test : Albert Heijn (a.k.a. iClever) Apple-imitation bluetooth keyboard

The official Apple Bluetooth keyboard looks really cool and works smoothly, but it’s expensive… a little too expensive for most purposes people say…

Of course there have been lots of alternative wireless keyboards available, but none really got the looks of a genuine Apple one (for some that is a must). That’s probably the reason why some unknown asian company has made an un-branded ‘white label’ all-plastic knock-off imitation which – at first glance – looks nearly identical to the aluminum Apple bluetooth keyboard. This imitation keyboard is available under a wide variety of brands, like the iClever-brand in most of the world, but for instance also under the dutch supermarket Albert Heijn’s own private label.

The iClever wireless keyboard can be purchased from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk when you want a regular QWERTY-layout, and from Amazon.de if you want a german QWERTZ-layout.

Anyway, the main question is : is it any good ?

Simple answer : Yes, but…

Let me clarify : Yes, it’s a really nice keyboard to have and to use, with an interesting price tag below € 25 (sometimes even in the € 15 region). But it comes with a few flaws, so to quickly round up the verdict :

It’s an ideal low-budget wireless secondary keyboard for use with any Apple device that has a primary keyboard built-in.

To be more specific :

it’s a great low-budget wireless keyboard for use with an AppleTV

it’s a very nice low-budget wireless keyboard for use with an iPad or iPhone (but there might be quite a few handier options, like a iPad-cover with built-in keyboard)

it’s a good low-budget secondary keyboard for use with a MacBook (Air/Pro), for instance when your MacBook is closed and connected to a bigger screen

it’s a handy, but slightly tricky keyboard for use with a Mac mini, iMac or Mac Pro (for these Macs I would advice to keep an regular USB-keyboard at hand for emergencies)

Why ?

NOTE (*) : the top-left key (the one with the open square) on this keyboard is the [HOME] key

– it doesn’t have an Escape (ESC) key, so when any program on your Mac hangs, you will not be able to Force Quit the application with this keyboard…

UPDATE (*) : to [ESC], use this key-combo : [FN] + [HOME]

so, to Force Quit, use this key-combo : [CMD] + [ALT] + [FN] + [HOME]

– it doesn’t have an Eject key for the DVD/CD-drive, so when this is your only keyboard, you will not be able to get any CD or DVD out of your Mac easily… you will need to do the annoying drag-to-the-trash move using your mouse each and every time…

UPDATE (*) : to Eject, use this key (not a key-combo) : [F5]

– it doesn’t have any option to set the (energy saving) auto-disconnect function to a longer interval… which means that when your Mac also goes into (energy saving) sleep mode, the  keyboard has a lot of problems waking your Mac… (e.g. you will need to press any button for a prolonged time, but doing so also makes your Mac see that as input for any application that was still open… you might mess up your open Word-document with an enormous line of spaces in doing so…)

UPDATE (*) : to Wake From Sleep, use this key (not a key combo) : [HOME]

– the keyboard is often recognized too late when starting up your Mac, so you can’t use it to type your password during login, so you can’t start using your Mac… this is possibly only a problem for older Macs and/or older versions of MacOSX, but still…

I have tested this keyboard with Apple devices only, so I can’t tell about the compatibility with other devices, but I would think it will be similar : good to great for use with smartphones and tablets running Android and Windows Mobile, but rather troublesome for use with a Windows-PC…

😉

(*) special thanks to Arjan de Boer for these not-so-obvious, but very useful key-combos

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tip : most basic car stereo with good iPhone & iPod compatibility

Question :

The car stereo in my (rather old) car has broken down, so now I need a new one…

What is the (most) basic one that has good compatibility with a recent iPhone for playing music ?

Answer :

Considering that the relevance of any suggestion regarding buying electronics is always a temporary advise, as technology keeps progressing rather quickly and always depends on the way and intensity of your use…

…the best value-for-money deal you can get is :

Pioneer MVH-160UI car stereo (2014 model)                     find it in the UK or Germany

or it’s predecessor which is technically similar, for which you might get a better discount deal :

Pioneer MVH-150UI car stereo (2013 model)                     find it in the UK or Germany

The main advantages of these are :

  • certified iPod & iPhone compatibility, including “Direct Control” of your iOS7-device from the car stereo’s interface
  • front-accessible USB (for use with iOS-device, Android-device or USB-stick) that will also charge your iPhone or iPod during driving
  • AUX-in (for any other music player)
  • no CD (or cassette) player
  • quality radio tuner (with RDS, Traffic Announcement & Radiostation-presets)
  • quality sound output (with 5-band graphic equalizer and 4x 50W RCA pre-amp output)

Of note is that there is also a Sony car stereo with similar pricing and similar capabilities, but unconfirmed rumors say it’s not compatible with the latest iOS7-devices…

Sony DSX A30 car stereo (model 2013)                         find it in the US, UK or Germany

If you are in need of a telephone carkit also, your will be even more happy with a car stereo  that adds Bluetooth connectivity to your iPhone also :

JVC KD-X250BT car stereo                                          find it in the US, UK or Germany

or the Bluetooth car-kit versions of the Pioneer car stereos mentioned above :

Pioneer MVH-X360BT car stereo (model 2014)             find it in the US, UK or Germany

or it’s predecessor :

Pioneer MVH-350BT car stereo (model 2013)               find it in the UK or Germany

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fixed : iPad randomly activates auto-sleep

Question :

I have an iPad running iOS6 and for protection I have a sleeve with a cover. To extend battery-life I’ve activated the magnet-triggered ‘auto-sleep’. This used to work great, but now, for some reason, the iPad turns into auto-sleep mode while I’m in the middle of using it…

so, suddenly I hear ‘CLICK’ and then the screen is black…

…what can i do ?

Answer :

This turns out to be a software-bug (probably only in iOS6).

There are 3 ways of coping with this bug :

1- upgrade to iOS7 (the easiest option)

2- shut-off ‘auto-sleep-on-cover-close’ (effective, but also killing the entire enjoyment of the feature…) ; to do so : in the “Settings”-app, go to “General”, then in the chapter that includes Auto-Lock, Passcode Lock and Restrictions, switch the slider at “Lock/Unlock”

3- to a completely fresh install of iOS6 on your iPad (complicated, and unnecessary if you are ever going to upgrade to iOS7) ; to do so you should first backup your iPad (make sure to make an extra copy of all documents and photo’s to a Mac/PC, iCloud or DropBox) and then erase and re-install your iPad. Normally the procedure would be like this :

– connect your iPad to your Mac/PC using a USB-cable and start-up iTunes

– in iTunes, click the button with the name of your iPad on it

– in the window that opens, make sure the “Summary”-tab/page is selected, and in the “Backups” chapter, choose “This computer” and click the “Back Up Now”-button

– when the backup is complete, look at that same window/page, and click on the “Check for Update”-button

– when that check is complete, click on the “Restore iPad”-button and follow the on-screen instructions

– when done, first set up your iPad as a new one

– then, when the setup is complete, (re-)connect your iPad to your Mac/PC and in the “Backups”-chapter, click on the “Restore Backup”-button and follow the on-screen instructions

…now, your problem/bug should be resolved.

Enjoy !

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fixed : print iOS note to a wireless non-AirPrint printer

Question :

I have some iCloud Notes on my iPhone and I would like to print them on my wireless printer (a Samsung CLP-365W wireless color laserprinter), but it’s not an AirPrint-supported printer…

…how do I do that ?

Answer :

First make sure your wireless printer is set-up for use with iOS (iPhone/iPad).

For instructions to do so with a Samsung CLP-365W, click here.

Then make sure you have the wireless printing app installed that works with your pinter, you will probably be able to find one in the iTunes App Store, either released by the printer manufacturer or a general one that is compatible with your printer.

For use with the Samsung CLP-365W, you will need the Samsung Mobile Print app.

Then follow these steps :

1- open “Notes” on your iPhone/ iPad

2- select the note you want to print

3- when the specific note is opened, double-tap on the screen and choose “Select All” from the popup, then select “Copy”

4- use the Menu-button to go back to the main screen and there, select the Mobile Print app, when it opens, select “Clipboard”

5- then select your wireless printer and click “Print”

…that’s it !

Enjoy !

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fixed : SMS (iMessage) not delivered from iOS 7 iPhone to iOS 6 iPhone

Question :

Lately, some of my friends have complained to me that they did not receive my recent SMS-es at all…

…I was completely sure I had send them, and when I look inside the Messages-app, they’re properly listed as a blue SMS (= an iMessage).

Any idea what could be wrong ? …and how to fix this ?

Answer :

There seems to be a problem/bug/incompatibility between iOS 7 and iOS 6 when sending iMessages from iOS 7 to people who have not yet upgraded to iOS 7 and are still on iOS 6.

