Sphero 2.0 Review

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been playing with a very clever robotic ball which is controlled and programmed via the iPad. More info about Sphero can be found here.

Sphero Box Contents

 

First Impressions
When I first unpacked the Sphero I was very surprised at how solid it felt and its size. To give it some perspective it’s about the size of a tennis ball. This gave me confidence in Sphero in that it would be able to bang into things without getting damaged. I was also pleased to find two ramps and a clever wireless charging unit in the box.

 

Sphero Charger and Ball

Charging
The Sphero is supplied with a clever wireless charging base which has a universal plug on the end with all the adapters for different countries. To charge you just place the Sphero heavy end down into the charging base. The Sphero then started flashing and so did the base. The base continued to flash until it showed a solid light approx 3 hours later when the Sphero had been fully charged.

Apps
While the Sphero was charging I took the opportunity to check out the apps available. I was pleasantly surprised at how many free apps where available. In total I counted over 25 apps on both iTunes and Google Play Store. All of the apps need the main Sphero app to work so I downloaded that into my iPad first along with some of the others but not all. From what I can see the apps give some form of interaction for everyone with the Sphero and I imagine this will only be added to over time.

Connectivity
Now I had a charged Sphero and the main Sphero app installed I was ready to get started. The Sphero connects to devices via Bluetooth and found this to be a very simple process. The Sphero flashes through a sequence of three colours when in pairing mode and thing this is a very clever way to pair the devices.

Sphero App Drive Screenshot

First Play
The first time I loaded the app it walked me through using the different controls and I found it very simple to get the Sphero moving. I was able to control the Sphero very easily and got it moving around the room with easy. I then investigated the other options in the app including being able to change the colour and speed of the Sphero. Going further I found that as I used the app further I gained points and was able to trade these for some built in tricks like getting the Sphero to dance, sneeze, jump and many other things.

Childs Play
To give the Sphero the ultimate test I decided to let my children (aged 4 and 7) have a play with it. They both found it very easy to move around and loved being able to make it change colour. My 4 year old was soon driving it around the house under tables and through doors. My 7 year old was more interested in getting it to jump over the ramps and make it dance. They both really enjoyed it and every day since I’ve a “Daddy can we play with the ball on your iPad”

Sphero Macrolab App

Education
As well as using the Sphero at home I took it to one of my code clubs and used it with the MacroLab app. This app allows you to program the Sphero by using a preset list of options. These options can also be altered using sliders to make the Sphero move, change colour etc. The MacroLab app can also be used when not connected to the Sphero. I found this to be very useful as the groups could create their programs and code for the Sphero on separate iPads. We then connected up the Sphero and tested as and when required. The only thing to remember here was to ensure Bluetooth was turned off on all devices apart from the one giving the Sphero code. I gave the club a challenge to code the Sphero to navigate around a small course and use the ramps to jump into a box. I kept it simple as it was the first time everyone had used a Spbero. The children loved it and were fully engaged in creating the code. They started adding in extra challenges like changing the colour and found the MacroLab app very easy to use. Most groups completed the challenge in the hour long club. They all now want one for Christmas.

Conclusion
To conclude I feel the Sphero is a fantastic accessory for the iPad or tablet and will bring many hours of joy to all age ranges whether at home or in an educational setting.
What do you think of the Sphero? Do you want one?

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How to update your iPad or iPhone to iOS8 using iTunes

With the release of the much talked about iOS update happening this week you properly want to upgrade to see what the fuss is about. However many people have found that the update is to large to do directly on their device. There are two solutions to this. You could either delete lots of apps, photos and music to free up nearly 7GB of space or you can follow my video below showing you how to do the upgrade using iTunes. This not only saves you from deleting anything it also has the advantage of doing a full backup before upgrading incase anything goes wrong. You just need a windows computer or Mac with the latest version of iTunes installed from here and a usb to lightning cable. Good Luck

If you would like to see whats new in iOS8 before you upgrade, heres the list of updates and features from Apple.

