Apple iPad 2 hands-on: Predictable, awesome (CNet.com)

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

From Donald Bell at CNet.com :

What does the world’s most successful tablet computer
do for an encore? More of the same.

The second-generation iPad from Apple is thinner, faster, lighter, and
whiter, but not a radical departure from the original. Pricing is also holding
steady, starting at $499 for a 16GB Wi-Fi-only model, up to 64GB with 3G
(provided by AT&T or Verizon without contract) priced at $829.

You can’t blame Apple for going easy on new features. Apple’s original recipe
for the iPad single-handedly created and captured the demand for tablets last
year. By any measure, it is not a product in need of fixing. It has the market
share, it has the developers, and it has the momentum.

Apple also just makes damn fine products. Having had a few minutes with the
iPad 2, I can say that it is every bit as stunning as the original. The first
thing that struck me was the iPad’s weight loss. It’s still not Kindle thin, but
the lighter design should make the e-book crowd happier and prove to be a
distinct advantage over bulkier competitors, including the recent Motorola
Xoom
.

The second thing that registered with me is the feel of the device. Apple
still uses anodized aluminum on the back, which is cool to the touch and
generally resists smudges. The back now flattens out at the middle, allowing it
to better stay put when placed on a table. In spite of the iPad’s thickness
decreasing by a third, it seemed no more fragile than the original design. In
fact, with its lighter weight, it feels less susceptible to being dropped.

I also tried out Apple’s new magnetic Smart Cover. It’s cute and it works as
advertised. From a case perspective, though, it’s a G-string in a world of
coveralls. The tough part of selling these will be convincing customers that the
back of the iPad is resilient enough to resist normal wear and tear.

Of course, the banner feature for the iPad 2 is the addition of two cameras,
which can be used for recording video or stills. The camera on the back is
located in the upper-right corner, recessed onto the tapered edge to avoid
scratching. It looks just like the lens on the iPhone 4
and is similarly blessed with 720p video capture. There’s no camera flash,
and the sensor is not identical to the iPhone’s, since its still-shot
capabilities are essentially video stills (similar to the fourth-gen iPod
Touch). That said, having tested the cameras on more than a few competing
tablets over the past year, I can’t stress how ridiculous you feel shooting
pictures with a tablet in public. Talk about overkill.

[ Continued . . . ].

Read more: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-31747_7-20038436-243.html#ixzz1FW6xD900

Time Master: A Fantastic Billing App for Ipad and Iphone (Version 3.8)

Time Master ( Version 3.8)

Time Master by On-Core

This is absolutely one of my favorite apps as a lawyer.  It is relatively easy to use, creates usable reports, allows for backup and synchronization, and is a whole heck of a lot cheaper than Timeslips or other similar apps/programs.  The best part is that it allows you to do quick billing while you are out and about.  Recently, they improved the user interface, avatar, and general appearance.  The only criticism that I have is that you cannot really just input a .1 or whatever.  It keeps track of your time in session format, which is not always convenient for entry.

I give this new version a 9.8 out of 10. I strongly recommend that you check this app out, especially if you are a solo practitioner.

Here is what the developer’s site says about the app:

“On-Core Time Master is the ultimate time tracking app for your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

The best, most powerful, comprehensive, easy to use time keeping app on the Apple Store is now even better. Time Master has the highest average rating of all the time management apps. And the other apps don’t come close to our new optional billing module. Our invoices are totally professional.

Our biggest fans are consultants, attorneys and contractors. Time Master is used by individuals working independently, to attorneys from some of the biggest law firms in the USA. If you need to keep track of time and expenses, you can’t find a better app than Time Master. We at On-Core are IT professionals, so we have firsthand experience with billing and keeping track of time. We know from personal experience what is needed and have made this app so flexible, it works for virtually anyone in any industry in which time needs to be kept.

Are you losing money due to poor record keeping?  Did you forget to log the time you spent on a small task and not bill for it last month? On-Core Time Master simplifies the process by having an app handy on your iPhone or iPod Touch, ready at all times, for you to track your time. You can quickly start tracking time with a few taps on the screen. Those little minutes add up every month and this application will easily pay for itself in one month! We think that you will find Time Master the ultimate time tracking application, with its superior ease of use, for your iPhone or iPod Touch.

We looked at all the other time keeping applications out there for the iPhone and iPod Touch, but did not find anything that quite fit what we needed, or had the flexibility we wanted. We also reviewed what people were saying they needed in a time keeping application. We’ve worked very hard to make Time Master the most flexible and powerful time tracking application in the App Store.