FYI : in iOS 7 and iOS 6, the Messages-app auto-detects if you’re sending a text message to an iPhone or not :

– if your text message turns Blue, it has been sent as an FREE Apple iMessage

– if your text message turns Green, it has been sent as a ‘good-old’ (payed) SMS

Fixing this problem/bug/incompatibility is rather simple, even though it’s really annoying…

But the real problem for you-as-a-user is that it’s really hard to tell on forehand if your ‘SMS’ (iMessage) will be delivered or not…

The only thing you can do ‘as an iOS 7 user’ is this :

– in Messages-app, select the recipient and type a text message as you normally would

– when it turns Green, just send it out (it will be send as a regular SMS)

– when it turns Blue, and you’re not 100% sure the recipient is using iOS 7, hold your finger on the text until a few extra options appear, then choose “Send as text message”… now your text message will turn Green and be send (as a regular SMS)

– when it turns Blue, and you’re 100% sure the recipient is using iOS 7, just send it out (it will be send as a FREE Apple iMessage)

…and when you’re not sure if this did go okay after you’ve send the text message : see if there is a red circle with a white exclamation mark next to your (Blue) text message…

…if there is, click on it and choose the option “Send as text message”

…and if you get any complaints from people that they didn’t receive your SMS since you’ve upgraded to iOS 7, select the text message again, hold your finger on it a little longer and select “Send as text message” from the options that appear.

Good Luck !

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fixed : set IMAP eMail for Hotmail.com, Live.com and Outlook.com on iPhone/iPad

Question :

I would like to setup my Hotmail-eMail on my iPhone, but rather as an IMAP-account than as the usual POP-account.

Is there any way to do that in iOS ?

Answer :

Yes, IMAP eMail has finally come to Hotmail.com, Live.com and Outlook.com eMail.

To set up a Hotmail/Live/Outlook-eMail account on your iPhone/iPad, do this :

note : instructions for setting-up Hotmail/Live/Outlook-eMail on MacOSX can be found here.

if you’re running iOS 7 [ scroll down for iOS 6 and iOS 4.2.1 ] :

1- open the Settings app, go to “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” and in the “ACCOUNTS” chapter, click on “Add Account”

2- in the window that opens, click on “Outlook.com”

3- in the next window,  type your Hotmail/Live/Outlook-eMail address, your Password and any Description you like, then click “Next”

4- in the window that follows, select the options you want (at least keep “Mail” switched “ON”) and click “Save”

That’s it… congratulations ! 😉

if you’re running iOS 6 [ scroll down for iOS 4.2.1 ] :

1- open the Settings app, go to “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” and in the “Accounts” chapter, click on “Add Account”

2- in the window that opens, click on “Microsoft Hotmail”

3- in the next window,  type your Hotmail/Live/Outlook-eMail address, your Password and any Description you like, then click “Next”

4- in the window that follows, select the options you want (at least keep “Mail” switched “ON”) and click “Save”

That’s it… congratulations ! 😉

if you’re running iOS 4.2.1 (if you’re on an iPhone 3G ; iOS5.5 instructions for iPad 1 are expected to be very similar) :

1- open the Settings app, go to “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” and in the “Accounts” chapter, click on “Add Account”

2- in the window that opens, click on “Microsoft Exchange”

3- in the next window,  type the following :

at “Email” type your Hotmail/Live/Outlook-eMail address

at “Domain” type hotmail.com (if you have a Hotmail.com-eMail address)

at “Domain” type live.com (if you have a Live.com-eMail address)

at “Domain” type outlook.com (if you have an Outlook.com-eMail address)

at “Username” type your Hotmail/Live/Outlook-eMail address

at “Password” type your Hotmail/Live/Outlook-Password

and at “Description” type any description you like

then click “Next”

4- then the same window updates and an extra chapter appears named “Server”, it will be  automatically filled out with either m.hotmail.com or m.outlook.com ( and probably sometimes even m.live.com ) ; don’t bother, just click “Next”

5- in the window that follows, select the options you want (at least keep “Mail” switched “ON”) and click “Save”

That’s it… congratulations ! 😉

Note : if you want to change the settings of your Hotmail/Live/Outlook-accont in iOS, open the Settings app and go to “Mail, contacts, Calendars”, there you can click on the eMail-account you want to edit, and you will be able to change things like :

• “Mail Folders to Push” ; which mailboxes (besides your Inbox, so your Sent or even your Trash maybe) to Push (= auto-update) to your iPhone/iPad

• “Mail Days to Sync” ; how many days ‘backwards in time’ you want your iPhone/iPad to sync to Hotmail/Live/Outlook

• do you also want to sync your Contacts and/or Calendars to Hotmail/Live/Outlook ?

• do you want to change specific settings of the account itself ? (like the Server, SSL on/off, the Description, etc.)

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