This update contains hundreds of new features, including the following:

  •   Messages improvements
  • ◦  Tap to Talk to send your voice, a video or a photo with just a swipe
  • ◦  Group messaging options to name a conversation, add a contact, remove a contact or leave a conversation
  • ◦  New details view with Do Not Disturb, location sharing and attachments view
  •          Photos improvements
  • ◦  Smart editing tools to adjust light and colour with a swipe
  • ◦  Fine-tune controls to adjust exposure, brightness, contrast, highlights, shadows and more
  • ◦  Search by date, location or album name, or use smart suggestions
  • ◦  Smart albums for Slo-mo videos, Bursts, Panoramas and Time-lapse
  • ◦  Third-party photo filters and editing tools supported directly in Photos
  • ◦  Your photos and metadata from iPhoto will be migrated to Photos. Books, Journals and Slideshows will be converted to albums containing only photos. iPhoto for iOS is not supported on devices running iOS 8 or later.
  •          Camera improvements
  • ◦  Time-lapse mode
  • ◦  Capture timer
  • ◦  Adjust exposure with a simple nudge to lighten or darken a photo prior to capture
  • ◦  Burst mode on front-facing camera on iPhone 5s
  • ◦  Panorama for iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display
  •          QuickType keyboard
  • ◦  Predictive typing personalised to your writing style, and customised based on the recipient and the app
  •        ◦  Predictive typing is available in English (Australia, Canada, UK, US), French (Canada, France, Switzerland), German (Germany, Switzerland), Italian, Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish and Thai
  • ◦  Third-party keyboard support
  •          Health
  •   ◦  New Health app with easy-to-read dashboard of health and fitness data
  • ◦  Ability to share health data with apps to provide a more comprehensive way to manage your health and fitness
  • ◦  Add a Medical ID with information about allergies, medical conditions and more, with the option to make this accessible from the Lock screen
  • ◦  Available on iPhone and iPod touch
  •          Family Sharing
  • ◦  Share iTunes, iBooks and App Store purchases with up to six members of your family.
  •     ◦  Pay for family purchases with a single credit card and approve purchases by children with Ask to Buy
  • ◦  Easily share family photos, a family calendar, locations and more
  •          iCloud Drive
  • ◦  Store all your documents in iCloud and access them from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC
  • ◦  Share the same file across multiple compatible apps
  • ◦  Edits you make on one device update on all your devices automatically
  •          Continuity features so your iPhone, iPad and Mac work together more seamlessly
  • ◦  Handoff to continue what you’re doing as you move from one device to another
  • ◦  Make and receive calls and send and receive SMS or MMS messages on your iPad or Mac
  • ◦  Instant Hotspot to automatically use your mobile connection to get online with your other devices
  • ◦  AirDrop compatibility with OS X Yosemite
  • ◦  Available on iPhone 5 or later, iPad (4th generation), iPad Air, iPad mini and iPod touch (5th generation)
  •          Spotlight improvements
  • ◦  Displays suggestions from Wikipedia entries, places nearby, films (US only), popular web sites, App Store, iTunes Store and iBooks Store
  • ◦  Safari also supports Spotlight suggestions alongside Top Hit and search suggestions
  • ◦  Supported for local languages in US, UK, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland
  •          Mail improvements
  • ◦  Easily jump between drafts and your inbox with a simple swipe down on the draft
  • ◦  Intelligent suggestions for Calendar events and Contacts
  • ◦  VIP threads
  •          Siri improvements
  • ◦  Improvements to responsiveness, reliability and accuracy
  • ◦  “Hey, Siri” option to initiate Siri using just your voice when your device is plugged in
