Google Productivity Pad: February 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013

Setting up the iPad

Note: This post was written using iOS 6, the look of some icons might have changed and few features may have been added or moved in iOS 7 but for the most part it is the same.

Setting up any iOS device has become a fairly simple process, if you are able to follow Apple's steps completely when you first turn on your device, however if your wifi is not working (as mine often isn't) or you forget your apple ID, or you don't have one, the process can be a little trickier. And if you don't restore from an existing backup that can also make it a little more work, unless of course it is your first time using an iPad.

First off the easiest way is to follow Apple's instructions when you first start up your iPad, they will walk you through a series of gray screens. They will help you connect to your wifi network, set your iPad up with your apple account or get one if you don't have one, set up iCloud, and restore from an old back up if you have one, ask if you want to use Siri, etc. It is important that you are able to connect to a wifi network at the beginning of set up otherwise most of the steps cannot happen as they require internet. If you do not have internet connection or are not sure what you want to do at a particular step in the process don't worry you can always go back and change things or get them set up in the settings later, that's what this post is for :) Now at this point in the process I strongly suggest setting up an iCloud account, especially if you use other apple products (i.e. iPhone, MacBook, iMac, or iPod touch). I will do a full post on iCloud later.

Now I did not do everything during the initial set up phase of my iPad mini, because, as mentioned on a previous post, I had no charger so I wanted to move through the process as quickly as possible, after borrowing a charger from a good friend I then went back and handled more of the set up, also there are parts of set up that can not be completed during the initial phase.

Take a good look at that icon, its your new best friend. The setting menu's will allow you to change almost anything on your iPhone that can be changed.

Now we will go through settings, if you missed a step during the initial start up you can take care of it here. Using this photo I will walk through the options in the settings app, I will refer to items from time to time with the colored arrows so that you can easily find where we are at. For purposes of this blog I will always follow the rainbow pattern (roygbv) in which colors I use.

The first setting is Airplane Mode(red), this is your battery saving friend because it will shut off all your wireless radios (which is what they like while you are on an airplane) make sure this is set to off while we are going through this because you will need wifi during this process (hint: you can't actually slide those little slider switches in the settings menu, just tap them :)

The next setting is Wi-Fi, if you have not yet connected to a wifi network do so now, if you tap on the wifi setting it will bring up a list of all the available networks, choose yours and enter the password, then it should connect, after the first time connecting your iPad should connect automatically to a network it has connected to before (i.e. you will need to put in the password only once at home, only once at work, etc)

The next setting in the list is Bluetooth, if you don't know what bluetooth is it is a way to connect devices at close range, not over the internet. Also, if you don't know what bluetooth is you don't need it on, set it off.

Do not disturb(orange) stops messages and notifications from coming through, you may want to set its slider to on if you are using your iPad for meetings or when you are going to sleep (personally I just mute my iPad most of the time).

Options for the do not disturb feature are found in the setting directly beneath it called Notifications. You can schedule do not disturb to start and stop at a certain time, say while you are sleeping and you can decide if there is a contact group you would like to let through even when do not disturb is on.

Here in Notifications you can also configure the notification settings for every app you have. There are different items you can change about how you are notified by an app. For the most part I like to use banner notifications for my apps. I will do a whole blog post on notification center at a later time.

The next tab, General(yellow), is really important as it contains a number of basic settings for the iPad. They are for the most part pretty easy to understand, if you have any questions about them or anything else just leave them in the comments section below. Two of the most important are Restrictions, if you have a child, I will do a whole post on that setting, and Accessibility if you are disabled.

The Sounds setting is right below the general tab and it is a good place to visit while setting up your iPad for the first time, here you can control the master volume for the whole device and the individual sounds alerts different parts of the iPad, such as alerts and the keyboard, will make.

Brightness and Wallpaper is the next setting, here you can adjust the screen's brightness and you can select a wallpaper for both your lock and home screens.

