How to: get the most out of voice dictation, one of the iPhone’s most underrated features.

 

 

 

By Kif Leswing of Business Insider

Talking to Siri may be hit or miss, but Apple’s iPhone is actually pretty good at understanding what you’re saying to it.
In fact, Apple’s speech-to-text software can be extremely useful outside of Siri. Users can talk to their phone and have it turn to text for anything that takes text input.
The button to dictate text to speech is prominently displayed on the default iOS keyboard next to the spacebar.

 

Talking with my colleagues, I was surprised about how few of them have ever tried dictation. Although it’s been included in iPhones for over three years, few people seem to use it often.

In my opinion, it’s one of the most underrated parts of using an iPhone.
When you press that button, you’ll get a waveform. As you talk to the waveform, words will appear in the text. Like this:

 

Here’s what you need to know to use Apple dictation to its fullest:


First, make sure it’s turned on
. You need to have Siri on for dictation to work. It’s in Settings > Siri.

Watch your data. Apple’s dictation uses a remote server to decipher what you’re saying, so make sure you have enough data under your cap or that your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi.

Learn the shortcuts. When dictating, Siri understands certain words, like “smiley” or “winky face.” It also understands certain settings, like “caps on” or “caps off.” A full list is here.

Say punctuation out loud. One of the biggest issues with speech-to-text is that it can’t usually tell when a sentence ends. So you’ll need to say “period,” “apostrophe,” or other punctuation marks when you want them to show up in the text.

Speak clearly and slowly. It’s a lot easier for the computer to decipher what you’re saying if you’re not talking a mile a minute.

 

Proofread and edit your text. Once you’ve dictated — perhaps a paper you’re writing, or an email — don’t just send it off. Software isn’t perfect, and going through and fixing errors in a dictated text can still be faster than typing it from scratch. Anything underlined with a blue underline the software has flagged as possibly erroneous.

 

The blue underline means you should give those terms a closer look. Screenshot
Don’t confuse dictation with voice memos. On iMessage, there’s a microphone button next to the text input. That sends a short voice message, but it doesn’t transcribe your speech into text.

Have you tried using voice dictation? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

 

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Weekly Round up 4/21

 

Go home, Facebook. You’re drunk.
Facebook Is Working on Tech to Let You Type With Your Brain and ‘Hear With Your Skin’


Net Neutrality is what separates us form the animals.

F.C.C. Leader Seeks Tech Companies’ Views on Net Neutrality


This could get ugly…

Why we should start judging tech CEO’s like they’re politicians.


Couldn’t they have gone with something cheaper like, a dunce cap and a muzzle?

Here’s How Much Tech Companies Gave to the Trump Inauguration


Sadly, I expected this to happen way sooner than it did.

What Could Be Worse Than Live Murder on Facebook? Unfortunately, We’ll Know Soon

When you love something, let it go. If it doesn’t come back, upload their sex tape to the internet.
D.C. man becomes first to be convicted under District’s new revenge porn law.

App of the Week – Sprinkles

Microsoft Sprinkles camera app is fun and not at all depressing.

By Chris Burns of SlashGear.com

The developers at Microsoft have successfully created another distraction to our everyday massacre of a modern life with an app called Sprinkles. With the app, users will be able to see how old the machine thinks they are – though that’s not a strictly new trick from Microsoft, it’s still wonderful to be able to do, if you look young. Another feature is matching your face with the celebrity that looks most like you.

Those individuals that wish to find out which celebrity they most look like will be able to do so with the Sprinkles app. Microsoft has created an app that guesses your age and matches your face with that of a celebrity. I was a bit disappointed to find that this app does not allow me to usurp cultural inheritance or go forth and swap my face with that of another face.

It’s OK, though. Microsoft has created a smart camera system which can automatically suggest captions for me. I don’t have to think of anything clever anymore. It will no longer look like I’m just showing pictures of my face because I need my face to be seen. Now it will look like I’ve become quite clever.

The icon for Sprinkles looks like a pink donut – but to be clear, this is not the Simpsons donut. That media empire is not connected to Microsoft directly at this time. Unless they’re working on some sort of secret dessert-themed software we’ve yet to hear about.

Users of iPhones and users of iPads can access the Sprinkles app download right this minute. Android users cannot access the app at this moment. Android users should – in my personal opinion – go check out an app like Nova Launcher instead – that’s freedom of device instead of automatic photo captioning. We’ll all be happier with that.

Have you tried Sprinkles? Let us know what you think of it in the comments below.

 

How to: use Apple Clips, the iOS video-editing app and why you’d want to.

 

 

Apple Clips is like iMovie meets Snapchat.

By Caitlin McGarry of Macworld

It’s easy to compare Apple’s new iOS app, Clips, to video-sharing social networks like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. But that’s not exactly fair, because Apple’s Clips isn’t social at all—it’s designed simply to help you create and edit fun videos. What you do with them after that is up to you.

This approach makes Clips less anxiety-inducing. To share a video on Instagram or Snapchat, you’ll want to shoot in Instagram or Snapchat to make sure the moment you’re capturing is perfectly framed. You can shoot in Clips, too, but this feels more like an app you’ll use after the moment has passed to stitch together memories and add a soundtrack and captions. Clips is way more low-key.

But that doesn’t make it less complicated to use. In fact, it’s on par with Snapchat when it comes to unintuitive design, so be prepared to spend an exorbitant amount of time creating your first clip. (We pray it gets easier the more you use it, but time will tell.) Here’s everything you need to know about using Apple Clips.

How to use Clips

 


First thing’s first: You need photos and videos to edit, right? Right. You can import them from your Camera Roll and stitch them together, or you can shoot photos or videos in-app. Pro tip: You can swipe left on the giant red “Hold to record” button if you plan on filming for awhile to lock the camera in recording mode. Just tap the button again when you want to stop shooting. Clips defaults to the Instagram-esque square format, so if you’re importing media, make sure it’ll look good square. (Some might mind this, but I don’t.)

From there you can swap videos or photos around in the visual timeline at the bottom of the app just by pressing and moving them. You can also easily trim video clips—just tap on the clip in the timeline and then tap the scissor icon to edit the video down to just the seconds (or minutes) you want to include.

Along with a video-trimming tool, Clips has all the standard social video-editing features (filters, emojis, etc.) tucked behind icons at the top of the app. Tapping the speech bubble icon adds captions in real time (more on this in a minute). Eight filters, ranging from black and white to my favorite Comic Book, are behind the interlocking circles icon. The star is hiding the time, your location, shapes like circles and arrows, and random words you can edit after adding them to your image or video. The ‘T’ icon unlocks title cards that can help you tell your story—the text on these cards is also editable. The last option, a music note, is how you add a song from iTunes or an Apple-supplied tune to your video.

It takes awhile to get to know the various tools and tricks to make Clips work for you, but you’ve got this. And remember that creating a clip in Clips doesn’t mean that video goes anywhere but your Camera Roll. You have to take extra steps to share it with anyone or on any platform, which makes it extremely low-pressure.

The best Clips features

 

Clips has a few features that set it apart from other video-editing apps, the most notable of which is Live Titles. That’s what Apple calls its real-time captioning tool, which is designed to make your video totally watchable without sound. This is perfect for scrolling through Facebook’s auto-playing News Feed, but also improves accessibility, making videos easy to watch for viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Live Titles supports 36 languages at launch, which is a feat for a brand-new app.

The Live Titles feature doesn’t always nail the speech-to-text translation, though. I didn’t experience any captioning errors in my tests, but if you speak quickly and run your words together, you might confuse the algorithm parsing your sentences. Speak slowly and enunciate to avoid having to edit your captions. (I actually didn’t know this was possible, but the Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern discovered that you can edit a caption by tapping on the video clip, then pausing the video where the error appears on screen and tapping on the text. Yeah, it’s kind of a process.)

But basically everything you see on screen is editable, which is incredibly useful. Every bit of text can be changed and even emojis can be easily swapped out by tapping on the emoji on-screen and then tapping again to access your emoji keyboard.

In your first few hours with Clips, it’ll feel a little burdensome. But once you figure it out, creating social videos with Clips is a cinch.

Time to share

Once your masterpiece is finished, it’s time to share it. Clips uses facial recognition to figure out who’s in your video and then suggests that you use iMessage to send your video to those friends, which is really cool.

You can also share a clip via email or post it to your go-to social networks, minus Snapchat. Snapchat is not designed for sharing what’s essentially a short social movie (not to mention the fact that clips are square and snaps are vertical). But clips seem tailor-made for sharing on Facebook in particular. Imagine creating movies of your kids or making your own DIY Tasty food recipe video with Clips. Post them to your page and watch the likes roll in.

It’s a good thing Apple didn’t try to build a social network around Clips (lesson learned from Ping, perhaps). Instead, Apple is doing what it does best: giving creators the tools they need to make good work. Right now, popular media tends to be short and shareable. With Clips, maybe you too can snag 15 minutes—or more likely seconds—of viral video fame.

What do you think of Apple Clips? Let us hear from you in the comments below!

 

Weekly Round Up 4/14

 

“Brogrammers” is my new favorite word.
HOW ONE TECH START-UP DITCHED ITS BROGRAMMERS

Innovation is tough when you no longer have visionary leadership.
Apple Inc. Reportedly Struggling With New Touch ID Tech. Cutting-edge innovation is tough to bring into mass production.

Oh, Etsy. Don’t you know climate change is just a hoax?
How Etsy Built The Greenest Office Space In Tech

If only there was an App that would castrate men who hit women. Time to innovate, Apple.
‘I had minutes to make the call’: the tech helping domestic abuse survivors.

This is not a partisan issue, to me. This is a basic right.
Tech lobby goes to bat on net neutrality

Will it blend? No. Will it be an 11th hour act of desperation by two sinking mega ships? Absolutely.
Will it blend? Oath will combine disparate AOL-Yahoo ad tech assets

 

I think Fitbit has played itself right out of the game.
Fitbit’s new smartwatch has been plagued by production mishaps

App of the Week – Blogo

Probably the Best Blog Publishing App for Mac

 


By Asif Ahmed of asiogroup.net

Have you ever been in a situation where you write a really long post, doing the formats, add images and when you are ready to publish, suddenly something off happens to your page and it dies, not the literal death, but the page fails to load and all your work is gone, just like that.

Yes, the revisions feature has helped me recover my lost posts but sometimes the loss between two revisions it just too much to handle.

This is why I love Desktop Publishing Tools, like the Windows Live Writer. I have always created posts in it since 2008. I am a kind of Ninja at doing posts using WLW.

It’s been a while since I moved to the Mac from PC. Thanks to the use of a Chromebook, which was my work machine for a few months. I had customised my workflow in a way that bypasses the need of a particular OS.

But, there were times when I had to turn to a Computer that supported apps, for video and photo editing, and that made me think about moving to Mac, which had most of my favourite apps, if not all. And offered great battery life, which is the reason I opted for Chromebook (it’s close to 8 hours of work time)

One of the app, that I missed terribly since moving from the Windows OS was Windows Live Writer, and that too when I am using my laptop for work.

I have always been a PC guy, even before when I started blogging, and I recently made the switch to Mac.

Thanks to the use of Chromebook for several months that I am able to customise my workflow in a way that I can get my work done inside a browser. Macbook is a good piece of hardware, I love the battery, which lets me work from Cafes without worrying about carrying the charger.
I mainly use it for writing along posts and working on other work that requires long form writing. I still publish most of my content from my Windows Based PC. I love the fact I can create posts faster with Windows Live Writer.

I’ve moved to publishing posts right from the WordPress Dashboard but I still feel using a Desktop publishing app like WLW can save a lot of time and energy.

There are few Desktop publishing apps for Mac as well, but I couldn’t stick with any of them until now.

Introduction to Blogo

 

I feel the need of a publishing app when I am away from my Home Office and have to use my MacBook Air primarily for everything. One such scenario occurred recently and I found Blogo in the App Store.

