mobile

Review: iRig mic for iOS and Android

Jeff's Rating: 4/5

tl;dr: Great-sounding, reasonably-priced microphone, purpose-built for the smartphones and tablets, with few downsides.

iRig mic with HTC Evo 4G LTE

The iRig mic was introduced in 2011, and promised to be one of the best ways to get sound from your mouth or instrument into the iPhone 4, iPod Touch or iPad/iPad 2. Since then, it has been tested to work with newer iOS devices like the iPhone 5, and many Android phones. I've updated this review (in 2013) to reflect my more extensive testing since I originally reviewed the microphone in 2011.

CNL - Catholic News Live iOS/Android Mobile App

Catholic News Live - CNL App IconThe second app developed by Midwestern Mac is Catholic News Live, or CNL for short. This app, which is the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad/Android interface for the content aggregated by the Catholic News Live website, showcases a simple list and map layout on mobile phones and tablets, as well as Drupal's great flexibility.

The Catholic News Live website uses the Drupal distribution Managing News, which allows the site administrator to add news feeds that are automatically imported on a set schedule from websites all around the world. Each story is geotagged with a location (if proper locational keywords exist in the article), and then stories have latitude and longitude values for map display.

Catholic STL - iPhone App for Archdiocese of St. Louis

Archdiocese of St. Louis - Mobile App IconMidwestern Mac, LLC worked with the Archdiocese of St. Louis to build a location-aware, news aggregating, and content submission app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The app, Catholic STL, has three main features, and leverages many different iOS APIs.

The Parishes view (and subviews) shows all parishes (about 200) in the Archdiocese on a map (MKMapView), as annotations, and when a user taps on an annotation's details, he is shown the parish's address, various parish event times, and more links for the parish website and location. The Parishes view also has two different types of search: the user can enter an arbitrary address, and the map will show parishes around that address, or the user can search for a parish by name or by city.

On Developing for Android... or Not

After having jumped into the pool of mobile app development head first (more on that to come), I finally have a little more perspective when it comes to developing for iOS vs. Android.

One of the first things that I did when I started developing an App for iOS is purchase an iPod Touch. There's no way I wanted to be using my iPhone for all my development work, and I needed a device I could acquire quickly, at a low cost (i.e. without a contract), and not worry about battery life, durability, etc.

Plus, I know tons of people with iPod Touches already—most are people who don't want to spend an outrageous amount of money on a 'smartphone' plan with one of the major US carriers, but want a great mobile computing device/PDA/media player.

So, buy the iPod Touch for ~$200, download Xcode, and you're good to go for iOS development. Plus, the whole App Store process, while it's a bit convoluted at times, is very well structured, and offers developers easy avenues towards getting an app from development to sale to success with little effort required.

Of course, as I'm getting nearer and nearer the App's release, I'm hearing calls from all corners of Geekdom, "When you gonna release for Android?!" And the more frequent the cries of distress, the more frequently I look around for ways that I can/should start developing for Android.

Adapting Your Website for the iPhone

iPhone Safari Icon

In the past year, I have seen more and more mobile visitors to some of the websites I maintain, and the lion's share of those mobile visitors are using Safari on the iPhone or iPod Touch. A few of the sites receive more than 5% of their visits from such devices. For those sites, I thought it would be fitting to give them a little better mobile treatment, optimizing the layout for the iPhone.