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As you’ll hear me recount on the upcoming episode of Let’s Talk iOS, I had to go through quite a lot to get my hands on the iPad mini with Retina display that I desired. The model, a Space Grey 32GB Cellular version with a bundled T-Mobile sim, proved to be a pretty tough get.

But I finally did get my iPad mini, and I’ve been able to spend the last few days truly analyzing the device, and analyzing whether or not the time I invested into acquiring it was worth the hassle.

You’ve likely read plenty of other reviews that pretty much spout off the same thing. Yes, the mini now has an awesome screen, has the same guts as the iPad Air, and it did so by compromising some of its thinness. So what’s the end result? Is this a good product? Will it go down as the best iPad ever? I share my thoughts inside.

Air vs Mini

To be honest, my first impression with the Retina mini was slightly disappointing. Mind you, I was just coming from a full sized iPad Air, a device that I had swapped out a few hours earlier for the mini.

The iPad Air’s thinness and weight loss makes the mini feel like less of a game changer than its first non-Retina iteration. Yes, it’s still remarkable that Apple was able to shoehorn so much power into such a petite package, but the iPad Air is no where near the overweight beast that the iPad 3/4 was. The emphasis placed on the size and weight difference just isn’t there this time around.

Because of that, more time is spent appreciating the screens of both devices. The iPad mini’s screen is beautiful, with an insane PPI count. Last gen iPad mini owners don’t even need to think twice about upgrading, just do it. If there was ever a so-called “must upgrade” the original iPad mini to the iPad mini with Retina display is it.

But for those of you who are considering an iPad Air, or who already own an iPad Air and are thinking about “downgrading” to the mini, the decision is a lot harder. This is especially true if you don’t travel a lot and portability plays second fiddle to other issues.

There’s something definitely to be said about the larger screen found on the iPad Air. Not only does the screen appear to look a tinge better than the mini’s, the extra real estate, and larger app icons are something I immediately missed.

Now that size and weight differences doesn’t make the argument between the two a forgone conclusion, it’s something you should seriously consider. With that in mind, I definitely think you should check out both devices in store before making the plunge if you’re on the fence.

If you travel and portability is concern numero uno, then yes, buy the mini. But if your iPad is parked on the coffee table or on the bedroom nightstand 80% of the time, you should really look at both, and compare both before just assuming the mini is the one you should get.

This isn’t to say that the mini is a bad device. On the contrary, this just goes to show how good of a job Apple did with its full size offering.

My decision

Ultimately, as you have probably figured out by now, I went with the mini. I went with the mini because I travel a lot, and I always take my iPad with me. For that reason, the mini makes much more sense than the iPad Air.

That alone is the only reason why I swapped out my iPad Air for a mini. If I could somehow shrink down the iPad Air when traveling, and make it full size again when at home, I’d do so in a heartbeat. Until then, I consider it a compromise of sorts to go with the mini. It’s still a wonderful device, but the iPad Air is an absolute home run.

Smart Case

Apple switched things up, and for the first time offered a Smart Case to go along with the mini’s Smart Cover. Again, for someone like me who travels, the Smart Case is probably the right choice. It makes it so I don’t even have to think about it when I toss my iPad into my bag and head out the door.

MG Siegler made a post about the Smart Case, lambasting it as one of Apple’s worst products in years. While I can’t speak for the full sized edition of the Smart Case, I’m fairly happy with the mini version.

I do understand where Siegler is coming from when he mentions the way the case buckles a bit at the hinge. But as he mentioned, this problem is a lot less noticeable on the mini than it is with the Air.

Cellular

My cellular requirement was one of the primary reasons that I had so much trouble tracking down an iPad mini with Retina display. For someone who travels with the iPad, a cellular version is a no brainer, especially with T-Mobile’s recent 200MB free pitch.

Final Thoughts

Having a fully Retina mini, with cellular internet access anywhere — all enclosed in a leather Smart Case — just feels like the future to me. I finally have a portable computer that makes virtually no compromises. The only compromise I can come up with is its size, but when you factor in the use cases, that may or may not be a compromise for you at all.

The iPad mini is the type of device that I dreamed of as a teenager. I knew that eventually one day we&#8217d have a computer that could access the Internet from anywhere, with plenty of power, in a remarkable form factor. I’m just not so sure that I ever imagined that such a device would be here so soon. This really and truly does feel like the future. For those that travel with their iPad, this is the best iPad by far.

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Macbook Pro With Retina Display Review (Mid

A little evolution, a little revolution. Apple has a track record of making significant design decisions, particularly when it comes to dropping “old” technology from its products or adopting new, and the reworked MacBook Pro with Retina Display is no different.

