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This review is about Blogpress, an iOS app available on the iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone. This short review will be written and compiled entirely on the iPad to showcase the (hopeful) ease of blogging using the iPad and even highlight some potential drawbacks. I attempted a Blogpress review a few months ago and encountered serious issues with app crashes and minimalistic features which ended my pursuit of this app. But, six months later and blogging apps for mobile platforms are still so few and far between so I had no choice but to try Blogpress again (because using the iPad to blog, for me, would allow me to blog more knowing I can be so mobile and blog from ANYWHERE).

So, to start, the Blogpress interface. Below is an image taken from inside the app while writing a previous post. View more interactive Blogpress photos here: http://blogpress.coollittlethings.com/?p=screen






You can see it's pretty simple and straight forward. On the left hand side you see all your blog posts including those published and those still in draft form. You can also save posts at any point while writing either up to your blog server (we're connected to the U's Moveable Type blog system) or locally on the iPad allowing you to come back later and continue where you left off.

Inserting Photos and Videos
This is a challenge on the iPad if you're used to blogging on a computer because in Blogpress there is no ability to grab, drag or resize images with the click of your finger. The images you are viewing in this post have been created with the help of screen grabs that save the image into my iPad photo collection and to make edits such as rotating, resize, etc. I edit the images in Photoshop for iPad. Due to this, in find I use less photos because it is quite a laboring task.

HTML VS WYSIWYG
So, this might be the tipping point for some in their choice of using Blogpress on the iPad. There are currently only HTML functions available to edit text (I.e. Bold, underline, insert links, etc.)- photo below. And to add these functions you need to select the piece of text you want to emphasize. Using a mouse on a computer, we all do this often, on an iPad, yeah it is a bit tricky to grab just the right amount of words you want to bold or underline. But, once you get used to it, and use it sparingly it's quite easy.






Blog platforms compatible with Blogpress






Overall
With a $2.99 price tag and the ease of use, lack of crashes and easy integration with just about every blog platform around, I consider this a must buy if you're a blogger with an iPad. My guess is it will only get better. This entire post- time it took to write- approximately 30 min.n

Enjoy!

Apple iPad and Projecting

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project1.pngFirst, let me just get this out of the way. iPad won't be able to project like your laptop. With a laptop you just plug in the cable and everything is projected onto the screen. iPad does not work like this unfortunately.

To be able to hook your iPad into a projector you will need a "dongle" from the Apple Store. (The official name is Apple iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter). This dongle will set you back $29.00 and is available in Apple Stores.

Unfortunately you cannot just plug in the cable and project everything that happens on your iPad screen. Projecting from the iPad is app dependent. Certain apps support projecting but most of them don't. So before purchasing any apps you want to use for projecting make sure you do some research if the app is capable of doing it. **HINT- while browsing the App Store in iTunes or on your iPad, each app that is capable of being projected will state this in their app description.

Here's a few iPad apps that support projecting.
-Keynote. Projects your presentations (PowerPoints, Keynotes, among others). You can use your finger as laser pointer. Just touch your iPad screen while you project your presentation.
-GoodReader. Projects your documents (Word, PDF, etc).
-YouTube. All the video clips you can find on Youtube can be projected.
-Videos. All the videos you have on your iPad can be projected.ipad-vga-adapter.png
-Photos. All the photos you have on your iPad. You have to turn slideshow on and projecting will start.
-WebShow + VGA Out. This app is just like the Safari browser but it is capable of projecting the browser window.
-PaperDesk. Able to project your notes (typed or drawn).

Here's great guide how to get your PowerPoints into Keynote app.

UPDATED: As of Jan. 2, 2011, GoodReader for the iPad is currently $2.99

A while ago we reviewed an app for the iPad called Dropbox to help you manage files stored in the Dropbox online space or "cloud" and access them on your iPad, iPhone, Mac and Desktop devices. Dropbox is a great platform to manage files you keep stored on Dropbox servers. Taking online storage a step further, there's an amazing application for the iPad that allows you to access a even greater range of files on the web including photos, video and web links in addition to providing annotation capabilities of text files, native file storage to your iPad, in addition to allowing you to upload files back to the different servers and platforms where your files are hosted. The app we're referring to is called GoodReader and it's just $1.99 from the Apple iTunes Store .

goodreader_icon.jpg

What file formats does GoodReader support?

  • MS Office - .doc, .ppt, .xls, .rtf, .and more
  • iWork '08/'09
  • .PDF files
  • HTML and Safari webarchives
  • Photos and images
  • Audio and Video!

What Web Servers does GoodReader support?

In addition to allowing you to access your files stored on DropBox, GoodReader provides access to the following online web storage servers:

  • IMAP and POP3 Email servers (allows you to have access to all your email attachments such as articles sent from colleagues or travel itineraries)
  • MobileMe iDisk
  • Google Docs
  • box.net
  • Any WebDAV server (including accessing the U of M's Netfiles web server in GoodReader)
  • Many others including FTP online storage!


GoodReader - Servers.png

How do I use GoodReader to manage my online files?

Once in GoodReader, you have so many options for managing files in terms of downloading files from your different online servers (photo below connecting to Dropbox)

Goodreader_Connect.jpg

And once downloaded you can move files into different folders using Copy and Move options in the Manage Files section. You can password protect files you have downloaded. You can E-Mail files to others, rename them to organize in your GoodReader database, you can also open files in other applications. For instance if you have .ppt files hosted in Dropbox or Google docs that you want to open in Keynote on the iPad you can do so as you please by clicking the ...Open in... button and selecting the application you want to open the file.

mzl.zscxwaeq.480x480-75.jpg  

How do I use GoodReader to annotate my files and documents?

