Recently I was being Pedantic about Podcasts. Trying to point out that the important thing about podcasts is the way they are distributed making it is be easy to listen as we wash the dishes or drive to work.

I posted about this before: EDUtalk: How to Listen.

Once you get this set up to be automatic it makes listen to podcasts as easy as listening to the radio.

I started way back, syncing podcasts to an iPod. One I got my first iPhone I used that, trying a few different apps before settling on  Overcast.

A few weeks ago I deleted Overcast as I was running out of space to record a movie, planning to reinstall ASAP.

Last week as I went to do this, on a whim,  I spent £3.99 on Castro 2 instead. It turns out that this app matches my listening habits better than overcast. I’d guess, from memory, it has less settings and options but that is not a bad thing.

I listen to podcasts mostly on my 45 minute commute home. I am interested in more podcasts than would fill that amount of time. Castro lets me subscribe to a bunch of podcasts and queue up (and download) only the episodes I want to hear. It does this in a very simple way.

  • New episodes from the feeds I am subscribed to get listed in my inbox.
  • From there you can quickly add then to your queue, at the end or at the top. At this point they get downloaded.
  • You can set any feed to have its episodes automatically added to the queue.
  • You can archive episodes, you don’t loose them but they get out of the inbox.
  • You can queue episodes from your archive or the discovery tab. That means you can search or paste the url to a podcast into the discovery tab and see the episodes, you can add one to the queue without subscribing.

Once in the queue you can rearrange the episodes and they play in order. Each moves to the archive after it is played. Importantly for me, the next queued episode plays automatically.

Bonus, as you add an episode to the queue there is a nice wee animation as seen in the featured image of this post (my image is a gif, speed and quality are not reflections of the app.)

 

iMovie, Numbers, Keynote, Pages, and GarageBand for both Mac and iOS devices have been updated and are now listed in the App Store for free.

Apple Makes iMovie, GarageBand, and iWork Apps for Mac and iOS Free for All Users – Mac Rumors

Worth noting, although these are free already on new devices. This will help classes like mine whose iOS devices are on their second Apple ID.

Also good for distributing through MDM, which seems to be the idea.

Also Clips

On the other hand, people have taken to calling any audio file a ‘podcast’, which is less great. It’s a podcast only if it is syndicated; otherwise, it’s just an audio file.

Open Word—The Podcasting Story ~ Stephen Downes

It is nice to see the increased interest in podcasting in generally, in the tech realm and in education. Good too to see this important point. An MP3 is not a podcast, the delivery system of an RSS feed with enclosures is. Or the fact that a podcast, if you subscribe is pushed to a you or your podcatcher.

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The Web itself is pretty special – Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of a global hyperlinked information system. A system that was – ideally at least – openly available and accessible to everyone, designed for the purpose of sharing information and collaborating on knowledge-building endeavors. That purpose was not, at the outset, commercial. The technologies were not, at the outset, proprietary.

Source: Why ‘A Domain of One’s Own’ Matters (For the Future of Knowledge)

Nice concise post about why the web is important as compared to silos on the web.

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     And that’s the Web. That’s your domain. You cultivate ideas there – quite carefully, no doubt, because others might pop by for a think. But also because it’s your space for a think.

 

Mobiles and mobile apps are becoming more powerful every day. Back in August last year I downloaded and installed Universe. Clearly marked as a beta it allowed you to make verses, these were a grid of media that could be mixed: photos, video, text, maps and sounds. There was different types of interactivity and you could even put html and javascript in a verse.

I played around with this occasionally, mashing up the contents of my camera roll. The app crashed occasionally and the creations were only really visible inside the app. Still it was fun, and interesting to see what others made with it.

Yesterday I got a email, the betas was over and new version was out and it had changed tack. Universe was now a tool to build websites. I downloaded it and made a page within about 3 minutes: ‎john.onuniverse.com.

Hosting on an onuniverse.com subdomain is free, but you can pay for a domain.

When I tried the original betas version it felt as if the lack of publishing to the web was the main problem. This is now fixed. The new version lacks many of the interactive features of the beta, but it share the same easy to use interface. On creating or editing a page you have a 3 by 5 grid. Clicking on a square on the grid or dragging over several (so you can have a larger block) allows you to edit that square. You choose the type of content and then edit. Once you are finished a click or two and the site is published.

Publishing to the web from your phone is nothing new, I blogs from my iPhone, have edited sites with text editors and there are lots of ways to publish. Universe stands out as one of the easiest ways to put up a neat page quickly while on the go.

Adding further pages to your site is at the moment not as elegant as it could be, they don’t share the same sub-domain. There is no support for animated gifs (converted to jpgs), videos can only be 3 seconds long and loop in a gif like manner. I’d love to see support from some of the ways that the ‘old’ universe animated sections of the grid and sound could be played. I guess that might come. But overall this is a really nice way to make a website very quickly.

If you want a quick individual about me page for an event or to knock up a page for your days photos on the bus home, this is the app for you. I wonder too if it could be used in education. From a data protection pov I am not sure where it would stand, but it could be fun for pupils to build wee sites.

Featured image: combine screenshots of the app.

Some links:

Also on:

Google says it can’t trust our self-hosted AMP pages enough to pre-render them. But they ask for a lot of trust from us. We’re supposed to trust Google to cache and host copies of our pages. We’re supposed to trust Google to provide some mechanism to users to get at the original canonical URL. I’d like to see trust work both ways.

Source: Adactio: Journal—In AMP we trust

Reading above my pay grade again.

More about Google’s AMP stuff here: Google AMP is good for mobile web users – but what about publishers? | Media | The Guardian

One of the things it does is present your content quickly without all the javascript that slows pages down, but it also seems to hijack the ULR and give the material a google one.

Given Schools should teach pupils how to spot ‘fake news’ – BBC News, it might make understanding and evaluating content even harder.

Facebook was the key to the entire campaign, Wigmore explained. A Facebook ‘like’, he said, was their most “potent weapon”. “Because using artificial intelligence, as we did, tells you all sorts of things about that individual and how to convince them with what sort of advert. And you knew there would also be other people in their network who liked what they liked, so you could spread. And then you follow them. The computer never stops learning and it never stops monitoring.”

from: Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media | Politics | The Guardian

Carole Cadwalladr’s article in today’s Observer, is both fascinating and frightening. The technology used by Cambridge Analytics is incredibly  powerful the use it has ben put too worrying. Andy Wigmore, Leave.EU’s comms director in the quote above doesn’t have a Facebook account quoted in the same article:

It is creepy! It’s really creepy! It’s why I’m not on Facebook! I tried it on myself to see what information it had on me and I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ What’s scary is that my kids had put things on Instagram and it picked that up. It knew where my kids went to school.

Featured image on this post created with a wee AppleScript Makes auto complete google search gifs.

Also on:

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been playing with the Fridge I blogged about the other day.

I was feeling pretty please with myself until I got a DM for Eric earlier this (UK) evening. He noticed that the dolch list on the screenshot of the webpage I had made was pretty much the same one he had used on an activity he had made and blogged about: Control Alt Achieve: Wintertime Magnetic Poetry with Google Drawings. It was the same list. I remember seeing his site when I google dolch or wordlist. I can remember copying the list but I must have done so. I didn’t keep the list, replacing it on Sunday with a full (or almost full) dolch list. But I did take and use Eric’s curation of the list without attribution at the time.

Eric was gracious enough to DM me rather than call me out publicly, giving me a wee bit of breathing room to put things right for which I am grateful.

I am particularly embarrassed as I spend a fair bit of time talking about copyright and creative commons, the image search in the fridge provides automatic attribution. I’ve often blogged about it and the difficulty in getting pupils away from a straight google search. In the previous post, I credit Tom Woodward for the idea, and link to the code I’ve used. I just didn’t even think about the words and the work involved in curating a list. I am now presuming that my using the dolch list is ok?

Eric was also kind enough not to suggest I’d taken the whole idea from his template, which looks like a quite reasonable assumption. Here I can only plead I’ve been playing with virtual fridge magnets for a while, this effort: fridge is from 2002. Made with Flash and flamethrower (sic) 1.

I’ve added some attribution to The Fridge now, I’ll update any help for it that I produce and link to this post from Sundays shortly.

I can only repeat my apology to Eric and thank him for the lesson.

  1. The flash bit still works, Flamethrower is no more.