Search

the blonde byte

Empowering Women Through Technology

Month

April 2017

How to: get the most out of voice dictation, one of the iPhone’s most underrated features.

 

 

By Kif Leswing of Business Insider

Talking to Siri may be hit or miss, but Apple’s iPhone is actually pretty good at understanding what you’re saying to it.

In fact, Apple’s speech-to-text software can be extremely useful outside of Siri. Users can talk to their phone and have it turn to text for anything that takes text input.

The button to dictate text to speech is prominently displayed on the default iOS keyboard next to the spacebar.

Talking with my colleagues, I was surprised about how few of them have ever tried dictation. Although it’s been included in iPhones for over three years, few people seem to use it often.

In my opinion, it’s one of the most underrated parts of using an iPhone.
When you press that button, you’ll get a waveform. As you talk to the waveform, words will appear in the text. Like this:

 

Here’s what you need to know to use Apple dictation to its fullest:


First, make sure it’s turned on
. You need to have Siri on for dictation to work. It’s in Settings > Siri.

Watch your data. Apple’s dictation uses a remote server to decipher what you’re saying, so make sure you have enough data under your cap or that your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi.

Learn the shortcuts. When dictating, Siri understands certain words, like “smiley” or “winky face.” It also understands certain settings, like “caps on” or “caps off.” A full list is here.

Say punctuation out loud. One of the biggest issues with speech-to-text is that it can’t usually tell when a sentence ends. So you’ll need to say “period,” “apostrophe,” or other punctuation marks when you want them to show up in the text.

Speak clearly and slowly. It’s a lot easier for the computer to decipher what you’re saying if you’re not talking a mile a minute.

Proofread and edit your text. Once you’ve dictated — perhaps a paper you’re writing, or an email — don’t just send it off. Software isn’t perfect, and going through and fixing errors in a dictated text can still be faster than typing it from scratch. Anything underlined with a blue underline the software has flagged as possibly erroneous.

The blue underline means you should give those terms a closer look. Screenshot
Don’t confuse dictation with voice memos. On iMessage, there’s a microphone button next to the text input. That sends a short voice message, but it doesn’t transcribe your speech into text.

Have you tried using voice dictation? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

Weekly Round up 4/21

 

 

Go home, Facebook. You’re drunk.

Facebook Is Working on Tech to Let You Type With Your Brain and ‘Hear With Your Skin’

Net Neutrality is what separates us form the animals.
F.C.C. Leader Seeks Tech Companies’ Views on Net Neutrality

This could get ugly…
Why we should start judging tech CEO’s like they’re politicians.

Couldn’t they have gone with something cheaper like, a dunce cap and a muzzle?
Here’s How Much Tech Companies Gave to the Trump Inauguration

Sadly, I expected this to happen way sooner than it did.
What Could Be Worse Than Live Murder on Facebook? Unfortunately, We’ll Know Soon

When you love something, let it go. If it doesn’t come back, upload their sex tape to the internet.

D.C. man becomes first to be convicted under District’s new revenge porn law.

WIT: Meet the female entrepreneurs using tech for good

 

By Mark Smith of BBC News

Jude Ower loved playing video games as a child, but she never dreamed that her passion would eventually become a force for good and win her accolades and honours.

After 12 years making games for education and training, she went on to create an international games platform with a social conscience – Playmob.
“After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Zynga, the creator of Farmville, launched a campaign to raise funds for the victims by selling an in-game item, with a percentage of each purchase going to help the victims,” she explains.

“It was massively successful and raised over $1m in a matter of days. It was then I thought: ‘Maybe I could make a platform that connected games and causes?'”
Playmob pairs games developers or businesses with a charity and then sets up in-game advertising campaigns. By clicking on links within the game, players can make donations.

The campaigns have helped more than 3,000 teenagers receive counselling for cyber-bullying, provided protection for 31 pandas, and secured education for 8,500 children in Africa and Asia, the company says.

“With Playmob we can track the social impact, such as number of trees planted, number of meals provided, water wells built, and so forth,” she says.
“This allows players to see that the more they play and interact with the branded content, the more good they do.”
So far the games platform has raised more than $1m for charities over the past five years, and more than 1.5 million players have interacted with charitable in-game content.

Her success saw her awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 2015 for services to entrepreneurship and she’s been voted one of the top 100 Women in Tech in Europe.

Ms Ower is just one of a growing number of entrepreneurs – many of them women – exploring how technology can be harnessed in the cause of philanthropy.
This is tech for social good, or “philtech” as it’s sometimes called.

Erin Michelson’s high-flying banking career took her to Hong Kong, Chicago, New York and San Francisco, where she rose to vice president and director of philanthropic management at Bank of America.

But despite seemingly having it all, she felt there was something missing.
“I realised that even though I had all the trappings of success, I was terribly unhappy,” she says.

“So I quit my job, sold everything I owned, set up a charitable fund, and headed out on a two-year around-the-world trip volunteering with humanitarian organisations.”
Taking only one suitcase, she spent 720 days travelling to 62 countries across all seven continents – an adventure that helped her find meaning in her life, she says.
After writing a book about her experiences, she returned to San Francisco and founded Summery, a data analytics company that has developed a piece of online software similar to the Myers-Briggs personality test.

The program combines behavioural science and analytics to give employers an idea of their staff’s social priorities and attitudes towards giving, which she says helps inform companies how to focus their charitable efforts.

“The test matches you with one of 10 ‘giving’ personalities and provides a snapshot of your giving DNA, one of 59,048 possibilities,” says Ms Michelson.
By taking the guesswork out of charitable giving, she says it can improve the relationship between employer and staff, to everyone’s benefit.

“Engaged employees lead not only to better corporate performance, but also significant cost savings through stronger retention and more targeted recruitment based on cultural appreciation,” she says.

Richard Craig, chief executive of the Technology Trust, which helps charitable organisations use tech more effectively, says: “Over the last couple of years there has been a noticeable trend in graduates specifically looking for roles in charities and non-profits who might previously have looked to careers in the City, for example.

“I am seeing the same trend with technology start-ups, with a proportion looking to deliver social good either as non-profits themselves, or commercial organisation with social purpose.”

It was while working for an advertising agency in London that Amy Williams had her “philtech epiphany”.

“I saw firsthand the huge amount of money that gets passed from one big conglomerate to another, buying and selling the cheap commodity of our attention online,” she says.

“The stark contrast between these two worlds really hit me – £4.7bn was spent on online advertising in the UK last year.”

She quit and went travelling, working as a volunteer for a small charity in Argentina called Food For Thought, which specialises in nutrition education for kids.

“I started started to see the untapped potential within online advertising to make some real positive impact.”

Inspired by her experiences, she founded Good-Loop, a company that rewards viewers of video ads with donations to their chosen charities.

Brands create a video and if the visitor watches it for 15 seconds or more, the advertiser pays 50p – with 50% of that going to the chosen charity, 40% to the content creator, and 10% to Good-Loop.

She says the process makes viewers more engaged with brands because they have opted to watch the content rather than having it forced upon them.

Playmob’s Jude Ower believes recent political events in Europe and the US have fired up younger generations to get more involved in socially responsible causes.
“We are seeing people leave well-paid jobs to take a risk and set up on their own, not just in the hope of creating a successful start-up, but to do something with purpose.”

Do you know any women in tech fighting the good fight? Let us know in the comments below.

App of the Week – Sprinkles

Microsoft Sprinkles camera app is fun and not at all depressing.

 

By Chris Burns of SlashGear.com

The developers at Microsoft have successfully created another distraction to our everyday massacre of a modern life with an app called Sprinkles. With the app, users will be able to see how old the machine thinks they are – though that’s not a strictly new trick from Microsoft, it’s still wonderful to be able to do, if you look young. Another feature is matching your face with the celebrity that looks most like you.

