Photostream

12 06 2014

Photo Stream is Apple’s cloud-based photo sharing service that allows easy sharing of photos between devices regardless of their operating system. The photos can be viewed on the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch an Apple TV as well as on Macs and Windows-based PCs.

The feature was added to iOS 5 received some new features in iOS 6 and a few minor tweaks in iOS 7.

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You can turn on Photo Stream for any of these supported devices, and your latest photos will automatically be shared between any devices on your Apple account that have Photo Stream turned on.

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This means you don’t have to actively download photos on your iPad that you took with your iPhone, if both devices have Photo Stream turned on, the photos will be privately shared automatically.

Shared Photo Stream …

Apple’s Shared Photo Stream was introduced in iOS 6.0. While the default Photo Stream works for any device on the same Apple ID, Shared Photo Streams allows you to share a specific set of photos. You create a Shared Stream, give it a name, collect photos you want to share and then post it as a Shared Stream to family, friends or colleagues. You can even have multiple Shared Photo Streams with different recipients.

Photos taken with the device are not automatically shared. So there is no worry that the photo you take will automatically goes out to everyone. In order to share a photo with your Shared Photo Stream, you have to select the photo in the Photos app and specifically share it. You can also access Shared Photo Streams between your own devices, including Apple TV. And while the name implies ‘Shared’, you don’t have to share the photo stream with any of your friends. You can use it as a private stream between your devices.

Understanding Photo Stream …

On iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) every photo you take (screen shots too) will be added to your Photo Stream and automatically uploaded to iCloud.

Note
Photos will only upload when the device is connected to Wi-Fi and only the photos taken after Photo Stream is turned on will upload to iCloud. Once those photos are uploaded they are viewable in My Photo Stream album on your iOS device. ‘My Photo Stream’ album is located inside the Photos app, under albums, on devices that are connected through iCloud. This only works if Photo Stream is enabled on each device and all devices use the same iCloud account, that means the same Apple ID. Once you have each device logged into the same iCloud account you can setup Photo Stream.

If you want to use Photo Stream it’s worth knowing what it’s not. It is not an online photo container (like Google Drive) that just syncs photos between all of your devices. This might be the source of misunderstanding and complaints of iOS users.

Think of it like this …

Photo Stream is a constant flow of images (a stream) that acts as a conduit to route photos to your other devices. It’s like water. At anytime you can grab a bucket, dip it in, fill it up and haul it to a different location (the camera roll, a friend, etc). Otherwise you have no control over the water; just how much you take and where you forward or save it.

If you take a photo with an iPhone without connection to a WLAN (which is almost often the case when making a walk) the photo is saved in the Camera Roll of your device. Coming home, your device connects to your WLAN and the upload of photos to Photo Stream starts. Now you can view them e.g. on an iPad.

Photo Stream is totally automatic, but if you have a Mac, you can choose to turn off automatic uploading when you set up Photo Stream in iPhoto or Aperture. This can be useful if you regularly import very large numbers of photos.

iCloud stores your new photos for 30 days so your devices have plenty of time to connect and download the photos. Your iOS devices keep a rolling collection of your last 1000 photos, and you can save your favorite shots to your Camera Roll or any other album to keep them on your device permanently. Because your computers have more storage, they can keep all your Photo Stream photos.

Manual transfer …

If you deleted photos in your Photo Stream they will be deleted on all of your devices which is a consequence of the automatic syncing feature.

In some cases it’s necessary to re-transfer photos deleted from the Photo Stream to your other devices. This can be done

  • by using a cloud storage like Box or Dropbox
    Open the cloud provider’s client application, choose photos from Camera Roll and upload them to the cloud storage. On your other device then download them to its Camera Roll.
  • by using an app
    like PhotoSync (by touchbyte) instaShare (by Lukas Foldyna) or Safety P+V (by 83 Technology) which allows direct transfer between two devices using a common WLAN or a Bluetooth connection.
  • by using Airdrop
    which lets you quickly and easily share photos, videos, contacts — and anything else from any app with a Share button. Just tap Share, then select the person you want to share with. AirDrop does the rest using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. No setup required.
    Unfortunately AirDrop is not available for previously supplied iPhone 4S, 4, etc. and iPad 3rd Generation, iPad 2, etc. So there still will be a need for other ways.

But there is also a simple solution which lets you transfer photos without using a cloud storage, an app, or Airdrop even if the devices you want to transfer to are not in the same WiFi network and cannot be connected via Bluetooth. What you need is a connection to the internet (cellular or WiFi). It’s a kind of transfer to remote devices with the help of Shared Photo Stream.

Here are the steps …

Creating a stream

In the example I called this stream (photo) EXCHANGE.

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The new stream is immediately created on all of your devices even if the device is not connected to a WiFi network but to a cell net. Even if there is no internet connection yhe stream is created but only on your device and it’s created on all other devices if your device reconnects to the internet. Try it out by creating a stream in Airplane Mode.

If you didn’t enter any recipients of this new stream you will see the subtitle ‘Shared by you’ which indicates that shared photos are only available on devices using your Apple ID.

Streaming photos

If you now want to stream photos, select them, tap on iCloud, and select the stream you want to assign them to. Tap on Done.

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Depending on the transmission rate of your cellular connection it takes just some seconds and the photo is already available on your other devices which might be thousands of miles away. A family member (or all optionally entered recipients) can view the shared photos.

Deleting streams …

If you delete selected photos or Shared Photo Streams they are immediately deleted from all your devices and people you shared photos with cannot access them any longer.

That’s what you should keep in mind when removing photos from the Photo Stream. If you didn’t save them in the camera roll or any other local storage you will lose them forever.

Limitations …

iCloud limits the number of photos that can be uploaded to My Photo Stream or shared photo streams within a given hour, day, or month to prevent unintended or excessive use. Learn more in My Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Sharing.

Photo Stream upload limits

The My Photo Stream limits below are established based on anticipated upload patterns. Currently, My Photo Stream upload limits are as follows:

  • 1,000 photo uploads per hour
  • 10,000 photo uploads per day
  • 25,000 photo uploads per month

If you exceed one of these limits, your uploads to My Photo Stream will be paused temporarily and you may see a notification message on your device. Your uploads will resume automatically after you no longer exceed one of the limits, such as in the following hour or on the following day.

iCloud Photo Sharing limits

The current iCloud Photo Sharing hourly and daily limits are as follows:

  • Maximum combined number of photos and videos from all contributors per shared stream, per hour: 1000
  • Maximum combined number of photos and videos from all contributors per shared stream, per day: 10,000

These sharing limits are separate from the upload limits above. For example, in the same day you could upload 10,000 photos to My Photo Stream and then share those 10,000 photos or 10,000 other photos.

Additional Limits

  • Maximum shared streams an owner can share: 100
  • Maximum shared streams a user can subscribe to: 100
  • Maximum subscribers per shared stream: 100
    (the number of subscribers on each shared stream)
  • Maximum combined number of photos and videos from all contributors per shared stream: 5000
  • Maximum number of comments per photo or video in a shared stream: 200
    (a comment can be either a Like or a text entry)
  • Maximum characters per comment: 200
  • Maximum number of invites a shared stream owner may send per day: 200

Some further information …

Storage

Photos uploaded to My Photo Stream or shared photo streams are not counted against your iCloud Storage. The photos that you upload to My Photo Stream are stored in iCloud for 30 days to give your devices plenty of time to connect to iCloud and download them. Find out how to save photos from My Photo Stream or a shared photo stream to your Camera Roll or computer.
The following image file types are supported for Photo Stream: JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and RAW.
The following video file types and file formats are supported for iCloud Photo Sharing: MP4 and QuickTime file types, and H.264 and MPEG-4 Video file formats. Videos can be up to 5 minutes in length.
When importing photos to an iPad using the Camera Connection Kit, photos are saved directly to Camera Roll. If Photo Stream is enabled and you are connected to a wireless network, you could potentially reach any of the limits listed above. To avoid this, disable Photo Stream when importing photos to iPad when using the Camera Connection Kit.
When importing large numbers of photos to either iPhoto or Aperture, you could potentially reach any of the limits listed above if you have selected Automatic Upload in the Photo Stream preferences. Both iPhoto and Aperture will pause uploading to Photo Stream when the maximum has been reached. Uploading will automatically restart at the next hour, day, or month, depending on which limit was reached.

Quality

On a Mac or PC, your photos are downloaded and stored in full resolution. On iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV, your Photo Stream photos are delivered in a device-optimized resolution that speeds downloads and saves storage space. Dimensions will vary, but an optimized version of a photo taken by a standard point-and-shoot camera will have a 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution when pushed to your devices. Panoramic photos can be up to 5400 pixels wide.

Turning off Photo Stream

If you sign out of iCloud or turn off My Photo Stream on an iOS device, all the images in My Photo Stream are removed from that device. The images in My Photo Stream on your other devices are not affected. Images added to My Photo Stream are saved on the iCloud server for 30 days from the date you added them to My Photo Stream. If you sign in to iCloud with the same Apple ID and turn on My Photo Stream on another device, those photos will automatically download to this device. Before turning off My Photo Stream, it’s a good idea to save any photos that you’d like to keep to your Camera Roll. To do so go to My Photo Stream, tap on Select, tap on the photos you want to save, tap on the sharing control (bottom left), and tap on Save to Camera Roll.

Backup

Shared photo stream content is not automatically backed up. Photos and videos must be saved locally before backing up your device. Any comments or Likes attached to a shared stream photo or video are not be saved with the photos or video.

Source Apple Support (modified)

No normal user will exceed these limits. The good news is that photos uploaded to My Photo Stream or shared photo streams are not counted against your iCloud Storage. But what you should know is that your iCloud backups include images saved in your camera roll. So don’t forget to organize the storage by periodically transferring photos from the camera roll to an appropriate storage e.g. your computer or to other cloud storages like Box, Dropbox, iDriveSync, OneDrive, or Google Drive.

About people …

If you open a Shared Photo Steam you will find the control ‘People’ with the following options:

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With ‘Public website’ you get a link for sharing an album on social networks.

Summary …

Using Shared Photo Stream is a simple way to transfer photos by just using Apple’s built-in apps. It just works.

Related links …

Photo Syncing

iOS Device Backup

iCloud Troubleshooting

Thanks for visiting iNotes4You.





iOS 8 Beta

9 06 2014

When introducing iCloud services on June 6, 2011, the roadmap for Apple’s vision about device connectivity was already quite clear.

  • Seamlessly connect all devices.
  • Use standardized data structures to support syncing between computers and mobile devices.
  • Assimilate the UIs of computers and mobile devices to seamlessly work on either of them.

Connectivity only makes sense if people use more than one device.

This is the case in businesses, families, and it’s also valid for many single users purchasing both kinds of mobile devices, smartphones and tablets.

iCloud is the global hub of Apple’s powerful services.

If you remove all iCloud related features Apple devices are demoted to phones and data processing machines for which the old-fashioned tasks of syncing, transferring files, and backing up have to be done manually.

The WWDC 2014 …

With the WWDC 2014 (June 2, San Francisco, Moscone Center) further essential steps to a unique user experience were made and Apple set the milestones for the future usage of their electronic devices.

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The device you use doesn’t matter, it’s just the task which matters.

WWDC 2014 is the 25th event which began in 1990 with 1,300 developers. Tim Cook presented some stats showing us that there are over 9 million registered Apple developers in 2014 – that’s up 47 percent since 2013 – and the youngest developer at WWDC was just 13 years old.

Apple’s developer conference again unveiled the power of the company in offering vertically integrated and seamless to use devices and services as well as a perfect infrastructure for partners, the developers.

iOS is one of the two most dominant platforms for mobile devices with Android in the pole position if you just look on market shares.

Regarding a product line-up which includes computers AND mobiles it can be said that

iOS and OSX together are the leading software technologies for processor-based devices regardless of any stats.

Apple’s sophisticated ecosystem including all the powerful apps will be massively improved by the new features announced for iOS 8. This all can be called a disruptive concept for using processor-based technology and device connectivity via cloud services.

Seoul, start your photocopiers

But copying won’t help because there never was a vision running like a golden thread through all the activities and technological developments of Apple’s competitors. Neither Google nor Samsung can compete with Apple because most of their services are based on stand-alone developments which require deep-sea diving into countless help articles to successfully administrate them all.

As an Apple user just go to Settings and turn on iCloud.
That’s it.

Fandroids again may argue: It’s all copied.

Let me tell you the truth about just one example which could be brought forward from people just looking on the screen layout:

Desktop widgets (commonly just called widgets) are interactive virtual tools that provide single-purpose services such as showing the user the latest news, the current weather, the time, a calendar, a dictionary, a map program, a calculator, desktop notes, photo viewers, or even a language translator, among other things.

Everybody should know that these tools were already introduced decades ago on Apple’s Macintosh computers, are available in the notification center of iOS 7 and iOS 8 now provides APIs for third-party widgets.

iOS 8 features …

I summarized what Apple published on its websites shortly after the event in San Francisco.

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Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts for iOS (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited. The DOCX file format is suggested for those who don’t use a mind mapping tool. The file contains the image as well as a detailed outline of all topics.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
Apple iWork/Microsoft Office DOCX
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

See this magnified part of map and a preview of what you get when you download the DOCX file format.

Note

If you don’t use a mind mapping tool it’s recommended to download the DOCx file format which immediately can be opened with Apple’s Pages. The document contains the map as an image, textual information, and referred hyperlinks. Just tap on a link from within Pages to open the article.

iCloud …

iCloud already got a significant improvement in October 2013 when Apple introduced iWork for iCloud.

The new iCloud Drive will be a unified file system bridging iOS and OSX.

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At the time Apple gives you 5GB free storage and this will not be changed. It’s for storing documents, photos, device backups, and application data. 5 GB is a little on the paltry side if you extensively use iCloud e.g. on an iPhone and an iPad. I use an iPhone (23.8 GB used) and an iPad (30.9 GB used) and had to update my storage plan with additional 10 GB to save device backups on iCloud.
Cormorant space eaters on my devices are photos (2.5 GB), Keynote presentations (2.3 GB; mainly collages for my blog), mind maps (1.5 GB), and PDFs stored in iBooks (2.8 GB).

How much will it cost if more storage is needed?

For just $1 a month, you’ll get additional 20GB and for $4 per month you’ll get 200GB. As a point of comparison, that $48 a year is just slightly more than the $40 a year you currently pay for 20GB. Apple says it will have tiers all the way up to 1TB of storage.

iCloud’s new pricing plans compete with …

Provider GB $/year
Dropbox 2 free
100 100
200 200
OneDrive 7 free
100 50
200 100
Google Drive 15 free
100 24
1000 120
iDriveSync 5 free
150 49.50
500 149.50
Box 10 free
100 60
unlimited 180

And here is the ranking …

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What should be mentioned is that costs are just one criterion. Please note that iDriveSync is the only provider offering client-side encryption during transit (sending and receiving data) and at rest (saved data on servers of the provider).

Swift for yield hedging …

iOS is still the preferred platform for developers offering mobile apps. Apple’s App Store is a heavy weight champion when it comes to quality and quantity of apps for mobile devices.

To keep the quality and acquire even more creative young developers Apple is apparently offering a much faster and more effective means of building software applications with an “interactive playground,” significantly improving on its own Objective-C.
The new programming language Swift will use the same LLVM (Low Level Virtual Machine) compiler and runtime as Apple’s Objective-C implementation, and its simplified syntax gives it an easier learning curve. The reason behind introducing Swift was to make it easier for developers to create apps for Apple’s mobile platform. Apple Developers write codes line after line and then compile those results to see output, but using Swift language they can see results in real time instantly while writing their codes.

My suggestion for the developers of the official Google+ app:

Try out Swift.
Maybe it helps to bring some stability into an app crashing daily since months.

Some tidbits …

  • Per App Battery Usage
    Another feature that has been part of Android since its inception and extremely useful at that, will finally make its way to iOS 8. Apple did not mention this during their keynote but it will be part of the iOS when it is released. Users will be able to see which app is draining the battery and take relevant action.
  • AirPlay
    won’t need Wi-Fi in iOS 8, it can use a form of peer-to-peer networking. This means an Apple TV should be able to connect to your iPhone even when both devices aren’t on the same wireless network.

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  • AirDrop
    will now work between iOS devices and Macs, meaning you can exchange files on an ad hoc basis between the two, without the need for an Internet connection or even being on the same local network. Need to get a photo to your Mac from your iPhone or want to send a PDF from your Mac to your iPad? Just fire up AirDrop.

