Category Archives: software

What the iPad needs is better keyboard shortcuts

Hi y’all!

It has been a while since I published anything here – I’ve been very busy with planet5D – tho I’m continuing to use my iPad daily! I’ve got a few updates to post and I’m determined to write more… so hopefully this won’t be such a quiet place.

I wrote this post a while ago (I think it was last fall on vacation) and never published it… however, we might be in luck – there was a mention in the iOS 5 presentation the other day about some kind of keyboard shortcuts. From a story on macrumors:

• Ability to create keyboard shortcuts (autotext) to replace custom phrases. The default entry is omw which is replaced with, On my way!

That’s exactly what Typinator does! Maybe we’re in luck!?

Here’s the original story I wrote:

Typinator is a program i have on my mac that i absolutely positively love and use hundreds if not thousands of times a day and i really miss it when working on the ipad. Typinator is a great utility that intercepts the keystrokes you type and compares them to it’s database to see if it should replace the text you typed with something else. For example, in a prior rant i may have mentioned how i think the ipad should replace ” i ” with ” I ” since everyone knows I should be capitalized. The ipad should know that too. In what other English speaking world does ” i ” not really mean ” I “?

Well, on my iMac, i don’t have to hit the shift key when i type i all by it’s lonesome self. That’s because Typinator does it for me! Typinator also does plenty of other things that i’m used to not typing myself any more (does that mean i’m lazy??? HA! Of course i am!) Like “i’m” becomes “I’m” and ipad becomes iPad and i don’t have to take the extra effort of hitting the shift key.

Now, where it really shines for me is in your own defined shortcuts. For example, i’ve asked Typinator to change ipad to iPad as a common thing to do… but it also let’s me do some amazing things that are much more involved. For example, i type “c5r” and Typinator puts in “Canon 5D Mark II (reviews)” and also embeds hyperlinks to my amazon affiliate and to the planet5D review site for the 5D2. It looks like this when I use the shortcut… “Canon EOS 5D Mark II (reviews)” — that’s obviously a lot to type and since my planet5D (another shortcut – ‘p5d’ = ‘planet5D’) blog is all about the Canon 5D, you can imagine I type it a lot! So typinator is saving me a lot of time.

Now, why can’t we do the same thing with the iPad? Apple? Are you listening? I should be able to go into a dictionary or application on the iPad that will let me create my own shortcuts. The iPhone/iPad software is already trying to interpret what I’ve typed to make spelling corrections/suggestions, why can’t it also do exactly what Typinator does?

I don’t believe anyone can write an application that will do this – Apple won’t let applications run full time in the foreground listening for keystrokes and it won’t work as a background application either. This has to be done by Apple!

Now THAT would make the iPad software stand out if you ask me.

planetMitch

Blogger’s disclaimer – I am not affiliated with Ergonis (maker of Typinator) nor do I get a commission from any sales (tho I would if I could LOL)

Apple issues update for iPad 3.2.1

With Apple working on fixes to the iPhone 4 for the antenna issue, many people also missed that Apple also pushed out iOS 3.2.1 for iPad WiFi and 3G iPad models which according to the release notes:

  • Improved Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Fixed an issue that could prevent copy and paste of single-page PDF attachments in Mail
  • Addressed an issue that could cause video playback to freeze
  • Improved reliability of video-out when using iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter
  • Added Bing as an option for Safari’s search field

While that’s good stuff, we’re really waiting for iOS 4 – which Apple says is due for the iPad in the fall. After having an iPhone 4 (and not having antenna issues – which are way overblown – but that’s a whole other story), and being able to use the folder function and the new email client… I can’t wait for this to hit the iPad!

pm

Testing a new version of the WordPress iPad app

Hurray! A new version of the iPad WordPress application is out. So, I thought I’d better give it a try and so I am writing this post with it.

My earlier issues with the program (read the post where I made those comments) are largely still here.

The local draft can be saved, but the option to move it up to the server is still somewhat hidden.

They’ve fixed the copy/paste issues which makes it a bit more livable.

Still, the only way to get images in the post is to have them inserted at the end and I guess you get to copy and move the HTML around to move the images. And, vie been using the caption option more often on the web version of the software and I can’t find a way to do that here.

And lastly, there’s still no visual editor and therefore you still have to type HTML for links etc manually.

So, overall, tho there are a few bugs fixed, the biggest issues for me still exist and therefor, thie only way to use WordPress on the iPad is still with safari.

