Dude’s Brydge Keyboard Review

I have been through a lot of keyboards and keyboard cases since I upgraded to my new iPad in May. Some were good, some were returned the same day. I am very picky when it comes to keyboards. Some might say I am a little OCD about them. My thing is that I want a functional keyboard which works best for my needs.

After reviewing many, I have finally settled on the best one for me. It is the Brydge Keyboard.

It isn’t perfect but it is pretty darn close.

Here are the things I love about it:

#1 – I can easily detach the iPad when I don’t need the keyboard.

There are times that I want to use my iPad as a tablet. I don’t want to be stuck with a laptop configuration. My situation (and moods) change so I like having this option. The iPad is connected to the Brydge keyboard by two connectors which hold the iPad at multiple angles.

#2 – The keyboard is sturdy.

You can actually use the Brydge keyboard on your lap. That was the one thing I had against my last keyboard case. It was a nifty keyboard case but I could not use my iPad in my lap like I could a laptop.

#3 – Backlit keys

This is a must-have for me. My eyes aren’t as good as they used to be so when the lights are low, I need a little help with seeing the keys. Although I am a good typist, I still need to see the keys to make sure I’m in the right place on the keyboard.

#4 – Makes the iPad your alternate laptop

The keyboard turns your iPad into a MacBook Air. It doesn’t add a lot of weight but enough so it feels and functions like a laptop when you need it. This keyboard is what kept me from asking Santa for a new laptop.

#5 – Additional cover completely protects iPad

Although the keyboard easily attaches to the iPad, there isn’t a cover for the back of the iPad unless you order the additional cover from Brydge. I don’t know why they can’t include that in the package but it is worth the extra expense to protect your device.

So what are the things I don’t necessarily like about the Brydge keyboard?

#1 – The keys are a bit stiff

I am a fast typist so I fly around on the keyboard. The keys on the Brydge can be a bit less fluid in the typing experience. I have had to adjust my typing slightly.

#2 – No place for the Apple Pencil

I love using my Apple Pencil sometimes but there is no place to store it with the Brydge keyboard. Not a deal breaker but I would have been nice to have a slot for it. I am currently looking at attachments to add something to keep my pencil.

#3 – Durability of iPad clips

As I said before, I love having the option of easily detaching my iPad from the keyboard when I want a tablet. Although the clips to hold the iPad are good and snug now, I worry that repeated detaching/attaching might degrade the clips over time.

#4 – Price

This keyboard is not cheap. Fortunately I purchased mine for $50 less on eBay instead of Amazon or directly from Brydge. The keyboard was priced at $129.99 but are now on sale for $79.99. I would still say it’s better than any other keyboard or keyboard case available (and I have studied this in-depth).

It is my personal opinion that the Brydge keyboard is the best keyboard accessory for your iPad. It will help you to be productive in using your iPad as an alternate laptop when you need it. As a writer, it is the perfect companion for me when I get inspiration or perform edits on current writing projects.

The Brydge keyboard does a great job of bridging the gap between laptop and tablet.

The Evolution of eDiscovery

The term eDiscovery has been the buzzword in the legal field for the past several years. Since I began in Litigation Support in the late 1990s, I have personally witnessed the evolution of eDiscovery.

The term eDiscovery is the electronic aspect of identifying, collecting and producing electronically stored information (ESI) in response to a request for production in a law suit or investigation. Electronically stored information can be emails, documents, presentations, spreadsheets, databases, voicemails, audio and video files, social media and websites. Anything electronically stored can potentially be eDiscovery.

I remember back in the day when an investigator told me that he had a few boxes of documents that needed to be bates numbered and scanned. The “few” boxes turned into a van full of banker’s boxes. I learned that people have different definitions for the word “few”. So, I worked with a legal assistant the entire week manually applying bates labels to every page in those “few” banker’s boxes before scanning them.

We’ve come a long way.

I rarely see boxes of paper anymore. I still have a high-speed, high-volume scanner and I run paper through it occasionally to keep it in working order. Today, I mostly see hard drives, flash drives, discs and shared folder downloads.

