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Recordium – a reporter’s toolbox

What’s a reporter’s worst problem with recording interviews, statements and conferences?

Finding the quote you want to enliven your report, particular when proceedings can go on for over an hour: some organizations believe we judge news conferences by the quantity not quality.

A young journalism student in the U.K. facing just this kind of problem sat down to program an app that could help him in his work.

The result was Recordium, available in free and pro versions for a modest price.

Its obvious help is that you can tag recordings as you go along or make notes.

But that’s not all the assistance it offers to a harried reporter.

You select the eecordings you need and extract them to another file, with or without annotations. You can move your tags and notes to different parts of the file easily. You can back up automatically to iCloud so that you can access files on any Apple device, e.g. record on your iPhone and e dit on yoir iPad or iPod.

Google Accordium and you’ll learn that it can automatically pause when you receive a call on your cellphone, save space by not recording silent passages, and compressing mp3/4 files to save space. You can also save in other formats. I haven’t tried these yet, but the files are amazingly small.

The latest version got some stick from users for no longer saving to Dropbox and for its interface, but I found it intuitive: simply stretch the waveline to zoom in on passages.

The default name for files was the date and time. The edit button brought me to snip or delete, with an obvious arrow to expand or shorten the selection on either side. Then I had the choice to save with or without annotations, or cancel. Simples.

If only it would turn speech into text…


Why are we waiting? One answer

Don't quite know how, but I had over 150 apps waiting to update. And I mean waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

I hunted via the search engines. The most common advice was to restore your old system.

i.e. lose all your updates since whenever.

One guy even boasted he had an old version from some time before.

So I tried that. Thought I'd be clever and back up to the cloud, since I had an earlier version on the computer.

Clicked backup to iCloud, and Backup Now.

Not so clever. The iPad chose to back up to the computer, overwriting my old backup.

Anyway, I hit restore. After the requisite century of computer time (I guess about five minutes), my iPad came back to life.

However, I still had 160+ downloads to take care of.

This time I went to the Purchased section, and tried swiping left and right, as some had recommended, which would supposedly take away of old app and bring in the new.

No response.

Thinking I might delete the item, I pressed on an icon (well, several) until the details in iTunes Store. This time the spinning circle went away and told me to update. Which I did and for a few it worked.

The others just kept spinning. Or sat there with a square blob in the middle of the circle, whatever that means.

Now I've read something that seems to work:

1. Attach your iPad to the computer where you do all your iOS work.

2. When it has recognized your iPad go to the File menu and select Apps from the dropdown list.

3. Across the top bar there should be an Updates tab. The bottom of the screen should show an Update All Apps button. Press it.

4. Wait for the requisite compteter century.

5. Sync the iPad and iTunes.

You'll still have more than a hundred apps 'waiting' to update, but at least they'll be on your machine and ready to use.

I presume Apple will sort it out sometime soon, though the chatrooms suggest it has happened before.

iOS7: read all about it

Ios7Mashable has pulled out all the stops for the release of iOS 7. It tells you what to do before you install it, what are the new features, what the new Software Developers' Kit involves, and promises more over the next week.

So what is new apart from the switch to flat icons (Microsoft was first there), a new font, card-style thumbing through open apps, and 'parallax' viewing of backgrounds to make Mashable declare it the biggest update since 2.0?

The biggest new feature seems to be the Control Centre, allowing you to launch various settings by swiping up. It took me some time (three days) to find out how call up the search facility. Instead of pressing the Home button from the Home screen but swipe down from the screen you are on. I kept opening up the Calendar instead (I was swiping down from too high).

Another, unseen, is the facility to exchange info with other iOS devices nearby. Perhaps that will save me emailing my wife with interesting Web pages. I'll report on this later.

However, Gizmodo reports that with iOS7 your tablet and iPhone will hook up to wi-fi and 3G simultaneously. If you are playing something in iTunes and leave the house, you should not notice any break in the transmission.

ReadWriteWeb has a whole article on the slew of mysteries about iOS7, such as the blue dots and battery-draining automatic updating or refreshing of apps in the background. And there's another on the 'three most annoying' innovations of iOS7.

No doubt the start of a series.

Meanwhile, there's a slew of Apps to update.


Which Reader? One person’s guide

If you want a review of those RSS reader apps out there sice the demise of Google's, try AppAdvice's summary by Christine Chan, which goes through various free and fee options. My current favourite, Newsify, isn't mentioned, but it uses the Feedly engine, which is. I also have Instapaper, Readability and iAwriter but haven't used them enough to rate them.


Skypers: try these tips

Mashable is offering nine tips for Skypers. The best for me is the one that enables you to give people you are talking to an indication of your landline or cell phone number, as if you are calling them from there. You’ll need to receive two text messages to set it up but it won’t cost you anything.

The others include setting up Skype hotkeys and backing up your contacts. Adding to your favourites, personalizing your notifications and sending a video message are some of the other options.


Which text writer? A full comparison

Brett Terpstra, who with the aid of crowd-sourcing, has produced a chart of the major iText editors (for iPad and iPhone) has updated his chart as of 15 August 2013.

Which comes top’ It depends what you want.

Snaffily, Terpstra enables you to click on essential items and it will remove any that don’t offer these facilities.

Truth in advertising: I have several of these programs, but I mainly use Textastic and Coda (for HTML) and UX Write or Writing Kit for ordinary texts (though both the latter do html).

Sadly, these are among the most expensive of the editors available.

Textastic ($9.99) works with Text Expander (for shortcuts). Not that I use it for that. It has a handy FTP facility for downloading and editing Webpages. Its page viewer is not that great (unless your CSS is local). But it also good for plain text.

For proper views of my Web pages I call up Diet Coda ($19.99), which is designed for Web editors. This edits the pages on your site. As a result, it can offer proper views of your pages. But, unlike Textastic, you can’t edit them offline. TT is my usual choice when I don’t need to see the pages before I post them (i.e. I am just editing the content).

Both make anticipatory offerings of what your html code might be, and both support HTML5 very well.

UX Write ($24.99)  will create and edit Word 2007 or HTML documents. I use it a lot for academic drafting, though it still can’t do footnotes/endnotes.

The chart, by the way, does not rate the editors for footnoting.  The full MsWord compatibility makes UK Write worth my money if not yours. But I can’t wait for the next version.

My last editor, WritingKit ($4.99) does Markdown (simplified HTML), exports to HTML, and in contrast to the others has a built-in Web browser and search engine (DuckDuckGo, a nerds’ favourite option against Google). You can cut and paste easily from Web pages into WritingKit and import the URLs. So it’s the one I return to often, and is the one I’d pick as my top choice if you could only afford one. But let’s hope not.

Google Reader has expired…Now what?

Several of my news apps have stopped working with the demise of Google Reader on 1 July 2013.

As a result, I’ve been forced to look again at the news aggregators on my iPad to find a substitute.

I’ve praised FeeddlerPro before, and Newsify. But Feedly has become my current news app of choice.

It’s recently undergone a face-lift. The tiling is much better now than Newsify. It saves pages to Pocket without problems. Newsify in fact uses Feedly to deliver
its news.


But I am not sure how long it will last. Newsify is better (plain) at telling me how many items I have left to read. Feeddler has a free version but you need
the $4.99 pro aggregator to save to Pocket, Evernote etc.

Feedly’s newslisting is like Newsify’s.


Look at Flipboard

Honestly, though, none of the readers is as good as Flipboard, if you can take the selection of items it offers. Its more customizable now than it used to be, but whether it gives you all you want is an open question. It does have a neat Flipit bookmarklet for your browser to put texts into Flipboard,
so you can use it as a version of Pocket.

If you just want a version of Google Reader one man has produced an app that apes GR as closely as possible. Gizmodo has
an article on 10 alternatives
, of which only Feedly and Flipboard feature here.

For me the point of RSS is to get news you won’t receive otherwise. After all, Google News is still active.

None of these readers gives me news I wouldn’t see otherwise, however. For  that I have to go to StumbleUpon.  It has a section called Alternative News and lots of specialty filters that  give me better news than the readers on digital tech. It also works on my ordinary  computer. But you need to send a page to Safari to save it.


I still need the readers though for the filters from Techdirt, Lifehacker, Gizmodo and Mashable. I have their apps but hardly use them. I need them aggregated.

Byline comes in a free (with unobtrusive ads) and a paid ($2.99) version. This is what the free version enables you to do, including save to Pocket:


It advertises that you can read your feeds offline, and works with Feedly as its supplier. It looks pretty much the same to me as Newsify on the iPad. But
you can try it for yourself on the iPhone and check out what looks best.

You could try DVice if your interests are technological. But this doesn’t aggregate like the others, and look at the side listing for the article I’ve highlighted.