Author Archive

Changes to Find My iPhone (iPad)

September 20th, 2012 Comments off

With the flurry of updates that have been pushed out with the new iOS, you may have missed the update to the Find My iPhone app. It’s now a little easier to send a tone to your misplaced iPad. See this link that Jason Miller found at

–Rebecca Johnson

Categories: apps, beginner Tags: ,

iOS 6.0 arrives today! Here’s a summary of what’s up.

September 19th, 2012 Comments off

Don’t procrastinate about updating your iPad’s operating system. Many quirky little problems that we see are due to users still running 4.3.3.* Today, Apple releases iOS 6.0, the most recent update of its operating system for mobile devices. From Jason Miller, these two links provide you with information on what features are available in 6.0: from, what you need to know to update to the new iOS; and from, a summary of the new features in the update.

If you have any questions about updating your iOS or would like help updating from 4.3.3 to 6.0, please don’t hesitate to call or email eTech at 8-4832 or etech[at]

*How do you know what operating system is running on your iPad? Go to the Settings app and check under the General settings. Look for “About” in the list on the right and select that. Then you’ll need to look for “Version,” which will tell you what iOS you are running on your iPad.

–Rebecca Johnson

Categories: advice, beginner Tags: , ,

iPad Tip of the Week: The Multitasking Bar

September 17th, 2012 Comments off

For our first Tip of the Week, Jason Miller will show you how to improve your iPad’s performance by closing apps that are running in the background. This video is 45 seconds long.

iPad Tip of the Week: The Multitasking Bar

Here is the transcript of the video:

Welcome to the iPad Tip of the Week: Using the Multitasking Bar

The multitasking bar displays all of the apps that you have recently used and that are currently running in the background. If too many apps are running in the background, this can slow down your iPad or cause apps to crash. You can solve this problem with the following steps:

  1. Quickly press the Home button twice to bring up the multitasking bar.
  2. Tap and hold any of the app icons that appear on the bar until they start to jiggle and red minus signs appear on the corner of each app.
  3. Tap the red minus sign on each of the apps until all apps in the multitasking bar are closed.
  4. Close the multitasking bar by pressing the Home button once.

Editing Excel on an iPad

September 5th, 2012 Comments off

I rarely use Excel and so don’t have much experience with which Office compatible suite on the iPad offers what sort of functionality with those files. Jason Miller sent me an excellent overview of a couple of different apps for viewing Excel files and eight more for editing them. Enjoy!

Editing Excel files on an iPad from Macworld, September 5, 2012.

–Rebecca Johnson

Categories: apps Tags: ,

Complete Class Organizer

September 4th, 2012 Comments off

This is a guest post by Yolanda Barnes–

One of my favorite apps is Complete Class Organizer – Student Version ($4.99) by AnimalBrainz, Inc. The app has a lot of functionality. You can record lectures and any notes you take will be synchronized with the recording. You can also take notes by typing or drawing, send notes to classmates via Bluetooth, calculate and store your class grades with the feature calculator, import PDF/PPT and other files, and generate, print, and email your weekly class schedule. You can also integrate with Dropbox and Google docs. The list goes on and on because new versions and updates are being produced weekly.

I came across the app because I was in need of something that could help me get organized for graduate school. This app seemed to have everything that I needed for only $4.99, which is a wonderful price for all of the features that it has to offer.

Yolanda D. Barnes is a 2011 Ronald E. McNair Scholar with published research in the area of juvenile delinquency and parenting practices. She received her BA in criminal justice with a minor in social work and is currently a first-year graduate student in the MSW program at the University of Alabama.

Categories: apps Tags:

It’s not impossible when you know the right app . . .

August 29th, 2012 Comments off

This is a guest post by Dr. Carmen Burkhalter–

I have often told my friends and family I hope I never have to live without an iPad. iPad technology seems to hide the nuts and bolts of coding and makes working so simple. Even modern computers don’t have the same level of simplicity I find myself enjoying these days. My only complaint has been that I can’t do all my work on the iPad. Well, the outstanding employees of eTech have listened to me complain about this until they were fed up.  They then countered by challenging me to create problems for them to solve. My first complaint was that although the remote desktop app LogMeIn is a great program, it’s completely dependent upon my computer being on and having power. This drives me crazy especially when I am trying to find a work file at odd hours of the day, or if I would need to access files after a storm had knocked out power to our building. Today, Jason Miller in eTech showed me the app Files Connect. This app is fabulous. I can now access all of my H-drive or S-drive files even if my office computer is powered off. I am thrilled. All I can say is eTech 1 – Carmen Burkhalter 0.  Stay tuned. I’ll update you on the score as we go on.

Carmen Burkhalter, senior associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at The University of Alabama, is also a professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders, where she specializes in pediatric audiology.

Categories: apps Tags:

Working on the Go–ProfHacker iPad column

August 23rd, 2012 Comments off

From today’s Profhacker column. Grad student Stephanie Hedge talks about the tools and apps that help her get work done on her iPad. Note the first comment on her column that mentions the lack of sufficient security in Dropbox to satisfy FERPA. Just something to keep in mind.

Categories: advice, apps, breaking news Tags:

How to Share an iPhone (or iPad) Screen Live on the Internet

August 23rd, 2012 Comments off

Sharing your iPad or iPhone screen on the internet. Potentially interesting for those with iPhone 4S or iPad 2 or newer. Thanks for the tip, Jason.

