Category Archives: ipod

Podcast From an iPad

Podcasting has long been a multistep process for the majority of podcasters. There have been a few pieces of software written over the years that attempt to bring all of the podcasting tasks into single pieces of software, with varying results.

Most podcasters have a physical mixer to plug their mic(s) into, an application that records audio and can spit out an MP3 file, some way of editing the ID3 tags, an FTP program to upload the file to their server, and then post it to the back end web interface of a blog such as WordPress to generate their podcast RSS feed. None of these steps are really that hard, but because they are broken up they can be quite time-consuming. It reminds me of people who write paper checks to pay their bills each month and then send them off in the snail mail. The excuse is that it doesn’t take much time. The reality is that writing out checks to pay bills, putting them into the envelopes, making sure the envelopes are properly stamped and finally mailing them at the Post Office is quite time-consuming.

On the Mac I use a now-defunct podcasting application called “Ubercaster” that stopped being developed shortly after OS/X Lion came out. Ubercaster, which runs really well on non-updated Snow Leopard, can record audio with real-time audio effects, play interactive audio, record from Skype or other audio chat applications, edit and even upload via FTP. There is no other OS/X application I have found that can do all of these things the way Ubercaster can. Therefore my Macs will remain forever on Snow Leopard since Ubercaster will not run on newer versions of OS/X.

For some time now I’ve been periodically attempting to podcast from mobile devices, such as an iPad, a Nexus 7, and my Galaxy S3. While it is possible to record, edit and post from these devices, the process has been convoluted and more difficult than it needs to be. Also, the audio quality has been compromised.

I recently came up with a hardware and software combination that enables extremly high quality, no-compromise recordings on an iPad using a high-quality microphone like my Heil PR-40 that has an XLR connector. The piece of hardware is an iRig Pre and sells on Amazon for around $40 dollars. The iRig Pre (not to be confused with numerous other iRig models that offer other functions) runs on a 9-volt battery and can work with either dynamic microphones or microphones that require phantom power. The iRig Pre has a variable input gain that allows you to amplify its output signal so you can have more than adequate output volume. The iRig pre output plugs into a standard headset/microphone input jack on the iPad or even a smartphone such as the Samsung Galaxy S3. The audio quality coming out of the iRig Pre that records onto my iPad is excellent.

The iPad software app that I came up with to record podcasts with is called Bossjock Studio, a universal app for sale in the iOS App Store. It has the ability to load multiple carts, enabling interactive audio. It can render MP3 files. It works with many other apps including Dropbox. Bossjock even has built-in FTP functionality.

Bossjock’s audio quality is absolutely top-notch.

There is only one downside to Bossjock Studio — the MP3 file rendering process is slow. I contacted the developer about this and they say it renders slowly on the iPad because the MP3 rendering process cannot use the GPU and must use the regular processor. On an iPad 2 exporting to an MP3 file is pretty much real time. An hour long file will take about an hour to export to MP3.

However, the good news is on a new iPad Air the MP3 rendering time seems to be greatly sped up, likely due to the processing speed of the new A7 chip versus the A5 chip in the iPad 2. An hour long recording will render to an MP3 file on an iPad Air in about 15 minutes or so. That’s still slow compared to a tradtional computer, but easier to live with than real-time rendering on the slower A5 processor.

Getting a complex interactive MP3 file recorded and uploaded to the server is most of the battle. This leaves only the step of posting the file to a blog such as WordPress. If one is making the blog post via logging in to the backend of WordPress through a browser, posts can be made, but the process is way more clunky than it needs to be. Posting to WordPress through a touchscreen via a broswer is a rather torturous process. If only I could attach a mouse to my iPad… Sorry, not allowed by Apple.

So on the rare occasions I find myself going to a motel room, I leave the laptop behind in favor of increasingly-capable mobile devices that require only a fraction of the space. The process is much easier and more steamlined than it was, but still has some needlessly clunky aspects to it.


Finally Mobile Streaming Becomes Truly Practical

I remember driving around back in the early 1980’s dreaming of what it might be like if I could listen to what I wanted when I wanted to. Back in those days, in many areas of the country, there was nothing to listen to but farm reports and hog prices. AM and FM stations would quickly fade in and out. Driving cross-country it was necessary to constantly change stations as they faded in and out, often vainly searching for something worthwhile to listen to.

