Podcasting From The iPad

A few months ago, an article by the excellent Jason Snell appeared on his Six Colors site all about how Jason was tackling Podcasting from his iPad Pro.

The article quickly did the rounds with the usual entourage, with everyone seemingly being in agreement with the setup Jason proposed. If you’re interested in the specifics, feel free to jump straight over to Six Colors and give it a read. It’s okay, I’ll wait …

The TL;DR, however, can basically be summed up by the image below, that Jason shared (and presumably created) in this article.

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The thing that struck me about this setup was the seemingly over complication of the setup. I can appreciate that podcasting, to some extent, pays Jason’s bills, so quality is important to him, above convenience. To this end, the following short post isn’t a criticism of this setup, but is instead intended as a tip / bit of advice to the hobbyist Podcasting audience out there.

While my own podcast is on a very extended hiatus (if by hiatus you mean essentially dead and buried), I did have what feels like a bit of a simpler, and cheaper, setup that may be of interest.

A setup I’ve used in the past, for my solo podcast, was to simply use an iPad Pro with a Blue Yeti microphone directly connected to it. This would work with different devices, of course, but the Blue Yeti is often recommended as a good beginner mic. For Lightning iPad’s you’d need an Apple Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adaptor to connect the Mic to your iPad, or a hub of some kind for the USB-C toting iPad Pro’s.

When it comes to recording, and editing, you’d need to look no further than an app called Ferrite. I wont go into how this is done here, just suffice to say that with simply connecting a microphone directly to your iPad, and using this app, you have an incredibly powerful podcast recording and editing tool.

The spanner in the works comes when you get to the point when you need to move beyond a simple solo podcast, and start talking with multiple people at once. This is the point when Jason, and Federico Viticci it seems, requires the use of an external recording device, reducing the iPad Pro to a glorified phone. When I’ve guested on a few podcasts in the past, my solution to this has just been to use my iPhone. The setup here essentially remains the same. I would hook up a mic to my iPad Pro to record my voice talking. I would then simply call the shows host on my iPhone with some headphones attached and have that conversation separately. When I mentioned this to Viticci being a possible solution, his reply was that he didn’t want to use another device in the process, but he already was by using the external recording device. If you’re reading this site, the chances are you own an iPhone anyway, and you’d have it with you. I know Viticci certainly does, so to me using the iPhone isn’t another device you have with you like the recorder, but what do I know?

I’m clearly not implying an iPhone is cheaper / easier to get hold of than an external recording device. If you have no phone, the option of using the iPad to make calls and recording elsewhere seems sound. Like I said, however, I’d be very surprised if that was the case.

So, with the above being said, I guess the whole point of this post was to say that if you’ve been thinking about starting a podcast, you may find that it’s far easier to do than you thought, and also that you have far more of the required hardware to do it also!

🔗 Christopher Tells You EVERYTHING You Need To Know About Working Off An iPad

I don’t often share link posts here at The Dent, but a video came out today that I just had to share with you all.

YouTuber, Podcaster and all round awesome guy Christopher Lawley dropped a video he’s been working on for some time, that aims to tell you EVERYTHING you need to know about working off an iPad. While this may sound like a bold claim, Christopher does indeed do a fantastic job of detailing some of the common, yet powerful use cases of an iPad, but he also unearths some real gems.

I consider myself a bit of an iPad Power user but there were things here that I didn’t know were possible, such as dragging an address bar to the side in Safari to open a split view (two Safari pages open on screen at once, not across two or more tabs). Whatever level of iPad user you consider yourself, I can almost guarantee there will be something in this video for you.

The thing that impressed me most of all about Christopher’s video, beyond the excellent production value, is that he was able to explain some, at times, complex operations in a very concise and easy to understand way. The beauty of the iPad, whether you’re using a ‘Pro’ device or not, is that you can use it for such a wide range of tasks. You can keep it very basic, if that fits your needs, or pull off some impressive productivity tricks. I don’t like the patronising term some bloggers and podcasters use to describe normal / non-techy users, but I do believe you could show Christopher’s video to the full spectrum of iPad users and all of them would both fully understand, and appreciate the excellent tips, advice and guidance. I would highly recommend you share this with anyone that uses an iPad from day to day, whatever their use case or level of skill.

You can find the video on Christopher’s YouTube channel or via the embed below:

 

🎙 22: Does Apple Have a Hive Mind?

In this weeks podcast I had to vent a little of my aggravation about the recent news about the FaceTime bug on iOS and why I think those reporting on this need to put things into perspective a little.

Some of the more click-bait heavy publications had a field day with the news, as you’d expect, but even some of the (usually) more level headed podcasts I enjoy have taken some very odd stances on this particular ‘issue’.

You can find links to the show below:

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You can also find a direct link on the podcast page.

🎙 21: Getting My Game Face On!

So far, 2019 is shaping up to be the year of gaming here at Dent Towers. Join me on this weeks podcast while I take you through some gaming aspirations for the coming months.

