GroupShot for iPhone: Fix it once you’re done clicking

Most of us will be familiar with this scenario – you gather with a group of friends/family/colleagues for an event/occasion. During this event, everyone poses for the obligatory group shot. But wait, someone just got distracted and an otherwise perfect photo has that one black spot!
Ever wish you could juxtapose that one part of the photo from another to get the perfect shot? Say hello to GroupShot.
GroupShot is an application which helps you get that flawless group photo.
On entering the application, there are 2 options for creating the picture – take new photo or choose from library. Since I did not have people around me at the time (especially for a group shot), I chose the second option. A message popped up asking to enable location services on the phone, otherwise the application can’t read from your camera roll library!
Select  ‘Yes’ and you will be taken to the Location Services which is under the Settings on the iPhone.
Once I enabled Locations Services on the phone for GroupShot, I went back to the message and selected ‘No’ option.  Then I clicked on the ‘Choose from Library’ option from the main screen. This goes to your photo library. I wanted to experiment with the demo pictures supplied with the application so I selected the ‘GroupShot Demo Album’.Here I found 8 picture – 4 group shots of 2 families. One group was in a garden environment and the other on the beach. I chose the beach shots by selecting the pictures and clicking Done. You can choose any set of photos as the set that you want to work with at that time.
The application loaded the 4 photos with some icons on top. The ‘New’ button takes you back to the main menu to shoot a new picture or start over. The arrow icons were for editing a step backward & step forward. The 3rd icon was for sharing – you can save the photo, share it on Facebook, Twitter and also email the picture. The 4th icon was for selecting the best photo in the set to work with. I chose to work with the default photo loaded (as seen above) so I skipped back to the editing screen.
In the default picture, the boy was looking down and not into the camera. If you want to change the image, say, make the boy’s face to look ahead into the shot, you just select that are by rubbing your finger on his face. Note: you need not be very precise in the selection, it will take some tries.
The selection created a yellow mask on the face and the other 3 photos on the side zoomed to show the boy’s face. You can now choose which face to replace in the original shot. I selected the bottom last picture of the boy smiling into the camera by clicking on it. The application starts to change the picture by ‘performing magic’. This might  seem like a funny message, but it does perform magic!
Voila! The boy’s face was replaced in the default picture and I could not detect any faults. Of course, with real-time pictures, you would have to be very precise in the selection!
Positives: Great tool to get those picture-perfect group shots.
Negatives: The picture is saved in a low resolution. Location services needs to be enabled!
GroupShot is available for iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad running iOS 4.0 or later. And at $0.99 cents, it isn’t a bad deal! You can download it from the App Store, here.

This is a Guest Post by Teja Nishant. You can find her on twitter, @desinor, and on her blog www.tejanishant.com.

Prey for Mobile, and Everywhere Else

There are a lot of mobile tracking applications and services out there, both as free of paid premium versions. The one that I use, both on iOS and Android is Lookout. On Android, it also scans applications and files for malware. Well, there’s another one (it’s been around for a while, I just happened to stumble upon this recently) that works on both, for free, and does more than that. It’s called Prey. And it’s also available on Windows, Mac, Linux & Ubuntu for desktops and laptops.

Prey has a really nice connected interface (between your mobile devices and your desktop or laptop). You get instant remote access to the application from another registered device (using your account of course), where you have access to the dashboard. There’s also a web portal for access. Oh, and if you don’t have access to any other connected device (if you don’t have internet access), Prey can be triggered by a text message. Just make sure you’ve pre-set this message.

Prey can also be set up to run and lock down your device if certain triggers are met; say when someone changes the SIM card in the device.