When podcasting came along in 2004, in many ways it was the answer to that dream. Suddenly there was new content to listen to, on demand, on a wide variety of topics. It had to be downloaded and put onto a player in advance.

The past few years I’ve been experimenting with mobile streaming. For a long time, it just wasn’t practical in rural areas. Pandora would generally work better than all the other streaming services, but attempting to stream regular radio stations or even podcasts was generally not going to work.

However, now things have changed once again. With the widespread deployment of LTE mobile networks, successful casual streaming all kinds of different audio is not only possible, but practical in most of the areas I’m driving in. This opens up yet another new world of possibility.

Podcasting itself is a good case in point for something that came together because enough bandwidth was available. MP3 files had been around for a long time. Computers had already had the capability of recording digital audio for quite a number of years. RSS had been around for a while. All of these things converged and became something new.

Today I’m spending a lot of time with the Stitcher app on my Google Nexus 7 here in my truck, suction-cupped to the truck’s windshield and connected to stereo speakers via Bluetooth. Stitcher makes a great streaming mobile radio service. Now that the mobile data network is good enough in most areas to make streaming practical in the real world, new possibilities have opened up.

All of these things have been around a while. Stitcher is not new. The streaming concept has been around for quite a number of years. Podcasting as well has been around for probably at least nine years. What is different is now I don’t have to fuss with downloading them ahead of time. I really like the way stitcher lets you search for a keyword or two and then sequentially plays the different podcasts that showed up in the search. I find myself on a voyage of discovery, bumping in to podcasts I’ve never heard of. Because everything is on demand, like watching Netflix or Amazon streaming video, if I find an audio podcast I don’t like I simply skip ahead to the next one.

I can’t predict exactly how this will eventually develop. However, I can say, now that the mobile data bandwidth is a reality, there’s something here, and it’s pretty interesting. It beats the heck out of listening to farm reports or hog prices. It also beats having to fumble around with an iPod and auxiliary audio cables.

LifeProof Cases and Accessories

LifeProof LifeProof showed off its cases at CES 2013. Life Proof makes cases for iOs devices including iPhone 4, 4s and iPhone 5, the iPod Touch (4th generation) and the iPad (2nd, 3rd and 4th generation). What makes the LifeProof cases special is although they are thin they are also extremely durable. They have been tested to meet military specs. LifeProof cases are shock proof, dirt proof and water proof. They are certified to be water proof up to 6.6 feet and has been tested up to ten feet. With these cases you can bring your iPhone or iPod into the shower, while swimming and boating without having to worry about it getting wet. The cases are intelligently designed so there is material only where it is need. Bumpers are placed only where they make sense and the rest of the case is sculptured, to make it thin and light as possible. The case has real glass over the location where the camera lens is so there is no distortion when taking a picture. There are removable covers for the speakers, and headphone jack so they are protected when not in use, but easily available when needed. The iPad cover offer similar protection, however because to use the iPad properly requires touch there is no coating or screen over the front as there is with the iPhone or iPod Touch.

To complement their cases, Lifeproof also offers many ways to easily carry and secure your devices. There is the arm band so you can secure your iPhone or iPod to your arm while walking or running. They have the LifeProof bike and bar mount. There is a clip for your belt. For the photographer or podcaster LifeProof offer the iStabilizer line of accessories including the iStabilizer Flex, the iStabilizer Dolly and the iStabilizer monopod. There is even an accessory called the Lifejacket which the iPhone or iPod Touch with the LifeProof case on it fits inside and it floats.

More information about the LifeProof case and accessories is available at the LifeProof website. You can buy LifeProof products on the website, through Amazon and various retail locations

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net, and Daniel J Lewis of the The Network and the Audacity to Podcast

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Sennheiser Momentum Headphones


Sennheiser has been producing headphones for over 50 years and has created some classics along the way (HD414s anyone?). Each year, Sennheiser brings something new to the table and this year was no different. Todd chats to Ivan, Sennheiser’s Head of Product Development to find out what’s hot.

On show is a new addition to the Momentum range: the Momentum Black open headphones in a stylish black leather, accented in red with a red cord. Cleverly, the headphone jack converts between both straight and 90 degree configuration to suit the owner’s preferences, and there is a interchangeable remote for use with digital music players and smartphones.

