Monday, June 7, 2010

iPad blogs day one: the post-modern BlogPress app review


Here beginneth the great iPad experiment, in which I attempt to get through one week of communicatin' using only the iPad, its apps, and my wits.

Since I'm rather dull-witted, the iPad and apps had better be good!

I thought I'd start the week in typically post-modern fashion with a review of the app I'm using right now: BlogPress.

I've used this app before on my iPhone and actually wrote and posted some blog posts in January using the iPhone's bitty touchscreen keypad. It wasn't pretty, but it worked.

The app costs $2.99 on iTunes, but I was shocked to find that, since I had already purchased it for the iPhone, it was available on the iPad for the low, low cost of "free." Sweet!

Like with most Apple products, you need to have an iTunes account before you can start "appdating" your iPad with BlogPress and all of the other cool software you need; once you do, you can start enjoying the (mostly) free apps.

Of course, one big exception is with the apps that originate with our friends in the media, who have finally figured out that they're going to have to charge us for stuff, but I'll talk more about it this week when I talk magazine apps.

***

Back to BlogPress:

What's great?:

1. Probably the best thing about the BlogPress app is the interface. Check it out:




I like the landscape view best, because it breaks the screen into halves: your list of blog posts and drafts on the left, and the current post on the right. The keyboard, of course, is the touchscreen that comes "onboard" the iPad.

It does seem odd at first to not feel the keys 'neath yer nimble fingertips, but the large keyboard feels unbelievably huge after using the iPhone for so long - kind of like driving in Winnipeg after doing it in New York.

As for not having a mouse: doesn't bother me. I've heard that others feel differently. Let's move on...


2. Inserting a photo is a snap, thanks to the icon on the top, right of the screen (that would be a little camera).

You can include as many pictures as you like and insert them anywhere in the post. Easy!

You can also sync BlogPress with Flickr and other photosharing sites, so that your photos automatically get uploaded to your account when the blog goes live.


3. Twitter and Facebook integration is nice - you enter your passwords on the BlogPress setup screen, and you're good to go forever. You can also shut off the service if you don't want to use it.


4. The app supports most blog platforms, including Blogger and WordPress. I saw a podcast recently, where a dude went nuts because the app doesn't support some little-known blog site, so be forewarned.


5. You have access to "tags" and "categories" in BlogPress by clicking on the little "i" next to your blog title, where you can also - finally! - control your publishing date and time.


What sucks?:

1. Did that heading, above, come out in bold? Near as I can figure, that's one of the biggest issues with BlogPress: where's the simple interface that allows me to make text bold or italicized?

As it stands, you've gotta go to old blogs to get your HTML coding, and who knows if that'll even work? But we can agree that you shouldn't have to be a computer programmer to write a blog, right?

Similarly, including a link is so painful, I dare not attempt it until the next section.


2. The second issue appears to be uploading and embedding a YouTube video. Even though I've synced BlogPress to my YouTube account, I haven't found a way to show a video here - and the iPad appears to hide the embed code on all videos, on the YouTube app and through the Web browser.

The BlogPress website - OK, let's try a link - here - says that, "You can also upload MORE THEN (sic) ONE video...and insert the player into the post directly."

For the love of God: How!?

Now, I could go get the code on my laptop, but that would be cheating.

Anyone know how to embed a YouTube video in BlogPress? Anyone? Bueller? I may have to check in with aforementioned disgruntled podcast dude.

3. Can I get a spellcheck in the house? Or is that haus? Or howse? We may never find out!

***

Despite my complaints, there's no denying the awesomeness of blogging on the bus. Casanovas and Casanovettes take note - the iPad is an even better way to meet people than the Kindle!

So, all things considered, I'm giving this app a recommendation. Once I figure out how to embed a YouTube video, I'll be unstoppable! The world will be mine! Mine, I tell you!!!

Gotta run. Lunch is ready.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

2 comments:

  1. A dull-witted comedy teacher? Oh boy...

    It's funny that two out of the three things that you don't like bout writing blogs on your iPad are the two things you do a lot in your blog. Bold headlines (well I guess everyone does that) and linking YouTube videos.

    I'm surprised that other than those things it's otherwise a solid experience.

    Keep up this experiment Kenton, I'm enjoying the results!

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  2. You may be the only one. Ha!

    I admit that part of this might be my own learning curve - I've got an embed code for one video (not YouTube), which I'll try tomorrow.

    Apart from that, one can always hope for new versions of apps - on the iPad, I've noticed that the updates have been coming fast and furious. Three or more a day!

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