Game of Threes and Finding Aeroplanes

The Game Of Threes

Threes game

I don’t often get drawn into playing games on my iOS devices, as I prefer to make use of them for creating content and being productive. There are occasions now and then when having something to fill a couple of minutes that are not otherwise going to productive, where a game can be useful. The last game that I got really into was Temple Run and I ended up spending quite a lot of time running across the walls trying to avoid the pitfalls and tree trunks. The game that has me hooked at the moment is the one called Threes. It is a really simple game where you join the ones and twos together to make three. After that you add the threes together and the sixes together, continually doubling them up to get the highest number you can. The board is a 4×4 square that you play on. It starts off very easy, but it obviously gets a little bit more difficult as it fills up. There is a strategy that you can use because you can see the next colour or number that is coming next. You plan your move based upon what you have already on your board. It is also a game of luck, because you can never be sure exactly where the new tile will be coming in. It is an enjoyable game and my wife has also got hooked to it and I think my mum is going the same way. My best score so far is 7746 and a couple of times lately, the best I could manage was around 500!

Finding aeroplanes

In the latest podcast for Mac 20 Questions I was talking to Allister Jenks from New Zealand who likes to use an application to track aeroplanes. The one he used was called FlightRadar24 and from what he was saying about it, it seems that it is fairly accurate. I have been using a similar application called PlaneFinder HD and I have been trying it out again. It doesn’t seem to be very good in terms of accuracy. You can use one view where you point the camera out at the aeroplanes in the sky. It gives you a pop-up banner where the aeroplane is, with the information. The thing is, when you change to the other view where it looks like a map, the information seems to be different. I was also looking at aeroplanes in the sky and there was one going north nearly overhead and I couldn’t see it on the map view. Maybe I will have to give the other application that Alistair Jenks has been using and seems to be happy with.


Posted in iPad Apps.

Workflow the app to make things happen on iOS

Automation on the iPad and iPhone

The application Workflow has only been released for about a week or two and it came right at the end of 2014 and it has taken the Apple world by storm. Despite its late entry it has been chosen by many as one of the apps of the year. It is a very geeky application and it appeals to us nerds because we like to get our computers to do our work for us automagically. We love it when we can spend between five minutes and five hours on something that will save us huge amounts of time over the long term. This is why we really like applications such as TextExpander which is great on both the Mac and IOS. On my Mac I run with Hazel which is excellent for folder-based automations. I have Keyboard Maestro which is used for a variety of tricks which I can trigger from keyboard shortcuts either for specific applications or globally. I also combine the BetterTouchTool as a way to trigger the automations I have created with a mere special tap on my Magic trackpad. Now we are getting some of this automation goodness on iOS. How cool is that?

Workflow automation

Getting started with WorkFlow on my iPad

Once you have the application on your device the first thing to do is to follow the tutorial to create your first Workflow. The tutorial shows you how to make an animated gif from three photos or more. What this does is to have you taken three photos and to turn that into an animation that you can send off to wherever, such as social networks. It is extremely easy to make this workflow using the drag-and-drop of actions into your workflow panel.

One of the things that you have to work out when you get an application like this is to decide what it is that you want it to do. You have two think of something that you do often, you would like to make easier, quicker or both. Sometimes finding something is not terribly easy and you might just have keep an eye out for what you do over a couple of days to get something worthy. One of the processes that I often do is to take screenshots on my iPad or iPhone and I want to send them to my Mac as quick as possible. I could do this using Air Drop or I could open up my photos application, Aperture to get them from the PhotoStream. I would rather have something quicker than that though. Lately I have been using an application called DeskConnect and I like it because it quickly and directly sends whatever I want between any of my devices. I find it does it much more efficiently than using AirDrop. The problem that I ran into was that even though WorkFlow and DeskConnect are made by the same company, they don’t yet work with each other. I had to send an email to the developers of WorkFlow to find out what was going on. It seems that I will have to wait until the DeskConnect version 2 is available to get them to play nice. Until that happens it is a time for making workarounds.

A workflow to send iPad screenshots to my Mac

  1. The first action I dragged in was Get Latest Screenshots and with this it is possible to set how many screenshots I want to work with. I have this set at one screenshot.
  2. The second action I require is Resize Image – With this action I can set the width and the height that I want to have the new image set to. It would have been nice to have a setting for keeping the aspect ratio of the picture so that I could just set the maximum width of the picture. Seeing as it doesn’t, I have to have two workflows. One of these is for landscape shots and the other is for portrait. I set the width to 550 pixels and with a landscape image. I set the height at 412 pixels. This is so that the image doesn’t get stretched or squashed. It is possible to set a crop, but I’m not sure how useful this is, as we don’t know where the crop is going to work from. There is no way to set that you want to have the crop from the top left-hand corner or maybe you want to have it cropped from the centre of the image.
  3. The third action is Open In – This allows me to send the resized image from the workflow to whichever application I like.

When you have made your workflow you have a couple of options. You can have an icon on your desktop of your iPad or iPhone. It will run like any other application. So for this you would have just a normal workflow. You can also set your workflow to be an action extension. This means that you can run the workflow from a share sheet in other applications. To get to the workflow you can tap on the icon that is a square with an arrow pointing out on top of it and then choose the icon which says Run Workflow. Another possibility is to put your workflow into Launch Centre Pro. Launch Centre pro is a another good place to do automation on your iPad or iPhone. I quite like the combination of these two applications together.

Launch Centre Pro

Using My New Workflow To Send Screenshots To My Mac

Like I said, I did want to use DeskConnect which the developers actually showed being used in one of their videos. So it must have worked at some point in time! On account of the fact that this no longer works, I had to find a different way of doing it. So after the image has been resized and I get to the Open In dialog my choice at the moment is to use the application Bit Torrent Sync. This is a very handy application which I also use on my Mac. I do have two extra clicks to make within the iPad application, but once I have done that, the file is very quickly and automatically sent to my Mac. What makes this quite easy is the fact that I have the folder for BT Sync in the sidebar of the Finder. Usually I use these photos for my blogging. It is very easy for me to drag the image from the Finder into MarsEdit blogging software.

Improvements I need to make to my Workflow

The problem with the workflow is that every image that is sent is called Image.png. So what I need to do is to add to the workflow an action to change the file name before it goes to BT Sync. If I don’t do this each time I send an image, the old one gets overwritten. It would be nice if it was to automatically update and add a number in the way that Finder normally works when you copy a file into a folder and inadvertently make a duplicate.

It is slightly annoying that when I get into the application BT Sync I have to choose the folder and then tap on the button to save. Maybe it would be worthwhile to contact the developers of both of these applications to ask them if they have plans to make them work more seamlessly together.

Please leave a message below to tell me about the workflows that you have created.

Posted in iPad.

This week with my iOS device – Automation

What have I been doing with my iPad and iPhone?

This week has been a week of trying out automation on my iOS devices using the new application called Workflow. I have been downloading workflows created by other people and I have made small attempts at making my own workflows within the app. I haven’t had an awful lot of success so far, but I haven’t given up yet. I love all this stuff when you have the computer working for you. It is especially good when you can get things happening by talking to the computer as I demonstrated in the last Mac 20 Questions podcast. I start my day by talking to Siri on my iPad before I have even opened my eyes to the world.

I was quite excited to get my hands on the Workflow app so that I could do some automation on my iPad. It takes a little while to get your head around how it works. You can run the workflows from within the application, which is what you do when you want to test them. You can also make these workflows work as an extension. Then the other thing you might do is to create an application by having it run from an Icon that you have on your home screen. My favourite thing with this so far as to put the workflows into Launch Centre Pro. Up until now, I haven’t been using Launch Centre Pro as much as I would have liked. Now I have workflow to use on my iOS devices I have the perfect opportunity to get more use out of it.

Workflow app pic

Making My Own Workflow

A workflow that would be useful for me would be to have a screenshot that I make on the iPad or iPhone be immediately sent into DeskConnect. So I would have that picture moved magically over to my Mac or other iOS device. There is a bug in the software though because the application Workflow doesn’t seem to recognise the application DeskConnect is actually available on my devices. This is an extra big surprise because both of these applications are made by the same company and you would think that they would definitely not have any problems working together. All I can do is to wait for an updated version of either one of these applications and maybe then they will start working together. I will contact the company and send in a support request. I don’t expect that this support will come back very quickly because it seems they are a small company and this new application Workflow has been very popular over the last couple of days on the Internet. It seems that every man and his dog has got their hands on this application to try out using on their iPads and iPhones.

Workflow creation

Popular Post – Blogging on the move with iOS

Downloading Ready-made Workflows

The developers made available a number of workflows ready to be downloaded and installed. Some of these look like they could be useful to me and I have downloaded them to try out. It would be nice if somebody had created the workflow that I wanted to use so that I could install it without any messing about.

So you can use this new Workflow application even if you don’t know anything about iOS coding or automation. It is a simple process of dragging and dropping in actions which are building blocks for making a complete workflow. In the future versions of the application there will be more actions that will be ready for us to use.

Posted in iOS apps.

iPad Air 2 – Change is in the air

All that you can do with the Amazing iPad

SketchUp Mobile Viewer on the App Store on iTunesAn excellent video from Apple to show what can be done using the iPad Air 2. It is very fast and exciting in the way that it portrays people using the iPad and you really need to spend time afterwards looking at the website to see all of the applications that were portrayed in the video. There are a huge number of applications to choose from in the App Store and sometimes it can be hard to know which ones are the best ones to buy. It can be necessary to have more than one application of the same type due to the fact that you need the overlap of functionality from one app to another. Certainly I find this to be the case with drawing and painting applications for the iPad. There are things that I can do with ease in Pixelmator for iPad app, but then there are other things that I would like to do with it but I can’t. So I need to have other apps like Sketchbook, Art Studio and ArtRage loaded up too. Pixelmator is a very good application, but it still has some way to go in terms of offering all of the functionality that I would like to see for my drawing and painting on the iPad. I find that I’m moving from Pixelmator to Procreate and also to Sketchbook when it would be good to have all of the stuff I need in one application. Remembering all the interface details of each application isn’t easy when constantly swapping.

