Recommended

Unread 2 for RSS

Article List View | Article View | Article Options

I have been using Unread 2 for a couple of weeks as my RSS reader and it has become my favourite RSS reader.

Unread is beautifully designed. It looks great and it is a joy to use. One handed on my iPhone XS Max everything is reachable. I can swipe back and forward all day.

Unread’s article list view cleverly adapts the summary text to provide one or two full sentences, depending on the length. It’s a simple feature but makes a huge difference when deciding on reading the whole article or not.

Unread provides a variety of themes and app icons. I really like dark themes with a tint of colour like dark greys or a good blue. Think the blue “dim” dark mode on the iOS twitter app. I am using the Panic theme in Unread and it looks great.

As a bonus, I have figured how to use Unread as a “read it later” app too. By installing the Feedly app (which is the RSS service I use) I can save articles to the “Read Later” board via the iOS share sheet, this then syncs to the “Saved” area in Unread.

Unread is a great app and though it took me a while to commit to the subscription (AU$29 per year) I am very happy with my purchase. If you use RSS daily, I could not recommend it more. There is a 50 article free trial, which does give a good feel for the app except its great background syncing

Podcasting Microphones Extras

So since my last post where I discussed my recommendations for a good podcasting microphone I have received a couple of orders from Amazon.
First is a shock mount which is designed to remove some of the vibrations that may occur from moving the microphone to bumping the desk.
This is the one I grabbed:
Shock mount
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C86FA0E/ref=od_aui_detailpages00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
The only problem was that I didn’t check the sizes so I needed to 3D print a part so that the microphone sat comfortably.
Mic Enlarger
I also purchased a foam microphone wind protector to help soften the noise of the microphone.
This is the one I grabbed:
Foam Cover
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01EMUQ08O/ref=od_aui_detailpages00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Together they all look pretty cool:
Mic with Foam Cover and Shock Mount

Podcasting Microphones

For all intensive purposes do not record audio through the microphone of your laptop, these microphones pick up far to much background noise and never provide any kind of reasonable quality.
A starting point is to just use the microphone attached to Apple AirPods – which will provide a clearer recording just by the fact that it will sit closer to your mouth. It also works well while on the move.
In my experience the “feel” of a podcast changes dramatically based upon the quality of the recorded audio. Some of the clear “low quality” sounding podcast generally arise when the presenters are located in the same location sharing one microphone.
So how do you choose a good microphone that has a reasonable price? Well you could head to this blog post by Marco Arment of Tumblr, Instapaper and Overcast fame.
Podcasting Microphones Mega-Review
tl;dr – get yourself an Audio Technica ATR2100-USB.

An amazing value for the money: it sounds great for the price, and pretty decent at any price, as long as you speak up very closely to it. With USB and XLR outputs and a built-in headphone jack for USB mode, I don’t know of a cheaper or simpler all-in-one solution to recommend. Compared to other inexpensive USB mics aimed at beginners, which are usually large-diaphragm condensers, the dynamic ATR-2100 picks up far less room echo and background noise. But you have to speak up closely to it β€” get more than about two inches from it, and it gets very bad, very quickly.

AT2100-USB
This microphone is fantastic and provides great value for money. Tracking one of these down in Australia is its biggest down sides. I managed to grab one from my local PLE computers for $99.

So why this microphone – other than price?

Inputs and Outputs

USB

Connecting to a laptop or even iPad could not be easier.

XLR outputs

Flexible enough to connect to any professional audio equipment and cabling.

2.5mm Headphone Jack

Plugging your headphones directly into the microphone enables the ability to listen to exactly what the microphone is picking up. This actually makes a huge difference while recording.

A small stand

Easy table top setup.

Example Recordings

Like what Marco did in his review, below I have included some example recordings I made using the internal microphones from an iPad Pro 12.9 and a MacBook Pro with also recordings made on both devices with the AT2100-USB Microphone.
MacBook Pro Internal Microphone

MacBook Pro with AT2100-USB Microphone

iPad Internal Microphone

iPad with AT2100-USB Microphone

iPad Setup

iPad Connection

Strawpoll.me – A great website for polls

Image
I thought I point out a great website for polling students on a topic. It’s called http://strawpoll.me it is really simple and if you put the results page on a projector you can watch real time results. Give it a go.,