Publishing Mind Maps

31 08 2013

If you create mind maps you may publish your work on Biggerplate, your blog, or on social networks like Google+.

Here is a description of how I do it to seamlessly allow other people to download the map. On my iPad I use the app iThoughts HD by Craig Scott, UK, which is the best mind mapping tool for the iPad.

To justify my steps you should consider that

  • Not everybody uses a mind mapping tool but nevertheless is interested in the content of your map.
  • Compatibility between the different file formats used by min mapping tools is more or less limited.
  • For some maps like feature descriptions it’s useful to additionally provide the map e.g. as a Powerpoint presentation.
  • For maps near to artworks like those of Daniel Tay you should provide the map in PNG file format.

Additionally you should know that uploading a map to Biggerplate does not work. The reason is Apple’s filesystem which does not allow direct access to app specific folders or cloud based storages when using the SAFARI or any other browser. The only files you may upload with an iOS device are photos from the camera roll. The functionality is called ‘Take photo or video’ or ‘Choose existing’.

Direct uploads from mobile devices to Biggerplate are hopefully possible in the future.

The workaround …

It’s useful to save maps on cloud-based storages additionally to the local folder of the app iThoughts. Use Dropbox, Box, or any other cloud which can be accessed by a WebDAV connection like iDriveSync (via hostname By using a cloud storage you backup your map and you can share it with others as well.
Access to a cloud storage can be done in iThoughts when using the function Copy To Cloud. Tap on ‘+’ and enter the credentials for your Dropbox or Box account and additionally the hostname for WebDAV access.
To retrieve the sharing link use the native apps for your cloud account. All these apps are free.
I prefer Box net and iDriveSync because of the many more features compared to Dropbox and the perfect design of the website for downloads.

If your map is created and saved follow these steps.

Step 1 Create a description

Describe your map.
Add links to the files you saved in alternate file formats to improve user-friendliness.
Add some information about yourself as text or link to your website or profile e.g. on Google+.
See the images below for an example.

You can use this map description for

  • upload to Biggerplate
  • your post an Google+ or other social networks
  • your own documentation

Step 2 Upload to Biggerplate

See these screenshots to provide appropriate information to Biggerplate.

Step 3 Share your map

After uploading to Biggerplate dialogs for sharing the map on Twitter and Facebook is automatically available.
Sharing on other social networking platforms like Google+, LinkedIn, or Pinterest must be done manually. Use the image of your map (PNG) to illustrate your post and the description to give some additional information to your followers resp. visitors.

If you include the PNG file format make sure that all topics which should be displayed in details are expanded and all others are collapsed. The PNG is generated by following WYSIWYG.

File formats …

You should provide all the file formats supported by Biggerplate.
This ensures seamless downloads even for people not using the app iThoughts.

For mind maps with more descriptive content try out the Microsoft Word format (docx) and the Microsoft Powerpoint format (pptx) which can be imported in Apple’s iWork Suite (Pages, Keynote) as well.

Compatibility …

Here is an example how mind maps look like in other applications if you use an alternate file format provided by iThoughts.

With iThoughts your map can be optionally saved in the file format of Mindjet (IMX). See this comparison between the map within the native app iThoughts and the map saved by iThoughts in Mindjet file format opened by the mobile version of Mindjet.

Compatibility regarding layout, sizes, and images is limited but structure and content were retained unchanged. By the way: The desktop version of Mindjet does the task much more better.

Summary …

Present your maps user-friendly by providing different file formats and a comprehensive description.

This map summarizes all the main informations of my article.


You may download this map in the following file formats


ITMZ (Native format of iThoughts)

MMAP (Mindjet)


Related links …

Mind Mapping (3) (containing features of iThoughts)

Remarks to Mind Mapping

Mind Map vs Textual Pages

Apple on

Thanks for reading my article.
I appreciate sharing this article to your friends and followers.

The new philosopher

30 08 2013

Steve Jobs died on October 5, 2011. He made Apple to what it is today.
With his death rumors at stock exchanges predicted that the company from now on would loose essential parts of it’s reputation in the market. Many people thought that Tim Cook, the new CEO, wouldn’t be capable to ensure the companies success and ongoing growth.

The public doesn’t hear much of Tim but what we can say is that Steve’s words ‘Sell dreams not products‘ are still valid (btw for all companies) engaged in the fast growing market of electronic devices which are still seen as gadgets for entertainment by the majority of customers. This can be validated e.g. by looking on the related communities on Google+ or everywhere else.

An essential property of a smartphone as well as a tablet is the HI (Human Interface). With this part of the operating system all users are confronted with the overwhelming time they use their ‘dream’.

So designers play the essential role in the development of successful products. Let’s have a look on the man who is responsible for design at Apple, Inc.

Sir Jonathan Paul Ive, KBE RDI (born 27 February 1967) is an English designer and the Senior Vice President of Design at Apple Inc. He has the overall responsibility for Industrial Design and also provides leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) software teams across the company. He is the lead designer of many of Apple’s products, including the MacBook Pro, iMac, MacBook Air, iPod, iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini and iOS 7.

KNE (Knight Commander)
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by King George V. The Order is composed of five classes in civil and military divisions.

RDI (Royal Designer for Industry)
Royal Designer for Industry is a distinction established by the British Royal Society of Arts (or RSA) in 1936, to encourage a high standard of industrial design and enhance the status of designers. It is awarded to people who have achieved “sustained excellence in aesthetic and efficient design for industry”. Those who are British citizens take the letters RDI after their names, while those who are not become Honorary RDIs (HonRDI). Everyone who holds the distinction is a Member of The Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry (founded in 1938).

Designers are always like philosophers. Endless thinking about their product regarding uniqueness, acceptance of potential customers, usability, feasibility, and more is their daily task always with the risk to fail.

