Still not using your iPhone for ‘serious’ photography?

Earli­er this year I man­aged to catch the Cre­at­ive­Live iPhoneo­graphy Work­shop with Jack Hollings­worth — well worth my time. I learned a lot and saw how oth­ers use the iPhone as a cre­at­ive pho­to­graphy tool.

Today I found this cool video by Jack Hollings­worth talk­ing about how his pho­to­graphy life was changed by the iPhone. Take a moment and check it out for your­self — espe­cially if you’re still think­ing that this little device isn’t a ‘real’ cam­era 😉

 

 

Review: Griffin Beacon Universal Remote Control (iOS version)

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The Griffin Beacon uni­ver­sal remote con­trol is an inter­est­ing device. It’s a little bit lar­ger than an Apple TV2 (or a hockey puck if that’s closer to your frame of ref­er­ence) but it’s got an odd, Zen-like IR ‘stone’ on the top that’s where the con­trol sig­nals come from. Not your every­day IR blaster.

On Paper
Using Bluetooth to talk to your mobile device (iOS or Android) it uses the smarts of your device to man­age your home enter­tain­ment sys­tems. All well and good, but wait, there’s more! It’s not just the Beacon alone doing the work…

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Well, actu­ally a very cool app called dijit does the heavy lift­ing. The dijit — Beacon pair is quite power­ful, with dijit not only bring­ing list­ings and man­age­ment to your mobile device, it also brings social to your TV view­ing with con­tent dis­cov­ery and social shar­ing. The duo:

  • Trans­forms iPhones and oth­er iOS devices into an easy-to-use, nev­er-lost remote for home enter­tain­ment sys­tems
  • Con­verts Bluetooth sig­nals from iOS device into infrared sig­nals required to con­trol AV com­pon­ents
  • Beacon con­nects com­pat­ible iOS device via Bluetooth with Dijit’s free Uni­ver­sal Remote App
  • iOS device’s Mul­ti­T­ouch screen dis­play becomes the remote with Dijit’s Intu­it­ive Pro­gram Guide, allow­ing users to change chan­nels, volume, input, pro­gram DVR and much more
  • Dijit App uses a con­stantly updated device code lib­rary to make set­ting up con­trols for TV, set-top box, sound sys­tem, media play­er and more, simple and intu­it­ive
  • For com­pon­ents not yet included in Dijit’s lib­rary, the App also includes an integ­rated learn­ing fea­ture
  • Beacon’s low-pro­file design blends unob­trus­ively with any cof­fee table décor
  • Powered by 4 AA bat­ter­ies, elim­in­at­ing messy wires and power cables

In Prac­tice
Get­ting the Beacon setup and run­ning is a pretty simple job of installing the included 4 AA bat­ter­ies, par­ing the Beacon with the Bluetooth on your mobile device, and installing and run­ning the dijit con­trol soft­ware.

Then it’s a simple mat­ter of let­ting the dijit soft­ware know which com­pon­ents you want to con­trol, and bind­ing those com­pon­ents to activ­it­ies.

For example, to watch TV, I need to turn on my receiv­er, my set top box, and my TV. I had to con­fig­ure those devices in dijit, then bind them to an activ­ity (Watch TV). You also can con­fig­ure the lay­out of your ‘cus­tom’ mobile remote con­trol in your mobile device — redu­cing the num­ber of but­tons to just the crit­ic­al ones needed for any spe­cif­ic activ­ity.

A sim­il­ar pro­cess is used to define oth­er activ­ity and device com­bin­a­tions. Pretty simple once you get the hang of it, and I like the abil­ity to cus­tom­ize the lay­out of the remote con­trol but­tons.

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I had the iOS unit to review, and it eas­ily hooked up to my first-gen iPad as well as my iPhone 4s. On the iPad, I really appre­ci­ated the extra screen space to dis­play TV pro­gram­ming inform­a­tion and social media con­tent.

Since the Beacon runs on AA bat­ter­ies, it’s port­able, which means you can move to vari­ous rooms if you have more than one enter­tain­ment centre.

The unfor­tu­nate down­side is that the Beacon doesn’t have an AC adapter, which means that every so often, about as often as a hand­held remote, you’ll be repla­cing 4 AA bat­ter­ies when the Beacon fails to respond. Which may or may not be a big thing for you.

Watch­ing TV
In the end, this is a pretty cool unit. I must admit, it took a bit of retrain­ing for me to start look­ing at my iPhone or iPad for TV pro­gram­ming inform­a­tion, rather than using the device as a remote to con­trol the set-top box’s menu sys­tem. But once I got over that niggle, using the Beacon and dijit soft­ware is actu­ally quite nat­ur­al.

So if you’re look­ing for an inex­pens­ive mas­ter / uni­ver­sal remote con­trol unit for your home enter­tain­ment sys­tem, you may just want to check out the Griffin Beacon and dijit com­bin­a­tion.
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New smart Wi-Fi Router review part two — Linksys EA3500

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This week we’re going to look at the second router in my three-part series on the latest offer­ing from Cisco / Link­sys, and for this post we’re going to step it up a notch with the Link­sys EA3500, tar­geted at folks with slightly more soph­ist­ic­ated net­work needs.

