Daily Archives: April 16, 2011

A Blast From The Past

Google Video is shutting down, so I’m uploading to You Tube some of the videos I had hosted there. This video was created in 2006 for an devotional movement we were doing at Central. The character, Darth Nohope, was constructed to give the congregation a third-party villain as we leapt into a new narrative, It worked, but we still haven’t met his apprentice.

Oh Blogsy!

A couple of days ago I wrote that I hadn’t found a decent blogging tool to us on my iPad. That was then, now I’ve found Blogsy and I can say that blogging on the iPad is looking up! It’s not yet perfect, but it’s pretty darn close! Here’s my thoughts.

The Good

Blogsy has a lot going for it!

The icon

I know, the icon is a pretty odd place to start a review of a blogging tool, but in this case it fits. Apple love beauty, but far too many app icons look like they were thrown together at the last moment and declared “good enough.”. By contrast, the Blogsy icon is a gorgeous classic manual typewriter which is the same shape as all other iOS apps, but creates the illusion that it breaks these constraints. The keys in the icon read, “Live long and prosper,” and the upper row also has symbols which create the Vulcan salute. The paper in the typewriter reads, “Get back to work! You’re wasting time!”

Why spend so much time on the icon? Because it reveals the character of the developers. They know that writing should be an enjoyable, and even playful, experience. Their icon tells their users, “Enjoy this experience!” Even better, the exchanges I’ve had with developers tracking down a bug (which may have just been user error) have shown that their icon tells a true story. I means a lot.

Rich Text

I can write HTML, but on the virtual keyboard it’s insanely difficult to do. Blogsy still edits from an HTML interface (which they call the “write-side”), but has an elegant “rich-side” interface in which writers can do some significant formatting to the text. I’d like to see a full-justification option, but it’s very impressive nonetheless. This is, in fact, my greatest complaint about blogging on the iPad. I am having some issues with Blogsy displaying as it would appear on my blog, but when I publish things look perfect.

Drag and Drop

Inserting images into posts is a pain in the neck. Actually, it’s a pain in just about every app on my iPad except for Apple’s iWork suite. While there could be some improvements (which are coming) Blogsy knocks this feature out of the park. Bloggers can use the side-bar to drag in images and video from their accounts on Flickr, Picasa, and You Tube. They can also use a built in browser or google image search to drag in images from the web (with a warning that this some people don’t like this).

What is missing is the ability to drag in images from your device. This seems like an odd feature to miss for the 1.0 release, especially if you have an iPad 2 and want to drag in images or video to your posts. The folks Fomola, however, will have this feature in an upcoming release.

Documentation

When you open Blogsy they have a pre-written post which explains many of their features before you touch anything. It’s well laid-out and informative, but has one “cheat.” There is a table in the post, but no table function in the editor – it’s an image. It doesn’t impact the post – but I figured I’d toss out “gotcha.” There is also a series of videos which they produces and show Blogsy in action. These are informative and short.

Support

Blogsy has a great support. They respond quickly to emails for help (keeping in mind they’re on the other side if the planet). They also have an active twitter account @blogsyapp and are a lot of fun to chat with. As a bonus, the artist who created the Blogsy icon saw me mention it and also chimed in. They are socially connected, fun, and helpful. People in IT support positions everywhere should take notes.

The Not So Good

No software is perfect, so here’s some glitches.

Gestures

When you want to publish a post in Blogsy you can swipe three fingers upward and you’ll receive a confirmation dialog to publish it. This is a good feature. To switch back and forth between the Rich and Write sides, you swipe left or right and the page flips with a beautiful animation. This is a intuitive way to go back and forth, but I end up suffering from too many accidental switches when I’m trying to select text. I think I’d like Blogsy to go to a two-fingered swipe to get from side to side.

Images

Dragging and dropping images is wonderful, but when you tap an image there are buttons for alignment in the menu which appear. I still don’t know what these do, and when I select them it messes up how my posts are displayed. I figure that I’m not using the buttons for their intended function, but it’s kinda un-intuitive if you are used to manually inserting images into and HTML document. I’ve already mentioned not having access to images on the device, but that is coming. I also don’t get my expected text-wrapping inside the Rich-Side of Blogsy, but my posts are displayed normally as long as I don’t mess with the alignment options in the image menu.

Editing

There must be a reason why we can’t get rich text editing in any blogging app on the iPad, but I’d really like to have it! Until that time Blogsy has come up with a good solution.

Platform Support

I use WordPress, so Blogsy is idea for me. I’m looking for a good blog editor for my friends who use Joomla. I wish Blogsy had it!

Conclusion

With the arrival of Blogsy my MacBook is going to used much less, and my iPad just got more useful. For a 1.0 release, this is a polished application with improvements already in the pipe! For an introductory price of $2.99,you’re a fool if you want to blog on your iPad and don’t pick this up!