Calendars – Google calendar client

The built-in iPhone calendar client is great if you're using iCal or Outlook on the PC to sync to. However, if you prefer Google's online calendar for its more open and free collaboration features, then you're probably going to want a good way to view and work with your Google calendar on your iOS device. That's where Calendars comes in. Calendars is a native Google calendar client app for the iPhone. It syncs directly with Google Calendar and doesn't interfere with the built in Calendar in any way. You can see all of your sync'd calendars right in the app and of course you have the ability to schedule, search, edit, move around or delete your appointments. The nice part of using this App vs. the website is that it works both online and offline. So you can still see your calendar when you don't have a connection to the internet. 

SMS Notifications, Invitations and More

One of the cool features of this app is the ability to have it send you SMS text message reminders of upcoming appointments. Also unlike the native Calendar/MobileMe you can invite people to your appointments. I never understood why iCal allows this for MobileMe calendars, but not the iPhone calendar??? You get the same kinds of views including Month, Week, List and Day views. In Month view you get a cool unique feature that allows you to physically drag an appointment from one day to another just like you can on your computer. Very cool. 

Although I'm not a Google Calendar power user, I can definitely see that if I were this would be the App for me. It's fast elegant and does exactly those things I would expect a calendar to do. My only gripe with it is if Google is not your only calendar, then you would have to look at both the built-in and Calendars App to make sure you're open for an appointment. Otherwise this is THE GOOGLE CALENDAR APP!

You can get Calendars here from the Calendars



If you just gotta print it, use ePrint

I remember a few rumblings when the iPhone and iPod touch came out from people complaining that they didn't have a way to print. This kinda left me scratching my head because in the 3 years I've used an iPhone and the years before that using a Palm Treo, I can't think of anytime I had something up on my phone and said "I need to print this!" I guess I always rationalized that if I'm near a printer, then I'm probably near a computer too. Why not just print from the computer? Now let's fast forward to today when iPads and tablets are all the rage and now we have Apps like Pages, Documents To Go and Numbers that actually allow you to "author" documents on your iPad. This kind of changes the equation a little. With an iPhone, I don't really look at it as a device to create documents as much as I look at it as a device to consume documents. So again I don't think about printing. Even with the iPad, I really don't think about printing either. However, I get a regular stream of questions asking "can I print from my iPad?" So I thought it was time to address this and give you some options.

Apple doesn't build print support into the iDevices

Unlike your Mac or PC, printing is NOT a part of the iOS (well at least not today). So any printing that is done has to be done via a 3rd party app and even then is limited to what's allowed in the iOS Software Developer Kit (SDK). Also since there isn't really a central file system in the iOS, the Apps don't always have an easy way of moving documents from one App to the other. Although this did improve in the iPad and iOS 4 with the "Open In" command. Let's take Apple's own Pages app as an example. You can create documents from scratch. You can move documents back and forth from your computer via iTunes/USB and once you create a Pages document you can either save it in the App or send it via Email or the iWork website. Even pages doesn't support the Open In command to let you move a Pages generated PDF to another App. If you wanted to "print" a Pages document you would have to (gasp) email it to yourself on the iPad from the iPad as a PDF or Word .DOC and then use the Open In command as an attachment to open it in a 3rd party printing App. Definitely not elegant!

Which App?

Today I'm reviewing ePrint. ePrint allows you to print wirelessly (WiFi) to your network printer or to a shared printer connected to a Mac without actually having to install anything special on the Mac. I have a Xerox Phaser 8550DP network Postscript color printer that is plugged in directly to my network via Ethernet. So there is no computer required to drive the printer. When I fired up ePrint it saw both my Xerox Phaser and Epson Stylus R1800 (shared via USB on a Mac). I was able to setup the Xerox in a matter of seconds and printing a test page. 