Here is the latest step forward?
Or backwards, or the first step into a period of stagnation?


Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP

Philosophers unveil their thoughts to let the people know why they did something in this way and didn’t go alternative ways. The philosophy might be unique but the market is inexorable and often doesn’t see the golden thread within design components.

At the time (iOS 6) it’s a mixture of design elements and in some cases near to reality.


That’s not everyone’s gusto. Fashion of clothing changes every year but changes of operating systems have to be well-considered because people get familiarized with the UI and do not accept basic changes within a narrow timeframe.

See these announcements of Apple retrieved from it’s website to understand Jonathan Ive’s philosophy regarding iOS 7 and hardware products.

They are part of the mind map and added as notes not visible for those who do not use any mind mapping tool. So here is an outline of these statements.

  • Simplicity is actually quite complicated.
    Simplicity is often equated with minimalism. Yet true simplicity is so much more than just the absence of clutter or the removal of decoration. It’s about offering up the right things, in the right place, right when you need them. It’s about bringing order to complexity. And it’s about making something that always seems to “just work.” When you pick something up for the first time and already know how to do the things you want to do, that’s simplicity.
  • iOS 7 is a pure representation of simplicity.
    It has a new structure, applied across the whole system, that brings clarity to the entire experience. The interface is purposely unobtrusive. Conspicuous ornamentation has been stripped away. Unnecessary bars and buttons have been removed. And in taking away design elements that don’t add value, suddenly there’s greater focus on what matters most: your content.
  • You know good design when you use it.
    We value utility above all else. We don’t add features simply because we can, because it’s technologically possible. We add features only when they’re truly useful. And we add them in a way that makes sense. The new Control Center in iOS 7 is a great example. It gives you one-swipe access to the things you often want to do on a moment’s notice.
    With iOS 7, we took something millions of people already love and refined the experience to make it even more effortless and useful. So the everyday things you need to do are the everyday things you want to do. And iOS 7 lets you work in ways that are instantly familiar, so there’s no need to relearn everything. Your Home screen is still your Home screen, for example. Only now, it takes even better advantage of your Retina display — and the space underneath the display. But you use it in exactly the same way.
  • Technology should never get in the way of humanity.
    When a product is designed properly — when you don’t have to adapt to the technology because it’s already designed around you — you develop a connection with it. It becomes more to you than just a device. iOS 7 invites that kind of connection. Interactions are dynamic. Animations are cinematic. And the experience is lively and spirited in so many unexpected yet perfectly natural ways. Open the Weather app, for example, and you’ll instantly understand. Hail bounces off text, and fog passes in front of it. Storm clouds come into view with a flash of lightning. And suddenly, checking the weather is like looking out a window.
  • It creates a sense of dimension. Several, in fact.
    iOS 7 takes full advantage of technologies in iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch to push the iOS experience further. Distinct and functional layers help create depth and establish hierarchy and order. The use of translucency provides a sense of context and place. And new approaches to animation and motion make even the simplest tasks more engaging.
  • No detail is just a detail.
    There’s a gulf between functional and enjoyable. Between not particularly noticeable and pleasantly memorable. Details bridge this gap. Details are the little things that create delight. The effect is sometimes unperceived, but it is always there, adding up to a consistent experience. And that’s one of the things that makes Apple every bit Apple.
  • Everything has been thought through. And through.
    With iOS 7, every detail warranted the same rigor toward design. Like refining the typography down to the pixel. Redrawing every icon around a new grid system. And sticking to a precise color palette. On their own, these may not be details you consciously demand or even expect. But they all work together to create a more harmonious relationship between individual elements. And a better, more delightful experience overall.

Best practice regarding design is always almost based on purpose and function. Apple’s designs are fir solving a functional problem as simply and elegantly as possible. What we see is a timeless design when looking on the mobiles, the Macbook Air, the Mac Pro, or the new Airport Extreme.

Each of the ergonomic products is designed for seamless use, maximum comfort, a long serviceable life, and a minimal environmental footprint.

Simplicity is the key to success and in the line with Steve Job’s belief of saying NO to bells and whistles.

Simplicity leads to benefits for

  • … the User
    Simple designs with intuitive features and few manual controls are easier to use and force people to use nearly all features if their devices and not just 40% as it is the case with e.g. Microsoft Office products.
  • … the Organization
    Seamless-to-use products limit the need for training for both today’s and tomorrow’s employees.

It will be exciting to see what happens on and after Apple’s event on September 20, 2013.

Remark …

Sometimes I think about Tim’s situation.
How does a man feel, being the actual CEO of the most valuable company of the world, if he looks at all the publications where just Steve is mentioned?
A human reaction is to feel sad. So let’s give him a chance to get the credits he deserves.

Thanks for dropping by.

Apple’s Intangible Assets

28 08 2013

This article is about a company which is still greatly influenced by one man.

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc., fired by Apple in 1984 and stepped in again as CEO in 1997, is one of the top influencers of our times. Forbes reported Apple as the most valuable company of the world.

In the world of accounting, we speak of tangible and intangible assets to keep track of a company’s property. A tangible asset is anything that has a physical existence like buildings, equipment, and land. Intangible Assets are nonphysical resources and rights that have a value to the company because they give some kind of advantage in the market. Examples of intangible assets are goodwill, copyrights, trademarks, patents and computer programs and financial assets, including such items as accounts receivable and stocks.

The credit belongs to Steve who looked far enough into the future, made the right decisions in order to be the essential step ahead of the competitors.

When Apple released its first iPad in 2010, forward-looking universities around the world started research studies on how this device could be integrated into learning and teaching.
There are many representatives of the educational system still getting euphoric when it comes to iPads in schools or universities. The new approach to mobile device technology forces all the people involved to try to go new ways. Teachers always look for techniques to generate interest and keep motivation on a high level. For sure they cannot delegate their responsibility to a device. Success and positive results in learning and teaching with an iPad is no automatism. It’s hard and subtle work to adjust all the parameters which give direction to new methods of learning.