Prey seems to be made both for individuals and for groups or organisations that want to manage multiple devices. The free plan covers one device, with multiple plans starting at $5 per month for 3 devices going all the way up to 500 devices. Check out the details here.
You can download Prey for iOS from the App Store, here, and Prey for Android, here. You can also download Prey for Laptops and Desktops (as mentioned above), here.
Oh, and Prey has a nice testimonial page called Recoveries. Do check it out…

Kinectimals – Microsoft’s first iOS Game

Considered by some as the advanced version of pets (cats and dog games) where you used to take care of your pet and play with them in the virtual environment, Kinectimals can draw the attention of every kid who plays with an Xbox. However older kids may lose interest as they grow. While it was originally a Windows Phone exclusive, Microsoft has launched this game in the  App Store targeting three-year olds on both iPad and iPhone at $2.99. Available in three languages including Korean, Japanese and English, it is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (third and fourth generation) and the iPad. It requires iOS 4.2 or later. It will also run on any Windows Phone device.

 

This application brings you the isle of Lemuria directly to the iOS or Windows Phone device of your choice. The game allows you to play by adopting a tiger cub. You can pet it, play with it and even teach some tricks to it. Be sure that the pet is kept healthy, fed, clean and happy. As you play with your pet, it becomes dirty easily. Use a sponge to clean it up. The more you play with it, the hungrier and thirstier it becomes, so make sure that it is fed properly. Rewards are offered by completing certain tasks during game play including unlocking five different cubs in the Xbox version of the title. There is also an option to create an entire standalone game. It solely lies on your choice.

As the leveling up process takes place, the player is also promoted as a trainer. Now you can explore the Lemuria and can have a travel to different places in the map. The in-game currency system increases the amount of money you have  as you level up. You can spend the money in the store buying drinks, food, toys, collars and other personal care items for your new pet. Many feel that this Tamogotchi experience is not bad at all. They find it cute. If you tap him, the camera zooms in and lets you pet him. This is usually used in kid-friendly mini games where after the tap, the cub wanders and gets a ball or a jump-rope to play with. The inventory icon reveals food, personal care items, and trick mode and so on. If you tap a trophy icon, a challenge is given which when completed earns you experience points and coins that can be spent extra times There is even a camera action that sends you to the studio and have a photo shoot with the cub. You may think that each photo shows only your pet, actually your photo with the backdrops and lights appear.

The animation is impressive while the interface is reactive and is very easy to maneuver. The major bug issues have also been fixed now, all these features now make this a great game that is played by children; while the adults can enjoy watching the kids play.

Let’s hope that Kinectimals turns out to be the game.

You can download it for your iOS device running iOS 4.2 or later at the App Store.

You can download the Windows Phone app from the Marketplace.

Flipboard arrives on the iPhone

Flipboard is snazzy app that created waves when it hit the iPad last year; the app served as slick ‘personal magazine’ that aggregated content into a visually appealing layout that resembled a digital magazine. The app garnered rave reviews and received plenty of accolades, including being named one of TIME magazine’s Top 50 innovations. Today, iPhone users can collectively yelp in excitement as the company have just launched the app for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

You can’t argue with free, and that is exactly what you have to pay for this app. Like the iPad version, this app is free and offers users the ability to aggregate content from Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader, LinkedIn, Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr and 500px (phew).

iPhone developers have recently been stepping things up and creating new, visually stunning apps for the iStore every day, and Flipboard is already right up there. A personal magazine is a no-brainer on a 9.7-inch display, but the folks at Flipboard have done a mighty fine job in trimming it down for the iPhone without losing any functionality.

On opening Flipboard up for the first time, you will we be asked to check categories of news that interest you; categories range from sports, technology, science to fashion amongst many more. In addition to these feeds, your Facebook news feed will pour content into a dedicated silo. As the name suggests, you will find yourself flipping through content much like you would with a magazine. The interface is simple, elegant yet effective. You wont ever feel like information is cluttered or distracting in any way.

Simply put, this app is a no brainer. Aggregators like Pulse are great, but if you are looking for an aesthetic and enjoyable way of pouring over your content, then this one is for you. Get reading.

Download Flipboard for the iPhone from the App Store, here. You could also read more about Flipboard on the iPad over here.

 

Shootout: Molome vs Streamzoo vs Picplz

If you are one of the guys who think photo sharing apps do nothing more than uploading photos to Facebook in their own interfaces and they are not even improving your experience with your phone at all, do read this article, because this is written by a guy who thought exactly the same way. And if you are not one of them, read and see how a man’s opinion changed.

We have Molome with its loveable icon, PicPlz and Streamzoo in our hands here.

Molome and PicPlz have their own networks besides Twitter and Facebook. This is cool, because if you don’t want those apps to be connected with your profiles, you have an option to do that. You sign up to their networks and you don’t have to link this app to your accounts. When signing up to Molome, I was asked to activate my account whereas I wasn’t asked when signing up to PicPlz network. Streamzoo doesn’t have its own network like the other two apps. Well, actually, it has it a little different one. But you don’t sign up to it. You link the app with Twitter or Facebook and then you go settings, Edit Profile. Pick a username and enter your e-mail. Then, you have access to its network.

Of course, you can link PicPlz or Molome to your Facebook and Twitter accounts too. To do this for Molome, go to Profiles and you will see Social Network section where you can log in to Twitter and Facebook. In PicPlz, go to Settings. Here, you have two choices to get to the same screen; either by tapping Account Settings and then Connections tab or just tapping Other Services. Here, picplz has taken this one (or maybe five) steps further by supporting flickr, tumblr, posterous, foursquare and Dropbox in addition to Facebook and Twitter. Although I personally do not have accounts on many of them, I still can see that this is important for ‘sharing crazies’.

In terms of settings, PicPlz takes another step by giving us more options than the others. You can set the app to launch when you press the camera button for example. You can share your location too, this is disabled by default and you have to enable it from the Settings menu. Developer knew that most of people are not comfortable with sharing their locations and some users wouldn’t bother to check settings before uploading photos, so this is a good thing. With PicPlz, accessing to your account settings takes time. It seems it connects to a website or something to apply your changes in your accounts. It might have been better if we could see and set our options faster.

In Streamzoo and Molome, you don’t have a detailed settings page. Streamzoo actually has chosen ‘simplicity’ as its motto. Besides editing your linked accounts and your actual Streamzoo account, only option you have is to enable and disable notifications. Molome isn’t very different, you can only set shutter sound on/off and set auto refresh and background notifications on/off and set their intervals.

In Molome and Streamzoo, there is a mechanism to encourage you to upload and share videos whereas picplz doesn’t have that. Molome gives you badges and Streamzoo gives you points for accomplishing things, well uploading photos. Actually, Molome did take this a step further but we will get there later.

Three of these apps have a method to keep you busy with them. Even if you do not have any friends in their networks, you can take a look at “Popular” photos in Molome and Streamzoo and you can look at “Interesting” photos in PicPlz. These photos are not private photos of course. You see more artistic works in these streams and you can like, comment these photos and add to your collection, this is pretty much what a person expects from a photo sharing network, right?

Look and feel things depend on the people’s delights mostly. The same picture looks different to the people. One loves it, the other hates it and one guy doesn’t even bother to turn and look at it. So this is all a personal opinion I am going to share with you. In my humble opinion, Molome has a more eye-candy looking than the other two. And I couldn’t see enough difference between others to rate them second and third. But you might find them both better than Molomo in terms of design of course. I already expressed my opinion on how cute and loveable Molomo icon is :)

Before taking a look into effects to be applied to photos where you wish, let’s talk about upload and share mechanisms. In Molome, you can take a picture or choose from gallery. After taking or choosing the picture, it lets you zoom in and out and after you are satisfied with the size, you are taken to the effects page and after that, you give a name to the image and upload. You can cancel uploading by tapping yellow UPLOADING text on the screen which appears after you start uploading. This will take you to another page and you will see a red cross on your photo being uploaded. Your effect-applied photos are saved to your phone even if you don’t upload them. To be able to do this, just tap next after applying effects. It will take you to upload screen, but you do not have to upload.

In Streamzoo, besides taking or choosing image to be uploaded, you can shoot videos or choose a video to be uploaded. After you choose or take your photo, it takes you to effects screen. After that, you are taken to the uploading page. You name your photo and start uploading here. Unfortunately, I don’t seem like to find a way to cancel my uploading process. One bad thing I noticed is that it doesn’t save your effect-applied image to your phone if you don’t upload it. About videos, you can’t apply effects to them. But this was what we expected, right?

