A small GoFundMe Project by John J K Morris

I've started a small GoFundMe project for a portable microphone. It can be found here. Check out the rewards as well. It will be put towards making better quality Periscopes when it comes to audio capture. This is the microphone in question.

It's a small high quality travel microphone that plugs into a Mac or an iOS device. I'm looking to simplify my travel recording gear while at the same time enable me to create better sounding podcasts and periscopes.

At the moment I have two options. First, to travel around with my laptop and my larger or desktop microphone (which needs to be boxed to protect it when carried around).

Second, I can solely use my iPad or iPhone for the ultimate in portability, but microphone positioning and quality will never be perfect or controlled with 100% satisfaction.

With this GoFundMe I can just use an iPad and this iPhone sized microphone with far fewer compromises.

The microphone in HK costs $2000HKD (HK Apple Store), in the UK it is £199 (UK Apple Store). But because there is no sales tax in Hong Kong, I can set the funding goal lower than the UK price and take advantage of the price difference by buying it still in Hong Kong. This also means it's easier for people to help me out as well.

The rewards are kind of odd, but fit in with the character of myself and my periscopes. 

The project can be found here. Thanks for looking and/or donating.

UPDATE: After four days, the funding goal was met. Thanks to everybody who donated!

Podcasting in July by John J K Morris

Things have slowed down this month due to timing and illnesses. But things are coming back together.

JPG (Subscribe Here)

Only one episode this month from the JPG crew. In that one episode Adam and myself discuss the probable death of King Stannis Baratheon and look back on his contributions to the Game of Thrones series.

Hello From Hong Kong (Subscribe Here)

My new Hong Kong themed podcast started off without a hitch, episodes should be out every two weeks, two episodes have indeed landed. In episode one I chat with a popular Periscoper named John in Hong Kong and we discuss this new medium. We also see where it can be taken and discuss what its like being first on a new platform. Episode two is an episode I never published from my Prick Me podcast, it has been easily adapted for Hello From Hong Kong and my guest and myself discuss the dating scene in Hong Kong.

  • Notice episodes are coming out on Thursdays (Wednesday in the US) for both shows? It's probably going to be like that for the foreseeable future. :-)
  • I'm also looking into getting a portable mic for on location podcasts instead of lugging my laptop and yeti mic around, things would be a lot easier. Let's see.

Expectations vs Reality by John J K Morris

Reading this news story from Russia Today regarding the creation of a new app to track those who unfriended you.

I've taken it for granted that a new app like this can only track changes to your account from the date installed. Not these people leaving reviews.

It's interesting, funny and sad (especially for the devs) to see how people believe what software can do. Then the entitlement and low scores must be painful for something which is free and actually does what it says it does!

Makes me wonder why people unfriended those individuals who wanted this app in the first place.

Podcasting in June by John J K Morris

JPG (Subscribe here

The output was doubled this month! Four brand new episodes, two discussing Game of Thrones, one reviewing the new Avengers movie and episode 41 discusses the latest in Apple news.

Hong Kong People Podcast (Subscribe here)

I had a delay with releasing the last two episodes of this show. Yes you read right, the last two episodes. The show has been cancelled. In these two episodes, I interview a local art therapist and a local school teacher. Both episodes are under an hour.

All is not lost, I enjoyed doing the Hong Kong People Podcast and learnt a lot making them, while my schedule and theme was really tight, it allowed me to to refine my process.

Instead, I can happily announce my new podcast, again based around Hong Kong as its central theme, but with the format being looser to allow other types of discussion on the show. The show can be found here (rss link) and when it has passed the iTunes review team I'll post the link here as well if you don't want to deal with rss feeds.

See you all at the end of July with regard to podcasts.

Re: Google Promoting Android Wear Watch Faces by John J K Morris

John Gruber writes (in regard to this link):

"This post epitomises the differences between Google and Apple".

Gruber's overall view btw is that Apple won't open up the watch face and Gruber seems in support of that idea.

While it's certainly a salient and valid point Gruber makes. I feel Apple is missing out on offering something that would contain more of a cultural significance on an individual level. Apple say the watch is their most personal product yet, but don't go far enough in allowing a type of personalisation that distinguishes itself from the next personal device (iPhone).

I would prefer to be able to customise MY lock screen on the iPhone and if I wanted an Apple watch, I'd like to 'own' a design that best represented my tastes rather than the tastes and ideals of a single group of designers who have a minimalist hard on for the San Fransisco font.

Podcasting in May by John J K Morris

Argh, June is already here, It feels like it should be February. Anyway this month I haven't hit the output as previous months when it comes to episodes. But here they are.

JPG (Subscribe here)

Only two episodes this month, episodes 36 and 37. 36 is a solo podcast with myself where I catch up on my progress with using Squarespace for roughly a month. I breakdown things down nicely and also talk a bit about Logic Pro X. 37 is the end of series four discussion of Game of Thrones.

Hong Kong People Podcast (Subscribe here)

Four episodes for the Hong Kong People Podcast. Two of which have extended versions as well. In one episode I travel to Cheung Chau island as well.

Other news

I'm going to slow down the number of episodes I'm creating, the pace I'm working at doesn't allow me to explore other things that interest me (like reading). From June onwards, I'll be releasing episodes strictly on a Thursday for all shows. Starting in the month of June, that first week will see a release of JPG (Avengers movie review with myself and Adam) and the following week will be a Hong Kong People Podcast release. Expect two episodes of each show, each month and when I have time, I'll upload a Prick Me episode. I actually recorded one and it should be up at the end of the month.

Another Podcast

Katie says with Katie Bowman is a relatively new podcast that I have been listening to. I have discussed in previous blog posts topics that Katie has raised on the Paleo Solution podcast. Here she gets her own show to breathe, it is a very personal show as it is informed by the lifestyle choices she has made for herself and her family. She is definitely preaching the things that she is practising. Especially episode 22 named, Household Movement Hacks. If you want to take your healthy lifestyle further then I wholeheartedly recommend this cast. You can subscribe here.

Periscope and Possibilities by John J K Morris

“Yeah I know what a periscope is”.

“No, Periscope is an app, you should live stream your exhibition for those who can’t get here”.

This week I have hit Periscope hard. I have found myself watching rednecks pull a tree with an estate car, random Periscopes involving weed, John J. Legere - the CEO of T mobile dropping comments in a Periscope about tips to make better Periscopes (as if they are different from other broadcasts ;-)), I even tried to pitch to a producer from Hollywood with my time travel story and I told one young lady that one of her eyebrows were bigger than the other.

There is so much randomness on Periscope. It’s potentially Youtube in scope, but live and much more ephemeral.

It has only two months old and already one Periscoper has 40 million hearts, that means collectively we have tapped the screen 40 million times just to enjoy his periscope (that’s how it’s done to show appreciation). He is on course to hit 200 million by 2016.

Some people are clearly moving faster than others, understanding how to capitalise on this new social network. Others not so much, with them expecting viewers to entertain them with their presence in their periscope.

If the camera is pointed at you, you’re the performing monkey I’m afraid and you need to figure out how to perform.

That’s what I’ve been trying to figure out this week.

You just have no reason not too when you’re given so much in an app. Just three months ago I wouldn’t know what it really took to set up a live stream other than some possible extra hardware and playing with software settings, I don’t even want to pretend I knew the price and cost of time for all that. Now I don't need to. I can neglect all that. I jest need a name for my broadcast.

I know for starters I can live stream my podcasts, that already changes the dynamic of the show and build the audience, I’ve also started very informal workshops with Periscope, to understand the discovery mechanism inside Periscope. I even have repeat viewers already (once somebody follows you they are notified of your next broadcast).

Even without ‘Periscope’s first engineer’ jumping into my broadcast to discuss some of the workings of the app, I’m already looking forward to seeing how this personal live streaming (our own TV station) is going to change how we share ourselves with one another.