Features:

  • Track time by start time, stop time and/or by duration.
  • Session option can track “punch-in & out” for a single time entry.
  • Single or multiple running timers.
  • Support for daily Overtime / Doubletime.
  • Timers keep running even if you are not running the app.
  • Time Entries are by Client and can be sub-categorized by Project and even Tasks for a project. Note: sub-categories are optional and not required.
  • Powerful billing rates that can be defined in the following priority: Global, by Client, by Project, by Task or Custom for a single entry.
  • Powerful time Rounding by hour, minutes and/or seconds. Time can be rounded by: None (no rounding), Round Up, Round Nearest or Round Down. Can be Global or per Client.
  • Multiple Filters to sort by: Day, Week or Month. By Client, Project, Task, Expenditure, Reported and Invoice Status (with optional Invoice module).
  • Define the day of the week that your work week starts.
  • Track Expenses – from Mileage to Meals to Burning CD’s and anything else you want to define.
  • Track Cost vs. Price in expenses.
  • Display Reports right on your device that you can view and email in HTML and/or CSV format. By Client or Timesheet.
  • Is Time Zone aware.
  • Copy Client information from your Contacts list.
  • Currency symbol is automatically set by your Country locale.
  • Dual taxes for countries such as Canada. Second tax may be applied as Separate or Cumulative.
  • Import Clients, Projects, Tasks and Expenditure lists from CSV files using our templates. Works on the iPad now and iPhone/iPod’s when updated to OS 4 when it becomes available (due out this summer according to Apple). See Importing data from a CSV file
  • Save PDF invoices to your iTunes “Documents” folder.
  • Backup and Restore option using our free Time Master Central app via Wi-Fi.
  • Backup and Restore option using the iTunes Documents folder via USB cable.
  • Backup and Restore option using the secure online Dropbox service via the internet.
  • Currency support for the Invoice module. Set the currency in an invoice to other than your current setting and get the exchange rate from Yahoo.
  • TextExpander integration (see below).
  • Option to set audible reminder notifications for devices running iOS 4.0 or greater for running timers.
  • AirPrint enabled. Print reports or invoiced to an AirPrint supported printer.

Download our free Time Master Central app for your Mac or PC to:

  • Backup and Restore your database from local Wi-Fi connection.

OPTIONAL MODULES (one-time additional fee required as an “In App Purchase”):

  • Invoicing: If you want to do billing directly from your iPhone or iPod Touch then look no further. The most powerful invoicing module built directly into Time Master. Professional PDF invoices can be emailed to the client, including your own logo. Click here for more information.
  • Quickbooks Export: With the Quickbooks Export module you can export Time Entries to the Windows version of Quickbooks via IIF files. Click here for more information.
  • Synchronization: Wirelessly synchronize two or more devices. If you have an iPad and an iPhone and want to keep the data synchronized between the two devices, this is for you! Click here for more information.

The two main things that you will want to track and bill for are time and expenses. You can track time using start and stop times, start and duration, and/or timers. All time entries are tracked for a single day, so time entries cannot be greater than 24 hours. It will allow you to time across days, for example if you start a job at 8 p.m. and finish at 2 a.m., it will have a duration of 6 hours.

Expenses can be setup for recurring fixed cost items, such as burning a CD, reimbursement of hardware items, or fluid things such as toll expenses, automobile mileage, etc. Expenses can be tied to a Project so it can be reported with a specific Project.

Quick reporting can be done on the iPhone / iPod Touch with the Reports function. See your totals per client for a given date range and even drill down to see details. The report can also be emailed in an HTML table format and/or CSV format. The CSV files can be ZIP’d and even encrypted with a password. Use our free Time Master Central application to backup your database (and restore if necessary) on a Mac or PC. The data from the backup can be exported, in CSV format, on your Mac or PC to be used in other programs.

Adding new Clients, Projects, Tasks and Expenditures is super easy.  You can create them on the fly without having to navigate to a separate maintenance screen. To edit them you can tap on Setup, do you edit and then return to where you left off in Time Entries or Expenses. By selecting a Project or Task first will automatically fill in the Client field for quick entry.

We’ve made every thing that you can do as seamless as possible. For example if you are in a Time Entry, then hit the Setup tab and then delete the Client (and all it’s associated entries), and then you touch on the Time Entries tab again, it will exit the entry you were in and go to the main Time Entry screen.

To see all the details of what the application can do, please download the “Instructions” PDF manual […].”

Tablet Buying Guide from CNet.com

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

As manufacturers rush to capitalize on the attention given to the Apple iPad, there seems to be a new tablet announced every week. And though we can’t keep track of every slate thrown into the wild, if you’re curious to know what your options are, we’ve compiled a general overview of the tablet landscape.

iPad

In the world of tablets, the iPad reigns as king. The product has its detractors, sure, but you can’t dispute the millions of iPads consumers have purchased and the startling rate of adoption–selling more than a million within the first month of release.

The iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch all run a common operating system called iOS, lending a degree of familiarity across Apple‘s most popular products. The iPad’s ease of use, along with its impressive selection of apps, games, and media, are generally considered its most prized attributes. [ . . . ]

Click Here for the Whole CNet.com Buying Guide

Read CNET‘s full review of the Apple iPad.

Microsoft OneNote on iPhone

Microsoft Office OneNote Icon

Image via Wikipedia

I just recently installed the MS OneNote app on my iPhone. Can’t say that it’s all that exciting.  The user interface is slow and is not incredibly intuitive.  While I was able to pull up my OneNote files that had been created within the MS Office Suite, the output is not nearly as well organized from a visual perspective.  It seems that the folks at MS should think about making this a more iPad-ready app because this is one app that needs some space to get the same functionality as provided by the LiveSpaces site or the hard version which comes with the Office Suite.  On this one, I think that downloading it while it’s free makes sense and providing the developer with lots of comments along the way.

Google Chrome: One Step Closer to Paperless ?

Chrome OS Login

I just applied to be one of the test pilots for the Google Chrome OS. I am very interested in the prospect of having something that is connected to the Internet on a constant. Naturally, as a lawyer, I do have questions about security, confidentiality, practical use in the courtroom, and collaboration with staff. Hopefully, I will be one of the lucky one’s who gets to test this system in earnest.  I have tried, at various times, the Linux-Ubuntu OS, Windows (since its introduction), and Mac options since the 1980’s.  The prospect of a challenger to the old guard provides a clarion call for innovation.  I honestly hope that Chrome can drive innovation in this area — it’s been a while.

From what I can see, the upcoming Chrome OS is extremely user friendly and should be familiar to most of us vis a vis the use of “apps.” I certainly support anything that is quicker and which provides some level of long-term data integrity in terms of storage and accessibility. I am looking forward to becoming familiar with this particular OS and sharing the news as it comes in terms of strengths and weaknesses.
My guess is that the existing Google Apps will go a long way toward basic functionality. I already use Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Picasa for my photos. Each of these programs or services have improved over time and the fact that Google is way ahead with its research and development, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did not start to give Apple a real run for their money in the tablet OS arena and number of apps ultimately available. Much like in the 1980s, I think that Apple will have led the way, but may ultimately be overrun by its own innovation. Anyway, without further opining, you can check out the video showing Google Chrome in action on one of their demo units.
Just click on the video window below for a preview of the Chrome OS in action:

Not Sure? Check out the Prizefight Series by CNet.com

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

If you have been left wondering about what tablet to buy this Christmas or for your next year of legal practice, CNet.com provides an excellent source of comparative information on the various features of products now on the market.  Video comparisons of products include the Samsung Galaxy & iPad.  This Prizefight can be found along with information about the MacBook, Acer Timeline, iPod, XBox, Wii, and other various competing products which may be of interest to you or yours.  CNet is an extremely helpful website which provides consumer information that can be easily understood.  They cover a wide range of tech devices, software, phones, and other products used by lawyers and the general public alike.  If you are interested in technology, this is a great place to start looking for information.  Armed with this information should be able to much better gauge which products best suit you and your practice.

Diversions for Lawyers: How About Some Angry Birds?

Angry Birds is just about one of my favorite diversions. As you can see from many videos of this app in action, this game is incredibly simple in concept, and yet a source of entertainment for days. The basic idea is that you have to sling an angry bird at a house of pigs who are trying to steal your eggs. Sounds silly enough, right? Angry Birds requires some skill in much the same way playing pool does. You have to figure out angles, velocity, and other factors in order to prevail over the pigs. There are many levels and the game is cheap for an app of this quality ($.99). Highly recommended for those of us looking for a quick diversion.  You might also want to check out CNet.com’s 25 Best Ipad Games review, which has pics and helpful descriptions of the games.  There are also a number of other interesting games available from Angry Birds Developer Rovio.