Smartphones & Photography Apps

In recent years, smartphones with high-quality cameras have revolutionized the way users take and share photos. Come to think of it, camera phones have really come a long way. I still remember the first camera phone that I bought few years ago – it was a Sony Ericsson (can’t remember the model though).

The pictures that I’ve got were routinely out-of-focus and full of noise, that they were barely usable after I shrunk them into pint-size. Most of the time, I can only used them as my handphone wallpaper but nothing else.

Luckily, as mobile phones continue to become faster and more powerful, the pictures that we get now are as good as taken from a point-and-shoot camera. Now that smartphones come with internet connectivity, users can take pictures and conveniently share them online.

It’s all about the ease of shooting and sharing that makes it so attractive. I like taking pictures with my iPhone too, especially on days when my bag is heavy. I can leave the camera at home and rely on iPhone to shoot.

iPhone Photography Apps

Among all the iPhone Photography apps, Instagram pleases me the most. It is a very simple apps that allows users to take pictures, add preset filters to them and share them online. It is fully integrated with popular social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

I can upload my pictures onto Flickr instantly, and then use them on my blog. It saves a lot of time, without the need to plug a cable and download onto my computer. However, it does irritate me sometimes when it doesn’t function properly due to the poor 3G connection.

Recently, my colleague introduced PhotoWonder apps to me, and I find that it’s really cool. It dresses up your pictures with effects, props, decorations and frames. You can make picture collage with a wide range of templates too.

You can also beautify your pictures by slimming the body and face, making the eyes larger and smoothen the complexion. All these effects can be achieved by just a smudge or tap with fingers. Now, everyone has great complexion and zero acne. Pretty and happy!

If you want a more comprehensive make-over, you can try Photo Makeover apps. I rarely use it because I find that it’s quite complicated. Other apps in my iPhone include Camera+, Photosynth and Leme Camera – but they are all under-utilized because I’m just too lazy.

What is your favourite photography apps? Please share with me. iPhone or Android, both are welcome.

 

iPhone Apps for Kids

The next time you’re stuck waiting with an antsy bored kid, why not break out your iPhone? Well, I’m sure many of us do that. Nothing offers a better distraction for bored kids than mommy or daddy’s cool iPhone.

iPhone is fun and easy to use; we don’t even need to bring toys, books and pencils. It’s definitely the best method to keep our little boy to sit still. Especially when dining out, iPhone is my savior!

Here are some of Little Edison’s favourite iPhone apps to share with you.

1. Smurfs’ Village

His #1 favourite now. You begin the game with only a single mushroom house and a lone plowed plot of land. From there, things progress allowing you to build specialized houses, elaborate gardens with colourful crops, bridges to span running rivers, trodden paths and more. Interesting game!

[Note: Some virtual items in this game are chargable. You need to watch your children when they play to prevent accidental buys that cost real money.]

2. Scoops

Scoops is a game where you try to catch the falling ice cream onto your cone but avoid the vegetables. Easy and colorful.

3. A Bee See Sight Words

This is a talking and spelling flash cards and games for children. Different levels of settings suitable for children from 3 to 5 years.

4. ABC Phonics Animals

It focuses on the alphabet phonetics, spelling, reading and sounds. Traditional flash cards layout combined with interactive elements such as animal sounds and preschool music. Good learning apps.

5. Giraffe’s Matching Zoo

A card-matching game with colorful animals. Comes with cute music and sound effects that keeps the game entertaining. Combination of excellent sounds, music and graphics make it a wonderful free apps for kids.

6. My First Puzzles

An easy jigsaw puzzle apps perfect for children from 2 to 6 years. Comes with fun sound effects and beautiful graphics. To replay the puzzle, simply give the iPhone a good shake. Helps develop motor skills too!

7. Alphabet Car

A fun apps that makes remembering letters, words and spelling a fun and creative activity. You find the right letters to a given word by using your iPhone like a steering wheel.

8. Bumblebee Touchbook

You can touch any word to watch it animate and hear it spoken. Or touch the narration bee to hear the entire page read to you. Makes learning fun and easy. The bumblebee is super cute too.

9. SpongeBob Tickler

A virtual underwater iPhone buddy who lives in your pocket. Shake him, poke him, stretch him… you can even play games and make him dance! Cute and fun.

…..

What are your children’s favourite iPhone apps? I love to hear from you too. 🙂

 

Loving my iPhone

A month ago, I purchased my first iPhone and my life has been considerably less hectic since. It’s an iPhone 4 32GB in black, and it’s also the first mobile phone in my life that makes me waited for almost a month.

A typical day in my life with my iPhone looks like this …

Starting from the basic – alarm, e-mail and music

I wake up at 6:15am to the alarm ringing tone on my iPhone. I grab it and hit the snooze button. Ten minutes later, the alarm goes off again and I begin to wake up for the day ahead. I shower and get myself ready by 7:10am. Then, I wake up my son for school. He usually takes ½ hour to drink his milk and change into his uniform. During this time, I have my coffee and scan my office e-mails via iPhone. I read all the important e-mails at home before I leave.

