TheONbutton Durham Computer Services

Remote IT Support and Computer & Technology Help in Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh NC

iPad overheating outdoors? How to make your iPad daylight readable

iPad screen glare outdoors

The iPad suffers badly from glare and overheating outdoors

There is plenty to like about the iPad, and plenty to get frustrated about as well. Apart from the lack of Flash and spontaneously crashing live on the BBC, the iPad’s difficulty outdoors is a real thorn in its side.

As is often the case with Apple products, overheating reports surfaced quickly following the release of the iPad. I myself suffered shutdowns after only a few minutes of outdoor use on a sunny day. Now, I don’t live in a crazily hot city, but New York does get pretty warm. We’re already into the 80’s for a few days a week, so I needed to find a solution.

But hold on, even if there’s a way to get the iPad to work outdoors without breaking a sweat, the screen isn’t exactly daylight readable. In fact it’s a glare magnet, which severely limits its usability outdoors.

So here’s what I’ve discovered over the last few weeks, hopefully these simple suggestions will allow you to enjoy your iPad in more places.

Enjoying the sun while keeping the iPad’s screen in shade

Apple iPad case sun shade

The Apple iPad case can be used as a sun shade

It sounds like an impossible task, but if you want to sit in the sun you must keep it from shining directly onto the iPad’s screen to have any hope of avoiding an overheating shutdown. The glass screen seems to act as a greenhouse and amplifies the sun’s rays making it almost too hot to touch after just a few minutes of exposure.

The best solution I have found for this is Apple’s own iPad case, whose protective flap can be held over the screen easily with a thumb to act as a sun-shade. Other cases with a flap cover should be able to be used in this way as well.

Allowing the iPad to expel heat

Although I love the ad-hoc sun-shade properties of Apple’s own case, its glove-like fit ensures that heat from the iPad’s back plate has no escape route. This helps to bring on shutdowns that little bit quicker.

So in addition to using the main flap as a sun-shade, opening the interior flap if you’re using the iPad horizontally will allow some heat to dissipate upwards. Make sure that you are holding the iPad with the internal flap at the top, to avoid the iPad falling out of the sleeve.

Apple iPad case sun shade 2

Raise the case cover slightly to allow trapped heat to escape

Also, when you are not using the iPad it will cool down quicker if you prop open the main flap by an inch or so. This will provide shade to the iPad while allowing heat trapped in the screen to escape.

Reading the iPad screen outdoors

The glare from the screen makes viewing it extremely difficult in daylight. There are a couple of ways to best this. The first is to use one of the many anti-glare screen covers now available. These do have the downside of adding a tint to the screen and reducing clarity however, and are also difficult to take on and off if you only need them once a week or so.

My preferred option is to use sunglasses with polarized lenses. These are available cheaply and mine do a fantastic job of destroying glare from the iPad’s screen.

If these tips aren’t enough to stop your iPad from showing an overheating warning and shutting down, thenmove it to a cool place and allow it to properly cool.

I used the polarized sunglasses with Apple case sun-shade technique to survive a week of use in Las Vegas, in very warm and bright conditions. The 3G reception on AT&T was lousy, but hey, trying to fix that one is a whole other story!

Neil Berman

May 30, 2010 Posted by | Apple, Guides, Hardware | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Compression HD for iPad just got even better with Blocked play mode

CompressionOf my current three favorite iPad games, Compression HD is by far the most spectacularly addictive. The other two, Labyrinth HD and Real Racing HD are merely superb.

Compression HD just got a whole lot better with the addition of a new Blocked play mode, which adds metal blocks and bombs. It’s ten times more fun than the regular game, which was already ten times better than most games out there. So by my math, that makes it a hundred times better than…oh whatevs. If you haven’t tried Compression HD yet, it’s a free download from the App Store. The new Blocked play mode costs just 99 cents as an in-game download. Now I have to get back to to it!

Update: I have the 14th highest Blocked score in the world!!

Neil Berman

May 28, 2010 Posted by | Apple | , | Leave a comment

4G WiMAX: It’s nice on the outside

Clearwire is apparently installing 4G repeaters into Radio Shack stores ahead of the launch of the Evo 4G. While this sounds like a nice idea, allowing potential customers to experience the best of WiMAX, it is also troubling.

I’m really looking forward to WiMAX arriving in New York, but the idea that a repeater is required to deliver good service within a retail store sets off alarm bells in my mind about quality of service. Many early adopters have noted that WiMAX works great outside near to a repeater and rapidly deteriorates compared to 3G when the receiving device moves indoors. This is due to WiMAX operating at a higher frequency than 3G, making it harder for the signal to penetrate buildings.

With New York being the city full of skyscrapers that it is, I’m starting to fear for the success of WiMAX here unless there repeaters all over the place. We’ll just have to wait and see what the quality of service is like when it goes live. I really hope it works out though, as it would be a shame if 3G ends up being faster than 4G in many real-life usage scenarios.

Neil Berman

May 22, 2010 Posted by | Analysis, Mobile, News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Google TV: Out of control?

GoogleThe announcement of Google TV yesterday is exciting, both for TV addicts and those who want a full living room internet experience without using a dedicated computer.  After following an impressive press conference, the question in my mind is how a regular person will control this thing.

It looks like Google TV seeks to aggregate content from various delivery channels and offers the end user multiple options for viewing said content.  For example during the presentation a portal page for House was shown offering episodes from Fox HD, USA HD, Bravo HD, and online from Fox, Hulu and Amazon.

While this kind of optionality is great from the point of view that the market can choose which delivery mechanism it wants, I’d say that most people want to flop in front of their TV, press a button and watch their favorite show.  The idea of presenting a regular viewer with so many viewing options, might just end up being too much choice for a simple end user decision.  I think the platform will ultimately need to prioritize certain delivery channels, either through configuration by the user or through agreements between Google and its content partners.

Of course we have all of this choice today and power users would probably love what Google TV looks like today by offering these myriad options through one remote control and one interface.  Windows Media Center provides a similar service but without a usable TV interface for browsing the internet, unless you have a wireless keyboard and a large screen for viewing small text at a distance.

So definitely five stars to Google on this one from the likes of me, I just hope that it’s straightforward enough for the average consumer to control when it hits Best Buy on Main Street.

Neil Berman

May 21, 2010 Posted by | Analysis, Home Theater, Photo & Video | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Appleiance is really happening

There’s all kinds of crazy talk out there today about iPads allegedly outselling Macs by almost two to one.

Two months ago I would have agreed that is an absurd idea, especially for a product without a proven market. After a few weeks of daily use with my iPad 3G however, I believe with more conviction than ever in my recent article The emergence Of Appleiance.

If the iPad really is selling so strongly, it all just makes perfect sense for Apple. While I won’t rehash the whole piece, which you can read at your leisure, I am pretty sure that in a few years the Mac will be a different beast compared with what we know now. There will likely be fewer in the range and those which remain will be at the periphery of the Apple world rather than the center.

Why am I so convinced? It’s simple; the iPad is now my main computer. Imagine that! Here I am, a total geek with an abundance of computing equipment and within a few short weeks the iPad has gone from being an object I viewed with cynicism to the one I use most of the time when not at work. I’m not a super-demanding user, but for my usage pattern of content consumption at home and on the move, the iPad is just great. It’s more appliance than computer – Appleiance – and for most of my use-cases I like that. In fact for the first time about an Apple product, I can genuinely say it just works…except for the times when an an app crashes; which happens quite a lot!

Many commentators have said that the iPad is a spare device; a discretionary device. It no longer is for me. I still need my Windows 7 Media Center hooked up to an unreasonably large screen and I need a laptop for work. But for almost everything else, my iPad rocks.

Neil Berman

May 20, 2010 Posted by | Analysis, Apple | , , , , | Leave a comment

Palm: Savior of the HP Slate?

The rumors of the premature demise of the HP Slate have left me with mixed emotions.

I had been looking forward to seeing if HP could develop its Touchsmart software to bring a viable Windows based competitor to the tablet market.  Recently however my time with the Apple iPad have left me grave doubts that Touchsmart advances could bring the HP Slate anywhere close to its most prominent competitor.  Even major enhancements to HP’s software would most likely lead to a HTC Sense over Windows Mobile 6.5 situation where a pretty, and functional, front end covers a less touch friendly but useful operating system.

HP’s acquisition of Palm obviously point towards development of both phone and tablet platforms using Palm’s WebOS software so, personally, I would be surprised to hear of HP engaging in significant further tablet development using Windows 7.  Speaking as a Windows 7 user since January 2009 and someone who attended its CES launch event, I simply do not see it as a strong competitor to the iPad for mainstream users.  This is different to OSX vs Windows.  Tablets need a completely finger friendly user environment, for all operations.

Even though Windows 7 offers so much more power than WebOS, Palm’s offering offers more relevance for mainstream tablets at this time.  Similarly Windows Phone 7 in my view looks likely to be a better fit for tablets as well.  There is really no need to squeeze all of Windows 7 into a tablet for Main Street.  The result is a large amount of unusable applications for most use-cases, poor battery life and long startup times.

Just in case there’s any confusion, the current market benchmark is thousands of high quality touch only apps, ten hours of real life battery duration and instant-on startup.  These are not nice-to-haves, these are the qualities of the best selling device in this sector.  Aspiring competitors who are considering entering this market must believe that they can improve upon these qualities, or they should not waste shareholder value in developing a competing product.

If the rumors of HP laying its Windows 7 based Slate to rest in favor of a WebOS based ‘Hurricane’ come to fruition, that’s probably a good thing.  It’s also not necessarily a bad thing for Microsoft.  Windows 7 is a great desktop, laptop and netbook operating system; probably the best I’ve used, all things considered.  Microsoft should look to preserve that reputation and produce the right products for the right platforms.  That could mean giving OEMs the right to use Windows Phone 7 in tablet development to avoid WebOS taking hold alongside Android as the viable competitors to the iPad.

Neil Berman

May 14, 2010 Posted by | Analysis, Computing, Hardware | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Doom on Virgin America

This is the best thing about flying on Virgin America, without question. With Doom, Branson’s brought in-flight gaming into the 1990s. Whether mile-high playtime will ever catch up to modern handhelds is anyone’s guess, but this sure is a great start. Thanks Richard, your interior plane design, in-seat power and WiFi rock too.

Neil Berman

May 9, 2010 Posted by | Hardware | Leave a comment

Netflix iPad app security

I’ve often wondered about the security of some iPhone OS apps.  Compared with using a browser where it’s clear if your session is being encrypted with HTTPS, it’s often not apparent if iPhone OS apps are transmitting data securely.

So with Netflix coming to the iPad and transmitting account details to Netflix’s servers out of operational necessity, some people have been concerned about the implications of using the app at a public WiFi hotspot.  I put this question to Netflix directly and here is the answer supplied by their VP of Corporate Communications:

“Netflix account information for the iPad is sent over https — so Netflix members are assured of the same level of security that as with the PC Website.”

Good to know.

Neil Berman

May 5, 2010 Posted by | Apple, Home Theater, Photo & Video | , , , | Leave a comment

ABC iPad app now does 3G streaming

As of today the ABC iPad app was updated to support streaming over 3G. Netflix already supports 3G streaming on the iPad, and we have our fingers crossed for a Hulu app to come soon. With AT&T’s unlimited data service coming in at $29.99 per month on the iPad 3G, this really is looking like a great solution for travelers or commuters who don’t need a full mobile broadband data service on a laptop. Even though the Ferrari in me says I need the speed of a Sprint 4G Overdrive, my hidden Prius tells me it would run out of gas after a few hours. The question however is whether AT&T’s 3G network can cope with this imminent influx of media traffic. Sitting here writing this on an iPad 3G, I sure hope so.

Neil Berman

May 3, 2010 Posted by | Apple, Mobile | , , , , | 1 Comment

Help for 1080p (1920×1080) black border full screen issues over HDMI

Some HDTVs leave a black border around an HD 1920x1080 image

There seems to be an issue affecting many people whose HDTV does not display a full screen 1080p image when connected to a computer over HDMI.  It goes something like this…

  • Excited person buys 1080p HDTV with dreams of experiencing PS3/Xbox/PC/Mac 1920×1080 viewing heaven
  • HDTV duly arrives and gets setup
  • HDTV connects happily over HDMI and displays 1080p but with a black border around the edge of the image
  • Excitement fades as the 42 inch TV is only displaying something like a 38-40 inch image

I’ve seen this on many LCD TVs, and not only those offering 1080p resolution.  I used to have a 32 inch screen with a native resolution of 1366×768 and it would do this.  My current 42 inch LCD screen, which is a Vizio SV420XVT1A does this too.

If you have spent hours playing with video card or game console setting to no avail, do not despair – there may be an easy solution!

The image now fills the screen

Most LCD panels have settings buried in their menu which allow the user to move and stretch the image being displayed.  These menu settings are sometimes described as Horizontal and Vertical Size and Horizontal and Vertical Position; often in the menus the orientation words are reduced to H and V, which helps to save space but not confusion.

In both of my cases I have found that by increasing the horizontal and vertical size of the image I was able to fill the panel with a pin sharp full screen image.

Some TVs have zoom settings which allow the image to be resized in broad steps, but I find the small increments of horizontal and vertical resizing can deliver a more accurate image fit to the panel.

Check out the gallery below for the steps I followed on this Vizio SV420XVT1A.

Neil Berman

May 2, 2010 Posted by | Computing, Gaming, Guides, Hardware, Home Theater, Photo & Video | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments


%d bloggers like this: