iPhone Photography, from Shooting to Storytelling

In iPhone Photography, from Shooting to Storytelling, Richard Koci Hernandez celebrates the art of iPhoneography–how to shoot, enhance, and share photos with an Apple iPhone. The course covers an actual iPhone photo shoot and includes details on how to select and edit photos using a variety of iOS apps and how to interact with the vibrant iPhone photo community by sharing photos using the popular Instagram app. In a bonus chapter, Koci and a lineup of iPhone photography enthusiasts and journalists meet at the 1197 conference in San Francisco to discuss shooting techniques, photo-enhancement tips, and inspiration in the art of photographic storytelling.

View this entire course and more in the lynda.com Online Training Library.
It’s been years since I’ve read or used any material from Lynca Weinman (I think she helped me with HTML or some design basics for the early web) but judging from the intro alone this looks like a great introduction to taking great photographs using your iPhone.


How to take great photos using your iPhone


Chicago food photographer, Stephen Hamilton, shares his tips on how to take beautiful, yet simple photos on your smart phone. Some simple suggestions to overcome the limitations of your device. Thankfully no mention of filters, toy camera apps, Instagram or Hipstamatic, a craze I love and hate.


Smartphone Users’ Fickle Taste for Their Apps

iPhone apps in window
The Atlantic reports that people with iPhones or Android (they are being diplomatic here) phones may download a lot of apps, but they tend to use very few of them after a while. The readily affordable nature of apps and Apples lack of a free trial mean that few apps tend to stand the test of time.

Faster data networks and fancier phones have steered more Americans to embrace the apps software craze born of our fondness for the computer-in-my-pocket. But like other shopping experiences done impulsively, the appeal of instantly downloading the latest apps — prompted by recommendations from neighbors, cousins, blogs and news stories — loses its luster quickly, industry data show. (USA Today)

For American adults, mobile phones are nearly a universal part of daily life. A report last summer from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project found that 83 percent of adults have some kind of cell phone, and over a third of Americans now have smart phones. An overview of the study showed how important mobile technology has become — 40 percent of those surveyed found cell phones were an important tool in an “emergency” situation (a car breakdown, for example). “Mobile phones have become a near-ubiquitous tool,” Pew concluded.
Among smartphone owners, nine out of 10 say they use them for text messaging or picture taking. A chart in the New York Times recently reported that, overall, the top app category in 2011 was weather (it was an especially turbulent year) followed by navigation tools, finance, sports, games, Facebook, and Twitter. The pervasiveness of the phones and the significant increase in smartphone use leads logically to the belief that apps must be increasingly important also.
While true, that turns out to be more complicated than you might expect.

Get It and Forget It: Smartphone Users’ Fickle Taste for Their Apps


Topo Designs Daypack

Topo Designs Daypack
Topo Designs Daypack
I love the look of this backpack from Topo Designs. Made in their LEED certified facility in Colorado, this daypack is made from 1000d Cordura making this durable enough for the rigours of hiking or punishment of daily urban use. I’m not entirely fussy about the front leather tabs but otherwise this looks perfect.
Carryology has a well written and thorough review where they conclude: “The Daypack holds everything you’d need to go to work or school, is comfortable to wear, can stand up to a beating, and is versatile enough to work in almost any situation, with almost any wardrobe. What more could you ask for?”
Check out: Road Test – Topo Designs Daypack.
Topo Designs Daypack


Samsung Galaxy as lamp

Samsung Galaxy as lamp

Afraid of the dark? Not with a Galaxy Note by your side. Samsung’s full-figured phone filled in for my nightstand lamp and ensured the sun never set in my apartment. And I could swear I’m slightly tanner.