Those individuals that wish to find out which celebrity they most look like will be able to do so with the Sprinkles app. Microsoft has created an app that guesses your age and matches your face with that of a celebrity. I was a bit disappointed to find that this app does not allow me to usurp cultural inheritance or go forth and swap my face with that of another face.

It’s OK, though. Microsoft has created a smart camera system which can automatically suggest captions for me. I don’t have to think of anything clever anymore. It will no longer look like I’m just showing pictures of my face because I need my face to be seen. Now it will look like I’ve become quite clever.

The icon for Sprinkles looks like a pink donut – but to be clear, this is not the Simpsons donut. That media empire is not connected to Microsoft directly at this time. Unless they’re working on some sort of secret dessert-themed software we’ve yet to hear about.

Users of iPhones and users of iPads can access the Sprinkles app download right this minute. Android users cannot access the app at this moment. Android users should – in my personal opinion – go check out an app like Nova Launcher instead – that’s freedom of device instead of automatic photo captioning. We’ll all be happier with that.

Have you tried Sprinkles? Let us know what you think of it in the comments below.

How to: use Apple Clips, the iOS video-editing app and why you’d want to.

 

Apple Clips is like iMovie meets Snapchat.

 

By Caitlin McGarry of Macworld

It’s easy to compare Apple’s new iOS app, Clips, to video-sharing social networks like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. But that’s not exactly fair, because Apple’s Clips isn’t social at all—it’s designed simply to help you create and edit fun videos. What you do with them after that is up to you.

This approach makes Clips less anxiety-inducing. To share a video on Instagram or Snapchat, you’ll want to shoot in Instagram or Snapchat to make sure the moment you’re capturing is perfectly framed. You can shoot in Clips, too, but this feels more like an app you’ll use after the moment has passed to stitch together memories and add a soundtrack and captions. Clips is way more low-key.

But that doesn’t make it less complicated to use. In fact, it’s on par with Snapchat when it comes to unintuitive design, so be prepared to spend an exorbitant amount of time creating your first clip. (We pray it gets easier the more you use it, but time will tell.) Here’s everything you need to know about using Apple Clips.

How to use Clips

 

First thing’s first: You need photos and videos to edit, right? Right. You can import them from your Camera Roll and stitch them together, or you can shoot photos or videos in-app. Pro tip: You can swipe left on the giant red “Hold to record” button if you plan on filming for awhile to lock the camera in recording mode. Just tap the button again when you want to stop shooting. Clips defaults to the Instagram-esque square format, so if you’re importing media, make sure it’ll look good square. (Some might mind this, but I don’t.)

From there you can swap videos or photos around in the visual timeline at the bottom of the app just by pressing and moving them. You can also easily trim video clips—just tap on the clip in the timeline and then tap the scissor icon to edit the video down to just the seconds (or minutes) you want to include.

Along with a video-trimming tool, Clips has all the standard social video-editing features (filters, emojis, etc.) tucked behind icons at the top of the app. Tapping the speech bubble icon adds captions in real time (more on this in a minute). Eight filters, ranging from black and white to my favorite Comic Book, are behind the interlocking circles icon. The star is hiding the time, your location, shapes like circles and arrows, and random words you can edit after adding them to your image or video. The ‘T’ icon unlocks title cards that can help you tell your story—the text on these cards is also editable. The last option, a music note, is how you add a song from iTunes or an Apple-supplied tune to your video.

It takes awhile to get to know the various tools and tricks to make Clips work for you, but you’ve got this. And remember that creating a clip in Clips doesn’t mean that video goes anywhere but your Camera Roll. You have to take extra steps to share it with anyone or on any platform, which makes it extremely low-pressure.

