WordPress iOS App Now Has WYSIWIG Visual Editor

Writing blog posts for a WordPress site on an iPad or iPhone just got a whole lot easier! Or... at least, a whole lot prettier! With the new version 4.8 out this week, Automattic included a new visual editor that can give the "what you see is what you get (WYSIWIG)" experience:

Wordpress 4 8 wysiwig

Here is what it looked like before the change on my iPad - basically, it was just a raw HTML editor:

WordPress ios app before upgrade

There was a preview mode that would let you see what it was going to look like, but all the writing was in HTML. No big deal if you are a long-time HTML coder like me... but probably not the most fun for newer writers - and the HTML markup is also distracting.

Here is what the new post-upgrade view is:

WP iOS app after upgrade

A much nicer view - and also some of the commonly-used features are more accessible. There's also the "HTML" button for those who want to get into the actual HTML code.

The WordPress.com blog post about the new iOS version gets into a few of the other features that the new app has. I do like the updates to the navigation. I haven't yet worked with the new image settings, but look forward to doing so.

Anyway, if you haven't yet upgraded the WordPress app on your iOS device, you may want to do so... and if you haven't tried the app in a while you may want to give it a new try.


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How To Turn Off Sounds In The Facebook iPhone / iPad App

Do you want to turn off / disable the sounds that Facebook just added to the latest version of their iOS app for iPhone and iPad? If you are like me and find these kind of sounds associated with actions (such as "keyboard clicks") annoying, here's what you need to do.

1. Go Into The Settings Inside The App - First you need to tap on "More" in the lower right corner of the app and then tap on "Settings":

Facebook ios settings

2. Go Into "Sounds" - Next tap on "Sounds":

Facebook ios sounds setting

3. Turn Off "In-App Sound" - Finally, just tap the slider to turn off the sounds.

Facebook in app sound

Now, maybe you like these kind of sounds... but I personally don't. I'm the guy who turns off "keyboard clicks" because I do NOT want to hear a sound whenever I tap a key.

I don't want aural feedback.

Some of you may... and that's fine. I don't.

Someone at Facebook seemed to think that we all wanted this and so they added it in to one of the recent releases and... ta da... as soon as we updated the Facebook app on our iPhone or iPad we started getting clicks and swishes and other sounds.

This points to one of the larger issues with our new world of mobile "apps":

We are at the mercy of whatever the app developer wants to do.

If this were a browser-based "app" (a set of web pages), we could typically configure the browser to not play any sounds - and then all web pages would be subject to the settings in the web browser.

But we've left that land where the web browser serves as our window to content. Instead we have custom-designed apps where we have to figure out where the settings are in each of the different apps.

For instance, when the sounds first started in the Facebook app, I went into the generic "Settings" app in iOS to try to find out how to turn them off. I looked under:

  • Facebook
  • Sounds
  • Notifications

and couldn't any settings in any of those places to turn it off. Only then did I tap on the "More" inside the Facebook app to see if there were any settings there.

Now... the good news is that at least Facebook gave us a control to turn the sounds off! They didn't have to and could have just made that a mandated part of the app.

But that's back to the point... for the convenience and simplicity of using a mobile app, we've surrendered control to the whims of the application developers.

I'm personally not really thrilled about that evolution of the mobile Internet, but it's hard to see how we walk back to a different path...


An audio commentary on this topic is also available:


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Anyone Else Having TweetDeck Not Show Search Results?

Anyone having trouble with TweetDeck not showing results for some columns? Today 5 of my 12 columns are failing to load with this error:

No recent Tweets.
New Tweets will appear here.

You can see part of what I'm seeing here:

TweetDeck NorecentTweets

They are all columns that are configured to show search results for certain terms. They've been working wonderfully until last night when I opened up TweetDeck on a home computer (an iMac) after being away for a week. I've tried:

  • Closing and restarting the application (multiple times).
  • Changing the search query to trigger a reload of the column.

Nothing works... and I know there are new tweets to show for some terms, in part because I can see them in other working columns... and in part because I have sent out tweets using the search terms.

TweetDeck's Twitter account shows some issues with logging in, but that works fine for me. Tweetdeck is working fine for sending tweets, sending direct messages and for some of my searches... but just not for others.

