Category Archives: iPad

Watch Out, Flipboard, Trapit for iPad Raises The Stakes For Newsreader Apps [iOS Tips]

This might well be the future of news content consumption.

Finding stuff on the web is pretty easy. Finding stuff you don’t already know about, surprising stuff, is hard. That’s what the developers behind Trapit are trying to fix.

Trapit for iPad allows you to discover things you’re already interested in as well as stuff you may not even know you’re looking for using algorithms that run in the app behind the scenes. What that means is that once you start using Trapit, it will learn what you’re into, and start finding stuff that might be of interest to you, based on what you’re already checking out as well as new stuff that might be cool for you to see.

The app also curates its own content into a Featured Traps section, which will help you discover even more content for that surprise factor.

Download Trapit for iPad for free, and then launch it with a tap. You’ll be asked to enter some general interest terms, and then you’ll go to the My Traps section. Tap along the top row of buttons to see your personalized Traps, Featured ones, and then the Reading list. In addition to its own “save for later reading” system, Trapit offers the option to send stuff to Instapaper and Evernote.

Tap on a story to highlight it and the associated photo will zoom in. Tap the share button to send to Facebook, Twitter, or email, and tap the little book + icon to save to read later. When browsing subjects in the features section, tap the + symbol to send the topic to your personalized feed.

As you can see, Trapit for iPad does two things well: creates a personal news feed for your own interests, and then allows you to discover new stuff you didn’t even know you wanted to read about. It’s win/win.

From the App Store Description:

Escape with Trapit and hone in on only the subjects that matter to you. Keep up with the topics that don’t always make the headlines, or even the ones that do. Discover new bloggers, online magazines, newspaper features and more among Trapit’s over 100,000 (and growing) hand-picked sources.. Use Trapit to explore and discover, because really, that’s what the Internet was made for.

Got an iOS tip of your own? Need help troubleshooting your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad? (sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address) or leave a comment below.

Source: App Store

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Mixdown And Share Your Musical Genius With GarageBand for iPad [iOS Tips]

Sounds sweet, right?

Recording a musical masterpiece with GarageBand for iPad is fairly straightforward, especially when using the “smart” instruments together to layer a song together. However, if you don’t get the music out of your iPad, no one will hear it. If no one hears it, how will you know how amazing it is? Let’s take a look at some basic mixing and sharing features of GarageBand for iPad.

When you finally finish recording your Smart Bass, Smart Drums, Smart Keyboard (and, yes, Smart Strings as in the screenshot above), and Smart Guitar parts, it’s time to mix that baby down and then get it out to the rest of the internet.

Open the song you’ve been working with this week and tap on the Track button in the upper part of the screen, just to the left of the transport controls (the start from bar one, play, and record buttons). You’ll then be able to see the multiple tracks you’ve recorded. They’ll all be green, as the smart instruments in GarageBand are MIDI performances controlled by software, not recorded samples, which would be blue colored.

If the volume sliders are not visible like the screenshot above, swipe on one of the instruments to the right, and the sliders will appear. Hit the play triangle at the top of your iPad’s screen, and then move the sliders left or right for each track until they sound right to you. Drums, especially the snare, should be loudest, along with any melodic instruments you want your listeners to pay attention to. The other harmonic instrumentation, like soft strings or padded out synths, can be quieter, just to set the mood. The important thing is to have dynamics – make sure not all the instruments are playing at top volume – unless that’s the effect you want, of course.

Soundcloud Options

Once you’ve mixed to your heart’s and ear’s content, it’s time to share your music with the world. Tap on the My Songs button in the upper left. This will take you to the song browser, where you will tap on the Edit button in the upper right. The rectangular previews of your song files will start the iOS wiggle. Tap on the song you want to share, and then tap on the familiar iOS sharing button, the one that looks like a square with an arrow popping out to the right of it.

Your options here are to share to Facebook, YouTube, Soundcloud, iTunes (where you can import your tracks into GarageBand for Mac as well as Logic, a more professional audio package), or send via email. You’ll need logins for each of the services, of course, in order to send your music there. Login with the required service credentials, tap through the various options buttons, including quality of compression in the options for internet services like SoundCloud.

