Collusion – bridging the gap between iPad and Paper: What I know thus far

After you have had a look at this be sure to check out my latest posts on Collusion for all the updates on the best stylus for the iPad..

Image provided by CollusionApp.com

After attending the Beta Backers Party last night and writing up my initial thoughts on Collusion and the wonderful new stylus for iPads I thought I should do a second post this evening throwing together some of the juicy details that I was able to find out from the Collusion team about just what we can expect from the final product.

So here is what I managed to find out from the guys last night 🙂 enjoy and if you have any questions that you would like to know more on pop a comment here and I can ask the team at the next Beta Backers Party and be sure to check out the project on Kickstarter:

    • How large will the canvas be?
      Any single canvas will be very large in size, there will be a practical size limit but it will be very large.

 

    • Will the Collusion App for iPad work over 3G as well as WiFi?
      Yes it will, the team is currently working on putting together optimisations to help minimise the impact of the inherent unreliability/volatility of 3G connections.

 

    • Will the hardware device and pen be available in Black and White to those that have backed the project on Kickstarter?
      I was told this was dependant on two factors, firstly there needs to be at least 2000 backers on KickStarter as the batches will be in 1000 lots. The second requirement is that there would be roughly a 50/50 split of people that wanted black vs white.

 

    • Will there be an API available for other iPad apps to use the pen interface?
      As per the FAQ: The hardware API will not be opened. Once the fundamentals of the collusion platform are downpat (post V1) they will consider opening the software platform via API.

 

    • Why havent you used dropbox or [insert online service here]?
      Collusion’s cloud integrates both storage and real time collaboration – these elements have been optimised to work together to form the worlds fastes cloud collaboration service, whereas 3rd party cloud storage is simply that, its a different tool entirely.

 

    • Will an Android version be available?
      Not at this stage but “watch this space”!

 

    • Will there be another Beta Backers Party?
      Yep in a couple of weeks time (keep an eye on the Kickstarter project for details).

 

    • Will I be able to work offline?
      Yes, the specific method of how this will be achieved is still under development.

 

  • A bit behind the technology of the pen itself:
    • It uses ultrasonic sound and two microphones together with simple trigonometry to know where the pen is on your iPad screen.
    • The drawings, strokes, and lines you create are each individually stored as vector images. I will let you ponder the awesomeness of that yourselves

 

So thats it, I hope some of you find that useful, I will try to find out as much as I can each time there is a Beta Backers Party and look forward to seeing some of you there.

Stuart

Collusion – bridging the gap between iPad and Paper: My first thoughts…

After you have had a look at this be sure to check out my latest posts on Collusion for all the updates on the best pen for the iPad..

Image provided by CollusionApp.com

I use my iPad all day, every day. However, one thing that the iPad sorely lacks is the ability to use a medium of input that we have had engrained in our lives since primary school… the humble pen. There are many different iPad stylus solutions around today, but none that I have used have offered any remote level of accurate input or natural “it just feels like using a pen” feeling that I want to get out of my iPad.

I have just come home from the first Beta Backers Party with the team from Collusion and I have some great news for anyone that owns an iPad. I have tried out the prototype and can say that the team at Collusion have thought long and hard about this problem and come up with an ingenious and extremely effective solution to bring natural pen input to the iPad.

Tonight, at the Beta Backers Party I used Collusion App and pen and my first response was “No WAY!!! That is INSANE!”. I thought the concept was great before using the device but after having a play I could not believe how well the concept has been executed. I can also happily say that the money I have put in to back the project on kickstarter has been well invested.

My likes:

  • Speed of input was spectacular and the input from the pen that was recorded was extremely accurate (even when writing small text)
  • I could write naturally with my palm resting on the iPad while writing without causing unwanted input
  • Drawing was great fun and the ability to draw diagrams, along side annotating text was a VERY welcome feature
  • The collaboration feature where we had three people writing on the one canvas while syncing with the cloud and the other iPads in the room, worked brilliantly and gave a whole new aspect to playing tic-tac-toe
  • The concepts behind the app for the iPad itself have been well thought out and although the app was a three month old prototype you could see the potential (see below)

My dislikes:

  • Unfortunately we could only see a three month old prototype of the app (however there is a very valid reason for this please see below) so there were the occasional glitches which have all been addressed and a couple of quirks here and there which are not present in the as-yet unseen version of the app
  • Regardless of the above… I want one NOW!!!