At first glance, then, it’s familiar from the persistent design of the previous model (which stays on sale, of course, with updated Ivy Bridge processors and NVIDIA graphics). None of the Air’s wedge-like taper, with new Pro instead resembling a flattened version of before. Both base section and lid have been trimmed to get the thickness down to 0.71-inches, with some casualties along the way.

Most obvious of those is the optical drive. Just as Apple led the way in ditching the floppy drive from its desktops years ago, now the DVD burning SuperDrive has been relegated to external (and optional) peripheral. Priced at $79, it connects via USB and works with not only the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display but the MacBook Air and Mac mini. As design decisions go, it’s one not only do we think most will approve of, but that fits in perfectly with Apple’s growing emphasis on digital content delivery.

The other sacrifice is an ethernet port, now dropped in favor of a second Thunderbolt port. This leaves the new MacBook Pro reliant on wireless connectivity, unless you think ahead and bring the new $29.99 Thunderbolt to gigabit ethernet adapter. Expecting that to be included in the box is, perhaps, over-ambitious, even with a new flagship notebook, but it’s something we imagine most users Pro may find themselves needing at some point, and is a little tougher to stomach than the absent optical drive.

While it may look like a flatter Pro of old, Apple has in fact done some significant reworking to achieve the 4.46 pound notebook. Half of the ports – the two Thunderbolt, a USB 3.0 and the 3.5mm headphone socket, along with the redesigned MagSafe 2 connector – are on the left, while a second USB 3.0 along with HDMI and an SDXC card slot are on the right. Long-time Apple watchers will have noticed some unusual additions there, and indeed the MacBook Pro with Retina Display breaks some conventions.

HDMI is a welcome inclusion, as is the much-requested upgrade from USB 2.0 to USB 3.0 (Apple bucks convention and keeps its USB ports white, rather than the blue we’ve seen on PCs). Thunderbolt’s huge throughput and a growing number of adapter cables – not to mention native peripherals – means the two ports can turn their hand to many things, not least Mini DisplayPort, DVI, dual-link DVI and VGA, with a FireWire adapter due in July. It’s worth noting that, although there are potentially three display connections, the new MacBook Pro can only support two external monitors (at up to 2560 x 1600) plus its own Retina Display panel.

The MagSafe 2 connection – which, as in MacBooks from before, uses magnets to hold the power plug in place and thus shouldn’t drag your notebook off the desk if you stumble over the cord – has grown wider and flatter. It’s the only way Apple could accommodate it in the new design – the last-gen MacBook Air has the old style, but can fit it because of the blunter-edged wedge profile – which means if you want to use an existing power supply you’ll have to throw in a $10 adapter. Apple has also returned to its older cable style, with the cord sticking straight out of the plug.

It’s inside that the biggest changes have taken place. The new MacBook Pro with Retina Display is resolutely not intended to be opened up by the end-user, and Apple has used that disclaimer to squeeze in components with a focus on space-saving rather than subsequent accessibility. Much of what heft is left is battery, with the 95-watt-hour li-poly pack considerably larger than the 77.5 Wh of the previous-gen model. As in the MacBook Air, neither RAM nor SSD are user-upgradable, with the former soldered to the mainboard.

Cooling has become something of an obsession among Apple’s engineers, and the new MacBook Pro is evidence of a new strategy for both quiet and effective heat dissipation. Air is sucked in through the hinge section and then funneled through to gills on the sides of the notebook, driven by a newly-designed asymmetric fan with unevenly-spaced impeller blades. That unusual blade design, Apple says, helps to reduce the tonal impact when the fans are spinning.

In practice, it’s a different type of noise to before: not necessarily quieter, but less intrusive. You still hear the fan spool up when doing heavy-duty processing, such as video exports, and the base can become warm – though not hot – to the touch at those times, but it cools again quickly.

The large glass trackpad and black, backlit keyboard are as on the previous model, and just as easy to use: the former is silky-smooth and responsive, and the latter provides a good amount of travel and spring.

Some Vote, Some Don’t, And Why

Some Vote, Some Don’t, and Why Students claim lack of information keeps them from polls

At a rally for gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick, from left: Cory Kalanick (CAS’07), Nora Burnham (CAS’10), Krista Zalatores (CAS’10), Meghan O’Day (CAS’10), Esha Rakhit (CAS’10), and Whitney Veit (CAS’09). Photo by Sam Trzyzewski (CAS’07)

When Renee Rochon (COM’08) voted in the 2004 presidential election, she was among the 51 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds in Massachusetts who did so — the largest percentage in two decades. Two years later, she is about to join the millions of young people who aren’t voting in this year’s midterm elections.

“I haven’t been paying attention,” says Rochon. “I guess I don’t care that much.”

Despite efforts to get them involved, young people like Rochon are generally disengaged from politics, and from midterm elections in particular. One of the main reasons they stay away from the polls, students say, is lack of information — about the candidates, registration deadlines, absentee ballots, and even where to cast their vote.

“There seem to be a lot of barriers to voting. We need greater access to the information,” says Brooke Feldman (SED’08, CAS’08), the president of the Student Union. To tackle the problem, the Union’s Web site resource of the month provides information for voters, such as polling places and information about the candidates.

Another way of combating a lack of information about the electoral process is to get involved. Heather Ross, Boston coordinator of the nonpartisan voting rights organization MassVote, has seen increased interest from young people statewide in helping in this year’s election, a good sign, she says, because becoming involved makes them more likely to vote.

“For example, students who become poll workers get interested in the election process,” Ross says. “They have a chance to talk with the community — they see how it works. They get to see voting in action.”

Joe Mroszczyk (CAS’07), the president of BU College Republicans, says he will be recruiting volunteers to help at the polls. Mroszczyk interned at the State House office of Lt. Governor Kerry Healey sophomore year and before that at her campaign office during freshman year, but feels he is the exception rather than the rule.

“I don’t think that fellow students are very civically involved,” Mroszczyk says. “There is certainly a very active minority of students who are, but in large part I think many students are not too concerned with political activities and civic involvement.”

That minority may exercise considerable influence in getting out the Terrier vote, however, because they help connect students on campus with political parties.

“Campus political activism is important because it means that we can play a role in creating a better tomorrow,” says Cory Kalanick (CAS’ 08), president of BU College Democrats.

According to a 2006 survey by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, young people are more likely to vote when they are asked to do so. The survey found that 44 percent of people age 20 to 25 who were contacted by a party or candidate said they vote regularly, compared to 22 percent of young people who were not contacted.

Students know best how to make that contact. “Facebook has been a brilliant resource for us in terms of reaching out to students,” Kalanick says. “It is quick and easy to spread the word via interactive messages or events.”

 Massachusetts Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick has 35 friends on the BU Facebook network — although he may not answer if you “poke” him. The other three gubernatorial candidates have photos, friends, and announcements on the Campaign Network.

Students have a cynical attitude towards politics, according to Julian Zelizer, a College of Arts and Sciences professor of history. “It’s very hard to get students to get out and vote. They don’t see how their participation matters,” he says. College does provide an ideal time for students to become engaged in politics, because the curiosity and interest are there, he says.

Sanu Dev (CAS’08) registered to vote as soon as she turned 18, but she now prefers to work for causes such as building wheelchairs for disabled people, as she did on her last spring break. “You see the results quicker,” she says.

Despite students having so many other things going on in their lives, they make participating a priority, in the opinion of Colleen Quinn, coordinator of political groups at the Student Activities Office. “They are definitively not apathetic,” she says. “I think it’s like everything else — it’s about doing what you really become passionate about.”

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Interesting Notepad Programming Tricks To Have Some Fun With

Developers often use Notepad to write and compile code for their apps. But it’s using is not just limited to them, even not so tech-savvy users can use the application to perform some fun tricks. Below you can find the list of 5 interesting notepad programming tricks.

Notepad Programming Tricks

Try our 5 interesting Notepad programming tricks to either impress friends or surprise your people around you.

Typing Slow

Matrix Animation

Keyboard Disco Trick

Password Generator

Shutdown PC using Notepad

1] Typing Slow

As the name suggests, this trick delays the typing response by a fraction of seconds. To try it out, just copy and paste the text below into notepad and save it as a .vbs file.

WScript.Sleep 180000 WScript.Sleep 10000 Set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”) WshShell.Run “notepad” WScript.Sleep 100 WshShell.AppActivate “Notepad” WScript.Sleep 500 WshShell.SendKeys “Hel” WScript.Sleep 500 WshShell.SendKeys “lo ” WScript.Sleep 500 WshShell.SendKeys “, ho” WScript.Sleep 500 WshShell.SendKeys “w a” WScript.Sleep 500 WshShell.SendKeys “re ” WScript.Sleep 500 WshShell.SendKeys “you” WScript.Sleep 500 WshShell.SendKeys “? ” WScript.Sleep 500 WshShell.SendKeys “I a” WScript.Sleep 500 WshShell.SendKeys “m g” WScript.Sleep 500 WshShell.SendKeys “ood” WScript.Sleep 500 WshShell.SendKeys ” th” WScript.Sleep 500 WshShell.SendKeys “ank” WScript.Sleep 500 WshShell.SendKeys “s! “ 2] The Matrix animation

Copy and paste this code into Notepad:

@echo off color 02 :tricks echo %random%%random%%random%%random%%random%%random%%random%%random% goto start

Then, simply save the file with the .bat extension.

