iPad (not so) Blogging: The Final Chapter

I’ve been writing about blogging solely on my second generation iPad. Since the iPad 2 was not designed to be used in place of a laptop or regular computer, I’ve encountered many challenges. Although these problems have been annoying, they’re nothing compared to the troubles I’ve had trying to deal with pictures on the iPad 2.

As a blogger I love to put pictures in my posts. The iPad 2 has two cameras built in, one that faces forward like a regular camera and one that faces the user (which is great for video chatting and narcissists). While the whole double camera thing is awesome, the picture quality is not. The cameras are perfect for chatting with mom from across the country, but the low resolution pictures are nowhere near blog-worthy.

Low resolution iPad camera picture iced coffee

Since I can’t use any of the pictures I take with my iPad, I use my regular camera. The iPad 2 lacks an SD card slot or USB port. To transfer photos off the camera you have to buy a special adapter cable, plug into the laptop, or get creative. With the camera connection kit, you can either plug your camera in via its usb port or you can use the SD card reader, both of which plug directly into the iPad. Since I don’t have the cable, I get around this issue by uploading the pictures from the laptop directly to my media library in WordPress.

There are other options to get your photos onto your iPad beside saving them to WordPress. Services such as Picasa and Flickr allow you to upload pictures to albums that are accessible online. Members of these sites are given the option to make the albums public or keep them private. You could also always email yourself the pictures and download the attachments on your iPad. This can get tedious if you have a lot of pictures to send as there is often a limit to how much you can attach in one email. There is now also the option to wirelessly sync your pictures through Apple’s iCloud, and move them to your computer from there.

Apple USB sync

The new iPad is also missing basic photo sorting and editing tools.* As a longtime mac user I’ve always enjoyed using iPhoto on my Apple computers. It’s a great way to sort photos into albums, crop, re-size, rotate, and even remove red eye/ blemishes. iPhoto isn’t available for the iPad, however, and the Photos application that it comes with leaves a lot to be desired. Photos for iPad is basically only good for viewing the pictures you have saved to your device. You cannot crop or even rotate the photos, and you definitely cannot sort them into folders. *(Update: Apple has since released ios 5 for the iPad. The new operating system now allows you to zoom and focus while taking photos with the camera. You can also crop and sort pictures into folders right on the iPad using the Photos app.)

To edit your photos on the iPad you will need to find something in the App store (Please see my “Update” note above). If you don’t mind advertisements, you can download Fotolr PS HD for free from the app store (they also offer a paid version without ads). This app has many basic editing tools, allows you to resize photos, and also has many other fun features to play with (like putting funny wigs on the people in your pictures).

iPad (not so) Blogging Part 2

I mentioned before that I am trying to blog using only my second generation iPad. I’ve run into quite a few blogging roadblocks by not using the iPad in conjunction with a computer. I use WordPress for my blog and I have to admit I really like their service. For the most part, using WordPress is really simple and straight forward but there have been times when I’ve wanted to pull my hair out trying to create a blog post on my little Apple device. Luckily, I’m slowly finding ways around my WordPress/ iPad compatibility challenges.

When I set up my blog I downloaded the WordPress application for my iPad. After playing with the app for a few minutes, I came to one conclusion; Thank goodness it’s free! I was really disappointed to see the lack of features in the application. Basic text editing tools such as bold and italicize are completely missing, and there is no html view to add in code. Access to your WordPress media library is also unavailable through the app. If you would like to add a picture or video into your post, you can either choose one that is saved on the iPad or use the webcam on the device. (Update: WordPress finally updated their app! They added tools that allow you to edit text and add html codes to your posts. There is still no simplified way to add captions to pictures, but the app has definitely come a long way!).

While there are many missing features in the WordPress application, it’s not a total waste. You can add multiple WordPress blogs, manage comments, and view blog statistics. It’s also great for editing posts and pages on the go. The app even includes a preview button so you can see what the changes would look like on your actual blog.

There is always the option to create and edit posts in what is called your “dashboard” online through WordPress as well. Here, you have access to everything that you would have on a regular computer. When working on posts you can use the html view to add code. You can create and edit posts right in your brower, however, the text is contained in a box that is hard to scroll through on the iPad. To make matters worse, every time you update or preview, the page reloads and the text box automatically scrolls back up to the top of the post. While this is annoying, I’ve noticed that WordPress is always making making improvements. I had issues trying to insert links, but the problem has since been fixed

As I said, I really like using WordPress for my blog. The fact that I can access all all the tools and features in my dashboard from my iPad has made things a lot easier. WordPress even allows you to turn on an iPad version of your blog that is more book-like. iPad users then have the option to flip through pages of blog posts (like a book) or choose the standard site view. I can only hope this means they will become even more iPad friendly on the blogging end of things.

iPad View

iPad (not so) Blogging

I started my blog about a month ago and I have to admit it’s been a little slow going. My snail pace, however, is definitely not for lack of ideas. I keep telling everyone that I need to find a personal-secretary-robot to type up my millions of blog post ideas, take pictures for said posts, and make crafts as I dream them up. Until then it’s just me and my iPad 2. You see, after much use my original-model Macbook was on it’s last leg. Since my husband already had a nice laptop, I decided to replace mine with the latest iPad.

There are so many things I can do with my second generation iPad. I can video chat, take (mediocre) pictures, create art, answer emails, surf the web, and SO much more. Since I no longer have my laptop, my goal has been to find a way to do all my blogging solely on my iPad. While I can do a lot with my iPad and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, I’ve run into a few obstacles that have made my blogging life a lot harder.

The two biggest challenges I’ve had so far have been managing pictures and using WordPress for my blog. To keep this post from becoming a book I will write all about my adventures dealing with photos and WordPress on the iPad separately (read about these problems here and here). Besides these two main difficulties, I’ve come across a few other obstacles as well.

Flash doesn’t work on the iPad which makes it impossible to view content on some websites. This means I often miss out on good videos and information. Since the iPad is basically a large mobile device and not a laptop equivalent, it can take a while for some websites to load. There are also sites that definitely aren’t mobile device friendly, which often means features either don’t work correctly or aren’t even available. The option to upload a picture online is the most common missing feature I’ve come across so far. The button that allows you to select a picture from the computer remains grey and un-clickable. This has been a problem on many (very) popular social networking sites.

20110710-105440.jpg

Un-clickable photo selector

One last problem I’ve had (that is probably pretty unique to me) is that our house runs on direct current (DC) electricity. Having DC power means I can’t just plug into the wall when I want to charge my iPad. I either need to buy a DC adapter or plug it into the laptop to top off the batteries. Recharging through the laptop makes the iPad pretty near impossible to use, and usually takes about 6 hours to complete. Since our house also runs on solar power, I like to charge the battery during the day. Not charging it at night, however, means I lose a whole day of blogging while the iPad gets re-juiced. I honestly can’t complain though because the battery life is pretty amazing. I can usually get two days of good use out of my iPad before the battery dies.

Overall the iPad 2 is truly an amazing device. While it may not be blogger friendly right out of the box, using it to blog is definitely not impossible. There are many accessories and applications available for purchase (and sometimes for free) that can make the iPad more like a personal computer. Since it’s my goal to blog 100% from my iPad I will be looking for ways to work around challenges and missing features. I’ve even found some already that I will share later (again, I’m trying to keep it short!), so stay tuned! Until then, whether you’re an iPad blogger or not, feel free to share your experiences or challenges related to this amazing little device!