Super Bluetooth Headphones for iPhone or Apple Watch

Got some new earphones. Bluetooth version and I’m quite impressed. Got them for a great price too. £13 or so.. That £13 works out as around 18 euro. These are fantastic for when I’m walking the dog or riding my bicycle. I can still hear above the wind noise on the bike which is great. Another advantage is the short no tangle cable. So much easier to use and deal with than the Apple earphones. The sound is marvellous and the battery lasts a decent amount of time. The American female voice is a bit grating when you turn the headphone on or off, or when the Bluetooth is pairing up. I reckon I can live with that on account the earbuds are so good.

A good fit for the Ears

Very comfortable indeed to ear and for listening to either or the spoken word. I mostly listen to books and podcasts but on the occasions I went for the music option I was happy with the results. Perfect for listening to the Beats Radio on Apple Music. I certainly couldn’t notice any distortion as I was listening. You even get other sizes of buds for the ears so you can fit whatever the dimensions of your lug holes.

New_Bluedio_M2_Stereo_Bluetooth_Wireless_in_Ear_Sports_Running_Headphones_White__Amazon_co_uk__Electronics

 


New Bluedio M2 Stereo Bluetooth Wireless in Ear Sports Running Headphones White
 

I was also impressed by the box they came in. Even the box had a quality feel to it. I would be tempted to get an extra pair of these earbuds for the iPhone as it would be great to have a spare pair to keep nearby.

To Use the Bluedio M2 Bluetooth wireless earbuds

Push and hold for a couple of seconds to turn on or off. the same button to get the microphone activated so you can talk to your device. Then there are the volume buttons to play with. Took me a while to find out how to work these buttons because the instruction are printed so small on paper they’re impossible to read.

Posted in iPhone accessory.

Editing Video on the iPhone with Clips, Tempo, and Fly

New video editing application for iOS

IMG 1889The application is called Clips and it is incredibly simple and easy to use. You have to pay €4.99 if you want to get rid of the watermark on the resulting videos. The same company has other applications for video and one called Crop looks quite useful for when you have a video that has been shot in vertical mode and needs to be cropped to get into the proper horizontal viewing. You would have to wonder why people keep videoing things in this vertical mode, but I suppose when you get the phone out quickly it is easy enough to forget to rotate. You can get applications for shooting video on iOS that will not allow you to shoot vertically.


Clips icon



Setting the Tempo of Video Speed

Then there is the other application called Tempo and this is for doing slow motion and also for speeding the movie up. As you play the video in the application you can quickly set it from normal speed to fast, fastest and back to normal. You can also go from whichever speed to slow or slowest. You get an instant change at the point choosing from the menu of speeds available.

When your video is ready, you can share it out to Messenger, Instagram, What’s app, Messages, Facebook and a few more. Once again the cost to get rid of the watermark on the videos is €4.99. So it could get quite expensive if you were to buy all of the applications from Fly Labs Inc. and upgrade all of them. You would have to hope there would be a bundle available for this set of video editing applications.

Fly Boy Prices

As I have been writing this, I have been playing with the applications and also looking at the other apps from the same company to download. I’ve just downloaded the Fly Video Editor. This one promises to be dead simple and very fast, which is the sort of thing you want to have when editing video on an iPhone. You can add smooth dissolve transitions and do picture in picture effects with simple gestures. I’ll have a look at this application in depth, because it is the first one I have seen so far to do the split screen type of video effects for iOS. This application also has a multi cam feature and I’d be thinking you would need to have the latest of the iOS devices to have sufficient processing power to use this application. You can do the usual sort of things such as trimming and rearranging clips, adding music and voice overs. Judging by the prices for the in app purchases you would have to be pretty keen to get all of the extras to use within this application.

Applications to shoot video on the iPhone

Posted in iPad.

Made with @EtchingsApp. #etchings cool application on my iPhone


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Posted in iPad.

How to use editorial with a TaskPaper template

The problem to be solved is the quick and efficient taking notes involving repetitive tasks. It’s writing Jim, but not as we know it! While I do have many different text editor applications choosing which one took some effort and testing.

It seems I have a thing about text applications.


Over the years, I have collected quite a few text editing applications. I like to have applications good for working with my words. I write a lot of words and it is important to be able to get those words out of my head and onto the digital page as efficiently as possible. The main application which is the small end of the word editing digital funnel is Scrivener. So anything I do will be destined to end up in Scrivener to be cajoled and moulded into something I can publish. The best way to collect the words to put into Scrivener is to use plain text editors. Not only do I have a preference for text. I also like to write using markdown. Markdown is a syntax which is readable and easily converted into HTML content. The other good thing about markdown is it is just plain text. You’re not tempted to fiddle about with settings of how the document looks. There is no need to mess with fonts and layouts, all you have to do is to concentrate and write the words.

Favourite text applications to use on the Mac

Byword text editor appByword is a favourite because it synchronises with my iOS devices without me having to think about it. My Good and geeky Writers Workflow starts off with me organising what I’m going to write in a mind map. My MindMap preference is for iThoughts X. This is also a good choice for me because of the synchronisation with my mind mapping on the iPad. I can use the sister application – iThoughts. Once I get started with the larger blocks of text then I’m going to be using DragonDictate. This makes sense because it’s a fact I can write my words so much faster by dictating. It is possible for me to dictate directly into Scrivener or Byword. I usually find it works better to dictate into the DragonDictate application itself. It is just a quick and easy copy and paste to get the words into whichever application is best for the next stage of the process. The next stage will be direct to Scrivener if it is for a book and into Byword and onto MarsEdit if I am making a blog post.

Favourite text applications for iOS

Once again Byword is going to be the choice for longer pieces of text. For words that need capturing rapidly and we are talking about short notes, the first choice application is going to be Drafts Text Editor. Drafts is brilliant because I have it set to always open up on a new ready to use document. I can put those words into the document and forget about them if I wish. If I don’t know what exactly I plan to do with those words when I’m capturing them Drafts gives me plenty of choices with automations. It allows me to send to Twitter and to Facebook and a variety of other places. I can start off with the short version and add more to it as I move through the various destinations for my words.

Taking notes on the iPad and iPhone

App Info iTunes Today at 11 05 05I do have a variety of other notetaking applications as I seem to have been collecting them over time. They are all quite varied in terms of the look of them and what they can do. Some of these applications are geared towards writers and others better suited for free-form note taking. So I have applications like Evernote, OneNote, Penultimate and MagicalPad. Great for collecting information and making notes to go alongside whatever I’ve collected. With some of these it is also possible to make little drawings either separate from or as annotations on the data collected.

Tagging helps you find and helps you learn

If you are a student or perhaps collecting note for a business project then it is good to have some sort of indexing system. If you are taking huge reams of notes then it is going to be helpful to be able to find nuggets of information when you need them later. With applications like Evernote and Simplenote, you can add tags to help you find your stuff at a later stage. It is a good thing also to have other services within the application such as the ability to underline or to highlight. For a student, this will help you retain information and get better results from your studying. There are also some applications which will give you various ways of looking at your work with outlining and also mind mapping. One such application would be MarginNote Pro. I’ve not had the need to dive into this application much, but I do have to say it looks incredibly impressive.

A new iOS text editor favourite – Editorial

App Info iTunes Today at 11 06 52This morning I was delving into various writing and note taking applications on my iOS devices to see which one would best suit a specific task. The task is to collect data while I’m working, about what I’m doing. The reason for this is so I can aid my terrible memory by having notes about tasks I need to complete and also those that I have completed. What I needed was something to give me checklist functionality first of all. Also important is the functionality to work quickly by expanding text into the document. I do have TextExpander for iOS and so my first thought was to look for applications with this built-in. There are plenty of apps of this sort to choose from. Create forms with a short text code, make a couple of choices within a form, which is then converted into text and pasted into a document. I did some experimenting with this and it worked okay.

Editorial provides the solution

IMG 1880

IMG 1883
I wasn’t able to find just what I was looking for in my usual app choices, so I opened up Editorial. Editorial will work with TextExpander, but in tests it wasn’t smooth enough in operation. When you have a complicated TextExpander snippet you bounce out of the application you are working in. There is a sheet for TextExpander, you do what you have to do and then it throws it back into the document. I went for Editorial because I decided I would prefer something a little bit more elegant in its workings. The application is well known for being good for geeks and if you know what you can do with it, you can add Python-based automation. I would not be that far advanced with my programming skills. Today however, what was most interesting was the template giving me access to a TaskPaper template. I can also make use of the built-in text expanding facilities – Snippets. Expanding snippets in Editorial worked seamlessly. TaskPaper is a syntax allowing you to quickly create lists with check boxes. All you have to do is to start the line of text with a dash followed by a space and it is automatically converted into a checkbox. I can put a check mark/tick in the box and the text gets a tag at the end of the line to say it has been done and is slightly greyed out. This turned out to be perfect for the task I had in mind. The app is available on my iPhone and so will always be available to me to use.

Editorial ticks all the boxes

After my experimentation with the application Editorial for editing text, I decided I had the solution to the problem. It was something I could have working on my iPhone with a short text code for throwing in the basics which included the tick boxes. The important thing is to have good notes and records, so when asked questions about the work later I’ll be able to give exact and detailed answers. I love it when technology provides a Good and Geeky solution.

Get Editorial


Posted in iPad.

Working with Affinity Photo App and some Intensify Pro on my Mac.


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Posted in iPad.

The Good and Geeky News Channel for the Apple News on iOS 9

I’m just a little bit ahead of myself with the News

Good and Geeky News Channel

I got the confirmation email back from Apple today, to say that my application for a news channel to add to their new application for iOS News, had been accepted. I immediately went into the iCloud website and to the publisher section. I created a logo for the header and set up the RSS channels. I was getting all excited about the possibility of being able to see all of my RSS feeds in one place published for the world of Apple to view and read. Only when I clicked on the link in the email to go to the channel pages in the news aggregation did I remember that this is only going to be available when iOS 9 becomes available in the autumn. But at least I am ready!

News Publisher Apple Developer

Lots of setting up to learn

I may have to use some different HTML code within my blog posts to make sure that the posts on the news sites look as they are supposed to. I have to do some reading through the News Publishing Guide. I don’t think it is going to be too difficult to set this up.

News publisher built into iOS 9

The whole idea is that it will be to deliver a news and magazine type of format. The publisher will be out to create layouts with custom typography, rich photo galleries, videos and animations. On account of the fact that there are an awful lot of iOS devices out there, there should be a good readership for online immediate content producers like myself. We still have to wait for the Apple News Format to arrive and I’m wondering if this is going to remain a new application or will we be able to use iBooks Author or Pages to create content.

Show me the money

The monetisation is possible using iAd which is Apple’s advertising platform. The information so far is that I can sell advertising on my own behalf and earn 100% of the revenue. Isn’t that nice of them?! When Apple sells ads for me I get 70% of the revenue. It’s always good to have some other streams of income, so let’s see how this works out.

Comparisons with FlipBoard and Zite

I already have something set up with Flipboard, but I think I could do with going back into it again and double-checking on some of the settings. Just discovered that Zite has been bought out by Flipboard In many ways the new News Channels in the new app will be similar to the existing possibilities. How useful it is going to be for me as a publisher will depend upon how easy it is to send both my existing content and new content to it. If I can out the HTML codes into my own blog posts without too much hassle and without destroying what I have already then maybe it will be worth doing.

David Allen Wizardgold on Flipboard

Posted in iPad.

Apple Watch almost killed by the Maps App in Barcelona

I usually have 25% to 40% battery left at the end of the day on my Apple Watch. Yesterday I used the Maps app on the phone and the Apple Watch in Barcelona. It wasn’t very good for getting me to the Starbucks for a cup of tea and was heavy on battery usage. I was offered the chance by the Watch to go into Power Reserve mode, but didn’t use it because it was close to my bed time.

Still needed to complete the Daily Activities

In any case I still had a circle to close on the Activity app. The Calories ring can take a bit more effort to get finished. Standing activity is usually easy for me and so is the number of minutes of exercise. 30 minutes is OK for the day.

In the days since this day out in Barcelona the battery life have been working as per normal.


Posted in iPad.

First Apple watch in Spain

Possibly the first Apple watch in Spain

 

IMG 1542

There is the possibility that other people living in Spain have done similar to myself. Having connections in one of the first waves of countries that Apple debuted the watch, I was able to put in my order and even get it on day one. Getting the watch on 24th April was pure luck after having initially I was given a date window between the 12th and 26th of May. It was also very handy that it coincided with my trip to England for a wedding or I would have had to wait longer. I would have had to use one of the parcel services to redirect the watch to my home in Catalonia. I had my mom put the watch on charge for me the day before I was due in England. As soon as I arrived I was able to put the watch on and start the setup process. It takes a few minutes to get it ready with the pairing to the iPhone, which is done by photographing a moving image on the watch. This process was fancy in the extreme and as pretty as you would expect from Good and Geeky Apple Watch.



Setting up the Apple watch

I took the advice of other Apple watch users not to set up all of the applications available at set up. It is far better to get the setup done quickly and then to choose just the applications you really want at a later stage. If you set them all up at the initial stage, you end up with too many beeps and buzzes on your wrist with all of the notifications. There are enough things to consider and to work out. Enough things to get used to with the operating system of the watch and it is better to do without too many distractions. I was in a bit of a rush anyway as I had to go out and meet somebody. I was still delighted with my Apple Watch first impressions using just the pre-installed applications.

Nymeria 2015 05 08 21

I like to have a digital readout on a watch and so I chose the modular watch face as it gives me the most information in one small digital screen. I use the timer quite often so I have the bottom left-hand corner to give me a readout for the timer. The one in the lower centre, I use to show my health application stats so I get quick access to how much I am moving, exercising or standing during the day. The bottom right complication I have set to show me the battery level. In the centre of the display it shows me the calendar, which is handy to see the next item coming up for the day. The top left corner is where I have the date and day showing. I have just about everything on the watch I need. I might change the battery level indicator at some point, now I know I don’t need to monitor it quite so much.

The best things about the Apple Watch

Apple Watch health and fitness

IMG 1547

After being a Fitbit user for a few weeks prior to getting the watch, I knew I would be making good use of the health and fitness facilities of the watch. I like that I can quickly check my pulse rate and it is marvellous I’m able to make a game of using calories, exercising and not sitting down too much during the day. Initially I set the goal for the calories too high and I’ve had to reduce it to something more manageable. It is pretty easy for me to be standing for the one-minute of each of 12 hours. It is not too difficult either for me to hit the exercise mark for the day. For example, this morning with a normal walk of the dog I have racked up 22 of the 30 minutes required of the daily exercise. I like to see the colourful rings on the fitness application spinning around as the hours pass to make up the completed circles.

IMG 1548

Sending and receiving messages on the Apple Watch

Apple Watch Messages

Apple Watch Emoticons

It is extremely useful to quickly see a message arrive on the watch and to respond even quicker. I don’t tend to use the canned messages too much at the moment, although I might if I set up some new, more personalised messages of my own. When using Siri to reply to a message I’m finding it is very accurate with the speech to text. It really isn’t necessary to have any sort of keyboard and if I wanted to create a more complicated message then I can hand off to the iPhone. If the message is correctly interpreted or good enough to send (perhaps just one small mistake) I can choose to send it off as it is. If Siri hasn’t done a good job with the conversion of my voice into text, the best thing to do is to send it off as an audio. With Apple giving us that option messaging on the Apple watch works just right. As of now, I have only used the emojis just once, sending a smiley face to my mother. When my wife gets an Apple Watch then I will be able to send her the hearts as well as being able to send little drawings. At the moment, I don’t know anybody else with an Apple Watch to whom I can send any drawings. I can’t imagine any instances either when I will be sending my heartbeat to any other person.

