Category Archives: General

WordPress 4.8 for iPad: The WYSIWYG Editor Saves The Day!

After suffering through years and years of an incredibly shoddy interface, I’m really happy to announce that the iOS WordPress app is now fun to use. Not only does the app now have a great what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) post editor, but image uploads and previews are now usable as well!

Previous versions of the app required you to enter text in raw HTML. There were a few shortcut buttons to add things like links or rich text tags, but for the most part, I’d write posts in Markdown using other apps (like iA Writer Pro) and paste the raw HTML into WordPress. I’ll actually probably still do that because I like keeping my writing drafts elsewhere, but the new WordPress WYSIWYG editor really just works. For bloggers who prefer to just write and have software take care of formatting, this is awesome.

Another killer part of the update is that images now upload in-line. Every version before this one would append images to the butt end of the post, which meant that I’d have to repeatedly scroll to the bottom of the page when I wanted to attach multiple images. Adding images in-line as I edit my posts just makes sense — and is a much more enjoyable experience.

Finally, I’d like to add that the preview functionality now works properly for me. Instead of seeing a borderless, formless, double-spaced version of the article I’d just written, I can now preview posts just as you readers will see them.

I’ve enjoyed writing on the iPad for a number of years now, but posting from iOS has always been a pain with the first-party WordPress app. As of two days ago and the release WordPress 4.8, writing and blogging on the iPad just got a whole lot better.

Here’s an App Store link for WordPress; it’s FREE to download and use, so if you’re a blogger, you’ll want to pick this up immediately.

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Koder for iPad: Take the Hell out of HTML

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One of the computing classes that I teach at school is HTML, and being a 1:1 iPad school I wanted to refresh my scheme of work to take advantage of using the iPad. Now, let’s get one thing out of the way, coding on the iPad may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, the fact that I can work on it in class and get the students to take the same software home and continue working is a real bonus for me. I had a good look around for an app which would fit my needs and zeroed in on Koder. My reasons for choosing this were mainly because it offered a browser preview of your code and it also wasn’t rated 17+ (Apple rates pretty much any app with a browser 17+ for unrestricted web access unfortunately). It is worth noting that it offers other coding languages, but for the purposes of this review I’m going to concentrate on HTML. Continue reading

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Happy New Year iPad Wallpaper

Happy New Year iPad wallpaper

Happy 2015! Hope all of you are enjoying the holiday season and looking forward to a healthy and happy new year.

Above is a fun Happy New Year iPad wallpaper, courtesy of the always excellent Pimp Your Screen app. I think it looks suitably festive on my iPad Air 2’s lock screen.

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Using iCloud Photo Library for Storing Videos

icloud photo library for video

I’ve now got all of my home videos across all of my devices, accessible via iCloud Photo Library. I’ve done a little bit of testing over the last few weeks and can now report on how iCloud Photo Library performs for on-demand video viewing.

First off, videos don’t ever appear to download as optimized versions. iCloud Photo Library has two storage options: downloading everything to your device, or downloading only “optimized” versions of your media. I chose the latter in order to save space. As such, in order to play anything that isn’t already downloaded, I’ve got to tap on a video thumbnail, tap on the Play button, and then wait a good 5–10s until the video begins to play. Even over Wi-Fi, playback at this point can still be a little spotty, and there have been multiple occasions where my videos have stopped in order to buffer more.

In practice, this delay in playback has actually killed a few opportunities to show a cool video I had on my iPad. I wanted to show a few workmates a choreographed dance I had filmed a year ago, but the buffering took embarrassingly long to happen, and we just ended up spending a good 30 seconds staring at a static screenshot of the video. Tagging a video as a “Favourite” doesn’t help pre-load it either. For iCloud Photo Library to be useful for video, an option to queue a video for download is needed (badly).

Photos also really needs to show which files have actually be downloaded — and to what extent. I want to see a simple icon or colour indicator over videos that have been downloaded to my device, instead of having to tap on thumbnails and just guess.