New in version 3.0.2 is the ability to mark up, highlight and annotate your files in GoodReader. This option is best learned by opening up a document in GoodReader and playing around with the different annotation items. Many people, including myself have been previously doing these annotation functions using an additional software such as iAnnotate for the iPad. The challenge with iAnnotate is the files stay in iAnnotate. Having the ability to use GoodReader for annotation limits the need for additional software in addition to being able to upload your annotations back into your hosted file network and keep the annotated files alongside your other files.


mzl.gyayqiio.480x480-75.jpg mzl.nubhaojc.480x480-75.jpg

Download GoodReader for the iPad today to get started and learn more about this software!


Picture 1.png    & goodreader_icon.jpg

In addition to allowing you to access files stored in your Dropbox and Google Docs web servers, GoodReader provides users the ability to access files stored in WebDAV servers. For University of Minnesota students and faculty this feature enables the linking of our WebDAV server called Netfiles to the iPad for mobile access of securely stored files.

Why would I want to access NetFiles in GoodReader (especially since I can just use Dropbox)?

This is a really good question with a really easy answer. Netfiles provides U of M users with access to secure online file storage on a university supported platform with 5GB of free online storage. While Dropbox is GREAT for managing personal and professional documents and media, Netfiles meets the security requirements that researchers need for managing things like IRB documentation and research participant information. These are important considerations for faculty and students who engage in academic research at a variety of levels from classroom assignments to thesis and dissertation work in addition to peer reviewed journal submissions.

How do I connect my Netfiles account to GoodReader?

First, you want to make sure your Netfiles account is activated: Activate your Netfiles account here (U of M x500 access only)

After your Netfiles account has been activated, Download GoodReader for the iPad if you have not already done so

To get familiar with GoodReader you can check out our post reviewing Goodreader for the iPad

SETUP NETFILES IN GOODREADER

Step 1: Add a new server in GoodReader

NetfilestoGR01.png

Step 2: Connect to a new WebDAV Server (click "Any WebDAV Server" to add a new Web Server)


NetfilestoGR02.png

Step 3: Input your Netfiles account information as follows:

Readable Title: How you want the server to show up in GoodReader (e.g. "UMN Netfiiles Account")

URL-address: https://netfiles.umn.edu/users/<internetID> (substituting internetID for your UMN X500. For example: https://netfiles.umn.edu/users/gopher002)

User: Your UMN x500

Password: Your UMN Password associated with your x500

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: If you use your NetFiles account to manage sensitive information such as research and IRB information to name a couple you SHOULD NOT INPUT YOUR X500 AND PASSWORD. Instead, input only a Readable Title and the appropriate URL address and each time you connect to your NetFiles account in GoodReader you'll be prompted for your x500 and password. Yes, this can be a pain BUT, it helps in assuring that if you happen to lose or misplace your iPad your data will remain protected.


NetfilestoGR03.png

Step 4: Click "Add" on the top Right of the prompt box when finished


NetfilestoGR04.jpg

Step 5: Verify your NetFiles Account is listed with your list of servers (see below the addition of UofM Netfiles)

NetfilestoGR05.jpg

And that's it, you should be able to access all files in your NetFiles account on your iPad through GoodReader! Enjoy!


NetfilestoGR06.jpg

Additional Resources:

Netfiles at the University of Minnesota

Netfiles Training from the University Technology Training Center

GoodReader for the iPad

instapaper_logo1.jpg

Do you ever scour the web consuming news, doing research, shopping, viewing videos and photos and after a while find that you have 10 tabs and 3 browser windows of links open? Are you often distracted by the advertisements, bright colors, pop up windows, and numerous clicks you need to make to get through a site like The New York Times or USA Today to find out what happened today in the world? Do you find yourself doing research online and emailing yourself links to journal articles, newsletters and web links so you can access your material at a later date when you need to write a paper? If your answer has been yes to any of these questions then Instapaper is a service you will love to add to your daily web surfing and content consumption.

For a quick overview of the basic operations of Instapaper Pro on the iPad check out this short video tutorial of Instapaper Pro's functionality: video link (courtesy of blip.tv)

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I've been using Instapaper Pro for the iPad and iPhone ($4.99) for about three months now and find it to be an indispensable piece of software that I use on an almost daily basis. On my iPad and iPhone I have a bookmark-let installed in Safari that allows me to bookmark any website I navigate to from news, to research, even cool coffee shops or vacation website that I'd like to visit and all these links drop into my online Instapaper account. In my RSS Reeder for the iPad (Reeder- $4.99) I have a "send to Instapaper link that I use to send articles I want to save for later viewing and don't have time to finish at that moment. Also, Instapaper provides an email address that allows you to email links to sites, digital newsletters and articles sent from friends as well. So rather than emailing myself links to sites and articles I want to save I just send them right into Instapaper. All of these links, videos and other online content are compiled online, stripped down to an easy to read format on mobile devices and synced into my Instapaper Pro iPad and iPhone applications to read later at my convenience. Lastly, it's really cool to be able to share these links with others. I can create a starred section on my Instapaper account which will allow others to subscribe to my favorite links, news, videos and photos. Want to try out the share feature and receive content related to iPads in Education? Add iPadnewsinEDU (or subscribe to the RSS Feed from Instapaper) to your list of folders and enjoy new content and news on this topic as we continue to add to this growing database of knowledge.

Links:

Instapaper Online: sign up for a free account

Instapaper free app for your iPhone?: Download Instapaper Free

Instapaper Pro (iPad)? Download Instapaper Pro for the iPad from the iPad store.

Do you feel like you already use a lot of productivity apps and unsure how Instapaper would be helpful in combination with them? Check out my Personal Reflection about the utility of using productivity apps in a combined way.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the paid apps category.

iPad Videos is the previous category.

Tips and Tricks is the next category.

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