What do you do with those gift cards from Amex, Visa, and MasterCard when they get down to a couple of dollars? You can’t use them on iTunes. It’s silly to buy packs of gum, or cans of soda with a gift card. You could swipe them for a purchase and then pay the difference in cash, but that means knowing exactly what the balance is, so you can max out the card. If you’re like me, you toss them in a drawer and forget all about them, which is what Visa, MasterCard, and Amex hope you’ll do so they can pocket that $1.74 or $2.76. You can imagine how those forgotten balances add up!
But if you have a Square credit card reader and account you can swipe those microcredits right into your bank account. Log onto the card’s web site and check the balance, then swipe the card into your Square account to recover whatever is left. Today I recouped $15.72 after a small fee. Not bad for junk drawer clutter!
I have an iPad 2 and it is true that no one needs an iPad until they get their first iPad and then they cannot imagine what they did without an iPad. I’m sure owners of other tablets feel the same way. I don’t know any, but I’m sure they love their tablets.
Sometimes I feel like a crazy, little dog lady who spends way too much time and money decking her terrier out in the finest sweaters, and doggie beds, and toys. I am always in search of the perfect accessories for my iPad. In the end, I will probably spend more money on apps and accessories than I did on the actual tablet. I should be ashamed, but I’m not. I love my iPad.
I named it Calculon, did I tell you that? I name all my computer devices after Matt Groening characters. My iPhone is named Nibbler and my AppleTV is Zapp Brannigan. I don’t call them these names, but they have names on your network and you can customize that, so why not have fun with it, no? I also have devices named for Simpsons characters, but I digress.
The two accessories I would like to tell you about today are new to the fold. The first is what I believe is the best manifestation of the Moleskine/iPad case genre. There are a few companies doing this, and some Etsy stores, but for my money Portenzo is doing it best. The construction is solid and reviews suggest that Portenzo’s rubber corners secure your iPad much better than the competition. They give you your choice of different interior liner colors, in fact there are a number of options you can add including a stylus holder, a hole for the back camera, magnets in the cover that replicate the smart cover features of the iPad 2, an elastic ribbon to hold the cover shut, like on the Moleskine. You can mix and match to produce the iPad case of your dreams. The one drawback so far, Portenzo cases are made to order, so if you need one right now, this is not your accessory. Mine took 6 weeks from the day I ordered it to delivery.
The second accessory I got for a specific need but it turns out this thing is crazy useful all the time. I play ukulele and I have all of my sheet music on my iPad. It’s one of the best uses of a tablet I can think of, honestly. I used to carry binders of music around and it was unwieldy and hard to find what I was looking for and it wasted paper. The binders were also hard to read under low light situations and I like to play my uke while sitting around the fire with friends. An iPad solves all these problems, and yet, it’s really hard to hold an iPad while playing an instrument, and it seems silly to carry around a stand to prop it on for those occasions. So, I ordered a Joby Yogi.
You’ve probably seen Joby’s GorillaPod flexible tripod solutions. This works much the same way. Once the iPad is in the Yogi holder I can wrap the legs around anything convenient to hold my iPad in place. What I discovered is, the legs wrap nicely around my leg, which is the perfect arrangement for playing ukulele, I just cross one leg over and my iPad is securely in my lap.
The cool thing is, when I’m not using the Yogi for ukulele chiminea singalongs, I can use it to prop my iPad up on my desk to watch a movie, or next to my bed as an alarm clock, or I’ve arranged the legs so I could hook this bad boy onto a hook on my wall to keep it up and out of the way. I was surprised at how useful the Yogi is and it’s not that expensive. So, if you’re feeling the need to spoil your iPad, that might be a nice accessory to add to your arsenal.