In the early days of eDiscovery, the magic word was “metadata” that freaked everyone out when they realized that there was hidden data inside of most electronic documents. I laughed at the common definition of metadata at the time about it being “data about data”. That really didn’t explain the term very well to the legal staff looking at me like deer in headlights. Metadata is hidden information that is contained in any electronically stored data. This can be date created, date modified, who modified it and other pertinent information about the data that you can’t see just by opening the file in it’s native software. For instance, if you open a Microsoft Word document, you can’t see who created it or who modified it as well as additional information that isn’t visible to the average user.

We’re dealing with less paper today but…

I used to cringe at the news of having rooms of banker’s boxes in a case, now just one 4TB hard drive can force me into the fetal position. There is a whole lot more data to sort through today.

The depth of eDiscovery can come in many forms such as smart phones, computers, flash drives, emails and so much more. Just when you think you’ve covered it all, there is always something else you’ve missed. It can really be scary at times. I used to worry about missing something but now I have learned only to focus on what I have, not what I don’t have.

The tools used for eDiscovery continue to improve. When I first started in this journey, I had a system called “DocStar” which became my office’s first document processing workstation. It was a start. Fortunately, the technology has changed. We now have complex systems that are designed to process many types of electronic data. I’m glad to see the advancements in software to meet the challenges of eDiscovery.

Even with the voluminous volume of electronic discovery today, I am not longing for the days we had paper and sitting in a room for days applying physical bates labels to paper documents. I don’t want to go back. I’m looking forward to the future.

Does A Writer Need The Freewrite Traveler?

Look, I love new tech gadgets and when I saw the campaign for the Freewrite traveler over two years ago, I jumped onboard and paid the $349 price tag as a backer. This new “distraction-free” device was what I thought would replace my Alphasmart device that I used to create drafts or any type of minimalist writing.

The delays of the release of the Traveler brewed quite a bit of frustration. Eventually, Astrohaus, makers of the Traveler, announced that the device was being shipped October 27th. I finally received mine two days later. I sold it on eBay two days after that. Yep, that was my disappointment with the long awaited device.

The dealbreaker for me was the lag time between pressing the key and the letter appearing on the e-ink screen. I couldn’t get past that frustration with the Traveler.

A writer doesn’t need the Traveler. You just need discipline.

The Traveler is basically designed to be a first draft device. Editing is very limited. The idea is just to set your inspiration free and avoid distractions. Just write.

Send me $429 (the current listed price for the Traveler) and I will give you some advice. Just write. Oddly enough, I am trying this post on my iPhone. Just grab whatever is available. That’s the great thing for writers and technology that is available to us today. With cloud technology, our writing is available wherever we go on any device we have that connects to the Internet.

You don’t need an expensive device just for writing. Use what you have that works into your workflow. For me, the Traveler didn’t fit.

If you want to spend money on something, spend it on a laptop instead. You always have the ability to turn off the distractions. A good laptop will benefit a writer much more than a niche device.

I really wanted to like the Traveler. It was an epic letdown for me and I don’t like being disappointed but I faced the reality of the way I work. I felt like I was forcing the Traveler to fit my workflow.

The point is….just write. You don’t need a special device to do it.

The Freewrite Traveler Review

This is my first draft experience with the Freewrite Traveler from Astrohaus. After a two-year wait and many delays, it is finally here and I finally have mine. I am now typing on the device. Initially, I have noticed that the typing experience is a bit different. I am a fast typist so it is a bit slower for me than usual. The other noticeable difference is that there is a bit of a lag time with the text appearing on the screen.

Improvement over the Alphasmart devices?  Maybe not.  It’s just a different device.  If you have an Alphasmart, don’t get rid of it.  Hold onto it tight with both hands.  

I wrote a previous blog about whether this device was fact or fiction.  It is definitely fact but will it be a good device to write fiction?  That remains to be seen.  At the moment, I’m still a bit frustrated by the lag time.  They need to fix this. My brain and fingers operate at a faster speed than this device can handle.

