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smarTouch Isotoner Touch Screen Gloves- Surprisingly Accurate, But Make Sure They Fit!

 

smarTouch by IsotonerSeveral days ago, I was passing through Marshall’s (a local department store) when I noticed these gloves, the Isotoner SmarTouch 2.0.  I was thinking I could use a new pair this year, either because something happened to my old ones or because I was certain to lose them this year- it’s my annual winter ritual!
My first question was what made them “2.0”- as far as I can tell from the SmarTouch web site, the difference from the original Smartouch gloves is a third finger of touch screen compatibility.
The recommended price on these gloves is $44.00, which is not a price I would be willing to pay for gloves (unless they were iGloves with an iCloud-based Find My Gloves connection- hey there’s an idea for a new device for Apple, a Find My Stuff iCloud-connected tracking beacon. That’s a freebie guys, you can thank me in your next keynote!) but Marshall’s was selling them for $16.99, which I found perfectly reasonable.
I’ve seen gloves made for use with touch screens, I’ve tried one or two in the store and found them lacking- most touch screen gloves seem to be without a very key feature: some sort of grip surface. Yarn or fleece, the materials you often see gloves made of, tend to be far more slippery than the skin on your hands. This translates to constant danger of devices slipping and dropping- which will really put a  damper on your texting. These gloves do have a grippy surface across most of the palm and around the thumb. It actually feels almost sticky to the touch but without leaving a residue. It definitely held onto my iPod touch, but on the area of the where

 there is no grip, the device still slips around more than I’d like. Would if be too much to ask for the grip to cover the entire palm and fingers- the parts of your hands that are actually holding onto the device?
The other important part, of course, is the touch screen-compatible fingertips. Embroidered with a thread that supposedly is conductive of electrical impulses, I was skeptical. I put on the gloves and turned on the iPod. Swiping across the slider to access the home screen took a few tries, as did entering my passcode and opening an app.
When I modified my movement to be a bit more deliberate, and made a much more pointed effort of tapping on the screen, it got a little better. This gave me an idea. The gloves are a little big for me- the small ones were far too short in the fingers, the medium-large are just a bit too big overall, leaving them loose everywhere and my fingertips not in proper contact with the thread. Pulling the finger back so that they were snug against my skin, I tried again.
The typing was a little awkward but I was pleasantly surprised to find its accuracy comparable to typing with my bare hands. This has stood consistent through several typing sessions over the last few days. I’d  include a typing sample, but for autocorrect. The same is true when I try other functions- swiping, zooming in and out, flicking.
It is important to note that the touch-conductive thread only appears on the thumb and first two fingers so these gloves would be pointless for anyone making use of the VoiceOver function. I also just wish it was on the other fingers myself because I use them a lot.
The gloves themselves are made of a fuzzy, warm micro fleece, speaking strictly as gloves, I have no complaint aside from the way they fit my hands- nothing I can much blame on Isotoner. Checking over the Isotoner website, they are available in a dizzying array of styles and colors for both men and women, with suggested prices ranging from $35-$88. My particular pair is the fleece lines Tech Stretch variation in Lapis

My overall assessment is that these are good for sending or checking and occasional messaged when you’re out in the cold but I wouldn’t be using them for any extended iMessage sessions. I’d like to see more coverage of the grippy surface and for the touch-conductive thread to appear on all fingertips. It would also help a lot if it were to extend a bit farther down, instead of only being placed on the tip. I don’t personally find them worth the $44 price tag- not by a long shot- but the $16.99 that I paid for them was well enough spent.
For a better understanding of the grip/touchscreen features of these gloves, I’ve added my own color-coded photo diagram!
 
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Siri’s at the Wheel!

Published on November 29, 2012 by in Apple, iPhone, News

 

Siri in the car

So there you are with your iPhone, checking your stocks, or the news or in the middle of a phone call that you just don’t want to end. But you do- you have to go to work, or run to the store, or pick up the kids. You’ll just have to finish that call later. Right?
Not anymore. Soon, your iPhone will be able to interface with your car via a connection on the steering wheel so that you can continue these things in the car without taking your eyes off the road.
General Motors and Apple are collaborating to bring us Siri and Eyes Free Mode, which will allow you to continue these activities uninterrupted, while keeping your eyes on the road. This new development is designed to allow you to do all of those things and more with no visual distractions:  “In fact, the iPhone’s screen won’t even light up as a result of the voice commands, even when Siri is answering simple questions that do not require graphics, as maps do. Like a responsible assistant, however, Siri won’t display Web pages or provide graphics while in Eyes Free mode.”, Adam Dickter of CIO Today tells us.
 Apple talking to multiple manufactures
According to CIO today this new capability will see its debut not on luxury cars, as in often the case, but on smaller models- the Spark and the Sonic, which will mean Eyes Free capability will be available to more average drivers sooner.  (click here to read the full article at CIO today)
These developments are not on their own, Ford is working to include better Bluetooth syncing capability with a variety of devices.
Will these measures make people safer? More productive? We’ll soon find out!
 
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iTunes offers Free Learning from World Class Institutions! (Homework Not Required.)


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iTunes U

Free Education via iTunesU

Apple has great products and services- a lot of them, any of which I am more than happy to wax poetic (okay, maybe not poetic!) about at a moment’s notice. Airport express base stations? Let me tell you how easy they are to fix. iPod touch? Can’t live without mine and friends know better than to let me get started going on about it. iBooks store? Samples of every book so I can decide what I want to buy, not to mention the selection of free books! Today though, I’m talking about a frequently overlooked service which I personally believe is the single best thing to ever come out of Cupertino: iTunes U.

You’ve probably noticed it while poking around iTunes on your computer, maybe wondered what it was. But have you actually checked it out? If not, I urge you to right now.
Introduced in 2007, iTunes U has a twofold purpose: incorporating learning materials for classes into a format easily portable on one’s computer or mobile device allowing a great opportunity for the integration of technology into education at any level; and distributing educational materials to iTunes users to learn anything they want, anytime, anywhere.
You might not be able to afford the time or money required for a Harvard or Oxford or Yale education, but with iTunes U, you can take a few of their classes at your convenience, all you need is time, an internet connection, and a computer with iTunes installed or an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad with the iTunes U app installed. It might not get you a degree, but it will definitely get you started on learning just about anything you can imagine.
Learn iOS apps development. A foreign language. Economics, literature, film criticism, world history. These are just a few examples of the topics offered from schools at all levels, around the world.
iTunes U, along with free books on the iBooks store, the apps store, and podcasts are the only services available in all countries where there exists an iTunes store (in other words, it’s more widely available than the iTunes music store!)
So whatever you’re interested in learning about, iTunes U will have something to grab your interest. Next time you’re on your iPhone or computer, why not go and check out iTunes’s quieter, more studious cousin and see what it has to offer you?
Ready to Learn
(all photos are from of Apple.com)
 
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