NoStylus News – iPad and iPhone updates

Blogging from the iPad

My back had been making for a few hours and I really needed to go and lie in the bed, but I still wanted to do a couple of things. I often have my iPad with me when I go to bed to have a little bit of a checkup on Twitter or my email. Last night I decided to use the application Blogsy to post some blog posts I had already written using the application Drafts. The application Blogsy has a bit of a strange interface sometimes and I needed to remind myself about how things worked. I was able to get to the HTML part of the interface where I could paste in the HTML code I got from Drafts. I didn’t write it in HTML code, I wrote it in markdown and exported it out as HTML. If you haven’t used markdown yet, then I suggest you give it a try.

Using Blogsy
So I pasted in the text of the blog post and then I added a picture. I already had some pictures in my camera roll in Photos that I was able to grab and to put into the post. You do a double tap on the picture to bring up the dialogue box to adjust how you want the picture to display. I wanted to set it so that it centred upon the page and I also added some alt text and a title. I was very pleased with the way that it all worked and I was able to do what I wanted to do very quickly indeed. I am certainly looking forward to getting my hands on a new iPad in October to go with my new iPhone 6.

Adding more applications to my iPad and iPhone

I have added quite a few new applications to both my iPad and the iPhone lately. This is because there have been one or two offers that I have seen that have been too good to miss. I added Comic Life which is a handy little graphics application for making comic book images. So far I have had just a little bit of a chance to play with it and I am tempted to use it to make the front cover for my soon-to-be published book. I also added an application called MyFitnessPal. I have been losing weight since February and I have been using an application called Noom on Android. You record food input and also exercise you take. Noom is also available on iOS, but I had heard good reports of this other application, so I thought I would give it a try. I have also bought Tweetbot for the iPhone as it is the one that I have been using on my iPad. I bought the version for the Mac too and so I will have the same experience on all my devices.

Learning EstonianI have recently become a Grandad and my grandson is half Estonian. He will be speaking Estonian with his mother and so I have decided to learn some Estonian too. I found a dictionary application for translation from English to Estonian. I also found a couple of applications for learning the language. I think my daughter-in-law will be quite surprised when she hears me speak some of these words. I don’t plan to tell her beforehand and so it is going to be a little bit more of a shock.

Getting used to iOS 8

There are quite a few new things with the new operating system that I like. There are widgets that I can get in the notifications area. One such widget is the one from Yahoo Weather and it looks great in the Today area of notifications. There is also the Day One widget which gives me a graph showing the days that I have posted a journal post. It also shows a couple of random photos from the journal. The other widget that I have added so far is from the application Clear which I use as my fast to do tool. I do have OmniFocus on my iPad, but having a quick list making tool is very handy. There are plenty of other new things with iOS 8 that I’m still working out how to use. I will write about those as I find out about them.

Posted in iPad.

Getting impatient for new Apple gear

We are at this stage in the realm of stupid rumours and much talk of things that will never come to pass. It is a good time to stop listening to any of the Mac and Apple-based podcasts, at least until after the ninth of September. All of these supposedly news based Apple sites are trying to guess what Apple will come up with in the event. They are either saying over and over again things like, ‘there will be an iPhone 6′ which is a given and why bother saying it. Then there are many that are coming up with a repeat of rumours heard elsewhere such as the size of the new iPhone. There are comments about whether the two new sizes, which are only rumours anyway, will be made available at the same time. It could drive you nuts if you were to pay any attention to any of this rubbish. At the same time though, you can’t help but get a little bit caught up in it.

Swype Swype on iPhone and iPad

Going back to using just Apple

I have been using the Samsung Galaxy S3 for over a year now and I did love using the phone for the first five or six months. I loved the newness of it and the fact that it was different from the iPhone that I was using before. I find that the difficulties to upgrade the operating system is very annoying and at the moment the thing is running slow. Maybe I could sort it out with doing an update of the Cyanogenmod system. That would be a bit of a pain in the arse to do though. In particular I really liked the way that the keyboards could be swapped out and I have used SwiftKey and Swype. I liked both of these keyboards and have ended up using Swype the most. When iOS 8 comes out I will have the ability to use these third-party keyboards on my iPad and on an iPhone.There are other changes to the iOS operating system that are quite interesting. Overall, I’m getting drawn back into being an Apple user.

