Skullcandy Hesh 2.0 Headphones

2

The headphones are great, mind you I’m not an audio expert, but they sound excellent, they are certainly comfy and won’t break the bank when you can pick certain designs up for around £30 (RRP £50). I was surprised that they come with a detachable cable that includes an in-line mic/controller, whilst this is great from my iPhone it can play a little havoc with some systems such as my PC or Blue Yeti whereby I have to just retract the plug ever so slightly to hear the audio fully.

Certainly a worthy investment for the podcasts.

 

Andy

Blue Yeti Microphone

I am loving the Blue Yeti. Not only a great sounding Mic but one that has far more features than anything in the same price range and below. Hear a quick comparison between the Samson C01U and the Blue Yeti here – http://vocaroo.com – it does not do the microphone justice, I certainly don’t regret the purchase.

So what features does it come with? Well a good length of USB cable and one hell of a funky stand with rubberised base to support what is one chunky mic! (and great to attach a pop filter to)

  • On the front
    • Volume
    • Mute button – so useful!
  • On the rear
    • Adjustable gain
    • 4 pattern setting
      1. Stereo – main pick up from front and sides, vocals and instruments
      2. Cardioid – main pick up from front, singular speaker for podcasts
      3. Omnidirectional – all around, focus groups
      4. Bidirectional – front and rear, interviews across the table
  • Underneath
    • micro USB connection (no drivers required!)
    • headphone 3.5mm jack – zero latency audio monitoring
    • 5/8 inch threaded hole for microphone stand

What don’t I like? well not a lot to be honest…

  • Its a bit of a beast – it appeals to me but don’t think it will be a joy to carry around
  • The microphone has a tendency to either damage its own paintwork or that of the stand – if you look at second hand ones they mostly mention slight “mic vs stand” knocks (mine does but it on the stand.
  • Volume and gain controls feel a little loose
  • No ideal shock mount – Blue’s own Radius shock mount is expensive (at £44) and does not support its own mic (Search YouTube) and there is little alternatives out there due to the unusual base layout. (see unavailable custom mount at Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00HL5WWHQ )

Full specs can be found here http://www.bluemic.com/yeti/#specs

I think maybe a project for the summer would be to make a shock mount and publish the designs as a blog?

Andy

Pebble II (Pebble Time)

 

Pebble, looking to not lose pace with other smart watches, have returned to Kickstarter ( click here ) to crowd fund the Pebble II – Titled the Pebble Time – which is already near to completion unlike when the first Pebble needed funds to develop. with Projected shipping May 2015. New features to include:

  • 64 Colour screen
  • Microphone lets you send voice replies to incoming notifications or take short voice notes.
  • Pebble Time is 20% thinner than the original Pebble at just 9.5mm.
  • Ergonomic, curved design fits comfortably on either wrist.
  • Scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass with a bezel made of stainless steel.
  • Like our previous watches, it’s water resistant – perfect for a run in the rain, water-balloon battle or a swim.
  • All new Pebble watch bands include a quick-release pin, letting you swap bands in under 10 seconds.
  • Publishing the 3D data you’ll need to create amazing straps, covers and docks.
  • Pebble Time also has a smart accessory port, enabling hardware developers to build sensors and smart straps that connect directly to the watch.
  • Pebble Time comes in three colours: Black, Red, White
  • New timeline interface interaction – your notifications, news, reminders and events are laid out chronologically instead of being trapped inside separate apps.
  • £199 TBC

And the best bit? Timeline will work on Pebble and Pebble Steel (exact date TBD) so my watch gets an awesome update in the near future!

Andy

 

The TechLec Podcast #001 – Introduction

Room lybsyn 2

  http://techlec.libsyn.com/podcast

 

The first podcast episode has now gone live, I always thought it funny when you hear actors who never watch themselves on TV or in their own films, I so get it now!

I debated on making show-notes but I think I am going to go against that, as most of my content will be about this blog anyway, maybe I will do an overview of any guests that are on the podcast. The show notes from this podcast are effectively in “About…. the Blogger” at the top of this blog.

Each episode to be released by the end of the first full week of each month.

Andy

iTunes Submittal & Acceptance

Once you have set up your podcasts and they sit online (my previous post outlines LybSyn) you will need to submit to iTunes. Well that’s if you want to be found on iTunes!

View your RSS feed by selecting VIEW FEED button to the right of  “LybSyn Classic Feed” (rss) under DESTINATIONS > EDIT OR VIEW EXISTING. Copy the URL (web address) then open up iTunes. in iTunes select Podcasts and then iTunes Store (top of podcasts page). You will find “submit a podcast” on the far right. Once clicked on this all you will need to do is past in your copies RSS feed address.

