Pocket App (& Capti Update)

Pocket Logo

 

https://getpocket.com/

Although I am the world worst for looking into new things there are those occasions when bookmarking is a pain (particularly between devices) when I am on the go and the worst aspect is that I simply do not have the time! Enter ‘Pocket’, a simple browser plugin and associated app that I am using with Chrome and my iOS devices that allows me to bookmark and recall wherever I am. The real sweet spot for me when using Pocket is the ability in most cases to Listen (TTS) Text-To-Speech  to the majority of pages I bookmark, meaning that I can listen to those relvant items on the go from my iPhone or iPad.

It doesn’t like PDF’s, but you can always pass them to Capti! [See previous blog post http://wp.me/pspi8-k9 ]

Capti Logo

Capti has seen a recent number of overhauls, not limited to the expansion of other systems it can interact with, originally…

  1. a browser
  2. clipboard
  3. GoogleDrive
  4. Dropbox.
  5. Instapaper
  6. Pocket
  7. Bookshare
  8. A existing document that is sent within your device

it can now interact as well with Gutenberg & OneDrive. More importantly Capti now has a system for bookmarking within a browser( not as nice as a Pocket icon it is a bookmark itself that you drag to your favourites, clikcin on the link will add the current page to your reading list. You can also elect or install Capti’s own software on your desktop or utilise the online system. See https://www.captivoice.com/capti-site/public/entry/download#

Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter (for podcasting)

Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter

Although Apple have had a Camera Connection Kit in the past they have not had one included pass-though power that allows for more power hungry devices to work. In the past devices have either not worked or have required all equipment to be all but plugged together with the final connection being the lightning connector to the iPad, often still displaying a warning message.

The USB speed is only supported on the bigger brother iPad Pro and the adapter does not allow pass-through syncing but not only can you use connected cameras to import photos and videos but you can use it with the iPhone 6 as well, allowing you to plug in…

  • USB microphones, such as the Blue Yeti and the Samson Go Mic
  • Midi Interface
  • USB Ethernet adapter
  • Memory Sticks

For me this adapter is great, I can now throw my Samson Go Mic, stand and pop filter in a bag along with a powerpack (Anker are my choice) and I can pretty much record anywhere with my iPhone 6 Plus!

 

Mini Pop Filter

mini pop filter

 

However good the Samson Go Mic is it still picks up ‘aspirated plosives’ such as the ‘P’ when you say ‘pop’. However due to the microphones size it does not need a large pop filter, such as a standard 13.5cm internal diameter pop filter, instead a smaller 8.cm internal diameter pop filter can be used. I elected to purchase a fixed stem rather than a flexible goose neck which again minimises the overall size of the filter. My only frustration is that the first silver piece connected to the black clamp is via a countersunk threaded bolt that has a cross-head rather than a knurled or wing nut, this reduced the flexibility of adjusting the filter on-the-go but is fine if you are only ever clamping it to the same base or point.

Note: Pop filters are not to be confused with windshields that reduce hiss from being captured and that are mainly for when you are outdoors.

 

Andoer MS-12 Mini Foldable Mic Desk Stand

Andoer MS-12 Mini Foldable Mic Desk Stand

Having bought the Samson Go Mic I realised that I had nowhere to position in on my desk, especially with the monitors being wider than the in-built clamp, soolution found was rthe Andoer MS-12 Mini Foldable Mic Desk Stand. There is not a lot to say about it other than it does what it is supposed to do, comes in at under £6 with Amazon ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B013U48ZZ4 ) although you can find it a little cheaper elsewhere (and I got mine with a Mic Clip as well still for less) and if nothing else makes a great fixing for a pop filter!

  • Foldable design for ease of carrying and storing.
  • Tripod design to give it exceptional strength.
  • Non-slip rubber feet to protect your desk from scratches.
  • Equipped with a 5/8″ male to 3/8″ female metal threaded screw, fits for most standard mic clip.(Mic clip is not included.)
  • With a clutch to help you lock the stand, more stable.
  • Made of high quality iron, durable and sturdy. Suitable for meetings, lectures, speaking and ect.

 

OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) Studio

OBS Logo

Recommended to me by Students OBS Studio is a free program that allows primarily for streaming of gaming content. However it much more powerful due to the ability to overlay images (such as logos), text (such as web addresses or twitter ID’s ) and your webcam(s). However where the software really comes into its own is as desktop capture, even allowing you to move elements such as the webcam whilst you are recording but “transitioning” your layout update when you are happy so that your viewer does not need to see you visually tinkering with your setup. No cost, no time limit, no watermark!

The software is not the easiest to initally use, but YouTube comes in handy as the software is extrememly popular (I would stick to video that are recent due to large changes with the software and confusions with OBS Classic). Admittedly this does not work too well on a single monitor as you would have to restrict the capture area to at least half your screen so that you can use the other half of your monitor for the actual OBS software to manipulate your elements, but I cannot see any reasons why you cannot create reasonably short captures without being overwhelmed.

