Posts Tagged ‘iOS’

Writing on my iOS devices

The last couple of blog posts have been written on my iPhone. Before that (and this) was composed on my iPad.

Sure, adding links seems to be quite difficult. Alt/Mac+Tab is generally quite handy when it comes to sitting by my laptop.

The new workflow feels very much like writing on Facebook. I just write. Let the words flow. It doesn’t matter where I am, I take it all like it’s being a status update. And then when I hit publish, I come back to it later on my laptop (the reality is that I sync it with MarsEdit and edit on the desktop client) to add relevant links.

This kind of method probably works well when I’m not doing a technical blog post, but something that resembles a status update or a story.

I still have to work out how to automatically post the posts to Twitter, and if possible post to Facebook as a status update (I recall that we could sync Notes back in the day, but that feature was removed). I’m thinking either the body makes it, or the first 2 paragraphs or I make use of excerpts wisely.

It’s not that writing on a laptop is a bad idea. It’s just that when I’m on my laptop, I’m usually online and have other work to do: emails, terminal, etc. I’ve used my iOS devices mainly for consumption of content (WSJ, NYT, FT, New Yorker, The Economist, Instapaper, Kindle, NewsBlur) — but with a lot of dead time, it’s not a bad device to also be a device to create, to some extent.

The WordPress apps are pretty good. They don’t handle images well, i.e. They don’t resize them to be sensible for web. Plus I very much like my images to also be on Flickr (I can live without that though). But posting 3MB photos in the main body just seems silly.

I’m sure I can eventually improve this workflow by posting items as a draft first, so they don’t reach the public till the links are added. It’s all an experiment, but I’m already liking the new additional ways to push content to this site.

Some Apple upgrades that I’m not enjoying

10.8.5 has been largely a disaster in terms of usability.

The FaceTime camera basically doesn’t work with apps that aren’t Apple-released on my MacBook Air. This means Google Hangouts, Skype video, all don’t work. Grr.

iTunes (11.1) podcast library scans like crazy, and the performance is terribly slow. I can’t delete iTunes podcasts, because everytime it tries to connect to the Internet and show me what else is there. Guess what? It seems that when I’m offline, iTunes just works. Annoying because I can’t listen to podcasts with ease now.

I updated my iPhone 4 to iOS7. It seems to just work, its slow as always, but I’m noticing apps crash, the camera can cause the phone to reboot. My father updated it automatically (without a backup) because he just said “yes”. It kind of bricked his phone when he couldn’t remember his iCloud password. Rather annoying. 

I think its great that updates can happen “over-the-air” since some iOS releases ago. But I should also be able to disable this, because I don’t want to remotely debug an issue. Try telling a businessman he can’t use his phone for half an hour?

What is kinda cool? FaceTime audio. This has huge potential.

In other news, I broke the up arrow key on my MacBook Air. This machine is about 6 months old. Replaced at the Apple Store, the Genius sorted it out within a minute. I’ve been using Mac laptops since about 2002 and this is the first time a key has broken. Designed in California, Made in China.

Didn’t take long for iOS6-only apps

It didn’t take long for my prediction on 24 September to come true on 11 October. My suspiscion was also correct, it would be led by Marco Arment, but it had nothing to do with Instapaper, it was the launch of a new product titled The Magazine.

The reason to make it iOS 6 only?

It uses some iOS 6-only features and fonts, and it’s architected for iOS 6’s gesture handling. Setting this high baseline also greatly simplifies testing, maintenance, and future updates.

Wow. Fonts & gestures. Amazing.

Greed or tradeoff from Apple? 

my pre-upgrade iOS6 thoughts

My Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus streams are just filled with people complaining about iOS 6. The luddite that I am, I haven’t upgraded my phone nor my tablet. One thing I’ve learned about relying on my devices? Never ever do an upgrade until the kinks get fixed.

Most common complaint? Maps. Google Maps is gone and now there is a new, inaccurate maps app. A blog tracking it has been setup too. I presume that this is better in the long run — you’ll get better crowd sourced maps. Question is, will it go back directly to the source? I have no idea.

The YouTube app is now missing. This is easily fixed by downloading it.

What annoys me about iOS 6? The fact that it won’t run on my first generation iPad. I bought mine the first week of April in 2010 (2 years 5 months). This is just a little over two years old. The iPhone 3GS has been around since mid June 2009 (3 years 3 months and continuing). It receives the iOS 6 upgrade.

This isn’t a problem yet but when I can’t get apps on my iPad, I will start to get thoroughly annoyed. I know uber-iOS developers like Marco might drop newer Instapaper support in future releases, which will annoy me.

I after all have a 64GB iPad which I use to consume content mostly: read the NYTimes, Instapaper, Kindle, browse the web in Safari, watch videos in VLC, watch video podcasts. That’s pretty much all I really care about. There are games like Scrabble which I play with my family, and Plants vs Zombies which I finished a long time ago, but this isn’t its core usage. Oh, and the iPad “just works fine”.

I’ll eventually update my iPhone 4 (because I don’t plan to buy the amazing iPhone 5). I know a friend mentioned that there was no Siri on the iPhone 4. I don’t think Siri is a killer feature unless you’re living in the USA (with all its tie-ins to data sources).

Changing connectors? Application inconsistencies? In retaliation, I did pick up a Google Nexus 7 (its half the price of me upgrading to the new iPad 3 64GB size; and is cheaper than the 16GB iPad3 by RM500). Its 16GB size is too small for me to load up with movies, it comes with no casing, and the 7″ screen size might be too small to watch TV on, but we’ll see.

iOS Cards

I travel a lot and one of the things I do when I visit a city is find a postcard, grab a stamp, and get writing to send Sara a postcard from abroad. All this does take time, effort, sometimes the card doesn’t arrive, etc. I’ve been wondering when I could just take a photo on my iPhone and have that mailed to her instead.

On my iPhone there is a folder called Postcards with apps like: Popcarte, Holiday Card, SnapShot Postcard, postcard by (this is a Conde Nast app), postagram. Some of these send physical cards for a buck or so, and some just send them via email. I’ve spent some time studying if this idea is viable and I’ve always thought that local printing makes sense. Stamps might be important too…

Apple just killed them all with Cards. Printed on cotton paper, and will cost USD$2.99 within the USA and USD$4.99 for the rest of the world. All billed to your AppStore/iTunes account. So no mucking with creating a new account, getting your credit card, etc.

The idea is brilliant. The camera in the iPhone is awesome. I take more photos with it now than any other camera. And the phone is always with me.

So there, Apple’s new iOS 5 killed a bunch of apps (cue… RIP October 12 2011). And I’m glad I didn’t hack on this idea. Guess the local stamps go the way of the dodo, and I might embrace spending five bucks the next time I’m somewhere. Now to guarantee the cards actually arrive…

MoSync 2.4 pre-beta available with some juicy new features

I was rather thrilled this past week to note that the team at MoSync have released 2.4-pre-beta, with support for not only Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7, but also Apple Mac OS X 10.6. Goodbye Windows virtual machine, and hello native Mac app.

Check out the release notes, and you’ll also see some very interesting tid-bits. The largest request that I seem to hear from users is that they would like to target the iOS platforms. Apple iOS devices seem ubiquitous these days, and MoSync is now filling the gap. The highlights:

There’s also improved documentation, with example applications. Check out btServer (makes use of the Bluetooth features) and MapDemo (good example with various map sources).

While there are no binaries for Linux users, there is a guide on how to build MoSync using Ubuntu. I’ve not tried it recently, and the guide is a bit dated, but I expect it to work without too many issues.