The best Clips features

 

Clips has a few features that set it apart from other video-editing apps, the most notable of which is Live Titles. That’s what Apple calls its real-time captioning tool, which is designed to make your video totally watchable without sound. This is perfect for scrolling through Facebook’s auto-playing News Feed, but also improves accessibility, making videos easy to watch for viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Live Titles supports 36 languages at launch, which is a feat for a brand-new app.

The Live Titles feature doesn’t always nail the speech-to-text translation, though. I didn’t experience any captioning errors in my tests, but if you speak quickly and run your words together, you might confuse the algorithm parsing your sentences. Speak slowly and enunciate to avoid having to edit your captions. (I actually didn’t know this was possible, but the Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern discovered that you can edit a caption by tapping on the video clip, then pausing the video where the error appears on screen and tapping on the text. Yeah, it’s kind of a process.)

But basically everything you see on screen is editable, which is incredibly useful. Every bit of text can be changed and even emojis can be easily swapped out by tapping on the emoji on-screen and then tapping again to access your emoji keyboard.

In your first few hours with Clips, it’ll feel a little burdensome. But once you figure it out, creating social videos with Clips is a cinch.

Time to share

Once your masterpiece is finished, it’s time to share it. Clips uses facial recognition to figure out who’s in your video and then suggests that you use iMessage to send your video to those friends, which is really cool.

You can also share a clip via email or post it to your go-to social networks, minus Snapchat. Snapchat is not designed for sharing what’s essentially a short social movie (not to mention the fact that clips are square and snaps are vertical). But clips seem tailor-made for sharing on Facebook in particular. Imagine creating movies of your kids or making your own DIY Tasty food recipe video with Clips. Post them to your page and watch the likes roll in.

It’s a good thing Apple didn’t try to build a social network around Clips (lesson learned from Ping, perhaps). Instead, Apple is doing what it does best: giving creators the tools they need to make good work. Right now, popular media tends to be short and shareable. With Clips, maybe you too can snag 15 minutes—or more likely seconds—of viral video fame.

What do you think of Apple Clips? Let us hear from you in the comments below!

Weekly Round Up 4/14


“Brogrammers” is my new favorite word.

HOW ONE TECH START-UP DITCHED ITS BROGRAMMERS

 

 

Innovation is tough when you no longer have visionary leadership.
Apple Inc. Reportedly Struggling With New Touch ID Tech. Cutting-edge innovation is tough to bring into mass production.

 

 

Oh, Etsy. Don’t you know climate change is just a hoax?
How Etsy Built The Greenest Office Space In Tech

 

 

If only there was an App that would castrate men who hit women. Time to innovate, Apple.
‘I had minutes to make the call’: the tech helping domestic abuse survivors.

 

 

This is not a partisan issue, to me. This is a basic right.
Tech lobby goes to bat on net neutrality

 

 

Will it blend? No. Will it be an 11th hour act of desperation by two sinking mega ships? Absolutely.
Will it blend? Oath will combine disparate AOL-Yahoo ad tech assets

 

 

I think Fitbit has played itself right out of the game.
Fitbit’s new smartwatch has been plagued by production mishaps

WIT: Stopping revenge porn starts with more women in tech.

 

By Melanie Ehrenkranz of Mic.com

Nearly three years after dozens of celebrities and actresses were targeted in a massive revenge porn campaign called the Fappening, women are under attack again.

In March, thousands of current and former male Marines were discovered to be sharing a massive stash of explicit nude photos without their subjects’ consent. The same month, someone reportedly leaked more private images of women in Hollywood, and stars like Emma Watson and Amanda Seyfried, allegedly targeted in the attack, are taking legal action.

Hacks like these are more than invasions of privacy. They’re serious personal attacks that more often than not fit the description of a sex crime. The distribution of explicit or sensitive images of someone without their consent is a form of revenge porn, or “image-based sexual abuse,” Durham University law professor Clare McGlynn said in an interview with Refinery29. This type of harassment is difficult to both prevent and enforce: When the Marines’ private Facebook group for nude photos was busted, users simply flocked to other, more off-the-radar sites.

