Archive for the ‘mobile apps’ Tag

Apptastic: Instagram   Leave a comment

Today I downloaded a quirky little iPhone app – Instagram. I’m definitely a late-adopter of technology, so you’ve probably already heard of Instagram. If you haven’t, get excited!! Instagram is an editing app that lets you add fabulous effects to photos and images.

Photo with no filter

I started out with a photo of me and my sweets taken at the Downtown Grill & Brewery this past weekend…

The photo was taken by the amazing Dani Rose with my iPhone. It was pretty dark at DTGrill, so the exposure is a bit off, but I thought it was a pretty fabulous pic so I decided to use it. Also, I freaking LOVE that dress!

After downloading Instagram I had to go through the obligatory profile sign up & sharing options (Twitter, FBook, etc). I’m trying to encourage myself to be more web-social, so I decided to go with a public Instagram profile (although you can absolutely keep your pics private). After signing up, my home screen appeared. A “popular” button revealed a collection of the most popular recently added pics from insta-users around the world. Landscapes, flowers, buildings, people, Giraffes; whatever amateur and pro photographers think is interesting, you can find it on Instagram.

The “share” button is where it gets good. Here, I can take a photo or import one from my iPhone photo album (see pic to the left…wow, John looks like he just came from the Jersey Shore, and I almost look like a vampire. Anyone know a good melanin dealer?). After that I got to choose from a series of 16 quirky and unusual retro filters with funky names like “Lord Kelvin,” “Toaster,” “Apollo,” and “Gotham.” Some filters wash color away, while others bring out color in oversaturated but tasteful ways. Most of the filters are retro-inspired. Each filter is slightly different from the last, and no two are the same.

Another fun tool on Instagram is tiltshift. Tiltshift is the manipulation of video or photography to create what appears to be a miniature scene from an aerial view. Here’s a great tiltshift video of the outdoor music festival, Coachella 2010, for reference:

Tiltshift is pretty hot right now in the video world. Commercials and movies use it relatively frequently, and with apps like Instagram making tiltshift easy to use and widely accessible, regular peeps like you and me can dabble with it and feel like editing rockstars.

Photo with the Instagram

Getting back to Instagram, for the photo above I chose the “1977” filter, sans tiltshift, and came up with the photo to the right:

FUN, right?! Who cares if I no longer have a nose. The colors are so retro-exotic and delicious! This is what my parents used to look like!

To get these pics onto my blog, I emailed them to myself (I know, so passé) with Instagram’s photo sharing options, and voila, I was done! Normally I use dropbox to send files to myself because it’s faster (less clicks to get what I want moved from my iPhone to my laptop or iPad), but it’s not currently a sharing option with Instagram (I’d have to open my Dropbox app and select the newly-filtered photo from my iPhone’s photo album to share it with myself. Ugh. Too many clicks! But I sure do love Dropbox!).

For you young’uns that don’t know what “email” is, it’s also possible to share your Instagram photo masterpieces through Twitter, FBook, Flickr, Tumblr, Posterous, and Foursquare. Sighs of relief resound through the interwebs as oddly-spelled-words-with-not-enough-vowels are read and recognized.

My Apptastic tally for Instagram:

How fun?: 5/5. Boring photos come to life with fun filters and colors! The potential for sharing pics with other people makes it fun too.

How useful?: 3/5. It’s a novelty app for me, and I’m not a pro photographer.

How easy to use?: 4/5. Some of the button icons were new to me, so I had to play around with the app for a hot minute to figure out what each one does. But Instagram is very user-friendly.

How much?: 5/5. It’s free!

Total: 17/20 – that’s a good score, people.

Pros: Fabulous filters! Users can take any photo from dud to delicious in seconds!

Cons: I would love to see some more sharing options (like Dropbox and Reddit), and the ability to review post-filtered photo information once they’re “published” on my Instagram profile (i.e.: What filter was used).

Verdict: It’s free and very amusing. great for procrastinating too, so download Instagram if you’ve gots the techs. You’ll love it!

Here are all of the before and after photos that I messed around with today…

If you have Instagram on your smartphone or mobile tablet, let me know what you think of the app, or find me on Instagram and let’s share some visuals!


Posted June 6, 2011 by Elfawin in Mobile Apps

Tagged with , , , ,

Can Sour Apples Turn Sweet?   Leave a comment

Apples with the Apple logo. Scared? ~ The Pirata

On January 9th, 2011, Vincent Stehle wrote an opinion article for the Chronicle of Philanthropy titled “Apple’s Disdain for Philanthropy is Rotten for Charities and Society“. The article discussed how Apple unfortunately does not allow non-profit organizations to accept donations through their apps. However, Apple has long allowed for-profit companies to accept payment for products and services via apps, so why the double standard?

Companies as large and as wealthy as Apple have a responsibility to give back to society. These days, it’s not enough for a company to just donate money to a cause. People want to know what else the company is doing to become a better corporate citizen. In other words, what can a company do to put public interests before its own?

Apple’s website lists its environmental impact statement, which includes its recycling program among other positive initiatives. That stuff is all fantastic. Really, it’s great. But in a global society where social media use has become a fundamental part of daily life for hundreds of millions of people, Apple is in a rare position to go one step further with its social impact: Apple gets to decide how apps function on its mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iTouch.

If iPhone users could open an app and press a button to donate money, imagine how quick and easy it would have been to donate (for example) to the Haiti relief efforts. Imagine how much more money could have been generated through the ease of using a mobile app! True, during the Haiti crisis, it was possible to donate to the Red Cross Haiti fund by sending a text message, but that system was  set up only for the Red Cross, and it made sense because Haiti was in a state of emergency. Other non-profit organizations such as NPR rely on constant listener-support to sustain their programming. In NPR’s situation, a mobile app would make far more sense for supporters to use when donating: An app can provide more information about a cause or organization, and can allow users to customize their own donation amount.

Apple touts its mobile devices as technological platforms that simplify life. But the company’s lack of support for reputable non-profit organizations makes life more complicated for those who want to donate whilst on the go. If verification of non-profit organizations is Apple’s main concern (as Stehle cited in his article), there are established and trusted avenues Apple could take to regulate those organizations to prove legitimacy.

It’s time that Apple used their considerable power to help mobile device users donate to their favorite charities or non-profit organizations. Simply getting on board with what app-users want could generate some fantastic press for Apple, and perhaps demonstrate that the company’s interests extend beyond the “Apple” tree, to the rest of the orchard.


%d bloggers like this: