Blogging with iPad + iPhone

7 01 2014

No computer, no mouse, no keyboard, no cables, just an iPad, an iPhone. That seems to be a minimalistic configuration for blogging and doing all the other things where an electronic device is a bit more comfortable than a pen, sheets of paper, card boxes, and postage stamps.

This time I want to talk about blogging on WordPress, the biggest free blogging platform in the world, with a minimalistic configuration supported by Apple’s ecosystem.

The hardware …

I use this hardware configuration at home and the iPhone on-the-go and at home as a second screen.

The apps …

All mentioned apps are so-called ‘universal’ apps that means you download once from Apple’s AppStore and the apps are installed across all devices which are configured with the same Apple ID. All my apps are able to connect to cloud storages so that information can be accessed from the iPad as well as the iPhone when on-the-go. Additionally they keep the data in the local app folders, an indispensable requirement. WordPress, PlainText, iThoughts, and Keynote, the essential apps for blogging, save their files automatically in their local documents folder. This allows working even if an internet connection is temporarily not available. Syncing is automatically done if the iOS device reconnects.
Essential data are synced with Dropbox (supported by most of the apps in Apple’s app store) and additionally with Box to increase data security (redundant storages). Unfortunately Dropbox still doesn’t allow WebDAV access which is required when saving iWork documents on an other storage than iCloud. So my second cloud provider is Box (for personal use, 10GB free, perfect UI and features available in the iOS app, perfect content sharing platform, available since 2005). Box supports WebDAV so iWork documents can alternatively saved on Box from within all iWork apps by using the command ‘Copy to WebDAV’.

All apps are developed by reliable companies and offer regular updates and feature extensions as well as adaption to major changes of the operating system like Apple’s update of iOS in Sep 2013.

WordPress
The blog engine

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This app is used to finally create the textual and formatted part of a blogpost with added images or videos. It also manages the WordPress database where your posts are stored. Posts can be saved as drafts for further editing, published immediately (even via E-Mail sent to WordPress), or scheduled.
Powerful stats give you an overview of the number of visitors from each country, followers, referrers, search engine terms, top posts and pages, clicks, tags, and categories you assigned to your posts. Backups of the whole blog data can be made by exporting an the database contents as an XML file.

It’s recommended to activate Akismet (a subsidiary of WordPress) to keep your blog clean of spam comments.

Apple’s Keynote
Breath life into your posts

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There is no other comparable app for creating presentations on mobiles like Apple’s Keynote, part of the iWork Suite. With Keynote I create all the images you see in my blogs as well as images for social networks. Creating an image in Keynote is a funny task. Collages created with images (e.g. screenshots of running apps on your device), added text and symbols, varying opacities, and connecting lines breath life into your post.
And it’s all synced with your other iOS devices via iCloud.

iThoughts
Visualize your thoughts

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Take this mind mapping tool for brainstorming, feature descriptions, or all other kind of information which should be summarized visually.

Tap Forms
Keep it all together

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Using a database is the right way to keep different information together. With Tap Forms I manage all posts, post intros for sharing on social networks, images, and links. This is also done automatically by WordPress but the iOS app lacks because some useful features covered by my database are only available via a browser which, in some cases, is a quite painful way to access essential information about posts.

PlainText
Back to the roots

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Don’t care about formatting. This can be done later. Content is essential and content doesn’t need bells and whistles but a running brain. To keep the mobility the editor should be connected to a cloud storage so that editing can be continued anytime, everywhere with one of the two devices.

PlainText is connected to the cloud storage Dropbox as well as iCloud and automatically saves edited text in the cloud. Just write what’s in your mind, the rest is managed by the app. As an alternative I recommend the app ByWord which supports Markdown. The app can be updated so that text can easily posted to WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Scriptogram, and Evernote.

Note (1)
Simple text editing for users aged from 4-104.
The first text editors were Line Editors oriented to teleprinter- or typewriter- style terminals without a display. On some line editors, the cursor could be moved by commands! Line editors drastically improved text editing. In 1982 the Personal Editor was developed for PC DOS, the IBM operating system for their first personal computers like IBM PC, XT, or AT.
Limitations in Personal Editor led to the development and release of the E-Editor (E.exe) in 1984, a much faster editor that supported very long files and included a substantially enhanced user interface.
The story of the E-Family began and has not yet ended.
Simple editors are still in vogue because

  • the application loads within a blink
  • there is no need to learn how to use it
  • the file format (txt) is readable by all machines and applications
  • most of the simple editors sync automatically across iOS devices

and
are a perfect way to quickly write down a basic idea for further platform-independent usage with all other apps like an E-Mail client, a grown-up word processor like Apple’s Pages, or a mind mapping tool like iThoughts.