3] Keyboard Disco trick

Some LED keyboards can be configured to flash keys in a rhythmic way. For example, when you copy-paste or activate this simple Visual Basic Script in a Notepad file, the LEDs of your Caps Lock, Scroll lock, and Num lock keys flash in a choreographed sequence or appear to be doing disco.

Set wshShell =wscript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell") do wscript.sleep 100 wshshell.sendkeys "{CAPSLOCK}" wshshell.sendkeys "{NUMLOCK}" wshshell.sendkeys "{SCROLLLOCK}" loop

Save as a .vbs file.

4] Password Generator

Creating a strong and unique password can be a task for some users. So, if you would like to create a password generator, try this handy trick in Notepad.

Paste the following code in a Notepad file.

@echo off :Start2 cls goto Start :Start title Password Generator echo I will make you a new password. echo Please write the password down somewhere in case you forget it. echo 1) 1 Random Password echo 2) 5 Random Passwords echo 3) 10 Random Passwords echo Input your choice set input= set /p input= Choice: if %input%==1 goto A if NOT goto Start2 if %input%==2 goto B if NOT goto Start2 if %input%==3 goto C if NOT goto Start2 :A cls echo Your password is %random% echo Now choose what you want to do. echo 1) Go back to the beginning echo 2) Exit set input= set /p input= Choice: if %input%==1 goto Start2 if NOT goto Start 2 if %input%==2 goto Exit if NOT goto Start 2 :Exit exit :B cls echo Your 5 passwords are %random%, %random%, %random%, %random%, %random%. echo Now choose what you want to do. echo 1) Go back to the beginning echo 2) Exit set input= set /p input= Choice: if %input%==1 goto Start2 if NOT goto Start 2 if %input%==2 goto Exit if NOT goto Start 2 :C cls echo Your 10 Passwords are %random%, %random%, %random%, %random%, %random%, %random%, %random%, %random%, %random%, %random% echo Now choose what you want to do. echo 1) Go back to the beginning echo 2) Exit set input= set /p input= Choice: if %input%==1 goto Start2 if NOT goto Start 2 if %input%==2 goto Exit if NOT goto Start 2

Save this file with .bat extension.

5] Shut down PC using Notepad @echo off msg * System will now shut down shutdown -c “Bye!” –s

Read next: Notepad Tips and Tricks for Windows 10 users.

The Misguided War On Tenure: Some Peaceful Solutions

A recent Time magazine cover had this headline: “ROTTEN APPLES: It’s Nearly Impossible to Fire a Bad Teacher. Some Tech Millionaires May Have Found a Way to Change That.” Driving the emotionally charged and factually deficient war on teacher tenure, language like this reflects an increasingly widespread attack on tenure as the major villain in lowering teacher quality.

Most people who care about quality education are presented with conflicting perspectives that are often confusing. The sensationalistic journalism reflected in the Time story fuels the fires of irrationality and anger adding to the problem rather than educating the public in any constructive way. Polls suggest that a majority of Americans are opposed to tenure. An increasing number of states are tying the granting and continuation of tenure to student test results.

The polarization between teacher organizations and policymakers regarding tenure has also increased. As both sides approach education’s challenging problems with emotion rather than objective analysis, they make the search for effective solutions more difficult. Attacking and defending is a recipe for stalemate.

Why We Need Security of Employment: A Personal Odyssey

While I will try to be objective and focus on helping you better understand the pros and cons of tenure — or, more accurately, teacher job security — I want you to know that I strongly support both teacher job security and high teacher quality.

I begin with by own experience because I think it’s instructive. I taught high school for ten years. The principal who hired me not only supported my getting tenure, she also did everything she could to help me get it. The principal who replaced her would never have supported my getting tenure and was happy to see me leave. My teaching had actually improved over those ten years, but there was a political conflict between our department and the principal having to do with a curriculum that helped to constructively empower students. Tenure protected me from being fired for political reasons.

That is the primary reason for tenure: providing security of employment to protect academic freedom.

