I should point out that I am the least likely person to write a blog about iPads. I am a complete technophobe, am baffled by brand obsessions and I don’t even have a mobile phone. This scenario comes more from a marriage of convenience. Fanfan owns an Ipad, she travels with her Ipad. I travel light, I steal her Ipad. While I still think travelers snapping pics with obscure bulky squares is weird; I am now happily part of this weird. This is our guide to travel blogging with iPads.
1. Writing, Blogging and WordPress
First up was travel blogging in Phuket and my belated introduction to both macs and touch screens (as I said I don’t even have a phone). Expecting the touch screen to be a pain in the ass I buy the external bluetooth keyboard in advance. Within minutes I am set up with WordPress for iPad (app) and am sipping wine by my pool villa blogging away. Simple. Very simple. The iPad wordpress app is perfect for basic travel blogging with easy media insert, a handy stats feature and potential for multi-blog management. It also works offline updating wordpress once connected again to the internet. The following morning I sneak to the pool early to scribble quick notes on the touch screen and haven’t used the bluetooth keyboard since. The touch screen is more than enough for basic blogging. However there are limitations to wordpress travel blogging on iPads. The most obvious to me is the exclusion of plugins; my SEO tools and such. To get around this I simply update plugin settings on my notebook at a later date (or access WordPress online using the iPads browser).
Smart phones and tablets make photography simple; no need for skill, expensive gear or even interest. Just point, shoot and post. Irritating to dedicated photographers but if you can’t beat them you may as well join them. I did and I was a little bit wowed by the iPad. The main benefit to me is the shape and the iPads ability to reach perspectives and to angle images. Angles which are barely found with my SLR camera. In this respect it has replaced my SLR for point and shoot photography during daytimes (night photography not so good). The main annoyance however is the limitations on transferring files and images. Transfer to and from the iPad is a complete pain. I expected an SD card slot or at least a USB port but no. To connect a camera to your iPad you need the ‘iPad Camera Connection Kit’ (not sure if this is similar for other tablets?) This is the main reason I am yet to complete a blog on the iPad.
3. Apps and Social Media
The iPad apps are Fanfan’s expertise; in fact she is obsessed with them. In particular the image apps and filters which, in a few button clicks, can transform mediocre snaps to extraordinary images. While there is a free and easy Photoshop app for the iPad we rarely use it. Fanfan’s apps do it all. Which apps she uses? ‘There’s too many’. To name the favourites ‘Snapseed’ and ‘Repix’. So once the images are edited it is time to share; Instagram the new social sharing app in our portfolio (http://instagram.com/livelessordinary). When linked to Facebook, Twitter and other social media it makes a powerful travel blogging tool. Below just some example images from our visit to Kolkata earlier this month.
Not something we considered when buying the iPad. Using video came about last week in the Himalayas (Sikkim) when scenes were too fascinating to allow pass by. Again video is very simple to create. When using the photograph function just flick the switch to video and point and shoot. After recording a short scene at Enchey Monastery we decided to cover the area. After covering the area we decided to cover the entire trip. For the result watch the video below (note, editing not created on iPad although there are likely apps which will do the same).
Not sure if this is a good or a bad. Unfortunately the iPad is not mine and it can be hard to get my grubby mitts on. When not using apps Fanfan is likely killing zombies or playing Minion Rush. My priority in the pecking order highlighted when random kids at the airport get the nod before me. To be fair when I do get usage I tend to waste it playing Bad Piggies (i missed the angry birds obsession) or scrolling through Facebook. Games are fun.
While it hasn’t replaced my notebook or camera; the iPad is now indispensable to our travel blogging. It has added a new powerful dimension to our portfolio through instagram and I no longer need my SLR at breakfast to capture my food. We are also back to creating videos without the need of bulky gadgets in our pockets. The most important asset however is the battery life and power up time. Taking notes is so simple and the iPad has now made paper obsolete. No more scribbling notes on etickets. In fact no more etickets, flight tickets, copy hotel reservations or maps. Hotels are all booked online at wifi hotspots (or with 3G within Thailand). The Skype app is on regularly with family and Facebook with friends. Travel Blogging with iPads is an all round good investment for us.