Find it at https://obsproject.com/

Samson Go Mic

The Samson Go Mic is an amazing bit of kit, you would be forgiven for thinking that its cost (you can find it sub £40) would indicate that it would be a low end bit of kit, not the case, and whilst I would still favour the quality of the Blue Yeti Microphone (see earlier posts) this tiny microphone has a lot going for it and especially for its price and feature set.

  • Portable USB condenser microphone
  • Mac and PC compatible, no drivers required
  • Custom, compact design that clips to a laptop or sits on a desk
  • Perfect for recording music, podcasting and field recording, voice recognition software, iChat, VoIP and web casting
  • Switchable cardiod or omnidirectional pickup patterns
  • 16-bit, 44.1kHz resolution
  • Smooth, flat frequency response of 20Hz–18kHz
  • Stereo 1/8″ headphone output for no latency monitoring
  • Includes USB cable, cable clip and carry case
  • Samson Sound Deck Noise Cancellation Software (Mac OS X/Windows) available for purchase
  •  Mic Stand Mount – A standard Euro-mount mic stand mounting hole and included adapters allow you to attach the Go Mic to a standard microphone stand
  • Weight 0.23 lbs. (.105 kg)
  • Dimensions 70.5 mm x 43.5mm x 23mm

What I particularly love about this mic beyond it’s obvious portability (and coping equally well on a stand with a pop filter) is the quality of not only build but the richness, I would even go as far to say that if portability is a key factor this mic is the all-round choice. The inclusion of a greed ‘powered up’ LED that turns red when the audio is going to be clipped by the mic is a great touch (and independent of any hardware it is connected to). It definitely puts high quality audio in the affordable bracket and other than trying to cram in a gain and volume control into an already small form factor its a firm favourite on my travels.

Note: Incidentally Blue have released a new updated ‘Radius II’ shock mount for the Yeti that has firmer fixing.

Return of the Blog

Gravatar

Things have been hectic over the last few months, and unfortunately the blogging has took a back seat. But as things calm down for the summer the posts will increase, in part because I have been itching to start blogging again and in part as I have a whole bundle of things worth blogging about.

New tablets, audio equipment and apps. As well as updates to old posts. So expect regular weekly posts to resume. 

 

Childhood in the Digital Age – Week 4

10903854_10152980488766064_3186461008076560286_o

 

This week I completed the fourth and final week of the the Childhood in the Digital Age FutureLearn online course. This weeks focus was upon technology in the future classroom.

This week, although pitched as future classrooms, outlined what is going on in the classrooms of today. Namely flipped, teachers as mentors, the ability to utilise metrics and enabling individualised support (always a target and a challenge for any educator) and how technology is supporting these endeavours. Going on to enabling self progression coupled with the ability to receive immediate feedback can accelerate learning in comparison with established forms of learning. Two apps that were highlighted was the Open Universities and ‘Our Story’ (for iOS or Android) and the maths apps developed (and later modified for the UK) by One Billion (for iOS) for 3-6 year olds.

This week took about 60 minutes.

Andy

Childhood in the Digital Age – Week 3

10903854_10152980488766064_3186461008076560286_o

 

This week I completed the third week of the the Childhood in the Digital Age FutureLearn online course. This weeks focus is upon thinking and learning behaviours that are emerging from digital learning.

This weeks, the best so far, highlight for me was in regards to “text speak” and a linked to an excellent video resource outlining the ‘problem’ with text speak, not that it has issues in itself but that it is perceived incorrectly. It raises the view that if we look at text speak from a fingered speech perspective then it makes sense, we don’t verbalise with long passages of prefect pronunciation, it utilises conventions that suit its own medium that we have not had the opportunity to develop until the age of the instant mobile communication.

And far from a language decline, written communication is relatively new in our own evolution, text speak should be seen for its creativity, a more natural form of communication and one that is actually evolving. The example is given of the term ‘LOL’ which has evolved from a ‘Laugh Out Loud’ Acronym to one that indicates empathy/agreement or the use of ‘slash’ as a way to move topic which would otherwise be indicated through mannerisms or pauses in face to face communication.

I remember using emoticons and acronyms when using Internet Relay Chat (IRC), emoticons evolving into emojis that has recently had skin tone modifiers,  maybe we should see text speak as more a strengthening of linguistic repertoire than a decline. Surely other systems have evolved? After all we don’t write or speak like Shakespeare and Latin is certainly not mainstream.

Part of this week was also multitasking, when is too much and when is it appropriate, with a fascinating look on the beneficial impact of gaming such as in improved eyesight, attention and tracking and positive effects on those with ADHD such a being less impulsive.

 

This week took about 75 minutes.

Andy