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iPad on Willem's Blog

Abandoning my own tablet OS

Why I moved back to iPad and the Mac

Jan. 14, 2021
After a year of experimenting with Debian GNU/Linux on a Surface Go 2 I have returned to iPad Pro and the Mac.

The past year I have been experimenting with creating my own tablet operating system using Debian GNU/Linux and the i3 window manager on a Microsoft Surface Go 2 with LTE. After months of intense use I have now decided to abandon the experiment to move back to iPad Pro and the Mac. Read along to find out why.

The best keyboard for iPad

Smart Keyboard Folio vs Magic Keyboard

Aug. 11, 2020
While everybody is raving about the Magic Keyboard there is something to be said for the

The tablet is at the frontier of mobile computing and its hardware form factor is evolving. This year Apple introduced a new Magic Keyboard for iPad that includes a trackpad. Everybody is raving about it, yet I think there is something to be said for the "mouse-less" Smart Keyboard Folio. Read along for some key differences.

Some thoughts on touch screen user interface design

Creating intuitive natural interfaces

June 24, 2020
I am working on a new app involving personal health that requires a natural intuitive interface that works well on touch screens. It's good to check out some best practices for touch UI design

Past weeks I have been working on a new app involving personal health. The main challenge is to come up with an intuitive, natural interface that works well on small touch screen devices. But what is it that makes an touch screen interface any good? Read along for some best practices.

Designing and implementing a (micro) payment system

Monetising my blog with coffee, Apple Pay and Mollie

Mar. 25, 2020
Designing and implementing a micro payment system with an emphasis on simplicity. Read about how I did it in this post.

Online payments are now more important than ever as businesses are disrupted by the COVID-19 virus. It drives my customers to seek new ways to make money online. I designed and implemented a (micro)payment system. This post is about achieving simplicity by solving complex challenges.

Your own addressbook and calendar cloud

Share contacts, agendas and tasks with CardDAV/CalDAV

Feb. 28, 2020
You can setup a CardDAV/CalDAV server to manage your own contacts, addressbook, agenda and task data and share it between your devices.

If you use different devices and computers to get things done, you might want to synchronise contacts, agendas and tasks. You can use any of the 'big cloud' services for this, like Apple iCloud, Microsoft Office 365 and Google Gmail. But, if you prefer not to share your addressbook and calendar with big American companies, you can do it yourself.

Multi-Window support in your iPad app

Native development for iPadOS

Oct. 7, 2019
Take advantage of the improved support for multiple windows on iPadOS by implementing new UI concepts enabling different use cases for your app.

Last month Apple released iPadOS, the first dedicated operating system for iPad. It differs from iOS with its support for the larger iPad screen, including multi / split screen windows. I develop apps and it was time to take advantage of these new possibilities that iPadOS offers.

Business in a bag

Using a waterproof backpack to fit my gear

Dec. 22, 2018
After much testing I have selected a bag and set of cases to fit my entire business, wherever I go.

Over the past few months I have been testing different bags and cases to fit everything I need to run my business. As I commute by bike, the bag needs to be waterproof. The problem with waterproof gear is that it is usually very bulky. I need my gear to be both portable and representative, a challenge worth a blog post!

Off the grid: Working on 100% renewable energy

Collecting, storing and using solar electricity to power my phone, computer and wearables

Apr. 30, 2018
Learning from powering my personal devices using nothing but self generated electricity using a solar panel and power banks.

For the past 10 days I have powered my personal electronic devices (phone, computer, wearables) using nothing but energy collected using a small solar panel. I disconnected all grid-connected chargers. I hoped that by going off the grid, even in such a small way, I would gain insights that enable me to save energy (and money).

Tablet as main computer

Comparing the Microsoft Surface Pro to iPad Pro

Mar. 7, 2018
I have been using a tablet as my main computer for quite some time now. In this blog post I share you my experience on using Surface Pro and iPad Pro to get my work done.

For the past few weeks I have been using the Microsoft Surface Pro as my main computer. It's a modern tablet computer that can be used as laptop with the type cover. With the Surface Pen, it's a versatile PC that works in a lot of different ways. Time to find out if it's any good and how it compares to my other tablet computer, iPad Pro.

Updating Snake '97

About the challenges of developing a wildly popular game

Feb. 21, 2018
This month I bit the bullet big time: I redesigned the game engine of the wildly popular Snake '97 game. Read about the design challenges in this blog post.

Few years ago my brother threw a beer on my iPhone in an Amsterdam bar. The poor thing didn't like the Dutch brew as much as I do: it died. While waiting for a new phone to arrive, I used an old one that couldn't do anything but texting, calling and... Snake! The idea for Snake '97 was born and this month it was time to update the wildly popular game.

The day I killed my LAN

Turned off my local network and went 4G only

July 31, 2017
I killed my office LAN and went 4G only. Saves a lot of clutter, energy and money.

Today I called my provider to quit my office's ADSL internet subscription, I don't need it anymore. I have turned off my local area network and switched my workflow onto mobile internet only. The simplicity and savings actually surprised me so much, that I made blog post for it.

iPad Pro next to my primary machine

Using it with Apple Pencil as a creative powerhouse

Jan. 30, 2017
Using iPad Pro with Apple Pencil next to my computer to form a create powerhouse

I wanted see if I can find something better than my old fashioned pencil and paper that I use for designing software as professional developer. I knew iPad Pro from my test last summer, figuring out if it could replace my primary development machine. While it may not be able to completely replace my thrustworthy ThinkPad, it turned out to be a totally different story when it comes to paper.

iPad Pro as primary computer

testing iOS as primairy development platform

Aug. 15, 2016
Is the time right to use an iPad as primary development platform to get some real work done?

The lack of physical clutter, distracting branding, or blinking LED's makes the iPad Pro a textbook example of minimal design. My despiction of distraction explains my interest in using the iPad Pro as only computer to test if it is up to the task. Is Apple's latest effort on iOS enough to enable it to do serious development work?

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Time to drink coffee
Time to drink coffee
Snake '97 running on iPhone X - looking and feeling like the retro mobile phone game from the 90s
Snake '97 running on iPhone X - looking and feeling like the retro mobile phone game from the 90s
Using iPad to design something - with coffee
Using iPad to design something - with coffee
Snake '97 running as macOS desktop app made possible by the new scalable graphics
Snake '97 running as macOS desktop app made possible by the new scalable graphics
Smart Keyboard Folio (11-inch) with iPad Pro and Apple Pencil weighs 528 grams
Smart Keyboard Folio (11-inch) with iPad Pro and Apple Pencil weighs 528 grams
Directly manipulating the on screen elements feels natural - a mouse in this use case would be redundant
Directly manipulating the on screen elements feels natural - a mouse in this use case would be redundant
A plant, a laptop and some coffee - the joy of a simple system that works!
A plant, a laptop and some coffee - the joy of a simple system that works!
Initial scribble to see how pencil response
Initial scribble to see how pencil response
Designing the coffee cup using Picta Graphic for iPad
Designing the coffee cup using Picta Graphic for iPad
Navigation structures that rely on hovering are NOT going to work on touch screens
Navigation structures that rely on hovering are NOT going to work on touch screens
Programming on iPad Pro using VIM, Blink and a Linux VPS
Programming on iPad Pro using VIM, Blink and a Linux VPS
Snake '97 rocking the carts with Angry Birds and WhatsApp
Snake '97 rocking the carts with Angry Birds and WhatsApp
Music from the office cabinet - iPhone as a connected music player. Quite the solid rock show in combination with Apple Watch as remote.
Music from the office cabinet - iPhone as a connected music player. Quite the solid rock show in combination with Apple Watch as remote.
Composing multi layered images by dragging, dropping, rotating, resizing in a matter of seconds. Optimised tablet apps help you achieve alignment precision using guides and rulers.
Composing multi layered images by dragging, dropping, rotating, resizing in a matter of seconds. Optimised tablet apps help you achieve alignment precision using guides and rulers.
Typical drawing I create when designing software
Typical drawing I create when designing software
iPad Pro next to my ThinkPad
iPad Pro next to my ThinkPad
Recreating old UI patterns on a modern touch screen device is not going to win you any usability awards... (although, who doesn't miss Clippy?)
Recreating old UI patterns on a modern touch screen device is not going to win you any usability awards... (although, who doesn't miss Clippy?)
Charging and listening to music simultaniously using an Apple Lightning dock
Charging and listening to music simultaniously using an Apple Lightning dock

More iPad on Willem's Blog

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