If you haven’t read my pre­vi­ous post on the EA2700, take a moment and do that now. It’ll give you a good frame­work to build upon, because that’s what Link­sys has done with this router series and the EA3500 in par­tic­u­lar; taken everything that’s great about the EA2700 and made it bet­ter while adding a few new fea­tures, at a slightly dif­fer­ent price point, of course. Con­tin­ue read­ing “New smart Wi-Fi Router review part two — Link­sys EA3500”

New smart Wi-Fi Router review — Linksys EA2700

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Since the last time I looked at home Routers, home net­work­ing has got­ten more com­plex. These days, folks are hook­ing up almost everything to their home net­work, either wired or wire­lessly: game con­soles, audio sys­tems, tab­lets, hand­held gam­ing devices… the list goes on. And older routers have occa­sion­ally been cranky when mix­ing brands and types — caus­ing more net­work head­aches.

That being said, home net­work­ing just got much easi­er with the recent intro­duc­tion of the new smart Wi-Fi router lineup from Link­sys.

Over the next few posts, I’ll be look­ing at three mem­bers of this linup — start­ing with the power­ful Link­sys EA2700.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “New smart Wi-Fi Router review — Link­sys EA2700”

Adobe Creative Suite 6 Kicks!

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If you’re doing any­thing at all cre­at­ive with your com­puter, you’re likely aware of the excel­lent suite of cre­at­ive tools from Adobe (coin­cid­ent­ally called the Adobe Cre­at­ive Suite).

Well earli­er today, Adobe announced a huge upgrade to the suite, Adobe Cre­at­ive Suite 6 — CS6 — which con­tains a lot of new fea­tures to all products with­in the suite and is also designed to drive Adobe users to their new sub­scrip­tion-based (and also announced today) Cre­at­ive Cloud ser­vice

Aimed at the ser­i­ous cre­at­ive hob­bi­est or pro­fes­sion­al, Adobe Cre­at­ive Suite has long con­tained many of the industry-stand­ard cre­at­ive tools includ­ing Pho­toshop and Illus­trat­or.

Creative_Suite_6_Design_Standard_mnemonic_RGB_300px.jpgAnd if you’ve been using an older ver­sion of Adobe Cre­at­ive Suite, here’s some of the new fea­ture you’ll find in CS6.

  • Con­tent-Aware image retouch­ing tools
    Retouch images with stun­ning res­ults in Pho­toshop Exten­ded. Use the Remix tool to move a selec­tion with auto-recom­pose and blend. Con­tent-Aware Patch lets you con­trol patch samples.
  • Flu­id grid lay­out for mobile devices
    Design and devel­op con­fid­ently for mobile devices with advanced tools in Dream­weaver CS6, includ­ing CSS3-based lay­outs that scale respons­ively to vir­tu­ally all screen sizes and form factors.
  • Glob­al Per­form­ance Cache
    Cre­ate more in less time with unpre­ced­en­ted 64-bit Per­form­ance. This revolu­tion “under the hood” makes After Effects CS6 fast and respons­ive by tak­ing full advant­age of the power in your computer’s hard­ware.
  • Extraordin­ary image edit­ing
    Use the Mix­er Brush and Bristle Tips in Pho­toshop CS6 Exten­ded to explore life­like, nat­ur­ally tex­tured paint­ing. Add dimen­sion to your imagery with 3D extru­sions using Adobe Repoussé tech­no­logy, and make pre­cise image selec­tions with Truer Edge tech­no­logy.
  • Inter­act­ive doc­u­ments and present­a­tions
    Cre­ate mem­or­able doc­u­ments and present­a­tions with inter­activ­ity, motion, sound, and video in InDes­ign CS6. Enhance lay­outs with rich media using motion pre­sets and sup­port for FLV and MP3 audio file import to engage your audi­ences.

As with pre­vi­ous CS releases, Adobe has bundled tools into vari­ous con­fig­ur­a­tions and pri­cing. Accord­ing to Adobe’s news release, CS6 and Cre­at­ive Cloud will be avail­able with­in 30 days — we’ll update this post when we have pre­cise details on their arrival and pri­cing at Future Shop.

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I’m Moving to Empire Avenue!

This likely won’t come as a shock to many of you; I’ve been invited to go work on Empire Aven­ue.

Of course, I said yes.

Start­ing Thursday, Septem­ber 1st, my role will be, as with any star­tup, kinda fuzzy to begin with. Offi­cially I’ll be the Dir­ect­or of Social and Com­munity Man­age­ment. In real­ity, I’ll be blog­ging, work­ing with the vari­ous com­munit­ies, and help­ing the team get things done. Whatever those things may be. Clean up after the Squir­rel, you know.

What I’m leav­ing behind
For the last five years, I’ve been a Web Con­tent Spe­cial­ist and Web Busi­ness Ana­lyst with the Alberta Motor Asso­ci­ation.

It’s be a great time with a mar­velous people and a great employ­er who’s allowed me to make mis­takes, grow, and test the cor­por­ate waters with innov­at­ive social media exper­i­ments (hello @AMARoadReports)!

If you’d like to check out the pos­i­tion I’m leav­ing, here’s the link to the offi­cial post­ing. And I’d be happy to dis­cuss the role, or the organ­iz­a­tion should you have any ques­tions — email me (bradblog@gmail.com).

The Future
Well, as I said, it’s going to be kinda fuzzy. Empire Aven­ue is a star­tup, and as such, there are lots of cool things that we’re doing, and that can be done! And in my work with com­munity, I’m going to be work­ing with and ask­ing a lot of ques­tions of *you*.

So, what can we do, togeth­er, on ‘the Aven­ue’, hmmm? Let’s find out!