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IK Multimedia ships iRing, the first motion controller for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch music apps and more

May 8, 2014 Comments off

May 8, 2014 – IK Multimedia, the innovator in mobile music-creation apps and accessories for iPad and iPhone, is proud to announce that iRing™, the first motion controller for music apps and more, is now available from music and electronics retailers worldwide.

First presented at CES 2014, iRing is an affordable, wearable technology system that gives users a new level of gestural control over their favorite music apps, in real-time, using hand positioning for unprecedented music expression.

The iRing system consists of two double-sided “rings” to wear comfortably on the fingers along with a series of apps that are able to detect the iRings’ accurate positions in space using the device’s camera. Through the recognition of the dot patterns printed on the rings, the device’s camera picks up the movement and translates it into MIDI information. Users can then interact with music apps by simply moving their hands in front of their device through the precise reading of the ring position, which is converted into music commands or MIDI control messages to operate various app parameters without touching the device.


iRing includes two identical double-sided ring controllers plus two free apps for various music applications designed for everyone from music lovers to knowledgeable DJs and musicians: iRing Music Maker and iRing FX/Controller.

iRing Music Maker is a free app that gives music lovers and DJs a fun new way to create music and grooves using hand gestures, no matter what their skill level. iRing Music Maker utilizes music “loops” that always sound good together and can be remixed in virtually limitless combinations by simply waving the hands with the iRing controllers in front of the device’s camera. Users can change beats, control rhythmic elements, play synth parts and control effects providing hours and hours of quality musical entertainment. Plus, iRing Music Maker also includes lead and bass synths with respective pattern players that can be independently operated for hours of error-free musical improvisation. Creating music has never been so much fun!

iRing FX/Controller is the app for skilled musicians and DJs that is both a real-time audio effects processor and a MIDI controller with fully assignable parameters. It can be used as a touch-less outboard audio effects processor, or can be fully configured to send multiple simultaneous MIDI parameters; such as control changes, notes or any other MIDI messages.

As an effects processor, iRing FX/Controller uses the analog or digital input of the device for processing external audio sources. FX/Controller can also be used with Audiobus and Inter-App Audio compatible apps to process the audio stream from music apps running on the device to add stunning and brilliant audio effects. The iRings can control up to six effects parameters at a time. iRing FX/Controller operates two simultaneous effects, selectable from up to 16 powerful and creative effects, including: Delay, Stutter, Phazer, Flanger, Compression, Fuzzy, Reverb, AutoWah, Crush, Twist Up & Down, Brake, Spin and Tail. 

As a MIDI controller, iRing FX/Controller can transmit MIDI messages to other Virtual MIDI compatible apps running on the device or to external devices using compatible MIDI interfaces (like IK’s iRig MIDI). iRing FX/Controller can send out the complete set of MIDI messages (control change, notes, program change, pitch wheel, aftertouch, MIDI system real-time, and MMC, MIDI Machine Control) with up to 3 assignable parameters corresponding to the X, Y and Z axis positions for each of the 2 detectable rings for a new level of touch-less control. Additionally, MIDI messages can also be sent to a computer application via Wi-Fi (using MIDI network). Users can configure the app to control effects, filters, notes, patches and more for creative and dynamic “never before seen” performances.

iRing computer vision technology is also directly incorporated into the entire line of IK Multimedia DJ apps likeGroovemaker® and DJ Rig™ and will soon be included into other popular IK apps such as AmpliTube®,SampleTank®VocaLive™ and more so that DJs, guitarists, vocalists, bass players, producers, keyboardists and engineers will have a new level of control to deliver powerful and unique performances.

