Tag Archives: iPad Compatible

Notebooks Icon

Notebooks

Notebooks Icon

Update 20 March 2011: As of Notebooks version 4.1.1 you can now print from directly inside the app. A EuroSmartz printing app isn’t required. The new version also has Markdown formatting, support for lists, additional editable file types, additional fonts and you can convert a plain text document to PDF.

Writers get their ideas from many places. A jotted down lyric, an image-heavy web page or a carefully researched PDF can be the inspiration for tomorrow’s article or next year’s novel.

But no matter how good the idea, if you don’t write it down, you’re sure to forget.

What writers need is a way of storing and organising their ideas, the files that inspired them, and the resulting notes and drafts.

On the Mac, Scrivener is the solution. It can store, play and organize anything: text, image files, web pages, PDFs, sound files, and even video files.

Now iPhone users have an app that can do nearly everything that Scrivener can do. If you have Dropbox installed, it can even exchange data with Scrivener.

The app is Notebooks and it’s the perfect digital scrapbook and word processor for your iPhone or iPad.

Is there anything Notebooks cannot do? You can use it to scribble down ideas, or write entire drafts. It saves as you go without having to be told and integrates with the TextExpander app for automatic spelling correction. For ease of screen reading, there’s a choice of seventy fonts and you can vary the font size with the slide of a bar. You can write in both landscape and portrait orientations, with a Bluetooth keyboard or the on-screen keyboard.

If you have one of EuroSmartz printing apps installed, you can print directly from Notebooks.

Notebooks can be your daily journal. It can list tasks and notify you when they are due. It can take and store photographs from the camera, and store audio files, PDFs, Microsoft Office files and iWork files (though you cannot as yet edit them.)

You can organise your files in Books, which are folders that can be nested inside each other.

Most importantly, Notebooks integrates seamlessly with Dropbox, so you can pick up or drop off any type of file. As Scrivener version 2.0 also integrates with Dropbox, you can keep text files on Scrivener that can also be accessed and edited from your iPhone using Notebooks.

Notebooks has far more features than I could mention. To give you an idea of how much this app can do, the PDF handbook is 42 pages long.

Notebooks is $7.99 on iTunes. If you want to write on your iPhone, get Notebooks now, you won’t regret it.

Apple Wireless Keyboard

Apple Wireless Keyboard

Apple Wireless KeyboardThe Apple Wireless Keyboard is unquestionably the best Bluetooth keyboard that I’ve ever used, and it works beautifully with the iPhone.

The Apple Wireless Keyboard’s quality and ease of use is evident from the moment you open the box. The keyboard ships with two AA batteries, which are not only included but are actually inserted. Most new electronic devices require a few moments of hunting for the battery compartment, and then a few more moments of hunting for a tool to lever the compartment open. Not the Apple Wireless Keyboard. All you have to do is turn it on.

Pairing your iPhone and the Apple Wireless Keyboard for the first time is a breeze. There’s no need to find and press a connection button. Just turn the keyboard on, and your iPhone will do the rest.

It’s possible to touch type very quickly on the Apple Wireless Keyboard. As it’s full-sized and all the keys are the correct size, shape and position, getting up to speed takes no time at all.

The keyboard control buttons work. The volume keys adjust your iPhone’s volume, and the eject button makes your on-screen keyboard appear and disappear. The brightness keys function. The only non-functional keys are Dashboard and Expose, but that isn’t surprising as the iPhone operating system lacks those features.

You don’t even need to tell the Apple Wireless Keyboard to reconnect the next time you want to use it. Just turn it on, and watch your on-screen keyboard close automatically, when it realises you have a better way to input text.

Yes, the Apple Wireless Keyboard is larger than a folding Bluetooth keyboard. But it’s extremely thin and only weighs just over 300 grams. The lack of a number pad means the keyboard is quite compact and fits easily into a handbag.

There are only two things missing with the Apple Wireless Keyboard, as far as writing on your iPhone is concerned.

The first thing is protection. The Apple Wireless Keyboard is intended for desktop use and doesn’t come with a case. Cases made specifically for the keyboard tend to be expensive and hard to find. The easiest, cheapest and rather ill-fitting substitute would be an iPad case.

The second thing missing is a stand for your iPhone. It’s far more comfortable to write when your iPhone is propped up on a stand because the screen is harder to read when it is lying flat. Buying a separate stand or using one from another keyboard would be a good idea.

Although it lacks a stand and a case, I can definitely recommend the Apple Wireless Keyboard for writing on your iPhone. It is currently the keyboard I choose to use most.

The Apple Wireless Keyboard is US$60 or A$99. It’s available from a wide range of computer stores and also online.

Bluetooth Connection Screen

Connecting your iPhone to a Bluetooth Keyboard

Bluetooth Connection ScreenFree your iPhone or iPad from the limitations of the on-screen keyboard by connecting to a Bluetooth keyboard.

To connect to the Apple Wireless Keyboard:

(Note: This works for the iPad and the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS running iOS4.)

Turn your Apple Wireless Keyboard on. It comes with the batteries already inside, so you can use it right out of the box.

Tap on Settings on your iPhone.

Settings

Settings

Tap on General.

General

General

Tap on Bluetooth.

Bluetooth in Settings

Bluetooth in Settings

Turn Bluetooth on, if it’s not on already. Keyboard Not Paired should appear. Tap on it. A dialogue box will appear telling you to enter a passkey on the keyboard.

Keyboard Not Paired

Keyboard Not Paired

Enter the passkey and press enter.

Passkey Dialogue Box

Passkey Dialogue Box

Wait until the  keyboard is connected.

Keyboard Connected

Keyboard Connected

Your iPhone is now paired with your Apple Wireless Keyboard.

To reconnect your iPhone with your Apple Wireless Keyboard:

Turn Bluetooth on, if it isn’t on already, by tapping on Settings > General > Bluetooth and then turning Bluetooth on.

Turn on your Apple Wireless Keyboard. In a few seconds, it will connect.

Connecting a Non-Apple Bluetooth Keyboard:

If you want to pair your iPhone or iPad with another brand of Bluetooth keyboard, the procedure is similar. But there are a few differences.

When you pair with the keyboard the first time, you will probably need to find and press a tiny connection button. Check the instructions that came with your keyboard to find this button. It is usually inside the battery box.

Once you have pressed the connection button, you’ll see the passkey dialogue box, as above. Enter the numbers on the keyboard and press enter.

Reconnecting an iPhone with a Non-Apple Bluetooth Keyboard:

When you want to reconnect to your non-Apple Bluetooth keyboard, you will probably find that turning the keyboard on isn’t enough to make it reconnect.

Check the instructions that came with your keyboard. You may need to press a combination of keys to force it to reconnect. For instance, to make the MP-0118+ keyboard reconnect, you have to press the CMD and Find keys together.

You may also need to force your keyboard to reconnect by going into Settings > General > Bluetooth and tapping on the keyboard’s name in the list after you’ve pressed the key combination.

If your keyboard has not connected in a few seconds, press the combination of keys and the keyboard listing again.

If the keyboard refuses to connect, change the batteries and try again.

Magic Cube Virtual Keyboard

Magic Cube Virtual Laser Keyboard

Magic Cube Virtual Keyboard

At last, there’s a full-sized virtual laser keyboard specifically designed to work with iPhones and iPads running iOS4.

Due 2011, the Magic Cube by Celluon is apparently also a multi touch capable mouse and a handwriting recognition device.

Chris Chon, Director of Sales at Celluon tells me Magic Cube will be revealed at the CES in Las Vegas, January 2011.

I, for one, am looking forward to it. The Magic Cube sounds like the must-have device for iPhone writers who want to travel as light as possible. A full-sized keyboard AND mouse AND handwriting recognition in a device barely larger than a matchbox sounds like an iPhone writer’s dream.

Magic Cube will be available from online distributors late January 2011 at a cost of US$$199.99.

Caps Lock On

Enabling Caps Lock on Your iPhone and iPad

To enable Caps Lock on your iPhone or iPad, tap on Settings.

Settings

Settings.

Tap on General.

General

General

Tap on Keyboard.

Keyboard Settings

Keyboard Settings

Turn Enable Caps Lock on.

Enable Caps Lock in Settings

Enable Caps Lock in Settings

Now you can turn on Caps Lock, when you’re using the on-screen keyboard, by tapping twice on the Shift key. When Caps Lock is enabled, the Shift key will turn blue.

Caps Lock On

Caps Lock On

Tap the Shift key again to turn Caps Lock off. When Caps Lock is off, the Shift key will be grey.

Caps Lock Off

Caps Lock Off

It's 8:14 on the status bar

How to Jump to the Top of a Document

It's 8:14 on the status bar

So you’re writing on your iPhone, you’re at the bottom of a long document and you want to get to the top as quickly as possible. You could scroll up by swiping your finger at the screen, but a long document takes time to scroll through.

You can jump to the top of a document instantly by tapping the status bar. That’s the grey bar with the time and battery status at the very top of your screen.

This tip also works for long webpages in Safari.

There’s no official way to jump to the bottom of a document. Keep checking this blog, and I’ll let you know if Apple add that feature.

MP-0118+ Bluetooth Keyboard

MP-0118+ Bluetooth Keyboard

MP-0118+ Bluetooth Keyboard

The MP-0118+ folding Bluetooth keyboard

The MP-0118+ Bluetooth Keyboard was my first folding Bluetooth keyboard. It’s the least expensive near full-sized folding Bluetooth keyboard on the market. (If you find a cheaper one, please let me know!)

Usually sold as a generic Bluetooth keyboard (try searching eBay for ‘folding Bluetooth keyboard’) the MP-0118+ comes with a a small driver CD (which you can cheerfully throw away if you only plan on using the keyboard with your iPhone), a neoprene zippered case, one cheap AAA battery with a working life of roughly three hours (a decent battery will last up to a hundred hours) and a slide-out, folding phone stand.

The MP-0118+ weighs 175g (including the case, stand and battery) takes one AAA battery, and folds up small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

Unfortunately, it achieves its small size by making compromises with the keyboard layout. There’s no dedicated number and symbol key row. Instead, numbers are incorporated into the top QWERTY row of letter keys, and can be accessed by hitting the Numlock Num key on the bottom row. Symbols and punctuation are incorporated into the top two rows of the keyboard, and can be accessed by hitting the Punct key on the bottom row. The space bar is oddly corrugated, and divided in half by the central hinge.

If you’re accustomed to touch typing, you’ll be spending the first five minutes feeling for the symbol keys and making lots of mistakes. The single and double quotes, and the colon and semicolon keys are in the correct place. But the up arrow key is where the question mark should be. You can only type a question mark by pressing the Punct key and (of all unintuitive keys) the letter F. The full stop (period) key is very close to the back arrow key, and I often find myself hitting it by mistake. Then I have to stop and move the cursor back out of the word I just typed. The H key on my keyboard is very stiff and sometimes requires a couple of presses before it produces a letter.

Looking back on what I’ve just wrote, I can see I’ve got lots of complaints and that’s really unfair to a keyboard that never really set itself up to be anything spectacular. What matters most is that the MP-0118+ is cheap and it works. Not spectacularly, but it’s still a major improvement over the on-screen iPhone keyboard. It has arrow keys, which are something that a writer really cannot do without, and you can touch type.

The MP-0118+ Bluetooth keyboard isn’t a terrific keyboard, but if you want dabble with writing on your iPhone, it’s the least expensive way to begin.