Apple’s move …

Let’s dispense with the preliminaries. The WWDC 2014 confirmed a move in Apple’s strategy of controlling what’s going on if a device is in use.

I found this excellent article published by the well-known Apple evangelist Jonny Evans on Computerworld.com.

It’s not about ‘Made in Cupertino’ any more:
the new Apple is all about PARTNERSHIP.

… here’s a few ways in which today’s Apple conceded it doesn’t want to control every aspect of your experience – it just wants to ensure it secures the environment to make sure it’s platforms are platforms you can use:

  • CarPlay
  • Third party app support in iCloud Drive
  • Massively improved integration between iOS and OS X
  • Support for third party Widgets for Notification Center
  • Support for non-Apple apps in iCloud
  • DuckDuckGo support in Safari (OK, that just accentuates how much more secure Apple is than its troublesome mobile foe)
  • Third-party keyboard support
  • Health app, which works with third party devices
  • Support for third party devices for the smart home (HomeKit)
  • added by me
    API to access functionalities of Touch ID ( Apple’s implementation of a fingerprint scanner)

All of these moves are explicit moves that mean Apple is answering critics who call it “too controlling” by permitting users a hitherto unprecedented environment in which they can work with the devices they choose. It’s also a shot in the arm for developers, who can now work to develop their own solutions and have these underpinned by the secure power of Apple’s ecosystem.

Note
Jonny Evans is an independent journalist/blogger who first got online in 1993 and began writing about Apple in 1999. He’s author of Computerworld’s AppleHolic blog and writes on numerous tech topics here in the US and UK. Jonny has no shares in any technology company, enjoys new and disruptive technology and likes music almost as much as he likes his large and shiny dog.

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Stay tuned and join Jonny’s Appleholics Kool Aid Corner on Google+.

Summary …

Since WWDC 2014 Apple is turning over a new leaf when it comes to developer relationships. MacWorld’s headline ‘A love letter from Apple to developers’ hits the nail right on the head. It’s seems to be a win-win-win situation for Apple, developers, and customers. The WWDC 2014, iOS 8, and OSX were the biggest steps forward since the opening of the App Store on July 10, 2008. The gap to competing platforms – operating systems and stores – approximates to the depth of the Mariana Trench.

Related links …

iCloud, a paradigm shift

Apple’s Ecosystem

App Development + Marketing

WWDC 2014 Apple puts its fighting boots on

About my preferred mind mapping tool …

iThoughts, …

Thanks for visiting iNotes4You.





Fanboyism

6 06 2014

This is about very special people conspicuously often found in the tech scene, fanboys. Whether it’s Apple, Google, or Samsung, these companies can trust in crowds of people following them regardless what happens. They are like advocates defending their beloved company whatever all other competitors might do.

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They are waiting in front of an Apple Store up to 24 hours before it opens and starts selling a new product which already was rumored 11 months before. Excitement is still as emotional as last year and the many years before last year.

The cult …

Apple enjoys a cult-like following for its platforms, especially following the massive increase in popularity for the brand brought about by the huge increase in sales for all its products that started around the time the company introduced the original iPod in late 2001.
The mass usage of computing devices in everyday life, mixed with Apple’s vertical integration of its products, has helped to bring about this increase in popularity, and combined with a tight-lipped corporate policy about future products, helped foster an interest in the company’s activities.

Hardcore fanboys …

FANBOYS are much more than a mnemonic acronym to remember the coordinators For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, and So. I’m talking about very special people most often with a limited view on reality and a focus on imagination.

Admittedly there are many fanboys behaving like normal open-minded people just admiring technological leading-edge products which fit their requirements with a dash of wine. They don’t purchase a product for just playing with it but improving their creativity, knowledge, and doing all the tasks they have to do where a device can make it easier than a pen and a sheet of paper.

Real hardcore fans can be identified by comments like this

Lol brainless samsungfags, if you hate iPhone so much, why do you care to watch it? Lol the android community is so damn annoying. Shut up about the shit4 or note 3, stop hatin on Apple!

or the following list of characteristics (or should I say ‘mental throwbacks’?):

  • They just like images.
    Reading articles is not their bag. The thing-in-itself is represented just by shape and color.
  • Their comments on social networks are quite short-worded, frequently reduced to a single emoji. The more precise authors repeat one emoji up to ten times and creative people use emojis in an alternating order, randomly or following a law of nature which states that the entropy never decreases.
  • Their heartbeat is near to frequency of the processors of their devices.
  • While sleeping and dreaming the device always takes up an outstanding room.
  • They set their priorities:
    1 news about a successor, 2 getting the money for it, 2 buying accessories for their actual device, 3 their actual device, and light years later other fanboys, friends and the family. This ranking is completely updated with the mother or father in the pole position if she/he pays for the new device.
  • They change their device’s wallpaper at least 5 times a day to keep up the imagination of loving something new.
  • Youtube, games, and some messaging apps connected to social networks are the most frequently used applications.
  • They patched their brain with a powerful filter mechanism which allows to ignore arguments of normal people using a device of a competitor.
  • An unexpected and surprised turnaround to a competing company can be done easily by replacing emojis in forum comments just by the same emojis. That’s not a big deal but yet near the border of skills.
  • They talk about their beloved company as if it’s a political candidate running for control of the universe.
  • An unboxing video is always a case for an academy award, the Oscar, nothing less.

Admiring leaders is easy because you just have to click on +1, the striking example of expressiveness. There seems to be no time to create a significant sentence when hastily switching between Google+ , the actual game, Twitter, an incoming mail, and a call with a friend. I always ask myself what the +1 stands for. Is it a severe emotional attack lasting 2 secs? This would be in the line with the life of a fanboy which is much more stressful than a that of a leader who has to declare insolvent in front of hundreds of journalists.

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To avoid criminal attacks on me I stop outlining more of these character traits although the enumeration could be continued up to a length of about 20 websites in portrait mode of an iPad which is approximately 158″.

The delusion …

The Internet changed the way people argue. People with a spirit of mischief might ask: Argument? Let’s have a look at Wikipedia to figure out what this term means.

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Once somebody has acquired this level of arcane knowledge, there is absolutely nothing to do but share it with other fanboys. Check any comment system in social networks or forums and you will find fanboys debating why their chosen product is better than that of others.

Competition is transferred from the companies to the customers.

Customer competition is about defending an emotional decision.

Usually, these arguments are between men, because men will defend their ego no matter how slight the insult is. These are also usually about geeky things that cost lots of money, because these battles take place on the Internet where tech-savvy people get rowdy, and the more expensive a purchase, the greater the loyalty to it.

Almost a quarter of younger people even use their phones while having sex. So it shouldn’t be too surprising that some of them develop an abnormal fixation with devices that goes beyond being extremely grateful for the YouTube application.

A phone might not seem to be something worth fighting over, but what it stands for most definitely is.

A fanboy immediately turns into a hostage.
Hostages have no choice but to buy certain products.

They are far less likely to care if one device is better than another. It’s the choosing one thing over another which leads to narratives about why you did it. If you have to rationalize why you bought a luxury item, you will probably find ways to see how it fits in with your self-image.

To combat postdecisional dissonance, the feeling you have committed to one option when the other option may have been better, you make yourself feel justified in what you selected to lower the anxiety brought on by questioning yourself.

All of this forms a giant neurological cluster of associations, emotions, details of self-image and biases around the things you own. This is why all over the Internet there are people in word fights over video games and sports teams, cell phones and TV shows. The Internet provides a fertile breeding ground for this sort of behavior to flourish.

Summarized …

The imagination …
You prefer the things you own over the things you don’t because you made rational choices when you bought them.

The reality …
You prefer the things you own because you rationalize your past choices to protect your sense of self.

Google+ …

Google+ is intended to be a content network. You as a community member can do a lot to keep fanboyism on a low level. Just write appropriate comments.

Google implemented a comment section which, in the case of brand communities, should better be renamed into
‘My feelings’.

Moderators cannot do this all the time. They do this job in their leisure time and it would be too much work to go through all the comments. But they consequently can remove posts with thin content. It doesn’t take a long time until fanboys are aware of heavy moderation and that there is no chance to post useless content.
On the internet everyone is entitled to express his opinion or feeling. It’s in the hands of owners and moderators to decide what kind of contributions should be allowed. There are two alternatives:

  • All kind of content
    useful, useless, on topic, off topic, self-promotion, emotional status messages, images without any further comment, etc.

    These communities usually have lots of members but less contributors compared to well-known stats.