It is all about the applications

I have a number of applications that are only available on iOS. This is a huge reason for me to want to change to iOS and Apple and just use one mobile platform. On the other hand, I don’t really have any applications on Android that I can’t do without. I will miss using Noom as I have got quite used to using it every day as part of my weight reduction plan. It is very good for recording the food that I eat and also for keeping an eye on the amount of exercise I am taking. I am not too worried about whether I will be able to find something similar on iOS. I may get myself a Fitbit as I have tried one out for a week and found it to be a useful tool. There are apps that work with the Fitbit Over on iOS. I do have the option of using an application called Moves which is great for recording the number of steps I take per day. There will be other applications that I can use for keeping track of my weight and the food that I eat.

DayOne and other iOS apps calling me

I am a big user of Day One which is a journalling application that I really do use daily. I can also publish from Day One to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Tumblr, which is very useful indeed. Then there is the application Drafts which is a great way to capture text, notes and ideas. From drafts I am able to send those bits of text to various places from social networks to other applications such as OmniFocus. I have OmniFocus for the Mac and also for my iPad. By using the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Android it takes me away from getting the best use out of my iOS applications. I have to think about workarounds to get the flow of text from Android and into the place where I do most of my work which is on the Mac and to a growing extent, in iOS. Another application that I really like for taking to do notes is the application called Clear. It is very simple in its design, but if I want to make a quick note of something I need to remember to do it is just perfect. I think it is a much better design than the Reminders application.

Day One A simple and elegant journal for iPhone iPad and Mac

Good but not quite good enough

I have felt that to a certain extent I’m getting a second rate experience by using Android. There are some very good applications and the design of them can look pretty nice indeed. I do find though that generally the standard of applications is not quite as polished as you find on iOS. Now that IOS 8 is coming with the ability for me to use the keyboard that I like, there is not much need for me to stay with Android. It has been a good and worthwhile experiment and I still quite like using my Nexus 7. I’m not getting as much use of it as I was before an account of the fact that I have been picking up my iPad. It is good to have all of the things that I need to create my digital content or in one place.

What technology do I get next?

Initially I was thinking that I would just be getting the iPad with cellular connection, either the iPad air or the iPad mini. Now I am wondering about the iPhone 6 and I will be interested to see what price it will be to buy. Still want to have a new iPad though as I need something of that size. I might even sell the Nexus 7 I have.

Posted in iPad.

Living in Future Now – Improvements with Siri

Sci-Fi coming true

I was having a little lie down on the sofa this afternoon and checking a few emails on my iPad. One of the emails that came in had information and a link about how to get better use out of Siri. I already have some experience in using Siri to set an alarm or to tell me the time in Abu Dhabi or Dubai, but getting more help to use it is good. The information today gave me some more examples about how I could use this voice technology from Apple on my iOS devices. It is quite often the case that when you haven’t used some technology like this for a while and you go back to it, that you just can’t help but be really impressed. It really is like living in the future, but now! Changing from one application to another by telling your computer what you wanted to do is very much like what we have seen in science fiction television programmes. Sometimes what we do now reminds me very much of what I have seen in programs like Star Trek and Blakes Seven. The people of the future don’t need to have keyboards any more and are quite happy to talk to their computer almost like it was a long lost friend.

What can Siri do

Telling Siri how to properly pronounce things

I had already noticed that Siri made a bit of a botched job in pronouncing Wizardgold. It didn’t have any problems with David Allen but didn’t manage to get the last part of my Internet name correct. You only have to say “Learn how to pronounce my name.” Siri goes straight into your first name and asks you how to pronounce it. You say it, and you are then given three options as to which is the correct way for Siri to repeat back what it was that you said. If you play all three of them you will find that there are slight differences so you just need to choose the one that sounds the best. You just tap on select. If necessary you can also repeat the name and give Siri a second chance. After you have done your first name it moves on to your next name and Siri had no problems with that. Then we moved on to Wizardgold which I have added to the end of my name so that everywhere on the Internet I can be found as David Allen Wizardgold. Siri managed to get Wizard part okay, but it struggled with the word ‘gold’ in this context. When I had gone through the routine Siri told me “thanks for correcting me on that David I’ll pronounce it as ‘[David Allen Wizardgold‘ from now on.”

Letting Siri know who is who and what is what.

