Digital textbooks for iPad never took off, and here’s why

When the iPad was released was back in 2010, many people in the education industry saw it as a way to end the large backpacks that children have to carry back and forth to school. To sum it up, that mainly hasn’t happened. In 2018, there still aren’t great solutions for the majority of schools to deploy ebooks in mass to any device. This problem spans across the Apple Bookstore, Kindle store, and the Google Play store.

Over at 9to5mac, I look at why digital textbooks never took off on the iPad (and why that isn't a bad thing in hindsight). You can read the article here.

Let’s move past iPad vs Mac and look at the future

The discussion around macOS and iOS has been going on since the iPad was first released. People have asked: what’s the long-term future of these product lines? Do we expect Apple to maintain iPhone, Mac, and iPad forever? I’ve long considered my ideal computing future to be something a little radical.

Over at 9to5Mac, I look at a future where we using one device, but it can morph into multiple sizes. You can read the article here.

Here's how I back up my family photos and videos using the 3-2-1 method

If there is one thing I am obsessed with when it comes to technology, it’s my pictures. I keep them extremely organized and culled. I am equally as fanatical about getting them backed up. When it comes to music, movies, and TV shows – I can rebuy anything I lose due to hard drive failure. When it comes to pictures of my family, no amount of money can recreate them if I lose them. Over the years, my strategy has evolved as services have changed. I’ll do my best to keep this article up to date as things change in the future.

Over at 9to5Mac, I wrote about how I backup my family photos using the 3-2-1 method. As of this date, this is my reccomendation for how to organize and backup your photo. Bookmark this link when friends and family ask how to make sure they can survive a hard drive crash.

USB-C is the standard that IT departments need

Much has been said about the transition from USB-A to USB-C. It certainly hasn’t been without its challenges in the short term. It’s been confusing for users (and expensive), but as someone who manages a fleet of Macs, I am excited. Yes, even if in the short term it has been expensive and confusing. In the long term, I am thrilled to be standardizing on one cable to rule them all. As tough as USB-C has been so far, IT departments have been dealing with “dongles” for years.

Over at 9to5Mac, I explain why USB-C is the standard that IT departments need. You can read the article here.

What's the best calendar app for iPhone?

Calendar apps for iPhone are a tough thing to advise for because different people use them in different ways. Some people are busier than others (meeting wise), and others use their calendar as a to-do system (personally I question your sanity if you are this way). All of the primary calendar apps I tried are great but might not fit how you use a calendar app.

When using third-party iOS apps, it’s straightforward to try new ones because they request access to your calendar data using Apple’s APIs (so it works with Exchange, iCloud, Yahoo, AOL, and Outlook.com). This feature keeps you from having to set up different apps individually. I’ll explain what I like about each one, and which one I like best.

Over at 9to5Mac, I took a look at various calendar options for iPhone. Take a look at my round up here.

Four features I'd love to see come to Mail on iOS

Over at 9toMac, I look at some features I'd love to see on Apple Mail on iOS.

While there is a lot of great options for iOS mail clients, the built-in client is no slouch. Even after extended periods using third-party clients, I tend to always end up using the official app from Apple.

While it’s probably in need of an overhaul design-wise, it still holds up day to day use cases for me. I get a lot of email during the day, and I still feel like I can power through email on the iOS app just as well as I can anything else.

There are some features that I hope it gets in iOS 13 that would take it to the next level. Here they are:

You can read the article here.

How a small iTunes update 13 years ago changed the media landscape forever

June 28th, 2005 might go down as one of the biggest days in the history of media. It was the day Apple announced they were taking podcasting mainstream by including support for Podcasts in iTunes 4.9 and with syncing to the iPod. As rumors continue to swirl of iTunes being dismantled on macOS (in favor of dedicated apps), I thought it might be fun to take a look back at this important decision.

Over at 9to5Mac, I took a look at what role Apple supporting podcasts played in changing how media is created and consumed. You can read it here.

Apple Could Own IoT In the Enterprise With HomeKit for Work

For everything that HomeKit has brought to home automation and the internet of things, CIOs and IT Directors have a really difficult time with IoT in the enterprise. There is no major centralized platform to build upon. There aren’t a lot of standards for security. In fact, IT Directors aren’t even the ones usually buying the products. In my organization, all of our IoT gear has been purchased by our facilities group. We have a very expensive HVAC controller. It has one of the worst interfaces I’ve ever seen. It runs on Java, so it shows a very minimal interface on iOS devices. There is no native app. Every time Java has an update on macOS or Windows, it tends to completely break the system. Our CCTV system is in the same boat. It’s terrible to configure, and the software looks like it was made in 2003. As the IT person, I’m responsible for getting these devices online and securing them.

Over at 9to5mac, I look at what a HomeKit for Work program could look like. You can read it here.

