An iPad – iCloud – iMac Workflow

When the iPad was originally announced my first (maybe second) thought was buh-bye MacBook Pro. Don’t get me wrong, I love my MBP, but I’d replace it with a 27″ iMac in a heartbeat if I didn’t need to work sometimes when I’m traveling.

Having no user-accessible file system on the iPad, and relying on tethering to iTunes for syncing data also seemed painful. Particularly the file transfer part of using something like Pages to create/edit documents on both iPad and Mac. For the sake of brevity I’ll refer to Pages but this goes for Numbers and Keynote as well. eased the file transfer to some degree. And now that iCloud is in the mix, it’s even better. But issues remain.

Even if you stay in Apple’s e-cosphere it’s not as seamless as it should be needs to be.

iCloud syncing with PagesPages for iOS devices is a solid lightweight word processor but there remains a disconnect between it and the desktop. Sure, you can now login to and anything that you were working on using your iPad will be there. But you have to download that version to your desktop before opening it. How do you then share that with others? You can email them a copy. Or post it to, where they can view, annotate or download (with proper permissions set) a copy. But it’s a copy.

And what about collaborating with Office users? Not good… particularly if they use a font that’s not available in Pages, or hope to track changes made to their document.

So what does work?

If you can stay in Pages for iOS for document creation and editing, you’re golden. If you only need to start documents on your iPad to be finished by you or a colleague on a Mac, also golden. You can even send them a Word file. But until Pages for Mac can work on iCloud stored files the same way Pages for iOS can, there’s a major file versioning hiccup that spoils the experience. In fact there’s a major versioning issue with that iCloud document even in iOS. There’s only the last version unless you copy it at various points.

And if you prefer to use Office… I really can’t see Microsoft coming up with an iOS version of Office apps anytime soon. BUT you might be able to spend more money with MS and sign up for their service ($6/mo for Plan P) and use Office Web Apps in Mobile Safari for your remote document creation needs.

There are other issues with dropping the MBP for the iPad: storage and intensive image editing give me pause. AKA the photographer’s workflow. But there are pretty sweet iApps for remote file access. And I could make better use of my dropbox account for storing files via the iPad…

Anyway, here’s a list of useful resources related to this topic:

The obvious isn’t lost on me… Apple strives to be something my parents can use with ease. The workflows I would find useful would be either lost or too complicated for them. And maybe iWork apps for Mac will roll in the iCloud functionality with a future release, and even address versioning of a “live” document. Could happen. But I don’t see Microsoft getting into the App Store anytime soon.
Guess I’ll wait for the iPad 3 and a more mature iCloud…

How to handle video…

Video is so easy to shoot these days, and with the miracle of software like iMovie, it’s even easy to edit, title, spice up with music and compress for playback. (See my Proud Papa Moment below which took less time to edit, post and embed than it did to watch the rest of the talent show.)

Then what?

For most it’s a no-brainer. Upload it to Youtube, Vimeo or Facebook and let them do the rest. But if you maintain your own website, you might be tempted to try to upload the video file there instead.

I’m here to tell you why that approach is more hassle than it’s worth.

Sure, you can do it. I’ll even go so far as to recommend JW Player as the best method/plugin for handling it, but the challenges are many:

  • The bandwidth and performance depends on your webhost and hosting contract.
  • You have to figure out how best to compress… In other words, formats and codecs (FLV: VP6; MP4: H.264, DivX, Xvid; MOV, AVI, WMV, etc.).
  • How to handle alternate content if the viewer’s browser isn’t setup to handle your file.
  • Hosting your own video limits it’s ability to spread virally, or be seen out of context, unless you do all the work to cross-post it.
  • By default, PHP (which is what WordPress is based on) limits file uploads to 8MB. Video files are typically in excess of 20 MB. This means that the upload limits have to be modified via the php.ini file before you can even post video files to the website. It then takes time for this change to be recognized by the server. Then you have to upload the large video files. This process takes much longer to implement than simply embedding Youtube or Vimeo players via a few lines of code.

Sorry… I got a bit ugly there at the end.

Some reasons why I use Youtube (or Vimeo, or other video hosting solution):

  • It’s easy to simply embed the video on your website in any area (page or blog post) by just copying their “embed code” and pasting it into the New Posts window using the “HTML” option.
  • Let them take your master video file and transcode it to whatever size will reach the target audience optimally. (Also known as bitrate switching)
  • Let them deal with bandwidth and content delivery. Keeps your web server load requirements low.
  • Easy to share videos with other social networks or via email.
  • Youtube has pretty extensive tracking analytics built in.
  • Host as many videos as you want… even ones you might not put on the website but that you want to make available under your “brand” page for Youtube visitors, or for others to reference and display on their website/blog/whatever.
  • Videos can be “found” out of context… Increases the likelihood of a search finding your product/service outside of your website.
  • With a little tweaking in your Youtube account>video settings you can present your video as cleanly as possible. You can even embed your own ads into the video stream.

There is a catch of course. Vimeo doesn’t want it’s community cluttered with commercially-sponsored videos. Youtube’s fine with it, but you’ll spend quite a bit of time in their account preferences area dialing everything in the way you want it.

There is another option… particularly if you’re concerned about who “owns” your video file. Pay for dedicated video hosting. I haven’t done this yet, but here are a few places to start: Bits on the Run, Gravlab and Brightcove.

Need more help? I’m available.

practically efficient – “They should expect less of you”

The reason many people and organizations fail to manage expectations is simple: It’s hard.

(via They should expect less of you.)

I will read and re-read this article many times. I have come to the same conclusions in my years as a freelancer, but the author (Eddie Smith) nails it here. For me. To memorize.

So the next time, and the time after that, when I’m discussion next steps with a client, I’ll remember to pad, save, communicate and strive to be better at managing expectations.

Buddhism in Business (from

What could a janitor teach a Nobel physicist? What could a short-order cook teach a global CEO? What could a child in the playground teach a world class athlete? What value could these people be to each other?

Answer – everything, if you’re willing to open your mind the notion that everyone is not only your equal, but your teacher.

There aren’t many business/consulting related blogs that I follow, but Jonathan Fields’ contributions are nearly always valuable.

Today’s post, If Buddha Was CEO: The Four Immeasurables in Business, is exceptional.

Though I’m not a religious person, I’ve had Buddhist leanings for many years, and Jonathan sums up the reasons why perfectly with this article on how one might adapt the four immeasurables—Loving-kindness, Compassion, Appreciative Joy and Equanimity—to business (and the rest of your life).

How I Hang

[singlepic id=35 w=700]

…photos that is.

Bought this photo mobile a year or so ago, but it looks like a cluttered mess with anything larger than a 4×6. So I removed the clip end of things and nailed them to the wall for a different type of display.

This is my favorite of the bunch…

[singlepic id=32 w=700]