Sunday, December 24, 2017

Apollo 8, Christmas Eve 1968




Bill Anders, crew member of Apollo 8, took this photo on December 24, 1968. It was later named "Earthrise". Then on that Christmas Eve Jim Lovell said "The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth."

Then Frank Borman (my favorite astronaut), the Commander said. "And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you — all of you on the good Earth."

This was the first mission when humans had left the vicinity of the Earth. All the other flights were orbital flights. Apollo 8 was the first manned flight to reach the Moon. It was inspiring. I remember it like it was yesterday. 

National Advertising Initiative NAI




Did you know that there is a tool to help you opt-out of targeted marketing? Use this: Opt-Out-Tool by the NAI.

On that webpage, you can see just how many of those member companies have placed an advertising cookie file on your computer. It is most of them.

The NAI, a cooperative of online marketing and analytics companies that are “committed to building consumer awareness and establishing responsible business and data management practices and standards.

You have a right to stop advertisers from tracking you.


Friday, December 22, 2017

Filmic Pro



Visit Filmic Here



This is one great Video App for both Android and IOS.

Zack Snyder shot this film with FilMic.




Here's an article about making Zack's the film with the Beastgrip Pro for stabilization and  the FiLMiC Pro for video capture.  



MANUAL CONTROL


FRAME RATES


IMAGE QUALITY


aspect ratio


MOTION FX


AUDIO meters







Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Google PhotoScan & THE SHOTBOX



Have old photos laying around in a shoebox? Too difficult to scan them or you don't have a scanner? Then checkout Google PhotoScan on Play.


PhotoScan is fast and helps remove unsightly glare and shadows.

But if you really want a slick way to scan those old photos, get THE SHOTBOX

The SHOTBOX is a self-contained, collapsable, portable, hard-shell tabletop light box that gives you perfect lighting every time.  SHOTBOX is also the only light box specifically made for use with your smartphone Camera Apps. So with Shotbox you can simply use your favorite Camera App to photo scan those old photos. 









Easy Button because Easy is Hard


Staples Discovers Watson

Easy is hard. 


Staples Inc.

"Revolutionizing customer service with IBM Watson and the push of an Easy Button" according to Staples.

Using the natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning capabilities of the IBM® Watson™ platform and a host of Watson cognitive APIs, Staples transformed its Easy Button into an intelligent ordering ecosystem that business customers can use to order supplies easily using voice, text or email.


We see an opportunity for great Mobile Camera w/ Print solutions at Staples and other companies with walk in solutions.

IBM Solution components

This technology is superb for Mobile Camera Apps, both front-end and back-end. At Best Camera, we are exploring Apps that use this technology. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Programmer's Dilemma

This day will come

So are you thinking about building your own App? But working for others, as a hired programmer, you make good money.  So just go back to work. But then of course you will never become wealthy.

And...you have an idea for an App that should go viral. The Best App ever for this idea. What should you do? You decide go for it!




It's not an easy App though, so you create a plan and you somehow convince some investors to jump onboard. Nice job! You are then cranking away on development. A small group of hand picked (by you) developers that know what they are doing.  Yahoo!

And then one day you hear the revenue question. When will we see revenue? So you remind the investors that your plan was to first build your great App and then get a ton of users. But that does not go well. They tell you that successful companies start with a minimum viable product and launch. They tell you how it is supposed to be done.

Now they are demanding revenue or they will pull the plug. Well, you know of companies that could use the services of your team for some short term revenue. But this will distract you from finishing your great App. So, being a smart programmer, you resist and keep working on your App.

Next the investors tell you that they do not understand what you are building. They ask for projections and insist on revenue or they will pull the plug. Next they tell you that you can never replace your competition. The old There will never be another MySpace argument.

This, my programmer friend, is where most fail.  This is the big gotcha moment.  This day will come. You will either lose your funding, or start working on side projects.  But here is the amazing thing.  Those who find a way to continue and finish their visionary product are often successful. Well they are successful if they actually finish the App without shortcuts and compromises. They are successful if they go beyond the minimum viable product because in the App world, you don't often get second chances.

Perhaps some good  advice is to anticipate this event.  But regardless of your original pitch, this day will come because good software development takes longer than expected and investors want revenue. Most investors do not understand the value of App users. The people that invest do not understand how a company can be successful without revenue. And so your great App could die before the world even knows about it.

One possible idea is to create an App that you can give away (no Ads of course) so you have a better chance of going viral. And what if the App itself has a way to generate revenue, either from In-App sales or other means like printing.  Another possibility is to turn your App into an SDK that you can license, not sell, to companies with existing users.  Ok, good thinking, but you still have the problem of funding beyond the gotcha day.

The answer is you need to be ready. You need to learn to become the worlds greatest salesman for your great App. Not just for selling your App to the users, but to sell your idea again and again to your investors.  And if possible, make sure your early investors are not VCs. The traditional VCs do not care about your vision and they will forget what you said in an hour.  Continuation is what separates the programmers from the successful entrepreneurs. How they pull it off though - I have no idea. But somehow they persist until they succeed because failure is not an option.

So when this day comes, just remember that this too shall pass. So laugh at the world.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Weather App for Photographers

So wouldn't it be great if you had a weather App with no Ads that would tell you if it was going to rain soon? Weather shots are key to great photography. It makes me wonder if a weather feature should be added to a Camera App.

Anyway, I found a solid App that does what you need. It's called Dark Sky

You can tell almost exactly when it will rain or snow up to an hour in advance. It is surprisingly accurate.


Now back to my idea for a Weather feature in a Camera App. Dark-Sky has an API for developers to integrate their data into their own Apps here: Dark Sky API  And here are even More APIs. And the IBM Cloud has a Weather Company Data API. 





No Software, No Moon

Few people know that it was a woman, a working mother in her 20s that got us to the moon. Margaret Hamilton became one of the lead programmers for the Apolllo flight computers. No software and no moon. Her job was just supposed to be a way to get her husband through Harvard Law. But she had the right stuff. And she helped launch the computer revolution 10 years before Microsoft. 



Saturday, December 16, 2017

Shutterfly App

Free Prints from Shutterfly!  but wait...


Shutterfly is one of the better know photo printing camera apps.  They sometimes offer unlimited free 4x6 and 4x4 prints. Or do they? Lets dive a little deeper.

"*Offer valid for a limited time only. Offer is good for unlimited free 4×4 and/or 4×6 prints through the Shutterfly apps only. Taxes, shipping and handling will apply. Not valid on other sizes, other products, prepaid plans, prior purchases, orders placed for in-store pick up and purchases made on shutterfly.com and our mobile-friendly site. Each order can only contain a maximum of 250 photos. Please start a new order for adding more items. Cannot be redeemed for cash or combined with other offers or credits. Not valid for resale."



The problems is that when you actually order say 250 small prints, with shipping and taxes, the total is around $24.  $1.74 for taxes and the rest for shipping. That is expensive shipping!

Ok, so forget that promo. But Shutterfly does have some nice features. Let's look at the Pros and Cons:

Pros
Good print quality (not great)
Many cool photo-print gifts available
Large selection of art and designs
Imports from Facebook and Instagram
Nice packaging

Cons
Expensive despite the marketing tricks
Poor online or mobile photo editing
Mobile App is confusing

For more info visit Shutterfly






Thursday, December 7, 2017

Hidden Auto-Lock on iPhone X

Ahhh, can't find the Auto-Lock for display timeout setting?  It's not in the general settings anymore as documented everywhere. It's under the Display and Brightness settings as seen the image below.



Friday, December 1, 2017

iPhone X Messaging App Animoji


This is a great kids attention grabber.  They will insist on participating. I know because they are pounding on my door right now as I'm writing this. They are like invading zombies wanting more. 

With Animoji on iPhone X, you can create and share custom animated characters in the Messages App that use your voice and mirror your facial expressions. Just select a cartoon character and talk. Your X will record your voice and integrate like magic all your facial expressions. It's addictive. 

You are also able to share these min-vids via email, Facebook etc. This feature is available on the X via it's facial recognition tech. 