This might work for some folks, but with as many things as I do with WordPress and posts with images, this just won’t work for me yet.

planetMitch

The WordPress app for the iPad

Ok, many of you may not have a need for a WordPress app unless you’re a blogger. But since I’m a blogger, I tried the WordPress for iPad application out and unfortunately I’m disappointed. I wanted to be able to use it exclusively away from this darn computer, but it isn’t quite there yet.

In my blogs, I use themes from woothemes and I didn’t really expect the WordPress app to be able to handle the special features of the themes, and I wasn’t upset when it didn’t. However, for me to really use the app, I would need to have more functionality in handling the images for the woopress themes. I’m using “Busy Bee” (from woothemes) for this blog and my planet5D blog and each post gets a special image – and there’s a field in the admin dashboard to upload that image – well, that whole functionality isn’t in the WordPress app (and again, I didn’t expect it to be there). So, for me, the only way to really use the iPad for blogging is to use the dashboard in Safari. But that requires an Internet connection.

I tried using the WP app to create a blog post offline – and it did indeed let me create a blog post and saved it ‘locally’ to my iPad. But guess what? I had a hard time figuring out how to move the post off of the iPad and to move it up to the Internet where my blog is hosted! After many minutes trying to find out how to move the local version up there – and it turns out that there is a hidden options there where the status of the post is displayed. Tap on it and you get the option to save it on the server. That wasn’t exactly intuitive.

And, even worse, they’ve implemented the ability to select text (because the only way I could think of to move my new blog post up to the net was to copy and paste it into safari) but once you select the text, there isn’t a ‘copy’ button to tap on! I had no way to take the text I’d typed and save it other than a local blog post. Maybe I missed something (which is entirely possible) but I was darn frustrated!

I was indeed pleased to learn that I could insert photos, but alas, the current version only inserts them at the end of the post! You can’t embed them inside the text.

And of course, the last nail in the coffin for me is really two things – one, you don’t have the ‘visual’ editor you have on the web dashboard (which fills in HTML stuff for you automatically – bold, heading font sizes etc) and then once you have the post typed up, there’s a preview mode, but alas, it reports “the theme for your blog could not be retrieved” and then just displays a simple text version of your post.

There are some good things and I do expect that they’ll improve the app soon (heck it is free after all!). It is great to have one application to handle the blogs I run away from the computer. They did include a good set of features for managing comments that come in (I moderate all the comments on all blogs – you just never know what garbage might come in!).

Hopefully, in the near future, we’ll get some updates to improve the functionality and this will become more viable, but for now, I’m having to pass on the WordPress app for iPad.

planetMitch

(Photo credit: snap from the WordPress site)

iPhone OS 4 announcement this Thursday April 8th

It appears good news is coming this week – tho we only have sketchy details at this point… macrumors just posted this “Gizmodo reports that Apple has sent out media invitations for a preview event scheduled for this Thursday, April 8th, to show off iPhone OS 4.0. The event is scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM Pacific Time in the Town Hall on Apple’s Cupertino, California campus.”

As we mentioned before, Apple will give iPad owners the first major update (which would be 4.x) free and beyond that, there should be a small cost.

There have been rumors of multitasking and possibly other features, so it will be good to get an early idea of what is in the update. I think the developers would really like to know what is in there as well… so early warning might be very good for them.

planetMitch

(Photo credit: snap from the Macrumors site – which is a snap of the Apple announcement)

iPad works with MoblieMe

Ars Technica pointed us to an article that Apple has released on how the MobileMe features work with the iPad. When the iPad was announced, there were questions about whether these functions would still work – tho I assumed that they would. I happen to be a MobileMe customer, tho at times, I think it could use some more features. I really like how it syncs up all my devices tho!

It seems like all of the MobileMe features are included in the iPad.

  • Email that’s in sync on all your devices.
  • Get contacts and calendars that keep up with you.
  • Take your bookmarks with you.
  • Lose your iPad? Find it with MobileMe.
  • Protect your privacy with Remote Wipe.

This is goodness for MobileMe customers!

planetMitch

(Photo credit: snap from the apple site)

Apps for iPad now appearing in the iTunes store

Not long ago, the iTunes store started selling iPad apps! Yep, it is true. You can start downloading apps even before your iPad arrives this Saturday. This really is a great idea so that I can be ready – thanks Apple! Now, I still have to figure out what my iPad’s name is going to be so I can name it in the sync.

And they’ve changed the terms and conditions yet again, so you have to agree to it again before you download – oh boy!


planetiPad store


I’m still not totally clear on how some applications will work – have to wait to see the iPad I guess. For example… I own a copy of the 1password app (and absolutely love it) for the iPhone… I assume it will work for the iPad but be pixelated if I run it full size. Yet I see an iPad version of 1password in the app store for $6.99. Do I have to buy that too if I want all the iPad screen size? I haven’t found any info on their site yet so I’m not sure. I just found a couple of posts on their blog so I’m reading up.

Of course, I’m buying the iWork apps and will pick a bunch of free ones to try them out.

if you want to use a cool tool, use the appshopper page for iPad.

This is so much fun!

planetMitch

(Photo credit: snap from the itunes app store)

Major iPad operating system upgrades may not be free

Macrumors posted an interesting tidbit that shows that Apple may charge for major releases of iPad OS software. But before you get all in a tizzy, remember that this is the way that they do upgrades for the software on the iPod touch (and it is only $10). The indications are that the first major release after the one you get when you buy your iPad will be free, but major releases after that will have a charge. For example, 3.1 will probably be on the iPad when it arrives this week, and when 4.0 comes out, that will be free, but version 5.0 (sometime in the future) would have a fee.

From macrumors: “The iPad licensing software provides the usual legal documentation for use of Apple’s software, Google Maps and YouTube videos, but also reveals one interesting aspect of Apple’s plans for iPad OS updates:

Apple will provide you any iPad OS software updates that it may release from time to time, up to and including the next major iPad OS software release following the version of iPad OS software that originally shipped from Apple on your iPad, for free. For example, if your iPad originally shipped with iPad 3.x software, Apple would provide you with any iPad OS software updates it might release up to and including the iPad 4.x software release. Such updates and releases may not necessarily include all of the new software features that Apple releases for newer iPad models.”

That sure won’t cause you not to buy the iPad, but it is good to be prepared for.

planetMitch

CEO of salesforce.com with a great article about the “Cloud 2” and the iPad

Marc Benioff (ceo of salesforce.com) has contributed a very intriguing article to TechCrunch about the future of computing and the iPad.

This is one of the most intriguing portions to me:

“Last week I gave presentations to more than 60 CIOs in various meetings throughout America’s heartland. My message to them: We are moving from Cloud 1 to Cloud 2, and the iPad is the accelerator. Many of them haven’t even made it to Cloud 1—some are still on mainframes. They are working on MVS/CICS, or Lotus Notes, and they have never heard of Cocoa, or even that there is now HTML 5. This is unacceptable. The next generation is here. The iPad that shows us what now is really possible—and that we all need to go faster. Unfortunately, some CIOs would rather retire than go faster.”

Many application developers have been talking about “Web 2.0” for the past 4-5 years – with rich Internet applications (RIA) and apps written in AJAX and Flash/Flex – but this new ‘touch’ user interface will extend that a great deal. I can’t wait!

While I hope he really doesn’t think the UI for Facebook is the way to go, he and I agree that the iPad will “inspire a new generation of wildly innovative new apps” and you must go read his article now!

planetMitch

(Photo credit: snap from the story)

Should the iPad include something like HyperCard?

One of the things that I’ve been wondering a lot lately is how in the world can I learn how to write an application for the iPad in a hurry because I have all these ideas in my head that need to come out. It is one thing to already know how to crank out iPad code, it is another to try to figure out how to use Apple’s development tools and to think about the daunting task of getting your application thru the approval process and then finally out to the user community. Apple’s two known solutions are to write an application with their tools or to simply create a website with HTML and the like (which doesn’t require approvals because you would get to it thru Safari on the iPad).

And today, I found this article proposing a tool like HyperCard needs to be included with the iPad. HyperCard was simple. I used it a lot back in the 80’s and early 90’s. I even taught a class for the local Mac user group for a while. Altho HyperCard was incredibly useful, there were still some I think who didn’t get it and it was killed by Apple (Steve). There was also a lot of stuff created that wasn’t very useful or very elegant. But that didn’t mean it was bad, but some may have perceived it as being so. The thing about HyperCard was that it allowed non-programmers to develop their own applications without having to know how to program. It even taught many the ideals of object oriented programming.

I doubt however that it is going to happen. I believe Apple wants the truly elegant solutions to come to the iPad and those should be written by folks who know user interface design and programming.

So, if you’re interested, please read Dale Dougherty’s article over on O’Reilly Radar. There are lots of interesting comments there as well!

planetMitch

(Photo credit: snap from the Wikipedia entry for HyperCard)