IPEVO Whiteboard App for iPad

IPEVO Whiteboard App Review

A video review of IPEVO Whiteboard App for iPad. This app has been designed to mainly work with their range of document cameras, but to be honest it works perfectly well without. The idea of the app is to allow you to annotate over a live image, which in a classroom takes the idea of a visualiser to the next level. To find out more watch my quick video review below.

AirServer Review. Apple TV Airplay Alternative

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Following on from my Reflector Review I decided to spend the last few weeks trialling out Airserver on the PC. Airserver is another true alternative to Apple TV and in education where you don’t need the extra apps found on the Apple TV then it’s also a much cheaper option.

Installation
The installation process for Airserver is fairly simple but it does need iTunes or Bonjour installing first. This obviously means it uses some of these features to connect. After the installation you need to enter your activation code (you can get a 7 day free trial) and then it asks if you want all users to have access to the software. Selecting yes means who ever logs onto the machine can easily connect their iOS device. A bonus feature of Airserver is that it installs as a service. This means it can run from windows boot allowing it to be always ready for a connection.

Connecting the iPad
Connection the iPad to Airserver works in exactly the same way as if you are using a normal Apple TV. A quick flick up at the bottom of the iPad and you’ll find your computer name in the list under Airplay. Mirroring also works in the same way by selecting it under the computer name.

Video and Sound
Just like a normal Apple TV, Airserver outputs up to full 1080p HD video and 5.1 surround sound. What you actually gets does depend on your computer system and what app/video you are playing on the iPad. I’ve not had any lag issues with Airserver and if you have a slow network there is a an option to allow for this in the settings ensuring the connection doesn’t drop.

Other Features
Airserver works by displaying the iPad in a normal window. This means you can resize the output to fit with your work. Airserver also allows your to connect multiple iPads at one time. Airserver doesn’t have any recording features built in, however there are many free programs on the Internet allowing you to do this.

To find out more visit the Airserver website here.

Reflector AirPlay Receiver Review

Over the last month I’ve been trying out reflector as a way to get my iPad screen projected for the whole class to see. At first I was a little sceptical about using software to mirror my iPad screen but due to the difference in cost when compared to an Apple TV I had to give it a go.

Reflector AirPlay Receiver Logo

Reflector AirPlay Receiver

Installation
As with any software you need to install reflector first. It’s worth noting at this point I installed the 32bit version of reflector onto a 6 year old Windows PC with 1GB of RAM and a 1GB wired network connection. I felt if it worked on this machine it would work on anything. Reflector also comes in a 64bit Windows and Mac version.
The actual installation was very simple and quick. It’s not bloated with extra unnecessary software or wording. I think I only clicked twice during the whole installation! So this is a big bonus as no cables, usernames etc needed to be connected/entered before I could get started.

First Launch
The first time I ran reflector I was asked for a serial number. As I was only trialling the program I just clicked ‘Try’. I actually received this message every time I ran the software, but if you registered the software this wouldn’t show again. The trial version also only runs for 10mins before closing down. This was a little frustrating but it didn’t stop me having a good play with the software. Now the software is running and I have a little icon in my task bar which I can use to make any changes.

Connecting the iPad
This is where I thought the app would let me down but I’m pleased to say this blew me away! On the ipad I just dragged up from the bottom (ios7) and selected Airplay. Bang there was the name of my PC. I selected it making sure mirroring was turned on and my iPad screen appeared in front of me. It always connected showing a nice iPad frame which I wanted to remove and I found a quick right click gave me full access to the options allowing me to make it full screen and remove the frame.

Lag
To be honest I fully expected this to have some lag especially after using an Apple TV which suffered from it occasionally. However I’m pleased to report that so far after many hours of use. I’ve never experienced lag even when watching videos from YouTube etc. So another big tick for this software.

Video Resolution and Sound
Reflector allows you to choose the resolution using the options menu this means you can display at full 1080p as long as all the other hardware your using supports it! Also sound works really nicely without any lag.

Extras
As reflector displays your iPad on to the PC, this allows you to record your iPad screen using a screen recorder. Also reflector has the ability to display more than one iPad on the screen at a time. This is really cool as you can use it to compare things or have a video playing on one side and taking notes on the other etc.

Alternatives
There are only two main alternatives to Reflector and they are Apple TV and AirServer. Depending on your usage and setup would depend on which one you go for. However if you are happy to display your iPad on a screen via either a PC or Mac then reflector is the way forward me.

If you need more information or pricing then visit the reflector website here.

Apple Configurator – What is it?

Over the last week I’ve been getting to grips with Apple Configurator and thought I’d report my findings. First this app is free and its only available on a mac and Apple have no plans to bring a version to Windows. The app is designed to help you setup iOS devices quickly and easily(ish).

The app has 3 sections to it, the first is prepare mode. This mode allows you to prepare a device for use and offers several options to it. One of the main options is supervise. Supervise locks the iOS device to that mac, thus preventing it from being used with iTunes on any other system. Another cool option is the ability to upgrade the iOS. You can also restore a backup to the device and finally you can assign profiles. Profiles have been around for a while on iOS devices but with the extra option of supervise and the latest ios6 you can now do some really cool things. I actually only used the profiles to send across our wifi settings and to connect the device to a Mobile Device Management system we are using. A final thing you can do is install apps either free or paid. So in a nutshell prepare mode allows you to setup your iOS devices and lock them down and this maybe all you need from the app.

The second section is Supervise this is only used if you set the iOS device to be supervised in prepare mode. It basically allows you to manage supervised devices when they are plugged in. You can alter most things you setup in prepare mode. Right clicking also allows you to backup a device and unsupervise a device. It’s worth noting when a device is unsupervised it is wiped and restored back to factory settings. However any paid apps you have used via apple Configurator will be allowed to be reinstalled onto another device.

The last mode is Assign. This allows you to assign a supervised device to a user. Users can be imported from a directory or simply added manually. Users can also be grouped allowing classes to be assigned devices easily. Assign allows you to send documents to a device and take documents off. I’ve also been told that it takes a snapshot of the device when you check it back in and when you check a device out again it restores that snapshot to it. This should allow multiple users to one device very easily and works well with a sync and charge storage cart.

A few further things worth noting you can set the image of the lock screen on devices and add a users name or picture to it using the preferences in Configurator. However this only works in supervised mode. Apple Configurator can also manage upto 30 devices at once making configuration changes very fast.

More information can be found here.

How To – Change iTunes/App Store Country on an iOS device

Today I came across a strange problem. My iTunes and App Store had changed to a different country. Upon checking my settings I was still set for the UK. So after a little bit of exploring I found a way to change it. Here’s the steps you need to follow.

1. Tap Settings > iTunes & App Stores, then tap your Apple ID.
2. Tap View Apple ID.
3. Sign in to your Apple ID if required and wait for the page to load.
4. Tap Country/Region (Even if it says the country you are in still follow this step).
5. Tap Change Country or Region.
6. Select your country and Tap Next.
7. Scroll to the bottom and Tap Agree to accept the terms.
8. Tap Agree again and scroll to the bottom of the next screen showing your address and payment details. Tap Next.
9. Congratulations you’ve now changed you country/region. Tap Done to close the screen.

It’s worth noting you can use the above steps to change most details of your Apple ID.

Apple Volume Purchasing Program

This week I signed our school up to Apple’s volume purchasing program (vpp). If you’ve not herd about this program then you really need to investigate it. Basically it allows education and business institutions to purchase apps from the App Store in bulk at discounted prices. More info can be found here.
I found the process to be very easy and straight forward but there are a few things you need to think about beforehand. The vpp requires you to sign up with a unique Apple ID which is only used for the the manager of the vpp. Second you will need another unique Apple ID for the purchasing of apps from the vpp. I decided to setup two separate email accounts and have the emails forwarded by our email server rules directly to me. This saved me having to login and out of different email accounts when setting the IDs up and when making purchases. Finally if you are VAT registered and don’t pay VAT on purchases (this applies to all schools) then when you sign up make sure you give them the school VAT number. I actually struggled with this bit as my office manager had failed to tell me about the 0 at the beginning of the number as soon as I added this Apple accepted it.
After signing up you then have to wait a few days for Apple to verify your details and account. Eventually approx 3-4 days later you will receive an email from Apple confirming you are signed up to the vpp. Next as the vpp manager you then have to assign an account for purchasing which is where the second email address comes in. This is the account you’ll use from now on to make purchases. It’s worth noting that you can actually have several purchasing accounts for different departments etc but I’ve decided to just have one so I can keep track of all App purchases.
With the accounts setup you can then login into the volume iTunes Store and browse through apps. I decided to buy Pages as the first App for the school, this App is normally £6.99 however in the vpp if you buy more than 20 copies of the App it only costs £3.49! That’s half the price. However when I checked out (you’ll need to add a credit card to the account at this stage) the actual price £3.03 per copy due to the VAT being removed.
So this program really rewards schools and business for purchasing in bulk and fully recommend you investigate it further and sign up. Even if you only have 10 iPads in the school it still works out cheaper and you’ll have 10 spare copies for when you buy more iPads.