Pearl's Paradise

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled teams yearning to breath free…"

May 27, 2010
by Steve Pearl

The iPad as a Desktop Powerhouse: Keyboard, Mouse, and… External Monitor?

Hacker or Purist?  Which are You?

There are iPad purists and there are iPad hackers.  iPad purists insist that the iPad is just fine as is, a marvelous piece of hardware married to stupid-simple, rock-solid software.  iPad hackers, on the other hand, can't resist the temptation to tinker and crack.  To them, the iPad is just another piece of hardware territory to be explored, prodded, probed, and extended.

If you haven't figured it out already, I'm a hacker at heart.

(You know where this is heading, don't you?)

WARNING:  The solutions discussed in the pages to come involve "jailbreaking" your iPad.  Apple does NOT permit Jailbreaking under terms of your iPad license agreement, so proceed at your own peril.  I am not responsible for you "bricking" your iPad.  That being said, I haven't bricked my iPhone or iPad after jailbreaking, so your milage may vary.  One other note.  The updates presented do not work flawlessly, so be prepared for some minor headaches like drivers that need to be manually reawakened after the iPad goes to sleep.

Okay, now you can keep reading.

Click to continue reading “The iPad as a Desktop Powerhouse: Keyboard, Mouse, and… External Monitor?”

May 20, 2010
by Steve Pearl

Must-have iPad Apps, Most Free, All Cheap

The problem with the world's biggest App Store (200,000+ apps at last count) is that you must often dig through waist-high piles of refuse before finding hidden gems.  Worse yet, Apple has a frustrating policy of not letting you sort applications based on ranking.  You must often flip through page after page after page of apps, most of which are throw-aways, before you accidentally stumble on all-too-infrequent greatness.

So for those of you who just want to get some work done, enjoy the general experience of the iPad touch interface, and occasionally play a game or two along the way, here are my personal favorites. 

Most of these apps are FREE.  Some of them cost a few sheckles, but none more than $10.00. The whole batch will set you back less than $60.00.  Plus, if you have a Costco or Sams Club membership, you can buy $60.00 worth of iTunes cards for a mere $55.00.

Click to continue reading “Must-have iPad Apps, Most Free, All Cheap”

May 19, 2010
by Steve Pearl

NOW You can go Buy Yourself an iPad – The “Spirit” Jailbreak Rocks!

In my earlier commentary on the iPad I cautioned that it was on its way to stardom, but not yet quite perfect.  Now I'm convinced.  The iPad is a star.  Buy one.  Period.  End of story.  Have no fear.  Pearlie said it was safe to go in the water.

What changed my mind?

Click to continue reading “NOW You can go Buy Yourself an iPad – The “Spirit” Jailbreak Rocks!”

May 18, 2010
by Steve Pearl

The Real iPad Killer App – iPad as External Monitor

(UPDATE 5-19-2010:  There is a new product called "Air Display," slightly more expensive than iDisplay at $10.00, that shows greater promise.  More on that in a future post.)

How often have you been trucking around with your laptop, wishing you had an external display handy on which to extend the view? Not very practical, eh? After all, it's one thing to tuck a 15" laptop into your carry bag, but with the size of monitors pushing 25" these days the odds of slogging an extra monitor along with the laptop seem pretty slim.

It seems there is one industrious entrepreneur out there who is taking the first, fitful baby steps toward the goal. The product is called iDisplay and it promises – though apparently fails to cleanly deliver – just such a feat. Gizmodo's review was less than complimentary, and over at the App Store the product is garnering an blistering set of reviews from "utter junk" to "don't buy this crap."

Click to continue reading “The Real iPad Killer App – iPad as External Monitor”

May 17, 2010
by Steve Pearl

Dear Friend, Your Perfume is Killing Me. Literally.

Church and I have a sort of love/hate relationship going on.

On the one hand, I love the very experience of going to church.  I get to be around other like-minded, passionate believers, reassuring my heart in the knowledge that my family and I are not alone in our walk as Christians.  I get to come into the presence of God in a more intimate way as the worship leader moves us, if for just a few moments, closer to the throne of grace.  I get challenged to think more deeply about how my life is either sharing a true reflection of Christ or, tragically, is driving people further away from Him.  I think in fresh ways about how I can strengthen my own service to the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords.

And then…

There's that vague notion that the very next time I step through the doors of my church I might wind up taking a trip to the local ER.

Click to continue reading “Dear Friend, Your Perfume is Killing Me. Literally.”

May 12, 2010
by Steve Pearl

The Scary Truth About Used Photocopiers and Your Personal Data

A friend forwarded me this link to a story over at the CBS Evening News site.

WARNING: Grab your significant other and a bag of popcorn first. This is a serious horror flick for people who wonder why their personal data keeps getting into the wrong hands.;contentBody

What's even scarier is that I didn't stumble onto this issue myself. As a CIO with about 20 years of experience leading IT operations, (not to mention being a reformed hacker from way back in the day), the thought that valuable company or personal data might have gone out the door with the photocopiers never crossed my mind. Yikes!

In the story, the reporter refers to the data that went out the door with a health insurer's copiers. Social Security Numbers, personally identifying information, phone numbers… Precisely the kind of data leaks HIPAA was designed to stop.

It's time for us to press the copier industry – Congress if necessary – to create protocols to deal with scrubbing such data regardless of manufacturer. In this case, a uniform plan of attack is critical, leaving no manufacturer and no platform behind.

Contact your member of Congress and urge action. Maybe together we can put the kind of pressure on that will effect change.

May 10, 2010
by Steve Pearl

iPhone -vs- Droid Incredible: Different Audiences, Similar Results

After carrying the Droid Incredible around as my primary phone for more than two weeks, I think I can finally give a pretty fair assessment of whether this thing is truly an iPhone killer or whether it is just an "incredible" device that is really intended for a whole different audience.  I am leaning toward the latter for reasons that will become clear in a moment.

First, some background.

Click to continue reading “iPhone -vs- Droid Incredible: Different Audiences, Similar Results”

May 1, 2010
by Steve Pearl

Update: Droid Incredible Signal Strength Mystery Deepens

There's a saying in the cell phone sales world…

"You just can't trust the bars."

Every rookie salesperson knows that the signal inside the store is going to be 5-bars or better.  If there isn't a tower nearby, then there's a femtocell (the equivalent of a micro-tower) somewhere inside the store boosting the signal for the patrons.  Nothing illegal about it, it's just a little white lie.

That's why, when you get about a 100 yards down the street on your way home with your shiny new cell phone the signal suddenly drops off the edge of a radio-inactive cliff.

Which is why a I did a little bit more digging when the new HTC Droid Incredible I am testing somehow managed to hold on to calls through even though the signal meter read 1 or 0 bars.  In my earlier piece on the Droid Incredible, I shared how the Palm Pre Plus registered 4 or 5 bars of signal strength over the whole 28 miles from office to home.  I also shared that the Droid Incredible seemed incredibly deaf, rarely registering more than 2 bars of coverage over the same route.

Now I know why.

Click to continue reading “Update: Droid Incredible Signal Strength Mystery Deepens”

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