SMUG meeting Autostitched!
Owen showed a grab bag of interesting apps - click here for a PDF of that content.
iPad & iPhone Apps
The presenters were Steve Bellamy (our fearless leader!) and Dave Strom (our not-so-fearless second-in-command). We (yes, this is Dave) showed off apps that we use on our mobile device.
Dave Strom went first. I/he talked about iPad apps.
Battery Pro is a battery monitor. it shows information such as, of course, the remaining life of your battery. For my iPad, it shows battery life if I play video, play music, but not if I plot the extermination of the Tea Party. The picture of the battery is nicely animated with bubbles burbling up. The free app has ads, but I dropped $3 for this because I hate commercials. It was updated since the May meeting: now, it shows reading time also. Since there was no default battery app for the iPad, I like Battery Pro to show me more information, like how much time I have left. Oh, there is the little percentage thingy in the upper right corner, but it does not show time.
Dictionary. Every writer needs a dictionary. The dictionary.com app for the iPad is pretty nice, although it has ads. Dictionary and thesaurus, and if you write a novel, you will use that thesaurus. Free. But I'd pay for a non-ad version. I have not seen that yet. (Note from Steve: one member showed us the Merriam-Webster app, which also seems to work pretty well (and does have not-too-intrusive ads popping up at the bottom of the screen)
Flixter. Rotten Tomatoes for your mobile device, and the iPad version is nicely done. It has reviews of movies from rottentomatoes.com, movies in theaters and on DVD. And it has showtimes for them; I just used it to find where the movie Rango was playing, and I caught it just as it was in the last south bay location. This is free. And valuable for anyone who likes movies.
Pulse. A news site for high tech news. It has listings for Techcrunch, Core77, and All Things Digital, you just tap on the little square with a little text teaser for an article such as "The end of Blippy as we know it" or "Cisco still totally hearts Linksys and WebEX" and you read the first bit of the story, and you tap again to read the rest on its original website. Nice if you like geeky news. Free.
Kindle. The Kindle app is free. I like Kindle books because I can read them on my iPad, on my Mac, on my phone, or on my Kindle (if I had one, I am likely to buy e-ink device in the future). My preferred method of reading eBooks is my iPad, so far, since I do not have a Kindle yet. Kindle for the iPad is very easy to use. I even showed a Kindle comic book, which are really made for the Kindle's small gray-scale screen, ebook readers have a way to go before comic books work well on them. Or the comic book industry needs to adapt a bit. Or both. Oh, I also discovered an easy way to get PDFs on the web into my iPad Kindle app. In my iPad Safari, I navigate to the PDF. Yes, that means navigating to a web page ending in .pdf. Then I tap on the iPad screen, and buttons pop up on top saying "open in iBooks" or "Open in...". I could have picked Stanza, another eBook reader, but I picked iBooks because I thought its interface made for a nicer reading experience.
Twitterrific. This is an iPad app to do Twitter. Since Twitter has not released an iPad app for the iPad (only an iPhone and Android version), I recommend Twitterific because it takes advantage of the iPad's bigger real estate. It shows my tweets sent and received, trends, and other stuff, I have only used it to tweet. It is how I tweet on my iPad, really, I don't understand why Twitter has not done an iPad version.
Friendly. Facebook for the iPad, and again, since Facebook has only released apps for the iPhone and Android, I use Friendly because it takes advantage of the iPad's larger real estate. Friendly shows a nice display of my Facebook wall posts, and it is easy to use. Facebook and Twitter should figure out that there are lots of tablet users out there.
Comics. A comic strip reader. I read lots of comics with this, like Doonesbury, Lil Abner classics from Al Capp's glory days, The Knight Life by my comic convention bud Keef Knight, and Yenny, a comic about a cute Puerto Rican girl who is built like Tyra Banks, but has trouble getting modeling jobs because of her enormous, boat-like feet. I also love Working Daze and Questionable Content. Anyhow, I find that comics tend to come and go on this app; right now, I can't get Doonesbury. Free, and very nice for comic strip lovers, there are a lot of comics available, read them and expand your horizons! One more thing, Yenny is not in this app now, AAARRRRGGGHHHHHH!!!!! (I still read her on my Mac, but it ain't the same!)
On Mac: Printopia. This is an application for the Macintosh. I tried several ways to print from my iPad to my home printer. iPads can print to Hewlett Packard AirPrint printers, but my printer is not an AIrPrint printer. Printopia, for about $10, sets up a print server on your Macintosh, so when your iPad is connected to the same WiFi network as your Macintosh, your iPad prints to any printer connected to your Macintosh. It works for me on my home network, and my cousin's network. This is the only printing solution I found that works for my iPad. I tried some iPad apps, but they did not work well, some want some extra menus for the iPad application, another made my cousin's printer print gibberish and the printer had to be turned off and on again.
Okay, time for Steve Bellamy to talk about iPhone apps:
Microsoft Tag Reader. Scan tags from your digital device (note from Dave: I guess this would not work with an iPad 1, since it has no camera) and get access to videos, websites, and other stuff. MS Tag Manager lets you create tags also. Tags, I think, are those square things you see that are filled with lots of teeny tiny squares, and you can scan the tag and get websites and so on? They are also know as QR codes - there are several QR code readers in the app store - the one I use is imaginatively called QR Code Reader.
AutoStitch. A neat iPhone app. Take a bunch of pictures with your iPhone and stitch them together into one really long photo! Steve did that in our meeting room, and it worked. AutoStitch figures out how to put the photos together and creates the photo. (Note from Dave: I am impressed! I was impressed when I saw this on the Macintosh, more so on the iPhone!) See above for the example Steve created at the meeting from 7 separate photos!
Hipstamatic. This makes your iPhone photos look more old-time and is probably the most popular photo app in the App Store. You can make the photo look more like it was taken with a film camera, with flash, and so on. By default, the picture is always square and the original app comes with a good many variations of camera, film and type of flash effect, enough multiple variations to be going on with. However, you can always get more if you are tired with what you are initially given with your initial $1.99 purchase. Here are a few photos taken using some of the basic settings provided:
My kids really are this hip! Meanwhile here's a different effect I took of Dave at the meeting, every inch the brooding author (you could make a good Hemingway, Dave!):
Camerakit. Similar to Hipstamatic but a little cheaper - your iPhone can function more like a film camera, you pick film types, stuff like black and white, sepia, soft focus, and other cool stuff. It is like your iPhone is a film camera, and you choose the developing method, like playing in the darkroom with an old analog film. Costs $2. Here's an example:
PhotoShop Express. What's this? Adobe PhotoShop Express for the iPhone? And it's FREE?!?!?! They have it for the iPad too. So what are you waiting for? What am I waiting for? I'm grabbing it right now! And there are iPad and iPhone versions. I grabbed iPad, now I need to move some photos onto my iPad to open in this. Of course, the effects you can use are fairly limited compared to the computer version of Photoshop - you can crop, Flip, Rotate, add Sketch effects and Soft Focus, add Borders - that's about it, and they'd like you to add the paid "Adobe Camera Pack" for more features. I'd wait until they've really got more to add, though.
Filmlab. Okay, another app to make your iPhone camera act like a film camera, although in this case they really do try to mimic actual analog film you can no longer buy - daguerreotype, Kodak, Fuji, etc. (79 in all). You can also alter sharpness, brightness and various color operations as well - and all for only 99¢! Here's the same flower taken with different "film":
Artist's Touch. Use this app to pimp up your pictures. Make digital paintings out of your photos! Dave:I think Steve tried, but did he have a little trouble, painting where he did not want to paint, and vice versa (Note from Steve - yes, painting is not my forte) Still, the App Store site for this shows some nice artwork. I bet this would be better on the iPad due to the greater real estate. I checked, and yes, it is out for the iPad for $5. It gets a good review from the New York Times. And I am impressed with the watercolor, or oil painting, or other really artsy looks you can give to your photos! I might buy this myself sometime. (Except I am trying to rev up my novel writing again.) Here's the attempt Steve made at the meeting:
Note from Dave: Storyist, the software that I am using to write my novel on my MacBook Pro, is being ported to the iPad. I have started using a beta copy with my ZaggMate keyboard, and although Storyist has a way to go before it is ready for prime time, writing my book this way is quite nice. Oh, I wrote these notes in Pages for the iPad. I highly recommend Pages as an iPad word processor.
Dave Strom, SMUG Vice President
Steve Bellamy, SMUG President