And bam! You’ve just recorded, mixed down, and shared some music created by your very own self, right from your iPad. For a look at what someone who obviously can play an instrument can do with GarageBand, I offer you this, your moment of zen:

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Record A Potentially Award-Winning Podcast With GarageBand [OS X Tips]

GarageBand is not only a full featured recording studio, a highly capable MIDI synth station, an electronica musician’s dream, or a place to record full songs without a day of music lessons. It’s also fantastic software for podcasting. GarageBand makes creating a podcast easy and fun.

Back in the heady days of the early 2000s, I recorded and distributed a podcast of my own, called The ANC Podcast. It was a short internet radio show that focused on local music in Anchorage, Ak, where I had recently relocated to. I spent some time working on the craft of creating a podcast, and let me tell you, GarageBand makes it much easier than it really has any right to be. Most of the podcasters I know use a Macintosh and GarageBand to get their internet audio show on, including the Insomnia Radio Daily Dose, The Portable Podcast, and The Touch Of Gaming Podcast, just to name (drop) a few.

To start your own GarageBand media empire, launch GarageBand ’11 on your Mac and create a new project. If you’re already in GarageBand, choose New from the File menu, then click on New Project from the project browser window. Click on Podcast from the available options, then the Choose button, and then name/save your podcast episode – GarageBand will open up it’s podcast-y goodness to you.

GarageBand will open with a special template just for podcasting, with a track pre-populated with sound profiles for a Male voice, a Female voice, and a track for jingles. On the right, you’ll see the media browsing pane. Click on the loop browser button (far lower right corner, looks like a loop of tape) to bring up the jingles, stingers, and sound effects browser. When inserted correctly, these will make your podcast sound more like a professional radio show than a basement recording. Not that there’s anything wrong with recording from the basement.

Click into the male or female voice track, depending on your voice type, and hit the red record button. Speak into your built in or external microphone naturally and normally, and record your content. Head over to the loop browser pane, and click on Jingles. Garageband has several to choose from, and categorizes them as Cinematic, Country, Electronic, Jass, Orchestral and more, so you can find just the right mood to set at the beginning of your podcast. Once you choose a Jingle, drage it to the left side of GarageBand, into the Jingles track.

Now click on Stingers. These are the little sounds that come in under audio titles, or between sections of a podcast. Find one that fits your podcast theme, and drag it over in the appropriate place underneath the tracks already containing music. A new track will be created, called Stingers.

Building your podcast with just these few components will take your podcast to the next level. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next podcast to be featured in the new app for iOS? Either way, you’ll have a ton of fun making a podcast with GarageBand, and it will help you focus on content, not on audio engineering. Though, of course, that will help, too.

Let us know how it goes in the comments below.

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Sweeten Your Tunes With Smart Keys And Smart Guitar In GarageBand For iPad [iOS Tips]

Once you’ve laid down a solid rhythmic foundation with your drums and your bass, it’s time to sweeten things up with some different sounds, like guitar or keyboards. GarageBand for iPad makes this sincerely easy, with Smart Keys and Smart Guitar, letting you widen the range of harmonic counterpoint in any arrangement, regardless of any experience with real instruments.

All the work is done by your iPad and the GarageBand app, just like with the Smart Bass and Smart Drums functionality discussed earlier. Simply launch GarageBand for iPad and follow the steps below, and you’ll be listening to your own sweet tunes in your own sweet time.

Once GarageBand is launched, you’ll want to get to the Instruments section, which is accessed via a button in the upper left of the screen. Tap that, and you’ll be able to swipe left or right through the different musical instrument pictures. Let’s start with some keys, using the Smart Keyboard. Tap the icon of the keyboard keys encircled by a gear icon.

Set up your tune the same way as with Smart Bass, turning the AutoPlay setting to a number between one and four. Choose the type of keyboard you want to have play from the eight choices available, from Grand Piano to Classic Rock Organ to a variety of funky synths. Each keyboard will have a few different options, so feel free to play around with them. If you’ve been creating a whole song along with us, you’ll have drums and bass tracks to have GarageBand play along to. Tap the columns along the top half of the rows to play the right hand, and the smaller column sections along the bottom half of the rows to play the left. WHen you’re ready to keep your performance, hit the red Record button at the top and have at it.