Do not expect your podcasts to show up on iTunes right away, as an idea my timeline was as follows:

  • Tuesday evening – submission
  • Thursday evening- approval
  • Friday morning – Searchable on iTunes (within two days of approval)

So my podcasts are fully green-lit, with the intention of releasing in the first full week of each month from now on.

Andy

 

LybSyn & RSS Feeds

I have looked into numerous ways of how to syndicate my podcast (effectively a way of advertising your new podcast to other systems such as iTunes) :

  • Webpage: you have to manually edit an XML form to create your RSS feed, and its likely your web space provider will not like the high bandwidth that podcasts demand
  • WordPress: it’s going to cost you £70 per month and then its needs you to set up a category for your posts then set up an RSS feed through a third party service such as feedburner
  • LibSyn: an all in one solution that takes care of all the woes, and the one I have gone for in the end

 

Create an account, a variety of plans exist (See Here), I choose the entry plan, 50mb a month, as I am currently only looking to podcast once a month for twenty minutes (this works out to about 30mb for a 20 minute MP3 File).

Upload your first podcast (CONTENT>ADD NEW EPISODE). Include a title, subtitle and description (it’s worth noting that tags/keywords are no longer used by iTunes so try and include these in your subtitle and description where possible). Review the rest of the fields – they may not all apply to your podcast.

Edit the “Lybsyn Classic Feed” (rss) under DESTINATIONS > EDIT OR VIEW EXISTING, this includes iTunes store basic information such as catagories (x3), subtitle and summary, content rating, author, contact email  and finally “use show image for episodes”- otherwise it will may be rejected by iTunes.

next post – iTunes Submission!

Andy

Podcast Go!

I have finally recorded the first podcast, it’s a huge learning curve. The first advice I would give is make sure you have a brief script to run with, otherwise you add more “Um’s” and “Er’s” than you might be able to cope with. Write down your running order and your opening and closing lines as well a segment links, this will lend some consistency to future podcasts and help keep familiarity with your future audience. Then fill in with content.

Although I had a piece of audio I had created awhile back I revisited it to make intro, outro and bumper audio clips that felt more in tune with what I had recorded, as well as a looping “bed” piece just-in-case.

I have hit about 22 minutes worth of recording, but with edits and addition of music clips, I have come out at about 21 minutes. Not bad considering I was only going to produce an introductory podcast!

Next step syndication and iTunes….

Andy

 

Make Your Own Pop Filter

Untitled

Last week was one of those of coincidence. I came across the following instructional video on YouTube http://youtu.be/WcB3s8KOk4w last Wednesday and the use of a embroidery/punch needle/cross-stitch hoop – I have never seen one of this these anywhere. On Thursday I found myself travelling from Essex to Barnsley for an elearning meeting and lo-and-behold next to me was a young lady with one of the same hoops. Mind Blown!

Andy

Asus Transformer T100TA Tablet

I hate to say it that this tablet has killed the Surface RT for me. The full Windows 8.1 (no RT!) tablet with a seriously docked keyboard is a fun and great locking bit of kit, whilst not as high spec and definitely plasticky (is that a word?) it still looks and feels good. At 32gb internal memory it does most things that I disliked about the Surface RT:

  • You can install stuff, woop woop! so hello iPlayer, VLC player, Zip 7
  • You can prop it up on your lap, no flappy keyboard
  • The keyboard feels like a keyboard
  • It’s one hell of a serious dock mechanism
  • Serious 11 hour battery life
  • Micro USB charge port
  • A full USB port and a usable Micro USB port – usefule with an adapter to full size
  • I don’t use a mouse with this device, unlike the Surface RT, as the keypad has a good feel to it

OK, so as ever onto the hates:

  • It is stroppy in regards to  charging – it likes good quality cable and occasional hates high powered chargers – liking the odd slow charge
  • It’s screen size is smaller than the Surface RT and not as good quality, the Surface RT has a certain clarity about it
  • No rear camera
  • It does come with Office 2013 – Word, Excel, PowerPoint but this does not include Outlook
  • This one is the killer… you cannot back up and delete the restore image to USB like you can on the Surface RT. Effectively giving you only 10gb of workable storage so although I can install I am loath to!

I have favoured this over the Surface RT though (as much as it pains me to admit, I just wish it was the 64gb version!

