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Why You Shouldn't Buy Expert Packs in Hearthstone

Thursday April 24, 2014

Like many games these days, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is fueled by in-app purchases. These purchases come in two forms: a $1.99 ticket to the arena or buying expert packs, which start at 2 packs for $2.99. There's no doubt Expert packs are the path to unlocking the best cards, but playing in the arena may be the cheapest way to unlock them.

How to Turn Off In-App Purchases

Each time you play in the arena, you will get an expert pack. Even if you lose three times in a row, you'll get an Expert pack and some other reward, which could be the magic dust used to craft rare cards or a small bag of gold. If you do the math, buying that 2-pack costs you $1.49 per pack. For just 50 cents more, you can buy a ticket to the arena and be assured at an expert pack plus an extra reward.

And if you can gather some wins, your rewards increase.

This is also true of using hard-earned gold on expert packs. You can pay 100 gold for a pack, or 150 for a trip to the arena.

More Hearthstone Tips

Is the iPad Doomed?

Tuesday April 22, 2014

With rumors that sales have stagnated, there's a lot of doom and gloom surrounding the iPad in the media these days. USA Today thinks the iPad is in "big trouble," while the Mac Observer notes how the iPad missed out on increased sales. And many analysts believe iPad sales for the quarter could drop year-over-year.

So is this the beginning of the end for the iPad, or is this just a bump in the road?

I can't help but think about Android. Gartner puts the sales of Android tablets in 2013 at 62% compared to iPad's 36%. But when I think about Android, I don't think about marketshare. I think about how I never see Android tablets. I see iPads all the time. If I stop to get a coffee, I often see someone on their iPad. If I go to a restaurant, it's not uncommon to see a kid playing on an iPad.

It's the same thing my editor said to me about a year ago, and the same thing ZDNet wrote about a few weeks ago. If Android tablets are so popular these days, where the heck are they?

Among the most popular Android tablets are Samsung's Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note, ASUS's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire series of tablets. According to Gartner, 36% of tablets sold in 2013 were iPads. Samsung's market share was 19.1%, ASUS had 5.6% and Amazon had 4.8%. The most popular Android tablets had 29.5% of the market share compared to the iPad's 36%.

So what about the remaining 35%? Windows-based tablets account for 2%, but what about Read More...

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Now Available for iPad

Wednesday April 16, 2014

After a partial release in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, Heartstone: Heroes of Warcraft is now available worldwide on the iPad. Hearthstone leverages Blizzard's most popular intellectual property to take a giant step in the ever popular arena of collectible card games. The iPad version comes a month after the release of Hearthstone for the PC and Mac.

A fully-featured version of the game, Blizzard is giving away a bonus pack of cards to those who download the iPad version. A player's cards are synced across the PC and mobile versions of the game, so you can play on your desktop at home and on your iPad while on the go. Later this year, Blizzard is releasing a single-player adventure mode called Curse of Naxxramas.

You can download Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft on the App Store

Also check out the top collectible card games on the iPad.

Used vs Refurbished iPad

Monday April 14, 2014

The two most common ways to save money when buying an iPad is to go with a used iPad bought through a popular site like eBay or Craigslist or going with a refurbished iPad. So what's the difference and which route should you take? The answer to that relies mainly on how much you are looking to save and how much risk you are willing to take on with your new iPad.

A refurbished iPad differs from a used iPad in that it has been repaired and tested to make sure it works. If bought through Apple's online store -- and I highly recommend going through Apple when buying refurbished -- you will get a 1-year warranty with your refurbished tablet. You may not save as much as with a used iPad, but you get the safety net of the warranty and can get a decent discount off the price. And even better, you can go with an older model of iPad to get even more savings. You can shop for refurbished iPads on Apple's website.

You'll likely get the best deal on a used iPad, but this comes with greater risk. Buying on eBay is a relatively safe process -- eBay protects buyers if your tablet arrives in a condition other than described on the website -- but there is no guarantee that you'll find any problems right out of the box. For example, you may not know that the headphone jack is broken until you actually test the headphone jack. The same exists for buying on Craigslist or going other routes to find a used iPad. It is very important to check out the iPad as much as possible before buying it, which includes listening to it on headphones, checking the speakers, making sure the volume buttons work, plugging it in to make sure it charges correctly, and anything else you can think of to help check out the device.

