Browsing Tag


Vidabox iPad/iPad2 On-Wall Mounting Frames

Home Automation
August 22, 2011 2 Comments

Front view of frame shown with a white iPad2

Vidabox has been in the digital entertainment and control business for a while now and offers media extenders to complete home automation control systems. They have a product and/or solution for almost every A/V need — even turning your iPad into a wall mountable picture frame.

The Vidabox iPad On-Wall Mount Frame is actually a pretty good idea allowing you to add an on-wall control interface pretty much anywhere at a very economical price.

USB to Cat5 power extension kit

When I first opened the box the first thing that popped into my head was, “why didn’t I think of this!”. A genius concept, put an iPad into a high-quality contemporary picture frame and hang it on the wall. The kits come complete with everything needed to power the iPad using only a single Cat5 cable. The installation takes literally minutes after you get the cat5 cable fished through your wall. The frame design is clean and simple and great for anyone that wants a semi-permanent wall installation of an iPad (I call it semi-permanent because you don’t need to cut a hole into the wall) — that’s great because it makes swapping out iPad versions in the future very easy!  The kit is available for both the original iPad and the iPad2. The frame kit retails for $99 and comes in a variety of finishes.

iPad On-Wall Frame Kit

Back view of iPad frame

For more information and to order the frame kit visit VidaBox.

Tags: , , , ,

iPort Control Mount Series – Turns Your iPod Touch/iPad Into An In-Wall Panel

Home Automation
August 4, 2010 6 Comments

Apple has pretty much killed the wireless touch panel for the home automation market with the iPad and iPod Touch — and if you feel like they haven’t, then let me rephrase the previous sentence with, “Apple will soon kill the wireless touch panel…”. It’s really hard to sell a wireless panel these days that costs more than triple the cost and in most cases, of less quality and has 10x’s less battery life than the Apple devices.

Now, I understand the limitations of using an iPod Touch and iPad for home control and I have heard the argument that a touch panel that is dedicated gives the user quicker access than powering up the i-Device, sliding to unlock, then either launching or resuming the application, wait for a slight delay of the wifi to connect and a few seconds later, controlling the system.

Sure, I agree.

I also agree that some in-wall panels also act as an “embedded” server which needs to be on all the time — something the Apple device isn’t designed to do — those are all valid points. However, for casually controlling your lights, music, security, viewing cameras, adjusting temperature, and so forth, the Apple mobile devices are a home run!

That’s why I got excited to see the NOW SHIPPING touch/iPad in-wall mount system from iPort. The iPort CM-IW100T (CM100) Control Mount for the iPod touch encases an iPod touch in a wall-mounted chassis with a magnetically attached, rectangular bezel, as does the iPort CM-IW2000 (CM2000) for Apple’s iPad, transforming the handheld devices into in-wall touchscreens running apps from any control system over WiFi. The device is powered over CAT5 — audio output is also carried over the Cat5 cable which can be fed as an audio source into a whole house audio system — think Pandora App or even the iPod Player, however, that will require you occasionally pull the iPod/iPad out of the panel to sync as Apple doesn’t offer wifi syncing.

The iPort CM100 retails for $250.00, while the iPad version retails for $499.00. I’ll try to get one in for review soon…

– iPort – CM Series

Tags: , , ,

Apple iPad Review

Electronics, Home Automation
April 8, 2010 5 Comments

I’ve had my iPad for a few days and compiled a Pro’s and Con’s list as part of my review.  I’ll try to be subjective but keep in mind that this device has been hyped a lot and may come across more critical than normal.


– Sexy, slick device — Apple is great at that.  They always have been.  They, again, have nailed it!

– Fast! — the iPad is very fast and responsive. I would say it feels faster than my 3GS.

– Screen is crisp, bright and vibrant — while the screen is not great for reading books, it is excellent for watching videos and playing games!  The pixel density of the screen is probably the best I have seen to date — as is the viewing angle.

– Bluetooth keyboard support — Apple is finally allowing you to pair a bluetooth keyboard with the iPad. This alone makes it easier to write emails and surf the web than the iPhone.

– Loud Speakers — the speaker on the iPad is LOUD!

– Multitouch Screen — the screen is very accurate and responds well to the touch.

– Amazing Battery Life — this is one of the most impressive aspects of the iPad.  The battery life lives up to what’s advertised!

– Love Native Apps — I find myself using services (Twitter/ABC) more because they offer native iPad apps versus hitting their website via the Safari browser.  I’ll take a nicely designed iPad app over a web page version any day.  However, there are some services that lose functionality in their native app.  This is bad, but not the fault of Apple.


– Device is too BIG — too big to take with you all the time.  I would have liked a small notepad (7″) sized iPad.

– Device doesn’t feel right in the hands — while it’s solid and looks good, it’s slippery and weird to hold.  The nook is the right size and the arched rubberized back feels soft and “warm” to the hand.  The iPad feels cold and fragile.  Which, I believe, if you drop, will do a lot of damage to the iPad, as well as mar it’s elegant aluminum finish.   I should also mention, the Apple case does change the feel and makes it a lot better to hold.  However, it does add $39 to the price of the unit.

– Screen is too reflective — it makes it unusable at times.  When will Apple make anti-glare glass cool?

– Screen smudges —  when the unit goes to sleep, you can see tons of fingerprints and swipes all across the screen.  Apple doesn’t even provide a cleaning cloth with the iPad like they do with all other devices they sell.

