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How to cope with brief bursts of internet access

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New Zealand isn't much better for internet access than Australia. Most restaurants, cafes and holiday parks offer paid, metered wifi. Those few that offer free wifi with purchase tend to limit bandwidth to very low levels.

Yet even with these access issues, we've been able to post more regularly than in South America, thanks to a few useful offline tools. (Since this is mostly a technical post, however, I'll put the details behind a cut.)

 

  • Blogdesk : Blogdesk makes it easy to prepare blog posts offline and publish them quickly when we have fifteen minutes of wireless access. Integration with Moveabletype is almost seamless. Indeed, Blogdesk's built-in image-editing feature (which allows me to easily resize, crop, and edit images before uploading) has made it my preferred client even when wifi is available. The only hitch is that while Blogdesk will upload images and other files, it does not add them to Moveabletype's asset-management system. Doing this manually is not much of a challenge, however.

  • Gmail: I've pretty much given up on Outlook and other offline email clients. Microsoft's Outlook collapses under its own weight on a regular basis, and I have never gotten the hang of the Mail.app or Thunderbird interfaces. Gmail does 90% of everything I need when I'm online, and it's lightweight offline client allows me to access a month's worth of mail and compose new emails while on the road.

  • Remember the Milk: Although RTM works moderately well as a task management program, it's definitely my least favorite of our tools. It's big advantage is that it can be used anywhere: besides the standard web application, it has an iPhone app, an offline app (working with Google Gears), and an iGoogle plugin. Thus, the task list is always at my fingertips, and tasks can be shared with other people. If we pass a New Zealand roadsign and I decide I want to blog about it, I can post a reminder.

    Somewhat ironically, Remember the Milk's big failing is the actual web application. The offline or Google-based apps are remarkably user-friendly, but the web application is a usability nightmare. For instance, the overview page, which allows you to see all of your tasks for the day, doesn't actually let you edit them. Unfortunately, I've not found a task management system that can replace RTM yet: bad as it is, it's the best of the bunch.


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I've just started using Things (iPhone) for all my to do stuff, and it works pretty nicely. Seriously thinking about buying the full app too. Just don't know whether it has an online element to it (or why you might want one).

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