  • Rich content
    on topic with added value to improve knowledge and widen horizons

It’s that simple.

The G+ guide …

Andrij Harasewych created a noteworthy Google+ Member Guide with useful information about the engagement on Google+, the content network.

If you are a hardcore fanboy there is no need to read Andrij’s comprehensive guide, feel free to use my Golden Rules

  • 1 Do not read the content of a post. It will save you from the decision to +1 a post and to write useful comments on topic.
  • 2 +1 all posts with a colorful image of your actual device, a device you would like to have, or a device which still doesn’t exist.
  • 3 To avoid typos just use emojis in the comment section.
  • 4 If you find information about a competitor’s device, it’s definitely against the human rights and you should immediately use the scroll bar to quickly kick off posts into invisibility. It will save you from being punished by a moderator because of trolling.
  • 5 Last but not least keep on dreaming about non-existing devices shortly after purchasing an actual device. Follow Steve Jobs and Stay hungry, stay foolish.

The benefit of these simple rules for fanboys is that they can easily be transferred to all other networks except Twitter which is already meaningless per design.

Trolls …

Sad to say that fanboys often are also trolls.

In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

The worrisome result of scientific researches is described in an article of Chris Mooney on SLATE.com:

In the past few years, the science of Internet trollology has made some strides. Last year, for instance, we learned that by hurling insults and inciting discord in online comment sections, so-called Internet trolls (who are frequently anonymous) have a polarizing effect on audiences, leading to politicization, rather than deeper understanding of scientific topics.

That’s bad, but it’s nothing compared with what a new psychology paper has to say about the personalities of trolls themselves. The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad:

Machiavellianism
(willingness to manipulate and deceive others),

Narcissism
(egotism and self-obsession),

Psychopathy
(the lack of remorse and empathy), and

Sadism
(pleasure in the suffering of others).

Summary …

Let everyone do as he likes.
Getting older and focusing on essentials might patch some bugs in their brain. Moderators in social networks should keep a close eye on fanboys otherwise interaction will not surpass 2nd grade level.

Sorry, if I went ballistic. I only wanted to summarize my experiences as a former member and moderator in an Apple related community with more than 90k members.

Related links …

Google+ Moderation

Brand Communities

Google+ Activity Guide

I had a dream

About Internet Trolls

Thanks for visiting iNotes4You.
Hope to see you again in front of an Apple Store.





Apple’s Key Events

2 06 2014

Every business has its ups and downs. Successful companies are always those who make the right decisions at the right time. It needs visions, personalities, and a philosophy which form the golden thread, the DNA of a company culture.

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We cannot say that the company was catapulted to the most valuable brand in the world (Forbes 2013).

More than 40 years of hard work and focusing on customer satisfaction made Apple to one of the mega brands of our times.

See what happened in 4 decades. I summarized the key events in a mind map.

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Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited. Best practice for reading is to download the DOCX file format which includes outlined textual information and the image.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
Apple iWork/Microsoft Office DOCX
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

The main events/decisions …

Essential points of Apple’s strategy are

  • 1 Combining the development of hard- and software
  • 2 Initiating disruptive and sustaining innovation in the market of mobile devices
  • 3 Releasing finished products
  • 4 Building an ecosystem (All-In-One) with hard- and software, services and stores
  • 5 Focusing on customer satisfaction
  • 6 Paying respect to employees and competitors
  • 7 Innovative approaches to keep the environment green

Reputable analysts pointed that out as you can see here.

How Apple works

In a fascinating interview with Calcalist radio, the largest economic newspaper in Israel, Horace Dediu gives us a scintillating insight into how Apple works. Horace Dediu is a well-respected analyst who knows a thing or two about Apple.

“I studied their DNA,” Dediu explains. “But Apple cannot possibly be perceived as normal or average, but is analyzed as such. This is a company that breaks all categories, as based on the growth front and on the value or dynamic versus static. It just works differently. ”

Dediu posits that Apple uses the same strategy as an army. ”You have to look at Apple as adopted by the pattern of military activity,” said Dediu. ”The army has no obligation to produce profits, but it has a deep commitment to achieving goals. Everyone focused and training for a specific task, and then another mission.”

Finally, Horace Dediu believes this status quo will not change under Tim Cook.

Dediu said: ”I think Apple’s culture is very stable. Generally, most of the large companies have a tough fight when they want to change the organizational culture, Steve Ballmer at Microsoft across this barrier. Tim Cook may have made changes within the company, but this is not clear from the outside. Steve Jobs built something bigger than himself. You can see it also in another company he founded, Pixar. People usually do not associate it with Apple, but they are very similar. Both companies are completely committed to the product, focusing obsessively on the details giving rise to beautiful product.”

(Source, TheTechStorm)

Regarding innovation

Ken Segall, author of the bestselling book – Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success, suggests that Apple and Samsung have differing philosophies when it comes to innovation.

“Innovation comes in many flavors,” Ken Segall said. “Sometimes it’s about creating revolutions, other times it’s about adding features. Sometimes it’s about creating things that people fall in love with, other times it’s simply about creating things.”

According to Segall, Samsung’s approach to innovation is more about adding features and in most cases, at the expense of customers’ satisfaction:

Less than six months after launching the Galaxy Gear watch, Samsung replaced that device in February 2014 with two models, the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo. These aren’t just upgrades — they’re new watches, running a completely different OS. Android has been replaced by Samsung’s home-grown Tizen OS.

So what happens to the people who just months ago bought into Samsung’s last “next big thing”? Well, they get stuck with a Galaxy Gear, which will be quickly forgotten. They also become living proof that Samsung values innovation over customers.

On the other hand, Segall posits that

“Apple’s innovation philosophy is quite different. Its highest priority is creating a product that people can fall in love with – a product that will improve customers’ lives without frustrating them in the process.”

“Of course, Apple loves features too.. The difference is, when Apple innovates, it’s innovating in the most user-centric way. That’s consistent with one thing I heard Steve Jobs say often: Apple’s highest priority is earning the love of its customers,” he explains.

In concluding, Ken Segall emphasizes that it is impossible to judge who’s leading in innovation by tallying products and features. Meaningful innovation will forever be about quality, not quantity.

(Source, TheTechStorm)

Apple’s credo

I didn’t know this until I went to work for Apple Retail, but their credo is “Enriching Lives.” I never had a job with a philosophy attached to it. I know the Marines have one. It’s Semper Fi. If you see that on a bumper sticker, it’s Latin for, “Mess with this car, and you’re dog meat.”

[..]
I first heard Apple’s credo during employee training. I was not prepared for corporate culture. Sure, there are icebreaking games and group activities, but there’s also a long section where you just sit there, and someone reads you the rules. They turn page after page in a manual, reading both the rules and the perfectly rational reasons for each rule. That was a bit intense.

The trainer asked if anyone knew that Apple Retail had a credo, which I guess is more serious than a mere motto. Several did. I didn’t. It’s not printed anywhere. Employees don’t say it aloud in the store. I got sort of a smug vibe off of those who knew what it was, and then I realized that I had just become one of them! Nobody told me we were getting a slogan! It just gets put on you with the job, along with two blue shirts and a name tag.

(Source, TheTechStorm)

Special ad …

Advertising is at the front of delivering the proper message to customers and prospective customers. The purpose is to convince customers that a company’s products and services are the best, enhance the image of the company, point out and create a need, demonstrate new uses for established products, and announce new products.

Among technology companies, Apple is often perceived to have something that rivals like Microsoft, Google, Samsung, others don’t have …
that indefinable element of coolness.

A cornerstone of cultivating this specific image is the company’s advertising, especially the 30-second spots that air on television.

In 1984 the long history of exceptional advertising started with the iconic Super Bowl commercial that introduced the Macintosh to the world.

While all products share common qualities – style and ease of use – Apple and its advertising agency take very different approaches to get that message across.

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Despite their differences, Apple ads have in common at least one major advantage over many competitors’ commercials:

Regardless of whether you love or hate the spots or slogans you’ll likely remember them.

That’s the first step to building a brand well-known all over the world.

Some Apple haters like to say the company is only successful because of marketing. The masses are so entranced by Apple advertising that they’re blind to the existence of other, potentially better products. After nearly 4 years of using Apple’s mobiles or more than 200 blog posts later I agree to the assessment ‘potentially better’ but it’s still your brain which makes a mobile device to a powerful little helper or to a gadget. I’m in doubt about the usefulness of the many more customization features of competing devices.