It is definitely a drafting device. If you are like me and feel the need to correct or edit as you go, it’s going to be a painful adjustment.  

What’s the return policy on this thing?

Just kidding.  

It’s going to be an adjustment.  It’s new.  It’s different.

Couldn’t someone have upgraded the Alphasmart instead?

So what do I like about it?

It’s very portable and lightweight.  I can take it with me everywhere.  If you just want to write and nothing else, this is a good tool to take with you. 

It’s great for outdoor use.  You don’t have to struggle with the brightness issues like you would with a laptop or tablet.  

It automatically synchs to the cloud.  You won’t lose your work.  Once you hit your wifi, it synchs.  Done.  The process of linking it to my Google Drive account was easy.

Some interesting features:

You can scroll through the lower screen to show word count, reading time (time it takes to read what you’ve written) and number of characters. There is also a timer, clock, and information about your folder/wifi connection. I think the word count feature and timer are two things I would use the most.

What I don’t like about it?

Ugh.  the lag time between typing and text appearing on the screen.  Could be a deal breaker.

The white keyboard annoys me.  It’s going to get dirty.  What were they thinking?  I guess it looks pretty out of the box.  It won’t look so pretty after continuous use (if there is any).

This device is designed for writers as a “distraction free” device.  I suppose it does that.  I’m not sure you need a special device for that just discipline to NOT be distracted and write on whatever device you have.

After waiting in anticipation for over two years for this device, I can tell you that I honestly feel let down.  It wasn’t worth it and definitely not worth the price.  I paid $349 for it two years ago, it’s now $429.  Check it out for yourself at www.astrohaus.com. I would have rather used that money for a new MacBook Air.

I really wanted to like this device and justify its cost.  If I’m really being honest, I can’t.  I’m feeling a little buyer’s remorse right now.  I will try it a little longer and see if it fits into my workflow but my first impressions of tech devices are usually pretty accurate. 

If you are a writer and thinking about this device, don’t spend the money on it.  You don’t need it.  Get a newer laptop or see if you can get an Alphasmart device on eBay.

Can You Really Type On An iPAD?

I do a lot with my iPad but the one thing that has always been a challenge is typing. I have tried numerous Bluetooth keyboards and cases but I always wanted the flexibility of using my iPad as a tablet and not transform it into a full-time laptop. Although I like using some sort of keyboard, I have recently tried using the iPad onscreen keyboard as my primary keyboard. I have been experimenting with it and have been surprised that I can type pretty well with it,

It has taken some adjustment since I am usually a fast typist. I have had to slow it down a bit but I have discovered that I can still type pretty well on the iPad.

Let me give you some pointers on using the iPad keyboard:

Trust your muscle memory

If you are an experienced typist, you can still type without “pecking” at the keyboard. I had heard that you can trust your muscle memory and it’s true. Even if I can’t rest my fingers on home row, I can still type at a slower speed without looking at the keys. I will occasionally glance down to make sure I am hovering over the right keys but you can trust your fingers to know where the keys are.

Position the iPad at the right typing angle

To get your best results typing on the iPad, you have to get the most comfortable angle for you. It won’t work well if the iPad is completely flat and you might also get in a position where you can rest your palms on the corners of the iPad. Hovering can make you hands and wrists tire easier. You won’t need much of an angle but just enough elevation to help you type better.

Turn on autocorrect

Make sure that you have autocorrect enabled. It will help correct your mistakes and take the frustration out of the experience,

Make edits later

If you are like me, you like to correct your mistakes and typos as you type, but you have to learn how to let it go and edit your text after you have typed your draft. Get in the mindset of typing and correcting it later.

Where is the tab key?

The iPad keyboard does not have a tab key. Why? I have no clue. It is one of the most annoying things about typing on the iPad keyboard. You can install third party keyboards but that can be just as frustrating. The Pages app also includes a tab key in its application although it is in an awkward place.