I briefly discuss the new Dent Gaming channel, where you can find me on an occasional stream and clearing out my Switch backlog.

As I mention on the show this week, I’m considering adding a bit more Gaming related reviews, news, stories, and thoughts onto The Dent. If you have any thoughts on this, be they positive or negative, please do get in touch and let me know.

You can find links to the show below:

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You can also find a direct link on the podcast page.

🎙 20: A (Delayed) Look Ahead To 2019

This week I finally get around to sharing a few of the things I’m looking forward to seeing in 2019 and also take a look at some of my favourite blogs, podcasts and content creators I’m looking forward to watching continue to grow and put out some really interesting content over the coming weeks and months.

2018 was an interesting year, and I’m looking forward to what 2019 will bring.

You can find links to the show below:

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You can also find a direct link on the podcast page.

19: Are You Positive?

After a bit of a break for the festive period (apologies!) I’m back and ready to kick-start 2019 as I mean to go on, with some positivity!

I share a quick look ahead at what to expect from The Dent in 2019 and beyond. Leave your negativity at the door, please.

You can find links to the show below:

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You can also find a direct link on the podcast page.

I Wrote A Book … Sort Of

My daughter started school back in September and, since doing so, her love of reading has grown exponentially. Now that she has started learning to read to herself, there’s no stopping her. Her school has started sending some simple books home for her, and her classmates, to learn with. The problem is, these books are a little too basic for her, because currently they only have one word per page, and she was keen to try more.

As is always the case when I need something, my first port of call was Amazon, but this proved to be a fruitless exercise. Given that Amazon started life as a book store, it’s surprisingly bad to use when trying to find a book in 2018. I quickly gave up on this idea.

I moved onto Plan B.

This will likely come as a shock to you, but I adore my iPad and when I get a chance to use it for yet another task I’m a happy camper so I thought that it may just be easier to try and make something myself …

Now, I should start by saying that J.K.Rowling has nothing to worry about when it comes to my book writing ability. This isn’t a post to brag about how I’ve become a skilled novel writer overnight, it’s more about highlighting another fun thing you might enjoy using your iPad (or iPhone for that matter) for.

There are multiple ways of achieving the end result here, I’m sure, but when creating my master piece I took advantage of the following apps:

First things first, I used Pages as a basic tool for creating the basic design of the book. I’m not entirely sure how long they’ve been there, but the current version of Pages on iOS already has nine basic book templates to choose from. One of them, simply called ‘Story’, is already a basic children’s book, which is useful!

After loading up the Story template, I removed the placeholder text and began crafting my manuscript. This was, again, made for a four year old, so it’s no War and Peace …

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I duplicated each page, to keep the formatting the same, and just updated the content. All simple stuff so far, though it was obviously looking pretty bland. Given the target audience for the book, a bit of art was needed. I included the disclaimer above regarding my lack of novel writing prowess, but I’m afraid I am now going to have to include another. I cannot draw to save my life. This will be clear once you see what comes next.

A quick search on DuckDuckGo (yep, I’m a search engine hipster) and I’d found some great images to be the star of my book, Poppy. Given I will, clearly, not be selling the finished article, I was essentially free to grab a few images that I needed.

Once I had my images, I imported them into the excellent Pixelmator for the simple task of cropping out the background, leaving me with a clean image ready to use.

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Next up, the newly cropped image was copied to my iPad clipboard and I moved onto Linea Sketch to paste it into a new canvas to create the scene for the book. Linea is a really great app which is both simple, and powerful, at the same time. It’s in no way as powerful as something like Photoshop, but it’s not trying to be. Its main function is for drawing, but it does also include some basic laying functionality which was ideal for my needs. The panda images, which you can see below, were simply pasted from Pixelmator into a Linea canvas and I then added new layers for the background colour and then more for other things I needed to either also copy in, or draw, like the microphone (which was pasted in) or the expertly drawn hat.

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Once done, I had a selection of images that fit with the text I wrote early so I, once again, jumped back over to Pages to finalise things. I opened both Pages, and Linea, in a multitasking view and copied each separate Linea canvas and simply pasted the image directly into each page of the book. After a little dragging around to line things up, it was essentially done.

As a final little cherry on the top, I exported my creation out of Pages, into Apple Books, as an ePub for my daughter and I to enjoy at bed time.

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Generally speaking, my daughter doesn’t use an iPad much, especially at bed time, but on this occasion we did take the new story for a spin and it went down very well. She was able to read something herself that stretched her more and I had the satisfaction of both being able to give her what she wanted, whilst also getting even more use out of my iPad. The above process took about thirty to forty minutes to complete, at most, yet I’m pleased with the results. The book itself, on it’s own, looks pretty hideous, I know, but the fact I was able to make it so quickly was great, and the actual look was largely irrelevant to a child that just wanted to have some fun reading.

I can see a lot of potential for taking this idea further down the road, where we can maybe write and illustrate the book together next time. I’ll be sure to share some details of our next best seller as and when the big launch comes around next!

For now, however, you can breath easy J.K. your crown is safe.