  • ◦  Streaming voice recognition
  • ◦  Works with Shazam to answer “What song is playing?”
  • ◦  Purchase content from iTunes Store
  •          Safari improvements
  • ◦  DuckDuckGo search engine support
  • ◦  Private browsing per tab
  • ◦  Subscribe to RSS feeds in Shared Links
  • ◦  Use Camera to scan and enter credit card info
  •          Maps improvements
  • ◦  Flyover city tours
  • ◦  Maps place cards in Phone and Contacts
  • ◦  Inline map view and travel time notifications for Calendar events
  •          App Store improvements
  • ◦  New Explore tab for easier category browsing
  • ◦  Top trending searches displayed in Search tab
  • ◦  Scrolling search results
  • ◦  App video previews
  • ◦  Editors’ Choice badges
  •          Quick access to key contacts in multitasking view
  •          Interactive Notifications for Messages, Mail, Calendar, Reminders and enabled third-party apps
  •          New Tips app to help you do more with your iOS devices
  •          iBooks app built into iOS, now with auto night mode and new organisation for book series
  •          Podcasts app built into iOS
  •          Battery usage by app
  •          iCloud Keychain can use saved website passwords to easily sign in to associated apps
  •          FaceTime Audio call waiting
  •          Rich text editing in Notes
  •          Peer-to-peer AirPlay discovery and playback
  •          Enterprise features
  • ◦  Expanded data protection to Calendar, Contacts, Messages, Reminders and Notes in addition to Mail and third-party apps
  • ◦  Per-message S/MIME email controls
  • ◦  Improved UI to make it easier for users to understand the remote management of their device
  • ◦  Automatic reply for Exchange
  • ◦  Free/busy lookup for Calendar invitations
  • ◦  MDM Managed books can be automatically pushed to users
  •          Accessibility features
  • ◦  Redesigned Zoom with one-handed control and multiple zoom modes including picture-in-picture
  •    ◦  Built-in timer and Touch ID support for Guided Access
  • ◦  Speak Screen to read out contents of the screen via gesture or Siri command
  • ◦  VoiceOver improvements including Alex voice option and Braille input support
  • ◦  Multi-device support for MFi hearing aids to seamlessly switch from one paired iOS device to another
  •          Features for China
  • ◦  Vector-based maps
  • ◦  Turn-by-turn navigation
  • ◦  Lunar calendar support
  • ◦  Improved predictive input
  •   ◦  Improved weather data
  •          Expanded language support
  • ◦  Dictation support for 22 additional languages: Croatian, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Slovakian, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian and Vietnamese
  • ◦  New keyboards for English (India), Bengali, Filipino, Marathi, Slovenian and Urdu
  • ◦  Hindi localisation
  • ◦  Definitions of a selected word for additional languages: Russian, Portuguese (Brazil), Thai and Turkish
  • ◦  Spanish-English bilingual dictionary
  • ◦  Spell check for Turkish
  • ◦  Hebrew language support for Text to Speech and VoiceOver
  •          New developer capabilities, including
  • ◦  Extensibility, giving apps new sharing options and the ability to create widgets, photo filters and editing tools in Photos, and third-party keyboards
  • ◦  Metal, a new graphics technology for game providers to bring console-class 3D games to mobile devices
  • ◦  SpriteKit and SceneKit for improved 2D and 3D games
  • ◦  HealthKit, so health and fitness apps can share their data with each other
  •      ◦  HomeKit, a new way for you to control supported devices in your home using Siri
  • ◦  Touch ID support so you can sign in to third-party apps with just your fingerprint
  • ◦  CloudKit, offering a complete and scalable back-end solution, helping developers eliminate the need for writing server code and maintaining servers
  •          Bug fixes

Some features may not be available in all countries or all areas.

For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website:

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog post. I really appreciate any likes, comments, shares, subscribes and follows. This will help you stay up to date with my latest app reviews, walkthroughs, lesson ideas and more.

You can see more of my work on the following social media sites
https://icttechie.wordpress.com/
https://www.twitter.com/ict_techie
https://www.facebook.com/ICTtechie
https://plus.google.com/+IcttechieCoUk
http://www.youtube.com/users/icttechie

Apple Configurator and Locked Device

Today I ran into a few problems when trying to setup an ex employees iPad for a new employee. You could say the problem was caused by myself for not getting the ex employee to remove their passcode but it’s helped me learn a new trick and I thought I’d share it with you.

The Problem
I have an iPad with a passcode on which I don’t know so I can’t access the iPad and I want to use Apple Configurator to set it up for someone else. This problem was made more complicated as ‘Find My iPad’ was enabled on the device. So Apple Configurator came up with an unable to check iOS error.

IMG_2631.PNG

The Solution
To resolve this issue I had to put the iPad into recovery mode. To do this you need to follow these steps.
– Turn off the iPad in the normal way and disconnect all wires from the iPad.
– Setup Apple Configurator in Prepare mode making sure to select update this device when in recovery mode and tick erase device.
– Now with the iPad still turned off press and hold the home button on the iPad and plug in the lightning/USB adapter.
– Apple Configurator should now recognise the iPad and the iPad screen should be showing the iTunes icon with a cable.
– Now you can tell Apple Configurator to prepare the device and let go off the home button.
– The iPad will now be configured as a new device but will still not function correctly as the device is still registered with the old users Apple ID. You may get an unable to apply error due to activation error. See image below.

IMG_2657.JPG
– If the Apple ID is an email address on your domain you can setup a forwarder or reset the users password to gain access to the email address for the next step. Otherwise you will have to talk to Apple.
– You now need to goto appleid.apple.com and click reset your password.
– Type in the Apple ID and click next.
– Select email authentication and click next. An email will be set to the ex users email address and hopefully you can access this either by logging into their email with a password reset or from a forwarder to yourself.
– Follow the instructions in the email on how to reset the Apple ID.
– On the iPad now work through the setup screen and you will come to an activation message saying the iPad is locked to that account.
– Fill on the details with the Apple ID and password you just reset. Complete the setup process.
– Now the iPad can be used as normal and setup for a new user via Apple Configurator without any errors.

Good Luck

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog post. I really appreciate any likes, comments, shares, subscribes and follows. This will help you stay up to date with my latest app reviews, walkthroughs, lesson ideas and more.

You can see more of my work on the following social media sites
https://icttechie.wordpress.com/
https://www.twitter.com/ict_techie
https://www.facebook.com/ICTtechie
https://plus.google.com/+IcttechieCoUk
http://www.youtube.com/users/icttechie

ICTtechie – What I Do and How I Do It an Adobe Voice Video

Today I decided to have a play with the new Adobe Voice tool which has so much potential for education and beyond. I decided to create a quick video about what I do and how I do it to help spread the word about my social media presence. Unfortunately wordpress.com won’t allow me to embed the video just yet, but you can view it by clicking the link below. I hope you enjoy it.

http://voice.adobe.com/v/I45ZiestqQH

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog post. I really appreciate any likes, comments, shares, subscribes and follows. This will help you stay up to date with my latest app reviews, walkthroughs, lesson ideas and more.

Social Media in schools – what to use, when to use and who to target

Social media is used by so many different people from around the world it is a great way to get your schools message out. This morning I found this cool little infographic explaining who to target, what to use and when to use it so I thought I’d share.

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The Flitlits iPad Apps Review

This week I have had the privilege of reviewing 3 new and exciting apps for the iPad titled the Flitlits.

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These are more than just book apps. The series includes main adventures that are supported by comprehensive educational content that aids young readers to improve their literacy skills. They were researched and created by curriculum content creator, Eiry Rees Thomas over a period of 3+ years with the support of the Welsh Government and in collaboration with educational enthusiasts. The illustrations are by award winning illustrator James Field and the apps have been developed by Chaos Trend Ltd.

App 1 titled The Funny Fair and it tells the story of a Fair coming to Fussbut, Seldom See. It follows Jester Bit and his friends on their adventures through the fair ground.

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App 2 titled A Ferry To Airy follows Jester Bit on an unexpected journey through the No Zone Space to the Island of Airy. At the Island of Airy he finds himself face to face with some Nutty Folk. Will Jester Bit’s uncle Doctor It take time out from dreaming up mistakes to help him save the day?

