In the days before I owned a laptop computer, I used to take my big hefty desktop PC (along with huge CRT monitor) on holiday with me. Then I got a laptop, and marvelled at how much lighter and more portable it was, and how much more car space I had when going on holiday!
Then I had kids, and was grateful for that extra car space!!
After getting my iPad it took me a while to realise its full potential. Sure, it was small, and fitted in my handbag, but I still needed to take my laptop with me if I wanted to be able to blog on the move, right?
Over the last two years I have put together a little collection of great apps which give me the ability to blog whilst out and about. I can put together a blog post that looks as good as one produced on my PC, whilst still travelling light. Just to show you that this works, I can tell you that the majority of this blog post was written whilst I was travelling on a train, and I could have done it all if I hadn’t have run out of time on my journey!
Because I’m an Apple user, with both iPhone and iPad at my disposal, you’ll notice that these apps are predominantly iOS apps. Where they exist I have included links to the Android versions of apps as well, but where the app is not available I have not gone hunting for alternatives, simply because I don’t have the knowledge of that platform. These apps are great not just if you’re away from home but also if you’re a busy Mum and just want to capture a few thoughts whilst the kids are happily playing together.
Here’s how I ensure I can update my blog wherever I might be:
1 – Blogsy (iPad only, £2.99). Available for the iPad only, Blogsy is hands down the best blogging app I have found. It gives you all the formatting controls you need to produce a great looking post, and also integrates to sites like Flickr, Picasa and YouTube giving you a very some drag and drop ability to add pictures or videos to your post. It also contains an integrated web browser to make it easier to link to other sites – simply navigate to the page you want to link to, and drag the link into your post. You can switch between a “normal” view and an HTML view of your post for ultimate control of your content. It’s a great app, highly recommended.
If you don’t have an iPad then I would recommend instead using the official Blogger (Android or iPhone, both free) or WordPress (Android or iOS Universal, both free) apps as appropriate for your blog platform. It’s definitely harder to type on a smaller smartphone screen, but it is possible.
2 – Snapseed (iOS Universal, £2.99). There are many photo editing apps available on iOS these days, but few are as easy to use as Snapseed. I don’t tend to post process my photos very much, but I do like to crop them, and Snapseed makes that very easy. It also offers a range of Instagram-like filters, which give lots of options for the way my photos look.
Snapseed is not currently available on Android, however Google have just bought Nik Software, the developer, so maybe it will be appearing in the future…
3 – Photo Transfer App (iOS Universal, £1.99 and Android, Free but limited to 2 photos at a time – you can pay £1.29 for the version that will transfer up to 50 at a time). If you’re like me, you probably take pictures on your smartphone, but prefer to edit them or include them in blog posts on your tablet. But how do you get your pictures or videos from one device to the other when you’re out and about? File Transfer App makes this very easy. As long as your devices are on the same wireless network, you can send pictures or videos from one to the other. This app allows Android and iOS devices to share pictures, and also allows you to share with your Mac or PC if you have them with you. This is an amazingly versatile and useful app, and I use it all the time. You may think you can achieve the same result with the new photo sharing features of iCloud, but bear in mind that is photos only, not videos. Despite being called Photo Transfer App, this app transfers videos too.
4 – Pinnacle Studio (iPad only, £5.49). I like to include video with my blog posts where appropriate, and Pinnacle Studio is a fully functional video editing app. I actually edit most of my video this way nowadays, despite having a PC with Windows Movie Maker at my disposal. It has a nice drag and drop interface to bring multiple clips together, allows you to add text and titles, and enables you to upload your finished movie to YouTube (so you can then use Blogsy to insert it into your blog post). I have found that it’s easier to work with this app with a stylus – some of the controls can require very fine movements to get them just right).
This app is iPad only, if you want to edit video on the go with your iPhone then I recommend iMovie (iOS Universal, £2.99).
5 – Mr Reader (iPad only, £2.49). When I’m on the move I want to be able to read my favourite blogs as well as write my own content, and this is my reader of choice. It integrates with my Google Reader account so that if I read a post on my iPad I don’t then see that same post when I’m back at my PC. It’s also one of the few reader apps that I have found which allows me to subscribe to new blogs, which again means I can keep up to date whilst out and about.
For following blogs on an iPhone I like Feedler (iOS Universal, free with ads or £2.99 without).
So there’s my top five apps for mobile blogging. With those on your device you can surprisingly easily produce content wherever you are. Do you have any apps you consider essential in order to keep you blogging when you’re away from home? I’d love to hear about them, please leave me a comment below.