iPad and Cloud Issues with photo uploading…. Got any ideas? (UPDATE)

So I’ve run into a weird issue that I did not expect to have and I can not find the answer. Let me tell you what is going on and maybe someone out there can help me figure out what I am doing wrong!

I have taken photos of student compositions using my iPad. I then went into iPhoto and edited them – just basic stuff like cropping and rotating a few where I did not catch the fact that the camera had not automatically rotated. Then I wanted to upload those photos to the cloud – I started with Box because I have a ton more space there. First of all, I was amazed at how quick the photo’s uploaded AND they uploaded in the background which allowed me to do other things on my iPad while that was processing. So I was pretty happy UNTIL I went to my laptop to rename the photos with the student names. Upon looking at the photos I realized that the unedited versions had uploaded! EVEN THOUGH I COULD CLEARLY SEE THAT I WAS SELECTING EDITED VERSIONS TO UPLOAD!

I thought maybe that it was an issue with the Box app so I repeated the process with DropBox and THE SAME THING HAPPENED!

After thinking about things for a while I thought that maybe the edited versions were only in iPhoto and that I had uploaded from the camera roll  (even though I could clearly see that the pictures I was selecting were the edited versions) So I checked in iPhoto and found that I could select the edited photos then tap on the “Open In” button and there was a “Save To Camera Roll” option – Of course I still can not figure out WHY I had to do this from iPhoto because upon viewing my Camera Roll (from the camera app) I could see that all the edited versions were sitting there!

UPDATE….. Finally at 1:30 in the morning I gave in and hooked up a cable (gasp… I know, I know!) Seriously though, I hardly ever hook my iPad up to my laptop with a cable! BUT it did solve this issue – In iPhoto on the iPad, I selected all 90 something pictures and used the “Share To iTunes” option. Then I went into iTunes on my laptop, found the apps tab for my iPad, scrolled down to the iPhoto app and downloaded the folder of shared pictures from iTunes. Wa, La… there were all the edited versions of my photos!

Here is a video to show you the problem I’m talking about!

Online photo’s

This is why I wonder what Apple was thinking when they picked Flickr to integrate into Mountain Lion…

 

and how much is it to upgrade?

 

So this of course brings me to the question of what IS a great online spot to put your photo’s? So let’s do a little poll… What do you view as the BEST spot to put photo’s online? Now since this blog focuses on iPad in Education I would like answers that allow us to post from our iPad AND works fine for schools.

 

MultiTrack DAW – The Question is not “What is Possible” it is “How Do I Do It?”

The first year I owned an iPad I had to tell people that the iPad was meant, so far, as mostly a consumption device not a creation device. About the time the iPad2 was released things started changing and I felt like I could use the iPad for creating more often.

Of course the biggest problem is that we have to go through a major paradigm shift using an iPad. I think that the iPad can do WAY more than what most of us have a grasp on. The question about what the iPad is capable of doing should never be “What is possible using my iPad?” The question should be, “How can I do_____ (fill in the blank)?” For instance I’ve been on the search for an audio interface. After doing a LOT of digging I discovered that I could use a Griffin iMic, which I had like 4 or 5 of because of using SmartMusic. I reached up on my shelf, grabbed one, plugged in the camera connection kit into my iPad and went to my keyboard. I was trying a free version of MusicStudio and found that I could indeed record audio using that iMic into my iPad!

One problem – it was noisy! Don’t get me wrong – I was enjoying the recording – but there was no way I could actually use this for a serious recording in a real situation. Fun, yes – useful, no.

After all the research on the web I did finally buy MultiTrack DAW from Harmonicdog. (Thanks Simeon for giving me the last push!). Even though I knew the iMic was noisy I still plugged it in and tried out the new app. This app actually had a solution to the noise though! There was a way to lower the input level! (which might be in MusicStudio as well but I couldn’t find it! More on that in a minute) Because I could lower the input level on the iPad input I then could turn up the output level on my keyboard and get an acceptable signal to noise ratio! There was still just a little bit of noise but it worked for now!

THE PROCESS:
I used the 1/8″ stereo to 1/4″ mono adaptor cable to get my keyboard outputs into the iMic (by the way if you are still using those little RCA to 1/4″ adaptor plug’s…. get one of these cables instead!). I also used my headphones so I could record multiple tracks. I then proceeded to record 5 tracks. All of these tracks were a one shot deal (I did not bother to go back and edit out mistakes or do multiple takes to fix things) The only thing I did do was cut out a few short things when one of the pad sounds was making things too mucky.

 

Click to see larger version of file sizes on my iPad.

THE SONG:
Why in the world I picked a Christmas song I don’t know but I did! I also picked a song that I still do not know very well. In other words don’t listen to the mistakes. Use the recording as a sample of the quality that is possible! I also picked a song that was really long on purpose – it’s 5:37. I wanted to see how much room these recordings were going to take. Click the picture on the right to see how large the recordings were. I also wanted to see what the iPad would do with a long recording like that. (The iPad never hesitated a second! It takes a few seconds to draw the waveforms though. I was never bothered by this.) I did not mess around with any EQ or effects or any other plugin’s or anything like that – I usually don’t when I am coming straight from my keyboard.

THE RESULT:
I think the recording on my iPad was as good of a quality as the other ones I have done straight to my laptop with Logic Pro and GarageBand. Again, we are not discussing plug-ins and all the fancy stuff. I was able to do edits as I expected to on the iPad – things like cut out a few things, added a couple of fade outs and I was able to adjust once when I cut a little bit too much off a clip. I went back and added back in the part I clipped off just a bit early. If you listen in the very beginning you can hear what little bit of noise was left after adjusting my input left. MultiTrackDAW was pretty quick to figure out and worked as I would expect it to intuitively. The only thing I had a bit of trouble figuring out was how to set the track to a stereo recording. Even after reading the help file I still did not “get it” but after playing with and studying the pop up controls closer I found that all I had to do was slide my finger down or up by the rec enable button.

I invite you to listen to the recording I uploaded to SoundCloud from within DAW – just be nice :) If you want a comparison to coming straight from my keyboard to my laptop then you are welcome to listen to some of the other songs on my SoundCloud.

SHARING:
There are several sharing options built into DAW.You can email, use SoundCloud (A nice surprise) or do a mix down into the iTunes file sharing folder. The app supports three file formats – wav, ogg or m4a. There are a bunch of Bitrates supported too – 128, 144, 160, 192, 224, 240 and 256. The file that is linked on SoundCloud is from a m4a at 192 bitrate.

Creating a Mixdown version of my song in wav format was much faster than creating an m4a. To be fair, I’m sure that the reason it took longer was because not only was it Mixing down (bouncing down) my 5 tracks but it was also compressing the file. I think in the future I would do this on the laptop. The capability HAS to be built into the app though because then you don’t NEED a laptop to create a recording and then email it to someone.

CONCLUSION AND LINK TO THE SONG:
This is going to be REALLY fun! Way cool!
 Listen on SoundCloud

The price point here is staggering between what is possible with my iPad compared to what we had to spend 5 years ago to get this same setup! Even when you take into account the price of the iPad!

For Educators looking to expand offerings to their students this sort of experience is a very real life experience of how a student could end end up making money doing music, something they love!

Reflection App updated for Windows XP now!

For those of you like me who work in a school where there are Windows computer all around you but you have an iPad you are using in the classroom there is now another tool available to make the use of that iPad more effective!

The ReflectionApp has now been updated to work with Windows XP! For those of you that are not quite sure what I am talking about let me fill you in. How often have you had something on your iPad that you wanted to show your entire class or maybe you had a Keynote you wanted to show the Board of Education? Of course if you have a projector in the room you can use Apple’s little dongle to hook the iPad directly to the projector. Believe me, back when this capability came out there was much rejoicing! The problem is that meant you had to take time to walk up front of your classroom, hook the cord up, and then you had to pray that the adaptor did not come out! The better solution has been to use an Apple TV hooked up to the projector. That meant you could wirelessly show whatever was on your iPad to the classroom, instantly from wherever in the room you wanted to be. The problem with the Apple TV was that you had to have a projector with an HDMI plugin or buy an adaptor.

This past spring two other options became available. Both are software solutions. AirServerApp and ReflectionApp. When the software came out there was only Mac versions, which did those of us living in a PC school no options. Then AirServer came out with a Windows version that mirrored (no audio yet) but you had to have Windows 7 or Vista. OF course my school is still running Windows XP. Now though the ReflectionApp has been updated with the ability to run on Windows XP or higher! You can buy one license for $15 or 5 licenses for $50. The app on a Mac is very efficient and very easy to install and use. I have used it in class for the past few months as well at home and I love it! I have not been able to try it on the Windows machines at school yet so I can not tell you how well it works. If someone out there HAS tried it please leave a comment below and let us know how it works.

Being able to show your entire class what is on your iPad opens a whole new world of possibilities for the one iPad classroom. Being able to do that wirelessly and quickly makes it very useable.

Privacy online and social sites that don’t actually delete your accounts when asked!

Well that is very interesting indeed! A month or so ago I deleted/deactivated a few of my social accounts. It had seemed that I had reached overload of daily input into my brain and I also did not agree with everything that was happening around me online.

It’s been a good break. Now I have re-opened a few of those accounts again. I miss the input and interaction with the online world of music education! I have made an interesting observation though about two of these services and I would like to pass on the warning that I am sure many of you have heard before. Once things are online it is pretty difficult to get rid of it! In fact my Twitter account and FourSquare account never actually got deleted! Now you must understand something about this situation….. When I deleted these accounts I was very diligent, or so I thought, about making sure that I actually was DELETING these accounts! Deleting, as in I did not want to ever re-activate them again! Deleting as in I wanted them GONE! So some place I missed something when doing that! At least with FourSquare and Twitter. Every single bit of my previous account were still there! All my followers, tweets and check-ins!

One other thing that made a few of my 8th grade students turn pale (and no I’m not kidding!). I showed the students how Google tracks you! If you sign into your Gmail account in a web browser, check your email and then simply close the web page then Google is tracking you! Google had info on me going back many years! Want to see what they have on you? Sign into your Google account, then go to this web site – http://google.com/history

At least Google let’s you “suspend” this tracking of your online activities.

Are there web services that you have found did not “delete” your account? Leave a comment below.

PDF Music Workflow with PDF Music Readers and DropBox

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted anything but these past few weeks have been full of preparation for Fine Arts Week. Through that preparation though I’ve started using a specific workflow that seems to be working pretty well.

When I digitize music at the school one purpose is for archival and the main purpose is so that I can access that PDF music on my iPad. Here is how I’ve been doing it….

Step 1)Digitize the music using our school copier which scans and emails me a file. I make one file for the parts and a second file for the score.
Step 2)On my iPad, I open my email app. Then I find the email in my inbox. I then use the Open In menu…. This is where a problem arises…. The file is sent to me with a very cryptic name AND UnRealBook (one of my two main PDF Music Reader Apps is NEVER in the Open In Menu! DropBox is not included in the Open In Menu either.
Step 3)The solution is to use that Open In Menu to open the PDF file in ForScore.
Step 4)Use ForScores metadata tools to rename the file, input a composer, type in the genre and keywords.
Step 5)Use ForScore to upload that file to DropBox.
Step 6)Then I can open whatever app I wish to load that PDF music in and access the file in my DropBox.

This fits in with one of my primary rules about using technology. HAVE A BACKUP PLAN!

By following those simple 6 steps I have my PDF Music files in both ForScore and UnRealBook. I also almost always create set lists for both apps. Each set list pertains to either a class or a concert.

Reflection on the ReflectionApp and the AirServerApp and Apple TV

I have been very excited because every year when I get my tax refund back I usually convince my wife to let me buy a new toy. Like my iPad’s or a new kayak. This year I’ve known for a long time that I was going to be buying an Apple TV with the converter from HDMI to VGA with audio. I’ve been using my iPad for two years now every day in class and I wanted to take things to the next level. I want the students to be able to see many of the tools that I have at my finger tips.

I’ve been using the AirServerApp, running on my classroom computer for a year now. That app was the previous version 3. I used it to AirPlay music to my classroom sound system. Of course it has worked flawlessly, with the one exception that there was no security on it. That meant that frequently some kid working out down in the weight room would discover a pretty new icon on his iPod Screen (you know, that one for AirPlay that is never there until you can actually use it!) and in the middle of rehearsal I would suddenly have some pumping jams in the middle of a Michael Sweeney festival piece! Now during a high school rehearsal we would simply enjoy the commercial break. I would dance a bit for the class and then flip the mute switch then back to work we would go. BUT I REALLY tried to leave the mute switch on during middle school class because the rest of rehearsal after an episode like that was usually useless! It was worth it though to be able to wirelessly stream music, at will from anywhere I had my phone, iPod Touch or iPad!

You are probably wondering why in the world I didn’t just buy an AirPort Express and use that. Those have pass codes on them! Well I did! The only thing was that my PC tech guys freaked out! Plus I could not for the life of me get that darned thing to work at the school, on the school network! I even talked to the “big guys”, the ones doing the install on the new wireless servers going into our school to see if they had an answer for making it work, These are tech guys not form our school but instead with a big company whose only job was to install these wireless servers. Their answer was – don’t bring in home network devices, our devices will simply block them! I was in fact afraid I would have similar trouble with an Apple TV. I was hoping though that it would work.

Turns out I might not even try though! This last week of February was a great week! Especially for those of us school teachers in situations like this!

First, the ReflectionApp came out! This is from the same company that makes AirParrot – which puts your mac screen on your AppleTV. ReflectionApp is meant to mirror your iOS device onto your Computer! Of course your iOS device has to be capable of this, the iPad2 and iPhone4s both are. Not only does the mirroring include the picture but it streams the audio as well! So in other words, instead of having to but an AppleTV ($99), a convertor ($45 or more), and get it to work with my school network, I simply bought a $15 app and installed it on a computer I already have hooked up to my classroom projector and I am in business.

Second great thing was that the same day I bought and installed the ReflectionApp an error message showed up on my computer. Getting excited about error message is not normal I know, but this error came from an app called AirServer that I have been running for a year now! The message said that I needed to purchase an upgrade from AirServer in order to mirror my iPad! This startled me! I had not heard, and still haven’t, anything about AirServerApp adding the capability to mirror from an iOS device! So I headed over to their website – http://www.airserverapp.com/ and found it plastered all over the front page of the website! I quickly bought the $3.99 update. I had some issues with the update because when I originally bought the AirServerApp I used an old email that I never use any more. I bought the update with a new email. This really ticked off the AirServerApp and for a day I was in a limbo with the update screen from the app freezing up when it tried to authorize the update. The tech support took a day but considering that it was Friday night that’s probably not bad. They updated their databases of paid people and I was in business. I like their tech support.

So now, the good stuff! I’ve been playing with both apps for all of today and it’s been great fun. Of course I am at home with my MacBookPro and no projector hooked up. My kids walk by and I’ve had one of them do a double take and say – Whoa! Your iPad is on your computer! Then one of the other boys said, Why are you doing that?

