Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Getting started with Blogging on a tablet

Please note - this is a substantial edit of the first post, as so much has happened in the space of just a few days, that my previous report was getting quite messy with repeated updates.

Since the primary purpose of this blog is to spotlight wargaming from the perspective of the 'space restricted' gamer, then the technology side of things needs to be brought into that discussion.
I presently have a CORE i3, 8GB laptop set-up on one of those contraptions that raise the screen to face height. This has been made higher by being placed on a files box and has a second keyboard in front of it, so any space saving that a laptop was meant to give me compared to a desktop system has been lost. I did need this kind of processing capability for some of my DTP designs that I was publishing, but with that on the back burner, I just don't need such a capable machine.
I like my tablet for games, e-reading and the convenience that a mobile platform brings, especially for travel and hospital visits. In the future, I would prefer not to have to maintain / buy two devices types  and importantly, for the 'right here and now', I would like to liberate some space on my desk so that I can leave games set up there. It would be nice to have a larger game ticking over during the Christmas holiday break - when the dining table is 'higher demand'. So my quest is to try and move my laptop activity across to the tablet a bit at a time and see how far I can get with this.
Having taken my e-mail to the tablet, the next thing is to get my blogging capability sorted out and this has been harder than I first envisaged.


This is the first blog entry that I have done via a tablet (with a real keyboard, not the dreadful screen thing) and there has been something of a learning curve and hopefully this post might save others some time.
My new set-up is based around an Apple iPad, the Apple blue tooth keyboard and an adapter that allows an SD card to connect to the iPad. My previous tablet was a Toshiba AT300 Android based 10" machine, which I enjoyed using and I have no interest in getting involved in any Apple v Android type discussion, it strikes me that there is plenty of new generation stuff from either party that is up to the task.
I was hoping that the tablet's camera would give me an easy integrated photo capability, but I feel that at this stage the technology still has some way to go, especially for indoor, artificially lit subjects. I get a better result taking the pictures with a 'real' camera and importing the images directly via the SD card reader.
My first attempt at managing the blog via the iPad was a failure. I just went via the Safari browser to the blog and tried to use it like I would normally do with the laptop. I hit two problems. Firstly, it would not import pictures from the iPad (instead wanting to go to my Picasa account - which all 'Blogger' users have) and secondly I could not edit beyond the first screens worth of text.


The next step was to 'discover' the 'Blogger' App, which is reported as being surprisingly poor in terms of functionality (see the review ratings as to the problems), which is a shame as there are not that many alternative apps that will integrate with my Blogger blog.
Then I came across an App called BlogGo (£1.49 Sterling), which looks like it has a recent update and a friendly interface and initially it seemed to work a treat in getting all the basics done. The problems came when I tried to edit a post. The graphics were problematic and once the post got into the 'top 5 posts' of the week, the first graphic of the post would not transfer across to the thumbnail posting in the 5 post listings in the usual way. I also had some page break issues after editing via the laptop and when repeatedly playing around with the graphics while editing, some would fail then to load into the real blog display.
Next came BlogTouch (£2.99 Sterling) which handles graphics very nicely and does create the thumbnail on the right hand list - but editing proved difficult. I make long posts, the edit screen would give me the first screens worth of post, but beyond that, as soon as a key was pressed, it would send my screen display to the last part of the post, so I was typing blindly when editing to the middle section of the document. If I switched to HTML it did not do that, but I don't want to work in HTML. BlogTouch in the current version does not support a page break.

I then downloaded the Blogsy app (£2.99 Sterling) and I am using this now for this re-posting, so far it seems to do everything I need, but I need to work with it for a few more days before I can say that this is the app that I will stick with. There are plenty of official demo videos on the net, which will give you a good indication as to how this app handles.

You will notice that the formatting of this post is a little skewy in the way that spacing has been used within the paragraphs - this followed an edit that I did (for spelling) on the laptop in the old way via the web, something that I would avoid doing in the future. This post has been through several editors now, so that problem could have been picked up anywhere, possibly with some previous text wrapping. an analysis of the HTML could probably get me the answer .... if I was absolutely lost for something to do!
For free storage of my blog images, I need to keep their size to below 800 x 800 pixels. The iPhoto software is good for general editing but surprisingly does not resize. I have found a free app called 'Image Size' that I have used to do the job in this post, although Blogsy does re-size the image on screen, I just need to find out if that is a 'real world' re-sizing or whether it is just a screen resizing (so far, I think it is just screen re-sizing of the pulled file and the original remaining at the saved size).
Via the Safari browser, I can go into my blog and see the stats and get into settings, so for the moment (and 3 days later of updated postings), things seem to be working OK, which is more than I can say for how I felt about all of this just a few hours ago.




  1. "I like my tablet for games, e-reading..." - Same goes for me. Although I love my lappie, a tablet is much easier to carry around. You can put it in a bag with ease. And it functions almost the same. It is like having the best of both worlds. - Betty

  2. Betty, I have been putting my laptop away for a few days at a time to force myself to use the tablet, so that I can better judge what the tablet won't do - so far I am really impressed by its functionality. (having said that, I am writing this on the laptop :-))