Joys of iOS 9 on iPad
I was quite keen to have a look at the new beta of IOS 9 to see how it would work out on my iPad. I was particularly looking forward to using the News Application to see if the news channels from my websites were working. I didn’t get to see that because the application is only available in the UK and the US. My main account to use for my Apple devices is based in Spain so I saw none of that. The other thing that I wanted to have a look at was the keyboard enhancements. These worked fine in the beta of the operating system and I enjoyed the new way of working, much better than what we have at the moment. I had the iOS 9 beta software on the iPad for approximately one week and for the most part it didn’t have much affect on my usage of the device. I wanted to use some of the iPad art drawing and painting applications and experienced a few crashes as well as non-functioning of the stylus I use. I then decided I must go back to non-beta operating system software. I have to do some creative drawing and painting on the iPad from time to time. The only other problem was having to wait between five and ten seconds for Siri to start working. Even when Siri had initialised it didn’t work quite as well as previously. I love using Siri, None of these are complaints, as it was expected some of these problems would surface during this test. So I’m glad that I gave it a try, as it was the first chance to put public beta software onto the iPad. It was really easy to set up in the first place, but a little bit more difficult to return the iPad to the previous version.
It really baffles me and many other people to as to why Apple couldn’t have the keyboard showing lower case letters on the virtual keyboard. At the moment, all we have to show when we are going to type with uppercase is a different colour on the shift key. I can never remember the colour that it’s supposed to be showing when I’m going to get a capital letter instead of small letter. The third-party keyboards like Swift Key and Swype were able to remedy that problem quickly and easily. You have to worry why Apple just couldn’t be bothered to fix it for so many years. Finally though, with IOS 9 we will get this enhancement and it will be welcome. We still need to use the default keyboard due to the Siri dictation not being available directly from the third-party keyboards.
In iOS 9 you can use the keyboard like a trackpad to move the cursor/insertion point wherever you want it to go in your text. There are already some extra row cursor movers on keyboards in certain applications allowing you to move the cursor either left or right in the text. One such application having this extra facility is Editorial Text Editor. You can’t move your cursor up and down, just left and right. I found using the trackpad like facilities on the keyboard in iOS 9 to be very useful and I’ll be looking forward to having proper use of that when the finished version of the OS is available in September. The other thing you can do with this trackpad function is to select text and I have to say that it does work very nicely indeed once you get used to it.
Slide the second iOS application over
This is the other big update to the iOS operating system. Using more than one application on screen at the same time is going to be useful for many people. At the moment there are a selection of Apple applications you can use with this new function. So you can drag from the right side of your screen and bring in a list of applications available for use. You’ll be able to use Safari, Contacts, Notes Application and a couple of others. When you drag across first of all, you have about a third of the screen and it is easy to switch from the main application to the other. You may also drag the dividing line between the two applications across to the centre of the screen to give both applications equal amount of space. It’s going to be useful to make notes on one side while looking at a webpage on the other side. There will be enhanced productivity on iPad whenever you can use the information from one side in an application to help you work in another. It’s going to take a little bit of time to get used to having this available and to embed this new way of working into our iPad workflows.
Changing back to iOS 8.4
One of the reasons for recommending ordinary users don’t try out beta software is the fact it is difficult to return to a previous version of iOS. I was able to do it, but it did take some time and there was a little bit of head scratching along the way too. Admittedly, part of my difficulties came from the Apple server giving some problems to users such as when I wanted the software update to be verified by the server. My first three times to download the software from within iTunes didn’t work at all and it may have been down to problems with my Internet connection. So to get round that I used an application called iGetter and I was able to download the operating system from a good source. Trouble is, for some reason or other the Apple server wouldn’t verify it when I tried to update from it. It may have been due to the server problems Apple was experiencing. So I ended up downloading it again, but this time from within iTunes and I got away with it!
It took me too or three goes to get the restoration to 8.4 iOS to work. It must have taken most of the evening with the downloading and doing the restoration of the software. It did take quite some time to get the operating system software onto the iPad and I wasn’t finished there. The next job was to restore from the backup I did before the upgrade. In order to do that I needed to go to the folder on my Mac where the backups are kept, in the Library folder. I had to delete the backup made during the time with iOS 9. I have a lot of applications installed on my iPad so there was more waiting time. The last task to complete was to go through my applications that were either bought or installed during the week and to reinstall them.
Was it worth it?