And Steve Jobs with his company initiated this all.


This mind map shows the success of a PHILOSOPHY not a strategy.


Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

These file formats have been created by iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP

Personal influences …

I started using a mobile device in the mid-1990s for calling until 2010.
I limited the usage of the internet to the office with permanent researches in knowledge bases.
Coming home I didn’t like to sit in front of a computer again.
It was in 2010 when my youngest son outed himself as a proud owner of an iPhone 3G.
I took a look on it and what should I say: I was simply impressed.

As a teacher at Bluecher-High-School Cologne I already was confronted with Apple products in the 1970s when the city of Cologne purchased Apple computers for teaching informatics. But I hate these products and by the way, most of them were not available because of hardware failures. So every morning I took an IBM PC, which at that time was a quite heavy machine, to school and used this as an appropriate teaching tool.

While abandoning a prejudice my brain started to work intensively and I saw many applications to use it privately. After a couple of weeks my 3 GS replaced my 30$ Nokia phone. Sometimes handicapped by the form factor I decided to additionally purchase an iPad. Here is what inspired me to do after getting in touch with this incredible device:

  • Starting this blog
  • Doing all private and even some business-related tasks on the iPad
    See my blog One year without a PC
  • Revamping parts of the UI of our companies product by overtaking guidelines of Apple
  • Engaging in social networking

My main criteria for buying an iPad: Retina Display, iCloud Syncing, iWork Suite

And all this is a consequence of Steve Jobs new approach to mobile technology.
And more …
It made Steve Jobs an admirable personality and forced me to pay my tribute to him by writing this article.
I don’t know Steve personally but within 2 years I learned a bit about the ecosystem he built up with his distinguished employees.

Some Annotations …

After the death of Steve Jobs many publishing media rumored that Apple’s power of innovation would be over. But we must not forget that it was not only Steve Jobs who did the work. Thousands of highly qualified employees went along with him and still go along with Tim Cook.

What is the future?

Apple SWOT Analysis

I cannot claim to predict the future but it seems to me that the company one more time has to think different while faced with all it’s strong competitors doing a good job as well for a constantly growing number of customers.

Tim Cook has a really hard job and we should wish him success so that Steve Jobs life work can be continued.

I’m not qualified to advise Tim Cook but with reference to Steve Jobs Stanford’s 2005 commencement address Tim should internalize these thoughts:

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

“There’s an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love. ‘I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.’ And we’ve always tried to do that at Apple. Since the very, very beginning. And we always will.”

And I think with all the new products including iOS 7 the company is on a good way to do so.

Other opinions …

All that might be so.
But there are others with strong arguments and many pros for the main competitor. It’s Google with lots of services, and an operating system for mobiles with an open architecture.

You should read this post published on Google+ which is one of the best posts I ever read because it’s based on facts not rumors or stats.

Scott Jackson + Paul Stamatiou

Steve Jobs timeline …

If you a interested in further details of Steve Jobs life visit, the worlds largest free mind mapping library.

Steve Jobs Timeline 1955-2011

Steve Jobs live …

See these amazing videos about Steve

Steve Job’s one last thing

and the Introduction of the iPhone in 2007 which is still the biggest event in consumer electronic’s history

Thanks to Steve Jobs who brought so many innovative ideas into our everyday life.

Speed Test

25 08 2013

Nature with it’s electromagnetic waves traveling with the speed of light helps us to retrieve information from the internet pretty fast even if the way data is taking is by far not the shortest possible.

Using a link from within an app a website opens after about 3 sec including the opening of Safari browser. It’s quite fast compared to a bus, a car, a high speed train, or even an aircraft.

The speed of light …

If there is a cellular connection to the Internet data can be transmitted without using a medium in contrast to sound which needs the air or the earth to propagate and to transmit information like the cry ‘Help, help’.

Electromagnetic waves transfer data in vacuum at the speed of light. None of Apple’s innovative techniques can make it faster. It’s a law of nature (a universal physical constant) found out by

Ole Rømer first demonstrated in 1676 that light travelled at a finite speed (as opposed to instantaneously) by studying the apparent motion of Jupiter’s moon Io. In 1865, James Clerk Maxwell proposed that light was an electromagnetic wave, and therefore travelled at the speed c appearing in his theory of electromagnetism. In 1905, Albert Einstein postulated that the speed of light with respect to any inertial frame is independent of the motion of the light source, and explored the consequences of that postulate by deriving the special theory of relativity and showing that the parameter c had relevance outside of the context of light and electromagnetism. After centuries of increasingly precise measurements, in 1975 the speed of light was known to be 299,792,458 m/s with a measurement uncertainty of 4 parts per billion. In 1983, the metre was redefined in the International System of Units (SI) as the distance travelled by light in vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second. As a result, the numerical value of c in metres per second is now fixed exactly by the definition of the metre.

Within media like cables it’s slightly slower, about 90 km/second (324,000 km/h or 201,324 miles/h).

With the speed of light you would need

From geostationary sattelite to earth 119 ms
From Sun to Earth 8.3 min
Across the Milky Way 100,000 years

And from Cupertino (Apple’s Headquarter) to Cologne in Germany?
Well that’s a problem. The app Google Maps showed me neither the way nor the distance. But there is a more severe problem: Light propagates linear. So a light beam would’t go the way to Cologne.

Internet connection …

If you connect your device to the Internet data is transferred via a couple of stations.

With the app Nice Trace the way the data takes from source (the server where you get the data from) to destination (your iPhone or iPad) can be reported.

This is the way my website is transferred to my device.