Categories: breaking news Tags:

Quickoffice Pro HD and Keynote for word processing and presenting, plus two more apps

August 22nd, 2012 Comments off

Quickoffice Pro HD ($19.99)

Pros:  stable app; friendly interface; direct link to variety of cloud storage services; can easily use this to create and to perform some light editing of Word, Powerpoint, and Excel files

Cons: limited functionality compared to desktop version of Office; limited formatting options, e.g., only 12 fonts; unfortunate tendency to slightly reformat Powerpoint presentations that have been created on desktop or laptop computers; can use the app to convert files to PDFs (though it’s hidden in the print function and exporting takes another step or two)

Keynote ($9.99)

Pros:  stable app; relatively rich formatting options, e.g., 58 fonts available, not counting weight options for many of those; well integrated into the iPad, e.g., easy access to Photos and photo stream; great if you have other Mac computers with the latest OS to take advantage of most recent iCloud sharing options; can easily export files as PDFs for Air Sketch

Cons: limited options for exporting documents (no cloud services apart from iCloud); interface for file management is limited


I’ve used Quickoffice as my main iPad word processing app since I began working with iPads nearly two years ago. I love the interface–it’s simple, logical, and hasn’t changed much in all that time. I use it to open email attachments and to do some light editing on Dropbox documents. I also use it to create rough drafts. Essentially, it’s a cloud-storage friendly app that allows me to do some basic drafting and light editing, and as long as I don’t have to worry about formatting or anything terribly complicated, all will be well.

Keynote is a more recent acquisition. I started using it routinely when we offered our first iPads and Presenting workshop. I enjoy creating presentations on the iPad because I’m able to easily access Photos and photo stream and embed hyperlinks to videos and to web pages. I also like the presenter notes feature with Keynote, which gives me access to my notes on the presentation without making them visible to the audience. Keynote is a much richer presentation application than the PowerPoint portion of Quickoffice. I’ve found that the limited options in Keynote for exporting documents can actually work to my advantage if I’m trying to turn my presentation into a PDF for use with Air Sketch. It is an option within the export function in Keynote, rather than being hidden in the Print function within Quickoffice. [Thanks to Dr. Chris Lynn for suggesting I give Keynote on the iPad a try.]

So, depending on what you need to do, both Quickoffice and Keynote are perfectly serviceable and reliable.

[I have not worked much with the Excel portion of Quickoffice or with Pages and Numbers, Apple’s versions of Word and Excel. If you have experience with these apps, please feel free to comment below.]

quickoffice file interface

Look at those file management options in Quickoffice! Drag a file to cloud storage, email it, delete it, share it in social media, distribute it wirelessly (the blurred out bit at the bottom of the window). Nice.

keynote file interface

Not many options here in this file management interface. Well, until you get the little thumbnails jiggling, then a few more show up, but I find that vaguely aggravating.

An additional note on word processing on the iPad: it helps to have modest goals. For example, I must use the track changes function in some of the work that I do. While there are apps that provide track changes functionality, OnLive Desktop and Office2 HD, both are buggy. OnLive Desktop is free (woo-hoo!) but it is critically dependent on robust wireless because you’re working with a virtualized version of the full Office suite. It also requires some maneuvering to get your documents into the virtual space in which you can begin to edit them, and this maneuvering can only happen on a desktop or laptop computer. OnLive is also undergoing some difficult financial times, so there’s that. Office2 HD ($7.99) is an app that resides on the iPad. I’ve not worked much with the app apart from trying to use track changes as I edited an 80-some page document. MUCH crashing ensued. Perhaps with a smaller document, all would be ducky? I will experiment and let you know. What is wonderful about the iPad, obviously, is its small size and how quickly it wakes up. I’d much prefer to use it than my aged, ailing, and heavy laptop. I’m willing to put up with some slightly awkward workarounds for these reasons. But for my work that requires track changes, these apps don’t seem to be the solution.

-Rebecca Johnson

eTech’s Fall iPad Workshop Schedule–part 1

August 17th, 2012 Comments off

eTech iPad Workshop Series

The eTech iPad Workshops are designed to provide Arts and Sciences faculty, instructors, and staff with information that can help them incorporate the iPad into their teaching, research, and work life. These one-hour brown-bag workshops are held at noon on Tuesdays in the eTech Conference Room in the Bureau of Mines. For all workshops, bring your iPad and please make sure that you know all relevant user names and passwords associated with your device (i.e., Apple ID and password, AS and MyBama user names and passwords, Dropbox, etc.). Workshops will be limited to 10 participants, we will schedule additional workshops by request.
Contact eTech by email to reserve your spot—etech[at]

August 28:  iPad 101
We’ll take you on a tour of the settings menu, give you an overview of transferring files to and from your iPad, and give you a brief introduction to some of the popular apps in the College of Arts and Sciences.

September 4:  App of the Month—Dropbox
We’ll show you how to get a Dropbox account, how Dropbox is integrated into a variety of apps, and how you can use it to transfer and share files.

September 11:  iPads and Presenting
We’ll take you through a number of presenting options, including Keynote and Air Sketch.

September 18:  An Overview of iOS 6
In early September, Apple will release the newest version of their mobile operating system. We’ll provide an overview of the new features in iOS 6.

September 25:  iPad App-stravaganza
We’ll cram as many app overviews as we can into 40 minutes, followed by 20 minutes of discussion of these apps and any others that participants would like to share.

October 2:  File Transfer, Cloud Storage, and Your iPad
How do you transfer files with no USB drive? We’ll show you how with iCloud, Dropbox, iTunes file transfer, GoodReader, and FilesConnect.

October 9:  App of the Month—GoodReader
Like a Swiss Army knife for your iPad, GoodReader can be used to annotate pdf’s, transfer files, share files wirelessly, and more.

October 16:  iPad Accessory Showcase
By popular demand, we’ll provide a hands-on showcase of a variety of accessories for your iPad, including microphones, keyboards, styluses, and camera connectors.

October 23 through the end of the fall semester:  TBA

Categories: advice, apps, beginner, iPad 101 Tags: