PogoPlug Mobile – Another Personal Cloud Server Service

Pogoplug

2012 is going to be "Year of The Cloud", no doubt about it. First, there was great hoohaw made by Apple's announcement of iCloud earlier in the year. This was then followed by a number of products and services that offered 'private' cloud storage services - one of which we just blogged about last week: Netgear N600 Router - Personal Cloud Server with its "ReadySHARE Cloud Service".

Of course, Google has been offering Cloud services for several years with their Google Docs and application services.

Now, here's another one to add to the mix: Pogoplug Mobile.

Pogoplug has been making devices that allow you to share your media storage to your network - and beyond. Pogoplug Mobile focuses on the doing the same for your content to mobile devices but goes a step further in round-tripping data from mobile back home again.

Pogoplug's sales pitch is that it let's your iOS or Android device get access to your photos, music, movies and files from anywhere in the world via 'The Cloud' while simultaneously backing up your portable device back to 'The Cloud'.

'The Cloud' in this case is your own personal storage - plugged into a black box device that sits on your network called Pogoplug. In other words, you supply the actual storage (a USB external hard drive and/or SD Card) and the Pogoplug makes it accessible from anywhere.

It's a barebones approach to a private Cloud service. Your files aren't actually in the Cloud - they are on your own storage media. All the Pogoplug is doing is providing you with a simple way of making them accessible from anywhere.

This is more like giving you a personal DropBox or SugarSync solution than Cloud Storage.

Pogoplug is unusual in that it isn't charging a fee for providing this service. Rather, they are charging you $80 to purchase the device and then - that's it - no extra fees to gain access to their free cloud server service.

Click here to read their FAQ.

The product is anticipating an October 1st launch but Pogoplug are taking pre-orders now.

At the end of the day, Pogoplug isn't really offering anything particularly new except an iPhone and Android App that allows you to see all your files in one place and stream them to your device. There are plenty of good pogoplug alternatives, such as routers (like the Netgear WDNDR3800) that offer the same functionality, or even a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device like READYNas. Or, SugarSync. At least the NAS would have redundant storage in a RAID configuration. What happens to all your data when that portable hard drive that you plugged into the Pogoplug dies? That's when you will wish you really had 'Cloud' storage with a backup in the Cloud to boot.

In fact, I find that the term 'Cloud' is getting abused a lot lately. Google's services are truly Cloud services, because they worry about backup, redundancy, versioning, latency and all that highly technical stuff - while we just worry about it being available precisely when we need it. This is a far cry from a service like Pogoplug that simply makes the contents of your hard drive available to you on the road. That isn't a Cloud Service, it's a Remote Service.

Apple's iCloud falls somewhere in between the two extremes. It still relies upon the end-user to manage their own storage but caches data in the Cloud until it can be safely replicated to your other devices. The more devices you have, the more redundant your data will be. But, it will be your onus to look after your devices and your data. At least Apple isn't offering to keep all of it for you at their end forever at the present time - although expect to see that offered as a service for an additional fee in future.

In fact, if you are an iOS user, then iCloud is probably going to end up being your best pogoplug alternative, because it pushes your valuable data to all your iOS devices - storing it temporarily in the Cloud until it can do so.

For non-iOS users, then a Cloud Server enabled router or NAS is a good pogoplug alternative - for users who are technically savvy and don't mind interacting with firewall settings, although the Netgear ReadySHARE Cloud Service looks pretty simple to set up.

But where Pogoplug could find a nice niche is for the non-technical user and for people who need something in a pinch. For example, if I was suddenly called away on a business trip, it might be handy to have a device that I can plug a hard drive into and very easily access it from the road on my iPhone/Android, while simultaneously backing up my phone device while on the road. Being dead-simple could be a sales point - but this isn't really a safe and secure, long-term solution.

Of course much of the utility of this device will depend upon its App - what files can it stream, what formats does it support, how easy is it to use to get what I want? This remains to be seen.

You might also be interested in...

AVPlayerHD – Play Any Video on your iPad [REVIEW]

AVPlayerHD for iPad

Apple likes to keep things simple, right? "It just works..." - That was Steve Jobs' mantra at the last MacExpo. Unfortunately, simple is not always equal to "convenient".

For instance, take video. It's really annoying that the iOS only supports a limited type of video file formats. Everything that you want to play on your iPad or iPhone has to be just so...correct codec... otherwise "it just doesn't work"... In my humble experience.

I really don't want to spend the last few hours of the evening before a flight transcoding all the videos that I want to watch on my trip to the special iOS format. It's a waste of my time.

I had to play a video recently for a presentation and ended up downloading three iOS Apps: CineXPlayer, Movie Player and AVPlayerHD. Well, the first two didn't cut the mustard, so to speak. They either bombed, stuttered, or crashed.

AVPlayerHD on the other hand worked.

Intrigued, I threw lots of different file formats at it: WMV, AVI, Quicktime formats... no problem.

In fact, I think it's safe to say that AVPlayerHD is the VLC of iOS. Well, not entirely... it's not free. But, otherwise, it handled everything that I've thrown at it so far. It's never jittered, jived, bombed or dived.

You have to transfer video files directly to the App via iTunes, which is a bit of a pain - at least until iTunes is WiFi syncable and iCloud compatible... but it's a small price to pay in the scheme of things for the convenience.

All in all, I have to give it a happy thumbs-up. This is a truly dependable video player for the iPad.

Where to Buy:
iTunes USA - AVPlayerHD for iPad... and for iPhone.
iTunes UK - AVPlayerHD for iPad... and iPhone.

Luxe City Guides – Hip & Savvy [REVIEW]

Luxe City Guide to Beijing
I've been using the Luxe City Guides for several years now. They are hip and savvy, full of insider tips, travel intelligence and great suggestions for aesthetes like myself who enjoy the finer things in life. These are an Urban Nomad's best friend.

However, they are not for 'Tourists'... but that's why I like them 😉

I say this because they don't have glossy photos, maps and other bumpf. They contain small (hard-to-read) text, like someone's private notebook. They are leaflets full of insider knowledge and secrets. In fact, if anything, the presentation helps to be off-putting to the types of people you wouldn't want to see in the places you visit in these guides.

Does this sound elitist or snobbish? Of course! I don't want to hang out with other tourists when I travel. So, let those people purchase Frommer's, or Lonely Planet, or whatever. I want to hob nob with glamour, see the unseen sides of the city... get to know what the locals know.

Personally, I love the packaging. They are small, durable and fan-folding. You can slip them in a back pocket (or, purse) and pull them out easily when you need to consult them. The print is a little small but that keeps down the bulk of the guide. Slim and sleek.

I recently made use of the Bangkok City Guide and loved the restaurant and bar recommendations.

If you visit their website, you'll see that they've branched out considerably. Now they handle hotel reservations, private tour bookings, bespoke travel and provide mobile apps. They also produce box sets of the world!

Where to Buy (printed editions):
Amazon USA
Amazon UK

Where to Buy (mobile editions):
iTunes App Store
Luxe Paris Kindle Edition (Not sure why there aren't more kindle versions...)

Here are some luscious Box Sets:



Europe-Flight/Hotel Combo

iA Writer App Redefines Word Processing [REVIEW]

IAWriter1

[July 2011 Update: iaWriter is now available for MacOS! This means that - combined with Dropbox - you can edit the same iaWriter files on both your Mac and your iPad/iPhone without conflicts]

I wouldn't say that iA Writer is revolutionary but I would say that it does a good job of reinvigorating the word processor for the iPad.

Since Microsoft Word became the defacto standard, it pretty much killed innovation in the sector. All word processors trended towards the same bloatware: unnecessary toolbars, piecharts, page editing tools, etc, became the norm. Instead of streamlining and improving the process of writing, word processors became so feature rich that they became complicated, overwhelming and, quite frankly, often counter-productive. People spent more time choosing (and abusing) fonts and clip art than actually writing. How many of those features that we paid for (and pay a great deal for), do we actually use?

But as Sun Tzu mights say, turn your competitors strong point into their Achilles Heel...

If Whole Foods had pitched the idea of an over-priced supermarket to to me while everyone else was competing for the lowest prices, I might have turned them down. But I would have been wrong, wouldn't I?

Well, iA Writer does the same with word processing by throwing out all the features you're used to and starting with a blank canvas.

Pros

iWriter is innovative in its purity and simplicity. It turns the word processor on its head by removing all those features that Microsoft injected into theirs. It refocuses the process of writing back on the writing itself... not on the formatting. Stop worrying about making your document pretty and just write the darn thing!

IAWriter2

There's only one font. There are only two ways to view a document. There's only one place to store documents. Simple, simple, simple.

In order to do this, iA Writer has employed a presentation structure that employs special fonts and special views. One of my favourite views is the "Focus Mode", which greys out all the words except the current sentence and the last couple of sentences you're are working on. The net effect of this is to focus you on the point you are trying to make without losing your place within the document.

IAWriter3

The interface is clean and crisp, which makes it delightful to use. It has a virtual keyboard with some nice features, including the ability to jump the cursor to the beginning or end of a word.

Cons

Simplicity can only be taken so far. Document filing is a problem. Basically, your documents appear in one giant long list, which isn't very useful to people working on lots of things and who need nested folders.

iA Writer recently included DropBox support. This means that my iWriter documents can be synced with DropBox and edited elsewhere. When they make a roundtrip back to the iWiriter App, however, they show up as an additional version of the document +1. I suppose this prevents people from overwriting something important when they accidentally work on the same document in two locations at once... but it does create some additional complexity.

Also, syncing is not automatic, nor a background process. You must have the App in the foreground and hit the refresh button to force a sync with DropBox.

I would be very excited if iA Writer could integrate itself with more Apps and resources built-into the iPad. For instance, you can email a document but that's about it. It doesn't integrate with Evernote or SugarSync, two Apps I use a great deal.

Summary

This is a very simple word processor that loads quickly and lets you focus on the craft of writing. It is inexpensive and a pleasure to use.

It would be much better, however, if it could integrate with other third-party Apps besides DropBox but, otherwise, it really does what it says on the tin.

Get the App from iTunes:

USAUK

Global Roaming SIM Card – TruPhone [REVIEW]

[UPDATE: March 2012 When this article was first written, Truphone had a great and revolutionary product. Since then, we have cancelled our account with Tru, as their service has deteriorated and their costs have risen. In addition, we have received feedback from readers of this blog - some of which you'll see in the comments below - that suggest we are not alone in feeling this way.

It is sad when a great little company goes off the rails. While not perfect, some of the larger networks have fought back with global data roaming tariffs that are becoming increasingly competitive. Perhaps it was only a matter of time. We will leave the original article intact for posterity. Thanks for all your feedback!]

I have a number of colleagues that carry around several phones - either because they want to keep their corporate/personal bills separate, or because they need to juggle a local SIM with their SIM from home when travelling the globe to keep call and data costs down.

This is a kludge. Two phones means increased headache for recharging, App & document management, settings synching, etc, etc. Imagine carrying separate GSM-enabled iPads as well as Smartphones and you get the idea. Yet, when you use the Internet a lot when travelling overseas, then you know what I mean when I say that the Telecos REAM you on data costs. It's absolutely criminal. £2-5/MB is not uncommon in Europe. It's a stealth tax that can result in heavy users myself spending over $400/week when visiting overseas.

I had no intention of punishing myself in this way, or handing over all my gold to the evil Telcos, so I employed a crafty but complex scheme of multiple Skype local numbers, VOIP apps, virtual phone number forwarding services and calling cards. Sometimes, I purchased a prepaid international SIM card but I hated having to swap it in and out of my phone. But all of these clever strategies were, ultimately, too clever and too complex. It became a logistical nightmare. There had to be an easier way.

Truphone offers a solution to this problem. Based in the UK, they have been slowly amassing local telco contracts around the globe in order to offer a truly global SIM solution. I had been watching the company for some time and wondered what their service was like. I started off using their iPhone App which is a simple VOIP app like Skype. It had a better quality of service than Skype here in the UK. It worked pretty well abroad and allowed you to dial from your contacts database within the App before Skype upgraded their software to offer this same feature, too. Nevertheless, Truphone had established themselves in my mind as an innovative and nimble player in this market.

Four months ago, I took the plunge to become a contract user of their global SIM card service, which they call Tru SIM. Unlike prepaid international SIM cards, it is a contract service that allows you to make local calls within the countries that you are visiting. Not only are local calls profoundly cheaper than the usual roaming charges, but, they also offers data rates as low as 20p/MB (30 cents/MB) in many of the countries that I find myself in on a regular basis (US, UK and Western Europe).

UPDATE on March 23, 2011: Tru has announced a US data rate decrease of 50% from 35p/MB to 15p/MB.

Tru SIM is, in essence, a virtual Telco company. They use partners' networks abroad and, so far (as of this writing), have brokered deals in 5 countries - US, UK, France, Germany and Australia. Their UK partner is Vodaphone and their US partner (I suspect) is Cingular. What this means is that when you call from within those 5 countries, your call is truly local. However, the company reps were quick to point out to me that they use these contracts to establish better deals when you travel within other countries not currently under contract with them. That is to say, they use the power of their partner Telcos to negotiate better deals and they used least-cost-routing methods to route your calls over an IP network to originate from somewhere where they will get better rates. In particular, they don't have to pay a call setup charge when calling from other countries like you might be forced to when roaming with your home provider in a foreign country.

The upshot of all this is to provide you with a single SIM card that gives you true local call charges in many countries and, hopefully, lower call charges than your home network when travelling in countries that they don't have directly under contract. They also offer those extremely competitive data rates when roaming which, in my mind, the most compelling reason to use them.

Does TruPhone offer the cheapest international call rates in the world? No. But they will offer cheaper international call rates than your home Teleco AND better data rates when roaming abroad... on a single SIM card with multiple local phone numbers on a contract basis (not pre-paid). This means you carry ONE SIM and ONE PHONE but get a lot of the benefits of carrying two.

As I said, I've been using the service for 4 months now and am happy with it. It isn't perfect. There are times when I cannot get a Tru connection when travelling and the phone must default to some other network. This happens more frequently in the US than in Europe and I found myself on AT&T at times. But this has more to do with the US' crappy mobile phone coverage than with Tru. One more caveat - Tru doesn't get 3G/4G support (as of yet) in the US but it does have this support in Europe. This might make a difference to you if you need to do some heavy data lifting.

Despite what Tru says on its website, they do support the mico-SIM slot of the iPhone 4. But only if you sign up with them as a corporate customer. Otherwise, for individuals, they pretend not to. Not sure why.

It goes without saying that to use it in an iPhone, you have to have an unlocked model. You can buy these directly from Apple in the UK without ruining your warranty. I suppose that unlocked models will eventually show up in the US when the network exclusivity deals come to an end. In the meantime, just buy one here in Europe. It might cost you £500 but you'll save in the long-run if you do a lot of data roaming like I do. I was spending £400/week in the US before I had this SIM with Tru!!

Overall, I found them to be a very reliable service. I was given local numbers in the countries that I wanted - for instance the USA and the UK. This enabled locals to call my handset with a local number, which is more convenient and less off-putting than giving them a UK international phone number. The other nice feature of this is that people can send you text messages. One of the problems with call forwarding services is that they rarely support SMS. However, with a global SIM like Tru SIM that can tie lots of different phone numbers from around the world to the same SIM, you don't have this problem.

Initially, I set up a local number for the UK and the USA, as I was expecting a lot of travel between these two countries. I gave American contacts my US number and vice versa to my UK contacts. Everyone was able to call me locally and SMS text me without problems. I travelled to three US States from coast to coast and the Midwest and found that I received Tru service wherever I went. Call handling worked well and calls were very clear.

Because I am a corporate customer, they gave me 10 SIM cards for other devices and, also, gave me a USB Dongle for my laptop. All of the SIMs were tied to the same account and they provided fairly detailed itemised billing for everything. My first bill when I returned for the US was £195, instead of £600 (like it was when I was on 02), so I was very pleased.

Occasionally, I get asked to update my Network Provider profile on my iPhone. A little message pops up for Tru, asking me to either Accept or Decline the network token. It's no more of a nuisance than simply tapping on the 'Accept' button... although, if it happens when I'm in the middle of something else, I need to put my phone into Airplane mode, then take it out again to sort it out. This is happening a bit more frequently lately (once every three weeks). It's not a deal-breaker by any means but it is slightly annoying.

In summary, I would have to say that TruPhone offers and extremely compelling global SIM service for customers who want the cheapest international calls that they can get on a contract SIM without resorting to prepaid calling cards and other VOIP workarounds. It is also a heck of a lot simpler than juggling multiple SIMs or multiple phones.

[UPDATE: November, 2011: We employed Truphone throughout our organisation and experienced extremely high data and call costs when travelling in certain countries in Europe. Tru has been fairly competitive in the US (for European users) but that's about it. To make matters worse, Tru charges for data even when in your home country (in our case the UK, where the Tru company is based). The costs were better than roaming with a home SIM card but they began to get worse, as we multiplied the number of devices we used with Tru SIM cards (phones, tablets, etc). We recently heard, however, that Vodaphone in the UK is rolling out a global roaming deal with very fair and competitive data rates when used abroad, while data rates in your home country are bundled in the tariff. This seems like a much better scenario and we are looking into converting all our Tru setups over to Vodafone. Consequently, we have downgraded our usability score for Tru because of its extremely high pricing given the current market economy.]

 

Evernote – capture anything and take it anywhere [REVIEW]

Evernote is difficult to qualify. According to the company, they want to be the "Global platform for human memory."  - hence the elephant head in the logo. Well, that sounds like serious stuff. Luckily, that is what it does. The software is easy to use but at times can be confusing. We are recommending it, however, because it provides the best multimedia, content synchronising service across multiple devices on the planet.

Why should you care?

Well, first of all we like to collect information when we travel. We might want to capture a Web page, store a pdf document, take a picture of something (like a sign, or a wine label), make an audio recording, etc. The trouble is, we travel with lots of different devices. Sometimes we have a laptop to hand. Other times, just a smartphone. Over time, we end up with lots of different types of files spread across lots of different types of devices. What we really want is a digital scrapbook that allows us to capture all this disparate stuff and load it to some central server somewhere, where we can get to it at any time and from anywhere. Enter Evernote.

Pros:
- capture notes, photos, audio, docs, attachments, etc... and have them synched across all your mobile and non-mobile devices
- everything is indexed and searchable
- OCR photos of text AND handwriting!
- some limited sharing of data with outsiders and collaborators

Cons:
- notebook sharing for teams is crap
- interface isn't uniform across all devices, leading to some confusion
- iPad / iPhone versions cannot edit notes created in desktop version, only append text to them

Evernote is a Digital Scrapbook

To start off with, you need to sign up to use the service. You can have a free account, which limits how much data you can upload/download per month, or a premium account (less restricted). Next, you need to download software. Thankfully, Evernote supports quite a lot of devices: PC, Web Browser, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Palm Pre and Windows Mobile.

The best way to familiarise yourself with the software is to begin with the desktop version. It has the most features and the best graphical representation. As you can appreciate, the mobile versions are slimmed down and can be a little more confusing at the outset.

Evernote uses a Stack > Notebook > Note taxonomy as its filing system. You can create as many notebooks as you wish and put as many notes into them. These notebooks, in turn, can be grouped together as a 'stack'.

A note can be anything. Literally... a photo, a document, a recording... anything. You can tag notes with your own keywords (which helps when you need to search and retrieve them, especially files that don't contain text) and you can browse notes by certain criteria (attributes), such as when or where they were created.

You can have all of your notebooks and their content synchronised to your smartphone, if you wish, in order to read them offline, or choose a subset of the data to keep on your device.

One of the really clever features of the Evernote service is the ability to convert photographed text into searchable text. Evernote uses OCR (optical character recognition) on their servers to do this, so your computer isn't involved in this at all. For instance, if I take a photograph of a menu in a restaurant that just happens to have the word 'lobster' in it, then I can always retrieve that photo later by searching within Evernote for 'lobster'. This really comes in handy, because it can be very boring to tag all of your photos. This way, you can let Evernote do it for you.

This also works with photos taken of handwritten text! It's not perfect but you'd be surprised at how well it does when working from a photo of a handwritten paged snapped by a mobile phone. It will blow your mind.

How do you use it?

Imagine you are surfing the Web on your computer and you see a really good Web page that you want to capture. You can use the Evernote browser bookmark, or simply right-click on the page to capture it as a text file, or as a pdf if you need to preserve all of its formatting.

Any document that you can print, can also be captured to Evernote. You can drag-and-drop any file into the Evernote application. You can create RTF documents within Evernote, including in-line images and attachments. Evernote also gives you a unique email address, so that you can email things into Evernote notebooks. This helps to integrate Evernote with other workflow processes that don't have direct connectivity.

On the smartphone, you use it in a similar way - although you are limited in some cases by your device. You can clip Web pages (but not pdf them). You can upload photos that you take with your smartphone camera. Ditto for audio recordings. To do all of this, though, you have to be inside the Evernote App (except when clipping pages in your browser).

iPad Evernote

Evernote has been very aggressive at supporting new mobile platforms right from the start, including iPad Evernote and Android. I've been using the iPad version for several months and - while it doesn't offer full fidelity with the desktop version - it is much more user-friendly on the big, portable screen. I find it useful for clipping documents for travel, such as hotel bookings, flight information, car rental booking, etc. Having everything available at your fingertips in an A4 format is very convenient for retrieving and for showing it to other people.

One annoying thing, however, is that you cannot edit RTF documents on the iPad / iPhone version of Evernote. For instance, you might have created an attractive document on the desktop version of Evernote, which BY DEFAULT makes it an RTF. Then, for some strange godforsaken reason, you try to open that note on your iPad in the Evernote App and it tells you that you cannot edit RTF documents - only that you can 'Append' plain text to it, that you will need to re-integrate properly when you get back to your desktop version of the software. Pants! This is stupid. Evernote: please fix. Otherwise, choose some other file format that will have full-fidelity across devices, please.

Collaboration: Notebook and Note Sharing

Evernote isn't great when it comes to sharing your notes with others. This part of the software is still evolving, so stay tuned.

If you want to share a note, or notebook, with the public - this isn't a problem. You do this on your desktop version of Evernote. You will then be given a URL that you can pass out to people in order to access your note. If you want share it with only certain people, then they have to be registered on Evernote as users in order to authorise them with passwords. After that, it's the same mechanic. This time, you would give Evernote a list of email addresses for the people who should have access and they will be sent a link to the URL of the note or notebook - which they can access after authenticating themselves with Evernote.

The real problem, though, is working with groups and trying to use shared notebooks for collaboration amongst teams of people. This is where Evernote fails miserably. It will allow you to share a notebook but, then, nobody else can do much with it (except read the notes in it). Even if you give them 'modify' rights, all they can do is create a new note from WITHIN that notebook on their desktop or Web versions of Evernote. They cannot clip a Web page from their browser and put it into a shared notebook (it won't show up as an option in the drop-down list, even though they have access to it otherwise). They cannot clip a Web page into a personal notebook and then try to move it into the shared notebook, because nobody except the 'owner' of the shared notebook can move notes in and out of it.

What about exporting a note from a personal notebook and then importing it into a shared notebook? Nope, doesn't work. Why??

How about clipping a webpage to a personal notebook and then emailing it into a shared folder? Okay, this does work BUT if you want to preserve the full fidelity of the page (graphics, formatting, photos, etc) you will need to do this from WITHIN the Evernote desktop application. Otherwise, all that will be received is text (in most cases with a few exceptions, depending upon your email client).

At the end of the day, Shared notebooks for teams in Evernote is very frustrating.

Clipping a web page from within your browser on you mobile phone will be very slow and requires several steps and, in some cases, a hack (see comments below). Nevertheless, you can clip a full page - graphics and all - save it to your personal notebook, then email it to someone else's shared notebook. If you want to designate the name of the shared notebook it should go to, then use '@' in the subject line. Read this for more info on emailing into Evernote accounts.

The Trunk

Evernote is trying to branch out with new products and services. The trunk is one of those new features. Basically, third-parties offer Notebooks full of content that you might be interested in. You can add these 'trunks' to your Evernote account. Whenever the service offers new content, you will find it in your Evernote application. For the time being, most of the trunks tend to be from publishers that want to extend their reach. They may or may not have phone apps, which is probably why they are covering their bases by offering their content in this way.

Evernote is also striking partnerships with various companies to extend the Evernote services. One example, is the 'Droid Scan' application. This allows you to take a picture of a document and then have it turned into a clean, easy-to-read pdf. This is useful when the camera on your phone takes substandard photos. Documents would otherwise look like blurry and dark photos. Instead, they will come out looking like crisp documents (as long as the photograph offers enough detail for the Droid Scan service to do its job).

Additional Resources:
Evernote Safari iPad Web Clipping Forum on Nomadz.net - if you need to know how to clip web pages on your iPad, check out our forum topic. It has tips and code excerpts.
iPad forum on Nomadz.net - everything related to iPad, including Evernote uses, tips and code snippets.
Evernote Corporation Website - home page of product.
Evernote on Wikipedia - everything you ever wanted to know about the company and more.
Macworld interview with Phil Libin, creator of Evernote - how to capture everything that happens to you in your life 😉

Buy Evernote Now:

USA Customers - iPad - iPhone

UK Customers - iPad - iPhone

日本の客産へ iPad - iPhone


Clip to Evernote

Instapaper – clip Web pages and take them anywhere [REVIEW]

Instapaper on iPad

Instapaper for the iPhone is indispensable. Instapaper for the iPad is critical.

Instapaper is an App for clipping web pages while you are on the go. Unlike bookmarks (in a browser), Instapaper actually saves the content of the page (sometimes without ads and annoying flash content), so that you can read the page when you are offline (not connected to the Internet).

It's important to note that Instapaper doesn't store an exact replica of the page as it appears on the Web but a best-representation of it. This is often more convenient, making the pages load faster, look cleaner and makes them easier to read. Rest assured, though, that it does store important graphics and illustrations found on the page.

In practice, it is much more versatile than simply clipping Web pages in your browser, because there are many other apps that support Instapaper from within them. For example, you might be clicking on a link within a Twitter feed that takes you to a web page within the Twitter client app. If you like that page, you might find that the Twitter app has Instapaper support with a 'Read Later' menu action - in which case the page can be saved to the Instapaper service.

Of course, you can clip pages to your Instapaper account from any computer and any device - and have them all go into the same Instapaper account. This makes it very easy to share an account with other people - or just with yourself on multiple devices. You can have multiple accounts but it does make clipping from the iPad and iPhone a little more challenging. Some special coding is needed to differentiate which Web clip should be associated with which account.

You can view the web pages that you have clipped from any computer by logging into your Instapaper account in a Web browser. But the beauty of the Instapaper App is that you can do this from within other Apps without having to leave them. Even with multitasking on the iPhone, this is very convenient. On the iPad, it's critical.

When you load the Instapaper App on the iPhone or iPad, you will need to synchronise it with the Instapaper server to get your latest pages. From that point on, they are stored on your iPhone/iPad device - so you no longer need to be connected to the Internet in order to save them.

Instapaper offers some rudimentary web page management in the form of folders. You can, of course, delete (or archive) Web pages to move them out of your Instapaper pages queue.

Additional Resources:
iPad forum on Nomadz - contains additional code snippets, tips and techniques on using Instapaper and other related apps.
Instapaper Website - home page for the product. Also, here is their product blog.
Macworld Review - of the Instataper app. 4 1/2 Stars.
Instapaper on Twitter - follow the product on Twitter.

Overplay iPad and iPhone – break geolocation restrictions and Catch-Up TV

Hulu app on iPad: Geolocation Error

Imagine you are travelling abroad and you want to watch some catch up TV. You fire up your laptop, iPad or smartphone - only to discover that it's not available for replay in your area. You might be an American abroad who wants to watch ABC, Hulu content, iTunes, or something from your Netflix queue. Or, perhaps, you are a Brit somewhere else in Europe who wants to watch the BBC iPlayer. Sadly, you're out of luck and the content providers just couldn't care less.

Geolocation restrictions to content are an Internet cancer. Nothing is more irritating than finding out that you are unable to play a video because you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. As more Video on Demand (VOD) services come online, this is likely to affect everyone. But there are solutions. Once of which is Overplay.

Overplay is a simple service to use. Simply go to their website and sign up for a subscription. At the time of writing, it was less than $10/month. Then, download the Overplay application to your PC or Mac.

Overplay creates a Virtual Private Network (VPN) between you and their Server. This basically tunnels all of your Internet traffic from wherever you are to make it appear to be originating from where the Overplay VPN Server is located. For instance, you might be in Berlin but want to appear to be in the West Coast of the USA. All you have to do is connect to the Overplay West Coast USA VPN Server and you will appear to be surfing from there instead.

The process is simply. You just fire up the Overplay application, log in and specify which geographic location you want to appear to be in. That's it - that's all you have to do. From that point on, your computer will appear to be in whatever geographic VPN you ask the Overplay application to connect to. Overplay has VPN servers in the US (East Coast, Central and West Coast), UK, Ireland, Canada, Sweden, Japan and Switzerland (amongst others), so you should find a Server that allows you to watch the content you want to see.

VPN settings on iPad

Using Overplay on the iPad is also very easy. All you have to do is go to the Overplay website and get the configuration details. Then, you go into the iPad 'Settings' and configure a VPN for Overplay iPad. You can set up a VPN configuration file for as many VPN servers as you would like to connect to. After you have done this, all you need to do is connect your iPad to the Internet (either via WiFi or 3G - if available) and then click on the VPN you would like to use. That's it. All your traffic will now appear to be originating from that VPN server.

For example, you could create an Overplay iPad VPN for the West Coast USA, and Overplay iPad VPN for Japan, and so on and so forth. By connecting forcing my iPad's WiFi connection to use one of these VPN settings, I appear to be residing in that geographic region.

The same is true for Overplay iPhone - settings are almost identical.

In summary, then, Overplay offers a good way to make your laptop, iPad or iPhone appear to be browsing and accessing content from different countries and geographic regions, depending upon the VPN settings that you configure on your device - and dependent upon what VPN servers the Overplay service have in operation.

British Airways iPhone Boarding Pass

BA App

British Airways has recently started accepting iPhone boarding passes. All you have to do is make sure that you have the latest BA iPhone app. You can then use the app (or the Web) to check-in online and have your boarding pass downloaded to your iPhone.

On the iPhone, you will find the boarding passes listed under each flight itinerary. Open up the pass and you will see a small stamp-shaped barcode that can be read by the ground crew when boarding the flight.

At present, iPhone boarding passes are available for all European flights originating from the UK and all UK domestic flights.

Click here to go to the ITunes store.

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Withings WiFi body scale with iPhone App – track your weight from anywhere

WiFi Body scales for tracking your weight and managing weight loss are becoming all the craze. You weigh yourself and the scale posts your weight and BMI data to an Internet site (password protected, of course) over your home WiFi connection. This one from Withings is really slick and even comes with an iPhone app called WiScale.

Good for the weight conscious and control freaks, this makes a fun (and useful) addition to the capsule apartment. It is slim, neat and space-saving. Plus, it works with the whole family. By setting up different profiles for different people, the scale is automatically able to differentiate between them - posting the correct weight & BMI information to the correct profile.

Living the Nomadz lifestyle means being flexible, eating on the run and not always eating right. You could even slip this into your luggage and track your weight while jetsetting. Changing the WiFi settings isn't too hard, as long as you have your laptop with you.

Someday in the future, I imagine that most of your health and beauty equipment will converge onto Internet profiles, sharing this data with your doctor, or any other healthcare professional with whom you wish to do so. It also makes weighing yourself more fun and, hopefully, helps you to fight the bulge in the process. Given the obesity epidemic facing the world today, there is not time like the present.

Now, if only it was portable, you could weigh yourself from anywhere! Mind you, it's not very heavy and it is ultra slim. Perhaps you can't pop it into a handbag but it will fit neatly into your carry-on.

The website may seem to be a bit of a gimmick but it is well conceived. I like the fact that it wasn't cobbled together by engineers but actually by someone who knows something about UI design. When you first get the scale, you signup on the website and then create password protected profiles for different members of your household. By telling the system in advance their approximate height and weight, it can immediately differentiate between them when they hop on the scale.

Next, you connect the scale to your computer with the USB cable provided. Download some software from the website and you can configure your scale to connect to your local WiFi network (even if it's password protected and encrypted). That's it.

Every time you step on the scale, it takes your weight and BMI reading. You have to weight for this calculation to complete but it doesn't take more than 10 seconds. The data is then automatically uploaded to the website.

The scale isn't cheap - roughly 119 euros. But, then again, how many times do you need to buy scales? If it does help you to become healthier as a result of its interactive nature, then the price is worth it.

Check out the video on Amazon.