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Converting Audio to Text: The How and the Why

Let’s be frank: we have become used to the idea of sound to text conversion (or at least we no longer think it a futuristic dream on par with flying cars). You do not need to be a tech wiz to perform a miracle and have your phone write down every word you say. The feature is always a tap away!

 

Why Do We Convert Audio to Text?

 

There are numerous audio converters out there on the internet, and they are steadily growing more popular, but still the ‘why’ question is a fair one. What is so good, so useful about this technology that it has made its way into every smartphone?

 

The demand for voice to text conversion is high for several reasons:

  • Hands free. Often typing is inconvenient, and sometimes it is straight out impossible. Whether driving a car, walking down the street, in a business meeting, or just lounging with a cup of tea, you are not going to be able to casually type away at top speed. The solution is to skip the step altogether, and this is where voice conversion comes into play. You do the talking, the app takes care of everything else; you get your text – and the audio recording as a bonus.
  • Language barrier. Google Translate is famous for its voice input and Conversation features, which make it possible to translate a bilingual conversation on the fly. This would never work without speech recognition and text output. Just imagine yourself trying to look up words in a Japanese dictionary when you only speak English and do not know a thing about hieroglyphs!
  • Efficiency. This one is big. Convenience and speed make voice-to-text superior to writing and typing. The advantage leads to more and more people choosing voice assistants and speech recognition tools instead of traditional keyboards.

 

How Do We Convert Audio to Text?

 

Audio to text conversion can be done in several ways.

 

First of all, you can use online converters, but the downside is that they heavily depend on your web browser and can be quite unreliable. Not a good option for lengthy and/or important recordings.

 

Next are phone apps, and this particular market has been thriving. Powered by artificial intelligence, most apps are capable of almost 100% accuracy, although not all of them allow for maximum efficiency; among those which do are companion apps for portable tech, such as Senstone wearable recorders. If you like being on the move and appreciate productivity, this option is for you.

 

The final possibility is a specialized computer program. As a rule, converter software can boast rare features and plenty of tweaks, but it is often costly and takes time to master properly. The majority of projects, even if it is something as extensive as writing a book, can be completed via an app.

 

All in all, there is a plethora of tools to help you convert voice to text. Which one to use? It is up to you – as long as you are aware of the pros and cons of your choice.

 

To learn more about the Senstone portable recorder, visit our home page or check out the blog for posts on audio to text conversion and what makes Senstone one of the best voice recorders out there.

 

Have a nice day – and stay safe!

 

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Diary Suited for a Spacecraft

“The human race must start leaving Earth within 30 years to avoid being wiped out by over-population and climate change”, Professor Stephen Hawking has warned.

 

As we all know, NASA and few successful private companies such as SpaceX tries to do everything to solve this problem. Starting from the first human landing on the Moon in 1969 and ending with Falcon 9 launching the NROL-108 mission completing SpaceX’s 26th mission of 2020.[1] Technologies develop and new challenges require innovative solutions: in September, NASA iTech issued a call for solutions within focus areas including Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality Advancement, Autonomy, High Performance Computing and Medical Breakthrough.[2] NASA believes Senstone voice assistant technology has a potential in exploration of the Moon and Mars. Today we are going to consider the importance of a reliable diary suited for spacecraft.

 

There are numerous challenges the space exploration missions and people who travel to Moon and Mars face: expanding human presence in space, managing in-space resources, enabling transformational space exploration, terraforming Mars, scientific discovery, Each and every task requires special and detailed information which will be easily and instantly recorded and transcribed into text. Let us take exploration of the Mars that may give such valuable information as recording observations about functioning of human bodies in space and in lower gravity, observations of the Marsian soil and its chemical composition, exploring and recording atmospherical conditions on Mars. What might have potential to address the challenges facing exploration of the Moon and Mars? What tasks should 21st century diary solve?

 

  • Diaries are essential to help preserve precise facts and data, e.g. about composition of found materials, its properties, knowledge and experience for future space missions. 
  • Diaries provide a unique glimpse into the joys and frustrations of life in space and may even represent the psychological effects of isolation. By looking in the diaries of astronauts researchers can gain insights into the mental and emotional states that accompany life aboard the space station or potentially a future colony on Mars.
  • Keeping track of thoughts, tasks and lists is a helpful exercise for the crew as it helps to capture memories, expound on experiences and it may even provide an outlet for . The astronauts may also keep in touch with the crew members and their families and friends using hashtags which address a certain person.

 

These personal recording of events, data or thoughts may be used to derive recommendations for future missions; the objective is to identify equipment, habitat, and procedural factors that can help humans when adjusting, for instance, to isolation and confinement while ensuring they remain effective and productive during future long-duration space expeditions, such as a journey to Mars. Behavioral scientists having previously studied many exploration logs and personal journals from past explorers found there are highly predictable problems that will be encountered by future space crew, including strong-willed crew mates, cultural differences, possible misunderstandings and communication delays. 

 

Benefits of the study include learning how astronauts find ways to adapt to the isolation, confinement and other stressors of life aboard the space station or a new colony. These insights will help NASA design equipment and procedures for future space exploration. Study results also show those of us on Earth that it is possible for people from different backgrounds and cultures to live in harmony, even under very stressful conditions. Astronauts can also log every problem they encounter and detail the solutions. As NASA prepares for a journey to Mars, the journals of real astronauts are finding solutions to problems that future crew members might never encounter.[3]

 

Just try to imagine for a couple of seconds an astronaut who is somewhere in the space gaining new experience, knowledge and making giant leaps for humanity. It would be hard to rely on memory and then try to write it down (writing process is not so easy in space) or to make voice recordings (which is a far better idea). We have already heard about logbooks which are widely used in airplanes, but still the content of which is a little bit different from spacecraft or space station logbooks. Although, airplane logbooks are used to record an itinerary of the flight and it is a quite routine step, this is also a potential way to use it in space by expanding the scope of the content.

 

How might we help astronauts and colonists in recording daily routines of Mars activities, research projects, tasks for it to be helpful for their productivity, team work and then for further data analysis? There might be various approaches to the solution of this issue, but Senstone is one of the most convenient.

 

Senstone mini voice recorder would be an ideal solution for the above mentioned tasks as it gives an opportunity of taking notes without having to type. Right now, you need to tap the device to start recording, but the engineers are working on a way to record by voice commands.  One of the numerous advantages is that any recording of tasks, todos or events will be written down in seconds and this way we might save the austronauts’ precious time in space.

 

The key point is that an astronaut doesn’t have to reach out for any other devices or notebooks. The smart pedant is an intriguing reliable and functional device that records voice memos, automatically organizes them for the user, and transcribes them into text. The only thing to be improved, we guess, might be the way the pendant can be worn as it is designed to be small and tiny so it might be even more practical and handy version of it with simplified detachable backs system. The aspect of functions and size should be considered for each mission separately.

 

Thus, Senstone could potentially provide space exploration missions and astronauts with an opportunity to take instant records transcribed into text and voice notes automatically. This brilliant invention will make the process of putting together a diary in spacecraft easier, quicker and much more productive.

 

 

[1] https://www.spacex.com/launches/index.html

[2] http://www.parabolicarc.com/2017/11/28/nasa-itech-selects-top-25-semifinalists-innovation-competition/

[3] https://www.nasa.gov/content/journaling-astronauts-chronicle-missions

[4] https://gethealth.io/tracker/2016/10/31/weekly-wearables-roundup_senstone_moovhr_alcotatt_astroskin/

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Get Immersed in Your Writing Process Until the Outside World is Gone… Rules for Writing from Stephen King

Stephen King is one of the greatest writers and for sure doesn’t need an introduction. So if you are looking for the writing advice, King is great in what we consider creative writing. And we highly recommend using Senstone to record and automatically convert your audio to text. It will give you the freedom you need to easily capture what’s on your mind. So check out top writing tips from this brilliant author. 

1. If you don’t succeed, get a bigger nail.

When Stephen King started sending his first stories to magazines in hopes to get published, he was getting so many rejection slips that the nail he was putting them on fell out of the wall. He didn’t stop trying; he went and bought a bigger nail. Tip number one: don’t give up.

2. Write 6 pages a day.

For Stephen King, six pages a day is the standard he set for himself to get novels finished on time – and the reason for him being a prolific writer. It doesn’t have to be six pages for you (even one page is fine), but the principle behind the rule is clear: learn how much you can accomplish without overextending yourself, find your pace, maintain it.

3. Go where the story leads you. Plot is a last resort for bad writers.

You gather ideas and characters, you put them at the starting point and then you let them go. Unlike some writers, Stephen King doesn’t follow the plot. Instead, he follows his characters wherever they lead him.

4. The good ideas will stay with you.

If you’re obsessed with an idea, if it sticks with you and doesn’t let go, if you don’t need a notebook to write it down because you know you can’t forget it, that idea is a good one.

5. First, you read and copy other writers, then little by little you develop your own style.

Stephen King is of the opinion that all writers are self-taught, and they learn by reading books, getting a feel for trade secrets, trying to disassemble the mechanism. During that time, would-be writers usually copy the style of their favourite authors – and shape their own in the process.

6. Writing is self hypnosis, you need to have a routine.

At the end of the day, writing is a habit. Set up a routine, and your brain will know when to switch into the writing mode.

7. Start with short stories and let them develop into novels or screenplays.

Many novels started as a short story. Writer’s task is to let it grow. You can start with a few recordings a day with the help of your portable voice assistant.

8. Learn to write for different mediums.

For many writers, books may seem superior to film, but the reality is that movies operate a different kind of language. According to Stephen King, the only way to figure out how it really works is to try and write a screenplay of your own.

9. Look for ideas that you would really enjoy writing for longer periods.

Don’t think too much about the audience. Choose ideas based on what you would like to spend the next couple of months shaping into a book, so that the final chapter would leave you hungry for more of the story.

10. Get immersed in your writing process until the outside world is gone.

Writing is an ultimate escape. You sit in front of the keyboard, or at the seadside with the dictation tool in your hands, and the first 10 minutes are tedious, but then something happens and the world around disappears. That state of mind, where there is nothing but your story and your ideas, is what gets books written, but it can also be quite addictive. Exercise caution! And with an on-the-go audio to text converter you surely won’t miss a single idea for your next book. 

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Taking Morality Out of the Question. Writing Tips from Tarantino

Everybody knows Quentin Tarantino, one of the most skilled filmmakers and screenwriter in modern Hollywood. His advice on writing is based on vast experience, and the quality of his movies is proof enough that it works. Let’s see what we can learn from him and how we can use the voice recording and speech-to-text technology in our favor.

1. Develop your OWN writing process that makes you happy.

No matter how quirky your perfect writing schedule might seem to other people, what’s really important is whether you are comfortable with it and get things done as planned. For Quentin Tarantino, the routine consists of the following steps:

1) Write for about seven hours.

2) Unwind and go into the pool.

3) While in the water, think about the story and come up with new ideas.

4) Write down those ideas and put them away until tomorrow. Our voice assistant and audio to text converter on-the-go perfectly fits for collecting your moments of genius. 

2. Don’t confuse the audience.

At any given point, the audience has to know exactly what’s going on – unless you are confusing the viewer/reader on purpose to reach a certain effect.

3. Rewrite other scenes and fill in the blanks.

As a student, Quentin Tarantino used to write down entire movie scenes from memory, while filling the blanks with his own writing. It’s a good exercise in writing dialogue and characters.

4. Take the oldest stories in the book and reinvent them.

A lot of storylines in Quentin Tarantino’s movies either offer a new perspective at the types of characters that are commonly considered little more than props or present ancient plot clichés with a new flavour.

