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Dictation App for Ipod?

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#1 Madratter

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:08 PM

Does anyone know of a good app for doing observations logs at the telescope? I'm thinking a dictation app of some sort would be great. I could keep my list of observing targets on either Sky Safari or Observer Pro. Then I would use the dictation app to actually record my observations. I want the app to have a night vision mode, and time stamp the entries. I would then enter the observations into SkyTools back in the house instead of doing it at the scope like I do now. It would be less to carry around, and I find I fumble around on the keyboard at night when I try to enter my observations right away.

If anyone has alternative suggestions for methodologies, I'm all ears. What I am pretty much wedded to is the observations eventually ending up in Sky Tools 3.

Thanks!

#2 Lane

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 01:37 AM

I am using an Olympus digital recorder to record my observations. I can turn off the lcd light on their recorders and still know I am recording because they have a small red light that tells me I am in record mode. I am not sure if other brands can do that or not. Easy to transfer recordings to the PC too so I can save them for future reference. I put a strap on mine long enough to hang around my neck so it is always there. Wind is the only problem I have with this approach, there is a plug for an external mic on these recorders and some of those are wind-proofed with little pieces of foam to keep the wind off the microphone.

Using a recorder frees up my iPad so I can keep Sky Safari active all the time. I think you would find that to be a better approach than trying to switch back and forth between apps all night, unless you have an iPad and an iPod then you could use the iPod as a recorder. Although I have not found any apps as good as my recorder.

I also sometimes create a blank observing list at the start of a session called "observed on yyyy-mm-dd with C11" and as I observe something I add it to that list. Then I know exactly what I saw on that night, even if I am working from another list or multiple list. The recorder provides details of my observations and I add those details to each of the items in my observed list at home. So my final obervations are stored on the iPad. I also export those "observed" list to CSV format on the PC for safe keeping. You never know what might happen and I want them in a readable format that I can access if necessary.

Regardless of whether you buy a recorder or use an app to record, only do one object per recording. It makes it a lot easier to transcribe into sky safari later.

If you go with a recorder, you don't need a lot of memory. I rarely use more than 250mb in an 8 hour session and I transfer those recordings to the PC as soon as I get home. If you plan to be away from your computer observing for several days then you might need more space than that. You can also set the recorder to record at a medium quality level with good results and huge space savings.

#3 CJK

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:56 AM

I really like the dedicated voice recorder idea.

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#4 Madratter

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 02:30 PM

I have used voice recorders in the past, and I have one laying around that I could press into service. But 1) it is yet another gadget whereas I am trying to simplify, and 2) At least the ones I am aware of don't date stamp. It may however be better than what I am doing now. I suppose I could always voice the current time.

#5 CJK

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 04:02 PM

Actually, quite a lot of them do date & time stamps. Here's an example from a quick search on Amazon.

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#6 bilgebay

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 04:21 PM

iPhone comes with a "Voice Memo" app. It lists the recordings with a date and time stamp. I am using this for recording my observations and imaging conditions. Switching between apps is not a problem for me using a quick double press on the home button and then selecting the app I want o switch to but YMMV.

I have also checked the App Store a minute ago and saw lots alternative voice memo apps. Some of them maight be better than what I am using now. So, thanks for this opportunity to be able update my recording tools :)

Clear skies

#7 Lane

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 07:17 PM

The Olympus I have is pretty small and just hangs around my neck so it is not in the way at all. It is also voice activated so goes on and off as I talk. Although that feature is not useful if you are whispering which is what I am usually doing at night to avoid bothering others nearby. It does date/time stamps too and when you transfer to the pc the date/time created is set to those values. Transfer is easy since the usb plug is in the device you just push it out. You can record in WMV or MPG format and adjust quality to your liking. The one I have also has a lot of advanced features like an equalizer and various noise reduction switches, and a really cool feature that gives you the ability to playback with all the dead space removed. So if you are not using voice activation you might get a lot gaps where you are not talking but the recorder is still on so if you left a 50 second gap between words for instance that feature will playback with only a 1/2 second gap between those words. I use that feature all the time.

#8 CJK

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:04 PM

Lane, which model Olympus do you have?

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#9 Lane

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:05 PM

iPhone comes with a "Voice Memo" app. It lists the recordings with a date and time stamp. I am using this for recording my observations and imaging conditions. Switching between apps is not a problem for me using a quick double press on the home button and then selecting the app I want o switch to but YMMV.