Summary …

Apple, a very special company with a very special strategy over more than 4 decades. For further details see my posts under ‘Related links’.

Related links …

Apple’s Ecosystem

Apple’s Strategy and Ad

Apple’s Customer Relationships

Apple’s Intangible Assets

Designed by Apple in California

Thanks for surfing by.





iWork and Sharing

28 05 2014

Apple’s iWork applications (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) save files automatically on iCloud and sync them across all your devices. With iWork on iCloud you can also access documents via browsers (Safari, Chrome, IE) without using an Apple device.

If you save a spreadsheet on iCloud, you can share a link to it with others. Recipients can open and edit the spreadsheet in a supported browser on a Mac or a Windows computer, and see all the changes others have made. Collaborators don’t need an iCIoud account to view and edit documents.

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iCIoud keeps your spreadsheet up-to-date across all your iOS devices, your Mac, and the web, so you and your collaborators always have access to the latest version.

Sharing a link …

If the document is open, tap ‘Share’ (top right), then tap ‘Share via iCloud’. Select an option for sharing. The full link appears in the body of an email, a SMS, or a Twitter or Facebook message or just copy the link to the clipboard to use it elsewhere.

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Any further edits you make to the document after you shared it are visible to the recipients of the link. The link remains the same. The only thing you have to do is to notify the recipients if a newer version is available.

Using a password …

An iWork document has only one password. If you already added a password, that password applies when you share a link. If you haven’t added a password, you can add one, then share.

  • With the spreadsheet open, tap on Tools, then tap Set Password.
  • Enter the password in the Password field, then enter it again in the Verify field.
  • Enter a hint to remind you of the password if you forget it.
  • Tap Done.
  • Tap on Tools, tap Share and Print, then tap Share Link via iCIoud.
  • Tap the method you want to use to send.
    The tull link appears in the body of the email, tweet, or post.</em

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Any further edits you make to the spreadsh after you share it are visible to the recipient of the link. Be sure to notify collaborators of the password so they can open it, even if you shared the spreadsheet before adding a password.
If your spreadsheet is already being shared, you can still add a password to it. Be sure to notify collaborators of the password so they can open the spreadsheet.

Resend a document …

You can share a spreadsheet link as many times as you wish.
With the spreadsheet open, tap Tools, tap Share and Print, then tap View Share Settings. Tap Send Link, then choose Mail, Messages, Twitter, or Facebook. Enter the requested information (for example, an email address or Twitter account).

Turn off iCloud sharing …

With the spreadsheet open, tap Tools, tap Share and Print, then tap View Share Settings. Tap Stop Sharing at the bottom of the pane.

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File formats …

If the recipient receives a link to a document the can choose the proprietary file format of iWork, that of Microsoft Office, or the Adobe PDF format for a download.

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PDFs can easily opened in Apple’s iBooks which offers the best reading experience.

The running iWork in iCloud …

iWork, Apple’s office suite for OS X and iOS, allows working on documents across all devices.

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Here is an example:

  • 1 On an iPhone I entered the text ‘Edited on the iPhone’ in a presentation managed by Apple’s app Keynote.
  • 2 Some seconds later a message pops up in iCloud opened on a Windows PC with Google Chrome. After accepting with ‘OK’ the document is accessible in the updated version.
    Note
    Don’t get confused with image 2. It was taken with my iPad while remotely connected to a Windows PC in the office.
  • 3 After entering the text ‘Edited on a PC’ in the browser-based version of iWork it appears on the iPhone after some seconds without any message.

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The image above shows the UI when working with a browser.
Learning difficulties: None.

Using an additional cloud storage …

In contrast to many other apps for file management iWork doesn’t support predefined cloud storages like Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive. If you want to save iWork documents to other cloud accounts than iWork you have to use a WebDAV connection.

My post
WebDAV Basics
explains this protocol for communicating with remote servers.

Not all cloud providers support a WebDAV connection.
Since years I personally use Box and iDriveSync as additional cloud storages.
iDriveSync offers a secure solution since Feb 2013 because it works with client-side encryption, that means, only you have the key to encrypt and decrypt files. Your documents are encrypted already in transit and later on at rest on iDriveSync’s cloud servers. Box is working on a comparable solution.

Here are the WebDAV addresses of both competitors:

They can be used to save iWork documents via WebDAV.

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The steps …

  • 1 Tap on the action control (top left) in an iWork app.
  • 2 Select ‘Send a copy’.
  • 3 Select a document.
  • 4 Select ‘WebDAV’.
  • 5 Enter the URL given by your cloud provider (e.g. https://dav.box.com/dav).
  • 6 Enter you credentials.

iWork displays the folder structure. Select a folder for saving your document.

Restrictions …
iWork only supports the saving of documents. You cannot manage your files and folders.
So you need a file management app, either the native app of your cloud provider or a tool like FileBrowser with which you can access different accounts and move files between folders and accounts.

Notes …
1 If you share a link to a document saved on iCloud, recipients *cannot use mobile browsers* to edit the document on iCloud. He only can download it, work on it and send it back via mail. To avoid conflicts with your original document on iCloud it’s useful to save and share it on a different cloud storage.

This complicated workflow should be improved by offering a way to let recipients collaborate on iCloud documents even if they are on mobile devices.

2 If you create important documents you can use the ‘Copy’ function to always have a backup of each document on iCloud. This reduces your available space and it might be necessary to upgrade your iCloud plan. Saving a copy on a different cloud storage via WebDAV takes far less space on iCloud.

3 If you prefer to use Microsoft’s XLSX file format recipients also can access documents when using other mobile platforms.

Summary …

Again Apple provided useful features embedded in a simple but perfect UI.

Related links …

About WebDAV

About clouds

About iDriveSync

About file management

Thanks for paying attention.





iThoughts, redesigned, reengineered, re-everythinged

23 05 2014

On May 13, 2014, Craig Scott, the developer of the mind mapping tool iThoughts released a new version designed for iOS 7. It took him 9 months of reviewing the new features of iOS 7, testing them (even Apple isn’t perfect), and redesigning the old version. So it’s understandable that the new version is not free but comes up with a really fair price (80% off). Craig got bills to pay, kids to feed and more.

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Let’s say it with an Apple slogan for marketing the MacBook Air …

Redesigned.
Reengineered.
Re-everythinged.

To make it clear, re-everythinged doesn’t mean that users have to learn it all again. It’s still an application which can be used intuitively and users migrating from the predecessor will not have problems to immediately continue working on maps.

Craig’s company …

Craig Scott about his company …

toketaWare is a small software development business based in the UK (just outside York.) When I say small, I mean really small. Currently it’s just me Craig Scott.
In addition to the iThoughts mindmap products, toketaWare also builds/maintains makeDoc and makeSlides (iOS apps for converting Markdown, OPML and text into MS Word and PowerPoint files).
Toketa is a term used in Judo to describe when a person has escaped from being pinned down i.e. they’ve broken free. Seemed apt somehow – software that sets you free. That’s the goal anyhow!

Craig’s philosophy …

Steve gave us the iPad and Craig the app iThoughts.
Well, in some way this might be an inappropriate connection between people and products. On the other hand there are only a few developers who were able to adapt an application to a touchscreen in such a perfect way and to internalize many of the intangible assets of Apple and it’s innovative leader of the past.

Craig Scott brought home the bacon.

He started developing his mind mapping tool already prior to the launch of the iPad in April 2010. It’s not only an excellent coding but also a deep insight in what Apple intended to offer it’s customers. In his lecture about mind mapping on Biggerplate Unplugged (London 2013), Craig called it Touchy Feely Mind Mapping.

A mind mapping tool is an application for improving knowledge and personality as well as summarizing facts and ideas. In so far there is indeed a virtual connection between Steve and Craig. Priorities for both were/are:

Focus (on essentials)
Say NO (to bells and whistles)

People appreciate apps that feel as though they were designed expressly for the device. For example, when an app fits well on the device screen and responds to the gestures that people know, it provides much of the experience people are looking for. And, although people might not be aware of human interface design principles, such as direct manipulation or consistency, they can tell when apps follow them and when they don’t.

iThoughts follows

Apple’s iOS Human Interface Guidelines

in a perfect way. To use the app a documentation is basically not needed bit in cases directly accessible from within the app, e.g. creating doodles.

For example there is one and only one taskbar which is divided into two parts with a Share control in the center. On the left side there are file management features and settings. On the right side you will find all features needed for editing a map with the most important control (i), the inspector, to set all the properties of topics.

Craig on his website
The roadmap for iThoughts is pretty much driven by customer request – although there are some ‘core principles’ underpinning the whole thing as follows:

  • User Interface is everything
    if it’s not usable then people will not use it.
  • Interoperability is vital
    must play nicely with existing tools/services.
  • Stay focused
    mindmapping is what the app does.

The result of following these simple rules convinces everyone immediately after installation and it is the ultimate way to successful marketing via the Apple’s App Store.

The redesigned app …

In many articles about mind mapping I always talked about iThoughts as the most powerful tool for the iPad and a wonder of stability compared to other apps developed by really big companies (I’m just thinking about Google+ for iOS which crashed again while working on this post and looking up new notifications).

So it’s time to review the redesigned version including all the useful updates it got over time. All the powerful features let users create impressive maps. They can be shared in lots of different file formats up to nearly all needs.

A mind map is worth a thousand words so here is a full feature description of Craig’s tool. The map was created with the new version of iThoughts in June 2014.

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Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited. The DOCX file format is suggested for those who don’t use a mind mapping tool. The file contains the image as well as a detailed outline of all topics.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
Apple Pages/Microsoft Word DOCX
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

The old version …

The old version can still be downloaded but not purchased. There will be no more updates and bug fixes. This is largely because Apple does not allow updates to apps unless they are build using the iOS 7 technology.

The migration …

After installing the new version you immediately feel back home.

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There is also an easy way to migrate from the predecessor and this is obviously in the line with Craig’s philosophy of perfectness.

After installing the new version there are two ways to transfer maps.

  • 1 If you already use a cloud folder synced to Dropbox then you can create a similar setup within the new version and have it sync your maps down.
    For more details see How to sync.
  • 2 If you are not syncing with Dropbox then you can use the ‘Send Archive … to app’ feature in the previous version to send a copy of all your maps over into the new version. Once you maps are successfully transferred you can delete the old app. Keep in mind that deleting an app always goes along with deleting all it’s data. This is due to the iOS file system. So first check out the new app and keep the older version for some time.

The anatomy …

If you are new to iThoughts it’s worth understanding the anatomy of an iThoughts screen.

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I created this map directly from toketaWare’s website (I hope by courtesy of Craig) by using the screen’s image as the center of the map, copied the outlined description to the clipboard and used the ‘text to map’ feature described further down to generate the topics. That’s it. Admittedly I did some further work to improve the layout.

The new features …

The following features are implemented in the new version … •

  • Universal app, you buy it once and install it on all your iOS devices.
  • Rich text support everywhere
    bold, italic, underline, fonts, sizes, colours – all in the same text block
  • Totally new cloud sync architecture – much faster and more reliable
  • Extensive bluetooth keyboard support
  • Multiple selection of topics (SHIFT)
    Left handed?
    If you’re left handed and find it tricky to use the SHIFT button then you can switch this to the other side in the ‘System Settings’ under the ‘Options’ menu.
  • Independently resize topic, image or text
  • New map picker with thumbnail previews, favourites and recycle/trash system
  • Imports Markdown format files•
  • Imports Mindnode and Simtech Mindmapper maps
  • Exports as a ‘website’ (package of HTML, clickable images and attachments.)
  • Export as multi page PDF (which can then be printed out and stuck together into a ‘poster’)
  • Research feature can now download websites for off line viewing (as a .webarchive)
  • System settings accessible from within the app
  • Relationship improvements (drag the actual curve – even drag the end to another topic) •
  • Choose a default colour for callouts
  • Infinite (effectively) and dynamic canvas which grows and shrinks to fit the map

These features have been retired permanently …

  • • Passcode protection •
  • Dimming branches (‘hide completed tasks’ and ‘show unfocused topics’) •
    Shadows
  • Novamind4 and iMindmap4 import/export support
  • TextExpander support
  • Support for WebDAV or Box.com cloud services
  • Splitting branches into separate maps automatically.
  • ‘Based upon’ options when creating new maps.
  • Version history for maps.
  • Paste Style
  • $date and $time variables

Well, no reason to shed crocodile tears. Well done Craig with one exception, the ‘Paste Style’ feature should be returned.

Some details …

My tagline on Google+ is ‘Doing things accurately’. So my blog posts seem to be long but there are two reasons why this is the case:

1 Reviewing a powerful app cannot be done with writing ‘Awesome …’, ‘Best app of the week …’ etc. it needs some weeks to assess a tool and give the reasons for a final rating.

2 Some developers do an outstanding job and in this case it’s simply funny for a leisure blogger not driven by Click Stats to go into the details.

So I think it’s worth spending the time to look at some tidbits of iThoughts and the sophisticated considerations Craig put in the code.

Using the Inspector

Mind maps can drastically be improved by using adequate connectors, colors, shapes, images, numbering, and size of topics according to its importance. Be aware that the appropriate usage of attributes may attract an audience, force further discussions, and last but not least remain in the peoples photographic memory for a longer time compared to a more simplistic layout. But you shouldn’t go over the top. A informative map in most cases shouldn’t be degraded to artwork.

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These images show the main features of iThoughts for improving layouts and with it, breathing life, attractiveness, and a better understanding into the map. All dialogs are integrated in the Inspector control (top right).

Using Links

Today nearly all kind of information is accessible via the Internet. It’s a giant knowledge base. To provide background information from within a mind map iThoughts allows the assignment of hyperlinks to a node. When opening a link app switching between iThoughts and Safari is not necessary because of iThought’s integrated browser. This is an indispensable feature for mobile devices because of their One-Window technique.

It’s also possible to seamlessly assign links to a topic by just tapping on Research in the context menu and using one of the options (Copy Link, Insert Link, Make Topic) offered in the browser’s task bar.

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Even if you are within Safari iThoughts can be directly accessed by using this bookmarklet

javascript:void(location.href=’ithoughts://link?url=’+encodeURIComponent(location.href)+’&title=’+encodeURIComponent(document.title))

which can be easily integrated in the bookmarks bar of Safari and allows permanent and fast access to iThoughts. See the instruction for installing the bookmarklet here

iThoughts bookmarklet for Safari

Commenting

Some maps are hard to understand because they often reflect a very subjective process of thinking about topics. To make it understandable for others it’s indispensable to add comment to topics.

iThoughts allows two options for commenting on topics.

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As a third way you can use a normal topic and place text into it like I did in the map ‘Anatomy of iThought’.

Note
Commenting or even creating topics can be done with Siri, Apple’s speech driven assistant which can be started by just tapping on the small microphone button to the left of the keyboard’s spacebar. To create a sequence of topics use the word ‘comma‘ which is interpreted as ‘create new topic’.

Adding attachments

Mind Maps visually summarize information but sometimes it’s necessary to refer to documents containing detailed description.

The map in my example is about security features provided by Apple. Basics of the 2-Step Verification for Apple accounts are explained in subtopics. I created a detailed description of the activation process and the usage in a Keynote presentation which contains a lot of screenshots and comments. To make it available in a mind map iThoughts allows to attach whole documents to topics.

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Here are the steps to go explained with a Keynote document…

  • Open Keynote
  • Use ‘Open in Another App
  • Select the presentation you want as the attachment
  • Select the file format (Keynote, PDF, Powerpoint)
  • Select iThoughts in the app’s menu
  • Use Paste to attach the document to a topic

While presenting your map to an audience you are now able to go into the details of 2-Step Verification.

Note
Attached documents are stored in the mind map file in their native format. So the source file travels with the map when sharing it.
The recipient can then work on the mind map as well as on the attached documents and send them back both.

Topics with attached documents are marked with small icons pointing to the source application. Use ‘Tap and Hold’ to open the document within iThoughts or use ‘Open in’ to further work on the attachment.

Further information is available under

iWork and iThoughts

Creating from text

Tap on any topic or select any piece of text within a map and one of the options presented will be an internet Research. Research will take the text and ‘Google it’ – using the built-in browser of iThoughts. Once you are on websites, press and hold on images, text and links on the page and have them turned into topics in the map. This makes it easy to quickly collate information from the web – without requiring a whole load of copy/switch app/paste operations.

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If you mark parts of a text within the built-in browser of iThoughts or any other app you can insert the text a topic, or several topics (if the the text is outlined) or a note. All formatting attributes are automatically stripped off.

