Dropcam HD has quickly become my new security camera of choice. It streams HD to the cloud and allows me to check in on things when I’m away. They even offer DVR like functionality for motion detected events. However, until their latest update Dropcam always ran continuously, I don’t really need two of my three Dropcams to run when I’m on site. I really just need them to run when I’m away. Since I come and go and different times on different days, the new scheduling feature doesn’t quite work for me either. However, they also added a “location” based feature and this will be great for me. Basically I set all of my Dropcams to turn on and broadcast whenever I leave the building. Since it’s based on the location of my iPhone 5 I can set this up once and never have to think about it again. This will also potentially cut down on bandwidth use and privacy concerns for people that don’t want to be “recorded” while they’re at home. Dropcam was already an excellent solution for offsite or onsite monitoring and now it just got a lot better. You can see my original Dropcam HD review here and you can get a Dropcam here.
It seems to be an obsession with many people to share photos of the food that they are about to eat on social media. Either you have a friend that does it or you’re that friend that does it. I’m not sure what the point really is unless you’re into food photography. We even make jokes about it. I hear people say things like “I don’t want to be on Facebook or Instagram because I don’t care what you had for lunch!” Nonetheless, social media sites are loaded with pics of FOOD! Well if we can’t stop people from sharing photos of their meals the least we can do is give them a way to make those pics look better. As you may have guessed, yes there’s an App for that. It’s called InstaFood. I reviewed InstaWeather Pro a while back and I love that App. The same developers make InstaFood so I decided to check it out. This App works similarly to InstaWeather. You can either take a photo with the App or load one in from your Camera Roll or Albums. Once the photo is in place then it will automatically detect your location and from there you chose from a variety of different skins/text to overlay on your photo. The pic I took above was actually my dinner from a few weeks back in Los Angeles. Since location information was in the metadata of the pic, InstaFood picked that up automatically. You can even use the built-in Foursquare support to choose the exact restaurant you are in to have that name appear on the pic. Once you’ve added the skin of your choice and customized it to your liking you can immediately share it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare.
If you’re gonna show us what you’re eating, at least do it with style. This is your app!
P.S. I actually did love my salmon dinner at Cafe Sierra in the Hilton Universal City. Highly recommend it! Just sayin’
Twitter is all about short messages of 140 characters or less. Sure you can now easily tweet a picture along with your text, but then you’ll have less than 140 characters because the link to your pic is going to take up some of the text. GraphicTweets aims to combine your tweet with the picture you want to send. This isn’t the first app we’ve seen that allows you to add text to a picture and share it, but most of the other Apps are aimed at Facebook and Instagram. This is one of the few Apps aimed at Twitter first and of course it allows you to share via Facebook and Instagram too. Once you launch the App it starts you off with the ability to key in your text. You can choose font color and background color as well as size. Next you can add a photo. It can be one of your photos or one from Flickr or Facebook. Lastly, just hit the Share button and choose to share your GraphicTweet on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. I’m impressed by the large variety of font choices. It actually has more fonts than any other mobile App that I’ve seen. You can use multi-touch gestures to rotate the text or move it to where it looks best on the photo. It works as advertised, however, I’d like to see a couple of additions. First off I’d like to see this as a Universal App supporting iPad. Next, I’d like to see the ability to have word wrap in the text. Right now it seems to be limited to one line of text per GraphicTweet.
The Pantone Libraries have been a standard in graphic design and printing for as long as I can remember. Although I don’t spec out colors day to day as I used to earlier in my career, there are times that I get stuck trying to figure out what colors to use for a design I’m doing. I’m VERY color challenged when it comes to doing design work. Even when I have the main color I want, I’m not good at picking out the complimentary colors. My friend Sydney showed me the myPantone App and I had to download it that night. It does the obvious. You can browse through the swatches and lookup colors by numbers. That’s no different than having a Pantone swatch book in front of you. What made me download the App as soon as I could was the integrated camera feature. Using the camera on your iOS device you can snap a photo and then use your finger to sample the colors in the photo and the app will find the closest Pantone color to the color sample that you chose. That’s really cool, but to make it even better the App gives you not only the matching Pantone color, but you can also get the Lab, sRGB, HTML (Hex), and CMYK values. This is awesome for web design too. For example, you could walk into a business and snap a couple of photos of their existing decor. Then you’ll have the swatches needed for designing their marketing materials as well as their website. Palettes can be shared via emailed or printed as well as sent to another device in range. Colors can also be saved as Favorites. There’s even a new SkinTones Library.
One thing you have to realize is that your iPhone is NOT color calibrated and lighting conditions for the photo will also make a difference especially if the white balance is off. Since your camera is NOT perfect, this will always be just an estimate and not an exact science. It ill help get you in the ballpark faster than manually searching. However, even with those caveats I would say that this is a must have App for designers. What I would like to see is Universal version that is native to iPad.
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