Here’s what I’ve discovered. With the ReflectionApp there are more options for you to configure. At first boot the iPad (or iPhone) pops up with a border around it. This looks cool at first but in my case I want the image as big as possible so the students can see it better. It’s easy to take the border off. Another option that helps get the image bigger is to have the app go fullscreen. Now I have not really liked using the full screen mode in Lion. But I like it in this app because it is more what I expected – when using my iPad everything is full screen all the time. Plus I want no other distractions when projecting that image to the students. A quick shortcut (command F) and the app pops out of full screen mode. There are different optimizations for what image size you want mirrored, iPad, standard iPhone, Retina iPhone, or High resolution. This has been one of three issues I have found when using ReflectionApp. When I switched to High Resolution I really messed things up. I had to quite Reflection and reboot my iPad both to get things mirroring again. The second issue I found with ReflectionApp is when switching from portrait to landscape mode. If I am in landscape mode when I start the mirroring the image on the computer is filling the full screen, top to bottom – right to left. Then I can switch to landscape and the image is still top to bottom (not right to left of course) BUT when I switch back to landscape the image is no longer filling the entire screen top to bottom. It is smaller. A quick flick of the command F shortcut pops it back but I am not going to want to do that in the middle of class. The image when it is not filling the screen still is large and acceptable though.

Mirroring with both apps have gone very well – I will mention one exception at the end of this post about trying to mirror instrument apps though. In face with the ReflectionApp I found that I can end up mirroring both my iPad2 AND my iPhone4s! OK – I take that back I can mirror both devices with both apps! If you really want to do this though you should not have the automatic full screen mode on though because it is kind of a pain to get it to look like my screen shot. One of the amazing things I’ve found is that I can be running both the ReflecitonApp and AirServerApp at the same time. They are working very well together and they are not fighting each other at all! I even have been running audio from iPad through ReflectionApp and mirroring it too while mirroring my iPhone with AirServerApp! The audio plugged away and the video behaved as it had all day long with just one of these apps running at a time. I have been running the mirroring all day when I have been at my computer (my daughter did become a teen though so my time has been limited with her party and bowling and shopping though!). Every thing runs smooth as I would expect for all normal apps. I even tried photoBooth. There is a bit of a time delay in PhotoBooth as well as FaceTime with the video. At times I do get a stutter in the audio too. You should understand though that I am running an old AirPort Express with only 802.11b and I know that two of my boys have been running iTunes, FaceBook, Web Surfing and the like through their iPodTouches too.

My only complaint is when I have tried my musical instrument apps. For instance a piano app, MorphWiz or something like this. The lag is not going to work at this time for live performance! There is not way I could mirror this at at a concert and play a song on my iPad so the audience could see what was going on. Now I’m not sure what the problem is though because the PR on both web-sites show gaming apps running and they say that people could be using this for mirroring games! I am not a gamer but I do have a few games loaded on my iPad and I tried BugDom and it worked pretty well on both apps. Cro-Mag Rally crashed the ReflectionApp but worked in AirServer. So for gaming and musical instruments…. I wouldn’t hold my breath too much. These apps are not rock solidly performing in either mirroring app yet!

In wrapping this post up… there are two more points I need to make. The ReflectionApp tech support is really super and really super fast! I sent an email requesting and asking about a passcode (because the first version I downloaded didn’t have a passcode in it) Within minutes they had responded back to me. The next day there was an update to the program! Now don’t get me wrong – I know the update was not because of me but these guys are working hard on their app and want to interact with their users.

The AirServerApp has been rock solidly streaming music in my band room for a year now. This app is a bit more polished. For instance, there aren’t very many settings that we can adjust, the app just does it for you. When you select a song on your iPad in the Music app and push play there is a little notification (very Growl like, if you know what Growl is) on your Mac that tells you what song is playing. When you play videos, like YouTube, and take the video full screen, AirServer uses it’s own built-in movie player. AirServer has some more info about this sort of thing on their web site.

Both apps are great. ReflectionApp requires OS 10.6 or higher. AirServer will work somewhat with Tiger, Snow Leopard, Leopard and Lion as well as working some with Android devices (I think just for audio though) they are both $14.99 (the upgrade for AirServer from v3 was $3.99)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 742 other followers

%d bloggers like this: