Periscope as a teaching tool

What is Periscope?
Periscope is a live broadcast service that combines the best of video and instant messaging. The “scoper” or presenter broadcasts live while the viewers instant message the scoper and other viewers. It is like Skype except only only one person is on screen. And It is like a instant messaging chatroom while everyone is watching the same thing or person. It is also like everyone can now have their own live television channel with a Twitter feed on screen (so you can see why Twitter purchased it).

What is different about Periscope?
Periscope’s format is different in three ways to similar services or what had been attempted before. Firstly, open skype-style chatrooms (which Skype did try once and failed dismally) would make it impossible to tell who is talking and who the main speaker is. It would be (or was) like a cacophony of yelling voices at a cocktail party with no one as host. Secondly, live video allows scopers to interact immediately with viewers and other viewers as well, which video blogging on YouTube does not. This is done without distraction to the scoper by separating video and instant messaging between scoper and viewer. Lastly, Everything is instant. Video blogging is instant. Interaction with viewers is instant. Viewer reactions are instant. Gratification for both scoper and viewer are instant. And once you have your gratification you can move on and do other things. It is truly taking the best of all worlds of Skype, YouTube, chat and vlogging.

What is the potential of Periscope for teaching?
Given its instant nature, scoper/viewer interactiveness and visualness it has great potential as a teaching tool. I could do a live class where other students can join in and ask questions. There is no waiting between question and feedback. And as I said earlier it is like having one’s own television channel with a live twitter feed going at once. The videos then can be saved and even uploaded by you to YouTube or others to katch.me.

How to get sub 1-minute times for timer in iOS Clock

One of the annoying features in the iOS Clock is that the minimum time for the timer is 1 minute. There are no ‘seconds’ increments that you can select from. For that most people download non-proprietary apps to get this feature. However, if you don’t want to download anything more you can still get sub 1-minute times on the Clock timer.

The work-around for this is to use Siri.

For example, bring up Siri voice command and say, “timer forty-five seconds,” and the timer will countdown from 45 seconds as commanded. Simple as that.

You can also get “in-between” times (such as 1 minute 30 seconds) as well by using the same method.

Word, Excel and Powerpoint for iPad arrives (in Japan)

You’d be pleased to know (at least I was) that Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint have finally made to the Japanese shores after initial release in the US in April. Apart from the really bland icons it seems to work fine. And it is FREE with minor limitations.

Though I am still not sure how free it is until I test it more but from the blurb it seems some of the features (none that seem to be too important) are not included in the free version. So far so good though. Rather than being a ported version it is designed from scratch and seems to be surprisingly very well adapted to the iOS enviroonment.

 

Wireless JIS keyboard finally works properly with iOS8!

I am happy to report that Apple finally got something right with iOS8. The JIS wireless keyboard problem I had been blogging about seems to have been fixed once and for all!

All the apps that have not worked with an external keyboard now seems to work. I have tested so far

  • Notability
  • Twitter
  • Gmail
  • Byword (on which I am writing this post)
  • Facebook
  • TextExpander
  • Adobe Reader

all work perfectly with the wireless keyboard!

If you haven’t update your iOS version yet I suggest you do so. The improvements are important. Why it has taken this long is anybody’s guess.

UX Write – printing troubleshooting

There are two methods which work for printing .docx documents created in UX Write.

Method 1:

  1. from the Export Menu select ‘Create PDF’ (check your typesetting is set to ‘Webkit’)
  2. once the PDF is created from the Export Menu select ‘Open in’, then select your printer app
  3. print from within the printer app

Method 2:

  1. save it into the cloud (or send it to your Windows computer)
  2. open it in Microsoft Word
  3. print it from within MS Word

Both methods work well with minimal style differences between the iOS and Windows printed versions.

Five good reasons why you want to choose UX Write for iPad

UX Write is an iOS app for really serious word processing. There are five big reasons why you want to use this for, say, writing a PhD thesis.

Firstly, since February 2013 UX Write has been the best .docx supported app for the iOS. This means what you write in UX Write can be used directly in your Windows PC Microsoft Word program. Without exaggeration no other app can claim to support .docx this well.