The Samsung Galaxy was released in the US this past weekend and as funny as the review is, it’s also just about spot on. It’s so big it’s going to create a whole new category of “it’s so big jokes … .” I spent some time with one a couple weeks ago here in Taiwan and the device is just about impossible to use as a true mobile device. One handed use, if your hand is big enough, enables all kinds of errors and unless you carry it in your purse (or bag) it’s impossible to carry. I like using a capacitive stylus on the iPad for some tasks but the one that is included feels like I’m using a Palm pilot again.
Are there any Android handsets that don’t use the try it and see if it sticks approach?
Samsung’s super-sized Galaxy Note changed my life


Women want mobiles, not toilets

Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh said that women in the country demand mobile phones, not toilets. “Sanitation is a much more difficult issue (than telecommunication). Now we are talking of behavioural changes, and women demand mobile phones. They are not demanding toilets. That is the mindset we have.” The Hindustan Times writes:

Ramesh said that India is a land of paradoxes, as the country accounts for almost 60% of those relieving themselves in the open across the globe – at a time when it has 700 million mobile phones. “(There is) 60% of open defecation in a country which has 700 million mobile phones. ….We build toilets but the toilets are not used.”
Explaining that sanitation was a difficult issue, Ramesh said the coming months would see the evidence of changes – with respect to funding and management – in areas of drinking water and sanitation.

India: Women want mobiles, not toilets Via textually.


The Myth of the Disconnected Life

Walking with phone
Jason Farman writes a wonderful conclusion and short history of the repeated calls for time away from our mobile devices, so that we reconnect with the people and places immediately around us. It is important to set aside your iPhone at the dinner table or when you have the opportunity to visit face-to-face, but is this not more an issue of etiquette or common sense? Digital devices are a complement to our lives; the negative framing ignores the enormous potential for creating connections between people and places.

For advocates of the Digital Sabbath, the cellphone is the perfect symbol of the always-on lifestyle that leads to disconnection and distraction. It epitomizes the information overload that accompanies being tethered to digital media. Advocates of Digital Sabbaths note that if you are nose-deep in your smartphone, you are not connecting with the people and places around you in a meaningful way.
Ultimately, the Digital Sabbath is a way to fix lifestyles that have prioritized disconnection and distraction and seeks to replace these skewed priorities with sustained attention on the tangible relationships with those around us.

Beyond developing a deeper connection with places, using cellphones to foster deep connection with the people in our lives is a common, everyday practice. While it may come as a surprise to some, this is epitomized in the ways that teens are currently using their cellphones. Mobile media scholar Rich Ling’s studies of teen cellphone use found that as texting increased among teens, internal group cohesion also increased. Though realtime voice conversations have dropped dramatically – a shift cemented in 2009 when, for the first time, cellphones were used more for data transfer than for voice communication – the significant increase in texting among teens has led to a stronger bond among small groups of peers.
Advocates of the Digital Sabbath have the opportunity to put forth an important message about practices that can transform the pace of everyday life, practices that can offer new perspectives on things taken for granted as well as offering people insights on the social norms that are often disrupted by the intrusion of mobile devices. We absolutely need breaks and distance from our routines to gain a new points of view and hopefully understand why it might come as a shock to your partner when you answer a work call at the dinner table. Yet, by conflating mobile media with a lack of meaningful connection and a distracted mind, they do a disservice to the wide range of ways we use our devices, many of which develop deep and meaningful relationships to the spaces we move through and the people we connect with.

The Myth of the Disconnected Life


Traveler’s Notebook

Traveler's Notebook
Traveler's Notebook

I went to Resorshop to look at their bags and found these wonderful notebooks. Combined with their brass collection these are collection of wonderful and decidedly analog products (though the next time I’m in Thailand I’m going to try and find a similar cover for my iPhone). It features a high quality 2mm thick and vegetable-tanned leather cover handmade in Chiangmai, Thailand. The leather cover will become softer and will acquire a unique look and personality. The more you use it, the better it becomes.

The inside refillable notebook is made in Japan with Midori’s original paper in order to pursue the highest writing quality. The notebook can be incorporated inside of the leather cover using a rubber band that is fastened by a clasp made of tin. The leather cover can be closed with a color-coordinated rubber band that goes around the outside of a sketchbook. It’s refillable and can be customized in your own unique way with different type of notebook and pockets.

The luxury of a notebook such as this doesn’t mean you need to give up on the convenience of your iPhone – coupled with Evernote you could capture and catalogue all your notes for later retrieval.