I said to Siri “Send message to my wife” and then I was asked to prompt Siri as to who might wife is. Siri won’t know unless you tell it specifically. I have also just set up Siri to know who my brother is – Siri asks me first who is my brother and I just had to say his name. Siri was able to get the name from my address book and asked me to confirm by wanted to have that name saved as my brother within this system. Following that, Siri said to me “okay, I will refer to (my brother’s name) as your brother from now on. Isn’t that just marvellous. So now I will be able to ask Siri to send messages or emails to my brother or my wife and it will know who I mean with out saying a name.

Get Siri to help you – All you have to do is ask!

Ask SiriHelp is available from Siri on your iPad mini just for the asking. After you have said the word ‘help’ to Siri you get a list of things that you can do. So it will tell you that you can start a FaceTime call, use Siri to launch applications, set up meetings using the calendar as well asking for directions to wherever you want to go to.

I asked Siri to tell me how long it would take me to get to work. Siri told me that she didn’t know where I worked and so I spent a couple of minutes using the maps application to add the address for my workplace into my contacts card. How long does it take to get to work is what I then said to Siri and she replied – “getting directions for David Allen Wizardgold to work. It worked perfectly and I was impressed. Just like I was saying, it is like living in the future, but right now.

Getting Siri to read things to you

‘Read my last email message’ is what I said to Siri and I had my latest email that I had received read out to me. This could be very useful when you are driving and you want to get the latest information without having to take your hands from the wheel.

You have to keep on using Siri and it learns from what you ask and it also learns from any corrections that you tell it. You, can also learn stuff from Siri by asking it for interesting information such as how high is Mount Everest. You could ask for the date of birth of somebody famous or you could just ask for the ingredients for a recipe. You can ask Siri to give you definitions of words such as “What does mitosis mean?” The definition then gets read back to you. Siri really is a mine of information! BTW I am an avid user of Dragon Dictate on the Mac too.

Siri definitions

Posted in iOS Audio.

Phraseology for iOS and Terminology for iOS

Finding out what I can do with the Phraseology application for iOS . It is not too difficult to get acquainted with what it does and how it does it. Early in the morning at the campsite job and I'm trying to get it to analyse the text for me.

Text analysys in phraseology

More text statistics

There is a button on the left side which gives you more info about the text. You get information like average word per sentence and number of sentences as well as what they call root word count. There is a Flesch Kincaid reading ease score, whatever that might be. Maybe a Gunning FOG index is what you need to be able to assess your writing or a SMOG index is what you want. Both of these are in the statistics page for you use.

This application works with the Drafts application and also with one called Terminology. I can get all of the words to be coloured by the type of word it is. If I want to see all of the nouns I have used, or how many are adjectives.

Using Markdown in Phraseology

It doesn't have the extra row of keys for writing easily in markdown, but it does have a Markdown preview mode. There really should be the basics of Markdown for creating headers and making text boldface. Maybe in a later version. There is space available for these, at least there is when you are working in landscape mode with your iPad. From the Markdown view you can send the text out by email and also get the HTML version of the text for pasting into a website somewhere.

Integration with other applications

I also bought a sister app to this Phraseology application called Terminology and it is a dictionary and thesaurus. You just have to select a word and you get options of what you can do with it. Aside from using Define word, you can jump right into Terminology from this iOS Phraseology application. When you have a word selected you can click on a small arrow to the right of the choices and get into Terminology to find a better word and replace the one selected. The integration is quite marvellous, you work out which word you want to use and have it sent right back to where you were working in Phraseology.

I tried out the integration with Drafts and it worked very well sending the text from Phraseology. It didn't work quite so well with the round trip back. I was able to use Drafts to send it back to Phraseology, but it came in as a new document. I can see this being addressed in a future version of the application Drafts.

If I want to swap around paragraphs or sentences I go to the othe view and move one paragraph around to where I want it. This could be a good application to use for outlining. This function actually works very well and I like it. In the extra row of keys you get there are buttons for moving around the text quickly which is quite handy and buttons which select text either one character or word at a time.

What a lovely view!

There are choices you can make about the text size and which font you want to use from a small selection of fonts. Sometimes it can be helpful to change the font when editing text as it makes it look like new text to the brain and helps an editor or writer find problems.

Going back in time

Each of your edits get saved as versions so that you can go back in time if you want to. You access this from a small icon that looks like a clock which is located in the top right hand corner. This is another one of those tools which is going to be very useful for an editor rather than for the writer.

Back to iOS after being an Android user.

Most of this article has been written in Phraseology, I did write one sentence in Drafts before I brought it back in. With being an Android user for some time now I did miss the keyboard facilities that I get with Android. Other than that, I did find it very nice to be working once again with iOS and my iPad.

 

Posted in iPad Apps.

One Year Later – Switch from iOS to Android

Starting on my second Android year

I got the Samsung Galaxy S3 last June and I have to say that I have on the whole been very pleased with the experience. Of course, for the first couple of months it was all new and exciting and there was work to be done to replace the Apple applications I had previously been using. There were one or two frustrations due to missing some of the functionality that I had got previously from my favourite iOS applications . Mostly it didn’t take me very long to find suitable replacements and I have to admit that now I rarely pick up the iPhone or iPad. Yes – I still have the iOS devices. There are some iOS drawing applications on my iPad that I still like to use. There is the DayOne application that I use for journalling and I am hoping that they will soon come out with a version of the application for Android.

It’s all about the text input

I do do quite a lot of writing and I have found that the methods for getting text into Android are much better than available on iOS. I started to use SwiftKey and I liked that application very much for the way that it was able to spookily guess my next word so easily . What it wasn’t so good at was, the British English dictation and so I changed to the application from Nuance call Swype . I try to dictate as much as possible because it is so much faster than typing. I find it very easy to speak in a way for the phone to understand what it is that I am saying and for it to end up being very readable on my pages. For example, yesterday I dictated 600 words using my Samsung Galaxy S3 and I was able to do that very quickly indeed. The text when it was finished only needed the usual amount of editing as I would have done if typing. This was because the application was able to get most of the words correctly and I only needed to do some slight word changes and a little bit more of grammar changes.

I bought Android applications

I had spent a fair amount of money on buying applications for iOS . This was for applications that I liked to use, some applications that I just wanted to try out and some applications that were for me to do reviews of. With Android I have bought some applications to get things done, but many of the applications that I use have been free ones. Most of the time the applications that I have bought have been the right ones to buy first off. I haven’t had to swap applications after finding that the first one I tried wasn’t the right one for me.

Android phone and tablet

Following with these successes that I had with the Samsung Galaxy S3 I decided to also get myself the Nexus 7 . It has been handy to have two Android devices to work with and I really like using the tablet the size of the Nexus 7. One of the main things that I use the Nexus 7 for is the reading of books on the Kindle application, so I am often carrying the device around the house with me to continue reading wherever. I can continue reading even when I am sitting down having my lunch. I don’t have to worry about the book closing by itself, As happens with paper books. Sometimes I will also use the Samsung Galaxy S3 for reading on the Kindle application.

Security on Android

One of the things that I am interested in is the Pretty Good Privacy cryptographic method of security. I am also interested in using encrypted e-mail by using certificates. It is very easy to get a certificate on the the email client client on iOS, but I haven’t found it so easy with the Android mail. I don’t really need to send unencrypted e-mail often, so I don’t worry about it too much.

For some time I didn’t have access to 1Password for creating, storing and managing passwords, but now there is a new version for Android which is working very well. I did try another application for managing passwords but I need something that will synchronise with the 1Password app that I have on my Mac and iOS.

Some people worry that Android is not as secure as iOS and users are likely to get hit by malware, personally I don’t have a problem. So long as you use software from reliable, trusted sources you will probably be OK.

What do I miss of iOS

Not a lot actually. As I mentioned I have the art apps such as Procreate and Art Studio that I will use on the iPad from time to time. Apps like Blogsy for the blogging, Byword and Editorial for writing and linking up with iCloud. Drafts on iOS is so much better than the Draft Android app, it does so much more and had changed the way I worked with text on iOS completely. At least we have Dropbox for the easy movement of text from one platform to another.

Android is completly rubbush for editing video, so I do miss iMovie for iPad and also Pinnacle Studio. Not yet found a video editing app for Android anywhere near as good. I will keep my eyes open for a vide app and it will perhaps happen one day.

My Twitter app on Android is not as good as Tweetbot. I have been using one called Carbon, which is OK but I would like be able to have a light background with dark text. My eyesight doesn’t work well with the text the viewed the other way around.

Having all my Apple stuff working together is nice but it is workable to be sliding between platforms. I would be using Omnifocus more if there was an Android version. So I do miss the iOS version of that get things done app. I don’t miss much and I find more that I get annoyed by iOS and the way it works and that is what keeps me on Android. The alternative keyboards on Android are amazing and I miss the soft back button on Android when I use iOS. If iOS had Swype or SwiftKey I could go back.

Mobile Audio Editing

iOS wins on this one. Android has the AGC Automatic Gain Control which messes with my audio recording. It is still usable but I have to work a bit harder to set up the mic right so I don’t record too hot and clip the audio. Audio Evolution Pro on Android is OK but I prefer to use Twisted Wave on iOS. I often carry the iPhone with me just so I can use it with my Giant Squid lavalier mic. I miss other audio app such as BossJock and the iOS version of AudioBoo. I have got a workflow to record audioboos on Android in Audio Evolution Pro, convert it in Media convertor to MP3 and send to Audioboo by email. I can do whatever audio editing I need to do and it works pretty well.

The fan boys are fighting it out!

Just lately I have noticed on one or two of the social websites that there is animosity between the Android fan boys and the Apple fan boys. Both sides of the fence have admirable qualities in terms of usage of their system and when it really comes down to experience, there is no huge amount of difference. The Android people complain about the closed system of the Apple experience and while there is some truth in this it is not absolutely set in stone true either. There are lots of different settings that you can work and play with in the Apple system that make it link up to hardware, software and systems outside of the Apple universe. The Apple people say that the Android operating system is not as secure to use and is not as well defined or as easy-to-use as is the Apple way of doing things. Once again there is some truth in it, but not the complete truth. As far as I know I haven’t had any problems with my Android security, but then I tend to get all of my Android software from reputable sources.

I did see recently that a one time fan of the Android devices defected back over to Apple and the iPhone and while doing so complained about the Android fan complaints. He cited this as being a reason why he was going to stick with Apple. This seemed to be a little bit silly as far as I was concerned because both sides are just as bad as the other. I think it is more important to see which side of the fence works better for you and run with it. If it is possible to do as I am doing where you are working with Android and Mac together with a little bit of iOS thrown into the mix also, then you can have the best of the all worlds.

Will I stay with Android

Right now that is yes for sure. I need the better keyboard of Swype or SwiftKey. I am also stuck with another year of paying for the Galaxy S3 to the phone company anyway. The Nexus 7 is working great and is a delight to use. It was a great price and for me better value for money than an iPad Mini would have been. A very good thing about having the Nexus 7 is the fact that I get the OTA updates to the operating system quickly and I don’t have to resort to using something like CyanogenMod as I did with my Samsung Galaxy S3. When you do something like that then you also have two go through the process of doing the rooting which can sometimes be a little bit technical and daunting.

I do still sometimes wish I hadn’t been tempted away and was still with both feet in the Apple and iOS camp, but it works for me the way I am doing it now and I am happy enough overall with sliding in between Android, iOS and Mac OSX. I get done what I have to get done with what I have.

Read a bit more about my change to Android

Posted in iPad.

Using technology to help with weight loss

Noom Weight loss

There is nothing like technology to get me into the swing of things. Whatever that might be! I have been using an application called Noom Coach which I found out about because I have been using the application called Noom which is a pedometer, step counter. This application Noom Coach/ Noom Weight Loss is basically a sort of weight loss program and it has you doing things like recording what you eat and the exercise that you take. It also gives you a number of articles with information designed to help you and encourage you to lose some weight. There Are Android and also iOS applications available. I certainly do need to lose a little bit of weight and I found this out by stepping on some weighing scale while visiting my son in Ireland. This is where the other bit of technology comes in, in the form of analysing weighing scales. These fancy, wonderful and weird weighing scales measure not only your weight, but also your body mass index BMI, your body water percentage and your body fat percentage. Fantastic or what?

Once a week on the scales

Without having any scales and not knowing how much I weigh, it was going to be difficult to get some control over my weight. Now the plan is to use the scales I have bought, once a week and to record the results. I have already set up a Google docs spreadsheet and hopefully after a month or two I will start seeing some evidence of results. As it stands at the moment I am overweight, although not by a huge amount and fortunately I don’t get anywhere near to the category of obese. It must be all of the dog walking that I do every day of the week.