I get into my car and plug the iPhone into the car mount. I begin to play songs in my iTunes library. It’s about 15 minutes drive to Little Edison’s school and another 15 minutes to my office. This half an hour is the most relaxed and enjoyable time of the day for me. I listen to my favorite music and I enjoy the drive to work every morning. It’s so peaceful.

Surfing the web

It’s something that I do everyday. Prior to iPhone, I used my laptop to access the web. Now, I can just dish out my iPhone, tap on the Safari icon and begin surfing. Websites look exactly the same as in a computer. I check for news updates, read blogs and shopping websites on my iPhone.

Social networking

In the evening, I logged on to the Facebook apps in my iPhone. I can upload pictures instantly from my iPhone; it’s the perfect, fast and easy way to share pictures and connect with my family members in Malaysia. I read messages and status updates of my friends too.

The babysitter, well, yes!

Everybody says that iPhone is our newer generation nanny, and I tend to agree. I’ve a few phonics ABC apps in my iPhone. Whenever Little Edison is bored (and when I’m still busy), I dish out my iPhone for him. He loves playing with my iPhone. Somehow, I find it’s so amazing how this iPhone can charm children of all ages. To the mothers, it comes in as handy as our own personal nanny. I just have to love it!

Looking up for directions

I bought a GPS apps for my iPhone. I tried it on several occasions and it is so accurate! Besides giving turn-by-turn instructions, it also prompts me on ERP and speed cameras. Whenever I turn on the GPS, it takes less than a minute to track my current location. I can search by road names and even postal codes.

Taking pictures anywhere

The iPhone 4 camera takes 5 megapixels still pictures with optional HDR setting and a built-in LED flash. With HDR option, the camera automatically captures three photos with different exposure levels. Then, it layers the shots together to create a single photo that combines the best elements of each shot. We can choose to have both the regular and HDR photo appear in the Camera Roll.

 I tested the HDR option the other day. Here are two pictures taken with and without the HDR option. I love the convenience of taking great pictures with my phone!

Photo 1: Normal photo without HDR

Photo 2: With HDR option

On top of what I’ve mentioned, I can watch YouTube videos, read e-books, check the weather, purchase new songs and watch movie previews on my iPhone. The days just go by so much smoother when I have this kind of convenience at my fingertips! I love my iPhone, and there I said it again.

 

SGP Case for iPhone 4

iPhone cases have always been a popular accessory among iPhone users. After getting an iPhone, most of us realize how thin and fragile the screen is. We will most likely want to find something that will protect our iPhone’s surface and screen. Thus, iPhone cases are a great purchase that will protect and prolong the use of our iPhone.

Having said that, finding a high-quality case that will provide adequate protection with a scratch-proof film is not easy at all. There are so many brands and varieties in the market. The more I google, the more lost I become.

I found SGP Case NEO Hybrid EX Series for Apple iPhone 4 from the Hardwarezone Forum. It’s one of the highly recommended brands in the forum. It’s indeed the most beautiful case that I’ve ever seen. Click HERE for more information.

This case is not available in the market at the moment. According to the update from SGP Facebook, the stock is likely to arrive this Friday. Yay!

I’m looking for someone to share the shipping cost. The shipping cost for 5 units is about US$38 via Express Mail International (EMS) with tracking information. Transit time is about 3 to 5 business days.

I’ll be ordering two sets. Three more slots to go. Let me know if you are keen to order. All other items from SGP website are welcomed too. We’ll divide the shipping cost according to the number of items purchased.

 

iPhone 4

I’ve always been a person who is least interested in iPhone. It’s not only iPhone, but any sophisticated and high-tech gadgets that require a long time for me to learn how to use it. I’m simply lazy and impatient.

Last week, my boss was away on business trip when the Singtel delivery guy came to deliver her iPhone 4. I received the phone on her behalf. I asked one of our engineers to check the phone and confirm that nothing is missing from the box. Luckily, it all went well.

From that day onwards, this phone has been bugging me. I heard it whispers to me, “Come and check me out! I’m so cool and no one can resist me.”

I kept hearing this for one week and I gave up. I rang up the Singtel guy and asked him about my contract. He informed me that I’m eligible for re-contract. For re-contract under my corporate plan, I’m entitled to $200 discount on the phone.

This means that I only need to pay $160 (after $200 discount) to get an iPhone 4 32MB. That’s simply too cheap and I submitted my application form immediately.

Now, I’m waiting for my iPhone 4. As expected, it is out of stock and the waiting time is approximately two weeks. On top of my shopping list now, I want to get these two iPhone accessories:

SGP Case NEO HYBRID EX Series in Champagne Gold for Apple iPhone 4

This is the most beautiful iPhone 4 case that I’ve ever seen online. Anybody knows when the stock will be available?

Kensington Windscreen Car Mount with Sound Amplified Cradle for iPhone

Can somebody let me know if this car mount is compatible with iPhone 4? I heard that it’s NOT.