In PicPlz, after you choose or take your picture, you are taken to the effects page as expected. And of course, after you tap Next, you are taken to uploading screen and you name your image and start uploading. I don’t know if there is something I am missing, but I couldn’t find a way to cancel my uploading process too. And again, you can’t save your effect-applied image to your phone if you don’t upload it. After your image is uploaded successfully, you get an e-mail from picplz which includes the link to your photo. Using this link, you can share your photo with your friends. Here is one of photos of my PC case.

None of these apps have picture effects to apply on the actual photo taking time as you could understand. Instead, you are taken to an ‘effects page’ after you choose or take your image. Molome and picplz are pretty much the same in this aspect. This is where Streamzoo says “You won’t regret if you choose me too.” Besides applying the effects which are also offered by Molome and picplz, you can add cool borders and you can add ‘tilt shift’ effect. Tilt shift effect can be applied one part of your photo and you can apply it to the whole photo if you wish. I told you that Molome had a different method to encourage you to share photos and didn’t tell you what this is. Well, you cannot choose three effects if you do not have 10, 20 and 30 uploaded images.

To come to a conclusion, you should choose which one best suits you. Every one of them has strong and weak aspects. Actually, the only common thing among them is that they are free. So you can try them out on your own and maybe keep them all in your phone. It feels good to be aware that you can try them all doesn’t it?

Didn’t they seem like they offer the things you look for in a photo sharing application? Of course, there are other photo sharing applications in the market. You can try them out too. Or, if you don’t feel like doing it or you don’t have time, you just let us know that you want the app to be compared with these three. I promise that we will do our best to compare and help you choose the one which will satisfy your needs.

While all these apps were reviewed on Android, they are available on multiple platforms, so you should have similar experiences on all platforms.  Molome is available on Symbian, Android and Blackberry. Download from the Ovi Store here, the Android Market here and the Blackberry App World here. Streamzoo is available on iOS and Android. Download from the Apple App Store here and the Android Market here. Picplz is available on iOS and Android. Download from the Apple App Store here and the Android Market here.

Check out the Gallery below for all the photos taken using these three applications.

Red Bull Media Applications on your iOS device


Red Bull, who we know support all kinds of sports (From F1 to WRC to skiing and everything in between), also support “the arts”. I stumbled upon a Bunch of Red Bull apps on iTunes and here’s a quick run through of what’s what.

RBMA Radio:

(iTunes Link)

This is by far one of the best Internet radio apps I’ve come across, especially if you’re looking to discover new music & artists. RBMA stands for Red Bull Music Academy, which is basically, “world-travelling series of music workshops and festivals: a platform for those who shape our musical future.”

You can scroll through the Features list, Live Recordings or Mixes from the Landing Page, or Search for Artists, or scroll through Genres, or listen to Live Streams. 

The Now Playing Screen also shows a Bio of the Artist, and you can add them to your Favorites list, which you can access later. Here’s the Description from iTunes:

Red Bull Music Academy Radio is one of the largest sources for cutting-egde music on the web. Founded in 2005 as a spin-off of the world-renowned Red Bull Music Academy workshop series, it offers thousands of interviews, features, DJ mixes and live recordings from the best clubs and festivals across the globe – all available on-demand at www.rbmaradio.com. With this iPhone App, you can now pack serious music on the move, wherever and whenever you want.

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Red Bull TV
:
(iTunes Link)

This app pretty much covers everything Red Bull does, From Music to Sports to Performing Arts and everything in between. Again, the interface is simple and intuitive. You can scroll through the list of featured videos on the Main Page, or Search through the various categories, or just look for the Live Program, there’s always something running.

There are a couple of other apps you can try out too, like the Red Bull BPM series of apps if you’re into music creation. Of course, there’s the bunch of Red Bull Racing Apps that are pretty much must haves!