However, I left high school teaching to get my doctorate so that I could train teachers, and a primary reason was that ineffective teachers in my school, protected by tenure, dismayed me. I wanted to do what I could to help improve teaching quality.

Tenure and the Protection of Ineffective Teachers

Jump ahead about 15 years, and I’m the chair of the Department of Secondary Education at San Francisco State. I inherited a department in which almost all faculty members were tenured. Some were excellent, but a few were appallingly bad. I still remember a student walking into my office saying, “I can’t stand it. He just sits there and pontificates. He has no notes. There is no curriculum. I want to strangle him.” This frustrated me. I hate bad teaching. Teaching quality matters to me more than words can possibly describe.

There is a clear downside to tenure: it continues to be used to protect ineffective teachers from being fired.

But I think eliminating tenure is the wrong solution because it doesn’t effectively address the problem.

A Bogus Argument Against Tenure

One argument against tenure is that in other occupations, no one gets tenure. But using private industry as a guide to excellence is a bogus argument. The quality of work in the American workforce is as varied as that in teaching, and for a majority of Americans, job satisfaction is low.

We Can Have Both Tenure and Effective Teaching

The answer is:

M2 Mac Mini Reviews: ‘Mac Studio Junior’ With Impressive Performance, Versatile Prices

The first reviews of Apple’s newest Mac mini have officially been published, ahead of orders arriving to customers starting tomorrow. The reviews offer our first look at the performance of the Mac mini with M2 and M2 Pro chips inside, detailing how that performance stacks up against the previous-generation Mac mini, the Mac Studio, and much more.

Writing for The Verge, Chris Welch refers to the new Mac mini as the “Mac Studio junior,” saying that “Apple’s littlest Mac has never been more appealing.” According to The Verge, the machine’s biggest downsides are the lack of front-facing ports and the lack of an SD card slot.

If you’ve been waiting for the in-betweener Mac that’s more capable than the iMac and less exorbitant than the Mac Studio, look no further. The new Mac Mini is still small and not the type of computer that calls attention to itself on your desk, but it’s never been more mighty.

Dan Moren, writing at Six Colors, also has praise for the versatility of the new Mac mini, saying you can shape it into “whatever you want it to be.” The M2 Pro Mac mini, Moren says, “ably fills the mid-level gap in Apple’s desktop range.”

As the benchmarks bear out, the M2 Pro ends up exactly where you’d expect it to fall: in the same neighborhood as the M2 and M2 Max for single-core operation (because the cores are pretty much the same) and about 68 percent faster than the M2 on multi-core tasks, largely by virtue of having an additional four performance cores.

Graphics performance was likewise predictable: the M2 Pro blew the vanilla M2 out of the water, thanks to having more than twice as many GPU cores, but can’t match up to the 38 cores of the M2 Max (or, for that matter, the 32-core M1 Max). In short, while it’s a very capable machine for graphics work, if that’s your bread and butter, it may be worth the investment to look at a more powerful machine—or wait until Apple likely takes the wraps off an M2 Ultra.

For TechCrunch, Matt Burns says that the new Mac mini has been a “joy to use” and has “conquered benchmarks and put up with Chrome’s never-ending quest for system memory.”

With the M2 and M2, the Mac Mini sits among the most powerful computers Apple offers at any price point. And let’s remember one of the Mac Mini’s main selling points: it’s mini. The Mac Mini is a tiny package that offers a lot of flexibility. Bundle it with one of Apple’s Studio Displays for a great iMac alternative, or use it with an inexpensive monitor for a low-cost workstation. As always, the Mac Mini is a value proposition, and it’s never looked better than it does now with the M2 and M2 Pro.

ArsTechnica’s Andrew Cunningham says that the “M2 Pro looks fine next to modern CPUs from Intel and AMD, but it’s not setting records.” But where Apple Silicon continues to shine is its efficiency in comparison to Intel and AMD processors:

But where AMD and Intel opt to maximize performance, Apple prioritizes power efficiency. Our Handbrake video encoding test provides a decent way to show how much power a CPU will consume when performing any intensive test for an extended period. The M2 Pro might encode our test video a bit slower than either of those x86 processors, but it also uses around half as much energy to finish the job.

As measured by macOS’ built-in power metrics command-line tool, the M2 Pro’s average power usage when fully loaded is around 36 W, whereas the Core i5 can use between 65 and 150 W and the Ryzen 7 between 90 and 136 W.

More M2 Mac mini reviews:

Lead image via Justin Tse

M2 Mac mini hands-on videos

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