Measuring the speed …

I want to compare the apps

SpeedTest by Ookla, USA

Speed Test by Russian Internet Solutions LLC

cnLab Speed by cnLab AG Swiss


My home configuration is a Cable Internet Connection from German provider UNITYMEDIA with a Cisco Modem and Apple’s router AirPort Extreme working on 802.11 a/b/g/n standard in the 5 GHz band. The device was an iPad 3rd Gen.

To eliminate ups and downs of the data transfer speed I measured the transfer rate for downloads under the following conditions:

50 repeated measurements
every day for one month at 8 am, 1 pm, and 9 pm

The apps used different test servers.

To compare the results I calculated the mean value of all measurements for each app.

Do the measured values come close to the everyday usage of your device with all the ups and downs of the internet connection?

Yes, they do.

Here is the result of using the app FTP Client PRO by Anders Havn with which I downloaded a file of 305 MB file size under the same conditions described above.


Here are mean values of all the results I took over a period of one month:


An alternate app …

If you are interested in an app which combines speed test with network analysis try

Net Analyzer by Jiri Techet

This perfect universal All-In-One app gives you all informations about a network including standard tools such as ping, traceroute, port scanner, whois, and beyond providing geolocation for all discovered servers.

Additionally I was impressed of Jiri’s perfect website for mobiles.

See this gallery to get an overview of the features:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Summary …

The results of all apps are within +-4.5 %. Differences may be caused by the different test servers used during measurements. All apps do what they are intended to do but cover just one functionality except Net Analyzer by Jiri Techet.

Thanks for visiting

Virtual App Updates

21 08 2013

Via Apple’s App Store you are automatically notified if updates are available for any of the installed apps on your device.

Some developers seem to try to get back in the remembrance of their users by deploying updates which are no updates. Do they trip up their users? Or is it a suitable way to again force reports about their product on various websites? This would be an efficient but not new way to improve attention.

An example …

On June 14 an update of the app Speedtest was released with the following announcements:


I compared the older version 3.0.1 with the reportedly updated version 3.1.
As you can see there are no visible differences between the two versions.


So there are two questions left:

What was the reason for releasing version 3.0.1?

There were definitely no significant bugs in this version and so there was no necessity to deploy it.

What was the reason for releasing version 3.1?

Fact is that all of the announced improvements in version 3.1 already were implemented in version 3.0.1.
Is it just a faulty description of the developer?
Admittedly there might be improvements like greater stability. This cannot be estimated by users and remains a secret.

Hastily stitched together …

Apple is known as a company releasing finished products. That’s part of a successful marketing.
Other developers are on a completely different way by releasing products where everybody would say that the app is not yet in beta phase looking like a ‘code embryo’ with a UI and a UX from the Middle Ages.

In times of cut-throat competition, businesses need to be focussed, innovative, and aggressive to find potential customers. It is the prime responsibility of every business to give customers full product information and ensure after-sale customer services to retain them.

But does this pressure justify customer irritation?

The app I’m talking about is offers an enterprise Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform (launched on July 16, 2013) and Enterprise Gateway products for specialized enterprise mobile application development. Focused on document management and workflow, the platform is designed to help enterprises embrace BYOD (Bring your own device) while maintaining control of their content.

Since the Gateway handles all secure communication across the firewall, a VPN is no longer required. Users have access to more types of remote storages, including behind-the-firewall repositories like SharePoint, FTP, SFTP, Google Drive and Amazon S3.

That’s part of the full-flavored announcement of the company.
Fact is that on an iOS device just FTP and Google Drive are supported.
The app is running from one update to another nearly by the speed of light.


The actual flaws

  • The app cannot be used after opening in landscape mode although a bug-fixing was announced.
    But fortunately users can fix this bug by turning the iPad into portrait and then back to landscape mode.
    I ask myself whether the developer ever has used his app on an iOS device.
  • Microsoft Excel spreadsheets cannot be displayed.
    If you try to open a xls file the screen is simply white.
    This is definitely the best encryption method I’ve ever seen.
  • You will never get an answer when using the ‘Submit a bug’ function.
    What you get from the company when testing the app and writing extensive bug descriptions: a kick in the …

Why do I call these updates virtual? Well, the developers seem to live in a virtual world and lost the connection to reality and their customers. Sad to say that the basic idea of summarizing access to many clouds is pretty good but the marketing is beneath contempt.

The Pareto Principle …

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

80-20 Rule Applies To Bugs, Not Just Features by P. Rooney, Microsoft CEO

80-20 Mind Map by Liam Hughes, UK at

If this is true a developer should change 20% of an app’s code to satisfy 80% of it’s customers.

I tried to validate this principle several times by working 20% of my time in the office, drinking coffee in the remaining time to settle 80% of my tasks. I tell you all, I did not work.

Long-term bug fixing …

Last but not least there was an app named Files Connect by Antecea Inc. (a paid app and said to be the iOS app of the week in July 2011!), one of my first file management apps, with a severe display problem. Every time you came back from the folder view to the home screen (showing all defined storage connections) the screen was overlaid by cryptic patterns so that you could not use it for further navigation. Additionally there was a severe error when accessing clouds via WebDAV.


Many times I filed this bug to the company, got an answer by mail telling me that an update is on the way and finally I received the update about one year later!

Check the version history of this app in the AppStore:

Version 2.4 Posted July 02, 2012
Version 3.1 Posted July 22, 2013

The consequences (German AppStore):
No review since October 2011, uncountable complaints

And by the way, apps of Antecea are expensive and some features you need in one app are implemented in another app of the company. For completing your feature list you have to buy them all.

Summary …

Releasing updates that are no updates is a good way to improve ad and loose a bit business confidence. Some other developers follow this strategy as well. As a customer I expect a correct and understandable change log not only in the App Store but also within the app. That helps to explore and use all the new features. Developers often ignore this service and long-term consequences are decreasing revenues and the loss of reliability in the eyes their customers, a company killer at its best.