Andy

Liebster Award

 

Liebster Award Graphic

I have been nominated/awarded the Liebster Award – which is for bloggers by bloggers. It is in part recognition, part marketing and a sprinkle of chain mail (in essence) whereby you:

1. Thank and link to those that nominated you.
2. Answer the questions given by your nominator.
3. Nominate 5-10 other bloggers, who have less than 200 followers and link them.
4. Create 10 new questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Notify all nominees via social media/blogs. (well otherwise it would be a bit pointless if they never knew!)

Now I am not a lover of chain letters, they are nasty little things that normally prey on fears, but this is in the spirit of sharing (and I dare say potential collaborations!) with no threat to “pay-it-forward”. So I am convinced, and a tiny bit humbled to be picked (hopefully I am chosen out of respect for my blog and not to fill a mandate – only as this occurred to me that I think I would struggle to now five blogs that I would nominate, but it will encourage me to explore which surely is a big part of the awards purpose!)

So now all is complete: What I found from this was… Tag your posts, it’s the best way I searched for good blogs on topics I was interested in. There are a lot of abandoned, lack-of-focus, you-need-a-pic-for-that-post and generally poor blogs out there. So I say to my nominations below “well done, well deserved!”

 

1. So onto my nominator – girlheartsbooks&tech – other than being glad at the nomination I love the duality of their blog, and they certainly do give credible app reviews with multiple screenshots. Definitely worthy of their own award! Thanks 🙂

2. My answers:

  1. What is your favourite colour, and why? Blue, it suits me
  2. What was the last book you read? Kenneth Williams Diaries – way too long. Currently reading Happiness by Design: Finding Pleasure and Purpose in Everyday Life
  3. How long could you live without your phone for? I couldn’t. Period.
  4. What food do you love? gosh, far too many, but if I had to pick to would be Japanese (closely followed by Italian)
  5. What are your favourite five films?
    1. Alien
    2. Bourne Identity
    3. Hellraiser
    4. Lord of the Rings
    5. Star Wars
  6. What is your favourite phone app/s?  Why? soooo many, and I wonder if my Nominator will look into any of them? 🙂
    1. My Measures: take a photo and add dimensions, great DIY tool
    2. VLC Player: plays every video format and allows variable playback speed
    3. iPlayer Radio: Great for an insomniac to listen to
    4. Capti: Play those text docs as audio, great for on the go
    5. National Rail: Plan your trip end to end with updates on delays!
    6. Waze: Sat Nav with crowd sourced traffic updates
    7. Opinion: Simple audio record and edit (10 minuted free)
    8. RingR Mobile: high quality phone-call capture, great for use in podcasts or evidence based assessment
  7. What bad habit do you have? too many sweets – no will power to stop!
  8. Do you have an animal? A cat, Tinks, who is evil
  9. What was your last dream, that you can remember, about? I was a Jedi! I’m a sci-fi nut!
  10. Do you have a phobia? not that I can think of, although I don’t like extreme height – funny when its not the height but the floor that does you in, but it would sound daft to say you have a fear of floors!

3. My nominations: (and I have no worries if you decide not to pay-it-forward, this is not a chain letter/post. No bloggers have or will be harmed, or any of their affiliates!)

  1. Friendly Fire Games http://www.ryanlaley.com/ great insight into independent game development
  2. 101 Speaking Nuggets http://101speakingnuggets.wordpress.com/  A great blog that gives insight and thought provoking “nuggets”, so much more than the “how to”
  3. Rex’s Multimedia Blog https://rexbarbermultimedia.wordpress.com/ Early days but some great quality posts already
  4. Digital Nomnom’s https://digitalnomnoms.wordpress.com/  bitesize digital titbits!
  5. Omakase Dining https://omakasedining.wordpress.com/ Japanese cuisine, what’s not to like, this site is going to keep me busy and the wife happy!
  6. Year of the Homemade Bread https://yearofthehomemadebread.wordpress.com/ Wow I love the intentions of this blog (good or mad?), I love my breadmaker too much! well written posts!

4. My questions are:

  1. Why the blog subject?
  2. Your favourite post from your own blog?
  3. When / Where do you write your blog?
  4. Your favourite blog to follow?
  5. Have you ever considered Podcasting your blog?
  6. Have/would you ever collaborate on a post?
  7. What does your family/friends think of your blogging activities?
  8. What other topics do you or could you blog about?
  9. Have you ever won any other awards?
  10. Gender and age (approx.)?

5. Consider it done once this post has gone live!

 

Andy