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iPhone app user guide [mockup] iPhone app user guide [mockup]

07-17-2011 , 11:59 PM
[I'll be posting the user guide here, so I can get the post numbering and such correct before going public. Anyone with comments can post them here, though I guess it would be better if you put them in the testing thread so I can keep the post numbering intact. Thanks.]


Welcome to the twoplustwo.com iPhone application user guide.

This guide provides a detailed explanation of most of the functions of the twoplustwo iPhone app, along with helpful tips and tricks, so it's fairly long. Don't conclude from the length that the app is complicated or hard to use, though; this guide was intended to be comprehensive but if you're familiar with your iPhone you should be able to use the app just fine without help.

Please note that while the iPhone and Droid versions of the twoplustwo app are superficially similar, they do not behave identically. Many portions of this guide therefore don't apply to the Droid version.

The application can be used on iPhone models 3G, 3Gs, and 4G, including both CDMA (Verizon, in the United States) and GSM (everyone else) versions; it also works on iPod Touch and iPad (though iPads have particular issues that have not been extensively tested yet). It has been tested on operating systems (iOS's) ranging from 4.0.1 through 4.3.3. It works on unmodified devices as well as those that have been jailbroken. To my knowledge it has not been formally tested on an unlocked phone, but unlocking probably makes no difference. Throughout this guide, whenever I say "iPhone" I really mean "iPhone, iPod touch, or iPod".

The app can connect to the twoplustwo.com servers over 2G and 3G cellular networks as well as WiFi.


1. Table of Contents (by post number)

  • Introduction and Table of Contents — 1
  • Installation and logging in — 2
  • Settings — 3
  • Browsing the forums
    • Basic browsing from the Forums tab — 4
    • Reading multi-page threads — 5
    • Viewing images and long posts — 6
    • Other people's posts (reporting, sharing, and linking) — 7
    • Browsing using the Latest tab — 8
  • Posting to the forums
    • Posting basics — 9
    • Formatting text and adding images and spoilers — 10
    • Editing your posts — 11
  • Viewing user profiles — 12
  • The search function — 13
  • Private messages — 14
  • Subscriptions, aka favorites — 15
  • Odds and ends, and logging off — 16

Last edited by atakdog; 07-19-2011 at 12:39 AM.
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07-18-2011 , 12:00 AM
2. Installation and Logging In


To install the app, first go to the App Store:




Tap the search tab, then start typing "two plus two" (spell it out — "2 plus 2" and similar don't work):




Select (by tapping) the "two plus two interactive" line to save yourself some keystrokes, then tap the line with the app:




Tap the Free button (Yes, the app is free), then Install:




The app store will ask for your iTunes password, then confirmation that you're old enough to be using a gambling-oriented website (which in this case means seventeen or older). After that the app will be installed and you'll see its icon somewhere on one of your home screens. (If you don't see it immediately, try swiping to get to the next page(s) of apps.)

Optional: Press and hold the app's icon, then when they all start shaking, drag it to your dock (the part at the bottom of the screen), so it will be there for you no matter what page of apps you're on.




Now let's get signed in. Click the 2+2 icon and the app will open:




If you have never logged in before, if you logged out last time you used it, or if you were logged in but exited the app (probably by restarting your iPhone — the app will remember your login otherwise), then you'll need to log in now. Note that in general there will be no need to sign out, or even to quit the app, between uses.




If you're brand new to twoplustwo.com you can also register using the app.

Enter your screen name and password, and you're in. Again, the app will remember your password so there should be no need to log in again as long as you don't shut your iPhone down completely, and unless you use very memory-intensive apps or have a 3G phone (meaning one that's more than about three years old), you should probably not ever log out or quit the app — just tap the Home button (the round one on the front of your phone) to get out while leaving the app open.




And presto, you're ready to start using the app.


_______________

More on optimal usage for different phone models — if you're a typical user of a newer phone you can ignore this part:

If you are using an iPhone 4G (on any carrier — the issues are the same for GSM and CDMA models), or a 3Gs, or a 4th generation iPod touch, or any iPad, your device has plenty of memory to handle keeping the app open as you use other applications — provided you have a fully updated operating system, which means 4.3.3 or 4.2.8 depending on which specific model you have. (These numbers are out of date as of the day I'm writing it, but many users will have those versions of the system.) But if you are still back on 4.0.1 or so, which some people are, this doesn't work so well. If the latter is the case I strongly urge you to update by plugging in and using the update function in iTunes — and the reasons go far beyond the twoplustwo.com app. The latest operating systems just plain work better, and rumors that they work poorly on some phones or that they increase memory usage are either outdated or flat-out wrong. It absolutely is worth upgrading, even if you're jailbroken and the upgrade will require jailbreaking again. (The specifics on how to jailbreak are beyond the scope of this guide, and anyway if you've done it once I assume you can do it again.)

If, on the other hand, you are using an iPhone 3G or an earlier-generation iPod touch, you have much less RAM available and multitasking wouldn't work well — but that's OK, because multitasking isn't even supported on your device. Though the app itself does not take much RAM (sometimes as little as 28 MB, which is small relative to an iPhone 3G's 128 MB), you may find that the loading time is frustrating, and the app may not be for you. You might as well try it (Did I mention that it's free?), but it wouldn't be a huge shock if you were to find that you prefer using Mobile Safari; no one can say what will be best for you.

Last edited by atakdog; 07-19-2011 at 12:24 AM.
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07-18-2011 , 12:01 AM
3. Settings


You don't really have to do anything besides logging in to use the app, but if you're a regular user you may want to adjust your settings. Let's look at how to do that.

First choose More on the main browsing screen:




On the next screen, tap Settings:




The default settings will be fine for many users, but there are some you may want to look at. We'll go through them all here just in case.




The Open URLs setting allows you to open links either in the app or in Safari. There's not much difference, as the app uses the Safari rendering engine, but selecting In App (the default) tends to be a little faster because you don't need to switch apps, so I unofficially recommend it.

The second setting is posts per page. Tap on that line if you want to change it, and you'll see the options available:




You'll see that the options are different from those available from a regular browser, and in particular that there is no option to show 100 posts per page. But before you decide that's a problem, try some different settings out. Most of us find that a different, lower setting in the app than we use in a browser is appropriate, because of the smaller screen size and slightly slower scrolling. And, very importantly, the setting you choose here will not change your post per page setting for when you're browsing normally — you can have one setting for browsing from your iPhone and a different one on your computer.

Just tap to select your choice, then tap Settings in the upper left to get back to where we were.

The next setting allows you to choose how often the app refreshes posts in threads you're reading, and threads in forums you're looking at. If you have a decent connection then you'll probably want to have auto-refresh on, and a pretty frequent interval (or Always). Note that the settings I recommend are already the defaults; not also that you can easily refresh the display of any thread or forum manually, regardless what you choose here. (That's covered later in this guide.)




The next settings are about display of images — the first is for users' avatars and the second for images in quoted posts. (Images are always displayed in their original posts.) As long as your signal is at all decent you'll probably want to keep the first toggle set to On; the second can be changed if you're viewing image-heavy threads and having to wait too long for them to load (though the first thing you should do in that case is lower your posts per page, discussed above).

Note that to get to the toggle for quoted images, you have to tap the line and go to the next screen.


Keep scrolling down on that settings screen (by dragging your finger) and you'll find some more options:




Unread Behavior refers to whether the app considers posts "unread" (by you) once you've opened the screen that they're on. Leave this setting On if that's what you want; switch the toggle to Off if you want the app to consider posts unread until you've specifically told it to, for each thread. Most users will probably want to leave this on.


Font Size is what it sounds like. There are five options; Normal is probably fine for most users, but tapping that line allows you to select from five options, both smaller and larger than normal. Try 'em and see what you like.


Enable Smilies is also what it sounds like — and more. On twoplustwo.com, "smilies" — or more formally, emoticons — include not just smiles , winks , and the like, but also four symbols that are pretty important when discussing poker hands: , , , and . Thus, you'll probably want to leave this setting as is, even if you don't normally have it on in text messaging apps.

Tapping Loading Behavior brings up four options for what post we're sent to when we open a thread:




First Unread is the same as tapping the little arrow next to thread titles, in a regular browser — the app will take you to the first post you haven't read yet, whether it's new since the last time you visited, or you just never got to the page it's on. Note that this is affected by what you've chosen above for Unread Behavior.

Most experienced users of the social portions of the board will probably want to leave this setting as is, but newer members, and those who do most of their twoplustwo surfing in poker strategy threads, may want to default to the first post in each thread, which often have important information (and the hand, in strategy threads). You probably already know what's best for you, but trying another option is easy from this screen.


Finally, my favorite setting: Shake To Reply. It is what it sounds like: shake your iPhone while viewing any thread, and the app will bring up the reply composition screen. Even better, it works when you're viewing a private message, too, automatically starting a reply PM. This may not sound like the greatest thing since sliced bread, and I suppose it's not, but I urge all users to give it a try anyway.

Last edited by atakdog; 07-19-2011 at 12:24 AM.
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07-18-2011 , 12:03 AM
8. Another way to browse: The Latest tab


The app gives you another way to browse the forums, focused on recent posts. On the bottom left of the main screen, touch Latest. This brings up three different listings of the most recent posts on all of twoplustwo.com. Because the site is so big you'll probably find that Unread and All are not terribly useful (though they're fun now and then if you want to see what people are posting right now, across the forum).

But the center folder (along the top), Participated, is very useful for day-to-day forum browsing. Selecting this folder brings up a listing of all the threads you've participated (posted) in, at any time, in descending order of how recent the last post in each thread was, whether there are new posts (i.e., ones you haven't read) or not.




On the example screen notice that it shows the total number of replies in the thread (total posts minus one), with either a clear (my red arrow) or solid (my green arrow) background. The solid background indicates that there are unread posts in that thread, while the clear background says that for the user (me, in the example) there are no unread posts. Notice that it also indicates who the most recent poster in each thread is: in the example picture, AcTiOnJaCson has posted most recently in the NHL thread, and I have not yet read at least one of the 5118 replies in that thread, while atakdog was the most recent poster in the Formatting Review thread and I have read all 57 of the replies in that thread. Note that the poster listed is not the thread starter, as you're used to seeing in other contexts.

Last edited by atakdog; 07-19-2011 at 12:25 AM.
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07-18-2011 , 12:05 AM
4. Browsing the Forums


Next, let's look at how we read the forums using the app.

Go to Forum on the bottom menu bar — you can get to threads by tapping on them in the listings under Latest, too (discussed in more detail in post 8), but this is the usual way to find threads in which you haven't posted yet. With the left folder, By Category, selected at the top you'll see the hierarchical arrangement that appears on the left when you are using a normal browser. (The right folder, By Name, is what it sounds like (an alphabetical listing) and is probably less useful for most forum users.) You can scroll down with the familiar finger drag that's common to most iPhone apps.




Tap on any forum name to go to the sub forums — for this example I've chosen Sports and Games. As you can see, the sub-forums are listed, again just as they are when you expand a forum in the left-hand bar in a browser.




Tap any of the forums listed — I've chosen Sporting Events — to see a couple things you haven't seen before, or at least not displayed in the same way:




The first thing you should notice here is that along the top there are three folder selections: Topics, Sticky, and Announcements. In the app, "stickied" threads (those containing the rules for individual forums, for example) and forum-wide announcements don't take up space along with regular threads, but they're always available by selecting the appropriate tab.

Below that are thread listings, although in this forum there are a couple of sub-sub forums listed first. Threads are listed in the familiar way, with the thread title, thread starter, and number of replies shown. As before, a solid background for the replies number means there are unread posts in the thread. Notice that the date and time of the most recent post is also listed.

Finally, there's something hidden here, something important. Place your finger on the screen and drag it down about an inch without releasing, and you'll see a new message appear at the top of the screen:




In a couple places in the app, you can refresh the listing of whatever is displayed simply by "pulling" the screen down like this. It is spring loaded, so when you release your finger it will pop back to where it was... but with the topic, or private message, list (depending on which screen you were on) freshly updated.

Let's select the NHL 2011 Offseason Thread, by tapping anywhere on that line:




There's plenty to see here. The numbers near the top are the page number, using the posts per page that you've selected in the settings, discussed above (or the forum default of 20, if you haven't changed that setting). Notice that when I opened the thread I wasn't taken to the first page, but rather the first one with new replies; that's because my app is set to take me to the first unread reply (again, the default setting, but one that can be changed).

Each post is shown with the poster's name and avatar picture, and the time and date of the post.

You can also see a small advertisement at the bottom of the screen. The thread screen is the only screen in which ads appear.

You can switch pages by tapping on the appropriate page number near the top of the screen; you can also scroll up and down with the familiar finger drag. But there's another thing you can do using a finger drag. If you scroll to the bottom, you'll see the Previous Page and Next Page buttons:




I haven't read this thread for a while, so my "last unread" was pretty far back in it. (The system maximum is two weeks — if it's been even longer than that, the system considers you to have read anything that is more than two weeks old.)

For our example, let's go to the end of the thread, using the page numbers at the top. (The numbers are somewhat awkward to use for large threads; later we'll discuss a way to speed up the process of getting to the end of very lengthy ones.)