Here is an example of a perfect communication with customers when releasing an update. It’s a complete description, accessible from within the app, and offers real improvements not minimalist rework of more or less useless features.


Even developers are human beings and therefore do cloudy things.
That wouldn’t be a problem for users if there is a well-functioning internal control system.
Let’s be sympathetically with all the developers. I know they are always flat out like a lizard drinking.

If you are a proud owner of an iPad or iPhone mark the following text, tap on Speak, close your eyes, and listen what the American theologian R. Niebuhr told us:

God grant us the serenity
to accept the things we cannot change,
the courage to change the things we can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Internalize this wisdom when getting the next virtual app update.

Solely satisfied customers improve future business. Placebos, virtual updates, and extraterrestrial developers are not welcome.

Related links …

The Maldives

App Development + Marketing

Thanks for visiting my blog.

About communities

18 08 2013

There are thousands of communities you easily can register for.
What I learned while engaging in social networking is on the one hand satisfying and on the other hand quite disappointing.

What you should know about me …

I myself engaged in blogging here on WordPress since about 10 months and got my first accounts on social networks in January 2013. So I’m a real newbie and I thought it could be interesting for you to read about how an older (60+) newbie recognizes the scene.

Let me talk about the disappointing experiences and my faults as well on Google+ and other networks.

I was kicked off from totally 3 communities and 2 forums. You may ask me why?
Well, all bans, I suppose, were based on the argument of self-promotion and cross posting over many communities within a narrow timeframe. Just in one case a moderator notified me because I was a bit off topic. I understood his arguments, the post staying not 100% (but 80%) on topic was deleted and the case was closed, an indication of a well managed community. In a forum somebody had a serious problem with an Apple device and I posted a link to an article on my blog which contained the workaround to finally fix the problem. The notification I got was: Banned for lifetime because of self-promotion.

What is ‘self-promotion’?

If you are a content creator you usually have much work with researches, writing the contents, adding images, and setting the final layout. Posting a link to this article may result in a punishment. But if you just post a link to an article written by others it’s allowed. Admittedly posting links to your own blog might be self-promotion if the blog is for commercial purposes, contains ad, and articles vendors pay for. My blog is in no way commercial and so I think the moderators banning me without notification should better do another job. Authors of contentful and non-commercial blogs commenting on hundreds of articles of other members are the ones who are really active members in a community. But in some cases none of that counts at all.

Promotion is a term used frequently in marketing. Elements are personal selling, advertising, sales promotion, direct marketing, and publicity. Fundamentally, there are three basic objectives of promotion:

  • To present information to consumers as well as others.
  • To increase demand.
  • To differentiate a product.

There are different ways to promote a product in different areas of media. Promoters use internet advertisement, special events, endorsements, and newspapers to advertise their product. Many times with the purchase of a product there is an incentive like discounts, free items, or a contest. This is to increase the sales of a given product.

Does an uncommercial blog (where the TOS disallow ad) fit into this categories?

Stats, not valid for all parts of the internet but for communities show us:

Creators Contributors Lurkers
1% 9% 90%

The “90–9–1” version of this rule states that 1% of people create content, 9% edit or modify that content, and 90% view the content without contributing.
The actual percentage is likely to vary depending upon the subject matter. For example, if a forum requires content submissions as a condition of entry, the percentage of people who participate will probably be significantly higher than one percent, but the content creators are still the minority of all members. This is validated in a study conducted by Michael Wu, who uses economics techniques to analyze the participation inequality across hundreds of communities segmented by industry, audience type, and community focus.
This can be compared with the similar rules known to information science, such as the 80/20 rule known as the Pareto principle, that 20 percent of a group will produce 80 percent of the activity, however the activity may be defined.
The 1% rule is often misunderstood to apply to the Internet in general, but it applies more specifically to any given Internet community.


What is a community without the 1% creators? Well, the community wouldn’t exist.

These stats, independent of it’s general validity, reinforced my disappointment about some communities. So I placed a question on Google+ Discuss community. An intense discussion started but sadly none of the suggestions could convince me.
Summarized, all the contributors advised me to become a hybrid by stashing that it’s me who created the content by leaving out the link to my completely uncommercial blog.

Here is one of the answers to my question how to avoid self-promotion:

Post your entire article to the communities with no link to your blog.

Transferring a WordPress article via clipboard to a post on Google+ means:

  • You loose all formatting and have to format again with the limited capabilities offered by Google+ like bold and italic text.
  • You cannot assign text to images.
  • You cannot refer to former published articles although it might be useful for readers.
  • The article looses clarity and attractiveness.

What about spam?

Contributors to my question on Google+ brought forward the argument that it’s seen as spam if I post links to my blog on many communities. Even this argument I don’t really understand.

Two posts per week per community: Is that spam? Spam is unwanted, useless and often dubious information for commercial purposes. Are links to non commercial blogs with well researched content spam?

Ten posts per day linking to websites where the latest fashionable cases for an iPhone are offered, that’s spam but it will not be punished. Why not? Well, I don’t want to speculate. Anyway, what I see is that there is no visible separation between leisure driven and commercial driven communities.

A flaw in the concept of Google+ and other networks.

It’s the prerogative of moderators to ban members of communities but they should do it with reasonable points and a short notification. Be friendly must also be valid for moderators. A quick look on a post should give enough information to decide whether a ban must not or should be done with notification.

I’m definitely no social scientist and so my article may be rejected by experts and marked as useless. But this time it’s ‘Advantage Thomas’: I’m not afraid of being banned from my own blog.

All these experiences forced me to look a bit deeper into this topic.
To make it clear:
I’m not talking about communities build up for improving business but on what I call leisure communities.

First let’s define a leisure community.

