British Library Sound Map – Sheffield

The British Library has a project just started where the general public can record short soundscapes to be kept and archived for posterity. The pilot phase is happening right in the gorgeous city of Sheffield.

There was an article about it on BBC Radio 4’s World Tonight yesterday (listen via iPlayer from 39min42sec to 44mins) plus an article in the Sheffield Telegraph.

I spent my lunchtime recording some soundscapes in town, geo tagging and uploading them. By the time I got back to my desk they had already made it onto the British Library Sound Map.

Here’s my tweet about it. Follow the #uksm on Twitter.

Application of this concept has some great potential for education. It also shows what a multi-tool the smart phone has become.

So if you want to be a little part of history, get recording sounds to Audioboo. More details are on my previous blog post about Audioboo.


Audioboo – podcasting has never been so easy

Here’s the history part: I started creating podcasts over half a decade ago. I created and ran courses about podcasting when no one else was interested. I even ran them locally for the community in conjunction with the local BBC centre. Initially it was reasonably technical to create podcasts. There was all the teaching of how to use Audacity, uploading the files somewhere, and to make an enhanced podcast you had to turn to a Mac and use three line-code programmes (pre-Garageband I’m talking here).

More recently running parallel to this we’ve seen the ever simplification of video production and upload, particularly to YouTube via Flip cameras, etc. I remember a couple of years ago working with Qik on a smart phone when it was in private alpha testing and then with Flixwagon as well with the idea of creating and streaming video from a mobile to such a site and then automatically squirting it out to YouTube and creating a vblog or video podcast. (I might revisit this idea with different hardware.) But there are still some things were video isn’t really necessary. If I just want to make some notes or regular comments to myself and/or others then my ‘talking head’ is surplus to requirements and just eats up bandwidth unnecessarily.

Well I’ve just found the easiest of podcasting solution and it’s Audioboo. This is an audio recording site that enables you to create high quality audio recordings direct from an iPhone or Android phone via some apps, or you can use the website if you don’t have one of those phone times, and before it’s rolled out to other phones.

There’s an editor built into the site, so you can cut out the bad bits from your recordings. Use the embed code to stick your ‘boos’ into a blog or elsewhere. However, it goes on from there, because it makes it easy to syndicate your feed via iTunes or via the ‘RSS’ (Atom) feed. And there’s more, there is also a social element to Audioboo where you follow and have followers – Twitter stylee. You can also link in with your Twitter account.

Here’s the 2min vid:

The British Library are using public uploads to Audioboo to create a soundscape map of the UK; simply tag your uploads uksm for possible inclusion.

I’ve set up an account that I’m going to use as an impromptu, quick and convenient podcasting platform for notes on new tech for education. Check me out at Minimarkuos.

Apps Inventor

Back in March I wrote about PhoneGap the JavaScript programming app which could be used to create Android and iPhone Apps. Well earlier this month on the Google Blog was a post about App Inventor;

a new tool in Google Labs that makes it easy for anyone—programmers and non-programmers, professionals and students—to create mobile applications for Android-powered devices.

Importantly, it’s now available for anyone to use, after a year of testing.

Here’s the vid:

Google Docs on Android

So I’ve been playing with and liking Swype. I’ve set up a quick WordPress blog and installed the WordPress App so I can quickly write notes and post a blog without much effort. Not so much microblogging as miniblogging.

What I also thought I’d be able to do was to edit Google Docs directly from my phone. That’s what I thought, but I was wrong. It turned out Android isn’t set up to do that. But there is an App called GDocs that is supposed to help out with this and allow you to edit your Docs. However, again my experiment was dashed by problems as GDocs doesn’t seem to work on the HTC Desire. Whilst I could download documents to the App on the phone and edit, the upload didn’t work as it should. So the search goes on. Hopefully there’ll be a solution; possibly the next upgrade on GDocs will do the job, or maybe Google will release a solution before too long. Fingers crossed.

Swype for Android

It’s not often that you encounter something that significantly changes the way you do things in such a subtle fashion. I’ve signed up for the Beta of Swype for Android. Registration will probably only be open for a few days; demand is high.

So what is Swype? Well it’s a new means of inputting text into an Android device (at least for starters). I’ve a feeling this is going to be on so many devices in the future. I’m sure there’s a complex algorithm under the bonnet, but this is so quick and easy to use it’s going to make a significant different to the way I’ll be able to work into the future. For example, I’m thinking of creating a mobile blog for jotting down quick thoughts throughout the day, and Swype will make that practical and possible. It’s so easy to get started with using as well.

The special thing about Swype is the way you just slide your finger or thumb across the keypad and spell out the word, increasing the input rate significantly from the customary double thumb approach preferred by many. So much so that the texting world record has recently been set using Swype.

This video of a presentation by the CEO (perhaps a bit long but you don’t need to watch it all) demonstrates things better.

[ ?posts_id=1378748&dest=-1]

There’s a set of Swype tips videos on Youtube. This one shows you a trick to type even faster:

PhoneGap – JavaScript programming apps for iPhone, Android, & more

I found this last night and noted it on Squire’s Daily Interest until I could write a post here.

PhoneGap looks sooooo interesting. It allows native phone apps to be produced for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and more in JavaScript.

It started from a two day iPhone Dev Camp. The underlying reason for it coming into being is that there aren’t that many Objective C developers, but there are a whole lot of HTML and JavaScript programmers.

Under the MIT Licence PhoneGap will always be opensource.

There’s already a list of apps created using PhoneGap.

The download is here.

Check out the video, it explains things a whole lot better:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “PhoneGap“, posted with vodpod