– Poor eBook Reader — screen reflections and brightness doesn’t make reading enjoyable.   I still prefer my nook over the iPad.  Shows you that a good single purpose device can beat a multipurpose device.

– Does too many things — really this is a con!  Maybe it’s just me and my A.D.D., but I can’t sit in one single application for a long time because I feel like I should be doing a lot of other things instead like; twitter, email, iPod, youtube, ABC Player, or surf the web.   I make the analogy to reading a book while someone else in the room is watching TV.  Sure, I can continue reading and ignore the TV, but the temptation to watch the TV always wins me over.  If I’m reading an eBook on the iPad, I feel like I should be watching a full episode of Lost instead.

– No accessible file system — you can’t place PDF’s in a folder and sync with your computer.  So you are stuck buying apps that may offer a solution.  In the case of PDF’s, the OS natively support them, however, there is no native reader… one solution is to email the PDF to yourself and access via the mail client.  Hacks like this make the iPad frustrating and unusable.

– Cost too much — at $499 for the low end unit, it’s too costly to justify for what it offers.  It does less than a netbook — $299 is what it should cost.

– Apps are expensive — maybe we got spoiled with FREE and .99-cent apps of the past.  Buying all the apps I’d need adds up quickly.

– Lack of native apps* — using iPhone apps on the iPad are painful.  While compatible, scaling makes them look pixelated and floating in the middle makes it hard to hold the device and navigate.    * This should be a temporary con as more developers release updates to their apps.

– OS was design for the iPhone screen size — you can really tell that the OS was designed for a smaller screen.  When you navigate on the iPad you find placement of the home button too far from the navigation bar.  Your hands are constantly moving around the screen.  The use of screen gestures could solve this problem in the future.  What works great on the iPhone causes UX issues on the iPad.   Apple did an excellent job with the iPhone implementation and designed the interface for that sized device. Refactoring the interface to support the larger real estate feels like an after thought.

– Weak WiFi reception — the signal is not as strong as my iPhone or MacBook Pro. Why?

Overall, I think the iPad is “good”.  The quality of the device is excellent.  Battery life is superb.  There are a handful of apps (ABC Player, Myro Control) which I love using.  I would rate it a 6 out of 10 whereas the iPhone is a 9 out of 10. I’m having a hard time seeing how people will use the iPad daily.   If I didn’t have my home automation control software, Myro Control (iPad version coming soon), I’d probably not use it as much because I always have my iPhone with me and when I’m at work or home I am near my MacBook.

I’d love to hear how you are using your iPad…

Tags: , , , ,

Did you pre-order an iPad today?

Electronics, Home Automation
March 12, 2010 3 Comments

Just pressed submit and placed an order for a 16gb iPad… it’s been a pain developing applications via the simulator so I can’t wait to get this device in my grubby hands.   Did you guys order an iPad today?  Why or why not?  How do you plan on using it?   I’d love to hear — lurkers,  now’s your time to post a comment…

Did you pre-order an iPad?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

– Apple — Pre-Order iPad

Tags: ,

Debating the merits of Apple’s iPad…

Electronics, Rants / Thoughts
January 28, 2010 2 Comments

CNET has a pretty good balanced article about the iPad.    I know there are heated debates going on about the iPad and it’s purpose/uses.  What do you guys think?   Does having no Adobe Flash really hurt the iPad — my opinion is no — hasn’t really been a issue on the iPhone since there is an app for everything and I rarely launch Safari for surfing (here is Adobe’s response). Does the size of the device make this unusable for daily use?  Would you use it as a work device?   I’d love to hear your thoughts…

CNET – Debating the merits of Apple’s iPad

Tags: , , , ,

Why the Apple iPad is not an eBook Reader

January 27, 2010 2 Comments

I’ve been reading a lot about how the iPad could hurt sales of eReaders and quite frankly I don’t think this is the case.  I personally own a Nook and I’m in love with the eInk screen technology.  There is something about the non-glare screen that is very reminiscent of printed paper.  You can read it in bed without blinding your spouse and the 6″ devices (Kindle and Nook) are easy and natural to hold.   The battery life is amazing and you never have to worry about closing or powering up and navigating back to the last page you were on — the eBook reader experience seems pretty natural to me.

The iPad is a very innovative device that I can see serving a purpose in peoples lives but does not offer any compelling reason to use as an eReader.  Sure, people are saying that you get more than an eBook reader, true. However, the key element in an ebook is the screen, otherwise, why don’t we all read books on our computers or iPhones/touches?   The highly reflective glass screen used on the iPad/MacBook and iPhone is terrible (using a MacBook Pro with one right now) and will cause eye strain if used in areas where it can catch reflections — not good for reading a long book.   Not to mention all the distractions fingerprints on the glass will cause while reading.   The LED backlight will be too bright when used on planes and in dark rooms, when used outside in bright sun it will be worthless.  The novelty of sliding to flip a page also seems like it will wear off rather quickly… there are no buttons to press to advance pages easily.   The whole point of reading is to get enveloped in the story, not by visual elements that make what you are reading look like a physical book.   I feel that the eReaders featuring eInk capture the analog pluses pretty well.

So where do I see the iPad fitting in?  As a multimedia connected home control device of course!  The form factor and price is perfect as the “second screen” we have been looking for in our living rooms and as this platform evolves I’m sure we will see more ways we can utilize this in our lives just not as an eBook reader — which is fine, because why is it bad thing to have a single purpose device that works very well?

Tags: , , , , ,