How to Buy an iPad

Also, it is important to reset the iPad to factory default if it didn't come that way. Resetting to factory default can actually solve some issues, so if the iPad is acting peculiar, resetting it could straighten it up.

My Recommendation: Go with a refurbished unit. You really aren't going to save too much more going used, and the extra peace of mind is worth it. Tech savvy folks with a lot of experience with the iPad may feel comfortable going used, but if you have doubts, go refurbished.

More About the iPad:
How to Save Space on Your iPad
How to Expand the Storage on Your iPad
The Best External Hard Drives for the iPad

Will the iPad Air 2 Be Faster Than a Macbook Air?

Thursday April 10, 2014

Amid suggestions from analysts that Apple should develop a hybrid device capable of running both iOS and Mac OS, effectively making it both an iPad and a Macbook, JP Morgan speculates the next iPad may exceed a Macbook Air in terms of raw processing power. According to JP Morgan, the expected A8 chip that will power the next generation of iPads and iPhones will be more powerful than Intel's i5 chipset, the processor of choice for most entry-level and mid-range laptops.

This educated guess may not be far from the truth. While the iPad 3 ran virtually the same processor as the iPad 2, with enhanced graphics added to the A5X to help power the Retina Display, Apple tripled the iPad's performance with the introduction of the iPad 4. And while many in the media dismissed the addition of a 64-bit architecture to the iPad Air, the change helped the iPad Air to effectively double the processing power as the iPad 4. If Apple can double the processing power with the iPad Air 2, benchmarks would put it around the same range as the MacBook Air, which uses Intel's i5 chipset.

Microsoft Office for iPad Tips and Tricks

And Apple has an easy way to hit that target: a quad-core processor. The iPad Air currently runs on a 1.4 Ghz Dual-Core processor as part of the A7 system-on-a-chip. A jump to a quad-core processor could help the next iPad exceed the MacBook Air in multi-core benchmarks.

But while the iPad may be within reach of the Macbook Air in terms of processing power, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for Apple to create a hybrid product. Not only has CEO Tim Cook already dismissed the suggestion of a hybrid iPad-Macbook, it doesn't make much strategic sense in the long run. The smarter plan is to continue beefing up iOS. The iPad's processor may be catching up with laptops, but the operating system is still lagging behind. Given an iOS that can compete on a level playing field with Mac OS and Windows, the iPad really could start chomping up the laptop marketplace.

Microsoft Office vs iWork

How to Print Your Office for iPad Documents

Monday April 7, 2014
Microsoft Office

Microsoft left the ability to print your work out of Office for iPad, which may be a subtle hint that we should all be going paperless, but if you just have to print that document, there's a relatively easy trick you can use to get the job done. There may not be a Print option within Word, Excel or PowerPoint, but there is a print option in the web versions of these apps.

You'll need to have the document you want to print stored on OneDrive to use the trick. If you have it saved locally, you can open it and save it to OneDrive using the duplicate feature, which is found in the File menu within Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Can't find the File menu? Microsoft hid it behind a goofy button that looks like a piece of paper with arrows going in a circle.

Review: Microsoft Office for iPad

Once you have it on OneDrive, simply go to the OneDrive website in the Safari browser. After you log in to your account, you can open your document in the web-version of the Office app and choose to print it from the web. For Word, there's a handy Print button at the top of the screen. In Excel or PowerPoint, you'll first need to open the File menu -- which is appropriately labeled on the web -- and then choose Print.

The document may not come out perfect, but it will at least come out on paper.

More Office for iPad Tips

Three Tips for Faster Typing on the iPad

Wednesday April 2, 2014

Now that Microsoft Office is available for the iPad, there is sure to be a lot more typing on the on-screen keyboard. And for most people, that comes with a bit of frustration as letters are missed and strange symbols are hunted down. But typing on the iPad doesn't have to be a teeth-clinching exercise. With a few quick tips, typing can get a lot easier.

  • Use Auto Correct. It's easy to paint Auto Correct as the punchline to a bad joke, but if used the right way, it can really speed up typing. Instead of thinking of it as a way to correct mistakes, think of it as a fast forward button. As soon as Auto Correct is displaying the right word (and it can do so in as few as two or three letters), hit the space bar and let the iPad finish typing the word for you.
  • Skip Apostrophes. The Auto Correct feature can also be leveraged in a totally different way. Instead of hunting down the apostrophe for your contraction, just skip it and let Auto Correct add it for you. With a few notable exceptions ("Well" won't correct to "We'll"), it does a pretty good job.
  • Type With Your Thumbs. Did you know you can split the iPad keyboard in two? The split keyboard will allow those accustomed to zooming on their smartphone to use that same thumb dexterity on the iPad. Just put both index fingers in the middle of the keyboard and move them apart to split the keyboard in two.

More Keyboard Tips

Bonus Tip: Use voice dictation. Siri isn't just for answering questions. She'll do a good job of typing that document for you.

Office on the iPad:

How to Create a Chart in Excel for iPad
How to Create a Chart in PowerPoint or Word for iPad
How to Copy Microsoft Office Files to the iPad

How to Get a Free Month of Office on the iPad

Tuesday April 1, 2014

Excited about Microsoft Office finally coming to the iPad? The long-awaited suite of apps are taking up all the top spots on the App Store, but the $99 subscription price within the app isn't the only way to get at the create and edit features. Microsoft offers a free month, but only if you sign up on their website.

The website also offers other subscription options, such as a monthly option for $9.99. This is more expensive than the $99.99 yearly subscription, but is a good option if you aren't sure you are going to really use the package.

If you have already created an account on your iPad and create a new one on the website, you will need to sign out of your account on your iPad. This is done via the left-side menu. (If you are inside a document, you can pull it up by tapping the back button at the top-left corner of the screen.) If you still see a prompt to activate your subscription after signing in with the new account, simply tap activate and the app should sync your account and give you the ability to create and edit documents.

A Review of Microsoft Office on the iPad

An April Fool's Day Prank for the iPad

Tuesday April 1, 2014

The "Blue Screen of Death" is one of the most recognized error screens in the history of computing. A full crash of the Windows operating system, the Blue Screen of Death requires a reboot to get the computer back into working order. Of course, that's only for Windows-based systems, right...?

What if your iPad could have a Blue Screen of Death?

One funny trick with the iPad is to take a screenshot of the Blue Screen of Death and use it as the Lock Screen wallpaper for the iPad and then tell any tech-aware friends you have that your iPad had a Blue Screen of Death and ask if you should reboot it. To get a good picture of the error, you may need to crop it. The iPad likes to blow up pictures that are used as wallpaper. Luckily, I've fixed up a Blue Screen of Death just for this purpose, so feel free to download and use it.

Don't have any tech-aware friends? Take a look at some more pranks to pull with the iPad.

Microsoft Office Arrives on the iPad (Finally!)

Friday March 28, 2014

After years of on-again off-again rumors, Microsoft Office has finally arrived on the iPad. Microsoft's strategy of holding one of their most prized software gems hostage under demands that people switch over to Windows-based tablets was quickly reversed by new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who took office just a few months ago. The result: Word, Excel and Powerpoint are now available for download in the App Store.

Microsoft's mobile strategy was stuck in reverse under Steve Ballmer, who did a good job of running the company, but a horrible job of guiding it. The anti-iPad strategy not only cut off a supply of revenue, it also opened the door for the competition. Even with Microsoft Office released on the iPad, many users will continue using the alternatives they found while denied Microsoft's product.

Microsoft Office for the iPad requires an Office 365 subscription to do any editing, but you can still use the free apps to view documents without paying for the subscription. For those who do subscribe, early reviews pin the apps a step above Office alternatives on the iPad. Rather than just port Office for the iPhone to the bigger screen, Microsoft took the time to really design it for the iPad. The result is a product designed for a touch interface that exceeds what is available on Windows tablets.

Nadelle bills the release of Office on the iPad as part of his mobile first strategy. Let's hope it is step one in Microsoft embracing the iPad. Find out more about Office for iPad

How to Set Up iCloud on the iPad

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