MinimalFolio

Minimal Folio Syncs the Way I Want it To

On Friday I posed the question: “What’s the best Portfolio App for iPad?” For the most part I didn’t get a ton of responses and the ones I got were Apps that I had already tried with the exception of one: Minimal Folio. As the name implied this App is not big on having lots of features. The App is simply and elegantly designed to allow you to show your photos  on the big and beautiful iPad display. Yes, this App also takes advantage of the Retina Display on the New iPad as well. While this App doesn’t have as many features as say Portfolio for iPad or Xtra Folio, but it does the one thing that I wish all the others would do and that is “Sync” with Dropbox. Note I didn’t say “Import”, I said “sync”! Portfolio for iPad can import my images from Dropbox manually, but it currently doesn’t sync them.

Why is Dropbox important?

The problem I have with most of these Apps is not how well they display the photos or the features they have in playing videos, having multiple portfolios, etc., the problem is that once you get the photos in and organized the problem is doing future updates. For example, I have a portfolio called “Recent Work”. This means that I add new photos to it regularly and delete older photos. Currently it’s a pain to do this simple task of updating in all the other Apps.

My Lightroom workflow that ties this all together

I manage my photos in Adobe Lightroom 4. I organize them in Lightroom Collections (albums). I also created a “Hard Disk Publish Service with “Smart Collections” that mirror the manual collections to my Dropbox folder. These Smart Collections, like “Recent Work” create JPGs at 2048 pixels on the longest dimensions and put them in folders in Dropbox that I can then sync with Minimal Folio. Once I click the Publish button to update any of my Smart Collections, i can then go to Minimal Folio and tap sync. The new photos come in automatically!

It gets better

There’s an iPhone/iPod touch version too. Since the App can sync with Dropbox I also have my Portfolios on my iPhone too. Once I had the iPad version set up, I bought the iPhone version. I linked it to my Dropbox account, tapped “Sync with Dropbox” and all my current portfolios came over to my iPhone like magic. While I appreciate there being an iPhone/iPod touch version I do wish that this was a Universal App instead of two separate Apps.

The Bottom Line

While Minimal Photo lacks things like slideshows, music, and custom branding I’m liable to use it more because I know that it will always have the latest versions of my portfolios with the tap of a “sync” button. Short of having an App that ties directly to Lightroom this is one of the best ones to support my workflow. Also the price is right compared to many others. There are more full featured Apps out there and if you’re an iPhoto or Aperture user perhaps the built-in Photos App is all you need. However, if you’re a Lightroom user and you want an easy way to get those photos onto your iDevices and keep them updated, organize them in the order you want, I don’t know of a better option. Minimal Folio also works with video and PDFs. It allows you to zoom in on your images. Yes you can bring images in from iTunes or from the built-in Camera Roll/Albums. Special shout out to my Google+ follower Johannes Henseler for pointing this App out to me.

You can get Minimal Folio for iPad for $2.99 here from the iTunes

You can get Minimal Folio for iPhone/iPod touch for $0.99 here from the iTunes

portfolioforipad

Best Portfolio App for iPad: You’re the Pundit

I have tried quite a few different portfolio Apps on iPad to display my photography work and quite frankly I’m not really thrilled or blown away by any of them. While I wait for my buddy Shaun to build the ultimate portfolio App that I’ve always wanted, I continue to use Portfolio for iPad as it has “most” of what I’m looking for and they’ve submitted a Retina Display update that’s currently waiting for approval by Apple.

My must have criteria for a good portfolio App

  • Easy to get images in and replace them from time to time! <-this is where most fall appart quickly. Dropbox support is a must, but a direct Lightroom tie would be the ultimate.
  • Ability to add branding (your logo)
  • Slideshows with music that can be self running or manually swiped
  • Ability to assign different songs/playlists to different galleries
  • Retina Display ready or coming out with an update very soon
  • Multiple galleries and hidden galleries
  • Both portrait and landscape support

The above list represents my bare minimum in features that I want/need. Portfolio for iPad has all fo the above, but I wonder if I’m missing something since I haven’t looked at these apps in a while. If you’re asking “well if Portfolio for iPad has these things then why are you looking?” that’s a good question. While Portfolio for iPad has the features I want, I want something that is more easily updated or sync’d. Right now let’s say I have 24 images in my Beauty portfolio. If I want to add a new one and delete an old one, the process is completely manual. I have to check my website or LR to see which one is the oldest and should be deleted from the App and then I have to go find the new one via a Dropbox import. Then I have to manually move it to the front of the group. While this is not the end of the world, I have Lightroom Publishing this Collection to a Dropbox folder. Why can’t Portfolio for iPad just sync to that folder as well, picking up any changes and removing images that are no longer there? It can’t be that hard!!!
Portfolio for iPad - Britton Mobile Development

Which Portfolio App on IPad do you like BEST and why?

 

PhotoCombine

Photo Combine Lets You Easily Combine 2 or 4 Photos

Lately I’ve been wanting to send people before and after pictures from my iPhone. However, rather than send two separate photos I want to combine them into one. Photo Combine allows you to easily combine two or four photos into a new one. I can’t believe how much I’m using this App. Just yesterday I wanted two Tweet two photos from Photoshop World, but I wanted to tweet just one photo. Photo Combine makes this task so easy. Just launch the App and choose the layout for your two or four photos. Tap the plus signs to add the photos into the layout in the order you want. Then tap the Combine button to create a new combined photo and add it to the Camera Roll. You can also share the new photo via Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr directly from the App as well as email directly from the App.

Photo Combine works exactly as advertised and like I said, I’m using it more often that I ever thought I would.

You can get Photo Combine for $0.99 here from the iTunes

seatguru

Seat Guru comes to iOS

Anyone that travels regularly by air is probably already using SeatGuru.com. However, now you can have the great benefits of this free service right on your iPhone. SeatGuru allows you to search for your flights and then see seat maps with color coded advice on which seats are good, which ones are bad, which ones have power, etc. If you see green then you know you’ve got a good seat. However, if you see red, then you should probably select a different seat as soon as possible. This App also allows you to search for and book flights as well as check the flight status of flights for friends, colleagues or family.

The App works well. It can utilize your location to search for airports near you as this will speed up your search criteria input. I also like to see which flights have on board WiFi. While we’re at it, how about meal service menus, snacks and prices. In other words the more info we could have before heading to the airport the better. I wish that it was a Universal App taking advantage of iPad as well.

You can get SeatGuru for iPhone or iPod touch for Free here from the iTunes

Greatclips

Sign in to Great Clips From Your iPhone

We review a lot of Apps over here at BAS. Often times we are given recommendations by friends, family, or your guys reading. The other (and most common way for me) that we come upon new Apps is by the desire to make our lives easier in some way. I was getting my hair cut at the local GreatClips a few weeks ago and after waiting in line for almost 20 minutes I was thinking to myself that there should be a way to check in before you got there so that you could spend your waiting time doing what you wanted instead of sitting in a chair watching other people get their hair cut. Little did I know that GreatClips already had an App to do just what I wanted! After talking with Laura (my favorite stylist) and voicing my idea, she informed me that GreatClips was already ahead of me in thinking this and the App was already available.  Since then I’ve taken the twins in for their cuts and I have been back for a cut, using the App each of those times. I can’t tell you how nice it is to not have to wait in line more than 5 minutes after arriving. With 5 year old twins this especially awesome because they have a short attention span.

 

What You Get

The GreatClips App is another one of those specific Apps that has one purpose, but it performs that task really, really well. The first thing that caught my eye when I launched GC was the really well laid out and thoughtful user interface. You are immediately sent to the map part of the App showing you the closest stores to your location as well as the estimated wait time. If you aren’t looking for a salon near your current location you are able to type in an address at the top of the screen to find locations close to your desired location. Once you’ve decided the area and the specific location that you want to have your cut done, you simply tap that location to access the check in screen.

From here you enter your name, phone number, and number of guests. You can also access the salon info including directions, store hours, location name, and phone number. One request that I noticed multiple times in the comments in the iTunes store was a list of who was working that day. Many people like to have their hair cut by the same person every time so this kind of information would be useful. Once you’ve entered your information into the check in screen you simply tap the “check me in” button. You will be given a confirmation screen with a little more information.

Click done and you are taken back to the map page where you see the store that you’re checked into. Instead of a “check in” message above the store, there is now a “cancel” button. If for any reason you’re going to be longer than your wait time, or you decide to not get your hair cut, it’s a good idea to go back and click cancel.

The Bottom Line

If you use GreatClips for your hair cuts, there is no reason that you shouldn’t be using this App. it’s free, it keeps you from waiting in line, and it’s super simple to use. I’ll definitely never wait in line for my hair cuts again.

 

You can get the GreatClips App from the iTunes store for free here: iTunes

 

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