Post-it notes captured

The company that sells Post-it-Notes want you to buy the pieces of paper that you stick onto boards. What they are doing now is to allow you to make a photo of these post-it notes and you can then organise them within the application. When you’ve done that, you can share your organised post it notes board with any people that you might have been collaborating with. You can also send it off to office applications. Obviously these people are fans of Microsoft products because they say that you can send it to PowerPoint, Excel as well as Dropbox and plenty more. You can also edit notes and use a digital note feature to add to the notes you’ve captured. You have to take into account that there are still some people that like to do things in the analogue way and to write things on bits of paper. At least with this application you do have the option of bringing it into digital. So when those bits of paper are thrown away into the bin you will have some record of what you’ve done.

Getting sketchy with it – Tayasui

I have a lot of different sketching and drawing apps for my iPad. My favourite would be Procreate, I really like Art Studio and Pixelmator for iPad. I have another more recent favourite and that would be Sketchbook which is made by Autodesk who are famous for making the CAD programs. However it is always nice to have a look at other sketching applications and so I’ve looked at Tayasui which featured in this video by Apple. I quite often find that some of these sketching applications that are given special attention by the App Store editors are quite simple and don’t have the facilities of the apps that are already my favourites. I expect this is because these people making the choices are not artists and only really need the bare minimum to suit their level of artistic expertise.

Tayasui is a free application with in app purchases and would be on a similar level to the application called Paper by Fifty Three. You can only have four layers of drawing even after the purchasing of the extras and this is certainly not enough. Within the extra tools I’m impressed that there is a brushes editor seeing as with Pixelmator for iPad you don’t get this sort of functionality. The application does support pressure sensitive stylus usage, but this is only in the paid version and also only on the iPad. I notice that it is possible to try out the ProTools, free for one hour That would be probably long enough to you to decide whether you want to upgrade or not.

CAD on your iPad with AutoCAD 360

AutoCAD 360CAD applications have traditionally been quite expensive on desktop computers due to them being quite specialised. We now have an application to do Computer Aided Design on the iPad with AutoCAD 360. Once again this is from the Autodesk company that is known for creating this sort of application. You can get this app for free, but then to get the full functionality you need to buy a subscription. If you are a professional using this type of application on a daily basis maybe you would be inclined to lash out the hundred dollars annual subscription for the Pro Plus version. I suppose if you were working on a single project, that a month’s subscription of five dollars might be all that you would need. According to the reviews on iTunes many are finding that the free version is insufficient for most things and one person suggested that she would be better off using Paint on Windows 95. I will have a look at this and make a longer review on NoStylus at some point in time.

Variety is the spice of life with the iPad

The Change video, advertising the iPad for Apple is fast and as bold as you would expect from this type of video. Only a couple of seconds are spent on each application and obviously everything is totally cool. So you have the education angle with the app called Molecules, there is OBD Fusion for looking at your car’s performance and Animation Creator HD which tells you that you can easily create awesome animations any time. I would be quite tempted to have a look at this one as it is only four dollars to buy. I will do a little bit more research about this application to see what it can do.

Other applications mentioned were Inventory Control with Barcode Scanner, The Human Body, 123D Catch, Whale Alert, WunderStation and Garden Plan Pro. So with these applications you can sit in your garden that you have designed and be alerted in case any whales are nearby. You will have all of the weather information so that you don’t get caught in the rain while you are creating your 3-D models, perhaps of the human body. Once you have used your 3-D printer you will be able to make sure nothing is lost as everything will be barcoded and scanned. All in all – Everything is taken care of with the Amazing iPad and the brilliant apps you can buy.

Posted in iPad.

Blogging on the move with iOS

Getting those words out of your head and onto the page when you are travelling is not that difficult these days when we have such good blogging tools to use on our iPads and iPhones. This post is a little bit incestuous in the fact that I am using the application Blogsy to create the blog post about blogging using the iPad. I am on a trip to Ireland, here to sort out my divorce which I should have done a long time ago but eventually got round to 12 years after getting separated. I do have access to good Internet while I am staying with my son. While I was travelling on the bus from my town to Barcelona airport I was using the Mobile Internet to create a blog post. Last time I came to Ireland I bought myself a Sim card from Ireland so that I could have mobile Internet here. This time it hasn’t really been necessary so I didn’t bother. I did get some free Wi-Fi while I was in Dublin airport which was very handy indeed.

Which applications to use for blocking with the iPad

Most times I prefer to use markdown for writing in a text editor and for that I will do quick and dirty writing in the draft application. What I can do then is to choose whether I am going to send that text in HTML format into Blogsy application. Then again I might choose to exported from Drafts, this is really easy to do because of the special connections that you get to export out of that application. If I want to have some text that I want to send to multiple places, such as I might want to send it to my journal, Day One and I might also want to send it to Google plus or Facebook. I could even start with a short piece of text which I could send to Twitter and then extended as much as required so that I can send it to all of these other places or even make a full blog post out of it that could be up to 1000 words.

Blogging with Blogsy iOS app.

What is really good with blogging from the bloody application is that I also can add pictures to my post really very easily. I can do this easier than if I am blogging using Byword. I can get access to pictures from my websites, from Flickr, Picasa and also from Instagram. Naturally, it is also possible for me to choose pictures that are in my photo library on my iOS device.

Blogsy has a rich text editor which I don’t always get to use as I will be bringing in the HTML ready to use. On the other hand, it is very handy to set the text just as you wanted and also to organise your photoson the page. You might want to have your pictures to be left justified, centred or right justified and to have the text flowing around in your pictures. It is very easy to do this using Blogsy. You have the options of setting the format of the text to be one of your headings such as a header two all have it as paragraph text. You can also choose the font family and font size. There are also the options are various types of list and whether you want to have bold italics or underlined. This is all done through a what you see is what you get type of editor.

Blogging with Byword

Blogging with the application Byword on the iPad is a much simpler affair, but it is workable and workable when you’re working mainly with text. You do have to work out how you’re going to get your pictures uploaded to your website. I found an application called PUPS. Or you could use application like Transmit to send the picture by FTP to your website. Transmit is not difficult to use once you have set it up. It is not quite as easy as using the image upload from within Blogsy.

Adding a video to your webpage

I wanted to embed a video and on the desktop computer I would get the embed code from the YouTube website. When I go to the same website from my iOS device I don’t get the option to get a bit of HTML code to embed into my blog post. I have just seen in the sidebar to the right of my anything area on the Blogsy application that there is a button for YouTube and I’m going to give that a try.

Well that was very easy indeed. I did have to first set up my YouTube account with Blogsy, then it was simply a case of dragging and dropping the video that I wanted from my uploads onto the blog post. The positioning of the video on the page works in the same way as if I was dropping an image onto there.

Easy does it – No problem to be blogging while mobile

Then you have two choices that I like to use when I am doing blogging. You can also use specific applications to specific blood and platforms. For instance you might want to use the Tumblr application if you want to block to Tumblr or if you want, use the WordPress application for blogging directly into WordPress.

I used Siri dictation to get the words out of my head and into the iPad. What I usually do is to dictate a couple of sentences or maybe even a whole paragraph and then go back and check to make sure that the spellings are all correct. It is always a good idea to proof read anything that you have dictated in using Siri. Siri does work extremely well and it is much faster to write while dictating. This is indeed a Good and Geeky workflow for being a blogger and writer.


Posted in iPad.

Getting creative with iPad drawing and painting applications

I have quite a few drawing and painting art applications on my iPad. There is Art Studio, ArtRage, Procreate, Artistic Studio, PS Express and Sketchbook Pro and these I have for working with bitmaps like photos and drawings. I also have vector type of drawing applications such as iDraw and then I have Ink Artist and I haven’t quite yet worked out exactly how that fits in. The application that I have tended to go to when I wanted to do something artistic with drawing or painting with my iPad has been either Procreate or ArtStudio. On account of the fact that I really like using the application Pixelmator on my Mac I was delighted to see a version for iPad become available. The Pixelmator for iPad application was demonstrated at the Apple event when they showed us the iPad Air 2. This application has some pretty good tricks up its sleeve and without a doubt I had to get my hands on it and see what I could do with it. I have been doing some comparisons between Procreate and Pixelmator for iPad and I think that the Procreate application still has the edge. For now at least!

What can you do with the iPad drawing and painting application Procreate

For me I think that the best part of the application is the fact that you get so many brushes to paint with. Not only that, but these brushes are highly configurable and you can easily create your own. I like the fact that this application will work with my Wacom creative Bluetooth stylus. When using a tool like this with the iPad and having over 2000 levels of pressure so that you can more easily simulate drawing with an actual brush or pen. It is almost as good as using something like the Cintiq drawing tablets which are much more expensive to buy.

The brushes that you have can also be used when you are using the smudge tool and the eraser tool. This makes it very easy to get the effect that you are looking for whether you are putting the colour in there, squidging it around or taking the colour out of your drawing. You do of course get layers within this application and I’m finding that it is the best way to make selections of your drawings. I do think that the selecting tools could be better and I would hope that will come soon in a future version.

Colour palettes in Procreate

You can use palettes to keep a selection of colours ready for using for your drawing and with the colour wheel it is extremely easy to choose your colours. It is possible to add colours that you have chosen from the colour wheel and put them into palettes that you have available. If you tap and hold down on your screen you get the colour eye dropper picker that lets you take a colour from your drawing. Handy to be able to do that as it is quite likely that you will have created colours by mixing them on your screen as you were drawing.

Palletes in Procreate

Create drawings or work with photos

With Procreate you can do both drawing and painting and also work with photos. With the photos you are more likely to be using the small range of filters available. You will find that there are other iPad effects applications, that give you more choices, if you want to totally change the look of your photo. With Pixelmator for iPad you get more effects and filters. You get the basic ones for blur and sharpen, but you also get filters which will make your image crazy such as with pinch or kaleidoscope. So if you’re choosing between Procreate and Pixelmator for iPad for working with photos then the better choice is to use Pixelmator. For someone like me that likes to do both drawing and also work with photos it is a good idea to have both of these iPad art applications available for use.

Pixelmator effects

Repairing images

There is an amazing feature with Pixelmator for iPad which allows you to repair images. It is not simply just to remove a spot from somebody’s face, it is possible to completely remove a whole person. It works so well and is work so quickly on the iPad Air 2 that you will not fail to be amazed. This sort of facility has previously only been available on desktop bitmap editing applications.

Posted in iPad Art.

A wealth of applications on iOS – Part Two

In part one of the post you can find out about the Note taking strategies I have for creating and grabbing text on iOS

Read part one of this article

Drafts and keyboard

Saved notes – Not written

These sorts of notes are the notes where are you select some text on a webpage or in another application. It could also be a selection which is rich text including a picture or pictures. This type of note will go into Evernote. Then I will know that if I’m looking for something that I have selected and captured from wherever, I need to open up the Evernote application.

Capturing a complete webpage

On iOS it is possible to capture a complete web page and I will send that webpage to Pocket. Then what I have to do is to make a point of opening up the Pocket application on my Mac at some point in time during the week and review those captured websites. Sometimes I do forget and only go to look at Pocket after a week or two, but that’s okay.


Other interesting notetaking applications

I have the application called ThinkBook and I would love to use it because it has such an interesting interface. I like to keep it there because of the fact that it would be great for juggling around parts of text to organise it. Truth is, I use it hardly at all. It is just nice to know that it is there if I need it. The same goes for the application Daedalus. I have a pair of applications called Terminology and Phraseology. Terminology is a dictionary type of application which works well with Drafts. Phraseology is a writer’s application which also has this thing where you can reorganise your work by paragraph or by sentence. It could be used in a similar sort of way to an outliner application. It also allows you to analyse your writing by colouring in nouns in blue, verbs in green, adjectives in red and so on. It also has detailed analysis of your writing that you can use on the inspection page. It gives you various scores on the writing as to how readable it is. You also get statistics which go right down to the average words per sentence and even average syllables per word. For that sort of analysis of writing I prefer to use the application Hemingway on my Mac. Have a look at Good and Geeky Books

IOS Camera Applications

On both the iPad and also on my iPhone I have put a number of camera applications. There are just so many of them to choose from. I have the Sony application which allows me to control my Sony camera over a Wi-Fi connection. There is the Photosphere application which I quite like to use from time to time. Then we have the applications which do specific types of photography such as HDR, Slow Shutter, Pencil camera and Hyperlapse. What I really need to do with these is to decide on a particular day to go on a photo trip and just use one or maybe two different camera apps during the day to really get into what they can do.

An application that I downloaded most recently is called VSCOcam and this is quite interesting. It is a sharing application in the same way as you have an application that works specifically with Instagram. What you do with this application is to create photo stories and you can then share your pictures out to the various social networks. Intriguing looking application and I’m still working out how to use it.

Camera Plus

Camera Plus Air SnapCamera plus is another useful application that you can use for both photos and for shooting video. It has a handy little slider at the bottom of the screen that you can use for choosing where you want the focus to be. You can also choose to have the camera autofocus for you. There is another button which you can get at, which will let you choose from macro, normal or far. Then there is the slider on the left-hand side which is your zoom and another slider to the right of the button to start the video or to take a picture which is for setting the level of the light. There is also a mode which is to stabilise your photos. If you do a tap and hold then you can lock in the part of the photo where you want to set the focus.

Another interesting facility with this application is that you can use AirSnap. You launch the Camera Plus application on two devices connected with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. I just tried this for the first time using the iPad as the camera and my iPhone 6 as the trigger. It was really easy to set up and I seem to have most of the same facilities for controlling the camera. I can get it to shoot video as well is take photos with AirSnap. I have access to the zoom, I can choose the amount of light for the image, turn the flash on or off. I can even choose whether I want to use the front or the rear camera.

Creative Audio Applications

I am delighted to be back using iOS for recording audio as it works so much better than it did when I tried recording audio with Android. An application that I recently got for the iPad is called Auria and this is a multitrack audio recording application. I had heard good reports about this application and I got it because it was available at half price and I wanted to see if it was going to work out better than using DAW Multi-Track. Either of these two applications would be very good for making podcasts and you have extra tracks to use to insert bumpers, stingers and jingles creatively. There is of course GarageBand but I find that is better suited for creating music that is for making podcasts.

If I am going to record audio with iOS and it is a single track then the application I will use is TwistedWave. This application has a good number of tools and gives a very good audio reproduction of my voice when I connect up my Giant Squid clip on microphone. At some point in time I wouldn’t mind trying out a microphone which connects through the lightning port, but for the moment this is working great. I also have the iRig microphone which is a large microphone that you have to handhold. It does have a connection that allows you to plug in some headphones so that you can monitor what you are recording. I have just ordered a splitter cable that will allow me to do similar with the Giant Squid microphone.

Making a podcast with BossJock

BossJock creating podcasts
This application works like a soundboard. You tap on one of the carts into which you have already loaded sounds and that sound will play. So you can load it up with your sound effects for your podcast and also any other pre-recorded sections. You could have an intro section for your podcast that you play straight through and then when it is finished you could just start talking to your audience by pressing on the microphone button. You can also use sound bed audio tracks to give you a background audio that will duck out of the way each time you press the microphone button. Using BossJock you can create and record a podcast performance. Have a look at the two videos that I created showing you how to create audio as backing tracks and also how to use BossJock to create an intro track for your podcast.

Utility audio applications

I just got an application called AudioCopy for moving around selections of audio from one app to another. I also have the application Audiobus and this is for routing audio from one application through another and finally to land in another app for recording. This would be an application to use if you needed to create audio with sound effects and you wanted to hear those sound effects as you recorded them. You can also send from more than one app through Audiobus towards the recording app it is directed at. Interesting app, but I haven’t been able to make a lot of use out of it yet.


Audio applications for listening

I have Stitcher which I don’t use an awful lot because I tend to use the application Overcast for listing to podcasts. I also have SoundCloud and AudioBoom that I can use for both creating or publishing sounds as well is listening to what other people have created.

Applications to Entertain and Inform

I have an application called iFooty which I use for getting the football scores. I have set up some favourites so that I can go quickly in to see what is happening with the Premier League Football, Championship League and the Spanish La Liga. This way I can see what’s going on with my favourite football team Barcelona and my non-favourite football team Birmingham City.

I have two applications which are good for looking at the universe and our solar system. One is called Solar Walk and the other is Star Walk 2. Lots of interesting information about what is happening up in the sky at night. Finally, due to this app I might be able to name one or two of the constellations. Not only does it offer information about the stars, but you can get upgrades so that you can see what is happening with comets and satellites. It is not too pricey at only €1.79 to get the all in one bundle. Very educational indeed.

Solar Walk educational app
Just got my hands on another application called Text Grabber. What you do with this is to point it at some text, capture it with your camera and then do things with that text. You can edit it, have it translated or just paste it into other applications such as into a Facebook status or send it into Evernote. I just tested it and it did a half good job with some Catalan to English translation. It was very quick to do the translation and if you didn’t know any of the language, then what you got would be helpful. I will have to give it a few more tries and see how it is with Spanish translation.

I have a couple applications which are used for getting into sites that you can learn things from, such as TED Talks and Udemy. It could also be argued that applications such as YouTube fall in the same scope as education. See the Wizardgold Channel for Mac Tutorial videos. That really depends upon the type of videos that you watch. Other applications of this type could include apps such as the Guardian newspaper and also the BBC. Most of the news seems to be bad news designed to keep you depressed and unhappy. So maybe it is a better idea not to spend too much time keeping up with the bad things happening around the world. I also have a couple of mathematics applications which are quite interesting, especially Mathemagics and also Algebra Touch.

IOS applications for Life Casting

I have applications which I am trying out for life logging such as Memento, Heyday, Chronos and Saga. What these applications do is to track your movements and you can then go back into them and add more information. To a large extent, I prefer to use the application DayOne which is a journalling application. It gives me prompts to add journal posts and I keep up to date. Without bugging me too much it gives me the impetus to create new posts about what I am doing. I can add photographs and give it information such as where I am. I can choose whether I want to show my location at the time of making the journal post. Depending upon the sort of life logging you want to do and how public you want to make them, some of these applications do look quite interesting. I will be going into depth about all of these applications in the book I am writing about life logging.

Posted in iOS apps.

Pixelmator for iPad – First Impressions

Loving the iPad Air 2 For Creativity

Pixelmator for iPad

I have been very busy to set up lots of different applications on my new iPad and one of these is the new Pixelmator for iPad app. My first try at using it yesterday didn’t go quite so well as I thought it would. I was trying to open files that I had created on my Mac and I think that the problem was due to needing to wait for some synchronisation. I’m not known for my ability to be patient. This morning I am trying the application again and I managed to get into one of these files. It is a picture of a pizza that I did some work with in Topaz Impression. One of the things that was shown during the Apple event to announce the iPad Air 2 was how easy it was to delete an object from a picture intelligently using the retouch tool. So I gave this a try, I removed one of the tomatoes from pizza and I have to say that it is impressive indeed. It worked very quickly and afterward the edit you cannot tell where the edit was made. The picture still looks spot on. I have given a quick try to the painting tools and they worked very well. I can also use my Intuos Creative Stylus 2 for Apple iPad
which is excellent news.

Adding effects to your photos

I can add effects to my images and there is a whole host of effects to choose from. You can start with the standard effects that will do things like blur, sharpen, noise, hue and saturation as well is more interesting things. You can completely destroy or make your pictures interesting with filters such as Bump, Pinch or Kaleidoscope. I like the way that these controls work within Pixelmator for iPad. So if for example you are using the Bump effect you get a spot on the end of a dotted wobbly line. It looks kind of like a soap on a rope. The spot is where you want to place the centre of the effect and then there is another spot connected to that main one which allows you to say how far the effect extends. Once you have everything set up the way that you want with your effect, you click on done and hey presto the job is done.

Pixelmator for iPad effects

Completely intuitive to use

One of the best things about this Pixelmator for iPad application is that you don’t really need much help in working out how to use any of the tools and effects. All you need to do is to jump in there and play. If you don’t like what you have done, you always have the undo button to take you back a step. If you do need any help at all to work out how to do things there is a question or icon in the top right-hand corner. A quick tip matter and you see a whole load of tips appear on screen pointing to what each of the available buttons do.

Pixelmator for the iPad Artist

Using your fingers to do resize of your objects is as easy as you would expect it to be. If you do any sort of artwork whether that be creating digital drawings and paintings or working with your photographs then I have to say that this is a must have application for the iPad. There is a possibility I could be using this in preference to my previous favourite, Procreate. Without a doubt I am going to be creating some art on my iPad to post to my social network accounts.

Posted in iPad Apps.

The iPhone 6 – Our One Week Anniversary

A week with the iPhone 6

My first full day with the iPhone 6 and I felt a little bit disappointed with the amount of time I got out of the battery. I found myself wishing that I had bought the larger version which has the bigger battery and has been shown to last longer. The following day I wasn’t using the phone quite so much, perhaps down to a normal level and the battery lasted well enough. Certainly, I do need to get my hands on some sort of external battery that I can use to put a charge in the iPhone 6 quickly where necessary. I have got used to having a very large battery on the Samsung Galaxy S3. It was very good to have two or three days from the phone battery but it did make it heavier to carry and a little bit bulky. There are plenty of external batteries that can be bought for the iPhone 6 to top up to and gain extra longevity.


Listening to podcasts

When the campsite gets quieter and there are fewer people I get a little bit bored and I need to have something to listen to. When I need to alleviate the boredom I can’t hardly download the podcasts quick enough. Whereas during the busy time I don’t have time to listen to podcasts. So the application I have been using most this week is the application Overcast. This is the podcatcher which is in vogue at the moment and this from the same person who brought us Instapaper. The application is quite simple and can be used free for the basic task of listening to podcasts. There is an in app purchase which gives a few extra features that are worth having. The first of these useful extra features is Smart Speed and what this does is to remove the longer silences in between speech. This can save you quite a lot of time overall when listening to podcasts. The other one which I find useful is the Voice Boost which somehow uses its magic to increase the volume of the audio and it does an EQ on the voice. Both of these podcast listening features are definitely worth getting hold of. Just checking the statistics for Smart Speed and it tells me that I have saved an extra four hours beyond the speed adjustments, that you can also apply to save time. With some podcasts I listen to them at 1.2 speed, this is quite handy with people who are slow talkers.

You also get the usual seek controls which allows you to jump forward by a specified amount and I have that set up at 45 seconds whether I’m going forward or going back. A feature that I would like to see in this application is the ability to set a start time for each podcast individually. There are a number of podcasts that always have 30 to 40 seconds of adverts or intro rubbish at the beginning that I would like to jump over. Being able to set a start time for a podcast would save me having to hunt for the 45 second jump forward.

Better use of some of my favourite applications


Day One

It is, without a doubt, great to have Day One always available to quickly add journal entries. It makes it much easier if I want to take a photo and to have it as part of my journalling activities. I have also found it very handy if I want to have a photo that is coming to me from What’s App put into a journal entry, such as a picture of my grandson.

Scanner Pro

While I was over on Android I did find an application that I could use for going paperless which was pretty good. However, it is quite nice to get back to using Scanner Pro because I like the way that it works. I did have some automation setup on my Mac so that scans when they arrived in a particular Dropbox folder would be sent by Hazel App into Evernote. I haven’t got around to checking whether that still is in place. If it isn’t, then I will reinstate it and it will be great to have all of my paperless stuff going into Evernote.


