oovoo users free of cost
What other business applications do you find really useful ?
Click on the Heading Above and Comment using Facebook,

I look forward to hearing your thoughts,
Rob

3 Things that both an iPad and Mac can do

Do you know that both your recent model iPad or your MacBook can do:

Dictation
In the case of the iPad it needs to be “online” in order to do this but where you normally see the keyboard, you’ll also see a microphone button, which will let you talk to the iPad and it’d type text for you. If you’re using a MacBook or iMac there is a special setting that lets you do this “offline”. (that is, without having an internet connection.)
Dictation can be quicker than typing, such as sending a message to your spouse saying “coming home now, do we need milk?”.

Dictation is also helpful in the classroom for students that have difficulty in typing, especially students with special needs.

AirDrop
Airdrop is a really easy way of sharing files between Mac’s , iPads and iPhones.
On the Mac, all you need to do to share a file with another user on the same network is to start “Finder” and to click on the “Airdrop” word.
Then when your friend or associate does also, you’ll both see each others icon on the screen. Just use your mouse or trackpad and drop a file onto the other users icon and they will receive a message asking your permission to receive the file. Press “yes” and it’ll transfer.
This is a much faster way of transferring files than emailing them to each other, especially when you’re in the same house, office or room.

Magic Gestures (on a MacBook or an iMac with the Magic Trackpad)

If have either of the above Mac’s, I’ve found that most people are surprised when you show them how flexible that Gestures are to use.
To try this out, go to “System Preferences” and then click on “Trackpad”.
You’ll see videos such as: how to rotate photos using two fingers, like on an iPad; how to set up pinch to zoom; how to minimize apps in one gesture; how to right click.

These are just to name a few.
How about sharing some of your favourite but less known Mac or iPad features?
Please share them with us all.

Rob