Sliding upper key

Another neat trick with typing on the iPad keyboard is that to type the characters above each letter you simply pull down on the key so there is no need to shift or use an alternative key combination to type the characters.

Moving the cursor

The iPad keyboard does not have arrow keys either which is another annoying problem however if you hold down two fingers on the keyboard, it turns into a temporary trackpad which allows you to easily move the cursor around in your text.

Change keyboard

If you just don’t like the full keyboard, you also have an option to split the keyboard and type with your thumbs as you would on your phone. You can do this with the iPad in either portrait or landscape mode. I can tell you that sometimes the split keyboard is a faster typing experience. To do this you hold down the keyboard key in the lower right and select “split”. You can also move the split keyboard by dragging the keyboard key to reposition it.

Practice and patience

The best way to learn how to use the iPad keyboard is by practicing and being patient. I will often practice while watching TV and typing phrases I hear being spoken. It is also important to be patient with yourself. There are some days I try to type and I’m just not with it. I making lots of mistakes but I keep at it and continue to try to put the work in to train my fingers and my mind in using the onscreen keyboard. It takes time.

I am getting better but I’m not ditching my external keyboard yet. There are times that I need to use it but I am trying to not get lazy and default to it just because I am impatient with learning.

Of course, I typed this blog using the iPad keyboard. Yes, it took a bit longer but it wasn’t a dealbreaker. Sometimes it’s okay to slow down. It was also more convenient and quieter than using an external keyboard.

Try it. You might like it.

Dude Reviews Zagg’s Slim Book Go

When I upgraded recently to my iPAD 10.2, the search was on for a new keyboard case. Anyone that knows me knows how obsessed I am about finding the right keyboard for my devices. For three months, I tried (and returned) many keyboards. Some came close but none checked off all the boxes of what I wanted.

Here are some of the MUST haves that were on my list:

  • Detachable keyboard
  • Backlit keys
  • Slot for Apple Pencil
  • Easy kickstand

After months of searching for the right keyboard case to fit my specifications, I found it. From the moment I opened the box, inserted my iPAD and started typing, I knew this was going to be a keeper. The Zagg Slim Book Go is THE keyboard case.

Here are some of the PROS and CONS about this keyboard case:

PROS:

  • Lightweight – The case is very lightweight. It won’t weigh down your backpack or if you want to carry it with you to lunch. The iPad is completely protected inside the case but it isn’t bulky.
  • Easy typing – I am a very fast typist so they keys have to be constructed for my style. At first, I was a little skeptical of the rounded keys but they have actually not hindered my typing at all.
  • Sturdy but not stiff keyboard – The keyboard is light but sturdy. I can use it in my lap without any problems although it does take up my entire lap.
  • Backlit keys – Very useful for low light conditions. There are seven different color combinations for your preference.
  • Easy detachable – There is absolutely no struggle with detaching the iPAD from the keyboard. Nothing complicated about it at all.
  • Holder for Apple Pencil – There is a slot for the Apple Pencil on both the iPAD case when you want to remove the iPAD or on the keyboard. Unlike other cases which attach a holder on the outside, this is safely stored on the inside when the case is closed.
  • Multi-device pairing – Although not a feature I was looking for, it is a nice thing to have when you are switching between your iPAD and iPhone.
  • Kickstand – This opens differently than most other cases with kickstands. Opening the stand from the top down makes it a lot easier to use on your lap.

CONS:

  • Magnet could be stronger – I like it that the keyboard easily detachs from the case but it probably could be a bit stronger. It is barely magnetic. The Apple Pencil isn’t as secure either with the magnetic holder. This is weakest part of the product.
  • Not completely perfect for lap use – While you CAN use the keyboard case in your lap, it isn’t exactly the same as a laptop. The good news is that since you can detach the keyboard, you can prop up the iPAD close by and use the keyboard in your lap.
  • A bit pricey – At almost $100 it is fairly expensive but it is worth the price. A lot better than blowing your money on Apple’s keyboard cover. I think they could come down on the price a bit. It took me a few paychecks to have the funds to purchase this one.