App 3 titled A Shine Show Shock sees Jester Bit trying to win the Star of Stars at the Shine Show. However a mixture of friendships and rivalries leads to an unexpected ending.

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The series of apps take you on a journey of language and discovery through the land of Fussbut, Seldom See. They are designed as a cross curricular resource and an educational guide is provided both in the apps and on the Flitlits website. This makes them perfect for use in the classroom or at home and encourage creativity, the study of language, script writing, roll play and much more.

Each app offers a choice of Welsh, English and US English versions of text and narration. The apps have been accredited by Mums With Apps meaning they have been checked for privacy and protections for children. The apps are priced at £2.99 each which makes them less than your standard book!

For a more in depth look please see my video review below.

To conclude I’d fully recommend these apps for the following reasons:-
– Appealing to both boys and girls.
– Cross curricular content aids the thematic approach to learning.
– The Flitlits offer valuable curriculum content.

Thanks for reading and your likes, comments and shares are much appreciated.

If you have an app you would like reviewing please get in contact and I’ll see what I can do.

How To Install Mac OS X Server

Any Mac can be easily updated to have a server roll by installing it from the App Store for just £13.99 or $19.99. For more information about OS X Server click here to visit the Apple OS X Server Website. Below is a simple step by step guide on how to do this.

1. Goto the App Store and search for OS X server.
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2. Click the buy button and follow the normal procedures to purchase an app through the Mac App Store.

3. Once the server app has downloaded and installed you will find an icon for it in the launch pad or you can search for it using spotlight.
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4. Run the server app and you will be presented with a setup screen. Click continue.
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5. You will now be presented with a terms and conditions agreement. You need to agree to these to continue.
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6. Next you will be asked to enter your mac username and password to authorise the app with the mac.
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7. The setup process will now take place and will go through a number of process taking a few minutes.
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8. Eventually the bar will reach the end and server will load presenting you with a simple help screen about the different features in Mac OS X server.
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That’s it, the only option initially setup is file sharing allowing you to customise how you want your server to be configured.

Meraki MDM Updated To Support Apples New Deployment Program (Device Enrollment)

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Yesterday Meraki updated their MDM system to release a BETA version of their Device Enrollment Program (DEP). This means you can now have your iPads auto enrolled over the air (wifi) into the Meraki MDM System Manager and the profile can not be removed. However unfortunately this is only available in the US at the moment and only if the devices are purchased directly from Apple in bulk. But still it’s a start to what could be a really useful tool.

More info is available by following the link below.

https://meraki.cisco.com/blog/2014/03/granting-your-wildest-mdm-dreams/

 

Microsoft Office arrives on the iPad

Today as was rumoured Microsoft has finally released the Office Suite on the iPad. Microsoft have gone with creating separate apps for each of its products meaning you’ll need to download each one individually. The apps are free to view documents but you will need an Office365 account to create and edit documents. Microsoft have also decided to update the OneNote app to match the newly released apps thus completing the suite.

I’m currently investigating if this will work for educational office365 accounts. What are your experiences?
UPDATE According to zdnet you need one of the following paid accounts to edit or create documents:-
Office 365 Home Premium, Office 365 Small Business Premium, Office 365 Midsize Business, Office 365 E3 and E4 (Enterprise and Government), Office 365 Education A3 and A4, Office 365 ProPlus, and Office 365 University. Once it’s available, the just-announced Office 365 Personal plan will also qualify.
So this means if you use the education A2 plan you won’t be able to use these apps unless you upgrade to the A3 version which is £3+ per staff member per month!

Use the links below to find the apps on the App Store now.

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https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/microsoft-word-for-ipad/id586447913?mt=8


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https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/microsoft-excel-for-ipad/id586683407?mt=8


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https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/microsoft-powerpoint-for-ipad/id586449534?mt=8


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https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/microsoft-onenote-for-ipad/id478105721?mt=8