The answer is probably yes and no! I did like seeing first-hand one or two of the new things. In particular it helped me understand how the keyboard trackpad selection of text worked. It was worth doing in terms of the exercise of doing an upgrade like this and following it with a downgrade. Taking into account the amount of time it took to get things back the way they were, overall it would have been better not to have done it. There were too many things that didn’t work properly and if it had only been one or two things I could have stuck with iOS 9. The acknowledged wisdom is that the average user should not try out beta software, especially if it is a beta of the operating system. So as a non-average user I’m glad I did it for the experience. Something for me to write about and to take the bullet on your behalf. Life’s little challenges.
Got some new earphones. Bluetooth version and I’m quite impressed. Got them for a great price too. £13 or so.. That £13 works out as around 18 euro. These are fantastic for when I’m walking the dog or riding my bicycle. I can still hear above the wind noise on the bike which is great. Another advantage is the short no tangle cable. So much easier to use and deal with than the Apple earphones. The sound is marvellous and the battery lasts a decent amount of time. The American female voice is a bit grating when you turn the headphone on or off, or when the Bluetooth is pairing up. I reckon I can live with that on account the earbuds are so good.
A good fit for the Ears
Very comfortable indeed to ear and for listening to either or the spoken word. I mostly listen to books and podcasts but on the occasions I went for the music option I was happy with the results. Perfect for listening to the Beats Radio on Apple Music. I certainly couldn’t notice any distortion as I was listening. You even get other sizes of buds for the ears so you can fit whatever the dimensions of your lug holes.
New Bluedio M2 Stereo Bluetooth Wireless in Ear Sports Running Headphones White
I was also impressed by the box they came in. Even the box had a quality feel to it. I would be tempted to get an extra pair of these earbuds for the iPhone as it would be great to have a spare pair to keep nearby.
To Use the Bluedio M2 Bluetooth wireless earbuds
Push and hold for a couple of seconds to turn on or off. the same button to get the microphone activated so you can talk to your device. Then there are the volume buttons to play with. Took me a while to find out how to work these buttons because the instruction are printed so small on paper they’re impossible to read.
New video editing application for iOS
The application is called Clips and it is incredibly simple and easy to use. You have to pay €4.99 if you want to get rid of the watermark on the resulting videos. The same company has other applications for video and one called Crop looks quite useful for when you have a video that has been shot in vertical mode and needs to be cropped to get into the proper horizontal viewing. You would have to wonder why people keep videoing things in this vertical mode, but I suppose when you get the phone out quickly it is easy enough to forget to rotate. You can get applications for shooting video on iOS that will not allow you to shoot vertically.
Setting the Tempo of Video Speed
Then there is the other application called Tempo and this is for doing slow motion and also for speeding the movie up. As you play the video in the application you can quickly set it from normal speed to fast, fastest and back to normal. You can also go from whichever speed to slow or slowest. You get an instant change at the point choosing from the menu of speeds available.
When your video is ready, you can share it out to Messenger, Instagram, What’s app, Messages, Facebook and a few more. Once again the cost to get rid of the watermark on the videos is €4.99. So it could get quite expensive if you were to buy all of the applications from Fly Labs Inc. and upgrade all of them. You would have to hope there would be a bundle available for this set of video editing applications.
Fly Boy Prices
As I have been writing this, I have been playing with the applications and also looking at the other apps from the same company to download. I’ve just downloaded the Fly Video Editor. This one promises to be dead simple and very fast, which is the sort of thing you want to have when editing video on an iPhone. You can add smooth dissolve transitions and do picture in picture effects with simple gestures. I’ll have a look at this application in depth, because it is the first one I have seen so far to do the split screen type of video effects for iOS. This application also has a multi cam feature and I’d be thinking you would need to have the latest of the iOS devices to have sufficient processing power to use this application. You can do the usual sort of things such as trimming and rearranging clips, adding music and voice overs. Judging by the prices for the in app purchases you would have to be pretty keen to get all of the extras to use within this application.
The problem to be solved is the quick and efficient taking notes involving repetitive tasks. It’s writing Jim, but not as we know it! While I do have many different text editor applications choosing which one took some effort and testing.
It seems I have a thing about text applications.
Over the years, I have collected quite a few text editing applications. I like to have applications good for working with my words. I write a lot of words and it is important to be able to get those words out of my head and onto the digital page as efficiently as possible. The main application which is the small end of the word editing digital funnel is Scrivener. So anything I do will be destined to end up in Scrivener to be cajoled and moulded into something I can publish. The best way to collect the words to put into Scrivener is to use plain text editors. Not only do I have a preference for text. I also like to write using markdown. Markdown is a syntax which is readable and easily converted into HTML content. The other good thing about markdown is it is just plain text. You’re not tempted to fiddle about with settings of how the document looks. There is no need to mess with fonts and layouts, all you have to do is to concentrate and write the words.