Controlling Overcast

Apple Watch Overcast

With my initial try of using the Overcast application on my Apple Watch, I didn’t think it was going to work out too well for me. This is because when I wanted to get to Overcast I would have to find it in the glances or to have the application already open. I would have to make a number of presses or gestures on the screen to get into the application. It wasn’t really going to do what I wanted it to do. I have recently found that it is possible for me to set the watch so instead of opening up to the watch face when I lift my wrist, it will open up to my last used application. It is working out okay with Overcast if I set it as the application presently being used. I can then lift my wrist and press the pause or play button. I still have the option of controlling Overcast from the iPhone as I often have to reduce the volume quickly, for example if I need to answer a phone call.

Looking at photos

You would think with it being such a small screen, it wouldn’t be very useful for showing photos. On account of the fact I have a grandson who is as cute as a box of kittens, I do like to have one or two photos available if I get the need to have a quick look.

Other applications on my Apple Watch

Apple Watch Heyday

Some of the applications are quite slow to operate. An application I use for automatic life logging is Heyday. Is quick enough on the Apple Watch. It is quite simple and gives me the opportunity to add a quick note which is useful. Or I can have a look at the Heyday for the day. A good application and it will be staying on the watch.

Another application I use all the time on both my iPhone and on my Mac is Day One. I have just set up Day One so it can access my location and show it on the Apple watch. I can do a one touch for a simple post such as if I am working. DayOne App on the Apple Watch gave me the opportunity to add a photo, but you have to be really quick in choosing before the screen goes blank. Same with adding any text using Siri, you have to be quick or the screen goes blank and you lose the text you put in. The application Day One on the Apple Watch is not perfect, but is moderately helpful for the moment. We are only on version 1 and I do expect it to get better.

It’s a good start for the Apple Watch

Messages Apple Watch

I do love technology and part of using the Apple Watch is about living like I’m already in the future. It seems fantastic to be making phone calls using a watch or sending messages from the wrist. It is, as Apple says, a very personal device. It is a computer you wear. I like it and I am very pleased that I have got it. Although the Apple Watch is quite expensive, I feel that I am getting good value from the money spent considering what the device can do. I don’t have to be playing with the watch all the time and I can leave my phone in my pocket more often. That is a good thing and may result in better battery life in the phone. I can certainly see the Apple Watch is going to play a big part in my techno inspired life. I love my tech having an influence upon my life in terms of organising myself and being healthy. Something like this might not be for everybody, but I think it is totally bloody brilliant.




Posted in Apple Watch.

Not being in the first wave of countries for the Apple Watch

Cross Border Ordering the Apple Watch

I can’t help it, but every now and then I check the order on the Apple site for my new watch. Yesterday I saw that there had been some changes and I wasn’t too happy about it. They were checking the credit card, which had already been checked when I placed the order 12 days ago. They said that the bank had declined, but that was a load of rubbish. What they had done was to flag the order because it was what they called cross-border ordering. This is because I live in Spain so I have a Spanish bank account and I have put my order in on the UK site. I have ordered products from the UK Apple Store in this exact same way before and I wasn’t expecting any problems. Apple must be having problems with people from various countries making orders on the country sites that are in the first wave for the Apple Watch. We have no idea when countries like Spain will be getting the Apple watch so that people like me can make the purchase. Same with Italy and people like the Federico Viticci who has made his order through the German website. On account of the fact that I am British, I declare that I have a right to be able to order from the United Kingdom website.

