Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Android Split Screen Combinations Part One and Two

where two screen become one on android 7.0 onwards

If you’ve a curious mind, then you often cannot stop thinking about things - in this case how an Android Screen can be Split into two halves to display two apps at the same time, side by side.

So what’s the best use of this feature and what makes the perfect match?

I’ve done some thinking on the topic, as googling for what other people have written has turned up precious little.

In other words, no more than a few ‘How to..’ posts from tech news websites (around Feb to Oct 2016).

Google Android themselves produce a few lines too at the help page, nothing more than a ‘hold the square, choose an app, see two at the same time’.

Part One in the video looks at how having 70 Apps (in my case), will produce some Birthday Paradox math that means (70x69)/2= 2,415 possible combinations.

screens from mike downes own moto g4

Where your most used 10 Apps will produce (10x9)/2= 45 combinations.

From the people I know, not one has said, ‘Yes wow, that android split screen thing is something I use all the time’.. In fact a few have said, ‘No idea what it is..’

In Part Two in the videos I look at the question I googled, ‘how many times do you need to do something before it becomes a habit’ and the incredible answer of:
"On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances. In Lally's study, it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit" (jamesclear).

Which means even if you (or me) learned Split Screen and started to use it - it may take a whopping 66 days before the behaviour in us was automatic.

On a lighter note, what are the most well known combinations in life? As Forrest Gump always said, ‘Me and Jenny goes together like peas and carrots.’

I also consider where we have come from before computers. Like watching a TV, then having that addictive second screen (to follow a hashtag on twitter).

And also the time when we had just books and a pen and some paper.
collage of split screen examples

One theme is the simple act of reading in one place, thinking then writing in another.

Everyone has a mobile that is SO PERSONAL to them.

For me, Split Screen is getting to me more autonomous. I am privileged in that my Moto G4 has a 5.5 inch screen - that’s pretty big as mobiles go.

I’m still working on the chart of How Useful? versus How Much Time?

In Part Two, I talk about how Maps/Dialler is very useful yet short lived, less than a minute maybe (where it’s see a phone number, open Split Screen with phone dialler and make the call).
useful against time

A Most Useful and Long Time use maybe YouTube Live Video and Twitter - where you are watching an event then following the hashtag and tweeting.

This is a mini version of the old school BIG TV and 2nd Screen tablet/laptop.

I make video lessons to help people learn - in this case, I helped myself learn about Android Split Screen and then shared it publicly.

Seven or eight years ago, there was a buzz and beta and all this openness and transparency. Change happens and I’m not convinced we are all that PUBLIC beta and open anymore.

Maybe the planet has SO MANY on the web now, it’s just so hard to find what you need. Or how we never seem to get past page 2 of google on anything we search for. I digress..

Bottom line for now - How I need to ruminate on Android Split Screen for a while, let it fade a bit and usually I have more to give.

Doing simple math, 66 Days from now is 24 March 18 - I will diary note that and ask myself the same question again, ‘What is the perfect combination for using Android Split Screen?’

The Playlist has a 60 sec trailer then parts One and Two ..

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Monday, 15 January 2018

Android Accessibility Help Videos

Android Magnification Zoom

There are some quite brilliant Android Accessibility features hidden in plain sight - by that I mean found in Settings, System, Accessibility.

I make video lessons to Help People Learn - to Learn you need to practice until you cannot get it wrong! I do not follow trends, I follow what is essential to turn the phone in your pocket to a tool that will be vital and essential to enhancing your day.

Video Playlist below, today's video on Magnification at the top..



Playlist - three videos


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Mixing Voice and Music for Video

mixing voice and music with audacity

If you watch or make videos where someone is talking and there is music playing in the background, then read on.

I make video lessons to help people learn, mostly with me just talking, and mostly like never to I add music too.

That said, I do get irritated with my own pauses where I breath or make other noises, we all do. So what if some music was added to break that silence? Something nicely blended not too much high, not too low - just right.

I searched for some magic formula, quickly saw there wasn't one, then settled on a few ideas
Voice only
Audio Ducking - music rises up and then down as voice speaks and pauses
A Voice and Music with set volume (maybe at 15-20%)

Here's a two part video set on what I found out using mobile and desktop, with a variety of software like: PowerDirector, Audacity, Vegas Movie Studio

Many thanks to the wistia article, 'Video Background Music: Getting the Volume Perfect' where I offer this quote:
 "I watch a ton of videos that use ducking, where the music level comes down when someone is talking on screen, then instantly rises when they finish. This technique ensures that the music is not overpowering the voices on screen, but it fails by constantly calling attention to the music.' 
"Personally, I keep the music at a consistent volume throughout the video. For this technique to work, you really have to find the right piece of music. Unless the video is highly specialized, I look for music that's simple and free from distracting elements (for example, group "whoa"-ing). In this case, I mix the music volume as high as I can get away with while making sure it doesn't overpower the narrative.
Mini Conclusion - For me ducking looks like too much work, where carefully chosen music at a consistent volume will work if music is set at around 15-20% compared to 100% voice. But, choose music carefully as the wrong track will get annoying fast.

There is a lot of meme behaviour here too, as one chap commented on my video, 'the person that convinced youtubers to always add background music to their videos should be 'spoken to'.. if I wanted music I would play music on a separate app'.


Which is a great point, maybe we were bred into this from MTV etc with all these adrenaline fuelled action videos where everyone seemed to have a heavy metal guitar over the top. Quite alien to me as a former school teacher - I mean how many teachers stand there in class with a backing track..

Part 1 on Mobile



 Part 2 on Desktop


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Friday, 12 January 2018

G Suite New Ideas New Ways to use Apps on Mobile and Desktop

g suite playlist from youtube.com/mikedownes

G Suite New Ideas New Ways to use Apps on Mobile and Desktop

This is a collection of ideas I have found using Gogle Docs, Slides, Drawings.

Finding a Drone Font for Police

On reading a tweet from Devon and Cornwall Police, there was a line, 'insert drone emoji here' which got me searching. I've drawn a blank on emoji (so far).

However, I have found a brilliant drone font and it's free. Thought it maybe useful for the odd bullet point or illustration on a poster or collage.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Saving Mobile Data with Datally

Datally Screenshots from Help Video 9 Jan 18

Datally is a new data saving mobile app that was introduced by google on 30 November 2017.

I've made five help videos to support those people who wish to learn.

Audacity 2.2.0 and beyond from Nov 2017

Audacity 2.2.1 on Win10
It’s easy, real easy to record decent audio - I use my Moto G4 phone, a few JVC HA EBR25 / EBR80 Sports headset plugged into the phone or my Win10 laptop. I also have a Zoom H1 pro Mic.

Exploring the BeFunky Photo Editor Mobile App on Android

 a hare in a field as pop art from Spet 2014

I’ve used BeFunky on and off since 2009 I think, always on desktop, from memory maybe it was a downloaded application.

Yet here I am in 2018 talking BeFunky again, which seems to have found it’s way to me partly from memory as that’s what I search for after looking at the Storyboard comic strip images.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

U Scanner by Cyberlink is so Useful to Photo Scan Deskew Save pretty much anything

uk police tweet image using mobile first phone

I heard about and downloaded U Scanner by Cyberlink on Android on 14 Dec 17 (iOS is also available).

After a five minute test, I upgraded to Premium and paid £1.23 UK (no watermarks and no ads). For that price it would hardly break the bank.

The Storyboard Android App by Google Research Is it Still a Thing?

Storyboard App the Six Visual Styles (click image to enlarge)

Happy New Year People! It's 6 Jan 2018 already and last month on 11 Dec 17, Research at Google published a new android app to Transform your videos into Instant Comics.

I've made a few tests and demos and published a video playlist below. I will add more videos soon, especially as I have a backlog of ideas queued up as the seasonal vacation interrupted the flow.

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