25.4.10

iPad Blogging: My Experiences




I've been blogging for a few years now, and I've been writing tech news and reviews for longer than that. The one thing I can honestly say I'm always on the lookout for is a way to streamline my workflow, especially when I'm on the go and I want to travel light.

I've owned an iPhone since the day it was released in 2007, and it's only gotten better over the years with really solid firmware and hardware updates. I can tweet and Facebook all day long on my iPhone, but I just can't get on board with full-bore blogging on it. That's where my trusty MacBook Pro has stepped in while doubling as my Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop/World of Warcraft workstation. The issue there, however, is the increase in weight and size of carried items if I was mobile.

Well, I've discovered a new way to feel less burdened on the go and still remain productive with my blogging and social networking infatuation: Apple's iPad.

It's no secret that I'm an Apple fan. We have four Macs, two iPhones and now an iPad in the house, and I'm working on schematics for an Apple-branded neural implant for each family member (don't tell them, it's a surprise). The one thing I've always loved my Apple products for is that they mesh with the creative gene very well. Now, it looks like I've finally managed to strike that perfect balance of capability, creativity and mobility with the iPad. Without further adieu, I give you my unabridged opinion of the iPad as a creative writing and blogging tool...

I began this assignment like most others, except that I had to figure out how to blog on a device I'd scarcely used before. I had downloaded the official Wordpress app onto my iPhone, but had decided that thumb-typing an entire post on a 3" screen would require far too much patience and possibly large amounts of alcohol to accomplish on a regular basis. Ok, so this iPad has a MUCH larger virtual keyboard than the iPhone, along with a very beautiful and crisp LCD screen...so let's use it!

As I fired up the Wordpress app on the iPad (there's an optimized version for the larger screen), I began penning a post. I quickly realized that I couldn't post pictures easily with Wordpress (it puts all pictures at the bottom of the post, and there are no formatting options), which is pretty much a deal-breaker. I went on the hunt for another iPad-optimized blogging app, and one of the candidates that kept cropping up was BlogPress. I paid the $2.99 asking price and downloaded it because photo-formatting was one of it's strong points in all the reviews I read. But since this isn't an app review proper, let's just skip ahead by saying that Wordpress needs some improvements (and caused the most frustration of anything blogging-related so far) but BlogPress setup and operation was quick, easy and painless, and photo placement and manipulation is straightforward.

So, how is it to play professional blogger on the iPad? Well, it's wonderful, interesting, frustrating and fun all at the same time. While it has a very spacious virtual keyboard (especially when the iPad is turned to landscape mode), I still have difficulty "assuming the typing position" and burning away at 66wpm like on a normal keyboard. I find that I'm still using just a couple fingers at a time instead of using a normal typing posture due to mis-taps from errant fingers or palms. I know this is something I'll overcome, but it's just a learning curve to be sure. I'm already getting better, but with no tactile feedback from a physical keyboard, it's a bit frustrating to not be able to just put a flurry of words down like normal. Again, I'm already getting better, and with words being corrected automatically as I go, it helps quite a bit.

So, how about the screen? Well, it is simply a joy to use. I still have good eyesight, so I find absolutely NO issue with the iPad's 9.7" screen, particularly in landscape mode (there is a lock-switch on the side of the iPad that allows you to lock the screen orientation to portrait or landscape while you're working). The screen is crisp, bright and can be brightened or darkened to fit most lighting conditions. The viewing angle allows me to see the screen while tilted in almost any direction except completely away from me, which is also a good feature since it will most likely be used in a lap or in non-traditionally-sitting postures.

The case design works well ergonomically, and the device is light enough to be held for long periods of time without causing fatigue. As well, it certainly won't be burdensome on your lap if you choose to lay it there while you type (which is how I've got it positioned while writing this). The aluminum back isn't too slick, so I don't feel like it's going to slip out of my hand while changing from seated to lying down, for example. Also, I'd say most adult hands would be able to thumb-type if you were lying supine and wanted to hold the device up with both arms, although typing speed might suffer.

How about battery life? Well, let's just say that's one area the iPad shines. I haven't tested it fully yet, but Apple's claim is that it will last 10 hours on a charge. So far, I've charged this unit once and have gotten a solid four hours of intensive use and I've still got 61% battery left, and that's over two full days. I'd say that I'm going to get some serious writing time in off of a single charge on this baby! That's huge as compared to most notebook computers.

I'm sure I'll have more to say in the coming weeks and months but preliminarily, I think I've got a great, efficient and highly mobile way to stay socially connected now.


22.4.10

Boobquake: Promiscuous Women the Cause for Tectonic Calamity?

I couldn't help but post about this. My wife recently found a blogger by the name of Jennifer McCreight who, amongst other cool and nerdy things, found out that scantily clad, promiscuous women are the cause of the world's earthquakes, according to Iranian Cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi (say THAT five times fast). Sedighi's quote goes something like this:
Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes.

Really? So, one of my favorite things on earth is one of the sole causes for devastating tectonic upheaval? Hmmm. This warrants some research.

13.4.10

MC Frontalot: Nerdcore for the Masses

I like music. I've never been shy about my musical tastes at any point either when I was in or out of a band. I can basically listen to anything under the sun, with the exception of country/western music. For some reason, that music just rubs me like broken glass in an open wound, but I digress. I would venture to guess that music is the number one unifying factor for humans on this planet. It has been so since the dawn of time beginning with crude percussion instruments and has continued through today with all of the crazy technology we currently have.

One thing that has always amazed me musically is for an artist to break the mold. Sure, there's the rock, hip-hop, alternative and classical genres (amongst many others), but what about when an artist creates a new sub-genre altogether? Such is the case with an artist self-named MC Frontalot and his brand of music, dubbed "nerdcore" hip-hop.

9.4.10

Like a Good Book? Might Want to Grab a nook™...

With all the media focus on Apple's iPad tablet computer over the past few days, I thought I'd give a shout out to an equally impressive piece of technology that was, no doubt, one of the inspirations for the design of the iPad. I'm talking about a Barnes & Noble nook™ eReader. I was recently able to spend some quality time with one, which is my way of saying I got to "paw" a new piece of tech equipment and take it for a spin. Let me tell you this: I liked what I saw.

The Barnes & Noble nook™ eReader is something you might not think about in your daily routine. What is it? Well, in the simplest of terms, it's a digital device that allows you to read books, newspapers and magazines without having the actual printed media in front of you. It has an "e-ink" display, which means that it is digital, but visually mimics the pages of printed material such as your favorite Harlequin Romance novel or newspaper. One thing that Barnes & Noble did differently with the nook™ as compared to other eReaders out there today, is that they included a full-color digital touchscreen display below the main reading display that acts as a virtual "bookshelf" so that you can flip through your library and choose what you're going to read, among other functions.