Here on the last page, we see a couple of very important features of the app:




For one thing, you can see that if you turn your iPhone horizontally, the app turns to a horizontal viewing mode. For some threads this may work better for you. (As a bonus, notice that ads do not appear in horizontal viewing mode.)

But look back at the first, vertical screen, at what the green arrow is indicating. As you can see, the app automatically hides all spoiler text, replacing it with a "Spoiler Removed" message. To see the spoiler's contents you'll have to view the thread using a regular browser engine (because the Tapatalk engine does not support spoilers at all, except to hide them for application users). But hold on a second — it will turn out that this is very simple to do.

Now look at the red arrow. It's pointing to some lighter gray text that's also delineated by a vertical gray line on the left. That gray text is a post that has been quoted. Everything that shows (in the app) shows in the quoted post as well (unless you selected the option not to show quoted images, in your settings). But you can't see the name of the original poster — again, that's a function that the Tapatalk engine doesn't support.

You may think it's inconvenient, not being able to see spoilers or the names of people being quoted, but it's really not — if you know the next trick. First, touch anywhere inside one of the posts in question, to highlight it (notice that it's shown in yellow):




Tap More to see a few options:




Selecting Open in Safari seems to do just that, bringing up a new Safari-like window with the post in question right at the top. With the Mobile Safari engine you can do just about everything you can do on a regular browser — in this case seeing who made the quoted post (circled in red here), but also viewing spoilers and getting around some other limitations of the Tapatalk-based application. In other words, for convenience you have the twoplustwo app, while for power you'll do as we just did, opening pages in mobile Safari.

But it's still inconvenient because now you have to exit Safari to get back where you were, right? Actually, not at all. Just click the arrow in the upper left, and you'll pop right back to where you were. You see, we never actually left the twoplustwo app, we just used the Safari engine within it. (You can change this behavior in the settings, but there's really no reason to).

What if you wanted actually to switch to mobile Safari itself? That's easy too. Tap the button in the lower left (green highlighting), then select the only option, Open in Safari. This time the window that pops up really is Mobile Safari.




Again, there's not much reason to do this because you can do everything using the Safari engine without leaving the app, but what if you did go to Safari? (This would happen if, while in the Safari engine, you clicked an external link, for example — that would take to a real Safari window.) In iOS 4.3 (the iPhone operating system you probably have installed), that's simple too. Just double-click the Home button (the physical button near the bottom of the front screen) to bring up the application dock:




Just click on the twoplustwo app icon to get back where you were (which, remember, was viewing the page within the app using the Safari engine — to get back to regular app viewing, you then click that arrow in the upper left. (Note that if you don't see the twoplustwo icon right away, you can find it by swiping along the bottom to show other apps.)

Some users will rarely or never have to view pages using Safari; for others it will be common. The Safari engine is best used for:
  • Seeing who made a post that's been quoted.
  • Viewing spoiler content and polls.
  • Seeing "edited by" text, which doesn't show in the app.
  • Viewing posts which include html tags (formatting codes) that aren't supported by the app, including:
    • underline and highlight,
    • tables and [code]
    • superscripts and subscripts
    • lists like this one.
  • Viewing private messages in user-created folders — anything but your inbox and sent items — and messages older than the twenty most recent ones.
That may seem like a long list of things the app can't do, but I think you'll quickly see that the app brings up the Safari engine so quickly that it's hardly any inconvenience... and it's a small price to pay for the quick, intuitive browsing that's possible with the twoplustwo application.

Last edited by atakdog; 07-19-2011 at 12:26 AM.
iPhone app user guide [mockup] Quote
07-18-2011 , 12:06 AM
9. Posting to the forums


Now that we've seen how to browse the forums using the app, let's see how to post a reply.

To reply to the thread as a whole, go to any page in the thread and tap the unlabeled button in the upper right, the one with the arrow on it. This will give you several options; choose Reply.




That will take you to the reply field, where you can type as you usually do and can use the iPhone's cut, copy, and paste functions. Note that you can cut or copy from a different application; your iPhone retains whatever you cut or copy in the clipboard until you've pasted it, even in a different application.

When you're done composing your reply, hit either Send in the upper right, or cancel, in the upper left; if you accidentally hit Cancel you have one more chance to change your mind, as the app asks for confirmation before discarding your text:




In an odd twist, tapping Cancel on this screen cancels your canceling of the reply, sending you back to the composition window; in order really to cancel, you have to tap Cancel and then Yes.