Note (2)
Markdown is a plain text formatting syntax designed so that it can optionally be converted to HTML. Markdown is popularly used as format for readme files, or for writing messages in online discussion forums, or in text editors for the quick creation of rich text documents. Markdown works with special characters like *italic* or **bold** to format text as italic or bold.
There is no clearly defined Markdown standard, apart from the original writeup and implementation by John Gruber, which is considered to be abandonware, leading to fragmentation as different vendors write their own variants of the language to correct flaws or add missing features.

Prizmo
The text recognition engine

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Sometimes it’s worth to take a quick screenshot of an information. Then, if you want to quote, you need a text recognition application which allows to convert an image into text. The far best app is Prizmo. Prizmo supports syncing via iCloud so that screenshots or photos made with the iPhone are also available on the iPad to extract text later.

AIO Remote
The document manager

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Sometimes it’s necessary to scan documents (e.g. invoices of charged accounts, …) with the AirPrint capable HP printer or copy them. The app also provides file management. The HP printer can be fully controlled by the app.

Google+
The content network

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G+ for iOS devices let you publish links to your WordPress blogs on Google+ to quickly extend your audience when posting to appropriate communities.

FileBowser
The data management tool

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The best app to manage files on cloud storages as well as computers is FileBrowser by Stratospherix, now also supporting Point.IO. By using a VPN connection you can access storages of remote computers in your office. FileBrowser supports the display of Microsoft Office files, Apple iWork files, PDF files, and other well-known formats.

Additional apps
Various tasks

For other related tasks the software configuration can be extended by TeamViewer Remote Control (managing the still indispensable Windows PC in the office) and further apps which connect you with other social networks like LinkedIn, Pinterest, Scoop.it, Path, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Twitter, and Facebook. An additional useful app is the free version ‘PS Express’ by Adobe for some basic editing of images.

Blog articles with high quality require intense researches to enable readers to validate your content and for quoting content of other authors. This can be done by using the mind mapping tool iThoughts with it’s integrated browser or by saving links as bookmarks in Safari using a special folder like ‘BlogResearch’. Doing it with iThoughts is the more convenient way if you create the blog structure already with a mind map.

The whole configuration …

Made with iThoughts for the iPad here is a summary of all compontents I use for blogging.

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If you use a mind mapping tool you can benefit from links assigned to topics. These topics are marked with a small globe. Tapping on a topic opens the website within the integrated browser of iThoughts without switching to the standard browser.

Feel free to download this mind map.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.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

Related links …

Features of WordPress blogs

iThoughts for the iPad

DBMS on iOS devices (1)
DBMS on iOS devices (2)
DBMS on iOS devices (3)

E-Family

Text Recognition (1)
Text Recognition (2)

Google+ on iOS devices

File Browser and Point.io

Summary …

It works but admittedly it would work also with a cheaper configuration when using Android devices. But the price is often not the one and only criterion. In my case it’s the homage to a great visionary, an innovator, and a top influencer of our times.

It was Steve Jobs who forced me to join Apple’s ecosystem and start blogging about this fascinating company and the much more fascinating people who made Apple to the most valuable and innovative company in the world (Forbes 2013).

The only task which cannot be done with an iOS device is uploading of files to websites like BIGGERPLATE, the mind mapping platform.

Thanks for being a loyal visitor on iNotes4You.com.





Features of WordPress.com blogs

18 03 2013

http://iNotes4You.com is powered by WordPress.com.

WP is the worldwide largest offer for free Blogs (35 million) with a lot of pre-defined functionalities so that everybody is able to publish articles within less than one day. In contrast to self-hosted blogs on WordPress.org there are some limitations regarding plug-ins, design and source code because of security reasons. WP offers a lot of free themes one can use for the layout of the website. So I did when choosing the theme FRESHY.

I started blogging in October 2012 without any knowledge of programming a website. And at the time I still don’t have this knowledge and I don’t want to spend my time with administrating a complex website and annoying the readers with intrusive advertisement. This blog goes along the line of ‘Back to content.’.

Note
If you look on my About page you will see that my native language is German. So be sympathetic if you stumble upon words or phrases you never heard before. This may happen when a German word is translated by a free iPad app. I completely lost faith in this iOS lady named SIRI doing such things for me.

Spam …

INotes4You’s blog uses Akismet (short word for Automattic Kismet).
Akismet is brought to bloggers by Automattic (not misspelled, it’s the companies name), the creators of WordPress.com. For over 5 years, Automattic has been committed to fighting spam by continually improving the Akismet algorithm.

Spam most people know; it’s the unwanted commercial commenting or mailing. Ham is the counterpart, legitimate comments. On the Akismet mistakes side, missed spam is pretty self-explanatory, and a false positive is a legitimate comment incorrectly identified as spam.

Each time a new comment, trackback, or pingback is added to my site it’s submitted to the Akismet web service which runs hundreds of tests on the comment and returns a thumbs up or thumbs down. I check the content recognized as spam (because Akismet may made a mistake) and then delete it, if I only see ads or soft-soaping. Up to now more than 2,500 comments have been identified as spam within just 6 months.

Sorry, if Akismet and I made a mistake, which I hope happens very rarely. Use the contact form on my About page to kvetch.

Further information about spam on Akismet

For those who just started reading blogs here is a description of the functionalities of my WordPress.com blog.

Appearance …
My blog is about Apple’s iOS devices so it’s obvious that a WordPress.com option (Mobile Theme) is activated. It ensures an optimized display of the site even on the iPhone.

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Your interests …

There are two functionalities that can be used for finding out the which articles may be interesting for you. Some bloggers build an extra page containing links to articles sometimes outlined by special criteria. But in time this list gets longer and longer and so it’s no real summary any longer.
A mind map would be helpful. By opening a branch more detailed information could be presented.
But the form factor of an iOS device hampers the clarity of this type of outlined information.
So they are only two more traditional features available: Search and Categories.

Search …
is a full-text search. If you enter a string all blogs are shown containing this string. The string may be a complete word, a part of a word or several words.
If you enter ‘ios 7′ you get my blog from 2013-01-22.

Categories …
are topics defined by myself. Categories are an additional Search-Feature.
Open the categories box to see which categories are available at the time.
If you select a category all blogs with this category assigned are displayed.

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Recent posts …
shows the titles of the last 10 posts which covers about one month.

Follow blog via E-Mail …
is an optional notification feature.
If you fill in your E-Mail address you will be informed immediately after a new article is published. The E-Mail contains a direct link to the article and is sent from WordPress.com to you. You may unsubscribe anytime by clicking on a link in the E-Mail.
Numerous polls have found that Americans and not only Americans consider advertising mail to be intrusive. You never will get any advertisement mails when you subscribe to http://iNotes4You.com.

You should know that this blog does not pursue any commercial purposes as it is hosted by WordPress COM. Only self-hosted blogs via WordPress ORG are allowed to be commercial.

So just enjoy this blog like I do when writing for you.

Archives …
show the months with published articles.
Tap on a month and the assigned articles are displayed.

Calender …
displays the actual month. Highlighted dates point to published articles.

Authors …
show the names or pseudonyms of contributing people. At the time it’s just me. If you want to become a contributor don’t hesitate to send me a short note via my page About.

Tag Cloud …

WordPress calls it Tag Cloud, a cloud looking list of tags (keywords) I assigned to my articles. This feature is completely generated by a WordPress.com software feature which extracts the assigned tags and composes them to the tag cloud.
Tap on a tag to list all related articles.

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Sharing …
If you are engaged in social networking you may share single articles via Facebook or other social networks. All the networks you see are directly supported by WordPress.

Note
If you are a member of Twitter then tap on the Twitter button and a tweet is generated in your Twitter profile after your confirmation. That’s the easiest way to share information with your friends. This applies also to the other networks with slight differences.

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Motivation …
is the most important aspect for the writer.
He get’s it if his readers tap on ‘Like’ (this requires a free WordPress.com account) or, more important for me, comment on an article, positive or negative. You will always get a reply from iNotes4You whatever you wrote with the well-known limitations valid for all published material. Your comment is never published immediately. It has to be approved by the author because he is responsible for everything displayed on his website.

WordPress statistics tells me that there are readers in more than 80 countries with completely different time zones. So if you comment and get no approval in a narrow time frame I am sleeping or working on relevant things. Be sure I won’t forget you.

Blogging and Mind Mapping …

If you already blog on WordPress or plan to start blogging have a look at this mind map. It shows you what you have to do and what you should not forget before publishing an article. I created this map with the app iThoughts by Craig Scott (UK) on an iPad.

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If you already use a mind mapping app on your device you may download this mind map on

BIGGERPLATE.com (The mind map library)
Goto Search and enter ‘iNotes4You’ to locate the file and beyond.

or download the mind map here from Dropbox

Application File format
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

Tips for searching …

The WordPress.com search engine indexes post, pages, and comments content (body text).

There is a search engine at

http://search.wordpress.com/

which has a few options to refine your search criteria:

site:
This limits the search results to a specific WordPress.com blog. If you want to limit your search for Keynote to just iNotes4You.com use
‘site:iNotes4You.com keynote’.

tags:
You can limit search results with specific tags. To limit your search for mobile to posts specifically tagged with iphone you’d search for ‘tags:iphone mobile’. This works with multiple tags as well, ‘tags:iphone,apple mobile’.

username:
Find out what Om Malik said about mobile with a ‘username:om mobile’ search.

These can all be combined as well. Searching for
‘site:gigaom.com username:om tags:iPhone mobile’
will limit results to just those on gigaom.com posted by Om Malik that have the tag iPhone and contain the word mobile.

For Topics (Tags page) searches see

http://en.support.wordpress.com/topics/

Google
For Google searches use this format and replace “keyword” with whatever word you wish:

keyword site:wordpress.com/

Thanks a lot for reading my blogs.
Please use the available buttons for sharing on social networks.








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