Tag Archives: keyboard

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.


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)

My iPad status

Ok, so now it has been about a month since the iPad hit my door (gee, it is actually longer than that isn’t it? My how time flies). And that means I need to really describe my usage of the iPad. I bought it to help be get away from the computer for longer periods of time (and my wife says “yea, get away from your computer with another computer – geek!”) – is it working?

Well, yes and no.

I am getting away from my iMac a bit, but because of some of the limitations of the iPad for writing blogs (see my comments on the WordPress iPad app post), and because of my love of typinator (a text replacement tool for the mac – more on that in a bit), I’m too addicted to the desktop and the keyboard for writing blog posts. It really still is more comfortable to work in front of the iMac full time.

I’m also currently still failing at time management – and tho I try to use Things for the iPad, I still just haven’t made the right workflow and stuck to it. I have stuff all over the place and way too many things to do. I’m better at organization (I think) but I have got to find a simple way to process all these things I have to do! (That will be a post all by itself)

Ok, overall, what are my iPad feelings?

I love it – but it isn’t done cooking yet. And Apple knows it and I can’t wait to see some of the improvements in 4.0.

I love the sexy feel of the iPad without a cover – (you’ll think I’m crazy or a perv about this one…) – at times, I take the iPad out of the Apple cover while I’m sitting watching TV or something and I’ll just caress it. It is like having one of those polished stones in your hand for fidgeting (and I’m a fidgeter — I constantly have something in my hands – you should see the little toys all around my desk that I pick up and toss around). But (and there’s always a ‘but’ right?), actually working with the iPad sitting in the TV chair requires something like the Apple cover because the iPad is too slick to hold comfortably. Especially if you like to sit with your knees elevated, you’ve got to have something less slick to hold the darn thing against your legs.

Another great use of the Apple iPad cover is that it fits perfectly over the dashboard (no not on my car – that would be silly!) of our elliptical exercise machine in the basement! And with the Netflix app, I can now watch TV episodes (there’s nothing like old “24” episodes to get your blood pumping while exercising! HA) or a movie while exercising. No need for a TV! And as an additional plus, the flap of the case folds over the back of the dashboard and holds the iPad firmly. I am worried that with headphones attached that I’ll yank it off the machine… so I firmly wrap the headphone cords around the handles on the machine.

Another great thing about the iPad is that I know I can travel and still know I have access to a large screen mobile device. As my experience showed me when I went to the NAB conference a few weeks ago, it isn’t perfect, but it is workable – and it will only get better. The biggest problem I had was the problems with the hotel internet and the WordPress learning curve. Now that I don’t have that day job any more – I sure don’t have to drag my windows laptop around. Tho, I can see that if/when I travel again, having a keyboard will be a must. I just type too fast with a keyboard as compared to the iPad virtual keyboard. The virtual keyboard can get me thru when needed, but I’m just too comfortable with a real keyboard. I’ve still got to think about the iPad camera connector – I may need it for long trips to offload images from my Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

I’m reading a bit more (tho sometimes that limited to reading in the smallest room in the house LOL). I have two books on the iPad and right now, I’m reading the “Four Hour Work Week” to try to learn how to free myself more. I also have a mystery novel that I’m working on. Tho I don’t drag myself away often enough to just read! It is all part of the learning how to blog full time that I’m trying to get used to.

Another thing that frustrates me – and so much so that I even wrote to Steve about it – is the lack of Flash. I know it is a lost battle and Apple will never put flash on the iPad/iPhone, but in my book, with all of the websites that still use flash to deliver content, it is unbearable that Apple/Steve are putting themselves in such a position. There are plusses and minuses to Flash, but not having it is a bigger detriment in my book than any bugs it could bring to the platform.

Ok, I’m going to focus on writing some individual posts on things like Typinator… I’ll be back in a bit (and no, it won’t be weeks this time – I’ve gotten so many of the ‘business’ things of becoming a full time blogger out of the way that I can actually write more!).


(Photo credit: “Blue in Black and White” by planetMitch (yes, I’m using my Canon EOS 5D Mark II to take stills too! HA))

Newsweek: Why the iPad Will Change Everything

This really is a must read article if you’re an iPad fan – and even if you aren’t maybe you will be – “Why the iPad Will Change Everything“.

And there are rumblings that lots of people agree – I’ve seen numbers as high as 1 million being sold in the first few weeks of pre-ordering. We don’t have any idea if the numbers really are that high, but you can bet this will be a blockbuster release – even higher than the iPhone. And the poll on the right hand sidebar seems to indicate that a lot of you are buying (but let’s not think it is anything scientific, after all, you’re probably reading this because you’re very interested in the iPad in the first place).

planetiPad store

Anyway, the article really has some great points like this:

“But the very simplicity of the iPad masks its transformational power. Some say the iPad heralds a new era of computing, and I’m inclined to believe them. The interface is so intuitive—navigating with your fingers rather than a keyboard and mouse—that it will change what we expect from our computers. ”

I tried to say similar things in my post “The rise of the tablet (is the iPad the beginning of a new era?) ” a few days ago, but Daniel Lyons says it much better!

I really can’t wait to see what the future holds for the iPad and I imagine Steve Jobs can’t either.


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The rise of the tablet (is the iPad the beginning of a new era?)

There’s been a LOT of discussion about what the future holds for computing. PCs have been around for the last 20+ years and tho there have been a lot of advances, the form factor hasn’t really changed much. There’s a keyboard and a mouse and a monitor/cpu box (I lump them together because I write this on an iMac).

I’ve been in “IT” (information technology) for well over 30 years and I cut my teeth on the big mainframes of the time. Heck, my first programming job was done in COBOL and we put the code into the computer on keypunch cards!

I won’t try to detail every change that’s happened between now and then, but most of us realize there haven’t been that many changes in the type of computing device since the PC came into play. Well, there have been several attempts at changing things with ‘netbooks’ and the ill fated Newton from Apple (which I still actually have 2 of… anyone want to buy them?). But I think you could see the winds of change coming when Apple released the iPhone. It (at least for me) became a great little tool to be able to connect with the outside world even while outside.

The iPhone started becoming such a useful tool. The maps, the applications, the email, the ability to surf the net while waiting for my daughter’s dance class to end. While the iPad won’t initially have a camera, the lightbulb went off in my head one day with at the doctor’s office with my mother. The doctor said we needed to go buy xxxx product at the drug store. In the past, I’d write it down and then go hunting… but this time, I simply took a photo with my iPhone and walked into Walgreen’s and held up the picture and asked where I could find it. Such a great little device – saved me so much time.

Redrock Micro

Heck, I’ve even read stories about how the iPhone is being used in so many different ways by the American military – including flying drones via remote control! And just today, here’s another story of the military asking Apple to help them with new stuff in the future with the iPad.

The app store has been such a great tool too – so easy for developers to distribute their applications. What a great setup for the iPad!

And now, we’re going to have this iPad and it will indeed change people’s lives. Granted, it won’t do everything, but it is so simple it will even revolutionize the ‘parent’ industry. My mother (who is in her 80s) constantly complains about her windows PC (yes, I tried to get her onto macs, but she wouldn’t budge from what my dad had). And oh how she complains about her cell phone. She’s been tempted several times to buy a phone that is “just a phone” – “I don’t need a camera or the Internet” etc she says.

Now… let’s talk about that… what is it that she’s asking for? Something simple and easy to use! Is her PC simple and easy? Nope. Even her phone is too complicated for what she needs.

So here’s where Apple is genius… making things simple! While many people complain about the iPad not doing ‘multitasking’, I was watching the video about Paul using his iPad to run his business for 30 days – and one thing he said hit home. The iPad will actually help him focus on one thing at a time (and boy do I have this problem too!). Today, on our multitasking iMacs etc., we are so easily distracted by the email alerts, the IMs, the Internet and everything else, won’t it be great to simply focus on one thing at a time?

Now, imagine some of the uses of this new focussed device. The medical profession can sure use something like the iPad with a set of software designed for them. We already mentioned the photographers using it as a portfolio. There are thousands of people out there just now exploring what the large screen of the iPad could do for their business or application.

One thing I will say that is missing (someone did ask my opinion right?), and Steve sure wouldn’t agree with me, is handwriting input. The big thing that could hold back the iPad is the virtual keyboard – and Apple knows it because otherwise it wouldn’t have released a physical keyboard as an option. The newton had some pretty good technology to convert handwriting to text and I would think that something similar could be done with the iPad. The finger isn’t the best writing device, but maybe it would work? Why not also try the voice to text option? I’m guessing tho that the voice processing takes a huge amount of processing power.

I’m not the only one who’s excited about the possibilities of the iPad. Just read a very interesting article over at Wired about the future of tablets (make sure you read the extra quotes). There are lots of great points over there. Granted it has yet to be shown that the iPad is going to come out a winner here, and Apple has indeed had some failures (the Newton – but I’d argue that Steve just didn’t give it a chance), but to me, the iPad has all the markings of a device that is going to rock the world.

And when Quicken comes to the iPad, my mother is getting one!


(Photo credit: snap from the image from the Wired story)