As lawmakers have fought for harsher punishments for revenge porn distributors, there’s another way to protect victims: cybersecurity measures that protect users from having their personal images spread around the web. It’s an urgent reason to bring more women, who are disproportionately targeted in these attacks, into cybersecurity — a field with dismal gender parity and an inability to develop a work culture that allows them to thrive.

 

Revenge porn has millions of victims

Posting someone’s nude images online without their consent isn’t a form of harassment unique to celebrities. As many as 1 in 25 internet users in the United States (approximately 10.4 million people) has been threatened with or actually experienced having their explicit photos or videos posted online, according to a study from the Center for Innovative Public Health Research. The study showed that individuals from communities enduring the most harassment online also experienced a higher rate of revenge porn threats.

“Our findings show that particular groups — such as young adults and lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans — are not only much more likely to be victims of nonconsensual pornography, but are more likely to experience a range of online harassment and abuse,” lead researcher Amanda Lenhart said in a statement. “This includes other types of privacy violations, such as having their online or phone activity monitored, or having their passwords stolen or coerced by others.”

But many people still don’t take revenge porn attacks seriously. Brianna Wu, a video game developer and game studio founder, is currently running for Congress on a platform of privacy rights and inclusive technology. She knows the perils of online abuse firsthand. “We’ve seen young girls commit suicide after being violated online without consent,” she said in an email to Mic. “This is causing immense harm, but many men in tech are blind to it.”

“I was really amazed by how many men I knew in tech considered the Fappening on Reddit a fun diversion,” Wu said. But when she “tried to talk to them about it being a sex crime, a light did go off.”

The tech industry isn’t set up to prevent revenge porn

Mary Anne Franks, a professor at the University of Miami School of Law and the legislative and tech policy director of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, treats revenge porn as a “war on three fronts: legal, technological and social.” Socially, there’s been progress since 2012, she said, but her organization is still trying to “appeal to the tech industry to get a handle on the problem that they helped create.”

Tech companies rush out new products with lofty dreams of changing the world, but rarely do innovators appear to have considered the possibility of their revolutionary products being weaponized. “What’s particularly missing from that conversation is, ‘How will this affect women?'” Franks said.

“You can see that just in the way that Twitter is designed, you can see that in the way that Facebook” — which she said still hasn’t figured out how to prevent clips of rape and child abuse from popping up — “is designed,” she said. Franks also noted Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg’s previous creation, 2003’s Facemash.com, a website that allowed users to rank women on attractiveness based on their Harvard ID photos. “It’s not a coincidence that we ended up with the features and products that are heavily male dominated,” she said. 

So when “Facebook says, ‘Oh, we’re trying to figure out ways to get a handle on [violent, abusive content],’ that should be an unacceptable response,” Franks said. “Because if they didn’t have a handle on it before, they shouldn’t have rolled out the product.”

Facebook did recently address abuse issues following the Marines United scandal. New guidelines will address revenge porn by using photo-matching technology to stop the spread of nonconsensual images. 

As Wired notes, this will be helpful in mitigating revenge porn, but not preventing it. And it took a headline-grabbing scandal to nudge Facebook to roll out this protocol, when it should have anticipated the needs of its users before bad press forced its hand.

Another problem: The cybersecurity business is heavily male — and heavily white

According to a new report, women “account for just 11% of all cybersecurity professionals, earn less than their male counterparts across the board and generally feel underappreciated by their employers,” Fortune reported. 

Silicon Valley is notorious for its lack of diversity, its deeply rooted bro culture and, as a result, its pervasive exclusion of both women and people of color from the types of roles that can reshape that culture. It’s unsurprising that this trend persists in the cybersecurity industry, and that it extends beyond the business concerns to affect the internet’s most vulnerable users.

“It is entirely possible that these men never imagined the internet would free us from our earthly limitations,” Jenna Wortham wrote in the New York Times. “Instead they strove to create a world like the one we already know — one that never had equality to begin with.”

Cybersecurity experts have the ability to mitigate online abuse from a technological standpoint: They can create more efficient algorithms that scan the internet for revenge porn and quickly wipe it before it’s visible. Tech companies have the power to more strictly enforce the removal of such content. The Brookings Institution has recommended device manufacturers and internet companies develop webcams that are more easily obscured so that hackers can’t use them as surveillance devices. (In the meantime, you can always stick a Post-it note on yours.) Brookings also suggested that these companies can better encourage users to make sure they have strong passwords with less easy-to-guess security questions.

What women can offer

“Study after study has shown that women are more risk averse,” Tina Gravel, senior vice president of global channels and strategic alliances for Cryptzone, said in an email referencing a Harvard Business Review report. Gravel said that this finding can be an advantage in terms of developing the next generation of infrastructure and tech needed to stave off cybercriminals.

“Women are more likely to build these systems with security and risk reduction in mind and look for increasing ways to decrease risk, which will benefit us all,” she said. 

Franks said that until the tech industry scraps its flawed way of thinking — products exist, therefore they are valuable and should be protected even if they have issues — its products will continue to imperil women and minorities. As it stands, “the welfare of the people most likely to be hurt is always going to be an afterthought,” Franks said. 

And those most likely to endure harassment are going to be able to put those issues on the radar before they come up. That’s why a diverse team is so important.

Legislators need a better grasp of consent in the digital age

Rape culture still permeates our everyday lives — from media to victim blaming to sympathy for convicted rapists. It is also a pattern of behavior that persists among representatives in the legal system, according to Franks, which can contribute to the normalization of online sexual violence.  

“If we’re talking about legislators, the major problem is getting people past really, really outdated ideas and really moralistic ideas about sexual behavior,” Franks said. “When women are sexually assaulted, or they’re catcalled or when they’re harassed at work, we have this tendency to treat them as though it were their fault or as though the things that are happening to them are just not that serious.”

Franks said that the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative believes that the war on revenge porn can’t hinge purely on strong legislative reform and better practices from tech companies. It also requires a society that makes victims of online abuse feel safe speaking up about their experiences. It means people in power, like courts and lawyers, need to fully understand the issue at hand. It means approaching this type of harassment with empathy, not shame. 

“There are so many legislators who will honestly, in front of people, say, ‘Well, I don’t know why people are sending naked pictures to begin with,’ or, ‘If you’ve ever sent a naked picture before, you probably deserve it if they were to distribute it to someone else,'” Franks said. “There’s this really bizarre attitude toward sex that you see on the part of many legislators,” who are not just predominantly white and male, she said, but also “tend to be older.”

And tech companies need to step up

Wortham discussed her conversation with Alice Marwick, a fellow at Data & Society, summarizing Marwick’s point that “Silicon Valley tends to be ruled by a libertarian viewpoint — the notion that the less regulation and political interference in technology, the better.”
But the denizens of Silicon Valley also have a responsibility to regulate the spaces they’ve created, which too often afford their users the ability to discriminate, cyberbully and threaten others with spreading their private information. Franks said Silicon Valley tends to have a hands-off, no-regulation mentality, which has “proven to be pretty disastrous. … Many of the laws being written are not going to be terribly effective because the tech industry has so much immunity,” she said.

Many are hoping the legal system will catch up with tech and more rigorously enforce perpetrators of revenge porn. Until then, as Wired’s

Emma Grey Ellis has written, “tech companies have even fewer excuses for lagging than Congress.”  

Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google, Bing and Yahoo have all adopted policies, beginning in 2015, that ban revenge porn from their platforms. But these companies can still stand to work toward pre-emptive measures, as Franks noted — like waiting to roll out products or features until teams have deliberated on all of the ways, good and bad, they might affect users. 

 

 

Diverse teams build more inclusive products

A diverse team is not only good for a company’s bottom line, but also ensures that its products cater to the needs of a more diverse consumer base.

“The single most obvious reason to push hard for diversity is that promoting diversity means promoting understanding,” journalist and engineer Ipsita Agarwal wrote in a 2016 Medium post. “And that leads to better products that solve problems for those who might’ve otherwise been sidelined.”

Those in power can hire more women into cybersecurity, and also ensure they have female role models or mentorship when they arrive.

They can ensure that both men and women have equal opportunities to rise within the company. They can push recruitment teams to look for candidates in the right places (no, it’s not a “pipeline problem”), foster an inclusive environment and weigh men’s and women’s qualifications equally when considering them for a promotion.

“We need to help break down stereotypes and show young women that the field of cybersecurity is open to them,” Brenda Piazza, director of cybersecurity at CBIZ MHM, LLC, said in an email. “We need more women to enter the field, to demand equal pay and to help other women enter the cybersecurity industry.” 

In this specific instance, hiring more women — women of color, women from the LGBTQ community, women from the trans community — into cybersecurity will not only economically benefit the company itself, but it will lead to products and solutions that better address the privacy issues a larger breadth of consumers face. 

“Without a diverse set of individuals contributing to the industry (be that females, minorities, etc), we simply close the aperture by which we see risk, and that is harmful for everyone,” Gravel said.

Franks agreed: “The more diverse experiences you have in the room, the more likely it is you are going to see problems before they arrive.”

Who better to grasp what vulnerable users might face online than individuals who are disproportionately targeted?

App of the Week – Blogo

Probably the Best Blog Publishing App for Mac

 

By Asif Ahmed of asiogroup.net

Have you ever been in a situation where you write a really long post, doing the formats, add images and when you are ready to publish, suddenly something off happens to your page and it dies, not the literal death, but the page fails to load and all your work is gone, just like that.

Yes, the revisions feature has helped me recover my lost posts but sometimes the loss between two revisions it just too much to handle.

This is why I love Desktop Publishing Tools, like the Windows Live Writer. I have always created posts in it since 2008. I am a kind of Ninja at doing posts using WLW.

It’s been a while since I moved to the Mac from PC. Thanks to the use of a Chromebook, which was my work machine for a few months. I had customised my workflow in a way that bypasses the need of a particular OS.

But, there were times when I had to turn to a Computer that supported apps, for video and photo editing, and that made me think about moving to Mac, which had most of my favourite apps, if not all. And offered great battery life, which is the reason I opted for Chromebook (it’s close to 8 hours of work time)

One of the app, that I missed terribly since moving from the Windows OS was Windows Live Writer, and that too when I am using my laptop for work.

I have always been a PC guy, even before when I started blogging, and I recently made the switch to Mac.

Thanks to the use of Chromebook for several months that I am able to customise my workflow in a way that I can get my work done inside a browser. Macbook is a good piece of hardware, I love the battery, which lets me work from Cafes without worrying about carrying the charger.

I mainly use it for writing along posts and working on other work that requires long form writing. I still publish most of my content from my Windows Based PC. I love the fact I can create posts faster with Windows Live Writer.

I’ve moved to publishing posts right from the WordPress Dashboard but I still feel using a Desktop publishing app like WLW can save a lot of time and energy.

There are few Desktop publishing apps for Mac as well, but I couldn’t stick with any of them until now.

Introduction to Blogo

I feel the need of a publishing app when I am away from my Home Office and have to use my MacBook Air primarily for everything. One such scenario occurred recently and I found Blogo in the App Store.

Blogo is a premium app priced at $29, the good thing is that it has a 30 day Free trial period which is enough to decide whether you want to invest $29 in it or not. I did, and I have been using it from last few weeks.

I’ve reached to a point where I know the app pretty well and can present my views which may help you decide whether you want to go for it or not.

Blogo supports WordPress, BlogSpot, Medium etc.

