Category Archives: software

Duet Display- Make the iPad a secondary display for your Mac or PC

 Even though I have a 15 inch MacBook Pro retina display, I often find myself needing more screen real estate when I am using my MacBook  while traveling. As a specific use case, I feel that academic radiologists can benefit from having an additional display especially when they are checking trainee reports on imaging studies or monitoring scans remotely. Or having an excel spreadsheet on a separate screen while going through a series of research studies. There are a number of iOS apps (with companion apps on the Mac) that let you use the iPad as a secondary display. However, many of these apps are pretty slow as they communicate using Wi-Fi which is not fast enough for what I would like to use the secondary display for.

I recently came across an app called Duet Display which works in conjunction with a companion Mac app and provides a wired connection using the lightning cable between the Mac and the iPad. It costs $15 on the iOS App Store and has been developed by ex-Apple employees.
This app provides a high-speed connection between the MacBook and the iPad and unlike its competitors, it works using a wired connection created between the two using the lightning cable. The combination of a custom driver and a wired connection means the speed of the connection is extremely fast. The app developers claim up to 60 frames per second and I personally did not have any trouble switching between the two monitors and also dragging windows around on the secondary display. There are two display options for the iPad display – one with a frame rate of 30 fps and the second at 60 fps, and if you have a retina display mac like me, you can also choose between retina and normal display modes via the app’s menu bar interface.
The only downside to using Duet Display that I could find is its relatively heavy usage of CPU capacity when running it using the discrete graphics as recommended. This can mean a battery drain when the MacBook is running on battery power, like in a coffee shop. This is easily remedied by ensuring that you are plugged into a power outlet. The developers have provided an option (via the menu bar) to use integrated graphics for energy savings, but this choice comes  at the cost of responsiveness. Apart from this minor drawback, this is a fantastic app for $15 that provides a fast and very responsive extra display for your Mac and is a boon when I travel with my Mac and iPad as my only display options. I now use this as my app of choice to connect my Mac to my iPad Air 2 and highly recommend this to anybody who wants to use an additional display for the MacBook. And all you Windows afficionados might be interested to know that I have friends who have used this app to use the ipad as a secondary display on their Windows laptops.

Newsify- a beautiful aggregator of google reader articles

Finally, I found a really good app to help me sift through a number of journals on the iPad. The app allows one to navigate easily to the full text and most importantly, save the article in a place like Instapaper or Evernote for later reference.
I think this will appeal to people who love the aesthetics of an app as much as the functionality.
It is called Newsify and is free right now in the app store.
It basically aggregates your google reader (and I am presuming that you know how to subscribe to various journals on google reader) into a beautiful flipboard like interface. One click takes you to the full text, especially if you have access to the full text through an individual or institutional subscription.
Fantastic! I went through a bunch of articles from the AJNR, AJR and Journal of Neurosurgery within half an hour and feel that I have accomplished something.
And yes, it is better than the other RSS readers and aggregators out there.. Take my word for it- I have tried them all, but I am writing only about this one!!

Go to the Newsify developer webpage for a full list of features-

10 easy steps to creating your own radiology blog

Using wordpress or a new service called posterous, it is now easier than ever to set up your own blog.
As wordpress is more well known, I will make a quick push for posterous- a service which allows you to post via email and even upload PowerPoint presentations within seconds.
Extensive technical knowhow about HTML or CSS is no longer required.

I spoke to a group of radiology educators at the ARRS in Chicago and was surprised that more people in our community have not heard about these kinds of blogging platforms before the class.

Microsoft signature edition

I was at a Microsoft focus group event today, arranged by the company in association with Paul Thurrott, author of a number of excellent books like Windows 7 secrets and Windows Phone 7 Secrets, the commentator on the Windows Weekly podcast on the Twit network and the creator of the very informative website Winsupersite for windows.

At this event, Microsoft demonstrated its signature series PC.  As per Dave, the Microsoft representative at this this event, consumers who buy a PC directly from Microsoft from their online store or the physical real-life Microsoft stores will get the “Microsoft signature series edition” on their machine. These computers are equipped with Windows 7, and just like a Mac bought from the Apple store, these will have all the Microsoft software that you will need pre-installed or will be available for automatic download or update after purchase, so you can just plug and play.

Microsoft’s programs like Internet Explorer 8, Windows Media Center, Microsoft Security Essentials, Microsoft Silverlight , Adobe Flash for IE 8, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Virtual Earth 3D, Zune 4.0, Live ID login wizard, Windows Live Essentials, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Live Writer, Microsoft Office Live Add-in Toolbar with Windows Live Sync, Windows Live Movie Maker, and  Windows Live will be pre-installed on the machine. You can also get Microsoft Office and other programs pre-installed for you so you do not have to. Your computer will be ready to  use right out of the box! This is a boon to those among us who support their colleagues and friends to “set-up” a new PC!

These PCs will be priced competitively compared to the retailer’s prices so you do not pay a premium for the “Microsoft experience”.

This approach is similar to Google selling its Google Nexus loaded with the latest version of Android without the cell phone manufacturers’ “crapware” installed on the machine.  Based on my experience comparing the two machine configurations side-by-side, the Signature edition  PC will improve our perception of windows PCs in general. If any one is planning to buy a computer in the next few months, I would encourage you to explore the option of buying directly from Microsoft. I can assure you that the experience on this PC will be vastly better than the PC one buys from manufacturers like HP or retailers like Bestbuy.

Microsoft promises to take care of all the problems that arise, both hardware and software, within the first 90 days, on these machines- no questions asked. And one should have the choice of various hardware configurations at this store.

I must admit- even as a critic of Microsoft and an Apple enthusiast, the signature series PC is a refreshing development!

Get Windows 7 at a discounted price of less than 30 bucks-legally!

Microsoft announced last week that students can pre-order their copy of Windows 7 in the US beginning September 17th and download the OS beginning on October 22nd (general availability). For US students, you need to either have a .edu e-mail address or be attending one of the 158 schools Microsoft lists. Students in the United Kingdom can pre-order beginning on September 30th for download on October 22nd and will pay only 30 pounds for Windows 7.

Students in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Korea, and Mexico will be able to avail of this offer on October 22nd. In most markets, the offer ends on January 3rd (except for Australia, where the offer is open until March 31st).

Note that the offer is for pre-order only and requires that you register for a copy of Windows 7 that will then be downloadable on October 22nd. I tried this out for pre-order and can confirm that it is a genuine offer.

You can preorder the new operating system now- for the US-click here and for the UK-click here
Note that you should have a genuine copy of Windows XP or Vista for this download to work. Microsoft has not specified whether you need the actual CD with the previous operating system or just have the old operating system on your hard drive- but all indications are that you just need it on your hard drive and not on the original CD.

For those who haven’t tried out Windows 7- let me tell you this- it is the best operating system from Microsoft that I have tried in the last 10 years. That is high praise coming from someone who swears by Apple products and uses Windows only because my hospital requires me to.
Windows 7 feels like a breath of fresh air after the disaster that was Vista!