You can get ePrint here from the ePrint



Use Your iPad as a Second Mac Display with Air Display

If your iPad is just sitting on your desk not being used while you work on your Mac why not use it as a second display? Macs have supported multiple displays ever since the Mac II (introduced in 1987). I gotta admit that when I first heard about the Air Display App I wasn't all that excited. I just didn't think the performance would be good enough since it connects via WiFi. However, I just got around to testing it yesterday via my 802.11n WiFi network and I was really taken back by how well it works! Wow! I downloaded and installed the Mac client. After a reboot and launching the App on my iPad I had the choice of using it as a second display to my MacBook Pro. The next thing you know I was dragging panels over to it from Photoshop CS5. I was dragging Safari browser windows over to it and most importantly I was using it to view images in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 since Lightroom has Second Display support! I was doing this all wirelessly without any hiccups. It just worked. I was also impressed that it even supported the rotation of the iPad display in both portrait and landscape on the fly. Again, it just worked. No lagging to speak of. No issues.

The icing on the cake…

Since your iPad is a touch screen, using the iPad as a second display for your Mac also makes it a touch screen Mac display. This means that you can tap on whatever is on that display to click the mouse on that spot or to make selections. You can drag things around and basically use your finger as the mouse. Now while I've only tried this App on the iPad it was recently updated to work on iPhones and the iPod touch as well. Frankly, with such a small display size (iPhone) I couldn't really see using it on anything smaller than the iPad. Also the only other thing that you have to keep in mind is that although the connection from your Mac to your Air Display iPad is wireless via WiFi, the iPad'd display is going to be on the whole time. So you're most likely going to want to plug in your iPad to AC/USB power as to not suck down the battery. Otherwise, if you're an iPad using Mac user this is one of those must have Apps!

You can get Air Display here from the Air



5 Must Have Apps to Show Off Your iPhone 4

If you just got your NEW iPhone 4 or you've upgraded your 3GS to iOS 4 chances are you're chomping at the bit to get some Apps that really take advantage of it. Sadly, there aren't a slew of apps yet that really take advantage of iOS 4's power. However, they're on the way and in the meantime I've picked 5 "Must Have iPhone 4 Apps" that are ready to go today:



Although I'm more of a fan of Navigon, I do have to give it to TomTom for getting an update out quickly that allows you to run your Navigation app in the background under iOS 4. So now if a call comes in, you can take the call while TomTomcontinues to know your location and guide you in the background.

Get it here from the TomTom



Pandora Radio

This one is a no brainer! Pandora Radio is a great personalized internet radio station right on your iDevice that now can run in the background streaming music while you work in other Apps. Definitely a must have!

Get it here from the Pandora



Baby Explorer for iPad

Admittedly it has been many years since I've had to entertain a baby. However, the one thing that i remember was no matter how cool the toy was that you bought for them, they wanted to play with what you were holding instead. If you bought them a toy phone, that wasn't good enough. They wanted to play with your "real" phone. Fast forward to today when now you're holding an iPad. Chances are your baby is going to want some of that iPad action too. However, they're going to be less inclined to check their email or Facebook friend's status at such a young age. 

Enter Baby Explorer

Baby Explorer lets you turn your iPad into a portable electronic entertainment center complete with activities for your child to play. Since the iPad has a touch screen, there are no moving parts to worry about and you get the ability to have multiple activities in one App/device. Baby Explorer is complete with sounds, things your child can push and move as well as different modes that they can interact with. While the App does all that it claims to, I was expecting a little more for $2.99. I guess I wanted a few more activities since it is in fact electronic. I can't remember how quickly babies can get bored, but I can see them not wanting to do this for hours on end and perhaps that's a good thing. After all, you're not going to want to surrender your iPad for an extended period of time anyway. So I guess the feature set is probably good enough for the intended use. It provides a quick distraction when you need one and of course there is some motor skill building opportunity too. I hope the developer continues to follow up with updates even if they're minor one to change things up a bit as time goes on. Lastly I could definitely see having this App on my iPad when traveling if you didn't have a lot of room to bring physical toys. Also who knows, on a long flight you may be the hero for quieting the screaming kid sitting next to you. :)

You can get Baby Explorer here from the App Store Baby

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