More iPhone Wants: iLife/iWork Integration

Now that Apple has put a lot more polish on their iLife and iWork suites, it’s now time to integrate them even more with iPhone.

One of the best integrations is through the new .Mac web galleries and iPhoto. Having the galleries on the web means you don’t need them right on your iPhone which saves storage space. It’s also really easy to take snaps on the phone and directly upload them via email to galleries, so I created an “On-the-Go” gallery specially for that purpose.

But now I’m hoping for even more integration like:

  • Direct viewing of Pages, Numbers and Keynote documents on my iPhone. I think that right now I’d have to convert them to other formats like Word, Excel and/or PDF to view them. This should be a no-brainer.
  • A way to submit entries to my iWeb-created Blogs from the iPhone. I mean, that is the main reason why I’m staying here on blogger: so I can post entries from places other than my Mac. An email-it-in function like with the photo galleries would be stellar.
  • Of course, that would also necessitate a better text editor on the iPhone, the biggest thing I was lamenting in an earlier post. Just give me TextEdit and I’d be happy…

There was a posting on the website about most wanted iPhone apps, and someone went so far as to propose an “iMovie Lite” application that would let you take vids shot on the iPhone (also something you can’t do right now), do simple editing and then share online through galleries and YouTube. I think that would be really fun, though again I doubt I’d want to turn my iPhone into a video creation tool. But you never know…

I also very much liked his idea of being able to have a book reader to access your eBooks on the iPhone. He mocked it up with the Delicious Library GUI which I would also like to be able to access on my iPhone—it’s frustrating when I’m out at a bookstore and I can’t remember which volumes I’m missing. It would be nice to be able to access my library on the go (and, incidentally, as much as I love Delicious Library, its reporting/exporting/publishing functionality sucks at an abysmal level).

So there you go—some more observations on what I’d like to do with the coolest piece of technology I’ve ever owned.

New iApps: First Contact

Incredibly, I received my upgrades today! The wonders of modern commerce…

In the meantime, I went online and viewed the excellent iLife ’08 overview video and several of the tutorials on—well worth the time. The new features really are astounding, especially the new iMovie which will make it so much simpler to edit movies quickly. Maybe I’ll finally get around to doing my Japan videos…

The features are pretty awesome, but not without their lumps:

  • The new iPhoto is cool, but disorienting when you first convert your library. All my film rolls disappeared to be replaced by the new Events. Suddenly, nothing was where I left it, though I didn’t lose anything. The albums all seem the same.
  • I really like the idea of the online .mac galleries, but I’m not sure when to use them vs. regular photo pages in iWeb (but see below). The galleries seem pretty mysterious still, they’re not as flexible as I wish they were, I seem to be having some trouble uploading & syncing them and I’m not sure how much space they consume on my iDisk. I suppose I’ll get it sorted…
  • Magic Garage Band is so much fun! You basically choose a music genre, click to create a song and audition the various instruments at will in real time as the song plays. I may have a lot of fun building movie soundtracks!
  • iWeb—some cool stuff, but has caused me a lot of grief. The first thing is that after converting, all my photo albums were destroyed! There’s a new kind of “My Albums” index page—which is really neat, but I think may be why everything got messed up. In trying to rebuild the pages, they are not working either. This is causing me a great deal of consternation. I’m even having to go back to find a backup of my domain file to try again. I really do like the ability to change themes on existing web pages, but it’s inconsistent and involves quite a bit of rework because the various page parts don’t always directly correlate to the other templates. The web widgets & snippets seem like a good idea, but I can’t even get a simple Google Map widget to work right (I can’t seem to get a selected address to stay in the widget). This may be a case of having to start anew from scratch, which is a truly onerous prospect.


I suppose—just like everything—even Apple software has its bugs and teething pains, but this is a little higher level of that than I’m used to. Hopefully I’ll get things worked out.

I haven’t played around much with iWork ’08 yet, but Numbers seems to be able to read my existing Excel spreadsheets with no problems, so that’s cool. Maybe I can indeed have my Macs become “Microsoft Free Zones”!

At Last: iLife & iWork ’08!

This morning was an “Apple Media Special Event” that turned out to be quite big. Steve Jobs announced and demoed:

  • All-new Aluminum iMacs – very sexy
  • iLife ’08 with completely reworked iMovie and lots of iPhoto improvements
  • iWork ’08 with the completely new Numbers spreadsheet app
  • Serious upgrades to .mac services: 10GB storage and new Web Albums

I didn’t get to watch it live since I was at the Ventury County fair with my family, but I did read all about it from my iPhone. That was enough for me to go online to the Apple Store and place my order then and there (I absolutely love my iPhone!). I should have them shortly, so stay tuned!

Apple’s Bluetooth earpiece for iPhone—COOL!

Amazingly, when I went to the Pasadena, CA Apple Store on Saturday, they actually had the BT earpieces in stock. I bought one, of course, and it really has to be the best one I’ve ever had.

