I haven't had a chance to blog as much recently due to a new job, new grandkids, graduations, birthdays – all the usual things and more that April and May tend to bring to my family. In the mean time, I've been in search of tools that can enhance my productivity, making it easier for me to cash in on a free moment here and there.
This is my first chance to use BlogPress on my iPad. It seems to be working quite well so far, but so did the WordPress app until I needed to post the entry. This one seems to have the same shortcomings that other blogging apps do, lack of formatting, a very basic set of HTML calls you can use. Note to BlogPress: the center tag shouldn't be used any more. It would be better to add formatting to the img tag. Really. You can add a photo, but don't try to add any formatting. And by the way, I am finishing this up in the WordPress dashboard.
Honestly, I understand that the apps probably aren't focused on replacing the dashboard, but I would pay for a product that does! Folks, listen up! I want to be able to log in easily, type and format a blog post. Add photos or video if I choose and I want to be able to format it. AND THEN, yes this is the real kicker, AND THEN, when I upload it to the blog, I want it to SAVE that formatting that I took the time and effort to apply. I am not just looking for a quickie way to jot down ideas, save them as drafts until I have a fullsize computer in front of me. No, I want to find ways for my iPad to REPLACE my computer. Let's work on that.
Should anyone out there come across a blogging app that does suit my needs, and I assume, the needs of countless others who do this, please let me know. I will be glad to try it out.
Now that the rant is over, there are good points about BlogPress that I need to point out. I do like the ability to add blogs from different sites and flavors (I do have a blog in Blogger, too) and the ability to also work in Twitter and Facebook with this app. They are definitely headed in the write direction, but it is a direction, not an end. Keep it up, BlogPress!
The BlogPress site can be found at http://blogpressapp.com/. Try it out, it seems quite stable and it does offer the spur of the moment ability to work on your writing. I'm just looking for a little more…
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
A funny thing happened on the way to the 'net. I started a consulting job that sort of sucked up all my time. So it's been a while since I regularly wrote a blog entry, surfed Facebook or even twittered a link! All my favorite things and all I could do was go to work (and commute an hour each way) and sleep. Such a dull life if it hadn't been for the type of work I've been doing.
Put a piece of software in front of me and I like to take it apart. I like to find out what it can do, what I can use it for, etc. Put a web app in front of me and it gets worse. I don't break things as well as some of my colleagues, but I can be pretty good at it. So much fun!
I've thought of a million things I'd like to be writing about and amazingly I've learned to write them down or record them as I go. One of them is my new toy. My baby, my iPad 2.
I love this thing. Having always been the kind of person who gets giddy over the feel of a notebook of paper, the iPad 2 appeals to this sensibility. Just the right size for a notebook. It isn't a coincidence that I collect writing apps. Several have become favorites, for reasons other than what I assume they were developed for. One is iJournal. Doesn't do much except create diary entries with automatic dating. But this is an easy way for me to quickly jot down what I am doing at 5 so that at 8 the next morning I can step back into it without trouble. Yes, I use OneNote too but that app is more for detail collecting and it can be difficult after awhile to find a specific bit of information you hastily added the night before. In iJournal, that note is always on top. Love it!
Unlike my iPhone, I don't need a magnifying glass to read on the iPad. The best part of this is not being constantly reminded of my fading eyesight and mortality. At 52, I really don't want to feel old and creaky yet. Let me handle that when I've added a couple of decades. I don't need it now.
There has been a lot of picking apart of tablets and netbooks and whether they are worth it and my unequivocal answer is "Yes!" Try living with a laptop bag thrown over your shoulder all the time and see how you feel about a computer (yes, I think they deserve that categorization) you can throw in your purse. And it's just big enough that I can find it in said purse. Try saying that about your smart phone!
I began taking a couple of instructional design classes several weeks ago (it's a blur, but I think it's been three weeks). This has kept me away from my blogging, but it has opened up new areas on the internet that I really hadn't taken the time to explore yet. One of these places has been social bookmarking.
The social bookmarking tool that the class has been using is Diigo at diigo.com. It has all the levels of use: free, which allows you 5 bookmarks a month; and a premium account ($40/yr or $5/mo) that is unlimited, allows you to upload screenshots, etc.; a basic paid account that allows you ad free content and 10 uploads per month ($20/yr) and an educator's free account that has the ability of setting up student accounts.
I decided to fall right into the premium account because I wanted to experience the entire site. After a frustrating first week on diigo, in which I questioned repeatedly and loudly my intelligence at acting so rashly, I am now beginning to see the beauty of this and other social bookmarking products.
First of all, my issues in the first week had little to do with the software itself and more to do with the assignment we had in class. We were to sign up for an account, easy enough, joing a specific group for this class, again, easy, and then post a link and add it to this group, the fun began here. Somewhere in the group settings, it was allowing us to join, allowing us to post, but not allowing our posts to be seen by anyone else. Had I not had a fellow student sitting in my office with me, this would have gone unnoticed, but he and I quickly realized we weren't seeing each other's content. My blood pressure rose quickly through the week as we attempted to find the answer to this but the Help section was no help. Then, after several pleading emails to the owner of the group and my instructor it began working on the last day of the assignment and although no one is saying, I assume it was a setting in the group. Sigh!
My own attempts at setting up groups has not met with this and with the convenience of an extension in all the major browsers and a reader on my iPhone, I am beginning to see this has a major convenience for accessing my course readings. I can link to the readings, make them private if I so choose, download them to my iPhone to read later and tag them in order to find them quickly when I need them. What more can a serial article reader ask for? I may have found my heaven.
Next entry is delicious.com. I have signed up for it and plan to use it enough to give you the head's up on it too. There is an FAQ on diigo that explains some of the difference and you can find it at http://www.diigo.com/transition-from-delicious-to-diigo-faq. Of course, this link is on diigo and could be considered biased towards diigo, but it seems to cover just the facts. Read it and think about the organization plan you are more comfortable with, because that appears to be the major difference.
If you read one thing today (besides this, of course), please try to read today's Copyblogger booklist. A lot of information passes through my email, twitter and facebook each day but the one thing I stop for is Copyblogger. If I get so busy that I miss that, then I always have the weekend summary that details the weekday blogs. This blog is always worth it. Do I sound like a fan? Oh yeah!
Does anyone else have a problem with keeping up with the billing? Am I the only person on the web who stresses out about this WAY too much? I doubt it, but I've got to learn to deal with it in a timely fashion and so do you!
Recently, I was in an online conversation about bookkeeping software and several applications seemed to set the trend. FreshBooks is a web app with accounts that start for free (www.freshbooks.com) and as your business grows and your needs expand, you can add to your account at reasonable prices. FreshBooks will feel familiar to anyone who has used a billing software before and offers a full range of accounting options in almost all of their packages. I've used this one for a couple of years and was satisfied with it but now I am test-driving another application call "Toggl."
Toggl is a much smaller application that focuses on timetracking. The seller for this is the desktop app that works with the online database. This desktop app has something called "Autopilot" in it that learns your projects and helps keep track of fragments of time, a serious killer of my ability to track my time.
Now the best part, Toggl just announced yesterday, that they now can integrate with Freshbooks, importing clients, projects and tasks and exporting time entries. It seems to me that between the two applications, none of us should have problems with our billing!
I found this on Roger Ebert’s blogsite and felt it could be helpful to my fellow bloggers. Warning: He uses a four letter word in there, as an example. The original is on bigthink.com at this link: http://bigthink.com/ideas/24586.
WordPress makes it very easy to choose a new template, but how do you customize it to fit your needs, add your information to it, add new calendars, etc.?
WordPress makes that easy, too! When you log into your WordPress dashboard, check out “Appearance” and “Plugins.” Under “Appearance” you can change the theme of your blog, choosing from many design templates. Add widgets with a simple click and drag. Network plugins are listed and can be activated easily. If you don’t see one you need, just contact me!
Need help with this? Again, contact me and I will help you get started!
The following link is a quickstart for understanding the template behind your blog. It is a quick tip sheet that explains a lot of the php code and what each of the pages in your template do! This was created by a user on the OneXtraPixel blog. Thanks to Paul Maloney!