Beating the steep hill

Not only do I expect to be taking more exercise with going out on my electric bike. The electric bike is there for encouragement so that I will use it on a daily basis. It is better than having a bike that sits in the garage not getting used at all, because I can’t face the very steep hill which is the last part of the journey to get back home. I have cycled up this steep hill with the electric bike a couple of times and even with the assistance of the electric bicycle it is still steep enough to require me pedalling a fair bit to get to the top.

Getting some exercise with an electric bike

The other thing about having electric bike is the fact that during the summertime I expect to use this bicycle on a daily basis to get to and from work. I have worked out that it takes me half an hour to use this bicycle to get to work instead of the 15/20 minutes that it takes by car. With the assistance of electric power I will be able to get there and not be all sweaty and still be there on time. After a day working at the campsite being on my feet for most of the time it is not going to be too bad cycling the 15 km back home again. In fact during the summertime when it is the busiest period in the holiday town where I work by the beach, it will be a definite advantage to be on a bicycle. I could even be able to get home quicker if I have to travel back home on a Sunday evening during the peak period.

Dealing with the intake of food

Noom Coach

I have already cut by half the number of biscuits that I eat. I could cut them out altogether but you do have to have some fun in your life. Wherever possible I try and cut down the amount I have on my plate with my other meals also. By using the application Noom Coach and recording what I eat, it also works out the calorie intake approximately; this is quite helpful. The application gives me a recommended intake of calories per day and it also gives me some indication of the qualities of the foods I am eatting. So fried foods would be on the calorie indicator in red, some foods will be showing up with an orange marker and the better foods show as green.

Going pro costs money

There is a pro version of this application Noom Coach, but I don’t expect I will be paying the $9.99 as a monthly fee to get it. The free part of the application is more than enough for me at the present time and I have to say that I quite like the application. I might have a look and see if there are other applications which do a similar thing to see if I can make a comparison with regards the features that they offer. Do you have a favourite application that you use for checking up on your health?

Posted in Android.

Using CyanogenMod on Android Phones

Messing about with the Samsung Galaxy S3

It can be quite difficult to get hold of the latest operating system for Android and I have found this to be the case with my Samsung Galaxy S3. There has been no sign from the mobile operator of any updates from the operating system that first came when I got the phone over seven months ago. So I have been loading other ROMs onto the phone and one I am using at the moment is from CyanogenMod and it is version 11.2. I went with this version because I had reports that it was a stable version of the Android operating system. I had to go to the CyanogenMod.org website to find a download. I did find an install application that works on the Mac, but it didn’t seem to work. For some reason it very kept saying that there was an update to the installer, but never let me go to where I could get the update.

Trying to update this way and that

CyanogenMod 2

In the end after trying various possibilities to update the phone from a downloaded version of it from the website in conjunction with the ROM Manager application I eventually got an indication that showed it was downloading. I left it overnight because there was no change to it after a number of hours and in the morning it still said it was downloading. I was sure that it must have finished by that time, my Internet is not that slow, and I disconnected it anyway and rebooted. It rebooted into the new version of CyanogenMod, but then I found that I had no applications that had come from Google Play Store.

A whole morning of research and updating

I spent a lot of time trying to work out how to get the CyanogenMod operating system to see the Google play school store to recognise the applications which I suspected were still actually on the phone, but hidden. I should really make notes about the various things that I try as I do them because I’m not quite sure how I managed to get ROM Manager back onto the phone so that I could do a reinstall of the gapps ROM. In any case once I had got the Google play store back in action I was able to re-download all of my applications that I had purchased previously.

Of course I also had to reset up all of the identities that are connected to various services and applications, such as with Google, CyanogenMod, Facebook and Twitter etc. After spending so much time to actually get these things to run again I was just delighted that my phone was back in operation once again. With all of the problems that I created for myself by updating to a later version of CyanogenMod, you would have to wonder why on earth I did it. I had been having the occasional crash of my phone when using the 10.2 version of the operating system and so it was because of that I decided to do the upgrade.

My first attempt at the upgrade kind of worked, inasmuch as the phone got upgraded, but I found I was having even more system reboots that than before. It was this that prompted me to to a new and more thorough operating system upgrade and it was this one that created such a lot of work and the loss of a morning. It seems to me that it is because there are so many different Android phones and even more various ways of doing things like rooting and applying weird and wonderful ROMs that it is all seems very confusing. Aside from having to learn the different terminologies that are used within the Android world, when you get started with whatever process you can’t help but wonder if it is going to work with the specific changes that you want to make.