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Sometimes it’s useful to collect ideas on the go with simple text editors like ByWord or PlainText. An outlined text then can create topics and subtopics if pasted into a map. To generate subtopics the text line must be indented by at least 4 spaces.

Creating Websites

iThoughts can generate (and email/upload) an associated HTML page. It contains what is known as an Image Map.
This tells the browser to treat different parts of the image as clickable Hotspots. iThoughts will automatically associate a hotspot with each topic – then associate that hotspot with a hyperlink (if the topic has one.)

This makes it simple to publish a static, clickable mindmap webpage.

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As an example – take a look at the following link – generated by iThoughts and uploaded to Dropbox then made publicly visible – essentially using Dropbox as a website hosting provider.

Mind Map Webpage

The process is as follows:

  • Create your map – adding links to topics as appropriate.
  • Select ‘Send Map To Cloud’ and choose the Website.zip export format.
  • Choose a folder to upload the file.
  • Once uploaded, use the Dropbox ‘Copy Public Link’ option (from your desktop) to get the public web address of the uploaded HTML file (you may need to make the folder public/shared.)

That’s it – your map is now published as a clickable web page. If you’re using Dropbox then you can use the built in iThoughts sync to refresh the image/HTML as your map changes.

Image maps on websites act as attractive navigators. People are much more about to retrieve information than with traditional link lists.

Map Recovery

iThoughtsHD automatically saves your work every 60 seconds (or when the app is closed/suspended.) It also creates a ‘snapshot backup’ (copy) of your map each time it is modified then closed. It keeps 10 previous snapshot versions (of each map) on disk – any one of which can be recovered.

In the menu under the ‘gear’ toolbar button is an option called ‘Save Archive’. This will take all your maps and zip them up into a single archive file then send that archive over into another app. Typically you would use this to send the archive into your Dropbox app – or perhaps your Evernote app. Those apps will then take care of uploading the archive into the cloud – and most importantly – off your device.

iThoughts will nag you each week to save an archive in this way.

The archive file is simply a zip file containing a folder structure of .itmz files. To recover a map, unzip it on your desktop, locate the map and send it back into iThoughts.

You can recover all the maps within the archive in a single operation by sending the zip file itself back into iThoughts. The contents of the archive will be restored into a new folder – your existing maps are not overwritten.

In addition to the above, each day (of use) iThoughts will automatically create an archive. By default, it will store the last 5 archives (days.) You can pull these archives over onto your desktop if necessary. This can be useful if you want to recover a deleted map.

Save, Export, Share

File formats of mind mapping tools are unfortunately not standardized. Each developer of mind mapping tools knows this. However none of the many tools pay attention to this fact by implementing adequate options to save a map in all the well-known file formats of other tool, except iThoughts.

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If you want to become a mapper you should register on BIGGERPLATE.com to access more than 50k mind maps and to upload your own maps to this work-wide largest mind mapping platform.

Using iThoughts you should know something about compatibility of the different file formats actually supported by Biggerplate as of June 2014. These are:

Application File format
iMindQ (DropMind) DMMX
ConceptDraw CDMZ
XMind XMIND
Mindjet Manager MMAP
iMindMap IMX
Mind Genius MGMF

When downloading a map from Biggerplate you get the best results within iThoughts if the original map was uploaded in MMAP (Mind Manager) format.

You can find further information about compatibility on Craig’s website

iThoughts FAQ, Compatibility

In addition to the above iThoughts can also import AND export OPML which is a relatively standard format for documenting hierarchical data (although it doesn’t support positioning, colours, shapes etc.)

Note
If you use the PDF or PNG format your map is automatically resized independent of the actual display on your device. Collapsed and expanded topics appear as on the screen. Complex maps need much space so that you have to limit expanded topics to the most important ones. Otherwise details will be too small to perceive. As an alternative iThoughts allows to export single topics and you may use this feature to seamlessly display important parts with a suitable resolution.

An extended keyboard

It’s in the line of Craig’s sophisticated coding to add useful features to Apple’s standard keyboard for writing and formatting text in shaped topics.

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You don’t like onscreen keyboards and prefer a BT keyboard?
Well, here is a table with all supported shortcuts

FAQ, Keyboard Shortcuts

Doodles
How to doodle

A doodle is a simple finger drawing tool within iThoughts. It is ‘vector based’ which means each line can be manipulated individually and continuously. Doodles can be attached to topics and exported as PDF, SVG or PNG files.

Use your finger to draw lines (known as ‘strokes’.) To move the canvas itself you must drag it with 2 fingers. This differs from the rest of the app, where a single finger is used to drag the canvas. If you accidentally draw a line when intending to drag the canvas (as I STILL do) then you can hit UNDO to remove it.

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The numbers in the image above are described as follows:

1 Tap on a ‘stroke’ to select it. When selected it will have a blue ‘glow’ around it. Once selected, any changes to thickness, dashed’ness or colour (#3, #4, #5) will apply to the selected stroke(s.) Tap on a selected stroke to see Cut, Copy, Paste type options (including options to ‘Send to Back’) Drag a selected stroke to move it.

2 Press and hold SHIFT whilst tapping on strokes to select/deselect multiple stokes. SHIFT then drag the canvas will create a ‘selection marquee’ to help select multiple strokes more quickly. SHIFT then drag an already selected stroke(s) will duplicate the stoke(s)

3 Set the stoke thickness. If a stroke is selected then it will apply to that stroke. If no stroke is selected it will become the default for any new strokes.

4 Set the stroke to be ‘dashed’

5 Set the stroke colour.

6 Share the selected strokes or whole doodle (typically in an email attachment.)

7 There is no ‘eraser’ type feature – you can only delete whole strokes by selecting them then tapping on the waste bin icon in the lower corner (or dragging/dropping the stroke onto the bin.)

Text Formatting

A gift from heaven Craig, Rich text support everywhere.

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Visualized information still needs text to understand the content. With the new version of iThoughts visualized accentuations now can also be done within textual information.

Linked Folders (sync)
How To

Your maps can be synced automatically between iPad, iPhone and desktop (Mac or Windows) by using Dropbox and iThoughts Linked Folders.

I’m a wretched failure when it comes to creating videos. So have a look at Craig’s screencast (5 min) which demonstrates the usage of Linked Folders.

There are some caveats to be aware of when syncing:

Syncing only happens if a device is connected to a WiFi network (by default) except you turned on Mobile Data Syncing in the iOS Settings.
By default local changes are synced 30 seconds after the app is closed.
Remote changes are checked for when the app starts (but no more frequently than every 10 minutes).

Improved Context Menus

I’m an old man but I also heard young people complaining about wavering hands causing a perfect disaster when arranging objects on a touch screen. So here is just one example of iThoughts’ improved context menus which let people think you are in full control of your fore limbs.

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There are many more new features implemented in the context menus which increase seamless usage.

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Just explore them.

Settings

Now Settings are accessible directly within the app. Thanks a bunch!
Have a look on the many options you have to customize the app.

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Please don’t ask me for explaining all the options. Just try them out or request for a fixed-price offer if you want me to do it for you.

Some cons …

Nobody is perfect and it’s surprisingly also valid for Craig.

  • Due to iOS 7 the new version is not as responsible as the old version. If you use multitasking it takes some time to wake up the app from suspended mode. I used an iPad 3 running on iOS 7.1.1 and I think it would run much smoother on an iPad Air with its 64-Bit processor.
  • An outlined collection of links still cannot be inserted as topics. The links are there but not activated. They are interpreted as normal text.

You remember the words of Craig “The roadmap for iThoughts is pretty much driven by customer request”. Don’t panic though. Let an email wing its way to the tech guy Craig with a severe reprimand and your suggestions. I’m sure he will take care but you should give him some time. Beside bills to pay and kids to feed there are some more things to be done, e.g. Christmas shopping, ironing, washing-up, and more.

Version history …

iThoughts was completely redesigned. So it’s obvious that there are bugs to be fixed and features to be added.

Feel free to download a regularly updated overview of iThoughts’ version history.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
Apple Pages/Microsoft Word DOCX
iThoughts ITMZ

Some examples …

I created these maps with the predecessor or iThoughts and downloaded them from my Dropbox account into the new version.

Tap an image to zoom in.

Summary …

iThoughts is still the best mind mapping tool for Apple’s mobiles and the actual version is a quite significant step forward into Apple’s new design philosophy.

Related links …

About the new version …

iThoughts migration

About the predecessor …

iThoughts for the iPad

More about features …

iWork and iThoughts

Non-Linear Presentation

About a competitor …

Inspiration

About mind mapping …

Mind Mapping (1)

Mind Mapping (2)

Mind Mapping (3)

Mind Maps + Concept Maps

Thanks for visiting iNotes4You.





Windows on the iPad

20 05 2014

Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on

November 20, 1985 as a graphical operating system shell for MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUI).

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Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world’s personal computer market with over 90% market share, overtaking Mac OS, which had been introduced in 1984. As of October 2013, the most recent versions of Windows for personal computers, mobile devices, server computers and embedded devices are respectively Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Embedded 8.

Tablets …

Touch screen technology has brought about a revolution in the new-age and broadcast media industries and is now widely adopted by Television, Computer, Mobile Phones and Camera manufacturers. Tablet computers are among the most visible manifestations of this technology and are seen as a possible replacement for regular desktops and laptops in the foreseeable future.

The majority of tablets are available in 2 sizes, 7 and 10 inch.

Note
Some tablet manufacturers make also 8 and 9 inch tablets. Few models can be found with large than 10 inch display sizes, in majority these are Windows based tablet computers.
There are several aspects about tablet displays which a discerning customer should consider before considering one of the manufacturers for the final purchase.

There were already early beginnings in finding out the right screen size.

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There are many requirements for suitable tablets which basically remain the same independent of the screen size. So let’s have a look on some technical specifications.

1 Display resolution …

Screen resolutions vary according to the manufacturer and the price range in which the tablet is sold. From the QXGA resolution on the new iPad to the WVGA resolution that is found in the most basic models, there is a wide choice available for the consumer depending on his or her personal needs.

Typically, the screen resolution can be categorized as follows:

QXGA 2048 x 1536
WXGA 1366 x 768 or 1280 x 800
XGA 1024 x 768
WSVGA 1024 x 600
WVGA 800 x 600

Tablets of smaller sizes such as the 7 inch can do well with a lower resolution screen. Higher screen resolution becomes relevant as the tablet size increases.

2 Screen coating, Brightness and Protection …

Since tablets are highly portable devices, they are widely used indoors and outdoors. While screen brightness is not really an issue when used indoors, these tablets can become highly reflective in outdoor daylight conditions and therefore needs the screen brightness to offset the ambient brightness. Most manufacturers have overcome the problem by using a coating that prevents glare while also protecting the glass from scratches and dirt. If your tablet display is protected using a toughened glass such as Gorilla Glass, the chances of screen cracking due to the tablet accidentally falling on the ground is minimized.

3 Screen Viewing Angles …

While this may not be a major concern if you are using the tablet as a hand held device, screen dimming and colour change can be an irritant if you are placing the tablet on a stand or keeping it on a table for people around you to see. This problem is normally found in LCD displays made using TN technology. Colours like red, blue or green become darker and the screen becomes dimmer as you move away from the centre of the screen. Make sure that you get to test this out on a demo piece at the retailer before you choose your tablet. Most modern tablets do not use the TN technology in their LCD display.

4 Screen Technology …

There are 2 prominent TFT (Thin Film Transistor) LCD Screen technologies available today.

In Plane Switching technology or IPS was developed in Japan in response to the viewing angle problems caused by LCDs based on twisted nematic display technology. IPS LCD screens have almost no viewing angle colour changes.

Plain Line Switching or PLS is a relatively new LCD technology and was developed by Samsung in Korea and has lower manufacturing costs as compared to other LCD technologies. With improved image quality, viewing angles and screen brightness, PLS is expected to address several of the issues faced by tablet manufacturers.

Samsung’s way …

On 12.2-inch models, you can also split the screen into four, to run four visible apps at the same time. You might display your email app, next to your browser, next to a video, while editing an iWork document.

Samsung already refreshed the traditional Android interface. Instead of grids of icons for a home screen, the tablets show a magazine-like layout that separates apps and content into different tiles and pages.

Samsung’s emphasis on professional users for tablets is a direct effort to compete with Microsoft’s Surface tablets, which are marketed as a more viable replacement for a laptop suitable for work. But it is also an effort to take on Apple, whose iPads are widely used by workers in various fields, like construction, medicine and food service.

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Apple, it’s your turn now to say Good Bye to the One-Window technique.

Increased screen size …

There are rumors about an iPad coming in 2014 with an increased screen size. The actual screen size is 9.7″ and sources speculate about a screen size up to 13″.

If this will come true what would the intention of Apple be?
Would the customers benefit from a larger screen size?

To answer these questions we should look at the motivation of users when buying a tablet. Well-known daily tasks are mailing, shopping, and banking and stats of Apple’s App Store say that nearly all of the top ten downloaded apps are games.

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For this kind of usage an increased screen size is dispensable. This is also validated by increasing sales of the iPad Mini.

So the only reason for launching a bigger screen size could be to use a tablet for professional tasks like editing documents, e.g. spreadsheets, presentations, and letters with Apple’s iWork suite while accessing sources shown in other apps, e.g. websites in Safari.

  • 1 With the actual operating system iOS 7 for mobiles an increased screen size will not solve the following problems:

    - Files still remain in a fragmented file system followed by redundancy.

    ( see my post http://iNotes4You.com/2012/10/11/the-ios-filesystem )

    - The One-Window-Technique is the main disadvantage when working with more than one application. It’s a daily task to retrieve information from one window and use it in a window of another application.

  • 2 Embryonic clipboard
    Working a bit more effectively affords an advanced clipboard with multiple entries.
  • 3 Mobility is slightly decreased.
    Weight and energy consumption could hamper the usage of a tablet with a larger screen size. The size of the device depends on the bezel which is actually about 0.79″ (2cm) for the actual iPad Air. A minimum bezel width of half of this value would be acceptable and the total size of the device would’t really decrease the mobility.
  • 4 Stats for the iPad Mini show us that many customers seem to go the reverse way regarding screen size. This decreases the number of potential customers for an iPad Pro. An overview of all actually available tablets show us that all manufacturers see the perfect screen size within a range of 7 to 10 inch.
  • 5 With the iPad Air Apple developed a tablet with an incredibly reduced weight and a battery life which lets you use the device a whole day. A bigger screen and improved multitasking will possibly roll these advantages back.

Windows and the operating system …

To enable a tablet for a more professional use it should offer

  • application windows
  • real multitasking
  • an increased memory
    to handle different tasks and to not let more complex applications fall into the suspended state

I’m no iOS developer so I cannot estimate whether iOS 7 already was designed for important changes in the near future.

So my presumption is that Apple will not just increase the screen size. The new iPad Pro (if there will be one) will show us application windows with an improved iOS 8 or an operating system named Mavericks for mobiles.

It needs some innovative power to organize windows on a touchscreen and find intuitive gestures to use them.

A workspace for innovation, right? And with that a case for Apple.

Suggestions …

My suggestions are based on a Two-Windows technique following the KISS principle.

A UI for the following tasks has to be developed …

  • Open two or more windows
  • Switch between windows
  • Maximize one of the windows
  • Return to ‘Two/Multiple-Windows’ display

(Tap on an image to zoom.)

Increased size doesn’t matter …

Actually tablets are used mainly because of their mobility and a more relaxed usage when reading information. Here is what Ben Bajarin wrote on TabTimes:

People see this device and realize that it is in fact a computer. This fundamental point is where the paradigm shift to tablet computing is about to happen.

The amazing thing about a tablet, that sets it apart from every device I have and use it that has more computing capabilities than my phone and is more portable/mobile than my notebook.

I can sit reclined on my couch or bed and learn, work, or play. I can take it to the office and work. I can use it as portable TV or DVD player. I can use it to make home movies. I can use it to make music. I can take it to the lake and capture video of my family water skiing and edit and create the video right there on the lake.

I can keep going with these scenarios but you get the picture.

This is why, I believe it has the most potential of any form factor out there with regard to the future of computing.

We can read statements like this quite often and I never read any suggestions for a bigger screen size. So the question is:

Is there a market for tablets with screen sizes near to 13″?

Sam Beckets concept …

Sam Becket published a concept video in December 2013 showing multitasking on an iPad.

(1:06 min)

Summary …

A bigger screen size for an upcoming iPad makes no sense without improvements of the operating system. Even then mobility decreases and there are only a few applications where an iPad with a screen size near to 13″ could make sense.

Related links …

The Post PC era

Thanks for paying attention.








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