AirPort_Utility

AirPort Utility

One thing is for sure and that is Apple is aggressively removing all obstacles from people that just want to use an iDevice and may not even have a computer. With iOS 5 you can now setup and use an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch without ever having to sync it with a computer. You can download media directly to it as well as back it up to iCloud. So let's say you buy an iPad and an AirPort Base Station to be your wireless access point. If you didn't have a computer, how would you setup your new AirPort?

AirPort Utility for iOS

With the AirPort Utility App you can now not only setup your AirPort base station, but you can manage all of the settings going forward. The App is basic without many frills. Once you launch it it will identify any AirPort Base Stations in range. You can then access and change any of the settings. The App does what it claims to do and while the graphical interface is pretty plain for an Apple App, it works! It's a universal App for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. It does require iOS 5.

This is one more thing added to a growing list of things that I can do from my iDevices that I don't need my computer for anymore.

You can get the AirPort Utility for Free here from the iTunes

releaseme

A Simple Easy to use Model Release App for Photographers

 

If you're a photographer, you should use a model release. Done deal. No doubt about it. No question. In the past (before smartphones) I carried a stack of paper model releases with me in my camera bag along with a bunch of pens. Whenever I shot ANY person (I do mean anyone), I would have them, or if they were under 18 their parents, sign a physical model release. This was a pain in the butt, not only to physically carry them, but also to organize and store them. With the invent of the smartphone and later the iPad, the need to keep physical model releases is no more. Up until recently, I was using a release App that was sufficient but also very tedious and had a little "too many" features. I wanted a model release App that was simple, strait to the point, and easy to use. Release Me answers that need better than any other I've found.

 

Make it Easy

My biggest complaint with many of the other model release Apps has always been that there was so much to fill out on a shoot by shoot basis that it took up way too much time. I shoot primarily people, I shoot in the USA always, I don't have multiple studio names or brands, and I almost always give the model copies of the images for their own portfolios. With previous Apps, I would have to select or enter each of those things above that almost NEVER changed. Release Me has made this process simple. I fill out (before hand) my standard model release, I enter the model's information, take a picture of them, have them digitally sign it, and I'm done. Of course there are more options if you want to exercise them, but they are either not options that are incredibly important for every shoot, or they are options (like emailing the completed release) that can be performed at a later time.  It doesn't get much simpler than this.

I mentioned that the "standard" model release is filled out before hand to save time while you are working with the model. Built right into Release Me is an industry standard model release form. for 99% of the shooters out there, this is all that you need. It covers you, your rights, the model and their rights. It has a place for minors and their parents and is legally binding.  For the other 1% of shooters that require more intense or specific language in their release, there is the option of adding in additional language. this language can be anything you would like, however I would suggest talking to a lawyer before adding anything to any legally binding document.  On the opposite side of this is the strike out feature. If there is language that the subject doesn't feel comfortable with, and you both agree to remove it from the release you can strike it from the document. Once the document is signed by the model, the information contained cannot be altered without a new signature.

See Who Signed and Where You Were

Another helpful feature that Release Me contains is the Map View. This Allows you to either manually enter the location where you photographed the subject, or use the built in Maps App to locate and place a pin where you are shooting. This is a very handy feature, especially if you have a multi-shoot project going on that spans multiple days and locations. The Other useful, and almost required feature is the photo section. Use your device's built in camera to take a photograph of the model that is going to be signing the release. Personally I think this is a required feature for a release App. 

Sign Your Screen

This seems like a "duh" comment or feature, but the ability to sign the screen is so incredibly nice. No more carrying pens. No more physical forms… If you've never used physical forms, I don't know that you can truly grasp how nice of a feature this is. Just suffice to say that it has saved a ton of trees and me from growing grey hair prematurely.

One thing that Terry and I have both found, is that signing the screen with your finger is cumbersome and a little clumsy. We both prefer a stylus designed for use on touchscreens. They can be bought for $15-$30 from many brand name manufacturers such as Targus and Pogo.

 

Get the Targus stylus from Amazon here for $33.33

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get the Pogo Stylus from Amazon for $10.68 here

 

 

The Bottom Line

This is one of, if not the simplest model release Apps that I have used. If you want a no nonsense, easy to use model release App, Release Me is for you. Their motto rings very true "it's better to have one and not need it, than need it and not have one". If you're taking photographs of people, get a release. You never know when that person might become famous, notorious, or otherwise profitable to have photographed.

 

You can get Release Me for the iPhone from the iTunes Store for $8.99 here:iTunes
You can get Release Me HD for the iPad from the iTunes Store for $8.99 here: iTunes

facebook

Facebook for iPad. It’s here!

Facebook for iPad

It is here. After a long time coming, Facebook has finally released their native iPad app which comes as a universal bundle. If you are not familiar with the terms, this means that the current iPhone app is now updated to allow support for iPad. Just check for updates in iTunes and version 4.0 will include the iPad app and the updated iPhone app in one. Although there is a lot that has changed in the iPhone app, I’m focusing on the iPad app today.

Interface

While using a browser and the normal Facebook version has been OK, the interface of the new iPad app far exceeds what you previously have been able to get using any official or third-party solution. They have clearly spent a considerable amount of thinking when designing the interface because it looks gorgeous and functions really well. Facebook has always put out great interfaces on their mobile apps at launch but then been far to slow to update the app afterwards. Glad to see they are not disappointing when it comes to the interface. We’ll just have to wait and see about the updates, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

It Lacks Features…

First thing’s first. There are some good things. It has become very easy to access your different pages and groups from a nice navigation menu that slides out when you swipe your finger across the screen. Additionally, accessing photos as well as games has become very easy, something Facebook themselves are touting with this app. Unfortunately, the app clearly lacks features! As an example there is no sharing from the iPad app, only commenting and liking. There are other small features here and there that makes the iPad app (and the iPhone app too since it looks and functions the same) just a dumbed down version (albeit good-looking) of the website. It is unfortunate that they have decided to leave just a little bit out, instead of adding it too. After all, we are talking features that Facebook are highlighting well on the main site.

Conclusion

Facebook has come out with a great app and there is no reason not to get it and play with it. It far exceeds any other option in terms of looks and apart from opening the Facebook site in your browser, it beats the other options in functionality. It would be great if they tried to match the features found in the iPad app and on the site, especially given how many use the iPad as their “main Facebooking device”.

Facebook - Facebook, Inc.

DoodleJump

Doodle Jump for iPad

There are games and there are addictive games. Doodle Jump falls into the second category. The world went crazy playing Angry Birds. I was up til 2AM the first night myself. However, before there was Angry Birds there was Doodle Jump. Up until recently Doodle Jump as only for the iPhone/iPod touch. In other words they hadn't come out with full size iPad version yet. Well now they have and I gotta say that although I had my doubts about an accelerometer based iPad game like this one, it actually works well. 

Don't fall

The premise behind Doodle Jump is that your character (Doodle) is always jumping. That part you don't have to worry about. What you have to do is use your iPad and tilt it to guide him from floating ledge to floating ledge. The higher you go, the more points you make. Some ledges are made of straw/branches and will break with Doodle's weight. You can see them easily as they are brown in color. However, if there is something good right below one on a solid ledge such as a spring, jet pack or propeller cap then it's usually worth the risk. If you miss a ledge and there is nothing below (on screen) then your Doodle will fall all the way down and game over. There are also aliens flying around and you can either avoid them or shoot them from Doodle's hat. The higher you go the more obstacles will be in your path. 

This game is fun! It's actually even more fun on the iPad! If you've got an iPad, $2.99 and some time to kill, I highly recommend it.

You can get Doodle Jump for iPad here from the iTunes

You can get Doodle Jump for $0.99 for iPhone or iPod touch here from the iTunes

IPCameraViewer

IP Camera Viewer

Last year I did review on iCam and I've been very happy with that App. I'm still happy with it. However, earlier this week a colleague turned me on to IP Camera Viewer. While both Apps allow you to view and control your remote IP Cameras on your iOS devices, IP Camera Viewer has one distinction and that is it works directly with the cameras themselves. My Panasonic cameras all have their own webservers built-in. This is how the cameras can be viewed in a web browser. With iCam you setup their server app on your computer and your iOS Devices communicate with that server. The obvious disadvantage in this is that you need to have a computer on and have access to it (opening the right ports on your firewall) over the internet. I still like iCAM because it can do things like record and transmit a serious of stills if it detects motion. It can also send push notifications. However, for those looking for a more simple solution that doesn't require a server, IP Camera Viewer rocks! IP Camera Viewer can not only view the cameras, but it supports panning them as well if the cameras themselves offer that feature.

Setup multiple cameras and camera groups

I have a set of cameras at home and another set offsite in my photography studio. I like the way IP Camera Viewer can have groups that you can switch between. This way if I want to watch the cameras at home I can switch to the "Home" group. Setup was extremely simple in that all I had to do was put in the url/IP address of each camera, port number and user name and password. IP Camera Viewer supports hundreds of different camera models natively. Once the cameras are setup you can view them and control them from your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch from anywhere that you have an internet connection. I was pleased with the performance once I got the cameras setup. The initial model selection could use some improvements as it takes a while to scroll through the list of brands to get to "Panasonic." A search would work great in that dialog.

You can get IP Camera Viewer for $2.99 here from the iTunes

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