The next setting, Picture frame, is not really important to setting up your iPad, but it contains the settings for using you iPad as a digital picture frame (you get this option by double tapping the home button on the lock screen).

Privacy is another important item, but probably not in your set up phase as you won't yet have many apps to control privacy questions for. From here you can control what apps have access to your personal data from location services, you contacts, calendar, reminders, photo stream, twitter and Facebook, you can also determine your bluetooth sharing preferences.

The next two settings, iCloud and Mail, Contacts, Calendar, (green) both allow you to control what data is syncing with your iPad, as I said I like to use iCloud for all of mine, but you can also set it up to use other accounts like your google account or others. It is important that you get this set up so that you can make the most of your iPad as a productivity tool. I will do a full post on getting that set up soon.

The rest of the tabs in the setting menu are not super important to initial set up so I will address them in another post.

This screenshot is from iOS 6 and will look slightly different on an iPad running iOS 7

Apps used for this post: Blogger, Skitch, Settings

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Turn off the Thunder, There's no Lightning: Saving Battery on the iPad mini

So I found myself with the iPad mini in hand, well on the way to leaving my laptop at home, or so I thought. My lightning cable unfortunately did not arrive thanks to that trusty government agency, the postal service. This is a most unfortunate incident for any nerd to be in possession of a new piece of hardware he has been dieing to try and no way to charge it. Fortunately the good people at Gazelle had the presence of mind to put some charge in the device before shipping it. It arrived with approximately 81% charge. Well I was then faced with the choice of how to use that 81%. I have opted not to leave my Josie (my MacBook) home just yet in order to make the 81% last as long as possible, hopefully long enough for the P.O. to perform their all important service.

But of course I don't want the lightning cable to arrive and me still have 80% charge on the mini, I want to do things with it. So I have used all the battery saving tricks I know to get the mini to last as long as possible so that I can use it, but not to heavily. Here's what I did, most people already probably know these tricks, but they might help some of you out.

  • Turn off the volume, sound requires power and that comes from the battery, so if you don't need to hear it, turn it off.
  • Turn down the brightness, the screen is the big juice hog and the brighter it is the more it will use.
  • Turn on Airplane mode, if you can do your work without using the mini's radios all the better, they use battery to send out those signals.
  • If you have to have WiFi on, turn off location services, nobody needs to know you are eating at Jimmy John's while you are in a battery crisis.
  • Turn off bluetooth, even if you need the WiFi on you probably aren't using bluetooth, so make sure it is off.
  • Turn off push notifications for any apps you don't need, if they have to be checking the internet in the background all the time that's going to suck battery.
And that's it folks, my iPad mini is currently at 54% after 5 days of some use each day, hopefully we can make it until the lightning strikes.


Hi there, my name is Ben. I'm a guy who loves productivity and technology, and I love combining them together. I have evolved with technology over the years and my productivity has as well, I started out with an old Palm IIIxe when I was 13 and have been making my way since then. I have just recently decided to embrace the Post PC Era by leaving my beautiful MacBook at home and only using an iPad mini while out and about. Since I'm a college student and spend most of my time away from home this is a big decision for me. I thought some people might want to follow how I make the transition from full laptop to iPad mini in my day to day life and see how it effects my productivity. I will do use cases, app reviews, anecdotal items, and productivity posts.

It's going to be a fun ride, with more than a few bumps in it, I am sure. We are already experiencing the first one since I ordered my iPad mini off of ebay without a charging cord, as you may know the iPad mini uses Apple's new lightning connector instead of the old standard 30 pin from old iPods and iPhones. I ordered a new cord from ebay as well, but unfortunately the iPad mini arrived on Saturday and the lightning cable has not left its shipping location yet. Fortunately the iPad did come with some intital charge, about 81%, so this will be able to lead to my first official post, of living with out a charger.

Hope you enjoy, and thanks for reading.