Well I did take the iPad and BlueTooth (BT) keypad to a short conference a couple of weeks ago and it was a disaster unlike what I envisioned in Parts 1 & 2 of this saga. It turns out that some WiFi logins don’t work with the iPad (not sure if this is “Flash” issue or not). In any event, the iPad was rendered WiFi-less during the whole conference which made for an unconnected experience to say the least (recall that I don’t own a 3G version).
The hotel used T-Mobile for their WiFi connection. I must have created my account at least 3 times and tried to log-in afterward at least 5 times (persistance occasionally pays but not this time). Each time the login screen hung and I never got in. The conference had a different WiFi supplier but it had the same problem only this time all I had to do was to sign into the service with a conference supplied SSID&password. No such luck. The hotel gave me two free WiFi card keys for T-Mobile but I can’t use them.
I even tried some of the tricks that are on the web to get around this problem but none worked. Nuts!
The blog post from hell
Of course, I didn’t plan to write a blog post at the conference but I had the time and the muse struck. So I whipped out my trusty iPhone, paired the BT keypad with the iPhone, used Notes and WordPress App (WP, available free) to create a new blog post. I power typed it into the iPhone Notes app and copied and pasted into WP’s new post window.
I was always curious how to add media to posts via the WP app but anything on the iPhone including the photo library and camera photos were accessible as new media to be added to any post. I had used my iPhone to earlier take some pictures from the conference and easily added these to the post. The WordPress app uses the more primitive editing window (not WYSIWYG) but that was ok as I didn’t have a lot of fancy text layout. What’s funny is that saving on the WP app was not the same as uploading it to my blog. And once uploaded you had to change the post status to Published to get it externally visible.
Another option would have been to use the web and update the blog post through WordPress on Safari. I can’t recall but last time when I used Safari & WordPress there were some scrolling incompatibilities (inability to scroll down into the post – flash maybe) and there were other nuisances, so I decided to try the WP app this time.
The only problem with using the iPhone & WP app to enter the post was that it was hard to check spellings and see the whole post to edit it properly. Only really got to see a couple of (short) lines at a time in the iPhone WP app window and the WP app preview was not all that useful.
Needless to say, the post was published with numerous typos, mis-spellings, grammatical faux pas, etc. (so what’s different Ray?). A few readers caught the issues and DMed me on Twitter which I picked up later that night. I tried my best to fix them but it still had problems a day later when I got to my desktop. For some unknown reason, it became my most popular post – go figure.
Using the iPhone at the conference
Of course the iPhone 4 worked fine for emails, twitter, facebook and other social media given its screen and soft keypad limitations during the conference. And I was still able to take notes with the iPad I just couldn’t send them anyplace and would have liked to insert them into the post as an outline but couldn’t be done.
There is just no way to get data out of an iPad without WiFi or 3G access. Maybe if I could take a screen shot with the iPhone and then use an OCR app to interpret it into a Notes item and then I could get the text into iPhone – but I didn’t have an OCR app at the time. Also, it smacks of a Rube Goldberg contraption.
I would say the WP app on the iPad looks a lot better than the one on the iPhone but much of that is due to the increased screen space. If everything was working fine I probably wouldn’t have had as many problems using iPad WP app to enter in the post. Of course I would have had to mail the photos from the iPhone to the iPad to enter them into the post but this is standard practice with the iPad…
There’s another conference coming up (it’s conference season here in the US) and I am NOT taking the iPad. Too bad, my back hurts already just thinking about it. I foresee either a 3G iPad or the Mac Air laptop sometime in my near future but for now on it’s lugging laptops.
Just not sure if I shouldn’t take the BT keypad to take notes on the iPhone!?
PS. Saw Rob Peglar and he had a Verizon Dongle that provided a local WiFi for his iPad and 4 other “close” friends. Maybe that’s what I should invest in?