Undoubtedly high-end phones with a price of $349, but if you are interested, they’ll be in the stores real soon.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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HeartMath Inner Balance for iOS

HeartMath LogoIt’s a brave man who attempts to find inner balance at CES, but Jamie gives it a go with HeartMath‘s forthcoming Inner Balance.

HeartMath’s Inner Balance combines an iPhone app with a heart rate sensor, providing a feedback loop that helps people control their heart rate, relax and relieve stress. The sensor gently attaches to the earlobe and measures heart rate variability. The app uses a breath pacer and graphical display of the heart rate to help the person concentrate and control their breathing and pulse rate.

The Inner Balance sensor will be available in February for $99 and the free app can be downloaded from the Apple AppStore for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Interview by Jamie Davis of Health Tech Weekly.

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Griffin MicConnect for iOS at CES 2013

Griffin MicConnectJeffrey Powers goes all Pop Idol when he chats to Jackie from Griffin Technology about the newly announced MicConnect, which connects iOS devices to XLR mics with phantom power.

The Griffin MicConnect is a small brick adaptor with an XLR socket (input) on one side for the microphone and a 3.5 mm jack on the other to connect into an iPhone, iPod or iPad. A 3.5 mm socket provides for headphone monitoring of the sound source and for condenser mics, the unit takes two AA batteries to provide phantom power (48V).

(As an aside, I’m not 100% clear if this is iOS only – the 3.5 mm jack looks pretty standard and there’s no reference to special apps being required so if Android is your OS of choice, it might be worth contacting Griffin directly.)

Included in the interview is Griffin’s updated Mic Stand Mount, which is now compatible with all iPad models (not Mini), and unsurprisingly holds an iPad on a mic stand. Jeffrey reckons the MicConnect and the Mount are a great combo for the mobile podcaster. Pricing-wise, both the MicConnect and the Mount are $39.99 but the MicConnect won’t be available until June.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine for the TechPodcast Network.

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Amazon Introduces AutoRip

AudioRip logo Amazon has introduced a brand new service called AutoRip. This is a very different way of looking at music storage. In short, it takes the CD that you purchased from Amazon and puts it into your Amazon Cloud Player. It also will make that album available on your PC or Mac, Kindle Fire, Android phone, iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Right now, this service is only available to customers in the United States.

This is a rather unexpected move in a time when record companies are screaming about pirating and copyright. Perhaps they aren’t complaining about AutoRip because it only allows users to put CDs that they really have purchased into the Amazon Cloud Player? I’m not sure.

It is clear that gifts of CDs that your friends or family purchased for you from Amazon are not eligible for AutoRip. There is also this interesting piece of “fine print”:

Some record companies require us (Amazon) to insert identifiers in the metadata that accompanies music when you download it from the Amazon MP3 Store or Cloud Player. This includes the music you have purchased from and matched music imported to Cloud Player from your device.

These identifies may include a random number Amazon assigns to your order or copy, purchase date and time, an indicator that the music was downloaded from Amazon, codes that identify the album or song (the UPC and ISRC), Amazon’s digital signature, an identifier that can be used to determine whether the audio has been modified, and an indicator whether the music was purchased from the MP3 store or imported to the Cloud Player.

Look for the AutoRip icon in search results and CD detail pages to find out if it is one you can use with this new service. The MP3 versions of your past AutoRip eligible CD purchases are already available in the Cloud Player, where they are being stored for free. CDs that you purchased through Amazon, from as far back as 1998, are eligible for AutoRip.

4iiii Innovations Announces Viiiiva at CES 2013

Viiiiva4iiii Innovations has created the first heart rate monitor to enable an athlete’s ANT+ devices to “talk” to their iOS devices without the need for awkward adapters. This incredibly handy device is called Viiiiva. It can easily communicate with your iPhone or iPod touch in real time.

Viiiiva is a lightweight, comfortable chest strap heart rate monitor. The Liiiink Connectivity Module inside it is what turns your iPhone into a cycling computer or running monitor. Go get some exercise while wearing Viiiiva, and it will seamlessly deliver all the data about it to the free 4iiii app or any of the popular fitness apps. It uses an ANT+ to Bluetooth Smart bridge to do it.

This allows athletes to monitor their heart rate activity on an iPhone as well as a sport watch. You can adjust settings, review activity summaries, and receive performance feedback from your iPhone or iPod at anytime, anywhere.

