Displaying The iPad

When the iOS 4.2 update was released earlier this week, I was expecting some nice new features for my iPad, although few were really surprises given what had been promised by Apple and revealed by developers.

However, one particular element I’ve been looking for from day 1 is the ability to show material from the device on a TV or projector.

Not just slide shows but web sites, videos, documents, and… well who knows what a group larger than three might want to view on the big screen?

Unfortunately, there aren’t many apps that will display their stuff through Apple’s VGA adapter and I’ve found few changes arriving with the new OS.

Still can’t show any part of the main screens or the iPad interface, nothing from Safari, and little or nothing from other apps, built-in or not.

In case anyone’s interested, here is some of what I’ve found while playing with my iPad connected to a pretty standard data projector, in no particular order.


App (cost) Notes
Photos (built-in) Shows pictures only when playing a slide show
FlickStackr ($1.99) Shows any pictures from a Flickr account including those of contacts and others
Art Studio ($2.99) Displays drawing window but not tools or other parts of the interface
Keynote ($9.99) Finally shows slides and notes on iPad while showing slides on display!
Video (built-in) Plays video on external device but not on iPad screen
Expedition Browser ($.99) Safari can’t show a web page but this one can! Including tool bar if turned on in Settings.
YouTube (built-in) Shows video (on external screen only) but not the search page or other screens
Good Reader ($1.99) The iPad’s Swiss army knife (and a great bargain), this app will show any PDF or Word file

A few disappointments include apps from ABC (probably don’t want me watching their stuff on the big TV without a flood of ads), Colbert’s The Word (which, admittedly, is an iPhone app), TED (why not? isn’t this coming from YouTube?), PBS (only a few videos play), FlipBoard (so much for hype), TWIT Pad (considering what a pioneer Laporte is in all this stuff, you’d think he could make it work).

And many apps that could be considered instructional.

If you have any suggestions for this list or any other insights about displaying and presenting from an iPad, I’d love to hear them and include them here.

A New, Improved Earth

Google let loose with Earth version 4.3 today and overall the application seems to load a little faster and feels even smoother than before.

The most noticeable change is the redesigned navigation tools which now have a classier look and also take up less room in the interface.

Another something new is a button that adds a daylight/dark layer to the globe with a slider to move time across the map. Very cool.

In this edition the coders have also added the Street View feature from their web-based maps which allows you to see street-level photographs from major cities.

With the layer turned on, you’ll see a camera icon on cities that have this feature. We’re still waiting for the DC pictures to be added.

I haven’t had time to peek into all the corners of the new edition but I’m sure the Google folks have some hidden gems in there. They always do.

And since I’ll be doing another Earth workshop later in the month, I guess I’d better start digging.

When Good Code Goes Bad

I wish I had a better understanding of all the plumbing behind the walls of this site.

In the almost four years I’ve been using WordPress, I’ve certainly learned a lot about how to modify the pieces and largely make the system do what I want.

Then, just when I think I have a good grasp of things, odd problems like the one that happened some time in the past twenty-four hours pop up and I have no idea why.

Out of the blue I was getting strange error messages and lost functionality on the main page, and especially in the Dashboard sections you can’t see.

With a little trial and error it didn’t take long to track the trouble down to a plug-in that’s supposed to reformat the administrative pages for use on an iPhone.

Throwing it out fixed everything, but why did it go wrong in the first place, especially after working correctly for a couple of months?

I have some time over the next few days, so maybe this is just the interwebs way of telling me it’s time to upgrade to WP 2.5 and clean out some of the crap on the server.

With any luck that won’t lead to even more mysterious error messages.

Oh, yea, and I guess I’d better get my taxes done this weekend as well. But playing with WordPress is more fun!