I have also checked the App Store a minute ago and saw lots alternative voice memo apps. Some of them maight be better than what I am using now. So, thanks for this opportunity to be able update my recording tools :)

Clear skies



Here are my issues with this approach:

I like to keep the screen dark red, so I use night mode in sky safari combined with a red cling film on the front of the iPad. Switching to a non-red app is going to be to bright.

I control my telescope with sky safari and the skyfi wireless unit. If I switch to another app the connection drops.

I also like to talk to the recorder at the same time I am picking out things to view in sky safari. It saves time and I can't do both at the same time if the recorder is on the iPad.

#10 helpwanted

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 12:19 AM

Remember... dictation on an iPad or iPhone needs to access the Internet to translate your words into text, either the built in dictation, or an app such as Dragon, so when using Sky Safari... If you use wires to connect your telescope to your iPad, then no problems with dictation, but if you use the wireless connection between iPad and your telescope, then you are not on the Internet, you are connected to the scope via an "ad-hoc" network.

You can not connect to two wireless networks at the same time.

#11 Starman81

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 12:32 AM

Does anyone know of a good app for doing observations logs at the telescope? I'm thinking a dictation app of some sort would be great. I could keep my list of observing targets on either Sky Safari or Observer Pro. Then I would use the dictation app to actually record my observations. I want the app to have a night vision mode, and time stamp the entries. I would then enter the observations into SkyTools back in the house instead of doing it at the scope like I do now. It would be less to carry around, and I find I fumble around on the keyboard at night when I try to enter my observations right away.

If anyone has alternative suggestions for methodologies, I'm all ears. What I am pretty much wedded to is the observations eventually ending up in Sky Tools 3.

Thanks!


I too use SSP, running on the iPad Mini in night mode and found it hard to record observations at the eyepiece. I have an Android smartphone and I downloaded this awesome voice recorder app, 'Smart Voice Recorder'. This voice recording app records your observations and has an option to skip silence--very useful! I had a 2+ hr session last night and had about 20 minutes of audio. The phone screen does not have to be on and this app can run in the background. I kept the phone in my jacket pocket and used a hands-free earpiece with mic to speak into. It worked very well. No it is not dictation, but dictation is usually frought with errors, IMO this works much better.

#12 Madratter

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 12:17 PM

I too use SSP, running on the iPad Mini in night mode and found it hard to record observations at the eyepiece. I have an Android smartphone and I downloaded this awesome voice recorder app, 'Smart Voice Recorder'. This voice recording app records your observations and has an option to skip silence--very useful! I had a 2+ hr session last night and had about 20 minutes of audio. The phone screen does not have to be on and this app can run in the background. I kept the phone in my jacket pocket and used a hands-free earpiece with mic to speak into. It worked very well. No it is not dictation, but dictation is usually frought with errors, IMO this works much better.


I apparently called what I want incorrectly :foreheadslap:. I don't need or want dictation. What I would like is simply voice recording. I'll transcribe it later. There is the voice recorder that comes with the ipod, but it has no night vision mode. I was hoping there would be something out there that had a good night vision mode and did time stamping. I may need to go with a dedicated voice recorder as other have suggested. I wanted to avoid that if possible.

#13 Nop

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 01:45 PM

I'm working on it! There will be a version soon. But it will be part of my Triatlas C project. But you can ignore the charts :)

#14 Starman81

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 03:39 PM


I too use SSP, running on the iPad Mini in night mode and found it hard to record observations at the eyepiece. I have an Android smartphone and I downloaded this awesome voice recorder app, 'Smart Voice Recorder'. This voice recording app records your observations and has an option to skip silence--very useful! I had a 2+ hr session last night and had about 20 minutes of audio. The phone screen does not have to be on and this app can run in the background. I kept the phone in my jacket pocket and used a hands-free earpiece with mic to speak into. It worked very well. No it is not dictation, but dictation is usually frought with errors, IMO this works much better.


I apparently called what I want incorrectly :foreheadslap:. I don't need or want dictation. What I would like is simply voice recording. I'll transcribe it later. There is the voice recorder that comes with the ipod, but it has no night vision mode. I was hoping there would be something out there that had a good night vision mode and did time stamping. I may need to go with a dedicated voice recorder as other have suggested. I wanted to avoid that if possible.


Gotchya... I transcribe my observing reports after the session using the audio--it is really helpful and not having to skip over dead silence is a luxury in that regard. So yes, I am thinking that it is likely there is some app for iOS that has the similar capability to run in the background and also skip silence, but I have not checked on the app store.

#15 Madratter

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:22 AM

I'm working on it! There will be a version soon. But it will be part of my Triatlas C project. But you can ignore the charts :)


Most excellent! Thanks! :)






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