In my day job, I work with a small team that maintain many blogs on a large number of subjects. This site is my ‘fun’ side project for helping other iPhone and Touch owners that I do unrelated to ‘work’.
I carry a notebook computer with me for site set up, network interfacing and more advanced design work. Beyond that, once a person gets used to working on a screen that fits into your hand, you can get things done in the slow parts of your day. Oh, and a game on the iPhone to have fun during slow times is fine too… I’ll cover those in another post. I will also do a much deeper dive into each application listed in this post in the near future – here I will do a high level usage description for each. The images/screenshots are from the developers since mine would show actual sites and work load that I shouldn’t be showing everyone. Also, I have linked all of the applications so you can see the developer’s full description, clicking on the links will launch your iTunes and connect to Apple.
Planning the work:
With blogging, life is easier if you plan out your posts. Those articles that just hit you can be put between the planned work. This way you have time to think articles through prior to having a deadline looming.
Writing plans for most blogs or small groups of blogs can easily be tracked with a good ToDo list system. We have been using ToDo by Appigo which syncs wirelessly to Remember The Milk Web site. ToDo from Appigo is a for pay iPhone app, while Remember The Milk has their own iPhone app that is free (both of these are covered in a previous post). These ToDo applications allow multiple people to see and edit the lists. Also, it is possible to set due dates, assignees, and track percent complete.
As the quantity of articles and sites rose, I moved to OmniFocus (from Omnigroup). Using OmniFocus, I am better able to add depth to article planning by being able to take notes and build on the contents that will be in each post. Others are able to join in and mark components complete, as well I can assign bits and pieces to team members to be tracked or reassigned if needed. There is a for pay desktop and a for pay iPhone version (multi discounts are offered) which is synced through a .Me account (syncing through other technologies is available if you don’t have a .Me acct).
Things is a rising star I have been playing with through beta to their recent release. Looks like a good option too.
Watching the sites:
It is important to make sure posts are appearing when they are planned to. Rather than having to visit each site individually in a browser, I use the iPhone application “Feeds“, an RSS reader. Setting the blogs to post all updates to RSS, I can quickly refresh Feeds anytime and see what the last updates for each of the sites are. As well, review the content without all of the extras on the Web site.
An item I have started using after we had an unscheduled outage is Pingamajig. Tapping one button pings all of the sites to make sure everything is running/online.
Research breaks down to watching the news vs coming up with content on my own – depending on the site.
Once a subject or content is thought of, future research can be done while on the run via that same Google app, or if you are looking for more extensive information on a subject – check Wikipedia. I use both iPedia+ and Wikipanion depending on what I will be doing with the information after my first visit. Each of these two apps do their features better than the other. Whether that is being able to drill down to other related articles or the ability to save onto your device (needed if your writing on a plane and want to reference after getting into the air).
If I am writing a component of an article that others are working on, I have been using “TextGuru” with great success. No matter how successful, it is always good to keep an eye out for other applications and their features. Right now I am testing “Affairs” as a possible second option.
With TextGuru, I am able to work, save and return to edit later my articles as they grow. I can all of the features I would need in a advanced text editor I would use on my notebook computer. TextGuru provides a nice method to move the articles out to other editors so I’m not a solo worker.
Most of my writing time is spent doing little two paragraph posts – usually with images.
To do this, all of our sites have both the Atom Publishing Protocol and the XML-RPC site options turned on (usually found in the Writing settings area of your blogs). By enabling this type of editor connection, I am able to use “iBlogger” on my iPhone. Well, actually, I have been using it since it was introduced. It has one major issue where it adds a couple dozen line breaks after any article I upload that has a picture in it. I edited those out after each posting. “BlogPress” has made some updates that has brought it up to the level that I was looking at so I find myself doing just about all of my creation/uploads using it now.
Both programs let you have multiple sites with different logins for each. They also allow you to post to a large variety of blogging systems (wordpress, tumblr, typepad, etc…).
Several sites I work on rely on images in articles being fresh. Since I can’t wait to get back to my notebook, I use both “Photogene” and “Picoli” to crop and clean up pictures I just took with the iPhone camera.
While TextGuru has it’s own method of moving it’s files to and from the iPhone and desktops, for other files that I need to review I split my time between “Air Sharing” and “OneDisk“. Air Sharing is great for going directly to my notebook and moving files back and forth via the Wifi network. Files include documents, spreadsheets and PDFs (movies and images are also supported). With OneDisk, I move files over the 3G network to a folder on the company .Me account. Others with access can review, edit and add to the documents.
Worth also mentioning is when trying to describe a layout plan, I use Sketches to draw my ideas whether it is for others to use or to be uploaded to a Blog.
The above is a list of what is what I used everyday. It is not a complete list of all applications on my iPhone to do my work outside of the Blogging work. Spreadsheets, outlines, colors, fonts, location specialty tools and image editors will be covered in future posts.