Is Apple TV Worth Its Premium Price?

When Tim Cook unveiled the 4th generation Apple TV, he said: “We believe the future of TV is apps.” He was right, and Roku knew that years earlier when they had an app store on their devices as well. What makes iOS so great compared to anything else isn’t just the app selection (most of my core apps are available on Android), but rather the experience of using iOS. When you launch Netflix on Android vs. Netflix on iOS - is there much of a difference? No, there isn’t.

On 9to5mac, I look at the Apple TV when comparing it to other (much less expensive) alternatives. You can read the article here.

Could HomePod and Siri Have a Place In The Classroom?

When I was at the annual ISTE conference in Chicago a few weeks ago, I saw a few booths built around selling Alexa skills for your school. It got me thinking about what Siri in the classroom might look like (specifically with HomePod). Having pondering it for a bit, I came up with a handful of scenarios.

Over at 9to5Mac, I look at potential ways Siri could be useful in the classroom. You can read the entire article here.

What's The Best Password Manager for macOS and iOS?

Password management is something that you often hear a lot about in today’s news. Apple has begun supporting various flavors of password managers through APIs while also offering a fairly decent password manager built right into Safari.

You might be wondering – what is the best place to store your passwords and other information you want to keep secure? There are number of third-party options such as 1Password, LastPass, and Dashlane.

After taking a look at a few options, I think 1Password is the best overall place to store your passwords and other sensitive data. You can read the entire article here.

Clever Solves The Identity Management Problem

What K–12 needs is a universal login system. This feature would allow us to create one identity for students that follow them across their email, student information system, and all of the apps we use.

Unfortunately, there is no perfect solution yet. Google supports logging in with G-Suite wherever it’s available, but it’s limited in where it’s offered. While Apple offers iCloud accounts for students, this service doesn’t help us with logging into third-party apps.

A solution that looks promising is Clever. Clever is a single sign-on service for K–12. Here’s the interesting pitch: it’s free for schools to use. Clever makes money by charging the applications that want to integrate with it.

Over on 9to5Mac, I took a look at Clever. Clever is a free SSO service for K-12 schools. You can read the article here.

Five Features Apple Maps Should Copy from Waze and Google Maps

I love Apple Maps. No, it didn’t launch well back in iOS 6, but it’s turned out to be an impressive app. I like the overall design, Siri support, and Apple Watch support. My family also make a lot of dinner reservations through Yelp and OpenTable, so being able to launch it with a single tap is something I find myself often doing.

Like any app, it’s not perfect, and there are things I’d like to see it borrow from some competitors. After traveling a few times this summer, I’ve discovered five things I’d like Apple to add to Apple Maps in the future.

Over at 9to5Mac, I look at some features I'd like to see Apple bring over from Waze and Google Maps. You can read it here.

Apple's Biggest Mistake In K-12 Happened in 2006

As the battle for the classroom rages on, Apple’s decision to sell PowerSchool back in 2006 looks like one of the worst decisions in K–12 in quite possibly their history. If they still owned it today, many schools would probably not even be considering Chromebooks. Having their own SIS would give Apple a lot of integration options for iPad and apps like Classwork.

Over at 9to5Mac, I look at why Apple selling PowerSchool in 2006 was a key mistakes in its K-12 strategy. You can read it here.

Five Features Apple Should Add To Reminders

Apple’s Reminders app is one of their apps that has the most potential in my opinion. While it didn’t receive much of an update with the announcements of iOS 12 and macOS Mojave, I believe that with some additional features, it could become the go-to GTD/task/productivity system for most people.

Over at 9to5Mac, I looked at five features Apple needs to add to the Reminders app to allow it to be a true task manager. Read it here.

Do iPad Deployments Need Physical Keyboard?

A question I often get about iPad deployments is whether or not to purchase keyboards. It’s a difficult thing to pick because it’s really going to depend on how you plan on using the iPads in the classroom. Are you doing tasks where the keyboard would make it easier? Then use a keyboard. If not, don’t use a keyboard. With iPad, the default should be touchscreen keyboard unless a student is doing work where the physical keyboard would make it easier.

Over at 9to5Mac, I take a look at pros and cons of physical keyboards. I also give my reccomendation on which ones you should buy. Check it out here.

Four Features iCloud Drive Desperately Needs

I’ve used all of the major “folders that sync” services over the years. Dropbox was the original solution, but I’ve also used OneDrive, Box, Google Drive, and iCloud. They all have good points and weak points.

I’ve personally settled on iCloud Drive because it’s built into macOS and iOS, but it’s not without room for improvement. Here are four things that Apple needs to add to iCloud Drive in the very near future.

Over at 9to5Mac, I look at four features that I'd like to see iCloud Drive implement.