February 6, 2014

My iPad Mini keyboard

By In Tech & Gadgets


I bought a Clamcase keyboard/case for my iPad mini and really like it.  It is an interesting option for a light computing device, as well as a relatively affordable computer/reader for a child.

I have been looking at options for a homework computer for Colin. Also wanted it to be portable so that we can use it on the road. He mostly does ST Math and some writing for his homework.  I looked at a few options (see below), but couldn’t really find a good solution.  Now that I have played around with this iPad mini/Clamcase combination, I think this might work out well.

I also use my iPad mini for taking notes in meetings (using OneNote sync’ed through SkyDrive to my other computers).  Now the question is… do I give this setup to Colin or do I keep it?   Maybe I should give it to Colin so that I can buy a new iPad mini Retina for myself as well as another Clamcase!!!

Computers for Kids

iMac at home

(Currently being used mostly by Daniel)
The kids use it for some homework (they use a website called ST Math).  And then they use it for playing Minecraft.  I set it up with parental controls (although it is tough to limit what they see on youtube…) so they can only run certain apps and only browse certain websites.  I used the standard Mac account settings for this.  They are limited in how long they can use the computer per day, and only after they have earned ‘screen time’ by reading books.  Screen time includes games and tv.

iPod Touch

Each of the boys have iPod touches.  That works really well for travelling and we take it with us to restaurants when we want some peace and quiet.  They play Minecraft on them and also a number of other games (cut the rope etc).  I set it up with my apple id, so that I have to type the password for them to install anything.
They also play words with friends with us from their iPods, they take some pictures, and they use iMessage and Facetime to chat to me while I am traveling.
No real computing, though.


I bought one to use as a second computer for homework (since most of their homework can be done online… including using Google Docs) but ran into the following problems:

  • Chrome OS does not offer any form of parental controls
  • In fact, you cannot use the device if you are younger than 16, since you have to have a google account!  And to get one, you need to be older than 16!  So to set it up for a kid, you have to lie and say their account belongs to a 16-year-old!
  • Printing is a pain to get working

What I liked:

  • Fast startup!
  • Fun to use on the couch to quickly browse around (although a Macbook Air is more fun ϑ)
  • Cheap, so you don’t care too much about throwing it in the car or scraping it up a bit.


They don’t have iPads (although I do have a mini…) but I think that this may be the winner.  And with the Clamcase keyboard/cover mentioned at the top of the post, this package is quite good (although a bit pricey… $200 for iPad mini and $120 for the Clamcase keyboard).  But the apps are great, all the stuff they need to be able to do (for now) can be done on the iPad…  And AirPrint works in many places, so printing is possible


Daniel inherited Maureen’s previous kindle when she upgraded to the paperwhite.  He loves it and have already read 4 Harry Potters on it (I am happy that we did not have to carry the books around with us).  It is also great for taking to a place where you need him to be quiet and behaved for a long time.

Android tablet

I have and old Samsung Galaxy Tab and gave it to Colin as a reader.  He uses it only for reading so far (using an epub reader called Aldiko).

Windows 8 Laptop

Bought an Acer with 500GB memory and Windows 8 for cheap ($350!) but it was so slow that I returned it.  Thought that I might want to use that instead of the Chromebook.  No way.  Also, I am not sure I want to be in the business of cleaning up their Windows machine with whatever they will do to it.




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