Next, tap on the Instruments button again, but this time swipe over to and choose Smart Guitar. Things should start to feel familiar, with the same type of instrument choice interface in the upper left, and AutoPlay options to set up. Hit play on the transport toolbar at the top, and tap along with the same chords you used in the rest of your song. But now, let’s try something a little more advanced.

Switch the toggle on the right side from Chords to Notes. You’ll see what looks like a regular guitar neck come up on the iPad screen. Tap the strings between the vertical lines, called frets, to hear guitar notes. Now, assuming you’re not a guitar player, but you want to sound like one, tap on the Scales button that’s discretely placed in the upper right corner of the fretboard. Choose a scale style you want to play with (I grabbed Major Pentatonic) and your fretboard will turn into a more stylized version of itself. Now, tap on the strings in the resulting rectangles. Each rectangle to the right will be the next note in a scale along the same string. Tap in one of the highlighted rectangles and drag your finger to the right all the way to the next highlighted area to the right. Sounds like a guitar solo, right? Mess around with this over your backing tracks and you’ll be surprised what you’ll be able to come up with, regardless of your guitar experience in the real world. Pro tip? The strings can be bent, or moved up and down to create vibrato. Sweet skeuomorphism, eh?

Save your song by tapping out to the My Songs list, and you’re ready to roll.

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Create An Electronica Masterpiece With GarageBand [OS X Tips]

Make yer own block-rockin beats!

GarageBand for Mac OS X is a full recording studio for your Mac. It allows musicians to connect microphones, guitars, basses, and other instruments for a fully analog recording session. It has MIDI playback and recording capabilities as well, allowing anyone with a MIDI capable keyboard to record right along with those instruments.

One of the less-touted features, however, is the Loops section. GarageBand comes with pre-recorded MIDI and sampled audio that fit together in various ways. Without knowing to play a single instrument, you can create amazing sounding music with GarageBand, simply using Loops.

The first step is to bring up the GarageBand Loops browser. Start GarageBand and select New Project in the start window. If you’re already in GarageBand with another project open, select New Project from the File menu to get this window. Click on Loops, and then on the Choose button in the lower right. Name your file something you’ll remember, and file it somewhere where you can find it again. Desktop, anyone?

The familiar GarageBand window will open. This time, however, the Loop browser will show up in the right hand pane. Note the different filter buttons at the top of this browser pane. Click on a musical style, like Rock/Blues, Urban, or World from the left column of filters, or click on the type of instrumentation in the column just to the right, filtering the list to only show Loops containing specific instruments, like Guitars, Piano, Synths, Bass, etc. The next two columns to the right are filters for tone and mood, filtering for loops Apple has categorized as Relaxed, Grooving, Melodic, Dissonant, etc.

Click the buttons to filter the list of available GarageBand Loops. For our example here, click on Electronic in the filter list. If you see the Column browser, or the Jingles, Stingers, or Sound Effects browser, click on the little musical notation item in the tab buttons in the upper left of the Loops pane.

Click on Beats in the second column, and click on any of the beats to listen to them. I chose Club Dance Beat for my song. Once you find one you like, click and drag the Beat’s name over to the Tracks window. A new track will appear, and a big green Plus button will show up. Drag your beat loop over to the far left, to start on the first measure. Drop the beat there. Hover the mouse over the upper right corner of the resulting green rectangle and you’ll see the extend cursor; it looks like a round arrow. Click and drag the corner, and GarageBand will extend out the Loop, with visual cues as to the beginning and end of each loop section.

Now, in the Filter list, click on Beats to reset the buttons. Click on Synths, and repeat the above process. Mix and match as you will, but create a new track for each new sound. It will make things easier to edit later. Once you find a synth track you like, filter to Bass loops, and bring a nice grooving bassline over. I was able to create the six track loop-based snippet in the screenshot above in about 5 minutes.

If you want to hear the whole thing put together, click the Play triangle at the bottom. You can also set the Cycle/Loop button so GarageBand only plays the section you’re working on, over and over. That helps get into the groove of your masterpiece.

If nothing else, I find this sort of creative activity calming, soothing, and a great way to make a couple of hours disappear. Your mileage may vary, but give it a shot, and share links to your music with us below, if you can.

