iPad mini Impressions

I have been using my iPad mini for about four days now. Just thought I’d share a few thoughts since I’ve been getting emails and messages from people wondering which iPad they should buy this holiday season. My advice includes taking a serious look at the mini. Here’s mine in my hand displaying the AgWired App at full screen.

The first impression I had of the new iPad mini is of course the size. It’s more like a paperback book than a large hardback. It is lighter and that makes extended reading or browsing much easier on your hands and arms. I have no problem with the smaller screen. I got the wifi only version since I have two phones that can make a hotspot. Why have another plan?

The mini uses the same lightning connector as the iPhone 5 so now I have two cables! I was going to buy an extra one until I realized the iPad mini comes with one.

Battery life on the mini has been impressive. I’m not doing a bench test review here but after using the device over several days I had only used a fraction of the battery that my (now old) iPad would have for the same amount of use.

This is just a first impression. I’m impressed! I love the size, the battery life and my travel bag is now lighter. I have no negative comments. Do you have one? What do you think? Please feel free to comment.

First Look at New iPad

This is not meant to be an exhaustive review of the new iPad. Just a first look. Okay? Hey, I just got it and haven’t had a lot of time to “play” with it. In the photo my new iPad is standing next to my Macbook Air. One of the first things I noticed was that the new iPad fits my old iPad 2 cover just fine. My old cover consists of an Apple Smart Cover for the front and a Hypershield Snap On back cover. No need for a new one!

A lot has been said about the new display on the new iPad. Putting it side by side with my iPad 2 it is noticeably different just looking at the home screen and app icons. The colors are richer and looking at some photos I would say they are definitely sharper on the new iPad. It’s a beautiful screen. Of course, I thought the same on both the previous versions.

Here’s a screenshot from the new iPad with the AgWired App showing using the 2X display feature. Looks good and works fast. My new iPad is wifi only since I carry around two different hot spot making phones. I tried several different apps including Weather Channel, USA Today and others. They all seem to be working just a touch snappier.

The new iPad is noticeable thicker and just a tad heavier. However, it feels extremely solid just like the others and I don’t mind the difference. I have been using an Apple wireless keyboard with my other iPads and will do so with this one. It’s small enough to keep in a small bag I have when taking it to the coffee shop. When I go on an extended trip my iPad goes in my rolling mobile journalism kit.

I took a couple of quick photos with the new iPad and my iPhone 4S to compare side by side. The new iPad photo is significantly better than my old iPad but not quite as good as the iPhone 4S. Let’s call it a major improvement though. I don’t shoot a lot of photos with my iPad since my iPhone is kind of like permanently attached to me.

In conclusion, if you don’t have an iPad, then get it! If you can upgrade from your original ipad then do it! If you’ve got an iPad 2 I’d only upgrade if you just want to have the slightly better feature set.

Mac Light

Good morning from the agriblogging highway. My Mojo (mobile journalism kit) is getting lighter. This is my new Macbook Air. Came in yesterday afternoon and I am hoping I’ve got it all set up. I’ll find out this week in Canada while attending the 2011 International Federation of Agricultural Journalists Congress.

First impressions of the Macbook Air are very positive. I have a 13″, i7 processor w/256GB SSD. It’s fast and thin and light and so far so good. With this new laptop I did not do a Time Machine restore from my other Macbook Pro backup. I started clean and had to install all programs and transfer only the files I want. I’m going to use an external drive even more to keep this hard drive as clean as possible.

Time to board so I’ll see you from Canada!

Apple Annouces iPad

ipadApple just announced its newest creation – the iPad. There is an agricultural slant to this story. What is it? The continuing development of information technology that’s changing the way we market and engage our audience.

I can see me using one of these to participate in AgChat for example. Or do just about anything else I want to do on the web. Will it replace my Mac? No. Do I want one? Yes. I’m on the notification list for when they become available

A large, high-resolution LED-backlit, IPS display. An incredibly responsive Multi-Touch screen. And an amazingly powerful, Apple-designed chip. All in a design that’s thin and light enough to take anywhere. iPad isn’t just the best device of its kind. It’s a whole new kind of device.

The high-resolution, 9.7 inch LED-backlit, IPS display on iPad is remarkably crisp and vivid. Which makes it perfect for web browsing, watching movies, or showing off photos. It’s also been designed to work in any orientation — portrait or landscape. And because it uses a display technology called IPS (in-plane switching), it has a wide, 178° viewing angle. So you can hold it almost any way you want, and still get a brilliant picture, with excellent color and contrast.

Got A Big Mac

Chuck's Big MacJust in time for an end of week road trip I got in the monster of agriblogging and farm podcasting machines. It’s a 17″ big Mac made for today’s “all platform journalist.” I am pumped up.

In just another lesson about how cool Macs are, I just plugged in my Time Machine backup, started it up and within a few minutes it had migrated all my stuff from my other Mac. I’m talking everything, programs included. It just doesn’t get any easier than that. I’m posting from it now. Remembers all my passwords, etc.

For a small fee I’ll let you touch it next time I see you.

Michael Peterson and Joe Jobe Perform on XM

The executive director of the National Biodiesel Board is not just a country music fan, but also a country music singer… well, for his wife and kids at home at least. But today, Joe got a bit more exposure than a home audience. He performed live on the Dave Nemo Show on XM Radio with renowned country music singer/songwriter Michael Peterson.

Michael and Joe also delved into energy issues, renewable fuels and where all that fits in with public policy. Joe says the National Biodiesel Board is aiming to have biodiesel replace five percent of the national supply of diesel fuel. He says that is equivalent to the amount of diesel the U.S. if refining and importing from in Iraq. In other words, he says the National Biodiesel Board is aiming to replace the diesel fuel we get from Iraq.

Some critics arguing against renewable fuels point out that the alternative fuel sources will never fully replace the need for oil. But, Joe says that’s not the point, “That’s like saying if you can’t do everything than you shouldn’t do anything.” Joe says The National Biodiesel Board simply doesn’t share that frame of thought. That’s why it has launched the BioTrucker Fuel Card. The card offers card holders cash price on all biodiesel fuel at 5,000 participating locations and special discounts at select truck stops all without any transaction fees. Those interested can sign up for the card at BioTrucker.com.

Both Michael and Joe lauded the farmers that make up the nation’s ag industry. Joe says agriculture is a powerful industry that fosters cutting-edge, technological innovation. “Ag is slow to move but powerful to respond,” Joe said.

You can listen to the entire broadcast of the Dave New Show with Michael and Joe here:

Listen to

I also got some videos of Michael and Joe while they were singing and strumming their guitars. You can watch the videos here:

2008 CMA Music Festival Photo Album

AgWired coverage of the CMA Country Music Festival is sponsored by:
New Holland

Farm Broadcasters and New Communications Technology

Sec. of Ag Schafer and my MacHere’s our Secretary of Agriculture speaking to the NAFB group here at their Washington Watch program a few minutes ago.

You’ll notice the Macbook Pro sitting in front of him. That was streaming his remarks live on AgWired Live TV using the built-in camera and microphone.

Sec. of Ag Schafer and my MacHere’s what it looked like on the Mac screen from my vantage point. You can still watch the event since I also recorded a portion of it.

I’m posting from the Mac while our next group of speakers from USDA is speaking. This group includes FAS, FSA and RMA.

NAFB Washington Watch Photo Album

Mac Product Placement

Mac on StageI couldn’t let this opportunity to promote Apple Computers go by. Not getting paid for this either.

Here’s a picture from the opening general session today. Nice product placement I’d say. That lit up Apple icon sure stands out.

I also saw more Macs in the news center than I’ve ever seen before and Evan Slack isn’t even here yet.

I think that the more I use my Mac the more I’m convinced that I won’t go back (to a pc).

2008 Cattle Industry Convention Photo Album

Rick Got His Ride Wrapped

Rick Tolman's RideHere’s Rick Tolman’s new ride. He’s the CEO of the National Corn Growers Association. I was in St. Louis today to have a little strategy session about Corn Commentary. You can read the Rick’s Ride story there. We’ve been working with NCGA on Corn Commentary for 6 months now. Kind of hard to believe. While I was there I did an interview with Mimi Ricketts and Jennifer Crichton about the project which I’m going to feature in next week’s ZimmCast.

I also spent some time at the Apple store getting a couple lessons on things like their iWork ’08. I think I’m just going to quit using the old Microsoft Office stuff (Word, Excel, PPT, etc.). You’ll find the iWork programs way more feature rich and easier to use. Plus I can still open and save to those files types for you who are still stuck in a PC mode. I really shouldn’t talk though. Cindy’s not on a Mac yet and doesn’t want to so we’ve still got them all over the place. Macs are just more fun.

Jax Your YouTube Video Onto Your iPod

AppleSince I’m getting pretty comfortable with my Mac now I might from time to time let you know about some things that make using it even more fun. One of those is a cool little app I found from Joesoft called Jax. If you want to load video onto your iPod and you want it to be easy then this little program is what you need. It even lets you load YouTube videos which is what got my attention. The best thing about it is that it integrated right into iTunes.

Joesoft says their software is “Software for the Average Joe.” After downloading and trying it I would agree.

Mac Conversion Update

AppleIt’s been a while since I’ve given you a Mac update. This one got triggered because I’m writing an article on using a Mac for farm use for Country Guide.

It’s made me think through why I have a Mac and why I like it vs. my PC. I really think I can sum things up in these words, “The Mac is faster, simpler and easier to use.” It boots up faster. I was on my way to the airport last time and realized I didn’t know which airline I was flying on (symptom of frequent flyer disease). I reached over to my Mac which was off and within less than 60 seconds I had my answer. On my PC this would have taken about 3 minutes. I don’t know about you but every minute counts in my day.

Another thing I’ve got to say about the Mac has to do with antivirus software. I’m having lots of problems on my PC’s with Norton Internet Security 2007. It has cost me hours and I’ve even had to pay a tech to help get things resolved. On my Mac I’m not currently running any antivirus software. Here’s a big reason to have a Mac!

If you’ve been in an airport recently, look around. There’s more and more computers showing an Apple logo on them. I think I know why.

Not Paying Close Attention

Me and SteveOur presenter here at the appleJAC Mac Users Group meeting is going through the different types of digital cameras there are available. He hasn’t mentioned the iSight built in to most Macs today.

So while he’s talking my buddy Steve Mays here and I are doing digital photography and I’m posting to AgWired.

I know this doesn’t have anything to do with agricultural marketing but we’re having fun. I hope that I’m also showing you how quick and easy it is to post onto your website (if you’ve got a blog) and from anywhere.

Steve has told me that I can do everything on my PC that I can do on my Mac but, and this is key, it will be a lot more fun doing it. I agree.

Meeting Some Fellow Mac Users

Jefferson City Apple User Group MeetingHere’s a new/next step in my Mac conversion experience. I’m attending my first appleJAC Mac Users Group meeting.

“Hello, my name is Chuck Zimmerman and I’m a Macaholic.”

Actually we’re getting a presentation on digital photography right now. There’s about 25 of us in attendance. I’m hoping for some time to meet with and ask some questions of these folks who have been Mac users for a long time.

On my way out of the house Cindy told my daughter, “Dad’s going to his Apple support group.” Wrong. It’s an Apple “User” group. There’s a difference.

I know you can’t tell here on the website but everything I’ve posted onto AgWired in the last couple weeks has come off my Mac. However, today I fired up and used my PC for a couple of things. Gotta keep in touch with my other side you know.

Mac Conversion Update

AppleHello from South Florida. This has been my first trip with the Macbook Pro and I thought it would provide a good context for an update on my conversion experience. First of all, I thought that in a week or so with the new box I was pretty well prepared for this but it has been a challenge. When you’re on location doing “live” posting of images, video and audio you’ve got to be able to edit, upload and post fast. Almost as fast as say an Indy car at full throttle.

My biggest challenge has been audio editing. The built-in Garage Band software isn’t quite as intuitive as I thought and then there’s the file conversion factor. I start with an MP3 file and need to end with an MP3 file. To use Garage Band I have to convert the file to edit it, then convert it back to post it. I don’t like that. I’ve also found the conversion process a hassle since there are so many settings in each program to deal with. I was using iTunes to do the converting and found out that I have two different iTunes libraries on my hard drive. I have no idea why. So I downloaded the free audio editing software, Audacity. Then I found out it needs an extra MP3 plugin with I had trouble finding and installing. It took me 30 minutes to figure out how to download/install/use the software and this was done in a working newsroom with high performance race cars screaming by outside. I’ve also found some compatibility issues between the MP3 files created in Audacity and some other programs. So, I’m still working on this issue.

For image editing I’m using Photoshop Elements and that works great as I mentioned before. For video, I only shot one little video clip but editing it with iMovie HD was a snap. Very cool tool. It uploaded to YouTube and works just fine. The only thing was I was missing some kind of little plugin for Quicktime that took me about 45 minutes to find and download. My little Casio Exilim shoots .avi files and all I could get to start with was a white screen with audio until I found this little plugin through an online user forum. Works great now though.

So there you have it. I made it through my first road test with the Mac and survived. Now my last issue besides the audio editing thing is being able to use my Sprint broadband account with the Mac. I think I know the answer to it but I haven’t got it taken care of yet.

Me And My Mighty Mouse

Me and Mighty MouseIt’s been an interesting day. Activities included getting ready for the NAMA convention and our ZimmComm/Truffle booth as well as numerous client calls and new project discussions. The first quarter here at ZimmComm has been record setting and a benchmark for the future.

Even with all the calls and activities though I had a chance to get in a little Mac lesson. My good friend, Steve, said he just couldn’t handle the Apple Mighty Mouse so he said I could have it if I liked it. Well I do. This is a mouse without a tail and there’s nothing protruding from the Mac either since it’s connected via Bluetooth. It took almost 1 minute to plug in the batteries and connect. Then maybe another 2 minutes to set the buttons the way I want and there’s one less cord to deal with. This little dude isn’t shaped quite like a “regular” mouse. The little scroll button on top lets you navigate 360 degrees, not just up/down or right/left. There’s only one button on the front but it knows the difference between a left and a right click. And finally, if you give it a gentle squeeze on the sides it kicks in a function called Expose which allows you to see all your open windows at once. When you have as many windows open as I usually do this is very handy. I don’t think a PC can do that can it?

So, I’ll have some more posts coming soon but in the meantime I thought I’d give you a Mac update.

Mac Conversion Update

AppleHere’s a little “move to Mac” update. After a week or so of using my new Macbook Pro I’m starting to feel comfortable with it. I can’t say that I’ve mastered it quite like my PC but then what’s a week compared to my whole computer life so far?

With only a few exceptions I’ve found the Mac to run faster and all of the setups and installations have been easier and more intuitive. I did download Adobe Photoshop Elements for Mac though since the one thing that iPhoto doesn’t do is optimize a photo for the web as small as I’d like. When you load as many photos to a server as I do that becomes an issue. I’m also thinking about putting Windows on the Mac so I can use Adobe Audition to edit audio with. Garage Band is fine but it doesn’t convert audio types and maybe I just haven’t mastered it yet so I’m thinking about this option.

I’m using Microsoft Office for Mac so when it comes to documents I’ve got PowerPoint, Excel and Word and for email I’m using Entourage which runs very much like Outlook.

One of the interesting things that I like is how easy it is to connect to a wireless internet connection. I’ve done this in two locations now and the Mac Airport card just finds the right local signal and boom, I’m on. Very simple and easy.

I pulled all my Outlook email data over with the use of a very simple little program called O2M. If you decide to make this move you have to have that.

I haven’t had the computer lock up on me which is something that I had happen periodically with my PC. So, I guess you could say I’m a happy camper so far.

My News Feed Subscriptions

NetNewsWireI’ve been asked more than a few times what news feeds I subscribe to. I actually change them periodically although some of them have remained the same for quite a while now. One way to share your news subscriptions is with an OPML file.

Since I moved to a Mac I’m now using NewsGators’s NetNewsWire which syncs with the online version. This way I have my news feeds on my hard drive or I can check them from any computer.

So if you’re interested, here’s where you can find my OPML file. Let me know if you want to suggest any feeds that I should be subscribing to.

My Mac

My MacIs there anyone who doesn’t know what company this logo stands for? When I got home this afternoon from a blog training session in Kansas City I found that my Mac had arrived. You’ll notice that the apple is not lit up. That’s because I haven’t had time to turn it on yet and yes, I’m typing this on a PC.

As I go through my Mac conversion experience I thought I’d document it and periodically post some pictures and thoughts about it for you. I’m hoping this will be good for both of us. I’ve always thought of Apple computers as some sort of mysterious gadgets that geeky people used. If you’ve thought the same thing then maybe I can take some of the mystery out of it. We’ll find out together is this box is everything they claim it to be.

I’ve also created a photo album for the experience too. It’s just got a few unpacking photos in it right now but I’ll be adding to it periodically. I guess my first comment on the experience is when I visited the Apple store. I had an appointment with an advisor who spent a lot of time with me and not only answered all my questions but showed me how he’s personally using his Mac. When I started to unpack I was struck by how simple the unit is packaged. There’s not a ton of stuff here. You’ve got the box, the ac adapter, a remote control and a get started booklet. Simple. Not a lot of junk that seems to come with a PC. Score one for Apple in my opinion.

Well you know what I’ll be doing this weekend. I’m going to set it up myself and tranfer all my PC data to it. I’ll let you know how it goes.