Apple Apple Watch

Sorting the problem out

I was unable to change the details on the website or the page for the credit card. I clicked in a good few places and was unable to find anywhere I could do it. This was the case when I was first of all trying to get them to reauthorise using my own credit card and also later when I was trying to change to a different credit card. At first I thought it was due to the exchange rates and I put extra money into my bank account to make sure there was plenty of wiggle room. It didn’t make any difference anyway, because that wasn’t where the problem lay. Finally the account gave me a number to ring in the UK and that’s what I did. I got speaking to a nice young man who was pretty helpful even though he didn’t have all of the answers. He left me waiting for a couple of times while he asked to his supervisor for answers. He was polite and useful and was confident in what he was doing. Eventually it was decided that I needed to add a UK-based credit card to the order and so I needed to ring up my mother. My mom said she would be able to put it through on her credit card and I can give her the cash when I see her next week at the wedding of my nephew. I did explore the possibilities of me buying myself Apple gift cards to put on the account and paying for the watch that way. The Apple guy had to ask his supervisor about that one and the answer came back in the negative.

Talking to a different operative at Apple

It would have been great to get the same person again when ringing back, especially as this second person was a bit wishy-washy and useless. She spent more time making me wait and asking her supervisors and was generally not too confident when speaking to me. You wouldn’t want to be asking her any questions beyond the very easy ones. Eventually she was able to add my mother’s credit card to the account and I’m still not sure if she got that completely correct. She had the name, the credit card number and expiry date. I would have expected her to need the security number that is the 3 digit number off the back of the card, but she didn’t want it. I am expecting to have to do more working out at a later stage to make sure this Apple watch order works out properly. I went back to my order and it is still showing as being paid for on my own credit card. It is not showing me anyway where I can change it to the other credit card on the account now. I will have to keep an eye on this for the next few days and I’m hoping I don’t have to go into complaining mode if they cancel the order or something stupid like that. The next option would be to ask my mother to start a new order in her own name. With the backlog of orders for the Apple Watch that would mean an extra couple of months waiting for the watch. That would be very annoying and I’m not going to let it come to that.

Posted in Apple Watch.

Voice Dream iOS text to speech

 

I have to say that I am really pleased with the application called Voice Dream. I got this application because I wanted to have something to listen to when I’d run out of downloaded podcasts. VoiceDream is a useful tool to have when I am out of podcasts in my podcast listing application Overcast. What I do is to load up some PDF documents or I can load up a webpage and have a really nice voice talking to me. I can bring documents in from Dropbox and one or two other places as well. I am still testing out all the different ways I can use this application and I love what I see and hear so far. I also got this application so that I could have it read my writing to me so that I could listen for where I have made mistakes and I can perhaps change things.

Voice Dream

The application comes with some default voices which are okay and I bought one for two €2.99 to see if it was any better. In the trial in the app it sounded a little bit better. I bought another voice for €4.99 which is even better again.

 

Voicedream

There are a few different voices you can choose from based on different places in the world. So you can use an American voice or British English voice or Australian voice even. I have chosen a voice which goes by the name of Amy and is sounds very good indeed. I also bought a male voice called Hugh. I also like the voice called Rachel which sounds a little more soothing.

Tried using Voice Dream reading a longer piece of text, a public document domain book as I want to be able to listen to stories while I am working. It is much better than listening to music because I can’t plug any headphones in and music is better in stereo.

It did take me a little while to work out how to get the text from the webpage into the document for it to start reading. I had to choose a button to do some sort of smart save. Then the app was able to do a good job of bringing in just the part I wanted to listen to from the webpage. It brought in just the main body of text and didn’t bring in the extra bits you find around the edges in the sidebars et cetera.

There is an editor so I can put my own words into the application. I can also bring in words through iTunes. I see there is an option to bring in books from the Guttenberg project. These are full-length books which are in the public domain.

So can I recommend Voice Dream to use for generating voice from text? Absolutely, it is well worth getting the free version to try out. It only reads a short piece and stops in the free version. The standard voices are useable but sound a little robotic compared to the extras available as in-app purchases.

Posted in iOS apps.