For third-party developers who want to incorporate and implement iRing technology directly into their apps, IK is offering a free SDK (software development kit) and licensing program which makes it easy to take advantage of this new breakthrough technology. iRing can also be easily utilized beyond music for a wide variety of applications including gaming, health & fitness, utilities and more. Developers can take advantage of the technology and improve the functionality of their apps by contacting IK via the link provided on the iRing product page.

iRing features

  • Advanced motion-tracking technology provides remote control of iOS apps using hand positions and gestures
  • Includes two identical, double-sided reversible rings allowing for numerous control combinations and control of up to 6 effects’ parameters simultaneously with two hands
  • iRings are unique looking, light, comfortable and provide a universal fit
  • Free Apps are available on the App Store: iRing Music Maker app, which gives the ability to make music using hand gestures with no previous musical knowledge, and also the iRing FX/Controller app, which lets musicians and DJs create custom MIDI control setups, plus add and control audio effects, using compatible apps or external devices
  • iRing computer vision technology can be licensed and incorporated into other third-party apps including gaming, health & fitness, utilities and more


Pricing & Availability

iRing controllers cost only $24.99/€19.99 (excluding taxes), are available in three colors (white, green and grey) and are now shipping from music and electronics retailers worldwide and from the IK Multimedia online store.

iRing FX/Controller and iRing Music Maker apps are available as free downloads from the App StoreSM.




For more information about iRing™ for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, please visit:
www.ikmultimedia.com/iring

To view the iRing video playlist, please visit:
www.ikmultimedia.com/products/iring/video

For more information about the free iRing development kit and licensing program, please visit:
www.ikmultimedia.com/iringsdk

Announcing the iRig Blueboard: the first wireless MIDI pedalboard controller

October 10, 2013 Comments off

blueboard_guitar_ipad_335bIK Multimedia iRig Blueboard
IK Multimedia
$99.99 / €79.99 MSRP (excluding taxes)

iRig BlueBoard is the first wireless MIDI pedalboard for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac that uses Bluetooth technology to transmit MIDI messages to control app and software functions and features. Musicians can use iRig BlueBoard to control parameters in their favorite music making apps — such as stompbox effects on/off, preset patch-switching on the fly, volume or wah control, or any other MIDI controllable function. Set-up is as simple as turning on the power and launching the iRig BlueBoard companion app and assigning the backlit pads to the desired control function.

iRig BlueBoard uses Bluetooth 4.0 (LE – Low Energy) technology to transmit the actions of its four onboard, backlit foot switches and its two optional external devices to the mobile device or Mac. Then, using the included iRig BlueBoard app (download from the App Store) and software (download from the IK web site User Area), the Bluetooth signals are converted into MIDI messages and routed internally to the music app that’s running on the device.

The Ultimate App Control

Any music app or Mac music-software application that is MIDI compatible (the standard communication protocol for musical instruments) — such as IK’s AmpliTube, VocaLive, SampleTank, iLectric Piano, iGrand Piano — or any other Core-MIDI-compatible app like Apple’s GarageBand, can be controlled wirelessly.

iRig BlueBoard is also expandable — musicians can add up to two standard additional expression pedals or foot switches via the unit’s two TRS 1/4” expansion jacks, allowing for control of continuous rotary functions like wah effects, volume, EQ, gain control, etc.

For a guitarist or vocalist using a mobile multi-FX app like AmpliTube or VocaLive as a sound processor, iRig BlueBoard provides the foot-controlled functionality and convenience of a pedalboard, but with a form factor so compact and portable that it can easily slide into a backpack, a laptop bag or an instrument case. Because it’s wireless, iRig BlueBoard puts musicians on stage without being tethered to their mobile device. The unit’s range is 10 meters (over 32 feet), giving players a great deal of mobility to roam the stage that would be impossible with a wired unit.

Because the foot switches are backlit, they’re easy to see in all lighting conditions, even on a dark stage. The fact that iRig BlueBoard uses wireless Bluetooth leaves all the wired ports of the device free, so they can be used simultaneously by interfaces or controllers that feature the 30-pin or Lightning connector, like IK’s iRig PRO, iRig HD, iRig MIDI or iRig KEYS, and adapters or microphones that use the device mini-jack such as iRig, iRig PRE or iRig Mic.

Ultra Compact, Ultra Portable

iRig BlueBoard is extremely compact, light and portable, measuring only 27 cm wide x 9 cm deep (10.6″ x 3.5″) and only 2 cm (0.8″) tall. It’s extremely lightweight, but with a sturdy, stageworthy chassis and four foot switches made of soft-touch rubber and designed for durability.

iRig BlueBoard is battery powered using 4 standard AAA batteries (included), and because it uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), it draws very little power giving it extremely long battery life for extended operation.

Quiller: Your private Journal App (Review)

August 12, 2013 Comments off

app_iconQuiller (App)
Journaling App for iPad
From Passion to Purpose, LLC.
$1.99 Apple App Store
Follow: @quillerapp

Remember Doogie Howser, MD. pecking away at the end of every episode in the obscure blue-screened word processor to record the day’s thoughts, hopes, and dreams? Sure you do. Primitive wasn’t it? Well, if Doogie inspired you to begin journaling back then but you never did anything about it, let Quiller bring that inspiration into the 21st Century as an iPad app.

When questioned, something to the tune of 85% of all people want to write for publication but sadly, or maybe happily for writers like me, fewer than five percent ever become published in any kind of forum. But you don’t have aspire to be the next Hemingway or James Joyce to enjoy putting your own thoughts down onto electronic paper or into an electronic journal.

You, like many others, can journal for the therapeutic value or for posterity. But whatever your reason for doing it, Quiller can make it easy–far easier than using a word processor or Big Chief tablet. If you know what a Big Chief tablet is, bless you. If not, it has nothing to do with what you call a tablet today. This one is made of paper and has lined pages. I’m pretty sure that it was the substrate onto which many novels and journals were written. I digress.

Quiller is the new genre of journaling. It is a prompt-driven journaling program that helps you collect your thoughts, navigate the app, and even apply an emotion (via emoticon) to the day.

You can create multiple journals, each with a different look, and you can password protect them too–each with a different password, if you prefer. This also means that if you share a single iPad in your family, each of you can have your own password-protected journal. How do you know which journal is yours? You engrave your name on it. Nice.

Figure 1: Creating a new journal.

Figure 1: Creating a new journal.

Oh, and if you forget your journal password, you can have it reset via email, so that you never get locked out of your journal.

To understand what’s meant by “prompt-driven,” refer to Figure 1 that shows you what a new journal looks like when you open it for the first time.

Figure 2: Starting your new journal.

Figure 2: Starting your new journal.

As you can see from Figure 2, there are more prompts once you open your journal and begin or continue writing. My daughter left me a message back in June. Yes, I’ve been a bad boy in not getting this review finished months ago. Apologies all around. Better late than never.

To use the journal, simply follow the on screen prompts. It really couldn’t be any easier than that.

Figure 3: Your Personal Stats Page.

Figure 3: Your Personal Stats Page.

There is a very interesting additional detail that the designers put into Quiller: Personal Stats. To get to your personal stats, go back to the home area by tapping the Home icon in the app. Now tap the Person icon at the top of the screen to see a page similar to that in Figure 3.

The other very cool feature shown on this page is that you can export your journal entries as PDF or TXT files. This is an extremely valuable feature if you ever decide to publish or self-publish your writings.

Quiller, at $1.99, is not the least expensive app on the market but it’s certainly one of the finest that I’ve seen at any price. No ads to bug you or distract you. That’s worth 99 cents all by itself. Remember that any “free” apps that you get will probably have ads and those annoying “In App” purchase prompts.

Remember Quiller is prompt-driven not ad-driven.

Why it’s frugal: Quiller is a quality app that helps you get your thoughts down on “paper.” You might not save a bundle of money by using it but if your writing is good and you stick with it, you could become a published writer, if that’s your thing. Buying a quality product that doesn’t constantly tap you to buy something else is worth something.

Since you can create multiple journals and password protect them individually, you only have to buy Quiller once. That’s pretty frugal.

The only features missing from Quiller are the ability to allow you to write with a stylus–or something other than the keyboard and the ability to embed pictures or graphics either from external sources or from your own scribbles.

Review: 9/10

Recommendation: Buy it and write, write, write.

