iPhone Apps

BMW i3 “Become Electric” Immersive 360° Interactive Film.

When BMW announced the i Series cars a couple of years back I was all ears. As a former BMW owner, I can attest to the quality and design of their automobiles, so the i3 had me intrigued. Just last week I was on the phone to the local dealer asking if they would have a preview model anytime soon, since the car will be available in California early next year. Sadly they said no.

To support the launch of the i3 BMW has developed a very cool interactive campaign in the form of a fully immersive interactive film available for iOS and Android.

“Become Electric,” is  an interactive experience shot in fully immersive 360 degrees that leads you through a unique story that reveals the car over time. As you head through the streets of a foreign city in a race against time the participant picks up a mysterious stranger and engages in a thrilling mission. The goal is to outrun the sinister “Shadows” that are pursuing you and deliver “The Key” as you help the world “Become Electric.” The game is true immersive entertainment, while advertising and promoting the new i3. The promotion for the car and it’s features are cleverly disguised in an immersive game.

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Since BMW is launching the “i” series as a sub-brand I bet we see more of this kind of work from them in the future for the i3, and the i8 as well.

Sumhold, a Better Way To Add.

SumholdIcon-1024-400x400As an artist and designer I’m not supposed to be good at, or like Math. While I’m no mathematician I can hold my own and try not to use a calculator for basic math like addition, subtraction, multiplication  and division. I actually don’t mind doing math, it keeps your brain sharp, and as I get older I need a sharp brain.

Designer Chad Voss has created a new iPhone calculator app that I really like, and if I have to use a calculator, I think I’ll be choosing this. “Sumhold” not only looks great, it does something that other calculators don’t. It shows you the equation, and visually holds it so you can see what your last function was.

Math done simply. Designed in the Swiss style, Sumhold is a calculator that instantly calculates and stores numbers with a fiercely reductive interface and simple swipe gesture.

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Unlike most basic calculators, Sumhold keeps a running tally of your current calculation at the top and, when calculations become complex, automatically inserts parentheses to keep everything clearly readable. There is no need for an “=” button because it calculates as you type.

Social Selling, the Problem with Foap.

About a year ago I downloaded and installed Foap on my iPhone. I liked the idea of selling my photos to a stock service with little effort. Like many apps, I tried it, put it back on the shelf and stopped using it until I saw a couple of weeks back that Foap had snagged another round of funding and was expanding the service globally. So after seeing the news about funding, I opened Foap to see if things had changed with the app,, and the service.

I’ve been using Foap for the last two weeks and have uploaded 50 or so photos to the service. If you are unfamiliar with the way Foap works it’s pretty simple. You upload a photo, then you rate 5 photos on the service and your photo gets placed in line to be voted on. All photos go through a Foap user review process. You get enough votes, your photo goes live and is up for sale. The higher the rating, the better your chances, thanks to ranking and exposure.

Here’s the rub though. Because everyone is voting, and wants their photo to be ranked high, people tend to give everyone a 3 stars or higher rating. Even if the photo is completely awful. Consequently, a large portion of the Foap catalog is for lack of a better term useless. Now before anyone starts typing up a flaming hate comment, I am not slamming all the photos on Foap. There are a ton of absolutely amazing images out there. The problem is using a peer based ranking system, in an environment where everyone wants to be popular and sell there images.

The lack of objective curation of the app effectively neutralizes all of the content housed on the Foap servers. As a person that purchases stock photography on a regular basis I have browsed thousands and thousands of image on Veer, Getty, iStock etc. The images that are on those sites, have been curated and edited by professionals that know what is going to sell, and what is going to make their catalog superior to the competition. Foap might be a peer driven social network of stock imagery, but in the end Foap and it’s users are competing with every stock library in the world. Because of that, I think Foap needs to have some level of professional curation and editing. Why? Because its all about quality.

All of the images below are within 1 point of each other in ranking. They all average about a 3.8 of the Foap scale of what is good. I know the subject matter is different across the images that are shown, but you have to admit the quality of some photos is much greater than others with the same ranking. And this is why Foap needs some form of editing, or enforceable guidlines for how a photo gets rated.

Just to let you know, I am no a disgruntled Foap user. I’ve been lucky enough to sell 2 images out of the 700,000 that Foap has in it’s ever growing catalog, and I actually think that Foap could work. It’s a great idea, but it needs some form of policing if it wants to be successful long term.

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Just In Time For Your Weekend, BlinkDrink.

It’s Friday, your weekend is about to begin, and for many people that means bars, nightclubs, and possibly drinking. To improve your overall bar/drinking experience Brad Simpson has created BlinkDrink. This iPhone app does one thing, it lights up your drink to the beat of the music you are listening to. You know you want it. So go get it here.

Foap, Selling Your Smartphone Pics to the World.

If you are unfamiliar with Foap, you should maybe think about getting acquainted. Especially if you are one of the millions of photo snapping smartphone users around the world. The company allows users to earn money from their photos by uploading them to the Foap platform. The platform like any other stock image house pays royalties on all images purchased through their site. The Foap iOS app is available here if you want to sell your images via Foap to the world.

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The swedish mobile stock photography startup secured another round of funding to the tune of 1.5 million dollars earlier this week. The company is also dipping it’s toes in the American market for the first time, extending it’s user base beyond Europe. In addition to new funding, Foap has launched Foap Missions, a similar service, but for brands who want to build an image gallery for marketing. Foap Missions already has heavy hitter brands like Puma, and Lavazza signed on. Missions works by setting their communities “photo missions”, getting users to upload specific images competing against each other for the best photo. The chosen winner receives a cash reward and their image will then be used in future marketing campaigns for that brand. Additional images from the contest can be bought for $10.

 

 

So You Want to Stop People From Texting and Driving.

iphone4-1This morning while I was drinking my coffee and watching the news, there was a story on Good Morning America about New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo cracking down on texting and driving. I say you go governor. The thing is, I think there is a much easier and cheaper solution to the problem. One that doesn’t involve law enforcement, and can be easily implemented by hand set manufacturers, and software developers.

Smartphones are rapidly becoming the standard in the United States. Every smartphone on the market has one universal feature. They know where they are and how fast they are moving thanks to motion detection, GPS, and any number of other hardware and software specific features of the handset. So, why don’t we simply require smartphone manufacturers to disable texting if the phone is traveling in any direction faster than 10 miles per hour? Now before you can say what about when I’m riding on a plane, or high-speed train? If the phone is traveling faster than, lets say 120 miles per hour, texting services work.

I think this is a fairly straightforward, easy to implement solution. It could be achieved with a simple software update to iOS, Android, and Windows mobile operating system, and it could be adjusted with updates in the future. It wouldn’t get every phone in use, but it would probably get about 80 percent or more.

So I’m thinking it could work like this:

  • If my phone is moving faster than 10 miles per hour in any direction I can’t text
  • When I get to a stop light texting remains inactive for 30 seconds (the typical length of a stoplight)
  • If I travel faster than X mph my phone lets me text again.

It might piss people off at first, but so did seat belts and other devices that have made driving a hell of a lot safer in the last 100 years.