Let me tell you from someone that gets obsessed with keyboards, you need to try this one! If you are looking all the options I required, I am pretty sure you will be satisfied with it as well and your search will be over. It is a very versatile keyboard case. I didn’t want to limit my case to only be limited to a laptop-only configuration. I wanted to be able to use my iPad as a tablet when I wanted to read or play games then configure it for when I want to type a document.

I can honestly tell you that I have had no thoughts of returning this keyboard case. No doubts about it and I am no longer doing any exhaustive searches for other keyboard cases. For me, this is the right case.

For more information about Zagg’s Slim Book Go: https://www.zagg.com/en_us/slim-book-go-apple-ipad-10-2

Dude’s Tech Review of Inateck’s Keyboard Case for iPad 2019

I really wanted to like this case. I had performed a thorough review and research on finding the perfect keyboard case for me with my new iPad. Sadly, this one isn’ t it.

In five minutes, I knew I would be returning this keyboard case. I will tell you why later.

First, the good stuff about this case.

Protection. It does a great job of fully protecting the iPad. The cover for the iPad is rubber and fits nicely with it and has the precise cutouts for the device. It is solid but still lightweight.

Kickstand. Loved it. This is probably the best part I liked about it. When configured as a laptop, you can adjust the angle from 30-160 degrees. When you want to use your Apple Pencil, you can adjust the kickstand for the perfect angle for using it. When detached, you can even adjust the stand so you can view your iPad in portrait mode. The kickstand was definitely the biggest plus for this case.

Place for the Apple Pencil. This a big thing for me and this case has a perfect place for it which protects the pencil when not in use. While some cases offer a slot outside of the case, the Inateck case is on the inside.

Now the bad.

Keyboard. It is awful and noisy. The moment I put my fingers on the keyboard I was deflated and knew I would be returning it. The keys are too close together and loud.

Detaching. This is quite puzzling and something I haven’t seen in other cases. Instead of being a magnetic connection to the iPad, the keyboard has a rubber attachment which slides into a slot on back of the iPad case. There are no instructions on how to connect this properly so you have to guess how it works. I don’t like it.

I loved the iPad case but hated the keyboard.

The keyboard case is designed for iPad 2019 10.2 (7th Generation), iPad Air 2019 (3rd Generation) and iPad Pro 10.5.

The photos show people using the case on their lap but I have to say that this failed my tests. It really doesn’t function too well on your lap. You will need a table or flat surface to comfortably use it.

This case runs about $30 on Amazon but I am not going to post a link because I really don’t think you will like it.

Tech Dude’s Review of Zugu iPad Case

I just upgraded to the iPAD 7th Generation tablet. With the new device, I have been searching for a good case for it. I wanted something lightweight but provided good protection for my new iPad. I have tried a couple already but then I saw this one from Zugu pop up in my Facebook feed (how does Facebook know? Creepy.)

This case got some excellent reviews on Amazon and the videos made this look as if it would be the one for me.

The Zugu case features 8 magnetic angles so you can position your iPad at the perfect viewing angle for you whether you are using it on a flat surface or using it on your lap. If you are good with typing on the on-screen keyboard, you will find the perfect angle for that as well as if you use your Apple Pencil to draw or write on your iPAD.

It is very secure once connected. It is definitely not flimsy. The magnets are powerful enough that you can configure the case to stick to your refrigerator door if you want to refer to recipes or to watch a video.

The case is good for protecting your iPad but it is also very lightweight. The microfiber interior helps from scratching your iPad. It has a 5 foot drop-proof military protection which is pretty good if you tend to drop yours a lot.

The case is only compatible 2019 iPad (7th Gen) 10.2 IN (Model #’s A2197, A2200, A2198)

Okay, so I THOUGHT this was going to be a keeper for me but the only problem I had with it is the location of where you put your Apple Pencil. It has a nifty, stretchy slot but it is on the OUTSIDE of the case which keeps the case from laying flat unless you lay it on the other side which is a bit awkward when you want to open the case. This is the only reason I am returning my case. I’m sorry but I’m not going to risk storing my expensive Apple Pencil on the outside of a case. If you don’t use an Apple Pencil, then you will love this case.