Blogo is a premium app priced at $29, the good thing is that it has a 30 day Free trial period which is enough to decide whether you want to invest $29 in it or not. I did, and I have been using it from last few weeks.
I’ve reached to a point where I know the app pretty well and can present my views which may help you decide whether you want to go for it or not.

Blogo supports WordPress, BlogSpot, Medium etc.

Few features include ➜
★ Saving your drafts to a linked Evernote Account,
★ Distraction Free Writing,
★ Inserting Images inline,
★ Edit/Crop/Resize the images and
★ Ability to preview the post how it is going to look like on the blog once it is live.

 

Setting up your blog with Blogo is easy, just put the blog URL to it and your are asked to put your login credentials to it. You can save the theme of your blog for a live preview of your posts. You need to enable the xmlrc in the WordPress which gives Blogo the ability to post on your blog.

Once my blog was added to Blogo and I started writing, it felt completely different from Windows Live Writer. In some cases, it lacks simple functionalities, like writing posts in theme layout editor. But, Blogo has a Separate blog preview windows that looks much better than Windows Live Writer’s preview.

WLW never really picked up the right theme layout most of them time, and the default one is not great to look at. Blogo’s default Editor is pretty nice and you can actually write without struggling to find your own words like in WLW.

Apart from that, the photos you insert appear only appear when you hover your mouse over the images, that too not in full height. But then I’m getting used to it because the Blog Preview Window shows me everything perfectly in real time.

 

Blogo also includes an Image Editor, which has some basic tools you can use to make changes to the images you insert.

Having said all the praise about Blogo, it is still not a perfect app (at least not yet) for example, I have to always click on Full Size, by default Thumbnail is selected and it adds a ‘image_thumbnail.jpg’ string to the image URL. Though it might not bother a lot of people, It bothers me a little and I am expecting to get it fixed in future updates.

I have received two software updates in one month’s time. So, hopefully, the development team of Blogo is working hard to making it perfect. But it still is an amazing app to own if you write a lot of posts or own multiple blogs.

Features like pulling blog posts from the blog in a snap or approving pending comments on the posts right from the app itself, make it worth checking out. And thanks for the 14 days Free Trial, you can try before you buy.
Blogo is Free to use now, with some features available in a Premium Subscription.

Click here to try Blogo for Mac OS.

Click here to buy Blogo for iOS.

If you’re a Blogger, tell us what you’re workflow / favorite app is in the comments below.

 

How To: Save Your iPhone Battery Life; 5 Quick Tips

 

BY RISHABH JAIN of ibtimes.com

The battery life of an iPhone is something even Apple aficionados complain about. With more and more applications being available for the device, increased use of its camera and background task-supporting applications such as Siri, battery life consumption also increases.

Here are 5 tips that could help you save battery life on your iPhone:

Turn off “Hey Siri”:

The iPhone’s voice assistant Siri is always keen to listen to you. By default, it keeps working on the iPhone in the background, which means it also consumes battery. In case you don’t have the need for it, you can actually turn it off. To do so, navigate to Settings > General> Siri or Settings > Siri and then just switch the feature off.

Stop apps from refreshing in the background

Background App Refresh is a machine-learning feature, which helps apps learn when you frequently check them.

It allows them to predict when you will check them next and lets them be prepared with the latest data. Since these apps run in the background, the feature uses battery. You can turn it off by navigating to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and switching it off.

Start reducing screen brightness manually

Auto-brightness on the iPhone is a handy feature, but it again takes a lot of battery.

It is advisable to set the brightness manually according to your needs. To set the maximum value of screen brightness available to the feature, you will need to navigate to Settings > Display & Brightness and reduce the brightness using the slider.

Disable dynamic backgrounds

Dynamic backgrounds is a motion-based feature present in iOS devices — they are wallpapers that provide the user with the feeling of a little motion in them. In case you don’t have use for this feature, you can disable it by navigating to Settings > Wallpaper and choosing a wallpaper without such effects like the ones in the “Stills” section.

Disable motion effects

iPhone users might be aware of the screen motion effect, which provides icons with visual depth but also eats into the battery. To turn it off, you can navigate to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce motion.

What tips do you have for making your iPhone battery last longer? Tell us in the comments below.