The Diamond Multimedia PlugnView Home Monitoring Kit (Review)

August 12, 2013 1 comment

Pic1PlugnView Home Monitoring Kit
Live video security camera hardware
Diamond Multimedia
$119.99 Retail/$94.66 Amazon (Prime)
Product Spotlight Video

Like all Diamond Multimedia products, the PlugnView Home Monitoring Kit (PlugnView) is a high quality, low cost product. Diamond succeeds in putting a lot of ‘bang for the buck’ into every one of its devices. And you know that you have a Diamond Multimedia product because it has all the familiar design features: small footprint, abundant ventilation slots, highly visible labels, status lights, attention to details such as furniture-protecting rubber feet, and high impact plastic construction.

Diamond Multimedia (DMM) puts a lot of thought into its products. The PlugnView is standard high quality fare for a DMM product, which is worth noting here.

Pic2Included in the kit is everything you need except the apps, which are available through Apple’s App Store or through Google Play. You get the PlugnView camera, a HP500AV Home Plug Adapter, a Quick Start guide, and a three-foot Ethernet cable.

DMM also has a reputation for making products that are very easy to setup and use. The PlugnView follows that time-honored tradition too.

To setup the PlugnView, attach the Ethernet cable to the HP500AV, plug in the Ethernet cable’s free end directly into an open slot in your router or into an open slot in your network switch, and plug in the HP500AV to electric power. The HP500AV has to access your network via the Ethernet cable and then it attaches to your PlugnView camera via wireless. All three lights should be green, when properly connected.

Plug in the PlugnView camera to electric power and aim it at whatever you want to view. The camera swivels left and right on its base plus you can adjust the vertical (up and down) pitch as well. These adjustments are manual. You can’t move (pan) the camera electronically to scan an area.

Next, download the PlugnView app from the Apple App Store or, if you have an Android device, from the Google Play Store.

Open the app, tap the Plus (+) button to add a camera. On the next screen, select the way you want to add your camera to the app: via QR code on the bottom of the camera, local network search, or manually. I suggest that you attempt to add your camera first by searching. If that doesn’t work, then scan the QR code on the bottom of the PlugnView. Finally, if those two fail, add it manually. But one should work and adding manually is a pain because of the length of the ID and the password. You can change the password later in the app.

Figure 1: A live video view using the iPhone PlugnView app.

Figure 1: A live video view using the iPhone PlugnView app.

A local network search should find your camera within a few seconds. Once it does, you’ll see the cryptic identification code for your camera. Tap the found camera to edit its properties. Name your camera. I named mine “camera”. Leave the Camera ID as is. Enter the camera password from the bottom of the camera. Be careful to type it in exactly as you see it. Tap Save when done. Tap the Done button when your camera light in the app turns green.

Tap the camera that you just setup. You’ll see a “connecting to camera” message and then in a few seconds, you’ll see what the camera sees. You can also take pictures by tapping the camera icon on the screen. See Figure 1.

If you tap the Edit button (upper left corner), you can change the configuration of your camera, such as enhanced night vision, frame rate, resolution, and a few other details.

I suggest changing the frequency from 60Hz to 50Hz for better viewing inside your home. 60Hz probably works better outside. I also like the highest resolution and best quality picture available. You’ll have to experiment a bit for your surroundings and lighting conditions. Once you change something, tap the Apply button for it to take effect and then evaluate the results.

The PlugnView has pretty good resolution for the cost. Remember that this camera is not high definition video capable. It is what it is, which is an inexpensive, easy to setup, easy to use security camera. If you need something with higher resolution, sound, faster frame capture, and a panning camera, then you’ll have to spend a lot more money. For around $100, I doubt you’ll find anything better.

The PlugnView Home Monitoring Kit will keep you aware of what’s going on inside or outside your home. The PC software that you can download from DMM’s site is quite good. You can monitor multiple cameras at once with it but the app is a quick view used for occasional monitoring from your mobile device.

My overall impression and evaluation of the PlugnView Home Monitoring Kit is favorable. I like the ease of setup, the product quality, and the mobile app combination.

Why it’s frugal: The PlugnView is inexpensive but it’s more than price. If you need a decent quality home security camera, it fits that bill. You have night vision that is quite good, live video, snapshots, and good resolution. It is a good value and a good product.

Review: 8/10

Recommendation: Buy it with an understanding of its limitations and its features.

A Lomographers Dream Come True: Tiffen Photo fx App (review)

March 8, 2013 Comments off

Tiffen Photo fx

Tiffen Software
Tiffen Photo fx
$2.99 Apple App Store

I don’t review many apps and there’s a good reason for it: not that many are really worth a good review. I don’t like to pan products unless I feel ripped off by them, so generally, if I review a product or piece of software, the review is going to be more positive than negative. The Tiffen Photo fx app is really good. Hopefully, that assessment is enough to pique your interest enough to read why I think it’s so good.

Tiffen’s Photo fx app is a Lomographer’s dream. I don’t know if that’s what Tiffen had in mind when they created this little gem but it certainly was the outcome, for me, at least.

I am a Lomographer. I own multiple cameras and much to my wife’s chagrin, I often lug two or more at a time with us on walks, trips and events. Yes, I also own a nice Canon EOS T3 digital SLR and an iPhone 4 with camera apps but I like the look and feel of film too.

However, <deep breath> I sometimes forego packing up like a beast of photographic burden and just carry my iPhone. Luckily for me I have Tiffen’s Photo fx app to make up for the unbearable lightness of being sans plastic cameras.

But enough about me and my hangups, you want to know about my review of the Photo fx app. Well, I like it. I like it a lot. In fact, I can just about reproduce every “Lomo” effect with it that I can get with one of my many Lo-Fi cameras. It pains me to say that because I really love my cheap, crappy cameras that most people would toss away like yesterday’s newspaper. Sorry about the newspaper reference there–I guess I’m not only dating myself but am going retro again.

The Photo fx app’s main screen allows you to either take a new photo or dig one out of your Camera’s photo gallery. The “effect” is the same so don’t sweat it if you didn’t take the picture with Photo fx. Once you either take a new photo or select one from your gallery of masterpieces, the fun begins.

There are dozens, if not hundreds (I don’t have the patience to count) of effects that await your creative eye. And these aren’t “canned” effects–each one is adjustable on one to three different parameters. The parameters could be brightness, blurriness, sharpness, skew, color intensity and many more. Each effect has its own range of things (parameters) that you can change for that effect.

tpx_photographic
One of the many effects is Photographic, which mimics different film types, filter types, exposures and so on. If you’re a photographer with any chops, you know what I mean. There are five pages of these photographic effects that vary from these yellows to blues, greens, reds and some other “one off” colors such as amber.

This single effect almost makes fun of photographic anachronists like myself because of the range of predictable creativity you get with it. You don’t get this kind of predictability with film or even digital cameras. You have to import the photos into another expensive program that will remain nameless here and then you have to manipulate it with masks, layers and so on until you get the right visual effect. Sure, your results might be a little better but I’ll have mine on Twitter or in an article way before you will.

The next two screen shots give you a look at two other effect matrices available to you: Special FX and Tint.

tpx_special

I took this picture of the iconic landmark Las Vegas sign on my recent trip. I’d never seen the sign before and had to do it this time. My wife and I walked from Mandalay Bay to the sign and back. We stayed at Caesar’s Palace and walked to Mandalay Bay first, then on to the sign. Not a short trek.

I used the sign because it has a good range of colors and it’s something that’s familiar to everyone.

The Tiffen Photo fx app is a very good buy at $2.99. It sounds a little pricey for an app but you’ll find no other app or three apps that can do all that it does. And in photographic equipment dollars, this app definitely saves some big bucks with its many effects–some of which would only be available through some darkroom trickery or expensive software manipulation.

tpx_tintI give the Tiffen Photo fx app a solid 9 out of 10. Though it’s totally worth it, the price still leaves me a little flat. I think they’d get more traction at $1.99 but it’s not my call. It’s still a bargain at $2.99, especially if you’re an avid iPhoneographer like me. I say, “Get it.”

Review: 9/10

Recommendation: Get it.

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