Few features include ➜
★ Saving your drafts to a linked Evernote Account,
★ Distraction Free Writing,
★ Inserting Images inline,
★ Edit/Crop/Resize the images and
★ Ability to preview the post how it is going to look like on the blog once it is live.

Setting up your blog with Blogo is easy, just put the blog URL to it and your are asked to put your login credentials to it. You can save the theme of your blog for a live preview of your posts. You need to enable the xmlrc in the WordPress which gives Blogo the ability to post on your blog.

Once my blog was added to Blogo and I started writing, it felt completely different from Windows Live Writer. In some cases, it lacks simple functionalities, like writing posts in theme layout editor. But, Blogo has a Separate blog preview windows that looks much better than Windows Live Writer’s preview.

WLW never really picked up the right theme layout most of them time, and the default one is not great to look at. Blogo’s default Editor is pretty nice and you can actually write without struggling to find your own words like in WLW.

Apart from that, the photos you insert appear only appear when you hover your mouse over the images, that too not in full height. But then I’m getting used to it because the Blog Preview Window shows me everything perfectly in real time.


Blogo also includes an Image Editor, which has some basic tools you can use to make changes to the images you insert.

Having said all the praise about Blogo, it is still not a perfect app (at least not yet) for example, I have to always click on Full Size, by default Thumbnail is selected and it adds a ‘image_thumbnail.jpg’ string to the image URL. Though it might not bother a lot of people, It bothers me a little and  I am expecting to get it fixed in future updates.

I have received two software updates in one month’s time. So, hopefully, the development team of Blogo is working hard to making it perfect. But it still is an amazing app to own if you write a lot of posts or own multiple blogs.

Features like pulling blog posts from the blog in a snap or approving pending comments on the posts right from the app itself, make it worth checking out. And thanks for the 14 days Free Trial, you can try before you buy.

Blogo is Free to use now, with some features available in a Premium Subscription.

Click here to try Blogo for Mac OS.

Click here to buy Blogo for iOS.

If you’re a Blogger, tell us what you’re workflow / favorite app is in the comments below.

How To: Save Your iPhone Battery Life; 5 Quick Tips

 

 

 

BY RISHABH JAIN of ibtimes.com

The battery life of an iPhone is something even Apple aficionados complain about. With more and more applications being available for the device, increased use of its camera and background task-supporting applications such as Siri, battery life consumption also increases.

Here are 5 tips that could help you save battery life on your iPhone:

Turn off “Hey Siri”:

The iPhone’s voice assistant Siri is always keen to listen to you. By default, it keeps working on the iPhone in the background, which means it also consumes battery. In case you don’t have the need for it, you can actually turn it off. To do so, navigate to Settings > General> Siri or Settings > Siri and then just switch the feature off. 

Stop apps from refreshing in the background

Background App Refresh is a machine-learning feature, which helps apps learn when you frequently check them.

It allows them to predict when you will check them next and lets them be prepared with the latest data. Since these apps run in the background, the feature uses battery. You can turn it off by navigating to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and switching it off.

Start reducing screen brightness manually

Auto-brightness on the iPhone is a handy feature, but it again takes a lot of battery.

It is advisable to set the brightness manually according to your needs. To set the maximum value of screen brightness available to the feature, you will need to navigate to Settings > Display & Brightness and reduce the brightness using the slider.

Disable dynamic backgrounds

Dynamic backgrounds is a motion-based feature present in iOS devices — they are wallpapers that provide the user with the feeling of a little motion in them. In case you don’t have use for this feature, you can disable it by navigating to Settings > Wallpaper and choosing a wallpaper without such effects like the ones in the “Stills” section.

Disable motion effects

iPhone users might be aware of the screen motion effect, which provides icons with visual depth but also eats into the battery. To turn it off, you can navigate to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce motion.

What tips do you have for making your iPhone battery last longer? Tell us in the comments below.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: