Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Three of the best iPhone apps for bloggers

I'm slightly sceptical about these '5 Must-have' or '10 Best' articles, because I don't 'Need' my iPhone to be a remote control for my computer and no one is going to try all the growing number of iPhone apps.

But here are three apps that I've tried and found useful for blogging on the go:

1. BlogPress (£5.99) allows you to easily update Blogger on the move. Previously, the only applications available were for TypePad and Wordpress bloggers. Alternatively, you could just use Safari to visit, saving you £6.

2. Twitterific (FREE) lets you 'Tweet', reply to other Twitterers, and view your Twitterfeeds online. You can use the iPhone GPS and camera to add the location of your 'Tweet' and photographs. However, you can't follow new people using Twitterific.

The free version of Twitterific has adverts on it so I bought Twitterific Premium (£5.99), which also allows you to change the background to white (but I prefer the black background).

If you don't fancy Twitterific, other popular alternatives are Twittelator(FREE) (which also has a 'Pro' version) and Twinkle (FREE). Twinkle apparently allows you to locate and 'Tweet' at other people who are close to you via the iPhone GPS.

I choice Twitterific because the iPhone apps store had a few complaints about Twinkle being unstable (e.g. by iPhone Faye) and a couple of people (e.g. Christian_BS) had complained that Twittelator had a confusing user interface.

If you haven't figured out why you want to use Twitter (I hadn't) then think of it like a cross between MSN and a blog. A blog is a way of publicly communicating thoughts of 100 - 1500 words long. MSN is a way of privately exchanging short, immediate messages with a few friends. In contrast, Twitter allows you to have an instantaneous, public chat with as many people as you like.

Unlike MSN, you can also get pithy news updates from, for example, the Mars Phoenix Probe.

This video tries to explain in plain English why you might want to use Twitter, but makes it sound really, really boring.

3. Manifesto (£1.19) is an excellent RSS feed. RSS feeds are, of course, great for following other blogs and news from your favourite websites. Manifesto allows you to import feeds from Google Reader, and view new feeds or feeds grouped by news source. Best of all, however, it allows you to view news stories you've flagged offline.

Byline does a similar job but is more expensive (£5.99). NetNewsWire (FREE) is a popular native iPhone version of the Mac desktop software, but has had a few users (e.g. MZ3791) complaining in the iTunes store that it has stability problems.

This is by no means a comprehensive review of this software since it just covers what I use regularly and what I do with it, so please add your thoughts.

On a lighter note, I've really enjoyed playing Touch 'em, Critter Crunch and Labyrinth. Touch 'Em is an utterly mindless, but strangely compelling, game which involves touching animals icons as fast as possible. Critter Crunch is hard to describe, but inexplicably reminds me of the wonderful Meteos on the Nintendo DS, while Labyrinth sounds and behaves just like a real wooden ball puzzle.

I deinstalled Tap Tap Revenge because the music was appalling and the game felt too easy even on extreme. However, it's FREE so simple to make up your own mind.


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