Regarding GoodNotes 4

Screen shot of GoodNotes version 4.
iTunes Import for GoodNotes Templates

I’m receiving questions about a new version of GoodNotes that doesn’t allow direct imports of new template pages.  Here are my thoughts so far.

In GoodNotes 3, the easy method was to download a new template in Safari, choose “Open in GoodNotes”, tap the new page on the bookshelf, select Change Template from the menu, then add the Current Template and adjust its settings.

In GoodNotes 4, it is still possible to download pages and write on them, but I see no way to add them directly to the list of templates.  This does not prevent creation of multi-page notebooks, but it does become problematic for creating notebooks offline or trying to swap to a custom template on an existing notebook.

I was able to install custom templates in GoodNotes 4 through iTunes synchronization.  The less complex method is to tap the “Wi-Fi File Transfer” on the GoodNotes Options menu.  This requires a second computer to connect to the iPad’s web server through a wired or wireless LAN connection.

Another alternative is the monumental task of installing iTunes on a second computer, making a physical USB connection, dealing with a variety of error messages, and struggling to transfer files while the program attempts to fill up my network drives with 64 GB of backup data.

Bottom line:  You can keep GoodNotes 3, if you have it, and wait for better features in new versions, or you can deal with iTunes synchronization to install the templates you want.

Questions and comments are welcome.

Previous Post: White Templates for GoodNotes

How to Secure iPad VPN with Windows L2TP

VPN diagram showing both Windows and iPad remote clients.
Different protocols for different clients.

Back in August, I mentioned the importance of disabling most versions of PPTP for security reasons, and included my own tutorial for How to Secure a Windows VPN with PEAP.  That solution works great for Windows, but is not compatible with iPads.

Now I will offer a solution that works great for iPad, but may not work on Windows computers.  In addition, I will explain how to get the two solutions to work together securely so that both Windows and iPad computers will be able to connect to a Windows VPN simultaneously without using the insecure versions of PPTP.

The Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) is an obvious choice for the iPad because it is the only supported protocol other than the insecure PPTP option.  On the server side, however, there are some implementation nuances that could easily discourage the use of L2TP.  I took the time to research L2TP in more depth before writing this article, because I felt that a generic recommendation could leave readers totally confused about the security issues involved.  So before delving into a new tutorial, I want to explain two new concepts:  L2TP Pre-Shared Key, and L2TP NAT Traversal.

NAT Traversal could be a major concern for any L2TP implementation, because Microsoft wrote a very technical and rather intimidating knowledge base article called IPSec NAT-T is not recommended for Windows Server 2003 computers that are behind network address translators.  If you’ve seen that article, I want to assure you that the Microsoft recommendation is not relevant here.

A careful reading of the Microsoft recommendation against NAT-T will reveal that the underlying security problem with NAT-T is not a server problem but a client problem.  In other words, Microsoft recommends that Windows XP computers not attempt to use NAT-T to connect to privately-addressed servers.  The Windows 2003 server itself fully supports NAT-T out of the box and doesn’t even need to be configured to use it.  This is perfect for iPad users, because iPad also supports NAT-T out of the box, and this almost eliminates the address translation challenges of using L2TP.

Continue reading How to Secure iPad VPN with Windows L2TP

Galileo Offline Maps

Galileo Offline Maps logo screen shot
It’s free on iOS devices.

Galileo is my favorite GPS moving map for driving unfamiliar roads.  It’s installed on my iPad, which is much easier to carry and charge in the car than a laptop GPS system.

Here are a few pros and cons to this application, as well as a comparison to ForeFlight and Apple Maps.  Why these three choices?  Among the many mapping applications I’ve looked at and tried out, these are the only three  I still have on my iPad.


  • Quick start up.
  • Fast and smooth panning and zooming.
  • Intuitive map caching.
  • Try before you buy.  All except a few features work in the free version.
  • Uses the best maps, and you can edit them if they need changes.

Continue reading Galileo Offline Maps

Retina Gravatars

I’ve released a new HiDPI Gravatars plugin for WordPress.  This is a slick website add-on for the iPad/iPhone audience, and future high-resolution displays.  Download the plugin here.

In addition to my regular blogging homework, I am doing some coding behind the scenes to make sure my classmates will be able to easily read and respond to articles using mobile devices and the latest web browsers.  HiDPI support is one of the main new features of the upcoming WordPress 3.5.  When I found out the Gravatar feature won’t be upgraded in the next version, I decided to write my own solution.

I also updated my Simple Short Links plugin, so if you want to share this article with a friend, you can also send this shorter address,

White Templates for GoodNotes

Screen shot of the template import screen in GoodNotes.
Template Import

I’m playing with a note taking application for iPad called GoodNotes. It has a lot of potential to help replace notebooks for homework. It requires some customization because the default templates have a beige background. Beige is easier to look at on a bright computer screen, but it is impractical when printing. The built-in solution seems to be to export “notes only”. However, I have mixed feelings about printing handwritten notes from lined paper that has no lines.

Here are my customized templates, based on the built-in options, with the background color removed for better printing.

iPad-Size Templates

Portrait Landscape
PDFRuled (lined paper) PDFLandscape Ruled
PDFSquared (graph paper) PDFLandscape Squared
PDFMusic (staff paper) PDFLandscape Music
PDFBlank PDFLandscape Blank
PDFWide Ruled PDFManuscript Ruled
PDFDouble Ruled

Continue reading White Templates for GoodNotes