Friday, May 8, 2020

The Fruits of Retail Therapy

For some people, retail therapy is a thing. For me, some of the best therapy is furniture moving. Sometimes the current configuration has outlasted its usefulness, and a change is due. I’ve written about this before. In this case today, the furniture-moving therapy was brought on by a little retail therapy.

Since my iPad has become the center of my internet world, and considering I don’t have limits on the amount of data I use on the device itself, it made sense to make a little investment in some accessories to make that a smoother and more efficient experience. The on-screen keyboard on an iPad mini can be especially miserable for me. I tend to misfire on hitting the ‘n’ and ‘t’ letters in the middle of the keyboard a lot for some reason. Dictation, with how ever possibly humorous results at times, has limited accuracy.

I’ve seen some little keyboards people can pair with their device, and decided it was time to get one that would work with current technology. (New devices forgot how to understand the Backspace keyboard on my old device. Yeah, that would not be helpful for very long, especially with Apple’s disposition toward either the physical Bluetooth keyboard or on-screen keyboard, but never both.)

Apple has also done an impressive job of bringing MacOS capabilities to it’s iPad line of products, including it’s economy line of mini iPads. Being able to have Safari on an iPad impersonate a Mac and request genuine desktop sites is quite helpful, especially in these circumstances. That also means certain developer assumptions about available user interface items, like mouse input, may not necessarily be valid.

So, I ordered a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse for my iPad (links to Amazon earn commission). iOS/iPadOS seems to have some quirks that don’t always let the keyboard provide input in every text field, slide over app, etc. Their apps always work reliably. I also already had an old Bluetooth mouse, but the reason for a new investment there was that one took two AAA batteries, and it had difficulty reconnecting. Therefore, leaving that device on for any length of time was bound to burn through batteries faster than other wireless mice I’ve used that only use one AA battery. Mice that only use 1.5 volts at a time seem to last more than twice as long as those that use 3 volts at a time. Translation: fewer batteries = longer-lasting battery usage.

That brings me to furniture moving. Having a new accessory prompted needing a new setup and a desk space reconfiguration to make it work. Providing it power was also a factor. Considering that both space and power options were already maxed out with the previous configuration, it meant reevaluating, not my whole living area, but everything about my device placement and power bank usage. It should be better now.

I also hope to make better (more, any) use of some existing devices with this new setup. (Note to self: don’t bother trying to get Windows devices to talk to each other—networking, synergy mouse sharing, etc.—while connected over an iPad hotspot connection.)

This is what some of us do for fun on a Friday evening. (No, this isn’t really that unique to being in a quarantine/lockdown situation.) Nonetheless, this is my first post written on this new keyboard.

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