We are carrying so much of our lives on our mobile devices these days that the loss of an iPad or smart phone means more than just the loss of the device – a lot more. Spend some time securing the information on your device. This will protect you not only should a device be lost, but as you use your device to browse the web, make purchases and other tasks involving sensitive information. Here are some suggestions.
First, spend a few minutes and set your iPad up to deal with the worst case scenario – if your iPad should be lost or stolen. Apple has a free service called Find My iPad. It is currently located on their Mobile Me platform so you’ll have to set up a free Mobile Me account there in order to use it. This service will show you on a map approximately where your iPad (or iPhone or iPod Touch) is located. From Mobile Me you can send an instruction to play a sound to help you find it or you can remotely lock the device. In a worst case scenario, you can remotely erase everything on it. But, in order for this to work, you must first set it up on your iPad.
Go to Settings and make sure Location Services is turned on. Now, still in Settings, go to Mail, Contacts and Calendars and make sure that Push is on in Fetch New Data. Still in Mail, Contacts and Calendars, add your Mobile Me account then turn on the Find My iPad service.
Now, if you can’t find your iPad, go to the Mobile Me site, log in and click on the Find My iPhone section. A map appears showing where your device is located and a command pane lets you determine what you want to do from there.
For day-to-day security, you can protect your data by encrypting it. It’s as easy as setting a passcode to get into your device.
Set a passcode by going to Settings > General > Passcode Lock and entering a 4-digit passcode. You’ll be asked to do it again to verify. Once the passcode is set, you’ll have to enter the code every time you want to use your iPad. It also does something else quite useful. It turns on the built-in encryption feature providing a level of security for your data. Also in the General Settings is an Auto-Lock option which lets you set how long your iPad remains idle before it is automatically locked.
I’m a firm believer in the need for secure passwords for all my online sites and services. I also know it’s important to have different passwords at each site. I don’t have the ability – or inclination – to remember dozens of mile-long passwords so I use a password management application to do it for me. I use 1Password [Mac, Win, iOS & Android] on my desktop and both my iPad and Touch. It allows me to store not only login information for web sites, but other personal information like bank accounts, credit card info and software licenses. The application’s database is encrypted and there’s a synchronization feature that keeps the data on the devices updated with the desktop. It will generate long, complex passwords for sites which I don’t need to remember. I just click on the 1Password plugin for my browser and it will input the correct login information for that site – after I enter the password to my 1Password data. Yes, that’s the only password I have to remember. It’s worth every penny!
In any good iPad reader app, it won’t take long before you library becomes quite large. GoodReader not only reads a number of different file types – PDF, MS Office, iWork, text, etc. – but it also offers impressive note-taking functions. All this practically insures you’ll soon have a large collection of documents in your GoodReader library. Fortunately, GoodReader also provides a document management capability that not only helps you organize your library, but also makes it easy to move documents back and forth between your tablet and other locations. Here’s a look at some of that functionality.
The My Documents screen is the hub for finding, uploading, managing and synching documents from your desktop and any number of online sources.
In this example, you see the list of GoodReader documents currently on my iPad in the left pane. On the right are several accordion-style buttons which, when tapped, display the functions pane for each button. Here the Manage Files pane is displayed. Before you can perform a function, you must select the document(s) on the left that will be affected. I tapped the SCGS2011 2.pdf document which highlighted the selection dot on the left. Now I can:
- move or copy the selected files within the GoodReader file system on this iPad
- create a zip file of the selected files
- use the star toggle button to star/unstar selected files or folders
- use the protect toggle button to add/remove password protection for the selected files or folders
- mark files/folders as read or unread
- send the selected files as email attachments
- rename a single selected file or folder
- use the Link button to create a special URL to a single selected file which can be used by other apps on your iPad that are capable of opening URL links
- extract files embedded in a PDF Portfolio so GoodReader can read them
- open the selected file in another iPad app that supports Document Interchange
- create a task in the Appigo Todo app (purchased separately)
- create a new folder
- create an empty TXT file which can be edited within GoodReader
- delete the selected files or folders.
Once you’ve finished any management operations, tap Done.
You can download files directly from the Web. Once you open the Web Downloads pane, you are presented with two options: Browse the Web and Enter URL. If you know the complete address to the file you want to download, use the Enter URL option. Otherwise, use the Browse option. In this example, I know I can get a PDF copy of the Notebooks Handbook from the app’s site, but I’m not sure of the document’s address so I chose the Browse the Web option and went to the site.
As soon as the page containing links to the handbook loads, GoodReader pops up a message asking if I want to follow the link to the document or Download the Linked File. I chose download and in seconds I’m reading the handbook.
GoodReader also provides access to a growing number of cloud services like Dropbox, Google Docs and SugarSync through the Connect to Servers pane. You can even use this to open email attachments.
Before you can use this capability, you will need an account with one of the cloud services and then set up a GoodReader record for the account. This is done by tapping the Add button displayed at the right side of the Connect to Servers header. The popup you see here is used to select the service to configure. Then, depending on the service chosen, you’ll enter the necessary connection information for that service. You only need to do this once. GoodReader will remember the information. You can edit your service records at any time should something – like you password – change.
Now, when you open the Connect to Servers pane, you will see the services you’ve configured. Tap on a service to display the file browsing pane you see here. Once I select a file by tapping it, a Download button appears at the bottom of the browsing pane to I can download it into GoodReader.
By combining GoodReader with a cloud storage service, family historians can use their iPad to maintain a library of research-related documents that gives them almost instant access to research notes, working documents and reference material at any time.
iPad users have probably noticed that some email services – Gmail, for instance – don’t offer a Trash icon in the toolbar. So, how do you get rid of messages you don’t want to keep?
Just tap the folders icon to display your folders in the sidebar, then tap the Trash item there. You may want to check your mail service’s settings to see if there’s an option to automatically delete or empty the trash. If not, you’ll have to visit your mail site occasionally to empty the trash.
iFiles [iOS - $3.99] is the Swiss Army knife for iOS file management. You’ll be amazed at the things you can do with this app:
- Copy, move, rename and delete files on your device.
- Create folders.
- Zip and unzip files.
- Upload photos from you device to photo-sharing sites.
- Share files with others via wi-fi or Bluetooth (iThing to iThing).
- Email files as attachments.
- Preview iWorks and MS Office files as well as PDF documents and most image formats.
- Print files using AirPrint.
In addition to its file manager functionality, iFiles is also a voice recorder, a web browser and an FTP client. It supports a growing number of online services such as Dropbox, MobileMe, Google Docs, Flickr, Picasa and more.
Set up is quick and easy. Actual file management is even easier. Swipe your finger across a file or folder to display the functions menu, choose the function and follow the steps. For example, swipe across a file name, choose the Move command, then select the folder you want it moved to from the folder list. Sharing between devices is just that simple too.
iFiles is an amazing tool with tons of features yet surprisingly easy to use. If there’s more than one iOS device in your family, this will make it so easy to handle files that you’ll wonder how you ever survived without it.
Diigo, the bookmarking platform for researchers, has built a browser for the iPad. iChromy [iPad -free] has a funny name, but after spending the evening working with it, that name is sounding real good.
The first thing you’ll see is tabbed browsing – with real tabs. After years of tabs on desktop browsers, tabs at the top of the screen are second nature. I’ve missed them on the iPad, but no more. The address bar does double-duty as the search bar. And, all you do to bookmark a page is tap the star at the right of the address bar. It turns gold and this page is bookmarked. Tap the open book icon just to the right of the address bar to display your bookmarks.
Want to open a link in a new tab? Do a long tap on that link and a popup menu offers you options to open it in a tab, a background tab or add it to the offline reading list. The difference between a tab and a background tab is that the background tab opens the new page, but the browser stays focused on the current page.
Select some text on a web page and not only will you see the standard Copy command, iChromy also offers the opportunity to do a search based on your selected text. I love it!
Notice the glasses icon just to the right of the bookmark star? Tap it and iChromy will save the displayed page for offline reading. Tap the pages icon to display those saved pages.
The share icon displays the menu you see here. Yes, you can send a page to your Diigo bookmarks along with social networks. Tap the More button to find Evernote, Instapaper, Tumblr and other sharing options. With this browser, you can now actually do some serious research on your iPad.
I’m very impressed with this browser and quickly getting comfortable with its operation. One look at the reviews in the App Store shows I’m not alone. And, knowing Diigo, I’m sure this is just the beginning and this little browser will only get better.
Imagine you’re taking photos in a rural cemetery then immediately checking them out on your iPad’s big screen. It’s not just a dream anymore, thanks to Eye-Fi Direct.
If you have an Eye-Fi card for your camera, you can now send photos and videos straight to your iPad or iPhone – even when there’s no wi-fi hot spot nearby. With their new Direct functionality, your Eye-Fi card becomes its own hot spot letting you connect to the photos from your iThings. Here’s what you’ll need to make it happen:
- An Eye-Fi card with firmware version 4.5021 or higher
- Eye-Fi Center version 3.3 or higher
- iPhone or iPad running at least version 4.0 of the iOS operating system.
On your iThings, you’ll need to install the free Eye-Fi app and you’ll need to update your Eye-Fi Center software to the latest version. Then, you’ll need to update the firmware (built-in program) on your Eye-Fi card which adds the Direct functionality. Once that’s done, enable Direct mode and you’re ready to go. You’ll find complete instructions at Eye-Fi Support.
A quick look in Amazon shows the Eye-Fi 8GB Mobile X2 [$79.99] is already set up with Direct.
iFiles [iOS, $2.99] puts an impressive file management and sharing system on your iThings. It serves as a file manager, document viewer, text editor and voice recorder while it allows you to connect to all your cloud-based services from DropBox and Google Docs to Flickr and Picasa. And you have FTP and WebDAV access to everything else. If there’s a Swiss Army knife for iOS, this is it.
Email files from within iFiles, record a voice note, view a PDF and even directly share files with your friends if they also have iFiles (via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth). It handles an amazing number of formats too including MS Office, iWorks, PDF, rich text, video, audio and images.
In this example, you are looking at a list of my Flickr Groups. I can browse through my Flickr photos, save them to my iPad, email them and even print them – all from inside iFiles.
The iPad is a year old.
Anyone who reads the Gazette knows I love my iPad. What you may not know is how dramatically it has changed my life. I am still the tech geek I’ve always been, but I am once again part of the family.
For years the computer has kept me tucked away in a back room while I catch up on the news, work on my research or write. I would come home from work and head straight to the den to check mail, Facebook, Twitter and my newsreader. After dinner, it was more of the same. Now, when I get home, I grab my iPad, pour a glass of wine and sit down with my husband (and his iPad) to catch up with him while I see what’s happening online. We used to do much the same thing years ago, only there was a newspaper involved instead of iPads.
I’ve rediscovered pleasure reading because I can control both the font size and brightness of the screen. Next to the book apps, Flipboard has to be my favorite app. It turns news feeds, Twitter and Facebook into a beautiful magazine format that makes keeping up with everything a delight rather than a chore. I still use Google Reader to process the news and information I need to keep up with, but when there’s something special that pops up in the reader I’ll “star” it to enjoy that evening in Flipboard.
Today, thanks to the iPad, I find I’m reading in the living room again – much like I used to read print books. I still do a lot of my work on the desktop in the den, but since I do most of that work early in the mornings while everyone else is asleep, it doesn’t impact family life that much.
Obviously, this isn’t all I do with my iPad, but it’s how I spend a lot of my iPad time. Tech stuff has always been fascinating as tools to do the things I want to do. My iPad is a great tool, but even more than that, it’s an enjoyable experience.
Am I surprised the new iPad is flying off shelves? Not at all. One year later, I am still constantly amazed at its versatility – and it’s still only a toddler.
A recent upgrade to the iPad’s operating system added some very useful functionality. The Folders feature lets us collect related apps into a folder instead of having them spread across several screens. Here are a few tips to help you put folders to good use.
First, you need to know how to manage apps on your iPad screen. When you touch and hold your finger on one app icon, after a couple of seconds all the icons will start shaking and a tiny “x” appears in the top left corner of each icon. You’re now in app management mode. To delete an app from your iPad, tap the “x” on its icon. You will be prompted to confirm this is what you want to do, then the app is deleted. You can drag icons around the screen and even onto other screens to rearrange them. Once you’re finished, tap the Home button to exit app management.
Setting up folders is easy. In app management mode, drag an app icon onto another app icon. It will create a small black box with very tiny versions of each app’s icon inside it and display a stripe containing each app plus a title bar. You’re iPad will have given your folder a name, which you can change by tapping and typing. Press the Home button and you’re done.
Want to add an app to an existing folder? Again, in app management mode, just drag the app into the folder. You can even open a folder, then drag an app from it to another folder to move from one to another.
Apps aren’t the only thing you can put in these folders. You can bookmark web pages in Safari and put them in your folders. Navigate to the page you want to access from your folder then tap the function icon in Safari’s toolbar and choose Add to Home Screen. A screenshot of your web page will be used as the icon and you can edit the title that will appear with it. Once that’s done, you can move the icon into whichever folder you want. For example, I have bookmarks to my most frequently accessed WeRelate pages stashed in my Research folder, along with the Ancestry, Diigo and Reunion apps.
Folders make it a lot easier to access a large number of apps. I’m down to two screens versus the four screens I had before folders were implemented. And that includes even more apps than before. It takes a little time to create a system that works for you and a little more time to adjust to it, but soon you’ll wonder how you ever survived your old system.