Category Archives: iPad

A searing commentary on iOS app development with a reference to what’s really possible.

This is pretty much a copy-and-paste of an app store product review for Word Press. As it was being composed I realized I was actually witnessing a lesson for app developers. I’m not a developer, but a user of apps, many of them, for both work and pleasure, and on occastion an app is conceptualized, created and engineered in such a way that it reminds me that much of the software we use is rushed, under-whelming and mostly a waste of our collective, valuable time. What started as a searing review of Word Press’s latest iOS app iteration unwittlingly became high praise for an app called, “Blogpad Pro”. Thanks for reading, and please feel free to become much more demanding about the quality of the applications you use, be they for work or pleasure, free or paid.

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It’s so much less frustrating to open an app where you can tell that they have really tried to develop something that is aesthetically pleasing, and functional, even though initial releases may fall a bit short on aesthetics, while still delivering more than expected in terms of fundamental reliability and intuition for the end-user. On the other hand, apps like the one being reviewed [WP] just continue to frustrate as lots of thought is given to aesthetics but clearly functionality and intuitiveness get a lower priority. The principle being described might go something like this: The better an app looks, the better it better deliver.

I’ve had this app [WP] on my iPad mini for some time and look at it every so often to see if these fundamental principles have engaged with the developers yet … As of this morning, still no. I can’t even get to square one with this app as I open help windows, or plug-in information windows, and then can’t clearly see how to get back to the main app short of quitting it by swiping-up and relaunching. The built-in browser offers absolutely no visible button for getting back to the “My Sites” area … Oh it’s there, in the upper left hand corner, it’s just programmed in such a way that it can’t be seen, so hopefully the user is savvy enough to poke around a bit and figure it out. And WP wants me to actually use my valuable time posting with this? Nope, not happening.

The best Word Press app for iOS continues to be a relatively old app called, “Blogpad Pro”. I started using this app way back with iOS 8.x and it was so well engineered that it continues to trounce the likes of Word Press’s own, along with most anything else out there. The downside is that, there have been no updates to this app for years, (which is also very impressive when considering all things that have come along for Word Press in the interim), and repeated attempts to contact the developer are met with the proverbial sounds of crickets.

It’s really too bad they did not make enough to continue looking after one of the best engineered apps ever. It remains the perfect blend of a full set of useful and functional features, aesthetics and ongoing reliability, and incredibly, continues to work well with iOS11 (with NO updates)! Every app developer on the planet should find these dear people and pay them A LOT of money to really understand how to develop a good quality application – for any and all purposes.

I want to be able to use Word Press’s” own app because it also incorporates site management tools into its app – sort of, but, until WP stops trying to wow-me and starts developing a fundamentally solid, pleasing and reliable software application, I’m compelled to continue to turn my nose up at it. Best of luck.

Where’s the iPad MINI PRO? Tsuro by @Thunderbox_ent has just released a major update to one of its games and an all-time favorite of mine, Tsuro. It is a rare game, and in this case a board game, that is the perfect zen between intellectual engagement and zoning-out.

Where’s the iPad MINI PRO?

Tsuro by @Thunderbox_ent has just released a major update to one of its games and it’s an all-time favorite of mine, Tsuro. It is a rare game, and in this case a board game, that is the perfect zen between intellectual engagement and zoning-out. When I come home and play a computer game – which is not often – I don’t like to be left staring at the wall with no registrable EEG when I’m finished playing it, I like to have some brain function left. Tsuro fllls that occasional and important niche for me.

Thunderbox’s significant upgrade to the game, in its basic format, plays just fine on both of my iOS devices. In this update Thunderbox has included access to @Apple AR technology, but alas, while the new features work just fine on my iPhone 8, the AR on my expensive 256GB, iPad Mini 4 is a no-go. Sans AR, the basic, non-AR game-play on my iPad Mini is just fine, but I want the same AR experience on my Mini without having to buy the smaller of the two current versions of the iPad Pro.

I’m very disappointed, as is more and more often the case with my Apple experiences. The fact that Apple continues to try and force my hand into buying exactly what they want me to buy rather than meeting my needs as they exist in the real world, is a growing frustration. I’m fairly certain that “my needs” are not so unique that they are completely isolated from the needs of a significant number of on-going Apple users. I have strong evidence of this because just about the time I think I’ve thought of a unique product recommendation or feature request, almost always I find that many others have beat me to the proverbial punch. This is even more poignant with regard to their professional products, hardware and software, but that’s for another post.

Suffice it to say that, if/when/ever, Apple decides to cough up an iPad Mini Pro, I will mortgage the farm to get it, but I will not be forced/coerced into buying a full-size iPad Pro under any circumstances. It’s almost like Apple realizes they’ve got us, and not unlike the phone company and cellular service providers in general, they believe they can get away with anything. Maybe they can, time will certainly tell, but there is a breaking point with me and those with similar experiences and expectations. I have invested a lot in Apple tech, up to and including, staking my professional reputation on its hardware and software technologies, over and over again, over the years. After the badly down-played XSAN fiasco I have backed way down from insisting on Apple products for professional application. On the consumer side of things I have also become much less vocal for pro-Apple evangelism. And for the record, I do not believe it has anything much to do with who’s at the helm. Even with Steve driving the company, it was headed in the same directions. But again, this is for another post.

Lack of AR on my recently purchased iPad Mini 4, and lack of talk of a Mini Pro, (which is why I bought the iPad Mini 4), leaves me wondering how much longer I can continue to invest in Apple, as a consumer and as a market investor. I guess one voice is, one voice – but, there is that voice, for whatever it’s worth.

A More Wordy Twitter

I’ve been a subscriber and tweeter for about four years now on several different accounts and have gradually learned how to use it to ever more advantage. I don’t have time, or desire, to read every newsy thing that crosses my path and Twitter really helps me get points of light from specific areas of interest, that help me to quickly narrow down what I do want to wade into. I think increasing the word-count, based on the criteria given, is probably a good idea – let’s see how it goes. But, having some restrictions on per-post word counts has really helped me become less wordy … uh … See what I mean?! This would’ve normally been a much longer post, but, thanks to Twitter … and etc.

How Deep Does Your Browser Go?

 
I have long been suspicious that web browsers go deep when installed on any OS, and I beleive that the article at the head of this post is only the tip of the iceberg. It makes me wonder how we can be so cavalier about installing web browsers. Many users have multiple installations of various web browsers installed and it’s not unusual for a single user to use different web browsers to get things done. I draw the analogy that, using web browsers to get everything done is a lot like using a public restroom, where, we also eat, wash our clothes, have afternoon tea with friends, scrawl bank account passwords on the walls and stalls, and etc. I know that web browsers are not the only illegitimate way into a pc, but I have to wonder, of all of the break-ins that happen, how many are accomplished and/or initiated through launching of a web browser. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t get a pop-up of somekind that is just downright creepy – and that’s with all blocking and saftey switches fully engaged.
 
My suspicion is also why I am absolutlely not on-board with the notion of web apps. I know for a fact that web apps can save a company money, and can provide freedom from an OS App store distribution system, but I don’t think it’s worh it. I’ve been burned a few times on the web, most notably when I was more heavily into being an eBay reseller, and, before there weren’t many/any non-webb apps dedicated to buying and selling with a more closed front end. In the name of more discloser, let me say that, in retrospect, the hack [theft of login info] could have easily been avoided if had just kept mental track of how many times the convincing-looking eBay login page kept poping up. I was very busy preparing purchases and just figured that I had been logged off because of a prolonged period of inactivity, and was therefore being prompted to re-login. Thankfully the outcome of that, while bad enough, was not the end of my financial world, but it could’ve been. As it was, the hacker(s) got enough info from me that they used my account to spam thousands of other eBay users and for a few days I got many angry emails from fellow eBayers. EBay doesn’t get high marks from me for the help that they proferd after the fact, but they did help enough that I was able to make ammends to my brothers and sisters in eBay land in a fairly short time. All of that from having to use a web interface to get the job done. Yes, it could’ve happened using a non-web app, but it would have been much less likely.
 
My two personal favorite browsers are Firefox and Safar – in that order; but in the real world I will have nothing to do with Firefox, because, of all the browsers I’m convinced that it goes the very deepest into the OS. In years past, and in more recent years, major performance improvements have been yielded by completely removing Firefox from an OS – I have even won a couple of low yield bets, that, removing Firefox from a given desktop system would immedately improve performance to a greater or lesser degree, but to a measurable degree in any case – and I won both times.
 
I have finally come to the point where I only use a browser when there’s no other way, and furthermore, when a company or individual provides a product or service that forces me to use a web browser or a web app, I move on to other vendors and service providers. And, that includes the likes of mint.com and intuit.com, based on the way they used to provide their various online services only a few years ago. I think that they now provide mobile and/or dedicated desktop apps for their products and services, ultimately furthering my point. Comeing back to the realm of media production, there are a couple of companies offering some very promising video sharing and production collaboration services – guess what their interfaces are? But, if they do well, I beleive that, in the long run, they will end up developing dedicated, non-web, apps.

iPad Pro – Just Put A Keyboard On It …

 

I’m sorry but seriously – Just put a detachable keyboard on it and face the fact that you’ve got a laptop there – not an iOS device. I’ll even overlook the fact that Microsoft’s already done it – the detachable keyboard – and trust that Apple will get it right. What’s the point? With the work that’s undoubtely going to get done on such a device, a keyboard is only inevitable. Make a MBP and add touch screen, and you’ve got a complete – um, portable computer. The iPad Pro is going to be a laptop with touch screen + keyboard – simple as that.