If you want to try out this case, check on the Amazon listing for about $50 or visit https://www.zugucase.com.

Dude’s Review of Earto’s Bluetooth Keyboard Case

Today I am trying out a new keyboard case for my IPad. I recently purchased the iPad 7th Generation. Instead of plucking down $150 dollars for Apple’s Smart Keyboard, I decided to shop around and Earto’s keyboard was my first stop. I was not disappointed.

First, let me tell you some of the things that are “must-haves” for a keyboard case:

  1. The iPad needs to easily detach from the keyboard case so I can use it as a tablet when I need it.
  2. The keyboard should have backlit keys so I can type in low light conditions.
  3. It should function like a laptop and used in my lap.

Here’s what I found:

  • Pros:
    • Easily detachable case. I loved it. The case is magnetically attached and slotted to firmly hold the iPad but can be removed quickly. I like having this function so I can still use the iPad as a tablet when I don’t need the laptop configuration.
    • Backlit keys. This case has seven colors with three levels or brightness with over 300 color combinations. You can definitely give your keyboard some personality but honestly, I don’t think it’s necessary to have so many color options but it’s still nice to have..
    • Laptop for your lap. This case actually sits on your lap like a laptop instead of trying to find a tabletop or place to sit your iPad when you need to use it as a laptop.
    • Protective case. It is very sturdy and will fully protect your iPad when the case is closed. I didn’t actually test drop it or anything but the materials used for this case are solid and not some cheap plastic shell.
  • Cons:
    • Apple Pencil holder. It has one but I am not too confident that it will last. For me, this was the biggest negative about the case. The pencil holder is located on the outside of the case which will make it vulnerable to bumps and eventually wearing out. While it has done well keeping my Apple Pencil in place, I find myself constantly checking it to make sure it’s there.
    • Keys. I am a fast typist so it is probably unfair me to list this as a con but they were a little awkward for me. My hands weren’t cramped but the keys seemed somewhat low to the keyboard. I figured it was to cut down on key travel and clicking noises. It is still a good keyboard but, for me, a bit awkward.
    • Weight. There is also a trade off with having a solid keyboard case. It does add some weight to the iPad so you will have to decide if it’s something that will work for you. If you are a minimalist it might not be the thing for you but if you want a case that can sit in your laptop along with backlit keys, you will have to think about that.

The case also gives you the flexibility to adjust to different angles. The shaft bracket design allows the iPad to be tilted up to 135°to provide the most comfortable viewing position for typing, watching videos, playing games or reading.

You also have an auto sleep/wake function with this case which works seamlessly to extend your iPad’s battery life. It automatically wakes when open or goes to sleep when closed.

So will I keep it? Maybe. I’m a tough critic on keyboards but this one is going to be hard to beat. It’s still a better choice – at half the price – of Apple’s Smart Keyboard.

Don’t take my word for it. Give it a try and order one from Amazon by clicking below. If you don’t have an iPAD 7th Generation, no worries, Earto also offers keyboard cases for other models. Go to their website at http://www.earto.net/ and take a look.

How To Set An Hourly/30 Minute/15 Minute Chime On Your Apple Watch

If you’re like me and you are working remotely, mostly likely you are required to keep track of your work. If so, you can easily set a chime on your Apple Watch to help you keep track of your day.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Go to SETTINGS
  2. Tap on ACCESSIBILITY
  3. Scroll and tap on CHIMES
  4. Activate Chimes by tapping on it.
  5. Tap on SCHEDULE to set the chime for hourly, 30 minutes or 15 minutes
  6. Tap on SOUNDS to set the sound to bells or birds
  7. If you don’t want the chime to make a sound you can swipe up on your watch face and tap the bell to silence sound. This will alert you with a vibrate for the chime.

If you would like discover more cool tips and tricks with your Apple Watch, try some of these books from Amazon: