Tag Archives: iPhone

Tools of the Freelance Trade–And An Announcement

Joe-Wallace-Vinyl-Collector-and-authorby Joe Wallace

I’ve been investing quite a lot of cash recently in the tools of the freelance trade. For me that means a lot of different things including professional grade microphones, studio monitors, recording equipment and other necessities. I haven’t given up writing, not by a long shot, but I’ve added multimedia producing to my list of talents available for hire and that work requires owning gear.

But I’ve invested in my writing work, too. One of the tools I’ve discovered I cannot live without as a freelance web writing professional is the iPad. Freelance writers are very slow to catch up with the times in some cases–you’ll find plenty of outdated websites still chugging away, with writers being especially guilty of missing the boat when it comes to being tech-savvy.

But for anyone who writes online, the time to start switching to mobile devices is NOW, if you haven’t already. You’ll be shocked at how your website looks on a mobile device. Or your work as it appears on other sites. You will also be surprised at how easy it is to get your writing work done using a Bluetooth keyboard paired with a tablet or iPad. The portability of tablets makes them a dream to use professionally, even compared to a 13-inch Macbook or notebook computer.

Here’s a gigantic mea culpa–Freelance-Zone.com itself is far behind the times with its own web design.

On tablets and the iPad, the three-column format leaves far too much to be desired, and a re-think of the entire look of the site is underway. But it’s a reminder to me personally how easy it can be to fall behind.

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, but I’ve made one anyway—this space will be cleaned up and mobile friendly in 2013, and when I look at it on the iPad it will be something to be proud of rather than a reminder that I’ve been the tortoise, not the hare, when it comes to new tech. It’s soooo easy to dispense advice about these things, yet fail to look in the mirror to see what’s staring back. We aim to change that in coming weeks and some of the transitions might be a bit painful, but we’re heading into a new look for a new era as tablets, the cloud, and mobile freelancing become more and more mainstream.

Joe Wallace has a thing for gadgets. He loves producing video, audio, and writing for the web. He is also polishing a short indie film, preparing to release two new albums via iTunes and Amazon.com, and contemplating having his highlights done. He blogs about audio production at www.now-sound.com and writes on financial topics for a variety of websites.

Are You Ready For AppsBar?

Turntabling Vinyl For Sale Bargain Bin five bucksby Joe Wallace

I’ve been experimenting with a new service called AppsBar, which lets you create mobile apps for iPhone and Android, which can be published to iTunes, Android Market and Windows Marketplace (once the apps pass an approval process which takes approximately 10-14 days.) AppsBar is 100% free and has no pay wall, credit card sign-up requirements or other nonsense–kudos for that.

The image to the right is what I was working on–an application for my vinyl record site Turntabling.net. I wanted to see if AppsBar could support an app to let me sell records online using PayPal and images already online at Turntabling.

The idea was to let people impulse buy bargain-bin vinyl records using a mobile phone. Could AppsBar let me do this quickly and keep the same basic user experience as my (admittedly no-frills) website Turntabling.net?

So far, so good!

For that purpose, AppsBar seems fairly simple and fun to use. The site features a wizard that lets even the most technically disadvantaged among us create apps for content, images, videos, and yes, sale items. I set up a Turntabling page with six albums for sale complete with PayPal payment buttons in about ten minues, using HTML I already had from the blog post.

What does this mean for freelancers?

AppsBar could be an excellent tool for you put your freelance services, portfolio, resume, e-books, blogs, etc. into a mobile format you can direct potential clients to. The “look how cool I am!” factor can’t be underestimated here–especially if you’re dealing with clients who aren’t themselves very tech-savvy. The app creation wizard is simple and fun to use–if you are able to use WordPress to create/publish a blog post, AppsBar won’t be a challenge for you to learn.

AppsBar apps are offered for free once they are approved and published–you can’t sell your app. That’s not a deal-breaker in my mind; the service is free, so the app is free. No problem for those of us who are shameless self-promoters and see this as a way to reach into the mobile marketplace.

I think the most important thing for freelancers to remember about creating a mobile app of any kind is to consider the crowded marketplace and think how to best use a tool like AppsBar to solve a particular problem or give a good reason for the person downloading the app to take the time–remember, there are probably more apps now than there are cell phones. What does YOURS offer that the others don’t? An important question to ask before hitting “Publish”.

The AppsBar Terms of Use is a document freelancers should definitely pay close attention to; there are many issues that can affect how you publish content here. AppsBar reserves the right to insert advertising into the content and other areas of your app. It also forbids you from placing your own ads (unless I’m misreading that section) so it’s critical to remember that your app is not a platform to use for generating ad revenue for a blog, as I read the TOU.

AppsBar also reserves the right to modify or repurpose your content for other use as defined in the Terms Of Use. Personally, I’m not inclined to publish unique content on a mobile app–I’d rather use an AppsBar app to promote a service or product, so this isn’t an issue with me. But for many freelancers, it could be depending on what you want to use it for–read the Terms of Use carefully before you decide to publish unique content there.

All in all, AppsBar seems to be a very solid platform for freelancers who have a specific idea in mind on what they’d like to do with a mobile app. Those who look at AppsBar, take time to think, and start creating with some concrete notions of how to best use the product will do very well with this free service.

iPhone Apps For Writers

Dragon Dictationby Catherine L. Tully

Most of you know how crazy I am about my iPhone by now. Love it. Love it!

Today’s post is a sharing post. I’m going to give up the goods about which iPhone apps I use all the time. If you have an iPhone, I’d highly recommend the following for greater productivity and general awesomeness:

Dragon Dictation – this is sooooo handy! If you need to remind yourself of something or take a quick note about a subject for an article, just pull this app up and speak into it. It will text or e-mail it to you. They say it’s up to 5 times faster than typing. I believe it.

Hootsuite – if you haven’t been using Hootsuite, now’s the time to jump in. This handy app will let you post to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook from your phone. Sure, you can get the mobile app for each – but why? Do it all in one swoop – on the go.

Snaptell – find info about books with this easy-to-use app. Just “snap” a picture of the cover and get information such as where you can buy it, how much it costs and more. After all, most of us writers are pretty heavy readers..

Days Until – want to keep track of how many days you have until a check comes? Or how about keeping tabs on when you will be published in a particular magazine? Days Until will count down for you.

Lose It – let’s face it – writers sit a lot. Keep track of calories in and calories burned with this app. You can even program in a target weight and it will tell you how many calories you can consume per day in order to reach your goal. Love this one.

These are a handful of my faves. If you have an iPhone (or other smart phone) and can share an application or two that has made your life easier–please do!

Mobile Freelancing with the iPhone

iphone 4
by Joe Wallace

I’m writing this post using my Mac bluetooth keyboard synched to my iPhone. I wrote about this a few days ago, all aflutter about the possibilities of finally getting down to serious writing using nothing but the iPhone 4 and a bluetooth keyboard.

And this is the result. A typo or two to correct, a bit of a muddle with the screen size when composing the text, but otherwise this post has been fairly annoyance-free.

It’s wonderfully liberating to be able to post quickly using only the iPhone but retaining full keyboard flexibility…at least as flexible as the smallish silver Mac bluetooth keyboard can be. My fingers are still getting used to the smaller form factor with these keys, but that should improve.

That said, WordPress does not play nice with the iPhone4 when it comes to uploading images. I have had lots of problems trying get images on the iPhone to WordPress and at this time I haven’t found a solution except to use what is already in my WP galleries.

I fully realize that early adopters of bluetooth in this way are sneering at my Joe-Come-Lately bluetooth freedom with the iPhone, but I am so pleased with this new relationship I have with my mobile phone that i might never go back to using a laptop again.

OK, I’m full of it on that front…but it IS a tempting notion…however silly.

Freelancing With the iPhone

iPhone keyboard

by Joe Wallace

iPhone loving writers, bloggers, and editors, our time has come. The growing popularity of iPhone bluetooth keyboards brings us to a new, albeit squinty, era of freelance blogging and writing.

I’ve always said that once I could overcome the problem of having to type on a touchscreen, me and the iPhone would become a road-ready freelance powerhouse. No need to break out the Macbook Pro after searching high and low for a Starbucks along the road trip route…with a bluetooth keyboard, the iPhone, and the right combination of mobile widgets and software tools it’s possible to write and submit from the road, the plane, wherever you can get your 3G or 4G signal.

This is a truly great time to be freelancing.

There are many different bluetooth keyboard models to choose from. The one shown above is the Freedom i-Connex Bluetooth Folding Keyboard for Apple iPad, iPhone 3GS and 4G. But you can also purchase the Jorno bluetooth keyboard for iPhone 4 or go with the Apple bluetooth keyboard, but that one isn’t designed specifically for iPhone or iPad use and some function keys may not work properly.

Whichever one you choose, your new freelancer freedom awaits. I am very excited about trying out a whole week on the road with nothing but an iPhone and bluetooth keyboard…I just have to schedule some time to make it happen. Stay tuned for that–it will be an FZ feature coming soon.

iphone 4

GuideGecko: Write Travel Guide Apps


Today on Freelance-Zone we have a special treat–GuideGecko Founder, Daniel Quadt is here to walk readers through the process of writing a travel guide app. Be sure and check out their site–it’s a great resource.               – Catherine

1. GuideGecko has a new offering for writers—a travel guide app. Can you tell us a little about what that is and how it works? 

Writers can now publish iPhone travel guide apps with GuideGecko, and sell them through Apple’s app store. You simply enter your content using our super-easy website and we’ll do the rest. The apps look really good, and they are tailor-made for travel guides. They even feature offline maps so users do not incur hefty roaming charges when using them abroad. Take a look at http://www.guidegecko.com/publish for some screenshots.

Hotels_Sleeping_Screenshot2. Are there any particular requirements for writers?

You should know your topic and have a very good command of English. It helps if you have written or contributed to travel books or online guides before, but it’s not a requirement.

3. Why did you decide to move in this direction in terms of offering travel writing content?

Apps are an extension of our existing services for writers and publishers. Since our launch in March 2009, we have published over 200 guidebooks by independent authors, as printed books and for download. Apps allow us to create much more interactive, appealing products with advanced features. For example, with the app, you can easily check for nearby restaurants when you are hungry. Or you use the interactive map to plan your itinerary.

Photos4. What other opportunities do you have for writers?

Another exciting service that we launch together with apps is “Web publishing”, which allows writers to become part of our network of destination sites. You can earn a substantial income with destination sites through ads and booking links, and we share this income with our writers.

It’s very easy: You suggest a destination and a topic, e.g. “New York on a Budget” or “Paris with Kids” and publish your content on GuideGecko.com. We promote the individual sub-sites and the network as a whole, leading to synergies that are very difficult and time consuming to achieve for individual authors. Just think of all the Search Engine Optimization you would have to do to bring in visitors! It’s much easier to attract visitors to a large site, and the network effect naturally leads more visitors to the individual sub-sites.

Web publishing is also ideal for writers who know their topic, but don’t want to bother about site structure, HTML+CSS, layout, Adsense, and so on. We manage all that, and writers can concentrate on what they know (and like) best.

Even better: If you want to do Web publishing and iPhone apps together, you have to enter the content only once. We can use the same content for apps and for the web.

5. How can people find out more information about writing for GuideGecko?

Simply go to http://www.guidegecko.com/publish. This page has all the info, and you can apply for web publishing and to make an app.