Android versus iOS

I saw on the Internet today that there are a number of people complaining about random crashes of their iOS devices due to the latest version of IOS 7. So despite the difficulties that I have had today with my Android phone, I can’t see any compelling reasons to change back to the Apple mobile computer ecosphere. I still much prefer having the larger screen to work with and generally everything is working well for me with the Samsung Galaxy S3. The one big thing with the difference between the two that is most likely to keep me with Android is that I can change to use a better keyboard than the standard Android keyboard. Swiftkey has been my favourite and I still like it because it allows me to have arrow keys on the keyboard which help me move around in the text. Just lately though I have been using the application called Swype which is from the company called Nuance because I like the way that I can easily slide the finger around on the keyboard to write the words. I can also do that with SwiftKey, but with Swype I also get a better voice input that takes into account of my UK based language input.

Posted in iPad.

Real cameras versus phone and tablet cameras

Photography – Real cameras vs tablet and phone cameras

It has often been said that the best camera is the camera that you have with you. It is because of this that the iPhone and the Android mobile phone cameras have been so popular for taking photos. So you could justifiably call them the best cameras. Apart from the fact that you have the ease of sharing the photographs that you can send off straightaway to photo sharing sites such as Flickr and 500PX, there is the simple fact that you just about always have your mobile device with you. It is so quick and easy just to whip it out and immediately snap that shot. The quality of the images that you get from these mobile devices is actually a very good, considering. You do have to take into consideration that the sensor on these mobile phone cameras is really very small indeed. Having said that, there are point-and-shoot cameras available now that have larger sensors but the images that you get are not much better than what you would get from an iPhone for example. This could partly be due to the fact that the research and development for photography is all going into the small mobile devices on one hand and then on the other hand the camera companies are pushing the changes into DSLR’s and mirrorless cameras. I have been using a DSLR camera for quite some years now and the latest one that I have is the Canon 600D. It is a marvellous camera and even though not as good as something like the professional full frame cameras that cost an arm and a leg to buy, you do get great results from it. Just bought a mirrorless camera to replace it, A Sony NEX-6 and I just love it. It is so light and small and in many ways better than the Canon.

Mobile phones – Fancy photos

You might say that to a certain extent much of the development in photography lately has been in the area of software particularly for mobile phone cameras. The software that you can use on your computers to work with the photographs that you have taken by whatever means. Then you have the software that is on the mobile devices which is doing amazing things on a tiny computer. Even the standard applications that come with the mobile phones for taking the photos give you a fair amount of options to give you the possibility of some interesting photographs. My personal favourite is on my Android phone which lets me take photographs that are like being inside a sphere. Then there are the applications which let you take Panoramic photos and these photos are just as easy to take as taking a simple straightforward snapshot.

Then you have the cloud applications which let you adjust the photographs that you have taken and sometimes it happens automatically. The Auto Awesome feature that is available within Google can on one hand take an ordinary photograph and turn it into something a whole lot better and on the other hand can add an effect that so many people are using that it becomes boring. The one that comes to mind at the moment is the auto awesome addition of falling snow to your photograph. It might look festive and it might also look silly when it looks like snow is falling inside a vehicle for instance. There are only so many of these photographs that you would like to see. Google bought a company that was well-known for photo manipulation software called SnapSeed and this has been utilised in enhancing photos that are automatically uploaded to the Google cloud.

NEX 6

Sharing the photo love

With Apple and iCloud you do have the advantage of the service called Photo Stream. I made a lot of use of this application when I was taking photos with an iPhone primarily, but now that I have Android devices the Photo Stream is not getting used quite so much. Instead my photos are going off to 2 places, first of all when I take photos with either my Nexus 7 or the Samsung Galaxy S3 the photos are going off automatically to Google+. Then I also have Dropbox running on the mobile devices and with this I have it set so that photographs are also uploaded into my Dropbox account at the same time. It is always good to have backups of your photos.