Community can refer to a usually small, social unit of any size that shares common values or interests. By definition, a community is a group of people who develop relationships around a strong common interest.
In support communities, those relationships don’t happen. People come, ask questions, get help, and leave.

Social networks are not necessarily communities. If you think about followers of your Twitter account I cannot see any properties that build up a community. With it’s limitation to 140 characters an exchange of opinions is simply not possible and content is reduced to bubbles. There is no structure neither in tweets or followers nor in content. I saw tweets just consisting of hashtags and I must say:

That’s bullshit, without content, and consequently useless.

Facebook allows content management but it does not really allow to structure and summarize content you are interested in. And: I don’t want to talk about the UI and all the shady dating offers.
Stats say that on Facebook the three most popular brands are Coca-Cola, Disney, and Starbucks while on Google+ it’s Android, Mashable, and Chrome.

Admittedly there are strong benefits of Twitter and Facebook when it comes to spread important information all over the world e.g. information about the Arab Spring.

Unlike Twitter other social networks like Google+ allow extensive exchange of information and understandable statements. Connections can be organized in so-called Circles and content is organized in so-called Communities where the main topic is structured by subtopics. Information exchange can be done privately with your connections as well.

Summarized …


For a further analysis of communities I first want to classify them, the authors and the content.

Types of communities …

  • 1 Fan communities
    The members are passionate followers of a company, new technology, or other areas of life like photography or arts.
    Many posts are short and contain feelings agreed by all readers but containing nothing new. Authors are better named as writers or link forwarders.

    These communities mostly have no commercial purpose at all. Members are free to post their opinions. Progress in knowledge is not targeted.

  • 2 Business driven communities and forums
    These communities are often created by business owners or people who operate websites to earn their living by external advertisement.
    Creators and moderators often see authors with valuable content as competitors and a ban might be the consequence.
    I saw moderators who were pretty much authoritative, showed extreme shortfall in arguments, and craved for recognition.
    Admittedly there are some companies providing community members with more than advertisement and are willing to communicate with their members. Use these communities as an information pool for products you are interested in. Usually it’s not the right place to communicate with others.
  • 3 Anything goes communities
    The content published in these communities is like the content of the yellow press. Articles are not moderated, authors are no experts, and content is almost always not validated. Self-proclaimed experts are the authors, sorry I would call them writers. Flaws in common parlance and spelling is a daily fare. Leave these communities because any attempt to post sophisticated content will not be recognized.
  • 4 Thinkers communities
    These communities are moderated by people who’s main target is to present valuable content regarding special topics. A chosen team of authors provide readers with validated content. Stay in this community and improve your knowledge about topics you are interested in. Don’t hesitate to even ask simple questions. If the community is interested in building opinions it should be also interested in introducing newbies to the topics.

    A good example for a high quality community is the Google+ community ‘Mind mapping’ where I got sophisticated comments on my posts from experts.

  • 5 Expert communities
    These communities are created by scientists and the content is mostly not intended for the public because of complexity of the topics.
  • 6 Gadget communities
    These communities often have a high number of members. A wide variety of content is presented. Uncountable rumors, tips, and accessories are presented and users feel a never ending craving for news. News are news for just one day, some hours, or just on a three-second glimpse. Then they all are trashed.
    In all cases the author is not recognized as the contributor.

    Unfortunately these communities also contain unvalidated reports about products. In many cases these products are not really tested by the author. Posts are mainly driven by the pressure to frequently compete with other posts.

    If you are disappointed leave the community.
    There are many alternatives to get an active member of another community of people sharing your interests and willing to communicate.

Community rules …

Here is an example of a well verbalized set of rules.
It’s from the Google+ community ‘iPad Apps’ moderated by Patrick Jordan.

Stay on topic!
This community is about iPad apps. Not Apple news and rumors. Not iPhone jailbreak tricks. Not the latest Android device or apps news. Just iPad apps.

Whenever you share a link, tell us why you share, why we should read your post.

For every post you share, please read 1-2 other’s posts, and let the author know by liking or commenting.

Post to the correct category
so that all of us can find relevant discussions more easily. If you have a category you think needs to be added, let me know.

App Promo Posts Go in the ‘Promoting Apps’ Category
I’m seeing too many promo posts from people who never comment or post here but just pop in to spam an app they’re involved with. These are OK for now, but only if they’re in the proper category. Any posted to the general discussion area will be removed.

Use Common Sense on Etiquette
This should go without saying, but be a good community member. Get involved in discussions, post interesting things or pose interesting questions. Don’t just come in shouting ‘Hey, look at my thing’ and never do anything else.

If nudity or hate speech is found or posted, will be grounds for removal.

Repeated violators will he removed from the group without notification. This group will be monitoring member complaints about postings.

Patrick tries to run a community with active members.

What does that mean?

People posting links all the time without commenting them just crave attention. It’s in easy job to collect links, post them and that’s all. In many cases the linked articles are not even read by the poster. You can verify this when asking a question in the comment section and getting no answer.

You don’t have to join these communities because you can do this yourself by simply starting a Google search e.g. “new cases iPhone”. If you recognize that this behavior of posters is allowed in a community leave it so that the number of members decreases. There are many alternatives and quoting a comment to my question on Google+

It’ll sort itself out. Poorly run and mismanaged communities will flounder, well run and properly managed communities will flourish.

Causes of conflicts …

I found this comprehensive overview of Blaise Grimes-Viort about conflicts in communities and couldn’t express myself better. So here are the main considerations:

Expectations related causes of conflict
Your community members may have expectations that aren’t being met, or don’t match up with other members’ expectations. These can include:

  • 01. Differing principles & mismatching values: Are your community principles prominently displayed and are you attracting the right people to your online community?
  • 02. Diversity of perspectives: do you have such a diverse membership that their perspectives are clashing too much?
  • 03. Lack of focus: Is your community wandering aimlessly or do they know what the purpose of engaging is?
  • 04. Disagreement over strategy or execution: does your membership agree with where you want to take your online community and how you are going about doing so?