Here are some quick features of Viiiiva HRM:

* Works with Garmin, TIMEX, adidas, and other popular displays
* Accurate heart rate measurement on your Bluetooth Smart iPhone without awkward adapters
* Liiiink can send heart rate, cadence, power, and speed, data to most popular iOS fitness apps, including Endomondo, MapMyFitness, Runtastic, Runmeter, Strava, Training Peaks, and Runkeeper. (when applicable ANT+ compatible sensors are connected)
* Viiiiva stores your data in .FIT files
* No need to recharge – Viiiiva runs on a coin-cell battery for over a year.

4iiii Innovations is at CES 2013, where they will be displaying Viiiiva HRM. Find them in the Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall, at the ANT+ booth #26700.

Image by 4iiii Innovations

Griffin Expands Kid Friendly KaZoo Line at CES 2013

KaZoo Line GriffinGriffin Technology has expanded their line of animal inspired headphones, cases and accessories for kids. The line is called KaZoo, and it is easy to see how the “Zoo” part got into the name. It features adorable monkeys, frogs, penguins, lions, zebras, elephants, and pandas. Super cute!

KaZoo MyPhones come in two varieties and feature either a bright green frog or a black and white penguin with a yellow beak. They are over the ear headphones designed for children. The headphones have built-in volume-limiting circuitry that keeps the sound pressure down to levels recommended as safe for young ears. It caps at 85 decibels. KaZoo MyPhones sell for $19.99 from the Griffin website.

KaZoo for iPod Touch are cases made from durable, yet soft, silicone. It gives you easy access to the multi-touch display and headphone jack while protecting your iPod touch. Choose from a zebra, penguin, lion, elephant, or monkey. Each is priced at $24.99 on the Griffin website.

The KaZoo Aux Cable line are AUX cables that are designed to be used with an iPod. Each heavy-duty cable has a colorful animal on it and has strain relief built into each plug. These are priced at $9.99 on the Griffin website, and will become available in February of 2013.

The Capper Stylus is awesome! You can see it in the photo above. It is a colorful, removable, stylus that slides onto a regular pencil just like a typical pencil topper would. Put it on the eraser end of a number 2 pencil, and you can use the Capper Stylus on all capacitive touchscreens. It has been designed in three styles: an orange pencil, a blue rocket, and a purple ice cream cone. These will sell for $9.99 and will become available in March of 2013.

You can find Griffin at CES 2013 where they will be displaying their full line of products. Find them in the LVCC North Hall at Booth 5212.

Image by Griffin Technology

Kid Friendly Accessories for iPhone, Android, and iPod Touch at CES 2013

Nickelodeon AccessoriesGriffin Technology has partnered with Nickelodeon to create fun accessories for children’s mobile devices. The inspiration came from several of the popular characters that your child watches in cartoons that appear on the Nickelodeon channel.

The first three lines of cartoon inspired mobile device accessories for kids feature SpongeBob Squarepants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Dora the Explorer. Each will be introduced at CES 2013. The products are slated to become available in Spring of 2013 at major retailers nationwide.

The SpongeBob Squarepants line includes a SpongeBob Folio iPad case with several characters from the show done in 8-bit style. (The nostalgic aspects of this one might appeal to adult fans of the cartoon as well as the kids!).

This line also has Faces for iPhone 5G. It is a case that looks like SpongeBob, and you can interchange six different eyepieces and three different mouthpieces to make customizable expressions. In the photo above, you can see the SpongeBob Woogie, a huggable, squeezable, five-legged plush SpongeBob doll that doubles as a protective case for iPhone, iPod touch, and Android devices.

The Ninja Turtle accessories include a Shell for iPhone 5 and iPod touch, which is made of a hard, durable, exterior that protects against impacts and scratches. The photo above shows the Folio for iPad that has Ninja Turtle artwork on the front, microsuede lining, and a loop to carry a stylus.

The Dora the Explorer line might appeal to preschoolers. This line includes a Dora the Explorer skin for iPod touch. It is made of a durable, yet soft, silicone that allows for easy access to the camera and all ports, controls, and connectors. As you can see in the photo above, it also features Dora herself on the back.

Griffin Technology is at CES 2013 where they are displaying their line up of products. You can find them in the LVCC North Hall at Booth 5212.

Image by Griffin Technology