Traveler’s Notebook


Mattebox for iPhone

Mattebox for iPhone
Mattebox for iPhone

More than any other category I am addicted to camera apps. Most I have tried might best appeal to the toy/old camera or social enthusiast (I still have a large collection of looms and leaky old Cameras and used to hours in photoshop trying to recreate the rsults when I bought a digital camera) with results that are highly variable and interfaces that are often heavy handed at best. This app category like no other takes Apples skeuomorphic approach to it’s limits. Hailed as the photographer’s camera app, Mattebox has been designed with the heart of a luxury point and shoot. Every detail has been carefully crafted, and every distraction has been removed, so you can focus on shooting.Modelled after the legendary Konica Hexar, the interface is comparatively minimalist and elegant alternative yet remains packed with with full camera controls all hidden until you need them. Mattebox requires an iPhone 3GS or higher, and iOS 4.3 or later.
Mattebox for iPhone


E-books Can’t Burn

Tim Parks writes on how many still disapprove of reading on devices like the Kindle. Moving beyond the practicality of the devices and how we acquire reading material, he provides an excellent opinion on the experience of reading with the devices vs. the traditional paper book.

The e-book, by eliminating all variations in the appearance and weight of the material object we hold in our hand and by discouraging anything but our focus on where we are in the sequence of words (the page once read disappears, the page to come has yet to appear) would seem to bring us closer than the paper book to the essence of the literary experience. Certainly it offers a more austere, direct engagement with the words appearing before us and disappearing behind us than the traditional paper book offers, giving no fetishistic gratification as we cover our walls with famous names. It is as if one had been freed from everything extraneous and distracting surrounding the text to focus on the pleasure of the words themselves. In this sense the passage from paper to e-book is not unlike the moment when we passed from illustrated children’s books to the adult version of the page that is only text. This is a medium for grown-ups.
Add to that the e-book’s ease of transport, its international vocation (could the Iron Curtain have kept out e-books?), its indestructibility (you can’t burn e-books), its promise that all books will be able to remain forever in print and what is more available at reasonable prices, and it becomes harder and harder to see why the literati are not giving the phenomenon a more generous welcome.

E-books Can’t Burn


Smart E-Book Interface Demo


Wonderful work. It’s still pictures under glass which I think is still largely inferior to the tangible nature of paper – an opinion which may be born from a lifetime of familiarity. The progression to a purely digital and enjoyable reading environment will come when we leave the familiar metaphors of the printed page and continue to explore new ways of interacting with data. Certainly the iPad and the Kindle is only the beginning.


Nokia Smart Data


A friendly face to what we used to consider an invasion of privacy, this wonderful produced animation for Nokia Smart Data by motion firm Punga inadvertently details how companies track, collate and sell our activities when we use their software. For our benefit of course. With mobile devices we share more of ourselves everyday.


Handmade Leather Journal

Handmade Leather Journal
I’m no ludite but there is something far more personal about using a notebook to write, sketch and dream. Years ago I was given journal very similar to the one pictured above and I don’t use it near enough. This one in particular is made of rugged dark brown leather with a slightly glossy finish wrapped around 200 pages of acid free cream 100% cotton rag paper. This leather is worn and wrinkled and rumpled like your favorite old travel bag. The pages are sewn into the spine with deep espresso waxed thread. Very affordable and a unique item (she makes others).
Handmade Leather Journal
I don’t know the maker of the notebook above so the thoughts below don’t pertain specifically to her, I just think she makes great product worth sharing.
Recently there has been some controversy, generated largely from PR agency opportunists and others who profit from such, over the working conditions at Apple suppliers overseas. The technology supply chain is immensely complex and will never leave it’s current base in the same form. If you want to support your community, local craftsman, businesses and small scale manufacturing, the best way to do so is not complaining about the lifestyle of a people you know nothing about, but by using your purchasing power to buy beautiful objects like the one above. There is something special about buying product from someone with a name, someone who cares not just about the quality of the product, but about their relationship with their customer. The Apples of the world create amazing product that transform our lives but they can never give us the personal attention that a small business can. It’s rewarding to purchase a unique item of quality created by someone you can name.