Apple iPad (4th Generation) 9.7" Tablet with Wi-Fi - (Your Choice: Color & Capacity)
Hey everyone. First of all, I'm unsure if this is the best place for this thread, so admins, feel free to move it, if necessary. As I am just starting (or trying to get started) setting up a smart home/home automation system, and I am a huge technophile, it has always been a dream of mine to have a cool (and useful) central touchscreen control panel in my house. As I was dreaming up future plans for my smart home, I revisited this concept. At first it was a fleeting and fanciful dream, since there is no way that, on our budget, I am going to waste an expensive tablet computer to act as a mostly dedicated wall-mounted control panel. But then my eyes got wide, along with my grin, as I remembered the likes of www.gearbest.com -- with a huge selection of relatively dirt cheap off-brand smart phones and tablets. So now I've been thinking very seriously about this possibility and searching for a good tablet at a good price, as well as some nice wall-mount hardware. So I'm wondering what you all think about the DIY touchscreen control panel for the smart home. Do any of you already have something implemented? I am trying to compile a list of possible uses for such a device, to make it as useful (and cool) as possible. If you have any ideas, or know any good apps for this purpose, please include them in a reply. The ultimate version of this idea would be to have a tablet eventually in most rooms of the house, maybe a larger, slightly more expensive one near the home entry, and smaller, cheaper satellite devices throughout. I personally would prefer an Android tablet for this, but if you have any ideas for an iPad (or Windows), please share those, too. Here are some of my own ideas: Home Automation Control Center -- most likely using the mobile app for whichever smart home ecosystem you have decided to go with in your home Weather Station -- Lately I've been really happy with an Android app called "Weather Timeline" that I think would look good and work well Music Player -- I don't think this would work very well if you're a big audiophile, but using the tablet's bluetooth, you could connect it to bluetooth speakers in the room or a bluetooth receiver in your media center and play Pandora, Spotify, or whatever over them, or find a more robust whole-home music system that has an tablet app available for control. Video Phone -- using Skype, Google Hangouts, or whatever. Motion Sensor/Security Cam -- I know there are ways, with combinations of apps and the likes of Tasker, to have the built-in (front-facing) camera watch for motion then start recording or broadcasting when it sees something. Intercom -- if you have tablets mounted in multiple rooms and don't feel like shouting across the house to your spouse or children, you could "call" them on the tablet network. I know there has to be some walkie-talkie-type apps available, or there's always Google Hangouts with voice calls and video calls. Note/Message Center -- you could keep a notepad or sticky notes widget, or an audio note app, on the home screen so you can leave memos to your family, manage your shopping list, etc. Household Calendar -- using Google Calendar (or whatever app/service your household uses), you could keep track of everybody's agenda. Security System Control Center -- Currently, we have an ADT system, but once our contract is up, I'm hoping to cancel them and set up a self-managed system and use a mounted tablet for controlling and activating it.
I'm sure I'll think of some other ways to use a wall-mounted tablet, and I'll try to add them to this list as they come to me (or as I add them to my own mounted tablet).
This is an advice posting, but I'll try to make the journey to the question a little diverting.
I'm a casual scribbler. I love drawing; love comic books, but I've never derived an income, it's always just something I've done to have fun.
I spend most of my time in IT in one form or another. I have some graphic design experience (studied it 20 years ago)... Purchased my first Wacom tablet for some crazy amount of money, but I could never get past the cognitive dissonance of drawing on a surface while watching the screen somewhere else.
At one point I owned a Cintiq 12x? the little one... I replaced it with a first gen iPad, because I can't sit for long periods at a desk (busted spine) and I don't like being tethered in general.
I fell in love with Adobe Ideas. Being able to freehand vectors (Macromedia! Woo!) and apply lighting effects via semi-transparent layers: Awesome.
Then I repaced the iPad with an iPad 2 for the additional grunt and cameras (Facetime my folks).
Until the ipad 2, I drew with a stubby Wacom bamboo stylus. The end of the first gen iPad started a journey of disappointment as I went on to purchase and become disillusioned with around 15 different styluses.
A combination of no palm rejection and no decent Initial Activation Force (IAF - a term that describes a problem I've always had but couldn't articulate)... At the end of the iPad 2 era, I was mostly happy with a Maglus.
Then along came the iPad Air. The change in display tech (in the Air) made all my existing iPad styli mostly useless, including the Maglus.
So I splurged on a battery-powered Evernote(branded) Bluetooth fine point stylus... And spent the next 12 months getting angry at it (because it was mechanically faulty and I didn't gather up the guts to confirm/replace it).
Eventually I did, and the replacement is okay... But in the meantime I picked up an Apex - no Bluetooth, still no pressure sensitivity... But all I cared about was IAF and having a non-stubby tip. If I'm writing notes in a meeting or just mucking around, I want every contact between pen and display to register, not some: It's irritating to have to 'rewrite' letters because the hardware didn't register the strike-though on a 't'.
I gave up drawing on the iPad air. I still co-draw stuff with my 4 year old daughter, but we mainly use our fingers (Artrage+finger painting = fun).
Then this year, I was looking for a cheap windows 8 tablet to install Steam, so I could stream/play PC games on the couch while my wife watches bad TV.
I picked up an Ausus VivoTab Note 8 (32Gig) for $200 on Amazon, funnily enough, because it has Wacom tech in it. 'Turns out I really like scribbling in OneNote. The lines look lovely and it seems like you have an infinite canvas size(?) - you just keep drawing and scrolling.
I purchased a $40 copy of Manga Studio, because I miss layers.
When the Wacom tech works, its... Fantastic. I don't mind the little stylus; a couple of days a week I catch the train to work (cycle most of the time) and I can knock out a few quick sketches.
I'd forgotten how much joy I derive from it.
But then: On the AVN8, the stylus goes nuts along one corner, and every now and then a 3cm area on the stylus will 'go dead' - usually fixed by a restart of the device - but annoying when it happens. I've read enough forum posts to know that there's no such thing a working AVN8, just varying levels of not working, so replacing it isn't really an option.
Do I spurgle on a SP3? Sight unseen, Do you think I'll get annoyed by the increased IAF required?
Do I go look for a SP2? Do I run the risk of getting one with dodgy Wacom tech in it - Until the AVN8, I didn't know there was dodgy Wacom tech- is there another Manufacturer I should consider? My requirements are:
be a capable Steam Home streaming client
be light (relatively)
Not have a resolution so high and a screen so small that I can't make out anything
have 6+ hours battery life
Not be crazy expensive
has inking tech that will register fine touches (see: fast notetaking)
not have dodgy corners or dead spots, temporary or permanent
Have nice (Agnes Nutter nice I mean) software.
Please note that my life doesn't depend on a perfect solution, I do fine as a low level Database administrator. I just like drawing (even more than playing videogames I finally realise)
Thanks btw for existing, Surface pro artist. The recent stuff about the N-trig hub software is very informative.
Are there any good apps for editing photos? I plan to do some blogging from my Surface, but I need to be able to crop and resize photos. Sometimes I need to be able to add text to them too. I'm used to using Gimp and Paint.Net, but obviously can't use those on a Surface RT. It seems like most of the apps so far are geared towards effects and filters (like Instagram)
Does anyone know what program can view the the panorama photographs taken using the surface rt? I have transferred the files but no native windows program (that i tried) could open the files. Does anyone know the answer to this?