Zagg Rugged Book – Review

Zagg Rugged Book

So I briefly took a look at the Zagg Rugged Book for iPad Air 2 last night and threw up some initial thoughts.  Now, I would like to actually give some real thoughts after using it a bit more for working on emails, Reddit posts and replies as well as more blog posts.  First of all, it is so nice having a full keyboard to use and still see the whole screen rather than being stuck with the on-screen keyboard.  This is like having a full laptop rather than a tablet.  It is not a full-sized keyboard, but that is not possible because of the size of the iPad in comparison to a full keyboard.  Even the Apple wireless keyboard, which is one of the smallest full-sized keyboards is wider than the iPad.  That’s ok, because it is so much better than being stuck with the on-screen keyboard.

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Rugged Keyboard for Travel – Initial Thoughts

img_0672-2Well, this week I picked up a new Bluetooth keyboard and case from Zagg.  It is their Rugged Case.  Now, it is not a waterproof or dust proof case, however is it quite shock proof.  It has some nice features, as without the backlighting and with normal use, the battery should last over a year without needing to be recharged.  There are different ways to put the shell together, from normal keyboard usage to movie mode (where the keyboard is behind the iPad.  For normal iPad tablet use, the case can be tucked behind and folded up.

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A Week Later

iPad and Surface Pro 2Well, it has been a week with the Surface Pro 2.  I have to say, I am very impressed with it.  While it won’t take the place of my MacBook Pro or my iPad, it does have a reserved place in my gear bag.  I have gotten it all set up with backups, image processing apps (still trying to figure out which to use most), video apps, my favorite browsers and more.  Even have it set up with internal storage (64GB MicroSD card) and 228GB storage on Microsoft’s OneDrive.  The biggest thing about it is that it is a full-blown desktop operating system with full desktop apps.  No sandbox or anything else.  Full browsers are really nice, especially when you need them.  That is my one big wish on the iPad.

It will have its place among my gadgets.  I have a bag set up for my iPad and charger, Surface and its charger and mouse and stylus’ for both.  I look forward to using it more and getting the gadgets to work together.  Dracolich is here to stay.

The image is a comparison of the size difference between the iPad (3) and the Surface Pro 2.  The diagonal are pretty much the same, but the main difference is the iPad is a 4×3 screen configuration and the SP2 is 16×9.  The SP2 is heavier as well.

New Travel Case

I did a short writeup of my small go case for computing, now here is the large go case for computing.  This will be short, as I have not had a chance to really put it to use yet.  I bought this on faith that it would fit my MBP. Everything about this case was mobility for me and being able to take my full kit with me, both my still camera kit and my video cameras (GoPro and a small Sony.) I was also able to include my whole iPad kit in TwelveSouth’s Book Book. It is probably going to be my last case. I cannot wait until my next trip to really put it to use. I would recommend this to anyone who needs a good really throw-around travel case. And It will be very TSA friendly, since everything is easily accessible and fully protected. This is typical of every Pelican case I have ever used.  More info and photo after break.

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So, this weekend I proceeded to migrate my email, contacts and calendar off of an Exchange server I have been using since 2001.  I loved it, but with the ever-tightening budget, I wanted to see if I could live on the services I am already receiving for free, rather than relying on a paid service.  Sure, it is only $8 per month, but hey, that can add up over time, especially since I have been paying for it forever.

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Weather Info

And before you ask, this is not going to be a bitch post complaining about how cold and snowy it has been.  Personally, I love snow, always have.

I installed a neat little bit of hardware in my house that monitors various aspects of the weather.  Both inside my house and outside.  Very cool.  It has a nice web interface to bring up what the station is gathering, and includes charts/graphs as well.  It also has smartphone apps that show  the same information.  All this is great.  The units work as expected and is my go-to weather app on my phone now.  It is called NetAtmo and can be ordered from their website.  Installation was quick and easy, even mounting the outdoor unit was cake.  The outdoor unit is completely wireless, and runs on batteries.  So far, after being on the house for 9 months, I am still showing 95% battery.  Very acceptable.  The indoor unit is plugged into the wall and sitting on the counter in my house.  It connects to the internet wirelessly and is completely stand-alone.  Please click more to see how I am now contributing to Louisville’s weather watching.

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So, I just added another piece to my media gear.  Seagate Wireless Hard Drive, 1 TB.  Purpose?  Simple – carry my movies around so I can watch any of them at any time.  Makes my 32 GB iPad virtually limitless when it comes to storage.  Add the Zagg Spark 2 and the battery life for the hard drive approaches 24 hours.  Since I have the 32 GB iPad rather than the 64 GB version, I have had to be careful about how much I put on it.  Balance the movies with the games and whatnot.  Not anymore.  I can stream right off the HD and it takes no room on the iPad.  OR, I can copy a movie over once and watch it then delete it, saving up battery life on the drive.  Best of all, no need to sync with iTunes to cue up movies.

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Cable TV is Gone

Yep, cut the cord for television after 14 years with it costing me way too much.  Now, I didn’t get rid of the Internet connection – I really would go nuts…  Just the TV and Phone portion.  Went from $160/month to $60/month.  Now, to subsidize this change, I went out and bought another Apple TV 3 for the main TV and an adapter to go from HDMI to DVI-I.  And it works like a charm.

Now, I have all the services that are on the Apple TV and the ones on my Blue Ray player.  Add in all the AirPlay streaming apps from my iPad and iPhone, and I will never run out of stuff to watch.  This isn’t even touching the huge collection of movies and shows I have in iTunes.

Travel with iPad/iPhone only.

OK, since I have had my iPad and iPhone, I have not had the chance to do a complete cross-country vacation.  I have just gotten back from a trip to Sacramento and Napa California.  the travel to and from took about 7 hours (that I could use my devices legally.)  My test was twofold.  First, how long could I use my iPad on the plane to watch movies and second, how well would my tethering work between my phone and tablet.  Short answer to both – extremely well. Continue reading