For the longest time, I have been tying to find apps that make it easy for me to write and publish blog posts from my iPad.
Running a Tumblr blog, I’m not able to write posts using the official app because the company still hasn’t released one for the iPad (oh, hey there Spotify), leaving it up to third party developers. There are some decent apps but for the most part they suck.
Today, I was directed to an iPad app by the name of Blogsy. I stumbled upon it via The Loop, which notified me the app now supported Tumblr. Interest piqued, I read the reviews and laid down £2 to download it.
Put simply, it rocks.
Blogsy allows you to pipe in your blogging accounts, supporting nearly every major platform, but also your photo and video hosting accounts. This means you can upload your finds and drag them into posts. So easy.
It’s even got an in-built browser, so you can search for additional details from with the app.
I’ve used Blogsy to write this post and I intend to use it regularly in the future. If it supported the complex backend at TNW, I could even think about using my iPad full-time to write my posts.
Which could also mean I need to buy an iPad keyboard.
If you haven’t already, take a look. It’s a supremely useful app.
I hate QR codes. It isn’t a technology, it’s a fancy way of dressing up a hyperlink.
Instead of using a really short custom URL, brands continue to slap QR codes on their printed material and signage in the hope that someone will whip out their smartphone, scan the black and white badge and then………visit a webpage.
Look at the above image, it’s from a woman’s magazine. In order to ‘get even more’, readers have to perform a search for the term “QR reader”, download one of the resulting apps, scan the code and then view one of the fabulous extras.
For me, the build-up is so much greater than the actual reward. There isn’t a standard app, so people are left in the dark as to what they need to download, and many will pay for the privilege because they have no idea what is expected of them.
This is by no means a bad QR code campaign, especially when you compare it with some of the amazingly bad ideas some brands have had.
Take a look at this:
Now tell me, how on earth are you going to scan that thing, especially when it’s so far away?
It would also help if someone provided a little bit of information on what you can expect to see if you did, somehow, manage to scan it.
NFC may change the game a little bit, allowing users to wave their phones in front of a badge and tag specific items, but even then the resulting payload will still be somewhat underwhelming.
Guy buys Veet for Men Hair Removal Gel Creme, slathers it on his nether regions. The above review catalogs the resulting devastation:
In their place is a maroon coloured bag of agony which sends stabs of pain up my body every time it grazes against my thigh or an article of clothing.
Genius. No wonder 2,606 people have found the review useful.
Instagram launched in October 2010 and ever since then iOS (and now Android) users have been signing up to the photo-sharing service in their millions.
From the day it launched, its detractors have complained about the fact the app ‘ruins’ photos, squashing down the image and making it all ‘grainy’.
This comment on Gawker drives that point home:
I fucking hate Instagram. All those potentially beautiful photos intentionally made to look vintage or distressed for no other reason than… well, I honestly don’t know the reason. I just have to wonder if all those Mom’s I see incessantly posting Ingarammy photos of their kids are going to one day regret that the vast majority of those photos look like shit once the novelty wears off.
Given that Instagram creates a copy of the photo and leaves the original, I’m not sure how this argument continues to stand up.
If the user deletes the original, then they may have a point. But that puts the fault in the hands of the user, not Instagram.
Instagram is all about its mobile social network, not the app. Facebook knows this and that’s why it was prepared to pay $1 billion for it.
I’ve been watching this project with a keen eye, mainly because I believe that this type of technology is the next logical step for mobile and wearable gadgets.
The concept looks great but the one thing that worries me is Google’s record with Android.
Android continues to evolve and its getting better and better. Looks-wise, it’s a hundred times better looking than it used to be but it’s nowhere near as polished as the concept demonstrates.
I guess what I am saying is that I doubt whether Google has the design chops to bring together the services it already offers and make them as seamless and easy to use as they are in the concept video.
That said, I want it to happen. Like really, really want it to happen.
Rumour has it that Google could show them off, possibly even give them away, at Google I/O. If they do, I will be tracking down whoever represents TNW at the conference and will break into their house to steal them whilst they sleep.
Discoverability is a problem for any application marketplace, especially when you have more than 300,000 apps available to users subscribing to your mobile ecosystem.
Apple is possibly looking to do something about it, after it acquired Chomp, but the search function on Google Play is so poor, one of the biggest apps to hit the platform in recent years is being passed over because Android users can’t find it.
As you may be already be aware, Instagram finally launched on Android today, after amassing over 30 million users on iOS alone (that’s pretty damn amazing).
However, if you are interested in grabbing a copy of the app and try to search for the app on the Google Play website, these are the following results:
In fact, it doesn’t even register on the first page of the results. It’s the same on the Play Store on Android devices.
For an app that has probably been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times already, it’s inexcusable that Google’s algorithms — or even an editor — haven’t ensured that the results are relevant and actually match the term when it is entered.
Google’s speciality is search, so why is this happening?
One argument could be that whilst Android users waiting for the Instagram team to bestow them with an app, scammers and third-party developers flooded the market with fake Instagram apps, rendering the search ineffective.
Even so, it’s been more than an hour (maybe two) and it still isn’t showing.
Apple’s App Store suffers when an app first goes live, as it proflierates across regional stores, but that is usually fixed within the hour.
Right now, Google is relying on blogs, Twitter and Facebook to refer users to the Instagram app. Take a look at the first three results for ‘Instagram Google Play search’:
This is Google’s bread and butter, it defies logic that this is happening.
Sounds like another round of the ‘Android phone or condom?’ name game but it’s the name of the iPad stylus that I purchased today.
I had talked about choosing one of three iPad styli, each one with their own advantages. The Wacom Bamboo stylus had a decent reputation, the Trixis HQ had price on its side but the Cosmonaut pipped them both in the end.
‘Why?’ You might ask.
Well, not only is the Cosmonaut a sturdy, well packaged stylus, it was also the subject of some glorious feedback when I discussed my potential purchase on Twitter. Studio Neat also did a fantastic job of advertising its plus points in the below video:
Ultimately, it was the discount code I stumbled across that sealed the deal. I came across a $5 code via a Twitter search and made the purchase.
Completing the checkout process, I shared the code ‘5by5’ on Twitter. Within two hours, three Twitter acquaintances bought the Cosmonaut.
Did you know the stylus originally started off as a Kickstarter project? I didn’t. It just shows how popular the tablet accessory has become.