Also, notice the slim gray bar labeled Advanced Options. Tapping that bar brings up the only "advanced" option, posting a link, which can be to another twoplustwo.com page or to another website. Because it's so easy to mistype URLs you'll probably want to copy your link from another app rather than typing it yourself.




Another important thing to notice about the Advanced Options screen is that although there is a Cancel button, it is grayed out and does not work. The way to get out of this screen if you decide not to add a link to your post is to touch the gray bar again — notice that it's been relabeled Close Advanced Options.

Don't forget that as long as you have Shake to Reply enabled in your settings you can just shake your phone to bring up the reply composition window. It saves a little time, plus it's kind of cool.


The second sort of reply is to reply to an individual post, quoting it in your own message. We've already seen this option, but here's a reminder how to do it. First, tap anywhere in the post to which you want to reply, then click the Quote button to bring up the reply composition window:




The app copies the quoted post, along with the appropriate linking text, into the beginning of your post. Notice that the iPhone's spell checking function works within the app; that's usually a good thing, but as we'll see in the next part of this tutorial it can get in our way if we're not careful.

When you're done composing just hit Send in the upper right corner (or Cancel if you've thought better of it).


There's a third sort of post you can make: You can start a new thread. To do so using the app, go to the list of threads (known in the app as the topic list), tap the arrow button in the upper left, and then tap New Topic to get to a similar composition window:




Again, after composing your post you tap either Send if you think it's worth posting or Cancel if you've changed your mind.

Notice that when we create a new thread we have two fields to fill in, the thread title and the text of the first post. Other options, such as adding a poll and attaching an icon to the post, are not available within the app so if you want to do those more advanced things you'll have to do it in mobile Safari.

Last edited by atakdog; 07-19-2011 at 12:27 AM.
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07-18-2011 , 12:08 AM
10. Posting, part 2: formatting text and adding things other than text


When you're composing a post you may want to add formatting, an image, or a spoiler.1 You can do those things, but you have to type the tags yourself. Let's go over how to do that, because there are a few potential bumps in the road.

To use a formatting tag, you first type the opening tag, which looks like [something] or [SOMETHING] (capitalization doesn't matter), then the text you want to format, then the closing tag, which looks like [/something] or [/SOMETHING]. The tags you're most likely to want are:
  • Bold — type it as [b]text to be bolded[/b].
  • Italics — [i]italicized text[/i].
  • Underline — [u]underlined text[/u]
  • Highlight — [highlight]highlighted text[/highlight].
  • [sup]Superscript[/sup] and [sub]subscript[/sub].
  • [spoil]Text and images inside a spoiler[/spoil] — note carefully that the tag is "spoil", not "spoiler".
  • Images — [img]link to image[/img]. Note that twoplustwo discourages hotlinking images, so the link should be to an image site such as Imgur or Photobucket, not a regular website.2

Once you he learned the tags, typing them isn't a big deal, but there are two problems many users encounter:

First, it is very easy to type a backslash instead of a slash in the closing tags. One reason is simply forgetting, but the other is sneakier.

To see why, let's first look at how we type those square brackets. On the iPhone keyboard they're sort of hidden — first you have to tap the punctuation-and-number (.?123) key, then the symbol (#+=) key, to get to the screen with the square brackets:





Not fun, but you get used to it. But notice what happens we when we go to close the tag using the "[/tag]" format:




It's very easy to see the slash sitting right there under the square brackets you worked so hard to get to, and not realize that it's a backslash, which is not what you want. To get to the forward slash you tap the number (123) key first.


The second tag issue arises specifically with image ([img]) tags. Let's try typing one:




There's that wonderful iPhone predictive text spell checker, attempting to make a mockery of our image tag (with a "word" that isn't a word, but I digress). And if you have been using your iPhone for a while you know what happens next: You ignore (or don't even notice) the attempted correction and keep typing, and:




... your phone decides that you wanted it to make the "correction". And if you're like most people your eyes glaze over when looking at things like html tags, so you never notice the change... and then you wonder why your image doesn't display properly. Pro tip: if your "posted" image didn't actually post, you either misspelled the [img] tag, or used a backslash in the closing tag.

One way to avoid the mistaken correction issue is to turn off predictive text in your phone's settings, but you probably don't want to do that. Another solution is to hit caps lock before typing the "img", by double-tapping the caps key — but only if you have that setting enabled in your settings (from your home screen [not in the app — the iPhone home screen] go to Settings —> Keyboard), because the phone doesn't use spell checking when you're typing in all caps.