Favourite text applications to use on the Mac
Byword is a favourite because it synchronises with my iOS devices without me having to think about it. My Good and geeky Writers Workflow starts off with me organising what I’m going to write in a mind map. My MindMap preference is for iThoughts X. This is also a good choice for me because of the synchronisation with my mind mapping on the iPad. I can use the sister application – iThoughts. Once I get started with the larger blocks of text then I’m going to be using DragonDictate. This makes sense because it’s a fact I can write my words so much faster by dictating. It is possible for me to dictate directly into Scrivener or Byword. I usually find it works better to dictate into the DragonDictate application itself. It is just a quick and easy copy and paste to get the words into whichever application is best for the next stage of the process. The next stage will be direct to Scrivener if it is for a book and into Byword and onto MarsEdit if I am making a blog post.
Favourite text applications for iOS
Once again Byword is going to be the choice for longer pieces of text. For words that need capturing rapidly and we are talking about short notes, the first choice application is going to be Drafts Text Editor. Drafts is brilliant because I have it set to always open up on a new ready to use document. I can put those words into the document and forget about them if I wish. If I don’t know what exactly I plan to do with those words when I’m capturing them Drafts gives me plenty of choices with automations. It allows me to send to Twitter and to Facebook and a variety of other places. I can start off with the short version and add more to it as I move through the various destinations for my words.
Taking notes on the iPad and iPhone
I do have a variety of other notetaking applications as I seem to have been collecting them over time. They are all quite varied in terms of the look of them and what they can do. Some of these applications are geared towards writers and others better suited for free-form note taking. So I have applications like Evernote, OneNote, Penultimate and MagicalPad. Great for collecting information and making notes to go alongside whatever I’ve collected. With some of these it is also possible to make little drawings either separate from or as annotations on the data collected.
Tagging helps you find and helps you learn
If you are a student or perhaps collecting note for a business project then it is good to have some sort of indexing system. If you are taking huge reams of notes then it is going to be helpful to be able to find nuggets of information when you need them later. With applications like Evernote and Simplenote, you can add tags to help you find your stuff at a later stage. It is a good thing also to have other services within the application such as the ability to underline or to highlight. For a student, this will help you retain information and get better results from your studying. There are also some applications which will give you various ways of looking at your work with outlining and also mind mapping. One such application would be MarginNote Pro. I’ve not had the need to dive into this application much, but I do have to say it looks incredibly impressive.
A new iOS text editor favourite – Editorial
This morning I was delving into various writing and note taking applications on my iOS devices to see which one would best suit a specific task. The task is to collect data while I’m working, about what I’m doing. The reason for this is so I can aid my terrible memory by having notes about tasks I need to complete and also those that I have completed. What I needed was something to give me checklist functionality first of all. Also important is the functionality to work quickly by expanding text into the document. I do have TextExpander for iOS and so my first thought was to look for applications with this built-in. There are plenty of apps of this sort to choose from. Create forms with a short text code, make a couple of choices within a form, which is then converted into text and pasted into a document. I did some experimenting with this and it worked okay.
Editorial provides the solution
I wasn’t able to find just what I was looking for in my usual app choices, so I opened up Editorial. Editorial will work with TextExpander, but in tests it wasn’t smooth enough in operation. When you have a complicated TextExpander snippet you bounce out of the application you are working in. There is a sheet for TextExpander, you do what you have to do and then it throws it back into the document. I went for Editorial because I decided I would prefer something a little bit more elegant in its workings. The application is well known for being good for geeks and if you know what you can do with it, you can add Python-based automation. I would not be that far advanced with my programming skills. Today however, what was most interesting was the template giving me access to a TaskPaper template. I can also make use of the built-in text expanding facilities – Snippets. Expanding snippets in Editorial worked seamlessly. TaskPaper is a syntax allowing you to quickly create lists with check boxes. All you have to do is to start the line of text with a dash followed by a space and it is automatically converted into a checkbox. I can put a check mark/tick in the box and the text gets a tag at the end of the line to say it has been done and is slightly greyed out. This turned out to be perfect for the task I had in mind. The app is available on my iPhone and so will always be available to me to use.
Editorial ticks all the boxes
After my experimentation with the application Editorial for editing text, I decided I had the solution to the problem. It was something I could have working on my iPhone with a short text code for throwing in the basics which included the tick boxes. The important thing is to have good notes and records, so when asked questions about the work later I’ll be able to give exact and detailed answers. I love it when technology provides a Good and Geeky solution.