The fall colors and lighting offer plenty of inspiration to get outside and take some pictures. If you’re using a camera phone, it can be a challenge getting that perfect shot. Here’s a goodie that will make your phonography much easier – the Slingshot [$19.95]. It fits any smartphone – with or without a case – and can be used both as a grip and as a table-top tripod. The legs stow in the handle. It’s great for both still photos and capturing video. The cradle unscrews from the handle and can then be screwed onto a standard tripod for even more functionality.
I learned today that my favorite recipe app – Paprika – is now available for Android devices including the Kindle Fire. You’ll find it in both the Kindle App store and at Google Play. The cost is a whopping $4.99.
One of the best things about this app is the browser. It’s got bookmarks for some of the most popular recipe sites online, but you can add bookmarks to your own favorites. Then, when you find a recipe you want, if it meets the cookbook recipe standard format (most of them do these days), the Save Recipe button will light up and all you do is tap it. Paprika captures the recipe, then you tell it what category (main dish, dessert, etc.) to list it and tap Done.
It was time to replace our old Epson all-in-one. Since I bought the Epson, our printing needs have changed. If I want a high-quality print (which usually is also an oversized print as well) I will send it out to Image Kind to print for me. We are not printing near as much stuff these days which meant I often had to clean the heads (and eat up a lot of ink in the process) before I could print a decent copy. We were using a lot of ink – rather expensive ink – just to get ready to print. So, before buying a new printer, I did some ink research. I found that ink cartridges for the Kodak ESP310 model all-in-one was almost half the price of my old Epson. Looking a bit closer I found the Kodak cartridges didn’t print as many pages per cartridge as the Epson, but that is somewhat nullified when I’m wasting ink to clean print heads.
The ink costs got my attention, but the printer features helped convince me to buy it. This is a wi-fi printer. By that I mean not only can I print directly to it from my iPad, but also that it is not physically connected to anything by the electrical outlet. It connects to our home network wirelessly. This gives me the extra advantage of being able to locate the printer across the room from the router and computer. And, not only does it print wirelessly, it scans wirelessly too.
I don’t like Kodak’s scanning app as much as the old Epson app, but I do most of my scanning through other apps – Paperless or my graphics programs – so it’s not a big issue. Wi-fi scanning is slower, but the advantage of having it located where there’s more workspace makes me more tolerant of the speed.
I’ve had my Kodak for three months and I’m quite pleased with its performance. The colors are sharp and the print quality is quite acceptable. I don’t yet know how well the colors last, but I’m not using this printer to create heirlooms. I don’t think I’d recommend it for high-traffic or high-quality printing, but if you’re like me and your printing needs are low, this printer is definitely worth a look.
You’ll find the printer selling at Amazon and Target for $70. The ink combo pack (black cartridge and color cartridge) sells at Amazon for $28.
I received an early birthday present last week when this Keyboard Cover from Logitech arrived. It’s delightful! It works with the iPad 2 and the New iPad taking advantage of the magnets used with Apple’s Smart Cover. First the magnets are used to keep it firmly attached in the keyboard’s stand – as shown here – while typing. When you’re ready to head out, the keyboard becomes a hard cover protecting the screen with the magnets keeping it firmly in place.
The keyboard is smaller than standard but adjusting my typing to its size was surprisingly easy. There are also iPad-specific function keys incorporated with the number keys letting you adjust volume, cut, copy and paste and perform other functions. There’s a mini USB port to connect the charging cable with a battery that will provide hours of typing between charges.
The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad 2 and New iPad is available at Amazon for $99.99.
Even though Adobe’s Photoshop and Photoshop Elements continue their reign as the most popular photo-editing applications for Mac and Windows systems, I’m getting tired of both the price and the performance. I still have version 8 of Elements installed on my Mac but I find that I’m using it less and less. I tried using Pixelmator [$29.99] and while it’s a gorgeous app, I didn’t find it very intuitive. I’ve since settled in happily with Acorn [$49.99] and find both it’s performance and work area match my style quite well.
If you’re looking for an affordable Bluetooth keyboard to use with your iPad or Kindle Fire, take a look at this one from Amazon Basics. It’s just a smidgen smaller than Apple’s keyboard and can easily be tucked into a tote with your tablet to go anywhere. It’s powered by two AAA batteries with indicator lights for connection and low battery status. On the back of the keyboard is a power button and a connection button. It synchs up to my iPad in seconds.
And the price? A very affordable $42.99.
Skype has just released a fabulous app for the iPad that works for both old and new models. If you are using an original iPad, you won’t be able to broadcast videos (d’uh), but you can see your callers if they have their video turned on. There are some other limitations – like no group video calls and no file sharing – but that still leaves a lot of flexibility.
Now I see they’ve also cut the price on Skype Premium. If you choose the annual payment plan, its 50% off or $54. You’ll get a 25% discount is you choose quarterly payments. Skype Premium gives you all the goodies of free Skype and unlimited group video calls, unlimited calls to regular and mobile calls in the US and Canada and group screen-sharing (Mac users only).
Skype Premium is not device dependent. If you’ve got Skype Premium, you’ve got it on whatever computer or device you are using. As long as you’re logged in using your account, it’s all available to you.
Next up is Skype on Comcast. The deal’s been made to include it built into the cable box. We’re just waiting for it to be implemented. I’m looking forward to sharing Christmas – and many more special days – with our California family from the comfort of my big screen tv.
Combine this with a Gorillapod and you’re ready to capture some great iPhone video.
Actually, about the only thing it has in common with a digital frame is the price. The Sony Dash is described as a “Personal Internet Viewer” and appears to be a cross between a digital camera and a tablet. It’s designed to sit on a table or counter and provide quick access to time, weather, news, music, video and photos. It’s wi-fi enabled so you can display photos from your online sharing platform or from a USB memory stick. And, right now you can get one at Amazon’s Dealz Galore for $89.50. That’s less than half price!
If the cost of service is keeping you from getting a smart phone, you might want to take a look at Virgin Mobile’s Beyond Talk service. You can get unlimited web, data, email and text messaging for as low as $25 a month – and no contracts. The data plan is the cheap part of the service, prices go up if you’re a big talker. Even then, the unlimited everything plan is $60 a month. Virgin Mobile runs on the Sprint backbone and has provided me quality service for several years now. Read More →