I would like a native iPad app though.

If you use Periscope, you can find me on there as 'Jonathan J K Morris'.


Logic Pro X Woe (and Fix!) by John J K Morris

I've hit a curious issue with Logic Pro X. I want to shed some light on it as I can't simply bounce (export) any podcasts out onto my desktop for uploading online

The podcasting setup I employ is super simple, I don't do music production at all with Logic, it's just me and a Blue Yeti mic making podcasts every week.

Today I just happened to be recording my spoken intro just fine, on testing the audio in Logic everything was peachy and then on bounce (to mp3) I got huge amounts of distortion and static. Where it came from I have no clue. I thought it was my Yeti until I tested my built in MacBook Pro mic and headphone mics. Logic then bounces out clean test files.

So I thought the Yeti mic was damaged. The plot thickened when I  tried recording in audacity (exporting out from Audacity using AIFF) and everything on export is totally fine. It feels like Logic is picking on my Yeti mic for some reason and it's only happened today after recording a number of podcasts with Logic, I've made podcasts weekly without any problems.

Now, the next part of my investigation led me to import the (Audacity) AIFF file into Logic and just bounce that back out again.  Guess what, static, so it's not even the mic! I've played with normalise even though I've never touched it before.

Turns out it's actually something to do with my i/o buffer settings in Logic's Audio preferences. I posted a request for help over on this discussion page, there was a second answer, but it seemed too destructive for my taste. Glad the simpler of the two options offered worked fine.

This video from Youtube provides a clear explanation with setting up the I/O buffer accordingly.

In a nutshell, keep the buffer size small for recording, make it high for exporting or mixing. Pity that Logic itself can't do that for me or detect what I'm trying to do and prompt me. 

First Month with Squarespace by John J K Morris

Note - This is the written version of episode 36 of the JPG Podcast, except without the music, the improvisation or the Logic Pro X dicussion, but this written version includes a few nuggets of extra info.


Anybody who consumes even the slightest number of podcasts will have listened to an advert from Squarespace. They are almost everywhere.

I bought a Squarespace account because I wanted to to merge my original and ageing WordPress blog with my Viewbook website which hosted my photography portfolio (btw nothing wrong with Viewbook, I never had a problem with them ever so I still recommend them if that's what you want). Getting a Squarespace account though meant I could merge these two sites together, that was important to me now.

Now before we get into this, I didn't intend to podcast with Squarespace in the beginning as I didn't realise it offered podcasting as one of its features. I think I know why though because it seems from the advertising and for the good publicity that they have, the podcasting part is somewhat underdeveloped, but it is free, anyway these are the things I found annoying and awkward with the podcast service


Space is limited on the basic account, you get 2 GB. This is *okay* for the show I use it with because I don't recording high-quality episodes and 2GB will last awhile and the show I’m making has a set life span. But other users might want more eventually, (which costs more) for example my other show JPG is between 60MB is 100MB in size at 128kbps so if I used Squarespace I’d only get 20 episodes out of the space offered. That's less than half a year of service before I start deleting episodes or upgrading. The space is manageable for me, but you need to know.

The second thing you maybe not didn’t know is you have to generate a second RSS feed. I say second because you might already use an RSS feed for your blog. This also means you need another tab at the top of your site, for a minimalist like me it's eating at me, but it does simplify things for visitors.

Hello Internet do this for their Squarespace site, but they don’t have a blog so it’s fine for them. Im trying to give you another example aside from my personal experience. 

Okay a little bit about automation with podcasting. Whenever you create a podcast with Squarespace you have to specify the minutes of the podcast, upload the artwork and subtitle the show. With a service such as Libsyn it’s done for you, the process is more streamlined to get your work online. I can't automate the things I took for granted using Libsyn (like uploading artwork). It's very odd and not as advanced, even though the interface is nicer than Libsyn. If I'm not clear, I have to upload artwork for each episode, whereas Libsyn will save it and apply it to future episodes.

With Squarespace you can push updates to any social sites you own. Twitter and Facebook work fine, but Tumblr doesn’t get all the information, even though Tumblr explicitly states it pushes a blog post in its entirety. It took a while for we to realise when I checked out the state of my tumblr site and noticed the audio file wasn't attached without explanation. There's no fix I've found so people were being made aware of a podcast update, but couldn't listen to anything. At the moment I include a link back to iTunes.

There are no stats with podcasting via Squarespace. Instead I have to use Podtrac. Again a little disappointing.

In summary, I will still use this service, it’s not exactly perfect, but it is free to me because I didn't realise Squarespace offered this service upfront. When I first found out they did, I was thinking I could move all three of my shows to square space, but then having 3 extra rss feeds and tabs at the top of the site could be a problem. I just use it for one of my shows to save money.

So that's podcasting for me at the moment. Maybe in my ‘My Year With Squarespace’, I’ll have something else to say about this service. It will be renewal time after all.

Photography (and blogging)

Now photography and blogging which was the original reason why I got Squarespace in the first place, blogging is much better than WordPress, much much better, the interface is kinder, more dynamic, less techie looking and faster. Templates are kinder on the eyes and much more manageable. There's nothing more to say, blogging is so much easier than before.

But, I had greater expectations with the photography templates. I would expect the templates to take my text files and image files and just plug them into the new template I selected. But it doesn't, you have to remove all the demo stuff that came with the template then add your own. I'd rather the service showed me the demo and upon transitioning to the template, it removed everything and inserted all my stuff. It makes setting up a site longer. That aside I haven't found a single Squarespace template that allows for full screen images that don't crop images. It's like Squarespace doesn’t understand photographers when we want to maintain the integrity of our photos by keeping them how we intended. I'm thinking of the Momentum template that caused me no end of pain as a bad example of this. I currently use the Forte template now because it doesn't crop my photography, but I don't get full screen images either.

This is something Viewbook understands as I did have full screen images, shame it didn't have a blogging features. Another downside with the Forte template, is that you get all your photos in diptychs and the caption text is present without the option to hide the text.


Blogging stats while they are extensive (more than Wordpress) only makes me want to find out more and I'm being suffocated, take subscribers for example, all you get is a number, there's no other way to relate with the information, all I know is I have some and it changes dramatically at the end of each week, I don't know whether they are coming from the blog or the podcast. It's the same with Facebook’s, you can get subscribers from there, but you don’t know who or how.

Positive Notes

  • Square space provides really good apps for free with their service. They are a blogging app and a stats app. The blogging app is very clean, very minimal and I've used it while I've been making commutes around Hong Kong, stats are great, but againI want to know what is behind the information.
  • Cheaper, though it does feel this is the main reason why I've been passive to some of its shortcomings.
  • It has done the job of merging two sites into one.
  • The online help service. The help service is amazing and that’s the truest part from the advertisements. Many times I’ve needed their help and they answer in a short space of time without you waiting that long. They even send links to video explainers which show you how to navigate to that part of the site you need to be in order to tweak something or switch something on.

In summary the service works, even if it isn't as effortless as they say. Especially with setting up templates, that could be much easier.

Going forward I’d like to see updates to fix the lack of automation with podcasting or just work harder on that part as it is a bargain for what it is, it could be a major selling point. I would also like to see square space develop better photography templates. They really need to create some genuinely dedicated photography templates.

Link to the podcast discussing this topic here.

Interviewed for memehk.com by John J K Morris

Earlier this month I was interviewed by Harminder and Ki who host the I On Hong Kong People Podcast.

We talked about my various photography projects, especially the podcast at the top of this website, JPG got no love on the show, but that's okay, it wouldn't fit in the discussion.

We talk about the state of podcasting in HK and what's the correct amount of time to podcast.

I also put out an appeal for any interesting graffiti that is in Hong Kong, (if you're from HK and reading this, let me know of any please).