I like iCloud Photo Library well enough for photos, but it’s not really performing as expected for video. Given that I have it set to “optimize” my photos and videos, I would want my iPad to automatically download lower-res versions of all of my videos for quick playback, and then an option to download the full-res version for high quality playback. I understand that videos — especially at their current 1080p resolution — take up a lot of space and are tricky to stream, but this current system of tapping and guessing is not the right solution. iCloud Photo Library’s current setup doesn’t feel like the magic solution it’s marketed to be — and it’s ruining the illusion of the cloud as a reliable and immediate file system.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Many Thanks iPad Wallpaper

For any of you who celebrate it, Happy Thanksgiving. For those who don’t Happy late November Thursday.

Today I’m hugely thankful just to be here and healthy, and for family who are here today, friends, the beautiful day and the beautiful city I live in.

I also want to say thanks to all of you who visit iPad Insight – for reading our articles, for adding your comments, for sharing our posts on social networks, and just for visiting. Hope you’re all having a great day.

Image: via the excellent Pimp Your Screen iPad app

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iOS 8: A Very Specific Kind of Family Sharing

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My family upgraded to iOS 8 pretty quickly. My sister updated her iPhone 5, my dad updated his 4S and iPad mini, and my 5S and iPad Air were already ready. During her setup phase, my sister decided to try out a new iOS 8 feature called Family Sharing.

I’d read a little about the feature on Apple’s website and in iOS 8 reviews, but I hadn’t had any hands-on time with it, so I accepted the invite. A few minutes later my dad, my sister, and I were officially a digital Apple family. This gave us the ability to easily see each other’s app and media purchases, and it automatically set up Find My Friends and shared task lists and calendars for us.

Continue reading

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Dropbox Simplifies Pro Pricing: $10 Per Month for 1TB

Dropbox Pro 1TB

Dropbox announced a few pretty major changes to their Dropbox Pro accounts today, but the change I found most interesting was the simplification of the pricing and storage options. There’s now just one $10/month Dropbox Pro account that offers 1TB of storage, which is 10x more storage than was previously offered at that price point.

This is great for iOS users who want an alternative to Photo Stream for photo backups, since Dropbox can handle uploads of the photos and videos on your iPad’s Camera Roll (and do so in the background!). The new 1TB of storage for Dropbox Pro also pairs very nicely with Dropbox’s Carousel service for viewing and sharing your Dropbox photos…although we still need a dedicated iPad app to take full advantage of that on tablets.

I think this is great news, since I prefer Dropbox to competing services like Google Drive. However, I will likely be saving my money for iCloud Drive when it rolls out later this year, since that will natively back up my photos and videos from all of my devices at full resolution.

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Screens VNC for iPad review: Ideal for Productivity and Pranking!

Mac on your iPad
Mac on your iPad

In my first teaching job, my school at the time had a remote desktop system going where I could use my dodgy old computer at home to remotely connect to a desktop at school which gave me access to all of the programs I needed to prepare my lessons. I remember thinking it was almost like witchcraft – having more than one computer on your computer! It actually worked pretty well in the early days of broadband (despite having to set it to 16 colour mode!). This was a feature that I sorely missed when I moved schools. Jump in the DeLoren and get to 88.8 mph and fast forward to today. Fast connectivity and mobility everywhere means that we don’t have to rely on a meaty central server at a place of work to provide these connections, you can do it yourself at a fraction of the price. This is where Edovia’s Screens software comes in. Continue reading

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6 Things I’d like to see from the iWatch

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Having followed and used Apple and Google products for a while now, the generalisation seems to be that Google is the risk taking young tearaway, often coming up with awesome ideas, but implementing them in a slightly haphazard manner and Apple takes these ideas, refines them like a wise old hand and releases something that works pretty flawlessly. Take the classic Android vs iPhone. Many of the features that Android has have been around ages before Apple implemented them on the iPhone. For example, Android implemented face unlock a while back, which was fun, not that secure and was more hassle than putting in a PIN. Apple refined that idea of using a part of your body to unlock your device with Touch ID, which by all accounts works pretty flawlessly. Fingerprint ID, is of course nothing new, it’s just no one had implemented it in such a refined way until the iPhone 5s. Other people come up with the ideas, Apple converts them into something the everyday consumer can find useful.

This is how I’m feeling about the upcoming iWatch (assuming the rumours are true, and I’ll call it iWatch for the duration of the article). Tech on your wrist is nothing new. Dick Tracy started it, Pebble took it to the next level, Samsung took it back a few steps with Gear, Android Wear seems interesting but underwhelming currently (although Google asserting control over the OS is a positive thing). This all makes the iWatch an interesting prospect because I’d like to think that if Apple do release such a product, they will do so without compromise in it’s function.

So, this is what I would love to see in a possible iWatch device, in no particular order:

1 – The main emphasis on fitness. 

There is talk that the device will have up to 10 sensors which will monitor a variety of things during your day and night. Apple’s trump card for this would surely be firstly, accurate sensing, and secondly some kind of sensor that is completely different to anything else out there. Maybe something that would provide analyses of your sweat – or even urine? OK, maybe I wouldn’t want to take that step, especially if the device is expensive. I wonder if you can get insurance for that sort of thing….

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When Did Video Calling Become So Easy?

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It occurred to me recently, after chatting with a couple of friends in Portland using my iPad, that video calling has actually become a regular and casual part of my life. It took a while to get here though.

There have long been ads for Rogers video calling on the subway, but they was restricted to cellphone calls over 3G, and there was a long time where many cellular devices still lacked a decent front-facing camera (if they had one at all). Video chatting has been around on the PC for a while in the form of “Skype dates” or meetings, but they were most often (and still are) scheduled events because they usually involve two parties logging onto a service and then making contact.

These days it has become trivial to start a video call with someone. That’s because of always-on services like FaceTime and Google Hangouts, where you can log in once and always be reachable, pending an Internet connection.
I don’t do it all the time, but it feels easy enough to ring someone up to check if they’re up for a video call. If they’re busy or don’t feel like being on camera, they’ll decline and message me back.

That’s significant because few of my friends are techies, so the fact that this has caught on with them means that this isn’t just me getting excited about the possibilities of technology to enhance our lives. This is one case of the future already feeling like it has come to pass, and I forgot to mark the exact date it all happened.

The downside of all of this is that video calls often ring across my Mac, iPhone, and iPad simultaneously, and answering the call on one device often leaves the other two ringing for a few seconds more…but I’m hoping someone smart will get to that at some point.

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My Biggest iOS 8 Wish: Way Better Auto-correction


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Federico Viticci of MacStories recently unveiled version 4.0 of his website, and it’s gorgeous. One of the articles he chose to publish alongside the new design was a set of iOS 8 Wishes. I agree with most or all of the items on his list, but I think there was something missing. One of my major teeth-gnashing issue with iOS is the keyboard, which is in dire need of some loving.

The split keyboard that was added in iOS 5 was a crucial step in making data entry on the iPad more pleasant, but the whole way that auto-correct works on iOS is still far too obnoxious. I’m getting better at touch typing on my Air in landscape mode, and yet I frequently feel like I’m being punished for flying too quickly along the keys when auto-correct swoops in at the very last second. Carefully spelled names (e.g. Connelly) are suddenly changed to completely ridiculous little phrases (e.g. “comely it”), and I end up having to break the flow of my writing to head back and correct stupid typos caused by auto-correct.

I take issue with how auto-corrections are displayed. It’s workable in apps like iMessage — where the text I’m typing is situated directly above the keyboard — but it can be a real pain in the app (heyo!) when the text is any higher up on the screen. Does Apple really think it’s ergonomic or efficient for me to lift my fingers off the keyboard, dismiss a hilariously small auto-correct pop-up with a tap, and return to typing? The Blackberry, Android, and Windows Phone 8.1 OSes all feature keyboards that intelligently show auto-correction possibilities in close proximity to the keyboard, which just makes sense to me. It’s so much easier to dismiss erroneous corrections that way. The keyboard is usually where your eyes are focused, and your fingers are obviously directly above the keys as you type.

One of my biggest wishes for iOS 8 — right alongside better hardware keyboard support on the iPad — is for the system keyboard to get more than a fresh coat of paint. I think auto-correct needs a major overhaul on iOS, because it doesn’t just work. More often than not, it just works me over.

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