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If you drag a file and hover over Dock icons, various useful things happen which are similar to Finder springing. If it's a window, the window un-minimizes from the Dock. If it's a stack, the corresponding folder in the Finder opens. If it's the Finder, it brings the Finder to the foreground and opens a window if one doesn't exist already. But the coolest (and most hidden) springing trick is if you hover over an application and press the Space bar, the application comes to the foreground. This is great for things like grabbing a file from somewhere to drop into a Mail composition window that's otherwise hidden. Grab the file you want, hover over the Mail icon, press the Space bar, and Mail comes to the front for you to drop the file into the compose window. Be sure that Spring-Loaded Folders and Windows is enabled in the Finder Preferences window.

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Stump Your iPad

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One of the perks of being a speaker at Macworld Expo — a few notches down from being included among such great company — is the “speaker bag.” Presenters are not paid to speak at the event, so one way IDG World Expo offers compensation is by putting together a collection of products, demos, software licenses, and special deals from vendors at the show, which every speaker receives in a large duffel bag. Not only does it feel like a way to repay speakers for what ends up being a lot of hard work, the speaker bag is a savvy move by the organizers to get products in front of a group of influential writers, editors, and industry insiders.

This year, nestled among a couple of iPad cases, was a slightly heavy, circular lump of rubberized plastic with an angled top and a vertical wedge cut from the middle. I initially dismissed it as a lame business card holder or something, but it has turned out to be the speaker bag item I use the most.

That lump, which looks like a mutant hockey puck, is called the Stump Stand, and it’s designed to hold an iPad in one of three positions. Lay the iPad down against the angled top to type on the onscreen keyboard at a 45-degree angle. Or, set one of the iPad’s edges into the vertical notch to prop it upright (such as for watching movies). The cutout has two steps, so the iPad in the upright position can also be leaned back at more of an angle by shifting the iPad slightly. A cutout at the front of the Stump Stand makes the iPad’s Home button accessible when the iPad is mounted upright in its portrait orientation.


When I started using my original iPad last year, I had difficulty finding a good resting place for it while working. The iPad Dock supports only the iPad’s portrait orientation, and removing the device from the dock connector meant pulling the two apart with both hands. I ended up propping the iPad on a wooden book holder my sister made for me back in junior high school.

After I outfitted the iPad with Apple’s black iPad Case, the iPad Dock was knocked permanently out of commission, since there’s not enough clearance in the dock to hold a covered iPad. The Stump Stand, by contrast, accommodates the original iPad while still enclosed in its Apple case (with the flap open). Better yet, I can prop it in portrait or landscape orientation, and easily lift it from the Stump when I need to pick it up. The weighted base (8.5 oz, 241 g) keeps the Stump from shifting around on the desk.

The Stump Stand works with the iPad 2, even with a Smart Cover folded flat against the iPad’s back, although the fully upright position doesn’t quite fit with a leather Smart Cover; the polyurethane version fits snugly with a small amount of force. The slightly angled “lean” position, however, works fine with either cover. (And, of course, because the Smart Cover’s magnetic latch pulls off easily, it’s no big deal to set the cover aside.) In fact, the Stump isn’t limited to the iPad. It will prop all sorts of devices, from the iPhone and iPod touch to the Kindle, that fit within the wedge.

I’ve spent the last six weeks working on several iPad projects: my new “Take Control of Media on the iPad, Second Edition” and “Meet the iPad 2,” the first ebook about the iPad 2 at the iBookstore (both now available); and my upcoming print and ebook title, “The iPad 2 Pocket Guide,” which will be available within the next couple of weeks. During that time, I’ve needed to lift, rest, sync, and type on as many as three iPads at any given time. Although I own just the one Stump Stand, it’s been great to test something on an iPad quickly, set it down in the stand while I write on my Mac, and lift it again when I need to do more testing.

My Stump Stand is black (with a little Macworld 2011 logo on the back, showing off the company’s capability to custom-brand it), but it’s also available in red, pink, green, blue, or light gray (the latter two colors appear to be sold out as I write this). The Stump costs $22; the company is currently running a special on two black units for $40.

 

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Comments about Stump Your iPad
(Comments are closed.)

Glenn Fleishman  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-04-04 11:08
I concur! I also received one in the speaker bag (disclosure), and I use it all the time. In fact, I didn't realize it had three uses, and was using in constantly in its most upright position. Silly me.
Seems a bit awkward to pack and tote around.

My favorite stand, The Compass from 12 South provides all the same support but is very compact and portable...albeit, a bit pricier.
Jeff Carlson  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-04-04 13:11
It's small enough to pack and tote, but not ideal. Better to have it just on the desktop, in my opinion. Or buy one for each location you'd regularly use it.
Li-Kai Wang  2011-04-04 23:40
>Lay the iPad down against the angled top to type on the onscreen keyboard at a 45-degree angle.

"Angle Meter" on iPhone 4 tells me that the angle is 19-degree instead of 45-degree.
David Sweeney  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2011-04-05 08:21
3.5" X 1.5" weighing 8.5 ozs. and the shipping is $7.95. YIKES!
David Weintraub  2011-04-05 15:50
I gave my wife the Belkin Flipblade. It holds the iPad in a lean position, but you can use it with cases. Plus it folds up nice and flat.
Have you seen the Bumabook? I saw it on facebook. It is a newly designed case and I think it's pretty cool