Trying Out Byword For My iPad Blogging


I recently bought the In-app purchase within Byword to try and blog straight from the app. Up until now, my workflow has been to write in Byword or Writer Pro, copy the html into the WordPress app, and then add screenshots processed by the Screenshot app before publishing.

Byword’s most recent update claims it can cut out one of the middle men by allowing me to publish to WordPress and add pictures straight from the app. I tried it out quickly today with this post and am quite impressed with how simple and easy it turned out to be. It’s definitely buggy on the iOS 8 beta, but this seems like a great workable solution for blogging from the iPad, without feeling like I’m using all sorts of workarounds.

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Evernote As My iPad Task Manager


I use Evernote quite a lot for my own notes, but I also use it at work. I’ve got two notebooks for each of the positions I’ve held at work, and I’ve got a few tags associated with notes depending on which coworkers I need to consult for a given project. However, as of three weeks ago, I’ve taken it one step further: I’m trying to use Evernote as my main task manager as well.

That means all of the work tasks and personal items on my to-do lists also reside in Evernote, alongside my notes about bags and cool iPad apps. It’s been a pretty big change, and Evernote’s UI isn’t exactly fun or efficient for task management, but it works and provides a very unique advantage.

First up, the basics. You don’t create Evernote reminders like you do in other task management apps, but rather reminders are attached to existing notes. Evernote notes consist of a plain text title and a main body (which can contain rich text, links, and files). Turning a note into a reminder gives you the option to add a notification at a given time, and it also keeps the note in a special reminders section of the Evernote app.

Simple task lists

Each note in Evernote is assigned to a specific notebook, which ends up acting like the category for that set of notes. So if I set up a “groceries” notebook and fill it with notes that had titles like “buy milk” or “buy eggs”, that could work as a basic to-do list.

Sub tasks

Evernote also supports sub-tasks, in a manner of speaking. Each note can support a set of checkboxes, so you can break down larger tasks into smaller chunks. For example, making bacon pancakes is a more complicated endeavour than simply buying eggs, so it can help to create a set of sub-tasks that I can cross off.

These sub-tasks are really helpful for tracking my progress through more involved projects. The only weakness of this system is that sub-tasks cannot be assigned any notifications — you can only set a single notification for any given Evernote note.

Context right beside your tasks

The main reason I decided to try Evernote out as a task manager is its ability to show a lot of context for a given task. When I have to “finish my expense report” it’s really helpful to be able to keep all of my PDF receipts and the expense report Excel sheet right inside of that note. That way, once the notification pops up to remind me, all I have to do is tap on the note, and all the files I need are gathered in one place for me to get right to work.

I was finding a disconnect while using other task managers because, although they would remind me and help me triage tasks, it was too easy to lose my place as I juggled all of the open windows on my work PC. It was also hard to find a task manager other than Evernote that was natively cross platform across the Mac, PC, and iOS.

Evernote isn’t the most fun program to use for task management. It lacks satisfying animations or sound effects, and it doesn’t have the clever natural language parsing of Due or Fantastical, but it’s hands-down the most efficient task management system I’ve used at work.

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Check Out Apple’s Amazing Productivity Apps Sale

amazing productivity apps

Apple is currently featuring a sale on Amazing Productivity App, which you can find on the front page of the App Store. To be honest, I normally ignore most of these weekly or monthly sales, but this one has so many good deals that I couldn’t help but jump on a few intriguing new apps. I picked up:

  • Prizmo — I hadn’t heard of this app before, but I was curious about how well it could do Optical Character Recognition (OCR); a few quick tests on game manuals seem to prove its worth, but I’ll have to check out Scanbot’s new Pro features (which feature OCR) before I decide on an OCR app.
  • Grafio — I’ve been asked to do a few workflow charts at work, and Grafio seems like the easiest way to accomplish this. Drawing shapes is easy, linking shapes is easy, and I can even re-order everything on the page and still have arrows pointing to all the right places.
  • Gneo — I haven’t actually had time to try this out yet, but since I’m currently doing my task management within Evernote, I decided to pick Gneo up, just to see if it would help at all. My guess is that this app might be a little too complicated (it seems to create separate notebooks for Evernote tasks), but I’ll report back on it soon.

Of course, these are just the apps I picked up during the sale. I already own Clear, Fantastical 2, Tydlig, Writer Pro, and others. This would be a great time for you to decide to own them too!

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Champ Man for iPad: New Mobile Version of Championship Manager

Champ Man for iPad

Champ Man is the new iPad / iOS / mobile version of the venerable football management game, Championship Manager. It’s a bit of a goofy name, but in my book it’s always good to see more options for managing football clubs on my iPad.

Here’s its App Store intro:

**New International Mode. Manage one of 60 Nations and win the International Cup **
** Updated with the new Facebook features & includes transfers from the latest transfer window! **
Designed in classic Championship Manager style, Champ Man gives you the opportunity to manage any one of 434 real clubs from 23 leagues across the world in a realistic season-by-season football management challenge.
With tens of thousands of real players to sign for your club and the ability to boost their attributes, undertake training, and bring in greater transfer revenue, Champ Man reflects all the emotions, tension and glory of being a real football manager. Choose your tactics, give team based instructions, select specific roles for your key players, and watch the drama unfold in realistic, fast matches specifically designed to enhance mobile play.
Game features:
- Fully up-to-date team/player/competition data for football season 2013/14
- 23 playable leagues in 13 countries across Europe, Brazil, Argentina, Russia, Turkey & more!
- Over 430 playable clubs
- Worldwide database of real players
- Frequent updates throughout the footballing season

I only just found out this app was available for the iPad, and of course got it installed right away. One thing that I just noticed that is worrying is that the app is chock full of In-App purchase options ranging from 99 cents all the way up to $50. I really hope the game is not crippled if you don’t spend tons on those In-App upgrades. If so, my stay with it will be a short one.

In any case, I’m looking forward to trying this one out.

Here’s an App Store link for Champ Man for iPad and iPhone, for any of you who are fans of football manager games.

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The Big Daddy of Gaming, Bioshock, Is Hitting The iPad This Summer!


Here’s some pretty cool iPad gaming news from today: Bioshock is coming to iOS this summer, and it looks quite good! I don’t like the idea of playing it using the touchscreen (yuck), but it’s games like Bioshock that could really drive Bluetooth controller sales and make the concept more mainstream. Imagine taking a little controller out of your bag, setting up your iPad and Smart Cover on the table in front of you, and loading up a title like Bioshock or Tomb Raider to play for a while.

I realize that, realistically, the games would probably be lower resolution or lower detailed versions of their console counterparts, but I think the iPad could be an incredible gaming device when paired with the right controller. I find that idea much more appealing than shelling out for a gaming-specific console, like the Sony PS Vita.

I would absolutely fork out a good $40 to pay for a decent Logitech or Razer gaming controller with two thumb sticks, triggers, and four face buttons. However, the reality on specialist sites like Afterpad seems to be that a decent controller costs at least $60. Frankly, I’m still happy enough to do my gaming on the PC and Retina MacBook Pro, but I’m intrigued by the idea of having an iPad be a competitor to the PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS.

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Another Quick Take on Screens VNC for iPad

Our very own James Potter recently reviewed Screens for iPad and gave a great breakdown of how the iPad can be used to remotely control a Mac or PC. However, I wanted to quickly post on how Screens — and its companion desktop app, Screens Connect — has helped me. A few months ago, I […]

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Revolution 60 Now Available for iPad

Revolution 60, the first title from dev studio Giant Spacekat, is now out on the App Store. Rev 60 is a good example of mobile-first gaming experiences (which is increasingly common thanks to iOS), and also a great example of a video game with strong female protagonists (which is still quite rare). The mix of action and […]

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Quick Thoughts On Facebook Messenger For iPad

I don’t use Facebook Messenger often, but I think it’s great that it was released for iPad. Facebook seems like one of the de facto messaging services for a lot of my friends at work and from university, and bringing the Messenger app to the iPad does show some forward thinking on Facebook’s part. Just […]

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Still Waiting Patiently For 2Do III for iPad

I’ve been waiting for the release of 2Do III ever since the release of iOS 7 last Fall, and I’m trying to keep from calling the third version of the app “3Do” (I blame 2Fast2Furious and its ilk for that). 2Do was one of my all-time favourite task management apps on iOS, and even though […]

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