I've tweeted TweetDeck asking about this, but not heard anything yet, so I'm just curious if others are experiencing anything like this.

Anyone?

P.S. And yes, I know there are now many other tools... but I've been a TweetDeck user since its very early days and have my searches and systems that, until today, have worked wonderfully for me.


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Is It Finally Time To Dump Feedburner? All Subscriptions Go To Zero...

Is it finally time to suck it up and dump Google's Feedburner for RSS feeds?

The writing has been on the wall for quite a long time that Google doesn't really care about Feedburner. There haven't been any substantive updates to the service in years and in fact they've removed services and integrations.

Tonight Dave Delaney posted an update to Facebook that let us know that Feedburner's stats were now showing 0 subscribers for all his feeds. I logged in and sure enough...

My Feeds

I can't find any mention of an outage or issue on Google's pages... and so we have no clue whether this is a temporary transient outage - or whether this is a sign of a further decline in Feedburner's service.

I'm one who has continued using Feedburner for most of my sites, in part just out of sheer inertia (i.e. having many other things I want to do that take higher priority to fixing things that aren't broken) but also because I've liked the service provided by Feedburner, particularly around statistics. I've tried other services (although not in the last year) and hadn't really found anything that gave as good a view into who is probably reading your feed.

Obviously I can just start promoting the raw RSS feeds that are the ones I added to Feedburner... but they don't give a sense of how many subscribers they may be.

But if the statistics are no longer working, then perhaps there is no longer a reason to stay at Feedburner... and so maybe I do have to actually make the time to make the move.

What do you all think? If you used to use Feedburner and don't, what are you using as a replacement?


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FIR On Technology Episode 3 - Understanding Markdown

Firontechnology 300What is the Markdown language all about? How is it being used on sites like Ello, Github and in the Jetpack plugin for WordPress? Why should communicators and others involved in PR or marketing careabout Markdown? How can it help more rapidly create content for the web?

Those are all questions I sought to answer in episode 3 of FIR On Technology with Dan York that I published last Friday. The podcast is now available for listening directly on the FIR website or in iTunes or the podcast RSS feeds.

On the episode web page I also provided a list of links for people wanting to know more about Markdown, which I'm reprinting here: 

I've found using Markdown to be extremely helpful in rapid content creation. I've naturally been using it on Ello (where I also wrote about this FIR On Technology episode) and on Github, but I'm also starting to use it for some posts on a couple of my WordPress sites courtesy of the Jetpack plugin. As I note in the episode, Markdown is not something necessarily new... after all it first came out in 2004... but it has seemed to attract more interest in recent years.

One point I forgot to make in the episode is that Markdown is not the only "lightweight markup language" out there. There are definitely other similar languages, each with their own take on how to make markup simple. An example I've used on several sites in the past is Textile. However, my interest these days has been in Markdown, and there seems to be a good bit of momentum behind the language... and so hence this podcast.

Anyway... I hope you find it useful and helpful. If you do, or if you have other comments or ideas or suggestions about Markdown, please do leave a comment here - or over in the FIR Podcast Community on Google+.

Enjoy!


P.S. I also recorded a The Dan York Report episode providing a preview of this FIR On Technology episode:


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Internet Society Job Opening: Senior Manager, Media Relations

Internet society isoc 300x149We're hiring! The Internet Society, my employer, is hiring for a range of positions, but the one I want to highlight here is the "Senior Manager, Media Relations". As the job posting states:

The Senior Manager Media Relations will be responsible for developing and executing public relations programs to increase the visibility and thought leadership of the Internet Society in the media.. The media relations strategy aligns with the organization’s priorities and is focused on programs and initiatives in the areas of Internet policy, technology, development, and education.

This new role will report to the Director of Media and Communications, be part of the Communications Team, and have a broad purview with many opportunities for visibility and impact. The candidate will collaborate with senior management, subject matter experts, and Regional Bureau Directors around the world. This position will be located in the Internet Society office either in Reston, Virginia USA or Geneva, Switzerland.