Personality-driven causes of conflict
We’re all very different and have our own unique personality. While this makes your online community interesting and encourages a range of debate, sometimes personalities and ways of communicating clash, for example:

  • 05. Limitations of reading and writing capabilities: are some of your community members less literate, or less careful about how they write or making sure they understand the message they are responding to than others?
  • 06. Immovable opinions: Have participants decided their personal positions in a debate and are incapable of flexible debate?
  • 07. In-articulation of differing values: Are participants in the community not making differing sets of values clear enough for productive discussions to take place?
  • 08. Dismissiveness: Is there an element of patronising, demeaning or condescending language being used in the debate?

Environmental causes of conflict
Sometimes, the environment you provide for your community can cause problems. When communicating we rely on tools, both interpersonal as well as functional. When these are lacking in some way, the following can happen:

  • 09. No physical communication cues: Are the lack of non-verbal visual cues causing problems for your membership in identifying mood and tone?
  • 10. Impersonality of the medium: Are your community members losing their inhibitions and saying things they would not dare say face to face?
  • 11. Misinterpreted silences: Is the inherent asynchronicity of the medium your community uses to communicate resulting in the time delay in-between responses blowing issues out of proportion?
  • 12. Perceptions of public vs private spaces online: Do individuals amongst your membership have differing understandings of how public or private their discussions are on the web?

Emotional causes of conflict
Over time, underlying emotional issues will develop between your online community’s membership which will affect how they communicate.

  • 13. Historical problems: Do certain community members have previous personal arguments affecting their ongoing interactions?
  • 14. Prejudice: Are there personal prejudices at play when people butt heads in your online community?
  • 15. Perception of injustice: Is one member in particular complaining of being persecuted by other elements in the community?
  • 16. Power dynamics: Have a few cliques developed and are they vying for supremacy and control over your community?

This list is by no means exhaustive! Other causes could be related to jealousy, revenge, wanting to abuse authority, rudeness, a victim complex, a lack of trust, passive-aggressiveness, or simply people’s desire to be ‘right’. I’ve written another post on How to approach dealing with conflict in your online community.

Stats …

I reviewed some communities on Google+ for one month (Mid-May to Mid-June 2013)

Community Members Contributors
Mind Maps 37 6 (16.2%)
iPhone 707 54 (7.6%)
iPad Apps 2406 48 (1.9%)

These are definitely not representative numbers and without tools (I counted manually) it’s a time-robbing job to get reliable results. But nevertheless it roughly follows the above mentioned 90-9-1 principle if the community consists of a large number of members.

Usually only a small number of members are posters and the number of content creators is a very small percentage of members who just share links whereas the number of people commenting on posts is a bit higher. You can superficially verify this by activating your memory and scroll through community posts.

If all these stats are near to reality communities are basically comparable with magazines that means reading posts is much more common than writing. It’s the typical behavior of consumers.

Benefits and importance …

There are no cons for you personally as you can leave every community anytime.
But there are many benefits for you found out the right community which meets your requirements:

  • Establishment of new connections to people with different opinions, religion, and culture in other countries
  • Consolidation or change of opinions
  • Improvement of knowledge
  • Presentation of news

or just jogging for your brain.


Related links …

Socialize Me: Google+ Etiquettes

Herb Firestone: New to Google+

Jonathan Bishop

Social Media and Online Marketing Stats

Socious com


Blog Lies Damned Lies Statistics

Thanks for dropping by.


14 08 2013

Sometimes tablets or smartphones have to contact their big brother for downloading files or controlling the machine.

There are some apps I already tested which allow access to computers from anywhere and anytime e.g. iTeleport or VNC Viewer.
VNC Viewer for example needs an application installed on the computer which initiates a connection from outside the local network. In most cases the WAN IP isn’t fixed (the provider assigns new IPs from time to time) so that a dynamic DNS service is needed which requires further installation of a DynDNS client. To allow access your firewall has to be configured as well.

Why all these efforts?
You can go a much more easier way.

With over 100 million installations (says the company) TeamViewer is a standard tool to give support and assistance to people in remote locations. The application can also be used for presentations. You can show your desktop to an audience.
It’s even possible to allow interactions from your partner and configure the application for audio and video support. Within a support session files can be transferred in both directions.

So TeamViewer is much more than just a remote control application.

It works on all platforms (Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS, Android), is free for private use, easy to install and to work with, and needs no special configuration of the firewall, a proxy, or a NAT router.
TeamViewer basically works on all computers where internet access is available via HTTP protocol. Additionally port 443 (HTTPS) is checked. Alternatively port 5938 can be opened for outgoing traffic.

TeamViewer GmbH
TeamViewer HD is free for personal use, i.e. use TeamViewer HD completely free of charge to access your private computers or to help your friends with their computer problems.

The developer is the German TeamViewer GmbH, Goeppingen.
The company was founded in 2005 for exclusive development and distribution of web-based communication and collaboration. Widely spread server networks ensure efficient and affordable high performance connections based on geolocation.


In contrast to VNC it uses a proprietary protocol which makes the installation quite easy without further configuration of your environment.

TeamViewer supports online support, online presentation, web conferences, file transfer, and more. The application is offered in different versions e.g. a Quick Support module. It’s layout can be configured at your convenience e.g. displaying a company logo on the connection dilog. For occasional support sessions the app can be used without installing it.


The Requirements …

Windows PC (all versions of the OS beginning with Millennium Edition including Windows Server beginning with Server 2000), Mac (OS X 10.5 and later), Linux PC (Red Hat, Fedora, Suse, Mandriva, Debian and Ubuntu Mobile iOS), Android (beginning with 2.2), and iOS (beginning with 4.3).

