Tag: Utility »
NFB StopMo Studio is a complete stop-motion utility for iPad that not only teaches you the basics of stop-motion animation, but lets you shoot your first stop-motion film as well. The application was actually born from the National Film Board of Canada's "legendary animation workshops," and concentrates "decades of expertise" to make it the App Store's very best stop-motion tool.
The app features a wide variety of capture tools including time-lapse features, access to both front-facing and rear-facing cameras, "onion skins," a grid tool, and more. Additionally, after you've shot your stop-motion film the app also provides many editing features such as the ability to add an iTunes soundtrack, add fade-in, fade-out, and sound effects, and the ability to export your film to MP4 format.
You can get NFB StopMo Studio from the App Store for $0.99. The app is only compatible with iPad.
Check out the below stop-motion video, which was made with the StopMo Studio app:
I want to just work from my iPad. I'm sick of desktops, laptops, and netbooks. The iPad is lightweight, has great battery life, and I don't have to take it out of my bag when I'm flying. Most of the work that I do is writing, covering iOS and Android, so it seems appropriate to primarily do this work from mobile devices, right? That's what I want, but there's still just so many shortcomings that keep it from being a regular reality.
What I find is that for basic tasks, the iPad is great. I like the focus that the iPad's limitation of running a single app on screen at a time provides, especially for writing. I use a portable Bluetooth keyboard, and while it's not full-size, the benefits I get from being forced to focus on what I'm writing is a huge benefit. As well, with the customer support job I work with that uses Zendesk, I discovered that it's actually quite easy to do it efficiently through Safari and the Zendesk mobile app. I didn't feel like I was any less productive in working from the iPad than I do when I work from my Mac in this case. But it's the exception to the rule.
The problems always come in when I have to work with files. For example, when I have to upload images to WordPress, it does not go well. Until iOS 6 hits with the ability to upload images from the browser, I have to upload through the app, which requires that images be placed in the body of text, not in the galleries that are below posts. Adding images to an article from the iPad is problematic as well, as the menu doesn't display properly unless I'm in portrait.
Thankfully, things are a little better outside of WordPress. An app like GoodReader for iPad helps when trying to work with files and performing basic tasks like unzipping archives or just saving photos to the Camera Roll, but it feels like a workaround to a real solution, and it's ultimately more time-consuming. Android is better-equipped to deal with files, but it's still a clunkier experience than working from just a computer.
Now, what about remote computing apps? These either require having a computer set up and running somewhere, like with LogMeIn, or using something like OnLive Desktop, which requires a good enough low-latency wifi connection, which can be hard to get while mobile. Clear's mobile WiMax hotspot worked well enough for me on a recent trip to Chicago, but most publicly-available wifi spots struggled with it. This isn't even considering the key problem with all remote computing apps: the touch screen is not a mouse, and trying to use it as one is awkward.
Really, that's the problem with the iPad as a work device. It may be a post-PC device, but work is still caught in a PC state of mind. I am at a point where I can do most of my work if absolutely necessary from my iPad, especially writing and answering emails. But I still hit a bottleneck where it's woefully inefficient. Until the necessary services adapt to the needs of tablet users like myself, I will still have to fight through that bottleneck.
It's 2012 and everyone has all manner of overly intricate phones that do way more than a phone really should. Remember when phones (even cell phones) weer just that? Phones? Well Writers Hi, Inc does, and they're going back to the basics. The very basics. Now we can all take a step back and enjoy knowing just how far we've come thanks to Landline - Analog Dialer.
In essence, Landline turns the iPhone into a rotary phone. For anyone old enough to remember those things, it involves manually spinning a dial repeatedly in order to input a number. About the only older phones out there are the hand-crank models that could only connect with the operator. Access to contacts and redialing is always a possibility, but users will still need to touch and drag the rotary over and over again when they wish to dial out. It's so ridiculous in contrast to what we've all grown accustomed to that it's hilarious. At least to me.
It looks like more of a reminder/homage rather than a really useful app, but I think that's the point. Plus it makes for something of a conversation piece to have a sleek smartphone with an archaic dialing mechanism. Also it's free, so there's no harm in having a little fun with it.
I'm shocked that I've been posting these picks for five weeks already. For this week, my utility of the week is the IMDB app - Movie Genie.
Movie Genie is basically just an interface to IMDB (Internet Movie Database). It allows you to search movies and actors and provides you with a ton of details about them. Movie Genie is a well developed and fast app that interfaces with IMDB perfect. The developer promises a lot of features in the feature, but the app is great as-is. Check out the review here.
If you’d like to suggest a utility for my “utility of the week”, visit my thread on our forum here. And below is a list of previous Utility of the Week picks:
I'll say it now - I'm an iPhone addict.
Every week, I have to go to a 12 step program designed to wean me off my addiction.* But, you know what? It's not working. You see, to be cured of an addiction you have to want to be cured. I love my iPhone. It's a part of my life. It's never far from my grasp, and I use it many, many times throughout my day. I don't want to be cured.
[caption id="attachment_13153" align="aligncenter" width="509" caption="Paul Pelosi (look at his hands) is also an iPhone addict."]
When I first got my iPhone, I was amazed - due to the superb implementation of the web, that I could actually use it to buy my wife's Christmas presents... from the sofa... while she sat next to me. I would ask her what she wanted, she'd have a little think, then tell me, then I'd buy it, without her even realising her wishes were coming true within seconds of her uttering the words. She might as well have been saying abracadabra. It was magical, and exciting in a way only another iPhone-phile can understand.
This is how my iPhone and I spend the day.
Wake Up Call
Even before I awake, my iPhone is there for me, dragging me from my slumber with the sound of Marimba. Clock has become my Alarm Clock. I've even taught it not to wake me at all at the weekend - at those times my iPhone allows me to dream on (although my daughter does not respect the covenant me and the iPhone have made).
For week four of my Utility of the Week picks I decided to pick an app that's already been out for a while but happened to go on a huge sale this week - Air Mouse Pro.
Air Mouse Pro is an accelerometer-controller (or touchpad-like) mouse for your computer. After downloading the app and the computer software that goes along with it, Air Mouse Pro can become your mouse, your keyboard, or even an app similar to Remote (to control your media).
Air Mouse Pro is on sale for $1.99. It went on sale on June 12th and I've heard that it will only be on sale for a week, so get it by June 19th!
If you'd like to suggest a utility for my "utility of the week", visit my thread on our forum, here. And below is a list of previous Utility of the Week picks:
Week 1 - Groups
Week 2 - Put Things Off
Week 3 - Stick It