I can't speak highly enough about what the mission of the Internet Society means to me - and how critically important this time is right now in the evolution of the Internet. Back in 2011 I wrote about why joining the staff of the Internet Society was important to me - and 3.5 years later those reasons are still as important today as they were then... if not even more so! We've got an aggressive set of activities planned for 2015 - and we need people to help turn that action plan into reality.

We need people to join us to help tell the story of why the choices we make today for the Internet matter - and what we all as individuals and as organizations can do. In this particular position we're seeking someone who can help with connections out to the media around the world.

If you have a background in public relations / media relations, this is your chance to join a mission-based organization focused on ensuring that the Internet remains open for everyone around the world.

I love waking up fired up to go out there and help in whatever small way I can... you can join us!

PLEASE NOTE: I am personally not involved in the hiring for this position... the way to submit your information for consideration is at the bottom of the position posting.


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WordPress Seeking Feedback About "Community Hub" - Fill Out The Poll Today

Wordpress orgWhat would you like in a "community hub" website that would help local WordPress groups? What would you like to see for helping publicize events? Connecting groups to each other?

If you are involved with a local WordPress group, or would like to start one, the team behind the "Make WordPress Community" effort would like your feedback on what should be part of a community hub web portal. They'd like you to fill out this quick survey:

http://wordpressdotorg.polldaddy.com/s/community-hub-voting

The poll closes at 00:00 29th January 2015. (Not sure the timezone... so I'd err on filling it out sooner than later.)


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Excellent Article on Medium About Podcasting Stats: Downloads, Listens and Listeners

Podcasting statsWhat do the number of podcast downloads, listens and listeners really mean? Which statistics can you really believe? And what do they mean?

Back on December 12, Pete Davis published a great article on Medium titled "Downloads, listens, listeners, and about those podcast numbers" that dives into all these different stats. Davies was reacting to the hype over the podcast "Serial" and wanting to make sure people understood some of the nuances of how you can measure podcasts.

As he points out, the number of people downloading an episode can be very different from the total number of downloaded episodes. One person, who we will call a "downloader" might download many different episodes. As he notes, people might have different devices or podcast apps that all pull down episodes.

And the number of downloads is VERY different from the actual number of listens that occur. I can personally attest to this - my apps download many different episodes of podcasts... but I only listen to a few of them. The others have been downloaded but will probably never be listened to.

The challenge is that finding out if people have actually listened to a podcast is extremely hard. As Davies writes:

Nobody really knows exactly how many people are listening to podcasts.

This has a lot to do with the many different ways people can listen to podcasts. They can play them in a web page... play them in a podcasting app... play them in a music program like iTunes... download them and play them in some other music app.

All we can do is make guesses... or use imperfect numbers like downloads to make some kind of estimate of the popularity of a show.

It's a good article... and as he concludes, we do need better data around all of this. I also definitely agree with his conclusion that a large part of the success of "Serial" and "Startup" is that they offer compelling content! It happens to be in audio form... but the content and storytelling expertise is what draws people to these podcasts.


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I Was Going To Write A Blog Post, But The Plague...

I had every intention of writing a long blog post tonight... but then I stumbled upon Plague, a new link/photo sharing app for iOS and Android. Wow! Incredibly addictive!

http://thenextweb.com/apps/2014/12/23/plague-tinder-information-addictive-founders-onto-something/

You have been warned!


I Was Going To Write A Blog Post, But The Plague...


Google+ Finally Gets Photo Sharing Parity On iPhone/iPad/iOS

In an update to iOS (iPhone/iPad) apps yesterday, Google+ finally got the kind of sharing of photos that Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and other social networks have had for some time. Now, when I go to share a photo, one of my options is Google+:

Photo Dec 22 1 07 16 PM

I realize that this is old news to Android users, but for those of us on iOS who have wanted to share photos on Google+, it seemed strange that we couldn't do so from the built in photos application within iOS. Sure, we could do it through the G+ app on the iPhone or iPad, but not from within the native photos app.

This functionality appeared after I installed version 4.8.0:

Googleplus 4 8 0

I did have to tap the " More ... " button once and then turn on the Google+ sharing, but after doing that I was then able to easily share to G+ the next time.

Great to see G+ finally getting parity with the other social networks. I look forward to being able to more easily share more photos!


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