Tag Archives: ipod

Speak to your iPod

I’ve been wondering if there is a way to control my iPod Touch (4g) with voice commands, especially when skiing, when, for example an Indigo Girls song comes on or something and I need to skip to something more like Mac Dre. This would also be useful when using the rowing machine at the YMCA, jogging, biking or anytime I don’t want to dig the ipod out of a pocket or backpack.

There is a way, but it took me 30 minutes on Google to figure it out, so here is the process in a few easy steps.

1. You need headphones with a button.
The ones that come with the iPod actually have a button, though I did not know that. Maybe I’m the last iPod user to know, but I don’t think it said anywhere that the microphone is also a button.

2. Push and hold the button for two seconds.
The built-in Voice Control software opens up on the ipod. Again, Apple brags about this feature on its iPod web site and has an entire support page on using Voice Control that never mentions this button. You can also push and hold the iPod Home button (the little round one at the bottom center) to bring up Voice Control. But you don’t have to download an app or anything—it’s built in to the software (I looked on the app store three times trying to find Voice Control).

3. Speak to your iPod.
You can tell it the following:

  • Play
  • Pause
  • Next song
  • Previous song
  • What is the time?

It also recognizes a bunch of other commands cataloged here.

4. Bonus. The little button can also accomplish much of this without the voice commands. Double click to skip tracks, click to pause and play. Really I just want to skip tracks though, when a bad song comes on. That’s all. The time thing is cool.

Ipod Touch as the new laptop

This is my computer setup for traveling in Mexico

I decided not to lug my laptop to Mexico for this reporting trip. Instead I´m working with my iPod Touch (4th Generation) and an external bluetooth keyboard.

It´s worked really well so far. I upgraded my iPod before I left so that I could make use of the on-board microphone and the bluetooth support that the newest iPods have. I picked up a Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000 the night before I left because I like the key action better than the Apple keyboards, which must have been made for graphic designers who can´t speal anyway. And I use a cheap plastic stand for the ipod while I´m typing.

I am using the PlainText app for typing up my notes every night and for drafting blog posts. I like the clean interface but wish I could figure out how to use bullets and maybe even embed hyperlinks. It also syncs with my Dropbox account, which is where I access all of my notes for the book anyway. That is really convenient (when I have wi-fi).

I´m using the WordPress iPhone app to blog, mostly, but again, it seems to be lacking in its ability to handle photos and links and character styles like bold, etc. Maybe there is a better one out there? I´ve had to go online to fix a lot of issues with my posts. (Right now I´m using a PC at a public library somewhere in Mexico City … I´ll have to geotag the post to find out where I am, actually.)

It also seems like PlainText screws up the hard returns on my blog posts, but I have to experiment more with that.

The new iPod takes really nice little videos, but again, I have not had stable enough wi-fi anywhere to upload them. I am using HootSuite to post to Twitter and Facebook, Skype to call home and now TextFree to send free texts (otherwise they cost me at least 50 cents apiece). I am also using SpanishDict, which does not require wi-fi and has proven pretty thorough and even hip to the times.

Oh, and most important perhaps, I use iTalk light to record interviews, though I might buy the full version when I get back.

I like the little plastic base for the iPod (from XtremeMac) but I think a sturdier one would help. There is alot of pushing on the screen even when I use the external keyboard. If I need to plug in, I just put the iPod upside down and work near an outlet.

There are only two problems: (1) A frequent lack of wi-fi and (2) the inability to transfer photos from my digital SLR camera to the iPod (computer). I toyed with the idea of using the Eye-Fi memory card in my camera, which can connect to wi-fi, but I could not figure out a good system before I left. I also found a card reader that fits in the iPod on Amazon.com before I left but I can´t find it again.

I know others are doing this type of thing, but it took me a long time to figure out all the peices in an economical way, so I thought this might help other reporters or travelers out there. Let me know if you have other suggestions or techniques.

Quick tip for Ignite/PechaKucha presentations

In a moment of clarity, I realized that my ipod screen is roughly the size of a 3×5 index card. So I’m putting my notes for tonight’s Ignite Boise 5 right on the ipod, solving two problems: (1) the screen is backlit so I can actually read it on stage and (2) I can scroll down with one finger, leaving the other hand free to hold the mic.

I’m just formatting the notes into a 20-page (20 slides=20 pages) Word doc with roughly 3 inch page width and e-mailing it to myself. Anyone who wants to make an iphone app that does this in a slicker way (maybe incorporating timing, or auto-scrolling) is hereby free to steal the idea.