5. Take morality out of the question to have interesting characters.

When writing characters, Quentin Tarantino avoids implanting his own sense of morality into their personalities to the degree where many of them can be categorized as villains. Not everyone on the screen has to be likeable or relatable; everyone has to be interesting to watch.

6. Write the movie you want to see.

There is always something you wish others would make differently just to fit your tastes. Go ahead and show the world how it’s done. Make your favourite movie.

7. Do your subtext work.

A single story can have two different meanings and tell two different things. The text – i. e. the surface level – is for all viewers, but the subtext, the deeper meaning and associations behind the text, is for the viewer to interpret. In general, it’s great to have subtext, because it benefits the story depth. You should also be aware of your subtext.

8. Give your characters moral choices.

Yes, morality of the writer is not an issue (see no. 5), but characters better have their own principles to uphold. Naturally, during the course of the plot those personal philosophies must be put to the test. Hit your characters where it hurts to develop a gripping, memorable story.

9. Write extensive character backstories to get the best actors.

A well-developed, living character gives you a better chance of scoring the actor or actress up to the task. Although character backgrounds never make it into the films, Quentin Tarantino sometimes spends pages outlining his characters’ life stories and the events that made them who they are.

10. Love what you do.

Passion can take you everywhere in the world of writing and film-making. It will make up for respective education and expensive equipment. It will help you leap over the obstacles others might find too big to overcome. Love your art.

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How to Write a Book: 12 Steps From Jerry Jenkins

If you ever thought of writing a book, we have put together recommendations from one of the best-selling authors of more than 150 books Jerry Jenkins. Below you will find his tried-and-true advice for aspiring writers, twelve steps to follow to write a good book.

 

1. Establish your writing space.

It does not matter if you write at home, in your car, or at the office – all you need is your own space. According to Jerry Jenkins, although a writer can write anywhere, you are supposed to know what works for you and what does not. Do you need silence or are you okay with people talking in the background? If you need silence, do everything in your power to find yourself a quiet place where you can be as a productive writer as possible.

2. Assemble your writing tools.

You do not need a whole lot of tools to write: just a place to sit and whatever you use to put down the text. Make a list of what you need before you start writing so that you do not have to get up and look for anything. This can be a simple notebook, pen and paper, laptop that helps convert audio into text, or an automated speech-to-text tool. Learn how your body works, which pose is the most comfortable for your neck and spine, whether you need a cushion, et cetera.

3. Settle on your big idea.

A small idea at the core of your book is one of the main reasons why some writers cannot progress further than a few chapters. Your idea has to be big, and you have to be obsessed with it.

4. Construct your outline.

Writing a book often seems overwhelming, and so you should break the bigger picture into pieces – like a puzzle. From the whole book to its basic structure (beginning, middle, ending) to chapters to episodes. “How do you eat an elephant?” – “One bite at a time”.

An outline is there to give you direction along the way. Even if you dislike planning and intend to improvise your way through the book, you should have an idea where you are heading. The outline can be as short as a page, but it is going to be of great help, especially during the stage Jenkins calls “the Marathon of the Middle” (½ or ¾ of the manuscript), the most frustrating portion of a book to write. If it’s boring to you, your reader is asleep. Fiction or non-fiction, make sure the middle is engaging.

5. Set a firm writing schedule. (Firm deadline)

Find out how many pages per day you can write and approximate how long your book is going to be. Divide the latter by the former, and you will get the number of days you need to finish your first draft. Your deadline is sacred.

6. Do your research.

Research is very important, because readers notice slip-ups and inaccuracies. Specificity lends credibility. Get what you need to write the book, utilize the knowledge, but do not show off. Do not use more than you need.

7. Write a compelling, reader-first opener.

The success of your book hinges on the first line, the first paragraph. Always think about your reader. To help you make a first step, start the moment when you have an idea – try using your voice to capture your thoughts whenever you are.

Most first lines fall into these categories:

  1. – Surprising
  2. – Dramatic statement
  3. – Philosophical
  4. – Poetic

8. Fill your story with conflict and tension on every page.

If you characters agree with each other, it is a problem. This also applies to non-fiction, only in place of characters you have a certain problem that needs to be solved.

9. Turn off your internal editor. (While writing)

Make your perfectionism take a day off while you write, or it will make you stop in your tracks. Promise yourself you will polish the text later. Always save your editing for the next day.

10. Don’t quit during the Marathon of the Middle.

The Marathon of the Middle is always tough. Set up pay-offs from the conflict you have established in the beginning to make it shine. Don’t survive. Thrive.

11. Write a resounding ending.

Take as much time as you need to write a satisfying ending. Do not settle for anything less. Make it work whatever the cost, and when in doubt, go for the one that is the most emotional. Readers remember what moves them.

12. Become a ferocious self-editor.

Keep improving your manuscript until it sings. Your publisher is going to want all of your potential, and so you better edit – ruthlessly, to the point where you are proud to show the world the fruit of your labour.

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Senstone: The Recorder That Understands You

How is a smart voice recorder ‘smart’, exactly? It is a perfectly natural question; after all, plenty of things are claimed to be ‘smart’ these days: cars, TVs, houses, watches, light bulbs, et cetera. So when you see a recorder labelled ‘smart’, the picture in your head is vague at best.

In this article, we are going to look at Senstone, a smart wearable recorder with an unusual design. The questions we are going to answer are: what are the features that make it stand out among the crowd? How is it actually smart? What is the vision behind the features Senstone has and what do they bring to the table?

Without a doubt, the most noticeable feature of Senstone is that, unlike most recording devices, it processes your recordings and organises them into a system. It does store the audio files, too, but they are just the tip of the iceberg, and the most interesting things happen in the app itself. In a way, Senstone makes ‘smart’ in its description refreshingly literal.

At its core Senstone is built around the system of natural language processing (NLP) – complex structures of algorithms specifically programmed to process and make sense of human language. The most well-known examples of NLP at work would be AI assistants that accept voice input like Siri and Alexa. Natural language processing is the very thing that lets Senstone build the deeper understanding of its user’s linguistic habits and transcribe the recordings.

For every voice entry, Senstone automatically creates a transcript that can be viewed and modified via the app. The accuracy of speech-to-text conversion holds up to the scrutiny and stands at 95% or higher – it is just as accurate as Siri.

As the transcript is being created, artificial intelligence inspects the text for accidental mistakes and irregularities, acting as an autocorrect. The AI also breaks the text into sentences and paragraphs, taking care of the syntax. Ideally, you would not have to edit anything at all unless you wanted to add a remark or expand on a topic. Editing can be done in the app.

As a part of its NLP, Senstone uses advanced semantic speech processing technology which takes into account the minute details of how users communicate their thoughts: the most frequently used words, sentence structure, favourite expressions and phrases. Capable of learning and self-improvement, the AI matches every incoming sentence and its parts to the patterns it has already learned and makes corrections where necessary.

This is the way Senstone learns – from experience. As you keep using Senstone, the artificial intelligence learns and improves further and further. Basically, what you get can be called a personal smart voice assistant.

Another feature worth mentioning is a personal dictionary. Again, it can be accessed from the Senstone app. The dictionary lets you add new words, such as particularly rare proper nouns or technical terms, to the list for AI to process and recognise. This ensures that Senstone will be translating the words into text properly and not attempt to correct them into something statistically more common.

The personal dictionary will be especially useful for health care workers, university students, writers, and other professionals who tend to make heavy use of specialised terms. It is intended as yet another option to create personalised experience and make interactions with Senstone as streamlined as possible.

One more interesting feature is entry tagging.

Senstone app allows for #conventional #tags as well as geotags, also known as location tagging. The tags can be added and edited at any time, and multiple tags can be applied to a single entry. The option is rather flexible, and this means you can set up a custom labelling system where some tags overlap, essentially sorting recordings by topic and/or location.

Regarding software, the final major advantage of Senstone is connectivity. It connects to the cloud to make back-ups, it syncs with your phone’s OS, and both audio recordings and transcripts are easy to share via social networks or basic copy & paste. Minimalistic and robust infrastructure makes it simple to distribute recordings quickly and efficiently.

In general, built-in tagging, highlights, time stamps, sharing options, and robust search functionality come together to create a system that can be tweaked and modified to anyone’s personal liking. Senstone certainly has a lot to offer, and personalisation is one of its strengths.

When it comes to hardware, Senstone takes on the ergonomic approach. The recorder is a wearable device the size of a button, shaped to resemble a fashionable accessory rather than a gadget. Since Senstone is designed as a personal voice recorder, it is recommended that users clip it to their collar or wear it as a pendant around their neck. A miniature LED light prevents stealth recording by giving a flash every time you start using the recorder.

To start a new recording, the user taps the device. There is only one button. Apart from it, Senstone has no other buttons, wires, or screens. Once the recording starts, the device responds to voice commands; other than that, settings, entries, and other features are accessible from the app.

Audio recordings in the MP3 format are stored in the cloud and on the user’s phone. Up to 2.5 hours of audio can be stored without access to the phone, and Senstone has no issues working offline.

The reason for Senstone completely hands-free is the productivity-based philosophy behind its creation.

Advocating focus and efficiency, Senstone refuses to accept keyboard as the default input method and treats manual recording – all of it, including touch screens – as a thing of the past which has been made obsolete by the current advances in speech recognition. Senstone defines itself as a tool to eliminate distractions and improve the productivity of its user, but the bigger picture of its vision is the future where voice and not text is the skeleton key to human–computer interactions.

All of the above contributes to the image of Senstone as a smart voice recorder, and it fits the definition of ‘smart’ tech. Following the trend for wearable devices, it offers portability, as well as accurate voice processing and rich functionality.

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Voice Input Takes Over?

Is voice-to-text the next big revolution in how we communicate with computers? From typewriters to keyboards to voice input – the way we punch in lines of text is not set in stone, far from it.

Today grocery shopping accounts for more than 20% of voice-based orders, and over 60% of smartphone users have used voice search at least once in the past 12 months [Top Voice Search Statistics For 2020].

Of course, the extent to which we use voice commands now would not be possible even ten years ago, but advances in audio recording and speech recognition make this dream come true. The science fiction we all have seen in film just 10 years ago, with people ordering lights to twenty percent and asking their AI butler to reschedule that one meeting tomorrow, has become reality.

And so, in the world where a recorder app for Android can do what used to be a job for a squad of secretaries, can we expect a shift from typing to voice control? Are we going to see more screen free devices? Are we going to ditch keyboards altogether eventually?

First of all, a shift of sorts is already happening. You are probably familiar with assistants like Alexa and Siri – if you do not own one, you have at least heard about them – who set the current standard for human to machine communication. Their usefulness comes not only from artificial intelligence but also from the fact that you are not bound to the keyboard while using them.

Secondly, there are areas – like note-taking and planning – where the keyboard is (or used to be) a necessary type of evil. Sure, it’s better than pen and paper but not quite there yet. And recorders like Senstone aim to bridge that gap, giving their users the freedom of expression without the crutch that is typing and without having to sacrifice function.

Next, we should also mention the very practical advantages of voice-to-text over buttons and manual controls. To name but a few:

  • Speed. Our fingers, no matter how fast we type, cannot keep up with the thoughts as they are formed. By the time we write something down, it is often distorted; not to mention typing letters takes way more time than simple dictation.

  • Accessibility. Are you behind the wheel, driving to work? Are you having a meeting at the office? Perhaps, you are working and cannot let yourself get distracted by phones and screens? A voice assistant is there to pick up anything you toss its way.

  • It is good for the mind. Our brain perceives and retains spoken information much, much better than what we read or see. Besides, the old rule of ‘if you want to learn something, teach it to somebody’ can apply here as well, since you essentially express your thoughts, give them shape and make them understood – even if the only person who is going to read your notes is the future you.

Naturally, there will be some cases where old-fashioned buttons or even handwriting would be more efficient or appropriate – for example, in settings where you have to keep silent. But just like typing has not replaced writing, voice will not make keyboards go the way of dodo. What we can hope for is a mostly keyboard-free environment, with keyboards used as occasional backup.

If you want to start living the future right here, right now, visit our home page and experience it first-hand with Senstone, a smart voice recorder that understands you. For news and updates, subscribe to our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Good luck!

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Focus, Productivity, and Audio Notes

Conventional notes are not the be-all and end-all – a wearable voice recorder can be of much greater help when it comes to productivity and getting things done. It achieves what no phone or notebook has ever been able to offer: uninterrupted focus, zero distractions, and immense contribution to your efficiency.

How to stay focused and productivity 

Contrary to popular belief, a garden variety notes app is actually not as effective as advertised. Sure, you have the to-do list and some memos jotted down, but the devil is in the details, and the details hide in our own mind.

In and of itself, the idea of note taking is pretty clever in that it exploits the inherent features of the human brain. Notes let us remember what we might have forgotten otherwise, but they also free up our “working memory”. In other words, we can store important information for later use elsewhere and move on. Arguably, this is the most important benefit and the entire purpose of notes. Out of sight, out of mind. Nobody would want to have to mentally recite a list of groceries while working on a project due tomorrow!

But when we start using an audio recorder or a notes app, we are expected to follow a very specific sequence – and not just expected, it is the only way to go about the whole thing! Step by step; look for your phone or recorder, take it in your hand, look at it, press some buttons or tap the screen a few times, bring up the recording menu, press the big red button, speak, press the button again, figure out where to put the recorder again… Unfortunately, the very first step ruins our mind’s attempt at deep work, not to mention that we might get stuck browsing something completely unrelated (few people can resist a compilation of cat videos).

And yet, studies reveal that checking your phone for as little as a second has a huge effect on memorisation and focus. Every time you do it, your brain has to start paying attention all over again. It gets old pretty quick, and productivity takes a plunge.

The good news is that some gadgets – namely, wearable recorders – can help you take notes and remain concentrated, with no downsides.

Senstone is a perfectly screen free audio recorder, so you do not need to look away from your work to start recording – just tap a button clipped to your collar.

The audio is then automatically transcribed and processed to weed out any spelling errors. What you get is the liberating effect of note taking, the information you recorded, and your concentration intact – and somewhere along the way you realise you can have your cake and eat it too.

As more and more people grow aware of the impact of multitasking and constant distraction, we are here to provide an easy way to reach unprecedented levels of efficiency. We believe technology is a force for good – as long as it understands your strengths and helps you along.

For more posts on productivity and voice recording, check our blog.

Good luck and stay sharp!

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A Concise History of Podcasting

According to the statistics provided by Google, more and more people search “how to start a podcast”. Be it the US, Nigeria, Australia, or Canada – podcasting seems to grow more and more popular worldwide.

In no small part due to the accessibility of podcasting equipment, a podcast can be recorded by virtually anyone in 2020. All the more astonishing is the fact that podcasting is a fairly recent invention – it has only been 16 years since the release of the very first specialised program and about 40 years since the idea started to take root.

Before there was internet access in every phone and podcasting software available to any and all, you could subscribe to services which would let you receive audio files. Back then the internet used to be the Wild West of tech, and so it did not take long until the advent of what was essentially independent podcasting.

Internet Talk Radio, launched in 1993, famously distributed its broadcasts “as audio files that computer users fetch one by one” and called this mode of distribution “asynchronous radio” – anyone could pause the broadcast and skip the parts they were not interested in. As witty as the name was, it did not catch on.

Modern podcasting can be attributed to Adam Curry and Dave Winer, who set it into motion in 2004. A former MTV employee, Curry came up with the idea to release downloadable audio files online like one would release episodes of a show. Winer wrote iPodder – a program that allowed him to automatically download broadcasts of various internet radio stations to his iPod. That same year, the word “podcast” (“broadcast for iPod”) first appeared in an article by Ben Hammersby in the Guardian.

The format blew up, and it took very little time for podcasting to become popular. Everyone could – and still can! – find a broadcast to their taste, from science and education to politics and comedy. Dave Winer went on to contribute to the development of RSS feed and other media distribution software, and Adam Curry founded a podcasting promotion company. He still hosts one of the most viewed podcasts on the net.

The popularity of podcasting should not come as a surprise. You need a camera and actors to film movies, you need an instrument and a very specific skill set to become an artist, and you need tools and years of persistence to create art. But if you are brimming with ideas and want the world to hear them loud and clear, you can just grab a recorder and start right away!

While some podcast creators prefer their own home studios, the majority uses portable recorders (in the broadest sense of the word). Conventional digital recorders, smartphones, wearables like Senstone – the number of opportunities is staggering.

If you are looking for advice on how to start a podcast, know this: you are automatically spared the pain of deals and paperwork – unless, of course, you want to go official (podcasting is a constantly growing industry, after all). There is very little regulation, and amateur podcasts can be hosted on the internet under the Creative Commons license. Everyone is equal before the listener, and anyone can find their own audience, even if they are on a different continent altogether.

To those of you who want to delve into podcasting, we wish good luck and all the inspiration, and to the more experienced folk we want to say: stay creative.

If you want to learn more about Senstone, visit the home page. For more blog posts, click here.

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A Secret to Better Rest, how to sleep better?

There is no way around the fact that screens interfere with our sleep, and screen free devices are a welcome development.

how to sleep better

Still, a lot of people do not believe they can improve sleep quality and consider clicking away on their phone in the dark a harmless habit. “If millions do it, then it is not so bad, is it?” But science says otherwise. There is even an entire field, called somnology, dedicated to the study of sleep and sleep disorders.

While we still do not know exactly how sleep works and why it evolved in the first place, the impact of screens on our eyes and sleep patterns has been the subject of many successful studies.

We know, both scientifically and from experience, that the screens of our phones, TVs, and computers emit bright artificial light. This type of light delays our internal clock and sends circadian rhythms in our brain into disarray. While the sky outside is dark, the light shining in front of our eyes creates the impression of a sunny day – and there are few more efficient ways to disrupt your sleep schedule.

Nighttime exposure to bright light suppresses the production of melatonin – a hormone that acts as a cue for our body to go to sleep. While the fact that blue light produced by our electronic devices blocks out melatonin production is almost common knowledge these days, people who rely on the night mode to avoid its negative effects might be sorely disappointed. According to a recent study, warm light is just as bad for sleep, if not more!

How to get better sleep?

The most popular and obvious recommendation is the so-called “digital curfew”: two hours before you retire to bed, all screens in your house should go dark. While it does work, many of us cannot afford those two hours without electronic devices. Businesspeople, content creators, and anyone who needs to stay connected around the clock might feel like they have to make a (rather inefficient) sacrifice to have a good night’s sleep.

The solution is to use a screen free device. It does not emit light, and you do not have to deny yourself productivity during the late hours – especially if you are an owl type person.

For those who record their daily progress and take notes, there is a range of options to improve sleep quality: from AI assistants like Alexa to portable, wearable recorders like Senstone. They let you stay productive without even touching your phone – and with zero exposure to screen light. You might also notice you wake up with your eyes rested, which is another benefit of a screen free environment.

Of course, digital curfew is not the only condition necessary for good sleep. If your schedule is shaky and ever-changing and you rarely ever get those seven or eight hours of sleep, you might want to go a bit further and develop a habit of retiring to bed earlier and/or around the same time every evening.

Regardless, screen free gadgets will help you remain both proactive and well-rested. This is the case where technology balances out its own disadvantages, and you can have things done while technically staying on digital curfew.

For more blog posts on productivity and the benefits of wearable devices, click here. If you want to learn more about Senstone, visit our home page.