macworld prediction: iweb in the cloud


Apple iWeb

I have a love-hate relationship with iWeb. On the one hand, it’s a killer desktop app. Okay, IMHO, it’s the best desktop blogging app. On the other hand, it’s a terribly inefficient desktop app (seizing 50% of my Mac’s CPU simply upon opening) that outputs, according to my developer colleagues, crap code.

iWeb is a hub that makes publishing all sorts of media, from personal photos to Google Maps, a snap. However, the target environment can only be published to from a Mac; even iPhone users are blocked from posting to iWeb blogs. Heck, published iWeb sites even look like crap on the iPhone. 

Considering that iWeb publishes to an environment called MobileMe, this seems something of an oversight. Apple’s obvious focus on the cloud exacerbates this shortcoming in their product line.

Rumours are circulating that at tomorrow’s MacWorld, Apple will announce a new suite of office tools for the web, akin to Google Docs. While I’m obviously in no position to verify this information, I’d posit that a mobile-friendly version of iWeb is also set for release.

The new version of iWeb would have three components: a desktop application, an iPhone application, and a web-based application embedded into the MobileMe environment. The desktop app would provide users with the full suite of tools for affecting every aspect of a blog from its design to visitor permissions; the iPhone app would enable users to post to an iWeb blog on the fly in a relatively simple fashion while also enabling the user to subscribe and review other iWeb blogs; the MobileMe app would provide users with a select set of capabilities present in the desktop app, including common tasks such as comment moderation and post editing.

With a plethora of blogging tools flooding the iPhone App Store (WordPress, Typepad, BlogWriter, and ShoZu, to name a few), Apple’s got to realize there’s a demand for moblogging that the current incarnation of iWeb just ain’t satisfying. And with the iPhone poised as the device that finally breaks the cloud barrier, a new moblogging tool would certainly provide fuel to drive Apple into that space.

typepad iphone client shortcomings

 typepad-logoIt turns out the first version of the Typepad iPhone client has two major shortcomings. They’re enough to prevent me from using the client; instead, I’m sticking to email posts.

Both issues centre on photos. First, if you use the Typepad client to capture a photo for a post, it’s only captured for the purposes of the post. After you upload the image, the Typepad client deletes it from your iPhone. That sucks. I’d rather it be saved to the camera’s library so that I could sync it into my iPhoto library later. 

I happened to get a really nice shot of Cole the other day with the Typepad client, but couldn’t do anything more with it than post it to the moblog.

This wouldn’t be such an issue if the Typepad client didn’t have another major problem: it reduces posted images to useless proportions.

The iPhone captures images at a resolution of 1600×1200. The Typepad client crops and reduces these to 320×320 before it posts them. So, even if you get a nice shot that is removed from your iPhone, you can’t salvage it from you moblog.

Here’s hoping Typepad adjusts this behaviour very soon.

internet and sun

sun_euv19So I was just thinking… 

We were on Kits beach yesterday and it was hot and sunny. Cole and I had to get to Granville Island. I did a quick search on the Translink site on my iPhone and it told me about the buses to get there. 

Then I let my friend check his email at Yahoo. 

Then I took some photos and uploaded them to the moblog.

All the while, we lounged beside a huge log roasting in the hot, hot afternoon sun, chatting.

I dunno, maybe it’s just me, but that was a defining moment. I remember a day when to get online was a process of sequestering yourself from your friends in an act of ultimate geekness.

Now, the era of ubicomp is dawning. Nice.