A few weeks ago I spent some time in Brighton. Typically it was over the few days during the heatwave when it rained. The best bits of the trip were attacking the 2p machines on the pier and going to see An Audience with Brian Blessed. The latter was amazing and you should definitely go to see it.
Leica D-Lux Typ 109 Thoughts and PicturesBlog, Photography, Technology
Since late 2009 I’ve been using a Canon 600D as my main camera. I’m by no means a professional photographer and I’m not trying to be. Photography is fun. I’m the kind of person who needs a focus when going out for walks or going on holiday. Photography gives me that focus I need.
How to Support this Blog!Blog
So this blog has been up for several years (since 2010!) and hopefully over time you have found some interesting articles along the way.
Obviously coming up with content takes up time (and sometimes money). So the list below has a few things you could do to support this blog. I hope you’ll consider helping out.
Best Free Music Software for PC and MacBlog, Music, Technology
I was inspired to come up with a list of free music software after seeing a teacher post on a Facebook group about free or cheap software. Sure, at £130 Logic Pro is an absolute steal but for teachers and students looking for something free to use, check out this list of what you can get.
iPad Pro Instead of a Laptop: Day 21Blog, Technology
There’s been a bit of a gap between these iPad Pro posts as I’ve really been wanting to see how much I use it instead of my MacBook Pro. The answer, is a lot more.
In the last week or so, there have been some great updates to a number of apps bringing new features and iPad Pro support, my favourite being Korg Gadget and iMaschine. These are my two favourite music apps for the iPad, giving me a completely new way of writing music.
Some apps are still lacking however and a lot of this is down to Google. YouTube still doesn’t support the iPad Pro’s resolution, nor does their app for creators ‘YouTube Capture’. I much prefer uploading videos through Safari or Chrome, which surprised me by giving me the option to upload from a number of different cloud services. Google Sheets is another disappointing app. Again, it doesn’t support the correct resolution nor any of the great add-ons found in the browser version of Google Docs. When working with a larger spreadsheet, Google Docs in the browser is painfully slow to the point where it’s barely usable.
iPad Pro Instead of a Laptop: Day 1Blog, Technology
I’ve been here before. A couple of years ago I tried to use an iPad instead of a laptop to see if it would work. It didn’t. Everything simply took longer to do and it was a frustrating experience. Since then with the release of the iPad Pro, iPads got bigger, got more powerful and most importantly, got multitasking. So I decided to try this experiment again. This time, my expectations will be far more reasonable. I’m not ruling out using a laptop completely, there are still some things that I need to do (printing – I don’t have an AirPrint printer) with a ‘proper’ computer. This ‘diary’ isn’t going to be daily, but I’ll come back from time to time whenever I have some interesting observations to make.
iPad Pro – Nearly Brilliant, 6 Ways it Could Be BetterBlog, Technology
It’s less than two weeks since Apple announced the iPad Pro which will be available later this year. This is something I’ve been very excited about and I’m tempted to take the plunge and buy one when it comes out. However, some people have been describing it as a potential laptop replacement. I would love for that to be the case but despite the introduction of the dedicated keyboard and the apple pencil, there are still some features missing that I think could really make a difference. So here are five ways the iPad Pro could be a brilliant tablet…
There is a very good reason why Apple have never made a touchscreen laptop. When you use one, you’ll get arm ache. The same applies to the iPad Pro, which when mounted on their Smart Keyboard, will present the same problems. This will obviously be quite a controversial suggestion, but using a mouse or trackpad is very intuitive and very easy. When needing to make fine adjustments to an image, an audio clip or graphic, my fat fingers just don’t cut it.
I have no idea if this is something that Apple would ever consider, but it would be a very useful option to have.
iPad Pro Level Apps
A pro-level iPad should have pro-level apps. Watered down versions of apps with heavily reduced functionality will struggle to make a difference to many professional’s workflow. Now, I’m not suggesting that desktop apps should be directly ported over the iOS, iOS apps are very efficient and that should continue. Rather, app developers should make use of the larger screen and better processing power of the new iPad. I’d love to be able to make minor mixing edits on an iPad Pro version of Logic Pro X or Adobe Audition, splice some video and put together some clips in an iPad Pro version of Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere, edit sheet music in Sibelius for iPad and make some edits in a more fully featured version of Photoshop for the iPad Pro. Then when I get home resume working on my main computer.
I’m sure that something like that is what Apple would like to achieve and now they have put the hardware in place, let’s hope the developers get more adventurous.
iOS Redeveloped for the iPad
When the original iPad was launched many people said it’s just a big iPhone but without the phone. A little harsh at the time, but the hardware for the iPad has become so much more sophisticated that we really do need a different version of iOS for iPhone and iPad. The video below is from The Verge with their hands-on video with the iPad Pro shortly after the Keynote. Look at the home screen on the iPad Pro. It looks ridiculous. The space between each of the icons… all that wasted space. We’re now at the point where iOS needs to be a little different for this new iPad. The home screen could easily have the space for a way to access recent documents without having to look for a specific app. How about a way to see recent downloads too like you can on a Mac? It would also be quite handy to have the option of having shortcuts to specific iCloud Drive folders on the home screen. The space is there, now the iOS engineers need to make use of it.