What we saw this evening:

Image provided by CollusionApp.com

Tonight the team showed us a prototype of the software that was put together by a single developer in six weeks and this was done three months ago. The reason we were unable to see the latest release of the app is due to new shiny version not quite being ready for prime time the team wants to make sure it 100% right before showing off all the bells and whistles.

Robert and Nav were there however Surmeet is at home resting up with the flu so couldn’t be there. However both Robert and Nav were extremely helpful and were able to answer MANY MANY MANY questions that I had regarding the device, what it will be like on final production and some of the upcoming features of the app.

I was able to try out the collaborative “canvas” feature of the application and saw real time synchronising to the cloud and other iPad’s in the same room.

While I can’t tell you EVERYTHING I found out about the Collusion app right here right now (waiting to hear back on what information I *can* say… I can tell you that on final release it is going to be EPIC and even from seeing the original three month old prototype I would have no hesitation in starting to work with the prototype tomorrow. So I am excited to think of just how streamlined the Collusion app will be on public release.

If you have any questions flick them through and I will be more than happy to pose them to the team when I next poke and prod them. If you have an iPad and you are in Sydney keep an eye out on the Kickstarter project as I hear there will be another chance to meet the team in a couple of weeks. I would *highly* recommend you come on down and have a try of the hardware and app in person as you will be blown away.

So to sum up:

  • Is it real: YES
  • Is it FINALLY the bridge between paper and iPad: YES
  • Is it coming: It most definitely is and I personally can’t wait

 

Dropbox is a student’s best friend… A Flash Drive always ends in tears

Sign of a Lost Flash DriveAn all too common occurrence… Students have lost their thesis, major work or other assignments as they left their USB key in a computer lab or have suffered at the hand of data corruption (or even as I have done once, human stupidity).

Ever since I worked back on the helpdesk all those years ago where floppy disks and (dare I say it) ZIP disks were the rage, I have seen many cases of students losing their form of portable media and many hours work. Another case I see all too often is that form of portable media becoming corrupt or accidentally erased and once again a student losing enough time and effort to bring even the roughest and toughest blokes to tears.

So today I want to ask EVERY SINGLE UNIVERSITY STUDENT OUT THERE to supplement your portable media with a free account from Dropbox. Free accounts come with 2GB of online storage where you can store your files and transfer them between home and uni.

The key benefits of Dropbox include:

  • You can’t lose the storage medium (save forgetting your account details) which means no more signs like this one up around uni begging for the return of a lost USB thumbdrive.
  • Dropbox stores historical versions of a file so if you ever accidentally upload a corrupt version you can get the previous copy back so you have not lost all your work.
  • You can sync Dropbox between devices such as the iPhone, iPad, home/work computers and so on to ensure that you can access your files anywhere and they will automagically be kept in sync.
  • Files can be accessed straight from the web without having to download any special software while you are at uni
  • Lastly you can created shared folders with your other group partners to share files that you are working on, no more emailing 30 copies around and forgetting which one is the most recent, just go to Dropbox and access the latest version or upload a new one. The version history is also a blessing for those doing group work after someone deletes a section which you worked immensely hard on and want to get back (can you tell I have experienced this one personally).

So please, save my sanity and do away with your USB thumbdrives, USB Keys, flashdrives, floppy disks, ZIP disks, and any other form of medium that can easily be lost and/or corrupted. A little time spent after each hard study session uploading your documents can save you many tears down the track and it is easy and most of all FREE!

I will happily admit that I am throwing in a referral link here so I can try to get some more free space on Dropbox… why, because I use it every day. So if you don’t have an account sign up for one today and protect your uni work.

To sign up to Dropbox and give me a few hundred extra free MB as a referral click here.

If you wish to visit Dropbox without giving me a freebie click here.

Stuart

(if you have read this far I congratulate you… I just wanted to say if anyone IS still using floppy disks or ZIP disks for storing essential (read ANY) data then I will cry)