Cameras and mobile devices collaborating

There are cameras that now have Wi-Fi and indeed I have now got a camera that does do Wi-Fi. It is the Sony NEX 6 and you can use that Wi-Fi to connect directly to an access point and send photographs directly from the camera to various photo sharing sites. A more interesting collaboration of photography and mobile devices like phones and tablets is where you can connect a camera to a mobile device directly. There is the Sony camera lens, the QT10 which is wireless enabled in order to connect to your mobile device. It was made with connecting to the Sony mobile phones and tablets in particular, but it also does work with iPhones, and other Android devices. The images can be stored on this QT10 or QT 100, but they can also go to the mobile device. The mobile devices is also acting as the screen for viewing for taking the photograph, as well as being the recipient of the photo file so that you can work with it using the photography applications.

With the Sony NEX 6 there is the option where I can use my mobile device with free applications that I have installed on my iPhone, the iPad, the Nexus 7 and also the Galaxy S3. Now what I can do is to use this application to set up the photograph and also to press the button to take the photograph. I have a full-sized top-quality photograph saved on the camera and then a copy of the photograph is also sent to the mobile device. The smaller copy of the photograph that is on your phone or tablet can then be shared to the various photo sharing sites such as Flickr or 500PX. This way you are getting the best of both worlds and you can take the photographs from the camera to put onto your computer and deal with as you would normally in an application like Aperture for the Mac or iPhoto.

Posted in iPad.

I couldn’t wait for the OTA update to Kit Kat 4.4 Android

Updating to KitKat 4.4

It has been a couple of weeks since the new version of Android known as KitKat 4.4 was announced as being available. It was announced at the same time as they told us about the latest Nexus 4 phone and to be honest I would have thought that the over the air update would have been shoved out fairly quickly following that. After changing from iOS to Android I kind of had expectations that with my Nexus 7 being a Google device that it would get updated pretty quickly. I had been hearing of some of the details available in the new version of the software on some of the Android podcasts and of course I wanted to have the latest and greatest, the newest and shiniest. It seems though that Google are not that organised when it comes to putting out updates to their operating system.

Going a different route to Kit Kat

In the end on Google+ I asked a question of the people on the community for the Nexus 7 and it was suggested there that instead of waiting for the pushed out, over the air update that I should load it onto the device manually. The file that was required to be able to do this had been made available over the last couple of days and there was a link in the community answers to the website, I think it was the website for Android Police. I wouldn’t want to download a file from any old place, but I had been listening to the podcast associated with this website and so I trusted it. Well, in fact the file was made available from Google, but there was a link to it from Android Police.

Kit Kat Android update 2

There were instructions from the site also on how to do this upgrade and it turned out to be quite simple. I downloaded the file directly onto the device and then I had to switch off my Nexus 7 and restart it while holding down the volume down key. This takes you into a different mode which gives you access into applications you can use to update your device. You can also go to this website yourself and follow the instructions to update your Nexus 7 and you will probably be just as surprised as I was with regards how easy it is to complete the task. There were also instructions on the same site on how to root the device following the update and as yet I haven’t been able to get that done. I do need to have my Nexus 7 rooted so that I can run certain applications and I need to update something called TWRP and flash something else to get it done. I am sure that I will work it out in time!

Learning how to do things with Android

I do have to admit that some of this still baffles me and I’m still learning some of the terminology that the techno boys used to describe how to do some of these things. But I am getting their bit by bit. one of the applications that I need to use with a device that has been rooted is a screen recording application called SCR Pro and it is much better than the facility that Android now has to do screen recordings. The new screen recording tool in KitKat will only let you record for three minutes and you have two get down to terminal type commands in order to make it work. I don’t think I will be bothering with it.

Posted in Android.

The Range Tool in Audio Evolution Mobile

Home, home on the range tool

I have got quite fond of the application called Audio Evolution Mobile to use on my android devices, both the Samsung Galaxy S3 and also the Nexus 7. The application is a multitrack digital audio workstation for mobile and is extremely useful for creating audio files. In the previous video we looked at the basic uses of the application and in this one we are moving on to look at what you can do with the Range Tool.

Selecting with the range tool

You can select parts of audio clips of just one track or across multiple tracks so it is possible for you to choose complete sections in your timeline. Once you have selected the audio that you require then you can copy it and pasted into other sections of your audio. This is particular useful when you have spent time setting up the exact positioning of one audio clip next to another on different tracks. When you use the range tool you can take this audio and pasted so that none of those timings change when you put it in at a different point in the song or podcast or whatever.


 

Posted in Android.