It probably took a gargantuan effort to bring 3D touch to the iPhone and clearly, it’s a technology not yet ready to appear on the iPad. Having 3D touch on the iPad would be a wonderful thing though. The iPad equivalent of a ‘right-click’ would help speed up a wide range of tasks and in conjunction with some pro-level apps, would provide professionals with a powerful tool.
Maybe this is something we will see in an iPad Pro 2 or 3.
4K Video Recording
Okay, this is more of a luxury request and won’t appeal to a lot of people and yes, taking photos on an iPad is incredibly uncool. I do however, use the iPad to film things quite often. It’s great for making quick videos without having to get other equipment out. Filming 4K video on a 12.9″ viewfinder? Yes please!
Native Memory Stick Compatibility
As great as using e-mail and cloud services as a means to transfer files is, sometimes just being able to connect a USB memory stick to the iPad would far quicker and easier. I’m not calling for the inclusion of a USB port on the iPad, I’m more than happy to use a lightning adapter. Plugging in a memory stick and seeing it appear on the home screen, viewing more than just photos and being able to open documents in apps on the iPad or copy them to iCloud Drive would be amazing. And while I’m on the subject of USB, how about connecting it to a USB printer instead of relying on AirPrint which quite frankly, seems non-existent in the workplace.
So here are my six suggestions that would make the iPad Pro an irresistible product. Some of this I’m sure could be brought to the iPad through software development and hopefully iOS 10 or above will see some of these things arrive. However this post is not really a criticism of what Apple have done with the iPad Pro. It looks fantastic and I can’t wait to try one out.
What would you like to see on an iPad Pro? What would convince you to give up the laptop? Let me know in the comments below.
I Have a New Website!Blog
For the past few weeks, I’ve been without a website. The main reason for this is due to a massive mess-up on my part. For 11 years I owned the address mattkeil.com and this summer, I forgot to renew it. I had three separate websites then, one for my blog, one for my music and one for my photography.
I decided to use this as an opportunity to rethink my online presence. So here we have it: Keil.Life
This new website combines all of the things I do into one simple easy to use website. It works particularly well on tablets and phones too which has been something I’ve been trying to fix for a while with my old websites. Finally, the website should be a lot faster to load. I’ve upgraded my web server and decluttered things so everything should be a lot snappier.
Currently the online store is not ready yet, but when it launches there will be some new products as well as some good opening day special offers.
Thanks for visiting, I hope you like the new look!
Will 3D Touch Kill Off the iPhone’s Home Button?Blog, Gadgets, Technology
On Saturday at 8:01am BST, I sat at home refreshing the Apple app on my iPhone 5S. As has been the case in the past, Apple’s website is usually quite unreliable when it comes to preordering. The preorder process for the iPhone 6s had been delayed by a few minutes, but luckily I still managed to get my preorder completed whilst many others took to Twitter venting their frustrations that the Apple store website was still not live.
How Microsoft Helped Me Like the iPad AgainBlog, Technology
I’m having a bit of a Microsoft love-in at the moment! I don’t think this is based on some sort of nostalgic notion either as I’m pretty resistant to sentimentality at the best of times.
So where shall we begin? Basically, I’ve owned an iPad since 2011. First I got the iPad 2, then 18 months later upgraded to an iPad 4. I liked having an iPad around, but to be honest, I never used it for anything more than checking emails, surfing and playing the occasional game. More often than not, I’d reach for my iPhone mainly because it’s lighter and easier to use.
So if my iPhone lets me do those things, what’s the use in an iPad? I needed to work out where this large and heavy tablet fitted into my workflow.
Then, last weekend I decided to use a free trial of Office 365. I’m not averse to subscription software as I’m part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud, which by the way is awesome. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not Microsoft’s biggest fan despite my recent posts. Despite Windows 8 looking very nice, I consider Windows XP to be their last good operating system, although Windows 98 was my favourite.
Then it clicked. Office on my iPad. Suddenly my iPad was useful again. I’ve been using it for the last few days and it works so, so well. Apple’s iWork apps pale in comparison in terms of ease of use and functionality. Suddenly I was able to work on documents on the train using my iPad which opens up documents, faithful to their original layout. Many times I’ve opened up a fairly complex layout in Pages on my iPad to exclaim ‘WTF?’ as tables, images and other things were strewn about all over the place. Office for iPad handles documents very well.
What has struck me is that Microsoft offer a pretty good deal here. Complete access to their office suite on 5 tablets and 5 computers (you can also share with family members) and 1TB of cloud storage for £7.99 a month. Have a look at what other companies charge for that amount of storage alone and you’ll see you have a good deal.
However, I can completely see why people wouldn’t want to pay this. The cloud isn’t for everyone and many people are resistant to renting software, especially for occasional users. Microsoft would do well to offer people to pay a one-off fee for access to their iPad apps. I wouldn’t scoff at paying £20 per app for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Offering people a choice would get more people on board.
I’m just glad I’ve found a purpose for my iPad again. Well done Microsoft.
Update: As of last night, Microsoft now let users create and edit documents to a basic level for free on the iPad and iPhone, so now an Office 365 subscription isn’t even needed. Give it a try!