1password1Password was coming to Android anyway and I had been trying out the beta versions which worked well enough. Using 1Password on the iPhone 6 is much better, because I can use the Touch ID to unlock it and get into whatever password protected apps I need to get into. Also there are 1Password extensions which are built into some applications that allow me to much more quickly get a password inserted into the website in Safari.

My productivity applications

In my book The Good and Geeky Writers Workflow the applications that I prefer to use are iThoughtsX, Cloud Outliner and Byword. The other application I have not mentioned is Scrivener and you never know there might be an IOS version for that at some point in time. In my writer’s workflow it is quite likely I will be in a situation where I only have an iOS device on hand with me, such as the iPhone 6 or the iPad. So I need to be able to use something like iThoughtsX or the Cloud Outliner to gather my thoughts together and my ideas. It’s important that these ideas are in a place where I can get at them easy when I’m back at my desktop computer. This is why I chose applications which worked as a pair across IOS and also on Mac OS X. So now that I have the iPhone 6, I can do work while mobile on my favourite mobile devices. I know exactly where I can easily get my hands onto anything that I have done. It will get even better when Mac OS X Yosemite is available and the continuity feature is there to be used. I will be able to walk in the house with the iPhone still in my hand carrying some of my marvellous ideas and I will be up to hand off that document directly into the sister application on my iMac on my office desk.

IMG 0095

Audio with TwistedWave

I thought that I would be able to start using the Audioboom application to create my little podcasts. I have tested that application on my iPhone 6 and found that it isn’t up to scratch it. So I can still use TwistedWave for recording audio and easily use it for sending to Audioboo. The way that I do that is to send it as an email from TwistedWave which gives me the audio in a format which is small enough to send even when I’m still mobile. There are times when I will wait until I get back to base and in front of my iMac where I can put the audio into Amadeus Pro and give it a little bit of tweaking. In any case, I am very much enjoying having the use of TwistedWave with all of its abilities, once again.

Twistedwave 00365

Health, weight loss and fitness

Maybe I wouldn’t be quite so interested in these sorts of applications if it wasn’t for the fact that I have lost 14 kg since February. I lost so much weight that quite a few people have been asking me if I have been ill. Maybe I was ill, but the illness was giving up biscuits. Much of my ability to lose weight has been down to using an application called Noom on the Android phone. I used it to record my weight, the amount I was eating and it also recorded the number of steps I took her day. I was also able to record other exercise such as when I was using my bicycle going to and from work. So I definitely need something to continue keeping an eye on these things in order to keep the weight off. Luckily I found applications such as MyFitnessPal, MapMyWalk, MapMyRun, Lark, Moves and the Apple Health application. Some of these applications work together feeding all of the information into the Apple health application. It is quite handy to have all of the information collated into one place. I’ll be able to lose that other 2 kg and get down to my target weight with the help of these health and fitness applications for iOS.

Posted in iPhone.

iPhone 6 Coming to David Allen Wizardgold

China is a long way away

I ordered the iPhone 6 just over a week ago and finally it was released from the factory in China to make the long journey home to David Allen Wizardgold in Catalonia. I ordered the Silver model with 64GB and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. After 16 months of working with an Android phone I deserve to be getting the best again. Before that I was using the iPhone 4 and I have even had some use out of that recently before I sold it to help pay for the iPhone 6. I got a decent price for the iPhone 4 and next year I will be able to get a good price for the phone I am getting now so I can upgrade to the latest and greatest phone of 2015.

IPhone 6 pstel

The first part of the journey 

Leaving the factory the iPhone was put in the hands of UPS. I love the tracking facilities you get and being able to see which countries the parcel goes through as it makes its way to me. As I write this I have seen the iPhone visit Korea, Almaty, Kazakhstan and Köln, Germany on its way home to me. It is looking like it will make it here to me tomorrow Monday 6th October. This is two days earlier than I thought it would arrive. It is always good to under promise and over delivery and Apple are doing just that . 

Google Maps

 A day off from work

Great that I am going to be at home to receive the parcel and if it gets to me early enough in the day I will have some time to play with it. I am thinking of giving the iPhone a name. I don;t usually name my tech, but this one deserves a name. I’m thinking that the name of one of my favourite characters fro the Game of Thrones stories would be suitable – Arya. She is the resourceful girl in the series that is a fighter and tenacious despite the trials that she has to cope with. Arya the phone will be useful and a constant companion and then again I think a better name would be Nymeria which is the name of her Dire Wolf. OK that is decide then and what a good name it is.

What do you call yours ?

When I have to give hard drives a name I choose names from book I have read and liked. I do have some hard drives named after Flintsones or Buffy characters Do you name any of your tech devices? Put your answers in the comments below.

Posted in iPhone.