Assuming you're just typing along, however, how do you avoid the correction? Veteran iPhone users know this, but if you're new to the phone you may not: Next to the correction the phone is suggesting is a tiny ; tap that before typing the next space or punctuation mark to reject the correction. Since our next key after "img" is the close square bracket, a punctuation mark, you have to do it as soon as the proposed correction appears. Do that (twice — the phone will try to correct your closing tag, too), and you'll achieve the desired result.




iPhone expert tip below — feel free to ignore if you don't care about minutiae:
Spoiler:
The iPhone's predictive text dictionary can learn words you use and, more importantly for our purposes here, can stop giving you suggestions that you always reject, effectively "unlearning" the attempted correction. But the twist is this: in general the phone only learns and unlearns in a few select applications, specifically Mail, Mobile Safari, and the iPhone's text message application (and the latter often doesn't work for some reason). You could reject the "ing" correction a thousand times in the twoplustwo app, or for that matter in your purchased browser or texting app, and it would literally never take you seriously; you'll keep getting the "correction" forever unless you teach it to stop while using one of the three favored applications.



In another cruel twist, sometimes my own phone comes up with other "corrections" besides "ing" when I try to type image tags. Your own mileage may vary, of course, depending on your language and typing habits, but the bottom line is that if you can manage to teach your phone that "img" is a word (which I haven't done, despite trying), you'll be better off.

Those are the main pitfalls you'll encounter when formatting typical posts. If you've gotten the impression that composing and formatting complex missives is better done in a browser, you're probably right, but it's handy to know what you can do in the app, and what to watch out for when you do.
1 Note that the only formatting types the app can display, besides plain text, are bold and italics. Any other tags you use will display correctly when viewed from a regular browser, but will show up as plain text when viewed with the app.

2 Imgur and Photobucket each have free iPhone apps available, from which you can easily copy image locations for use in the twoplustwo.com app. This is not an unofficial endorsement, but unofficially I and at least one other tester have used the Imgur app extensively in our testing of this application, and found it to be quite useful.

Last edited by atakdog; 07-19-2011 at 12:27 AM.
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07-18-2011 , 12:20 AM
5. Browsing multi-page threads


As I mentioned earlier, in large threads it can be awkward to use the page numbers at the top of the screen. There are two tricks that can make this easier, though only one of them works at the moment.

The first trick starts with realizing that often the "fast forward" (or reverse) double arrow can't be accessed even when it shows on the screen — it's as if the number next to it is partly covering it up. The solution is to swipe along the row of numbers in order fully to uncover the button... or just to swipe until the page number you want is fully visible, then tap it:





The second solution is direct page number access. In theory you can just tap the ellipsis (the three dots) at either end of the list of page numbers to bring up a direct access dialog:




Unfortunately, the direct access function isn't working right now. (Anything you type will give you an error message.) We'll be working on that, though, so in the long run this function will make your life easier.

Last edited by atakdog; 07-19-2011 at 12:27 AM.
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07-18-2011 , 12:22 AM
6. Viewing images and long posts


Speaking of thread length, on twoplustwo.com you'll also find that some posts are very long. (I personally know no one who habitually makes very long posts, but I'm told some users do.) When you encounter one of these the app won't display the whole thing; instead, it will show the first hundred or so lines and a More arrow will appear at the bottom. Tap the arrow to view the whole post; tap the arrow in the upper left (the one that shows the thread title) to go back to viewing the whole thread.





Another thing that doesn't display completely in the normal thread-viewing window is images; instead, a thumbnail is displayed for each one in order to speed loading times. For many purposes the thumbnail will be enough but if you want to see the whole image, just tap on it to bring up the a bigger view:




In the expanded image view you can use normal iPhone finger gestures to zoom in further; you can also save the image to your phone. When you're done, you can return to where you were by tapping the arrow in the upper left.

Last edited by atakdog; 07-19-2011 at 12:27 AM.
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07-18-2011 , 12:24 AM
12. Viewing user profiles


There's something you can do from the thread-viewing window besides reading posts: you can can go to an individual poster's profile page. To do so, just tap the avatar (the image next to the poster's name):




As you can see, on this screen you can use the folder tabs at the top to view the poster's basic information (from registration date to any biographical fields he's filled in — scroll down for more) to his most recent posts and threads. (The post and thread are searches are limited to the most recent twenty results, as are all searches in the app.) You can also easily send a private message by, shockingly enough, tapping the Send message to ______ button. (Private messages are discussed in more detail in post 14.)


If you tap your own avatar you'll see a similar screen:




This is an important screen to understand, for what you can't do here: You can't do anything except view your own information, posts, and threads. There is a button for changing your profile picture, but it does not actually do anything. (If you try you'll get an error message.) You can also view your biographical details such as location, but again you cannot change them in the app — to do that you would need first to view your profile page in Mobile Safari or another browser.

There's one more oddity on the pages shown here. See the little green dots on the avatar pictures of both Bobo Fett and atakdog? Green means that the user in question is logged in and visible; no dot at all in the profile screen would mean the user either is not logged in or is invisible. But there's a strange little bug associated with this function: The app will always show you as being logged in and visible, even if you have set the option (in your browser) for invisible mode. Don't worry — you're still invisible, it's just that the app is confused.

There's another way to get to your own profile page: Go to More (on the bottom right of the main screen, then Profile. This is discussed in more detail in post 16 of this guide. There's also another way to get to a different member's profile: Tap his or her avatar when it appears with a private message that person has sent you.

Last edited by atakdog; 07-19-2011 at 12:31 AM.
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07-18-2011 , 05:58 PM
13. Using the Search function


Searching the forum is straightforward. First, select the Search tab along the bottom of the main screen, then either choose from any old searches that the app may have remembered, or tap in the text field and type your search terms:




The app will give you the option to search either Topics (thread titles — which I circled in yellow) or Posts (circled in green); tap either one, then execute the search by tapping either in the line shown for the search, or the Search button in the lower right:




The search will bring up the most recent threads or posts (depending on what you searched for) that include the search term or terms.




To view the thread or posts, just tap on them; to return to the search screen, tap the arrow in the upper left.

One minor note: When the app saves searches (which it does automatically), it saves not just the search terms, but whether you searched topics or posts; that's indicated next to each term listed in the saved searches:




And another note, this one not good news: searches only pull up the most recent twenty or so (occasionally twenty-one) results, and there's no easy way to see others. If you want to cast a wider net or to limit your search, as by date range or forum, you'll need to do that from a browser.

To search for posts made by a particular forum member, go to the member's profile page and then tap the Search button there. (Searching is discussed in more detail in post 13 of this guide.)

Last edited by atakdog; 07-19-2011 at 12:32 AM.
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07-18-2011 , 07:07 PM
14. Private Messages


To get to your private messages, tap the fourth tab along the bottom in the forum screen:




Notice that if you have unread messages, the number thereof will be indicated by a red number.

That will take you to your private messages. You can view your inbox and your sent messages; if you've created your own custom folders, there's no way to view messages inside those folders from within the app. Also, only your most recent twenty messages are visible.




The first line of text of each message will usually be shown in the message listing; to read the whole message just tap on it to bring up the message screen:




On the message screen you'll find buttons to Reply and Reply to All. The latter is something that you can't do automatically in a browser, and it is a little counterintuitive: it creates a message replying both to the one who sent the message to you, and to anyone else that person sent the original message to.




From the reply composition window you can hit Send in the upper left or Cancel in the upper right; if you choose to cancel, there's a confirmation screen (and to cancel you have to tap Yes, for yes you want to cancel, not Cancel a second time).

A couple more options are available by tapping the More arrow in the upper right of the message window:




In addition to Reply and Reply to All, you have the option to Forward the message to someone else, or to Report it to the twoplustwo.com moderators if you think it's a violation of forum rules. If you tap Report you'll be given the opportunity to explain what you think is wrong with the message.

There's also a really easy way to reply to a message: If you have Shake to Reply enabled in your settings (it's off by default, so you have to change it if you want to do this), you can just shake your phone and it will bring up the reply composition screen.


Back in the message listing, tap Edit in the upper left if you want to delete messages (from wither your inbox or your sent messages). After you tap the minus sign next to a message you want to delete, a Delete button will appear next to it; at that point you can touch Delete to send the message to the trash, or simply touch Done in the upper left when you're finished editing.




Of course, you can also compose messages without replying to anyone. The Compose button is the unlabeled one with a pencil, in the upper right; tapping that button brings up the message composition screen:




As usual, tap Send or Cancel.

Last edited by atakdog; 07-19-2011 at 12:32 AM.
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07-18-2011 , 09:44 PM
11. Editing your posts


Once you've posted to the forums you may decide you want to edit your post. Within thirty minutes of first posting you can do that, and it's possible to do it from the app.

To edit a post you've made recently first highlight it by tapping it, touch More in the popup that appears, then Moderate in the next popup:




You'll get yet another popup; choose Edit to bring up the editing window.




Touch either Save to make the changes permanent, or Cancel if you have thought better of it.

Note that you cannot delete posts using the app. You also cannot add "edited by" text.

Last edited by atakdog; 07-19-2011 at 12:33 AM.
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07-18-2011 , 10:06 PM
7. Other people's posts: reporting, sharing, and linking to them

A few options are available with respect to other people's posts. Tap on a post to highlight it, then touch More. You'll see three options: Quote, Share, and More (yet again).




[Ignore the Upgrade button, which doesn't do anything.]

Quote, we've already seen in action, as this is the standard way to quote a post while replying in a thread. Share gives you the option to send a link to a post by e-mail; the menu is self-explanatory.

Touch the second More button to get four options:




Use the top button, Report, to report a post to the moderators if you think it violates twoplustwo.com's rules. Touching the button gives you a one-touch Spam button for reporting obvious commercial spam, and a second Others button for reports that need an explanation:




The second button in the More menu, Open in Safari, does what you'd think: it opens the post in question in a new window in Mobile Safari. It does this even if you've enabled the Open in Application setting, because that setting applies only to links.


The third button copies the URL of the highlighted post — not the whole thread, just that specific post — onto your iPhone's clipboard; from there you can use the phone's paste function, in the app or anywhere else:




The last option, View Profile, brings up the poster's profile; recall that the other way to do that is by tapping the poster's avatar.

Last edited by atakdog; 07-19-2011 at 12:37 AM.
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07-18-2011 , 10:46 PM
15. Subscriptions (aka favorites)


You may or may not know that the default setting on the twoplustwo forums is for you to be "subscribed" to any thread you post in. I say you may not know this because it hardly matters when you're using a browser — the only effect is to put a little blue check mark next to each such thread.

Well, in the twoplustwo iPhone app, subscriptions are more helpful, because they can be used to find your favorite threads, and forums, quickly.

To get to your subscribed threads and forums, first select the More tab on the bottom right of the main screen, then tap the top line, Favorites.




You'll see two tabs along the top, allowing you to select from your favorited threads and forums:




Tapping a line on either of these screens will take you to the thread or forum in question.

But how did those items get on these lists in the first place? As I said, you are automatically subscribed to any thread you post in, so that's a start. But you can also "favorite" a thread that you haven't posted in. To do so, just tap the More arrow in the upper left while viewing the thread, then tap Subscribe:




The process for subscribing to a whole forum is almost identical. While viewing the forum (not a thread in the forum, the list of threads), touch the More arrow, then Subscribe:




Forum subscriptions are unique to the app experience, so you're not familiar with them on twoplustwo, but we have found that subscribing to the forums you read the most makes using the app considerably easier. Just remember that to get to your list of subscriptions you start by touching More in the bottom right of the main screen.

Last edited by atakdog; 07-19-2011 at 12:37 AM.
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07-18-2011 , 11:03 PM
16. Odds and Ends: your user profile, on line lists and statistics, and logging off


You probably noticed some other options on the More screen, underneath Favorites. Let's look at them now.




Moderation
is for users with moderator privileges, even though it has been showing up on everyone's app. Basic moderation functions can be performed with the app, but it's pretty self explanatory so I won't discuss it further here.

____________________

Profile takes you to your own user profile, just as tapping your own avatar does.




Here you can view your own statistics and biographical information as others see it. There's a button for changing your profile picture, but it is not compatible with twoplustwo.com because of how the site handles images; trying to use it will just yield an error message.

____________________

Online brings up a list of all the registered users who are on line right now (except those who are using invisible mode), along with what they did last in the forums.




Your own name will always appear at the top of this list, whether you're visible to others or not. Also, sometimes the app gets funny ideas about what thread you're viewing, so don't worry if you're shown as reading some thread you've never even heard of.

The list is not sortable and there are usually more than a thousand members on line, so this screen is more a novelty than a tool.

____________________

Another novelty is the Statistics screen:




This screen shows numbers — members, guests, posts, and so forth — for the entire twoplustwo.com forum. I'm not sure it has any practical utility, but it's interesting to have the numbers available.

_____________________

Finally, if you want to log out you do it by tapping the Logoff button in the upper left of this screen:




There's usually no reason to do this, as it's perfectly fine to leave yourself logged on and the app open even if you're going to do something else for a while, but it's a good idea if someone else is going to be using your phone. Note that there is no problem being logged in on both the app and a normal browser, or the app on two different iDevices, at the same time.

Last edited by atakdog; 07-19-2011 at 12:36 AM.
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07-19-2011 , 01:18 AM
This guide has now been posted to ATF, here.
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