Sirivocalepsy

This newly-discovered disease refers to the inability to keep quiet when you see someone else using using a device with a speech interface.

What the device’s user says: “Note eight dollars for lunch.”

What Siri hears: “Note ten dollars for lunch wow is that an iphone I’ve thought about getting one but Apple products are so expensive does it really understand everything you say”

The only known cure is duct tape, applied orally.

Uh-oh

Mountain Lion is the next version of the Mac OS. From the Mountain Lion press release:

“Gatekeeper is a revolutionary new security feature that gives you control over which apps can be downloaded and installed on your Mac. You can choose to install apps from any source, just as you do on a Mac today, or you can use the safer default setting to install apps from the Mac App Store, along with apps from developers that have a unique Developer ID from Apple. For maximum security, you can set Gatekeeper to only allow apps from the Mac App Store to be downloaded and installed.”

Get ready for the explosion.

Need microphone set-up for faint voice recording

OK, audio geeks, I need help and I need it fast.

In one week, I go to the Free Spirit Gathering. I hope to do some voice interviews. The set-up will probably be people sitting around in a circle, from 10 to 30 feet across (I have no idea). I want to make audio recordings of my questions and people’s responses. My original idea was to put a microphone in the center and let it pick up the voices.

My recording device will be my iPad. Note that this has no internal input amplifiers for its microphone; input volume cannot be adjusted. I purchased an external microphone (a CAD U1); it’s a USB microphone (any mic for the iPad must be USB). It has no amplifier either, just a mute button.

In my initial tests a few months ago, this mic seemed fine. I just ran a more realistic audio test, and to my horror I found that if the mic was more than a foot away from my mouth, the sound became almost too faint to hear. In an outdoor environment like FSG, I’m afraid everything will disappear into background noise.

Video cameras seem to capture sound from a long distance away, and with no special equipment. There must be something out there that will do what I want.

If I must, I’ll pass the mic around. But this is awkward, and will interfere with my ability to take notes while people speak.

I don’t have much time for shopping. If I have to, I’ll pay extra for overnight shipping from Amazon, but I have to know what to get.

So: What’s a good audio set-up for capturing voices speaking in a circle?