iOS

Google Duo. A Better Facetime? Perhaps.

I’m kind of surprised it’s taken Google this long to get it’s Facetime for iOS challenger up and running. If you are interested you can get it here for iOS and Android. I’ve installed the iOS version but haven’t really tried it out yet. The real killer component of this, and something Apple should have done with Facetime quite a while ago, is the fact that this app is cross platform. It works with any Android or iOS phone across carriers. In other words, everyone can use it to call anyone. The app is extremely simple and easy to use, which I like. It’ll be interesting to see how fast this takes off in the next month, and if it will force Apple to open up the Facetime walled garden.

 

OLO, 3D printing From Your Phone for 99 bucks.

When the iPhone came out back in 2007, the idea of using it as part of a 3D printer would have probably been laughed at. Roll the clock forward 9 years and it’s pretty amazing just how far technology has come. I have had an email sitting in my in box for over a week for OLO, and had yet to open it. Today over lunch I decided to see what OLO was about and I have to admit, I’m pretty impressed. Apparently others are too, because these guys are way past their goal on Kickstarter. The video below shows how it works, so I’m not going to go into any deep details, but basically it uses the light from your phone and special polymers to print an object. The retail price is 99 bucks so it makes it a mass market item, and the fact that it works with iOS, Android, and Windows Phone makes it pretty universal. I could see myself using this on a regular basis, and I can see a huge market for prebuilt 3D models emerging specifically for this printer.

Get Inspiratored by Bentley Motors.

Earlier today a friend sent me a link to the Bentley Inspirator, which is an iOS app that uses facial recognition to help determine and configure the Bentley you should purchase. For some reason I felt compelled to download it and try it out. Surely the Bentley app would know to put me into a Continental. It did not. It put me into that ugly ass new Bentley SUV the Bentayga, and it chose the color brown.

The app itself  is pretty slick. Using the camera on your iPhone or iPad it tracks your expressions and eye movements as it shows you a series of photos and then determines which car is right for you. If you don’t want to use the facial recognition, you can use the touch version and physically make your choices.

Now, even though the app is pretty slick I think the reason it put me into the Bentayga, is because that is the only real choice. It looks as though this app is specifically promoting that product. The reason I say that is, after going back through the app several times, using the touch feature instead of the facial recognition feature, I always got the brown Bentayga. No matter what images I chose.

Its a well made app that links back to the Bentley site which also very well put together. The production value of the video components in the app are really well done, which you would expect from a brand like Bentley. And it is an engaging form of entertainment wrapped in advertising for a product that is geared to those that can afford it.

 

 

Mangroovv.

I use my iPad for more general computing than any of my other hardware. The convenience of a tablet simply fits within my workflow. One of the things That I use the tablet for is as a teleprompter. The only problem is finding a way to place the tablet at eye level for the subject while shooting. Because of this I am always looking for a tablet stand that is adjustable, and will work without placing it on a table or other surface.

Designed by Armin Muller, and Kai Trebesius in Hamburg Germany, Mangroovv is making a tablet stand that is simple, functional, and well designed. More importantly it is a free standing device that adjusts from sitting to standing height making it perfect for any occasion where you need both hands and a table stand won’t do. Mangroove weighs in at a light 1.8 pounds, the extendable feet automatically deploy allowing it to rest on a variety of surfaces, and collapsing when you pick it up making it ultra portable. The rotating ball head allow you to position your tablet at any angle, and there is no locking mechanism needed to hold your tablet in place.

I’m sold. This is a really well designed functional stand that I know I’ll be using on a regular basis.

Mangroove-1

mangroove-2

WordPress Are You Listening? Fix Your iOS Experience.

I just spent 30 or so minutes composing a post using the WordPress App for iOS on my iPad. As I was wrapping up I began to insert images into the post only to have about half of them fail. Apparently the latest update to the app has broken the insert image feature. If you select more than two, it will fail to upload all of them to the WordPress servers. Along with this, the app no longer posts to Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

I have been a WordPress user for six years now, and for the most part a huge fan. When working correctly it is a powerful content management tool, that is far more robust than Blogger, or SquareSpace in my opinion. Note that I said “When working correctly”. WordPress if you are listening, you need to take note of the following constructive criticism.

About a week ago WordPress updated its desktop authoring environment with a new simplified editor. As the screen takes what seems like days to load yu are greeted with the juvenile “Beep, beep, boop” phrase. If and when the page finally loads, there are far fewer options than the old editor, a confusing UI, and a slightly cleaner look. WordPress must know that they have issues, because in the upper right corner of the screen they have a link that takes you back to the classic editing environment, which I have done every day since they rolled out the new set up.  This isn’t such a big deal for me, well not a big deal until they get rid of the classic editor and force us to use the new one. At that point I’ll probably drop WordPress and move on. Yes that is how much I dislike it.

I chose WordPress because it was billed as a professional tool. Because 6 years ago and earlier it had recieved so much good press and reviews from people y that used it daily, and because even businesses were using it do to the robust tool set and depth of professional themes. The latest update feels like they have rolled it back to amature hour. I get ease of use. I get clean simple design. I get streamlined UI. What I don’t get, is “Beep, beep, boop” and the removal or hiding of tool sets.

Now lets talk iOS.

WordPress for the iPad is a joke. There is no other way to say it. It’s horrible. The app is so bad that with each new update they break something new. In the latest version they broke image uploads, social media hooks, spell check, categories, and more. They failed to fix the ability to embed video from Vimeo, or YouTube.  With each update the iOS app has remained unstable, buggy, and feature broken. With each update WordPress says it has done “Bug Fixes”, but with each apparent fix, they have introduced even more.

WordPress in Safari, or Chrome on iOS is no better. The pages do not load correctly, even when you “Request Desktop Site” in Chrome. The editor simply doesn’t load correctly. Simple things like scrolling, and selecting don’t work. Embedding images and video is difficult, and the overall experience is just goofed. Even simple acts like selecting a line of text don’t work well. It’s so bad that if I have to use my iPad, i now have a multi-step workflow that involves drafts, and multiple apps.

The first step is to write all the text out in the Pages and copy the text.

Step two, go to the WordPress app, create a new post and paste.

Step three, save the draft.

Step four go to Safari and open the draft.

Step five embed video and save the draft.

Step six, go back to WordPress, open the draft, embed any images one at a time.

Step seven, select the image tag, cut, go to the insert point I want the image to appear and paste. (Yes the iOS app doesn’t embed images at the place where your cursor is. It embeds everything at the bottom of the post. Another fix needed) Save the draft.

Step eight. Launch Chrome, and spell check. Save the draft.

Step nine launch Safari, open the draft, and publish.

WordPress are you listening. This is an excercise in frustration. You need to step it up and fix your product. Fix it, test it, and then roll it out. Right now it feels like your dev team is just throwing crap at the wall to see what sticks.

“Monument Valley”

The game Monument Valley from ustwo was officially released today for the iPad and iPhone. It is a surreal exploration through MC Escher like architecture and geometry featuring a beautiful princess that you navigate silently through the space. As you wander through the minimalist 3D world you discover hidden paths, unfolding staircases, optical illusions, and mysterious crow people. The game, has a really nice look to it, with semi flat graphic design applied to an isometric space. Described as “art” Monument Valley is a game of moving experiences that in many ways moves beyond the traditional gaming experiences.  It is immersive in the sense that you can easily get lost in the visual space and experience of playing the game itself.

“Every screen of Monument Valley has been carefully considered as graphic design, so that each one could be printed and framed. Players can enter ‘Camera Mode’ to zoom in and compose their own take on the artwork, which they can then save or share with friends.”

monument

 

“We’ve focused our attention on the design of game alongside a lot of user testing, and we really hope Monument Valley is what people are looking for right now – a premium game of the highest artistic quality offering players a satisfying journey from start to end.” Neil McFarland, director of games at ustwogames 

Characterisation photo 3 sketchpage

StopMo Pro and a Cool Animation About StopMo Pro.

The National Film Board of Canada is currently offering their StopMo Pro for iPad2 software for just 99 cents. If you have any inclination toward film making and or stop motion animation this is a no brainer. Seriously. The software is a killer, easy to use tool that produces great results. Now with that said, take a look at the stop motion animation below that was made with StopMo Pro for iPad2.