Secondly, Auto-correct works even with an external wireless keyboard. Even Apple’s own word processing app Pages cannot do this at the moment. For now most iOS apps used to an external keyboard just does not work with auto-correct even though the touchscreen keyboard does. Why Apple cannot make this work with external keyboards even after so many complaints is baffling.

Thirdly, relating again to the keyboard is UX Write’s support for non-English layout keyboards [Update: all apps now work with JIS layout keyboards after the iOS8 update. I am not sure of other language layout keyboards but I presume Apple has fixed this problem across board.]. While Pages does support this it fails in autocorrection (effectively rendering keyboard input less useful). All word processing apps will connect to the keyboard but because of the lack of understanding of keyboard standards only a handful will actually recognise a non-English keyboard’s layout. UX Write is one of these.

Fourthly, UX Write has a useful control system for the cursor to help accurately manipulate it. Even with external keyboard it can be brought up by summoning the touchscreen keyboard.

And finally, UX Write syncs easily with cloud storage services like Dropbox smoothly. It even has a file manager like interface to help you navigate your storage’s directories. In turn you file is ready for use on your PC without any need to download or convert the file to .docx. This is very slick and boosts productivity on the iPad as well as across your devises and work environment.

As a standalone product UX Write is already very nice to use. But the entire cross-platform support experience makes it ultimately very useful. It baffles me then why the UX Write creators have not highlighted these features with lights and bells since they are the ones which everyone using Windows are looking for. To cap these reasons make it a great app:

  • High level of .docx support (perhaps the highest level)
  • Auto-correct with external keyboard (no other word processing app to my knowledge supports this)
  • Non-English language layout external keyboards supported (North American monolingual developers are guilty of non-support)
  • Excellent cursor navigation system
  • Sync and file management top rate, raising productivity across the entire computing ecosystem

Because the app was produced from scratch many features were not just ports from established designs like Microsoft Word or Pages but were thought through for the iOS/iPad environment. It also demotes print layout in word processing to below content, a shrewd move in the flexible layout environment of today’s devices. By doing so it made making compatibility to Word and .docx possible thus bring together two systems which were once quite separate.

UX Write and autocorrect while using an external wireless keyboard! (You heard it here!)

I can’t believe it’s true but autocorrect works while using an external keyboard with the UX Write app for iPad!! That’s right folks! For some reason this feature is not highlighted by its creator and it is nowhere to be found on the official website. Nor have I seen much mention of it in discussion forums about the impossibility of getting external keyboards to work with autocorrection even though this is exactly what everyone has been looking for. It is possibly the only writing productivity app that does this right now even in 2014.

On top of that it works in the free basic version! Wow!

Here are some of the other features which I have liked so far with the Basic Version:

  • fully .docx supported and save-able

  • Dropbox connectivity and navigation

  • Excellent cursor navigation system

One has to stunned as to why Apple’s Pages cannot do some or all of these things as well as UX Write. It may be well worth the money at $24.99 (or try for a one month subscription for $0.99). I am going to test some more before making the one-off payment. But what I have seen so far I think this one is a real winner.

List of JIS layout compatible apps for iPad

I have compiled two lists of apps which I use which are compatible and not compatible with JIS layout keyboards. It can be found here.

Is it really GoodNotes vs Notability?

I have been using both GoodNotes and Notability for a bit now. Both purchases were made after recommendations and some research. Most people seem to pit these two against each other as if they are rivals. But I beg to differ. I’ll tell you why at the end.

Continue reading

GoodNotes was not made for typing

I like GoodNotes for many reasons but typing isn’t one of them.

Interestingly there isn’t even a button for text input in the toolbar (update: it’s buried deep in the “+” menu). To type text you need to hold a finger down somewhere on the page and select “text” from the popup menu. What you get then is a text-box. You can type what you want then save.

But because of this the text does not “flow” on the page. It doesn’t feel like a “notepad app” which is what taking notes should feel like. In other words GoodNotes is an annotation app for PDFs and not really for taking notes by typing. This is why the handwriting input system is its focus, not it’s typing input system. One can almost say the typing input was an afterthought to GoodNotes.

IMG_0246.PNG

Because it’s handwriting input system is so good you can use that independent of any PDF and handwrite on a blank page neatly and usefully. Combined with the latest feature — handwriting recognition — and you have an infinitely more useful productive app.

More on this later.