The earpiece has essentially the same shape as the regular Apple earbuds, so it’s comfortable to wear. The body is black aluminum like the iPod Nano with only a single button on the end to answer/hang up calls. The microphone end also contains the charging pins which fit into the dock magnetically like the MacBook power adapters—very smart! The good part is that you get BOTH the deluxe dock (charges both iPhone and earpiece simultaneously) and the travel cable in the box. And it’s in a beautiful, sturdy box just like the iPhone itself.

It’s very comfortable to wear, it’s easy to hear (because the earpiece actually sits in your ear like headphones) and it’s so lightweight you forget it’s even there. There was absolutely no trouble pairing either: you simply place both the iPhone and the earpiece in the dock and—ba-da-bing—you’re good to go. Just another piece of gorgeous design and engineering from Apple’s masters!

My iPhone Wish List

So, I’ve now had my iPhone for about two weeks, and it is quite simply the most exciting piece of technology I’ve had for a long time. It is the sort of thing that people merely dreamt about only a few years ago and something I’ve longed for for ages. It was well worth the money and having to break contracts and switch to a more expensive service plan.

However, there are five things that right off-the-bat I would like to have changed or added, in no particular order:

  1. Ability to view lyrics in iPod app – I have a lot of songs in Japanese that I listen to, and it sure would be nice to be able to access the lyrics since I went to the trouble of importing them.
  2. Ability to reorder lists in the Stocks and Weather apps – If you want to add new cities in Weather or new tickers in Stocks, they always go to the bottom of the list. It would sure be handy to be able to reorder or at least alphabetize them—right now you have to delete them and retype them to change the order.
  3. Access Tasks in Calendar – To me this is really a pain: there’s no way to access your iCal tasks on the Phone, making it useless as a way of tracking things I have to do. If not in the iPhone’s calendar app, then how about a separate dedicated app?
  4. Beef up the Calculator app – I’m not talking super-scientific go nuts here, but it would be really nice to at least have a % key. Something really good would be to include tip calculator and maybe foreign currency calculation functions. The world has advanced way beyond +-*/ only calculators (at least it’s got a memory function).
  5. Make the Notes app usable – This is probably the weakest app right now and needs to be so much more. First, the notes need to be able to be synced with my Mac and accessible from there. Having to edit everything on the phone and only being able to see it there is kinda a pain. Second, the ability to do minor formatting would be fantastic—I mean, I’m doing that right now in a browser window typing this Blog entry. Nothing fancy, just the standard text editor functions would be nice for things like numbered lists, Bold/Italic/Underline, etc.—I’m not asking for a word processor, since I don’t plan on writing my next novel in my phone. But formatting would be really helpful in having more organized documents. Finally, It would be nice to have a font other than the goofy one provided which looks something like the repulsive Comic Sans. Since iPhone is based on OS X, what would be the difficulty of porting TextEdit over? That’s all I’d really ever need. I have a feeling that some of these things might be addressed in Leopard from what I’ve seen on Apple’s website.

Other than those observations—which according to my layman’s perspective shouldn’t be too difficult to implement—I’m completely satisfied with how the software performs and how intuitive it is to use it all. Some of this might come out with the next revs of the iPhone software or with the advent of Leopard.

Actually, I almost feel sorry picking-nits like this since it’s such an amazing device. But there are my reasonable two-cents worth!

Website working?

I had to jump through a few more hoops, but I think I’ve got things under control—finally.

Turns out that whatever way I deleted my old pages did something screwy. I got some helpful direction on the .mac users forum, and things seem to be OK now. I can hopefully now concentrate on revising and adding content.

The one thing that has got me stymied is how to better break up my site; I may have to do more re-architecting and split into sub sites. I’m also considering converting to a .mac “Family Pack”, because it appears I may be able to have the appearance of discrete sites.

Then there’s also iWeb. I do like the tool, though it’s still in its infancy. I may use it for specific tasks (right now my “by invitation” subsite is in iWeb).

When did life get so complicated…

Off again, on again website…

Ever since switching over to my new website, I’ve been plagued by weird happenings. To hopefully fix it, I took my whole website down, deleted everything and let it sit for 24 hours on 1/22.

I think the problem came from too many confusing methods of creation: I’d originally done some pages using the .mac HomePage tool, some with RapidWeaver, some with Macromedia Contribute and some really old stuff with either Freeway Express or even other tools. Couple that with some initial experiments with Apple’s new iWeb program and revised site hosting architecture and no wonder there were difficulties! Oh yeah—and let’s not forget photo albums created from iPhoto…

So now everything’s back up, though still in its “under construction” stage. It really takes a lot of elbow-grease to get a site setup. However, compared with the bad-old-days, today’s new programs (like both RapidWeaver and iWeb) sure make it much easier to create and maintain web pages for a goof like myself.

So I apologize for my “disappearance”—it looks like it was a necessary evil…