Tuesday, April 26, 2005

More on the I-Talk Recorder Challenge


has an interesting hack allowing the i-Pod to record audio at a much higher sampling rate that the really horrible 8kb/sec that a standard i-Pod is crippled to. It is not that high (256 would be fine for professional recordings) but it is a long way in the right directon. This hack is not for the faint hearted and it doesn't work (yet) with 4th generation machines. But it is an excellent effort. Is Apple so dumb as to do nothing to make this a standard feature? Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 24, 2005

CURRY.COM: Adam Curry's Weblog

CURRY.COM: Adam Curry's Weblog

Adam Curry says it's time to open up beta testing of the CastBlaster podcast recording tool to a wider audience.

"In order to stomp on as many bugs as possible we need a wide variety of machines, soundcards and users. In order to make a valuable selection of beta testers, we need information about the machines it will run on. This beta is for WindowsXP users only.

Please download the small application, run it and follow the instructions on your screen. It does a scan of your soundcard and outputs the results to your screen with a button to send it in an email to our development team.

In this phase of our beta, testers will be selected based on their mixer output. Once we have this step done, we can move to a public beta! "

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Griffin's iTrip Review

Fancy starting your own neighbourhood FM Radio station? Costs just under 50 Euro from people like iPod Europe ;Posted by Hello

In theory, the iTrip in Europe is illegal, or not licensable is properly a better description. Yet at the Business fair TINE in Amsterdam this past week, there were racks of the iTrips on sale. You plug it into the headphone jack of an iPod and tune in the output of your iPod on any FM radio (87.5 - 108 MHz). Great for listening to podcasts round the house.

In theory, you can do the same thing in the car. Is say, in theory. The FM airwaves in the Netherlands are really full and so picking the right "quiet spot" on the dial becomes a real challenge. As I start out from my location, one channel is quiet, but by the time I've gone 15 kms further, I'm starting to get breakthrough from a local radio station in the town I am driving through. People forget there are over 300 local (community) radio stations in this country, many with a slightly more powerful iTrip of their own.

The iTrip from Griffin is not going to cause a massive increase in interference levels or have the authorities tracing you with detector vans. (There was a pirate in Huizen once that used a 20 watt FM transmitter as a babyphone. He and his wife connected the babyphone to a homebuilt FM TX and then went to visit friends in the next town. If the baby woke up, they could hear it and be back at the house in 5 minutes. That explained wierd broadcasts of a ticking clock. But I digress. The in-built transmitter in the iTrip has a power of a few milliWatts and the range in my house is from one room to the next (less than the wi-fi on the ASDL modem) and just a few feet in the car (range not helped by the fact that the FM transmitter is inside the car and the car antenna is at the back of the car on the outside - well shielded in fact. Also, the i-pod needs a holder or it starts flying around all over the place.

Is it worth 50 Euro? I bought one in the US for 50 US dollars, and I'm pleased with it. I use it mainly at home as a simple way of transporting audio around the house. The signal needs to be strong, or the FM receiver picks up a lot of extra noise - especially during the summer when there is more long-distance FM propagation possible. But Griffin can't help that - and they have come up with a simple and neat solution. I use it to listen to radio interviews I have just made on the way back to base. I am using the Archos for those recordings, not the I-pod....see why in another posting.

I know some US cars are starting to put 3.5 mm jacks inside the car as an auxillary input to the car-sound system. Wonder if BMW will do the same shortly? Naah...the software in my BMW phone was designed in 1999. Can I upgrade?.....yes by buying a new car. It is amazing that software and hardware costing a few tens of Euros is not an easy option in a car costing tens of thousands!

iReporter with Griffin's iTalk?

Plans to be an i-reporter? Posted by Hello

The short answer is NO...not unless Apple does a software upgrade. As a dictation machine, the iTalk on top of an iPod is a great idea and extremely convenient. The only problem is that there is only one recording quality 8 kb/sec, which is worse than phone quality, especially if there is any hint of background noise. On big speakers it sounds dreadful. Is this because Griffin have a crappy quality microphone inside? No, it is Apple that has set the recording quality so low. That's a shame because the microphone in the iTalk is actually fine.

So for the moment, I would NOT recommend this solution to budding podcasters/broadcasters. When you bump into the most interesting interviewee of your career, you'll want to capture their wisdom in better quality.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Apple Final Cut Pro at NAB

Today at NAB, Apple introduced its new HD video production suite, called Final Cut Studio which includes new versions of Apple's Pro video and audio apps: Final Cut Pro 5, Soundtrack Pro, Motion 2, and DVD Studio Pro 4. The press release outlines the following:-

Final Cut Pro 5 features include:
Real-time, native High Definition DV editing
Multicamera editing
Dynamic RT

Soundtrack Pro features include:

Waveform editor with Action layers
Intelligent Find-and-Fix
Over 50 effect plug-ins and Audio Unit support

Motion 2 features include:
GPU-Accelerated 32-bit float rendering
Replicator for animating waves of repeating graphics or movies along user-defined grids.
FxPlug, which ushers in a new breed of third-party filter effects using full 32-bit processing.

DVD Studio Pro 4 features include:

Distributed encoding
Dolby Digital Professional encoder

In the USA, the Final Cut Studio will be available next month for US $1,299. Registered users from any previous version of Final Cut Pro can upgrade for $699, while Production Suite customers can upgrade for $499. Final Cut Pro 5 ($999), Soundtrack Pro ($299), Motion 2 ($299) and DVD Studio Pro 4 ($499) will also be sold separately.

I-River MP3 Recorder

Anyone had experience with the flash recorders from I-River. I hear great things, but the availability of I-river is poor in this part of Holland. Contacted customer service in Germany two weeks ago....not yet graced with any reply. But we live in hope.

Adobe Buys Macromedia

Shockwave news. Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq: ADBE) today announced a definitive agreement to acquire Macromedia (Nasdaq: MACR) in an all-stock transaction valued at around US $3.4 billion. Macromedia stockholders will receive, at a fixed exchange ratio, 0.69 shares of Adobe common stock for every share of Macromedia common stock in a tax-free exchange. Based on Adobe’s and Macromedia’s closing prices on Friday April 15, 2005, this represents a price of $41.86 per share of Macromedia common stock.

The combination of Adobe and Macromedia probably means that some of the programs from both of the companies will be discontinued. I wonder which ones they will be? Anybody using Adobe Audition out there? Pleased with it? I never really got used to Adobe Premiere, prefering Videofactory (now owned by Sony) for editing on the Windows Platform.

Wonder if this marriage of two big platforms making Mac software is a goof thing for Mac Users? Great if it means they get the best of both worlds. Bad news if they get lazy as a result of a lack of competition. Time will tell.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Been playing with the Creative Mini, which includes a microphone as part of the deal. However, operation of the in-built mike is through a sub-menu which is kind of fiddly if you're in a hurry. Quality is OK for simple stuff, but there are better solutions. Watch this space. Posted by Hello