The installation …

Download the client applications for your computer (Windows, OS X, Linux) and your mobile devices (iOS, Android, Windows 8).

I downloaded the latest version 8.0.18051 and installed the PC version on a Windows XP Notebook for private use with the option for accessing the PC from outside the LAN. This feature is called ‘Unattended access’ and allows direct connection from an iOS device to the PC via WiFi or cellular network.

  • Step 1
    Enter a name for your computer as well as a password for unattended access.
  • Step 2
    Apply for a TeamViewer account where all devices can be registered.
    You can use this account for easy access to your computer(s) by just tapping on the device’s name without entering its TeamViewer ID.
    Registration is free. You will get an E-Mail to confirm your E-Mail address. That’s all.

After finishing the installation TeamViewer starts and shows the unique TeamViewer ID of this computer as well as a password. With this generated password your friends can access your computer by opening their own TeamViewer application, enter your TeamViewer ID and the generated password. This feature can be used for example to help your friend if he is faced with problems you are able to fix.

The configuration …

If the client version is installed on your PC open the iOS version on your iPad or iPhone and fill in your TeamViewer account credentials.
The app shows all your computers. By simply tapping on a computers name the connection is established. From now on you can fully control your computer and even can reboot it. The option ‘Start TeamViewer with Windows’ is activated by default. So don’t worry about loosing the connection after rebooting.

Here are some of the available settings of the iOS app:


The running iOS app …

See this image which shows an iPad connected to a Windows 7 PC for remote control.


The app in filesharing mode with access to the hard drive of a Windows 7 PC:


Tap on the control at the lower right side of the iPad screen to pop up the available keyboards.


Even with an iPhone basic tasks can be done. In this case it’s recommended to use the landscape mode and the option Mouse Interactions as the input method because locating the controls on the remote computer becomes easier.


The main features …

Some of the features of the iOS app:

  • Remotely access unattended computers
  • Copy files from your home pc to your iPad and vice versa
  • Conveniently control remote computers using the iPad multi-touch gestures: left click, right click, drag & drop, scroll wheel, zoom, change monitor
  • Complete keyboard control incl. special keys such as Windows@, Ctrl+AIt+Del
  • Input methods:
    mouse interactions (swipe to control the mouse pointer, tap to click, double tap to execute, two-finger tap to use a right click) or touch interactions (without using the mouse pointer)
  • Meets highest security standards: 256 Bit AES Session Encoding, 1024 Bit RSA Key Exchange – Effortlessly access computers behind firewalls and proxy servers
  • Additionally to the TeamViewer ID the company generates a dynamic session key which is changed for every session
  • File Transfer from other computers have to be accepted by the user
  • QM certification with ISO 9001:2008
  • Automatically adjust the screen resolution of the remote computer
  • Overview of computers that are online via the integrated Partner list
  • supports 33 languages

All applications for computers are digitally signed with VeriSign Code Signing.
That means: The code of all applications is secured by a certificate which identifies the developer. Hacked versions have no chance.

Specials …

Use ‘Invite partner’ to establish a connection to an external computer e.g. the device of your friend. TeamViewer generates an E-Mail containing a link with which your partner can download an application called ‘Quick support’. An installation of this application is not necessary. It just has to be started.

Even if you close the iOS app and unlock your device the connection to your remote computer will be kept alive for about 10 minutes. This is the lifetime of an app which is closed and still in the task bar of the iOS device.

Concurrent access to a remote computer from more than one device is not possible.

On your computer TeamViewer can be opened with start parameters e.g.
C:\program files\teamviewer\version8\teamviewer.exe -i 18876347 –password test -m fileTransfer

On your iPad use the ‘Open in’ command in other applications like iWork to forward a file to TeamViewer. Within TeamViewer use ‘Copy to computer’ to transfer files from iPad to your computer and vice versa.

TeamViewer is also available as an MSI package for rolling out in domains.
Additionally TeamViewer Portable is available and can be directly opened from a USB stick.

Other versions of the client for computers:

  • TeamViewer Quick Support
    Simple and small customer module, runs immediately without installation and does not require administrative rights
  • TeamViewer Host
    TeamViewer Host is running as a system service and is used for 24/7 access to remote computers, including login/logout and remote reboot – optimized for server maintenance or home-office access

    BTW: Unlike most competitors TeamViewer includes an unlimited number of free hosts with all licenses – you just pay for the supporter license and your remote servers and computers are included for free!

  • TeamViewer Quick Join
    With the application QuickJoin, your customers can easily participate in your presentations. Your customers start the QuickJoin module and log in with their session data – ideal for quick and easy online presentations.

    The QuickJoin module can be customized as well. You can freely select logo, text and colors. In addition you can specify the session data (partner-ID and password) to let the participants connect to your presentation easily with a single click.

There are many options available to deploy special configurations.

Summary …

From my point of view TeamViewer is the best app for remotely control a computer, for file sharing, and connecting to your friends computers.

It remains by far my favorite remote control and file sharing app.
An easy, seamless, and free way to do the things you have to do with the big brother.

Try it out. Delete it if it doesn’t meet your requirements but I think this won’t happen.


The reverse way,

controlling your iPad from your computer

sadly is not possible.

At the time Apple won’t let it happen because of security reasons. But there is a product -also developed by TeamViewer- which enables limited support for mobiles. It’s called TeamViewer Mobile Support released on July 29, 2013. So the app is quite new with some inevitable flaws and it’s too early to review it. TeamViewer is an innovative and reliable company and for sure it will eradicate the issues although they have to accept the limitations set by iOS. See a detailed description coming on September 26 here on

Related links …

Remote control with iPad

Network (3) Port Forwarding

Thanks for dropping by.
Don’t hesitate to contact me via my About page or in comments if you have further questions.

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