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Lay Down A Fat Smart Bass Track With GarageBand For iPad [iOS Tips]

With GarageBand for the iPad, Apple has brought an inexpensive, very powerful music recording studio right to your favorite mobile device. This fantastic $5.00 app lets anyone with an iPad create, record, and enjoy making music, even if they have little experience with recording software or musical instruments.

With a killer beat in place, it’s time to add the second (mostly unsung) hero of modern music: the bass. Whether your tastes run to big, fat and bottom heavy or to quick, snappy and distorted, GarageBand has you covered. With GarageBand for iPad, you can create bass tracks that sound incredibly good with very little knowledge or expertise. Let’s take a look at the simplest way to do just that: Smart Bass.

Smart Bass allows you to play the four string instrument without any previous experience. I prefer to put down a bass track on top of some drums, but your preference may vary. If you choose to put drums down first, use your example from yesterday’s tip, or add a quick drum loop that stretches across eight measures. Then tap on the Instruments at the top of the screen to select Smart Bass. You may need to swipe left or right to find it. Once you do, though, tap it to open it up in your song.

Notice that the default view shows you a bass instrument in the upper left corner, typically the Liverpool style bss made famous by Sir Paul McCartney. Tap on the picture to choose one of the other eight bass sound choices. I grabbed Picked for this example. The background of the bass guitar changes to the bass instrument you chose, which is super fun.

Tap the Play triangle at the top of the screen to get your drum tracks rolling, and then take a look at the bass screen. There’s a toggle switch that lets more advanced bass players tap representations of the bass strings as they might on a real bass. Make sure the silver toggle switch is set to Chords. A new option shows up, and the strings disappear. The AutoPlay option allows up to four different patterns to play when you tap in the column under the chord names. Tapping on a new column changes the notes the bass will autoplay, while changing the number in the autoplay section will change the arpeggiation of those notes. If you turn off AutoPlay, the bass strings come back up, even with the keyboard bass sounds. Odd, but it makes sense. The strings will now play one of four notes within an arpeggio, but only when you tap them

Choose a bass sound, then one of the AutoPlay options that best fits with your drum track, then hit the red Record button at the top of the screen. Tap the chording columns in time with the music, and GarageBand will record the changes as you tap them out. Swipe across the measure ruler on the top to switch over to a new eight bars to record over. Repeat until your song is filled with sexy bass and drums. You did it!

Feel free to share links to songs you’re creating along the way – we’d love to hear them.

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Create A Musical Masterpiece With Magic GarageBand [OS X Tips]

GarageBand '11 OS X

GarageBand for OS X changed the way mere mortals create great music on their Macs. The latest version, GarageBand ’11, makes things even easier with Magic GarageBand. Essentially, this will guide you through the steps needed to create a great music track for video projects, ringtones, or just your own music to share with family and friends. Here’s how to begin your journey.


Firstly, open GarageBand ’11 and click on the Magic GarageBand icon in the left-hand pane. There will be nine icons in the area to the right, each representing a different musical genre. To listen to each track, hover over the specific icon you want to hear and click on the Preview button that appears.

Once you’ve decided on a musical style, it’s time to click the chosen icon and head onto the stage. GarageBand will lay out all the instruments that it’s chosen for that given song. It may take a couple of minutes to load all the instruments and sounds, depending on your Mac’s CPU speed and RAM.

Once it’s all loaded, click on the triangular play button at the bottom of the screen to preview the whole song. First, note that the front instrument is supposed to be the instrument you’re playing, like a keyboard or connected guitar. If you’re not playing an instrument, click on it and then click on the No Instrument button at the bottom of the window, to make it disappear.

Hover over each of the other instruments on the stage, and a spotlight will appear, plus the name of the instrument. Click on an instrument and the other options for that music track will show up at the bottom of the window. Click on the drums, for example, and the other drum kits will show up. Click on one of them while the music is playing to hear the difference it will make to the overall mix. It may take a measure or two for the new instrument to find its way into the mix, so be patient.

Once you’ve customized all the instruments, it’s time to Open in GarageBand. Click on the button that says that same thing, and GarageBand will open to the full track recording experience. In here, you can change the levels, the balance, and any other crazy thing you can think of. You can drag the sections around at the top of the window, too, by clicking on the title bar (Verse, Bridge, Ending, etc.) and dragging it to where you want it.

See what you did there? You created a song in under ten minutes, right? Hit the Share menu and choose how you want to send this masterpiece out. Choose one of the sharing options to get the song from the editable stage to a more final stage, whether you want to make a ringtone for your iPhone or burn the song to a CD.

How are you using Magic GarageBand on your Mac? Let us know in the comments below.

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iBook Lessons: The absolute beginner

iBook Lessons is a continuing series about ebook writing and publishing.

I get asked this a lot: what is the absolute minimum it takes to get started in ebook publishing. The answer is this: a manuscript in Microsoft Word .doc or .docx format, an Amazon account, and a smile.

Everything else is gravy.

With just those items, you can get started publishing on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) system and start earning money from what you write. Just agree to KDP’s terms and conditions, provide Amazon with a bank account routing number for your earnings, and if you are an American citizen, a Social Security number. You can find all the information you need to provide on this webpage.

You can use a personal account to set up your direct deposit, although you’ll probably want to set up a separate business account instead. Check around for whatever free checking deals are currently in your area. These days, in the US, expect to leave a few hundred dollars deposited in the account in order to skip fees.

Once you’ve signed up, you head over to your KDP dashboard to upload and describe your ebook. You won’t need an ISBN, you won’t need to pre-format your book for mobi or EPUB, you just select the doc file from your desktop, upload it, and let Amazon do all the rest. It’s insanely easy. What’s more, your Kindle book can be read on nearly any platform out there from iOS to Android, from Mac to Windows.

In exchange for selling your book, Amazon takes a fixed 30% of the sales price (which may range from $2.99 to $9.99) off the top plus “delivery fees,” which amount to $0.15/megabyte. In other words, Amazon is not the place for you if you intend to sell image-heavy picture books.

There are two exceptions to this model. First, if your book costs under $2.99, you must sell it using a flat 35% royalty option (they keep 65% of list price). Second, if you want to bypass the delivery fee model, you may opt into the 35% program for higher-priced ebooks.

What if you absolutely need to sell through iBooks? Then, you’ll either have to start doing a bit more work in terms of securing an ISBN, filling out paperwork and contracts, and converting to EPUB, or you can look into a third party-Apple approved aggregator.

Apple requires:

  • ISBN numbers for the books you want to distribute
  • Delivery in EPUB format, where the book passes EpubCheck 1.0.5
  • a US Tax ID
  • an iTunes account backed up by a credit card

An easy way to work through this is to sell through an agregator like Smashwords. In exchange for a further cut of your profits, they distribute your ebooks to a wide range of stores, including the iBookstore. Instead of earning 70%, you earn 60% and Smashwords handles all the distribution details, including ISBNs. They promise:

  • Free ISBNs
  • Free ebook conversion to nine formats
  • Free unlimited anytime-updates to book and metadata

Regardless of where you publish, spend as much time as you can writing a compelling book. And, don’t forget the proofreading!

[For Federico Viticci, who asked]

iBook Lessons: The absolute beginner originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 29 Jun 2012 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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You Won’t Believe How Much Crazy Science & Microscopic Tech Is Crammed Into Your iPhone’s Accelerometer [Video]

Your iPhone’s accelerometer only costs sixty-five cents, but it’s packed with cool tech.

Have you ever wondered how your iPhone knows up from down, or when you’re shaking it? It’s all because of the tiny accelerometer chip inside the device, but how does it work? It’s not like the iPhone’s got a metal ball bearing rolling between two points in there, so what gives?

As it turns out, there’s actually a lot of crazy cool tech in there.

Surprisingly, the way an accelerometer works is actually not that different from the ball bearing example above, as Bill Hammack the the Engineer Guy explains. It’s just a lot smaller scale.

Essentially, in every accelerometer, you have these extremely, springs made out of silicon, which oscillate back and forth between contact points. When they move according to the force of gravity, those contact points can measure the charge, and figure out which way the iPhone is pointing and how it’s moving.

These springs are tiny. So tiny that they’re about the size of a pencil tip. So how do you build a spring that small? That’s an even more fascinating story, involving tiny wafers of silicon covered in an interlacing series of masks which are impervious to a corrosive bath of potassium hydroxide.

That’s a lot of crazy super science packed into an iPhone chip that is estimated to only cost Apple sixty five cents.

Source: YouTube
Image: Chipworks

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