Here's some example I made: 















Thursday, November 30, 2017

Best Camera Bike App

Cannot find

Best Camera's wish list for a Smart Mountain Bike

1. Just drop the App into a stabilizer case for filming and photos from your bike.

2. Smart shifts based on incline

3. Smart adjusts the seat height based on incline and direction

4. Smart adjusts the shocks

5. Smart analysis of everything, especially brakes.





   

IoT Internet of Things Playground

Apps are connecting to the Internet of Things. You can use the playground to see your smart phone connected to IoT with Watson.  Camera Apps will be using the IoT. You can count on it.

Internet of Things Playground click here


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

AI Future

How conversation with context will usher in the AI future

What's next for AI

Blind since the age of 14, Chieko has helped develop several pioneering accessibility technologies



Monday, November 27, 2017

Fountains of Paradise

The best camera apps would exist in space if only we had a Space Elevator. Here's an informative Blog about the Space Elevator. Unfortunately the writer has given up for now. But the Blog is still there. You can also check out this website http://isec.org

http://www.spaceelevatorblog.com/







Sunday, November 26, 2017

Create 3D objects with iPhone 10.

Apple provides developers with coding access to the same system used to create Animoji. The video below by Elisha Hung shows how this can be used to create and save a format understood by 3D editing software.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Strava

If you like to run, ride or just adventure outside, give Strava a try. It’s free! Well then there's a premium version  But millions of runners, cyclists and active people use Strava to record their activities, compare performance over time, connect with their community, and share the photos, stories and highlights of their adventures with friends.

* Track Your Runs, Rides and Activities for Free

* Connect with Friends and Fellow Athletes

* Activity Photos: Showcase the best moments of your run or ride

Ok, so what's missing
After your adventures, tracking results and activity photos, there's no built in way to create a cool photo book that you can print, save and share. 




Saturday, November 18, 2017

Thermal imaging

Best Camera predicts that thermal imaging will come soon to mobile cameras and Apps. So why would anyone want this feature?

The Cat S60 is a custom smartphone built for 'Caterpillar' that is the first mobile camera to include thermal imaging. Construction workers and emergency workers use this camera to locate electrical glitches or even find missing people in buildings or outdoors. Now that's cool, well hot. 

So what about everyone else? You could use your phone to find your missing puppy or turtle. Turtles get lost all the time.  You could determine if someone is in your house. That's spooky.  The NSA could be waiting for you or a thief. But with your new smart phone superman feature, you would have the advantage. This is the kind of feature that could become viral. Use it on a TSA agent to get even with them. 





Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sky Guide

ARKit, the augmented reality SDK from Apple, was used to write Sky Guide a popular stargazing App  by Fifth Star labs.

Apple demonstrated Star Guide at the Apple Park campus in Cupertino. How all App developers would love to  have Apple demo their App. But this App deserved it.

Sky Guide is a great example of augmented reality in action giving you an animated sky.  Just point your phone to see the constellations. 


With the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, or iPhone 10 you can superimpose constellation maps on top of the actual sky by looking through the phone

Is it a star or Saturn? Simply hold it overhead and Sky Guide automatically adjusts to your viewing direction so you can easily identify stars, planets, constellations and more.



Sunday, November 12, 2017

Three iPhone X Hidden Features


1. Record your phone's screen. 

This is not new to the iPhone X, but it works great on this phone. 

Traverse to Settings > Control Centre > Customise Controls and add Screen Recording. Next Swipe from the bottom to how the Control Center. Tap the Screen Recording button, and it will begin a count down from three seconds before recording your phone's display. To stop recording, tap the red status bar at the top of your screen and then tap Stop.




2. The new flashlight shortcut

I like this. Next Swipe from the bottom to how the Control Center. On the screen's lower left edge there's a default flashlight shortcut. Just press and hold and the flashlight icon will light up. The Flashlight is 3D/force touch. Feels like a real button. 


3. Automatic detection



Three Face ID features 

  • Reveals notification and messages for your eyes only
  • Keeps the screen lit while you are still reading. No obnoxious dimming.  
  • Lower the volume of an alarm or ringer because it know you are close. 


Monday, November 6, 2017

Snapchat and Apple Collude on ARkit

Apple briefly announced at their iPhone event in Sept that they were working with Snapchat to create hyper-realistic filters that can track your face movements in their ARkit SDK.  Now the interesting thing about this developer technology is the application for the new iPhone X which has unique sensors on the edge of the screen for facial recognition and tracking. 

So in addition to facial ID security, this technology is available for face mapping and realistic face masking or filters like the ones available in Snapchat. But this hardware software breakthrough is available to other developers, not just Snapchat. 

So augmented reality is used to overlay images or graphics onto any face with  the phone's front-facing camera. But even better with the X.  Overlays are not just static. They can include moving graphics in videos.  




Here’s a few Apps using ARkit for real world masking. Expect more as developers become familiar with ARkit and the new iPhone X. 

Snapchat

MSQRD

LOL Movie

Funny Movie Maker


Personal Emoji with iPhone X

One of the first things you should try on your iPhone X is the emoji face maker called Animoji. Here's a vid demo.




Sunday, November 5, 2017

iPhone X secrets

This new device has two logic boards and it has two batteries (a first for any iPhone). Two logic boards are sometimes called a sandwich design. So why two batteries and two logic boards?

The X stands for 10 in iPhone 10. The 10th anniversary of the iPhone introduced by Steve.


Saturday, November 4, 2017

iPad Pro 10.5 with Zag


Just grabbed an IPad Pro 10.5 with Zag case and keyboard. Great for blogging as I’m doing here. Also great for writing and reading digital books. Perfect for testing Camera and Photo Apps.









Snapchat Tricks

Did you know you can do these with Snapchat?


1. Cutout and replace the backdrop. The trick here is to use the scissors icon. Then tap the diagonal lines. Select with outline the person you want to cut out. Select a backdrop and then tap scissors again to save.



2. Draw with Emojis. Just select the Pen Icon. Select an Emoji from the slider. Then just draw with your fingers. 



3. Use the night camera mode. When using the app in low light, a half moon icon will show up in the upper right corner. When present you can snap good pictures in the dark. Cover the phone with your hand if you are not seeing the moon icon. 



Friday, November 3, 2017

Face Swap Apps


Here's a funny girl playing with Face Swap Apps on her youtube channel. 






Here's a link list of the best face swap Apps we've found so far. If you have others comment below. 

Swap faces with your friend in real time.

Seriously funny masks. Similar to SnapChat's Lenses. 

This is not a face shaper. It mixes two faces into one face, which is pretty funny. 

Easy to use. Works great with well lit photos. 

With this App you can swap faces with pre-loaded celebs. Very fun. 




Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Like a photo studio in your pocket

Good article here.

iPhone X Cameras


Swift Kitura 2.0 wth Codable Routing

Better back end APIs for Mobile Camera Apps

Why are we writing a coding post on best Camera? It's because the open source programming language by Apple is becoming a universal language for both mobile as well as a preferred language for  backend webserivices.  This means that builders of Camera Apps, Drones, AI solutions, Visualization and more have better tools. And this in turn will result in better Apps.

And IBM has jumped on the band wagon to produce a framework for server side Swift solutions called Kitura

Kitura 2,0 announcement

Now with the advent of Swift 4.0 and Kitura 2.0 a new technology has emerged called Codable Routing  This is cool!

"Traditionally web frameworks require you to think in terms of web requests and responses, with HTTP headers and status codes, and dealing with parsing body data which is typically encoded as JavaScript Object Notation (JSON)."

But now coders just create asynchronous functions with completion handlers and they automatically become server side APIs.  So App developers can develop backend APIs for their mobile clients in Swift, and they can do it in 1/10th of the code.

But then to make it even easier for Swift clients like IOS Apps, IBM created KituraKitmaking it very easy to share Swift types between the client and server in the form of a Client/Server Contract. 

Here's an example on GitHub 






Monday, October 30, 2017

Home security system with camera app, AI and 3D monitoring

No more false alerts. The new lighthouse camera has 3D monitoring and machine learning. Tell the system what you are interested in. No need to scan hours of recorded video,



Light house web site to preorder 




Friday, October 27, 2017

Photo Apps adding Artificial Intelligence for Help Guides

This App is for personalized photo books, and all kinds of photo gifts like mugs and t-shirts. Below is a quick video on how to create a personalized photo book and print it for same day pickup at Walgreens.

But something we noticed of interest is a help system that includes IBM Watson. Not kidding. It looks like they have just started implementing this feature. On the main menu, just tap the ? button and it takes you to a Watson screen with voice recognition and Watson's voice. It's interesting and fun. Lets hope they keep improving the Watson integration because it has so many possibilities. We will be scouting out other Apps like this.

Here's the 2 minute HD video tutorial and a link to the App in the App Store.  At the time of this review, they were on version 3.5. It's a good App.  Besides Photo Books, it has Gift Printing with Fujifilm for home delivery. It's a snap to create and order your prints.









Why Not Camera Apps For Voting?

So the computer changes the world 36 years ago. News tried to spread fear. It turned out that computers did not take over. They are tools, like bicycles, just as Steve Jobs said. But for some incredibly inexplicable reason, we still cannot vote with our computers or with our mobile phones. That's because we could accurately track every single vote with redundancy. We would know exactly who voted when, where and how. Our Camera Apps for voting could identify us in real time. The vote would not be isolated in some obscure box for local manipulation by crooks and Russians. No need for recounts because all the votes can be re-tallied again in seconds by redundant systems. And so on... America would become a real Democracy. We cannot have that. Everyone voting! That would not be fair to the corrupt politicians. But the truth is that we need.





Thursday, October 26, 2017

AI Session @ Mobile Photo Connect Off Target

Sitting silently in the audience, I was surprised at the direction of the conversation by industry leaders on AI. This was a great conference, but this session became unwrapped.

In an effort to offload what they were calling Pure AI to local devices, they called things like speech recognition, gesture recognition and computer vision Artificial Intelligence. These are just front end user interface elements. It is our position that this attempt to call everything Artificial Intelligence is for marketing purposes only.

IBM just purchased 1 billion medical photos to be scanned with Watson. Watson would not have won the Jeopardy game with "Pure AI" on a local computer. The relationship between AI and Big Data cannot be unwrapped by redefining the meaning of AI. The technology needs to become more advanced with machine learning and collaborative data not simply redefined to include new user interface elements from traditional computing for marketing purposes.

The Apps we will be looking for in the field of AI will be much different than what was presented. The great mobile Apps of the future will Tap Into Artificial Intelligence in the Cloud as needed. The vast knowledge of humanity and cognitive understanding cannot be offloaded or redefined. There is a fundamental difference between AI and User Interface Elements. We will be looking for the real deal.


 only made easier to access.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

We are headed to Mobile Photo Connect in San Francisco

This is a big event, so we are going there to cover it. One of the interesting sessions will be on how Artificial Intelligence is shaking up the photo and video industry.

Panelists on this session are:
  • Ramzi Rizk, Co-Founder & CTO, EyeEm
  • Josh Weisberg, Principal PM, Computational Photography, Microsoft
  • Borui Wang, Founder & CEO, Polarr
  • Argam DerHartunian, VP Product, PicsArt
With visual AI solutions ranging from photo capture, to image enhancement, to curation, and even to robotics, things are picking up.  We will be looking for the next gen of Photo Apps using AI.

"In a fireside chat session with conference co-Hosts Hans Hartman and Alexis Gerard, Google's Photo Lead for Content and Community, Anna Dickson, will discuss the issue of curation in an age of mixed human and AI assets."

Check back here on Best Camera for a complete first hand report. 


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Robots with Cameras

Sci-Fi writer Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics are worth a real world look. Robot cops are emerging. They are basically Camera Apps. 
  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Robotics as a Service

Cloud-based software will manage the skills, cognitive capabilities and support for the coming robotic age. Robotics as a service (RaaS) will create a demand for skilled programmers that understand this technology. Robots will be everywhere. Eyes in the sky and on the ground. 

Some of the best camera apps will be on Robots. Checkout IBM Bluemix with Watson and Cloudant, a cloud based database. Developers are building SaaS and RaaS in Swift and Kitura, a web framework. IBM Watson


"Representative companies employing a RaaS business model include PrecisionHawk (drone-based surveying for agriculture), Knightscope (robots for security and surveillance), Aethon (mobile robots for healthcare logistics), InTouch Health (mobile robotic telepresence), and Liquid Robotics (unmanned underwater vehicles."