Saturday, June 23, 2018

Not From Earth

Where Is Everbody?


Most people are familiar with Fermi's Paradox. As the story goes, Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, famous for creating the first nuclear reactor, asked a simple question at a casual lunch in 1950. "Where's Everybody?" That simple question has had extraterrestrial researchers scratching their heads in the decades since.

The numbers don't lie. We are alone in the universe, and yet that is impossible. So let's play a game. Pretend that we are not alone, but compared to most advanced civilizations, we are far behind, millions of years behind. And the reason we can't see all the action is that we are isolated. There is a veil surrounding the Earth. The galaxy wants us to catch up, become civilized and then we are welcome. 

If this is true, then there is a good chance that aliens walk among us. Perhaps there are hybrid humans as well. They could be our guides or simply observers. 

Now let's suppose Artificial Intelligence was able to unmask the veil, or at least help us spot those Aliens among us with advanced machine learning and image recognition. 

This brings us to the Not From Earth mobile App. This App works with Watson and the latest Apple technologies such as CoreML to let us spot those outsiders with our cell phone cameras. Just point and click, and artificial intelligence provides a probability of the subject being Human or Alien. 

Behind the scenes, this App is complicated. But the result is fascinating. It uses Watson, CoreML, Augmented Reality, Visual Recognition, Machine Learning and more. 

We have an advance beta copy of the App. It is scheduled for release in Aug 2018

Here are some of the features we have identified:

1. Use your Camera or Photo Gallary to hunt for aliens. 
2. The App does a pretty good job of identifying all objects, such as Labrador retrievers. So something pretty heavy is going on with this App.  
3. The App only accepts individual profiles. If two people are in the image, it tells you it needs one face only. 
4. It thinks Octopus are a form of alien visitors. Not sure why, but hundreds of scientists believe this could be true based on DNA testing. 
5. There is a video mode that uses augmented reality. You move the camera around and if it spots a face, it will categorize the person as human or alien. 
6. There is an exposure feature that attempts to unmask the Alien with trained style transfer effects. 
7. There is a share feature for posting the results to Facebook or Twitter or just Messaging or emailing the results. 

Does Best Camera believe there are Aliens on Earth? We just review Apps and technology. But the App is kind of addicting and fun. It's a game. Some people are calling it a Pick-Up App because it's so easy to get people's attention. "Are you from Earth?" That alone is a conversation starter and you follow up with the App. 

Follow Best Camera for immediate notification when Not From Earth is available. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Prisma Style Transfers



According to their website, the Prisma App has been installed over 100 million times. This App converts your photos into artwork using styles of famous artists like Van Gogh, Picasso, Levitan, as well as world famous ornaments and patterns. 

They use neural networks and artificial intelligence for creating timeless art from your own photos. I must admit that's pretty cool. But how do they do it? How do they create and release these image effects? And how do they make them work with any image?

My first hint was when they said they use artificial intelligence. Apple loves Prisma. They named Prisma the iPhone 2016 App of the year. And now Apple has released CoreML technology for working for both image recognition as well as image style transfers. CoreML uses this same kind of trained models for image recognition and image to art.  They call this machine learning. 

So where do these models come from? They have to be trained. You can just buy Prisma, but if you are into coding, you need to get your hands on transfer style models. There are technologies like Tensor Flow that can help. There's been a lot of progress in this area lately thanks to graphics processing units (GPUs). This has led to Deep Learning and the complex multi-level neural networks for creating models.

But there are two kinds of models. Those for image recognition and those for image style transfers. It is the style transfers that are used by Apps like Prisma. In order to create style transfer model, an artist or developer needs a style image and a content image. An example of a style image is the famous painting by Vincent van Gogh shown below. A content image is any image you want to start with. Once the model is created, users can transfer the style of any other image, not just the content image.



If you are working with IOS, you will need to convert the model to CoreML. There are various tools for doing this. The bottom line is that creative artists are able to use tools and existing art to create transfer models that are able to change the style of images into a form of art. The new art is similar to the style image used to create the model. What fun! 

I will be reviewing other Apps using AI models for image recognition and style transfer in future reviews. In the mean time, grab Prisma and have some fun. 



Friday, June 15, 2018

The Artificial Intelligence Myth


It makes sense. Are we overusing the name Artificial Intelligence for marketing?





Monday, June 11, 2018

kauai Adventure

I'm back with new blog ideas. I was in Kauai doing research if you can believe that.







Thursday, May 10, 2018

If it works, it works

The funny thing about programming is that if it works, it works and the debate is over. It doesn't matter how smart they are when they tell you it won't work. If it works, it works. But then they will ask if it's scaleable. 






Saturday, May 5, 2018

Best Advice for Programmers Ever. The Dangerous Truth!

I love this article. It is the best advice for skilled programmers I have read in along time. The article makes a great point. It's worth reading

The fantastic truth is that code has become a Sanskrit like language



Saturday, April 21, 2018

No nonsense Free Audio Playback of any Kindle or IBook



"I recently purchased a Kindle book and noticed that Audible offered a free audio version. But eventually I discovered it was not free and they had me signed up for a subscription. You know, those sneaky little leaks that gradually drain your bank account when you are not watching. Buyer Beware!"

I hijacked this article from here: Free Audio Playback of any Kindle or iBook

Here's a quick guide to enabling free, no subscription playback with page turning.

Open Settings and General->Accessibility->Speech->Speak Screen  then Enable Speak Screen. Below on the same screen, you are able to select from voices.  Then use a two finger swipe down from the top within your Kindle or iBook App.




Thursday, April 19, 2018

IBM Watson Loves Apple to the CoreML

ET vs AI
We would love to review this App on Best Camera. 

Here is a good article for anyone interested in Artificial Intelligence, Aliens from other worlds, and fast Image Recognition. Will they provide the code for this App? I read in the article that they are planning to make the entire project open source on GitHub. That would be a great learning tool. And if they submit to the App Store, a good way to get a bunch of installs.

Here is a link for Part 2 of the Article. It looks like there are three parts.

Part 2 - Coding with Watson SDK and CoreML

There's kind of TOC in each article. I would recommend starting with Part 1, or just jump right to he coding with part 2.

Part 1 — Setting up Image Recognition Models in Watson Studio

What's great about this article is the in depth description of how to use some cool technology created with by an IBM/Apple partnership. This is a good read.

Quoting from the article:
The engineers at IBM and Apple have formed an exciting AI joint venture. This article will explain how these two giants have made your life, as a developer, easier and more productive.
The combo of Watson and CoreML has everything from friendly online model training tools to fast onboard image classification. It’s got the stuff we want.

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Incredible Value and Emotion of Fonts


Fonts increase value of both your website and your Apps 

Netflix unveils Netflix Sans, a new custom typeface developed with Dalton Maag


and more....


       “Through a series of split test experiments, I managed to improve my site’s engagement by 38%.  I did this by changing nothing but the font styling of the site.” – Six Revisions, July 21, 2014

       “For Internet marketers, the most important thing to remember is to use typography to complement and enhance your copy.  When done right, it can trigger the right emotion, mood, and even action required to get a visitor to convert.” – Oberoi, 2014.

       “Effective typography practices can prove to be a pivotal factor in the success of an interface’s effectiveness and ability to support business needs.” – DeFrates, 2013

       “Of course, endless examples can be found of how subtle typographic choices make all the difference…. Effective design begets effective communication, and while major design decisions are obviously important, the little things often make all the difference.” – Knight and Glaser, 2012

       “Even the letterforms you choose could have an impact on how much authority your words carry.” – Anderson, 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Space Camera Apps


Space Station Astronauts are testing out new cameras in orbit. Here's a fun video using these this new camera technology.




Monday, April 9, 2018

View Everything Facebook Knows About You in 3 Steps


Just follow these steps to download an archive of everything Facebook Knows about you including all your friends and their phone numbers, ads, messages, photos and videos and much more.



1. Facebook Settings



2. Download a Copy


3. Confirm Download (requires FB password)


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Aliens vs AI


Best Camere Exclusive!

There's an App coming that detects visitors from other worlds.
 Better than DNA because it can't be fooled. 


Read about it here when available. The developer has teamed up with IBM and Apple



Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Don't fall through App Store Subscription hole

Please check this article to View, Change or Cancel your mobile device subscriptions. Yes, there are subscriptions from the Apple App Store. There should be a way to disable subscriptions all together on your device, but I could not find it.

So if you are evaluating an App, it's easy to get sucked into an unwanted subscription. You need to stay on top of those Apps that let you evaluate and then after a time charge you for a subscription. It's a bit tricky to find the cancel subscription setting so follow the link above to see a page like this. It has good instructions.


Fortunately, Apple is pretty good at refunding if you contact them early. Here's a chat response I finally got after cancelling the subscription and asking for a refund. So be sure to ask for a refund if you do not want the App subscription. Apparently takes a while for the refund but at least you can recover.



Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Why Did Space Oddity Go Viral?

What makes an App or a video go viral?

The answer is Arousal. And what are the most powerful emotions?

- Awe

- Anger

- Amusement
I'm working with some actors on a video commercial for a mobile App and it is hilarious. I'll post it here when done. 


Positive emotions out poll Negative emotions. People like positive emotion stories.

And here is the first ever music video from space. It's awe inspiring.





The Metaphor and Richard Feynman


How could such a brilliant nobel-prize winning scientist find ways to teach normal people about his subjects? He was a master at metaphors.  Here he explains fire using a metaphor. 




If you think about it, the world of computer programming is filled with metaphors.

Bus: Bits commute each day on a data bus. Data is a group of objects.
Window: Opening a new window lets more enlightening in! A program exists in an outside space.
Frame: Frames compartmentalize screen space. An overlap of space is an (undesirable) overlap of concept.
Desktop: My desktop is cluttered with icons. A visual surface is a physical surface.
Open/Close: Windows, programs and ports may be opened or closed. To open is to start, and to be open is to be susceptible to change.
File: A corrupt file wreaks havoc on the computer. Data is physical and discrete, occupying space.
Folder: A folder may have any number of files within. Files are objects that can be grouped.
Space: I've not much space left on my hard drive. Data takes up finite physical space.
Port: A port is a transfer point for shipping data. Data transfers on a liquid.
Tools: A program's tools never need sharpening! Data is physically altered by a program.
Cut: I cut out part of a speech by Mayor Nagin. Data on the screen is as if on paper.
Clipboard: The excerpt sat on my clipboard awaiting pasting. Data may be physically picked up and held.

Four New Animojis for iPhone X

IOS 11.3 comes with 4 new crazy animojis for the iPhone X with face recognition.



This release also includes a better battery analyzer.



Checkout the new section in Battery Settings for information about Battery Health. Battery Health is available in iOS 11.3 for iPhone 6 and above. There's an estimated battery capacity and a peak performance feature. This is where you can find out if your device is being throttled. 

Your device is throttled automatically when the system has an unexpected shutdown. Disable the throttle feature if you want. 


Monday, April 2, 2018

Yikes! Here come the mind police.



Big Brother has come to local news. Sinclair wants a monopoly and will appease the state, the mind police, to get it. 

Is blogging a rare form of independent journalism? I suppose some bloggers that rely on sponsors might fear the fight against big brother, but not many. This is why net neutrality is under assault. The free flow of information is a dangerous thing for the State. 

The great thing about Camera Apps is that the cameras are pointing in the other direction. 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Writing Tip for April


If the road to hell is paved with adverbs, then once you get there you will find yourself surrounded by Tautology

Tautology - the saying of the same thing twice in different words, generally considered to be a fault of style (e.g., they arrived one after the other in succession ).

Examples: 
  • I went to see him personally.
  • He is always making predictions about the future.
  • She was a dark-haired brunette.

    But then there are the funny examples, some intentional and some not.
  • "It's deja vu all over again." - Yogi Berra
  • “Our nation must come together to unite.” - George W. Bush

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Apple and IBM are colluding on a Childhood's End vision!


Apple is banking on the future of Core ML (machine learning) and ARKit (augmented reality) working together. It's a grand vision. But there is another player sneaking into the mix and that is IBM Watson.

Apple's machine learning framework for IOS has extensive features for deep learning with over 30 layer types: face tracking, speech, bar code detection and so on.

Then with ARKit and the new A9/10/11 processors, it's possible to create vast VR experiences of any physical world on mobile devices.  Combining ML and AR has crazy potential.

But then consider the problem you have with a mobile device implementing Artificial Intelligence. There is no access to big data, the true driving force of real artificial intelligence. The place where the singularity will emerge.

So now consider the subtle partnership between IBM Watson and Apple Core ML and AR. What these two giants are up to is fascinating. Take the simple task of image recognition. With Core ML, you have a limited model that has learned image recognition. But to update that model, it gets tricky. So along comes IBM Watson and you are able to upload your photos to the cloud with big data and constantly learning models.

But what these two giants decided to do was use the A11 processor on the mobile devices and when connected to the internet, update their Core ML models from Watson in the cloud. That's right. No need to upload the photos for image recognition, ever! It's like some creature from another world tapping into our power source getting smarter and smarter!

Now consider all three in combination; Machine Learning, Augmented Reality and Big Data AI kindly making the mobile device smarter when convenient with it's yummy power. Now that is thinking outside of the box. There are some smart people at Apple and IBM colluding on a Childhood's End vision. And this same idea can apply to drones or humanoid robots. Welcome to the future.

by contributing author: Rob Adamson

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Now there’s a Product Hunt App


Stay up to date in the latest tech products



How do you find the latest and greatest products?  One way is Product Hunt And now the folks at Product Hunt have built an app called Sip (or Sip Stories) for users looking to stay up to date on breaking news and the latest products from the world of tech. Avoid obnoxious generic notifications. Each day, Sip delivers a story filled with the latest activity. Explore or ignore what you find interesting. (iOS) (Android)

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Silence a gun, but not these kids

Best Camera supports the March for our Lives Movement. For the kids.




Friday, March 23, 2018

Watson-coreML Coupling in New App



There is new App being developed right now using the Watson-coreML Combo. This team understands the value here and their App, though playful, could be addictive and viral. It’s fast smart and will keep getting smarter without the need to update the App in the App Store. It’s taking advantage of the speed of local native and the power of enterprise server side.

But what is important is that new Apps, using this friendly combo of Watson server side and Apple coreML native device side, will bring great value to users in a wide range of industries.

Here are the steps taken by developers in merging these two AI technologies from two industry giants. First a developer signs up on the IBM Cloud. Then they use the new Watson Studio tool to train and deploy a coreML model to the IOS App. Then they run the App on the IOS device to classify images using CoreML. Finally, they get feedback from the users and send the feedback to Watson in the cloud for more training.

I will keep you posted on the progress of this App. It's out of this world. I so want to tell you what the App does. Just need permission first.

The Current Problem with Facebook

Never install Facebook Apps or login to anything with your Facebook account. Also disable Facebook facial recognition from your settings. Third party developers are not properly controlled by Facebook because Facebook wants their retargeted Ad money. Apple, on the other hand, has strict developer guidelines so far and could serve as an example for Facebook. 
Only 270,000 people installed the Cambridge Analytica App that provided Trump and Heritage with illegal data from 50 million users (friends of the 270). Russia used a similar scheme; a hackers playbook, and Facebook didn’t care. Cambridge created a Facebook App called "thisisyourdigitallife" that had you sign in with your Facebook account and take a survey.


Can we handle the truth?

Steve Jobs was a believer in computers for good. A tool to help us be more cognitive and creative. A dreamer. This was what I liked about him. I was never  interested in writing software for the military or for targeted advertising. Its obvious that computers can be used for great good or great evil. But when computers exceed human intelligence, will logic finally prevail over human irrational tendencies? 




Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Best Digital & Printed Greeting Card Apps for 2018


Greeting Cards for Every Occasion




JustWink (Digital, IOS, Android)
Awesome digital card maker. Share your 3D digital card with text, email or facebook.  In-App purchases for most card designs. Has a gifting feature. Fun and friendly user interface.


Rain Cards (Printed, IOS)
Provides the convenience of mobile and the power of desktop editing with a friendly walk through Wizard.  Personalization has never been easier. The App includes a fantastic 3D preview and a nearest Walgreens Store finder. All designs are free.

Inc Cards (Printed, Android)
Cards are printed on thick, glossy card stock at a resolution of 300. Many beautiful designs with personalization. 

Prediction - Better Batteries This Year!

We all want better, faster and longer lasting batteries for our smart phones and cars. But battery technology has not changed much in over a decade.

Best Camera predicts big changes in batteries this year!


Look for these new battery technologies soon:

Graphene, Solid State Lithium-Ion, Gold,  Nanowire, Foam Batteries, Over the Air Charging, Transparent Solar, Aluminum Air.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Best Camera Predicted IBM/Apple AI partnership

Best Camera predicted that IBM Watson would team up with Apple coreML. Read about it here and  also here

See prediction here: best camera post predicts coreML and Watson team up

Basically there are now IBM Watson Services for Core ML.  So it’s possible to build apps that access powerful Watson capabilities right from iPhone and iPad. The Cloud comes to the phone. 

That's one for the good guys.  




After I sent Rain Cards a Get Well Card?




After I poked fun at the ASO used for the Rain Cards App in the Apple App Store as a bad example, they have created a press kit that actually makes sense. I'm betting that with their next release, they might improve the ASO as well.






Remember in a prior post I talked about how to write an elevator pitch. This is classic.

Our Company X
Has Developed (describe your app and or service quickly)
To Provide for (your target customers)
By Solving (what problem does your App solve and why?)
With our Unique (what makes your App unique?)


Someone at Rainhut has been reading my blog after I poked fun at them. 

This is what I found here on their rain cards landing site   Just click the Press Kit button to see.


Rain Cards Press 

"Rainhut Inc has developed a native IOS Rain Cards App for mobile users to quickly create and print beautiful greeting cards for any occasion.

Rain Cards provides the convenience of mobile and the power of desktop editing with our unique and friendly Rainmaker Wizard.  Personalization has never been easier. The App includes an accurate 3D preview and a nearest Walgreens Store finder. 

Rain Cards comes with a gallery of thoughtful beautiful designs. New card designs and art published by artists to the Rainhut Cloud are instantly available to owners of the free Rain Cards App! Just pay for printing and shipping. Or just pickup the printed cards at any Walgreens same day."

They followed with a link to images that can be used by journalists writing articles and links for a couple videos hosted on youtube. Not bad RC, please accept my Congratulations Card. Keep this up and I might include Rain Cards in the review of the Best Greeting Cards Apps for 2018 coming soon.




Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Brave Ones

Where would we be without the Brave Ones. The entrepreneurs who followed their dreams and made the world a better place. The Brave Ones series is about these dreamers. 

Richard Branson loves to blend adventure with business. 

These are the people that inspire us all.

“I love to sort of tilt at very big companies and see if we can shake them up and keep them honest.”

The Brave Ones


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Wow! March 24 March for Our Lives

Bring your Smart Phones

Historic photos; over half a million smart phones will converge on DC for this March on March 24th.

Between 500,000 and one million are expected for the kids. Yet the government has banned them from the National Mall. Not kidding! They used this same tactic in the 60s to avoid an accurate count and photos of the mall full of protesters. But It’s not easy to ban a million people and they are all armed with Camera Apps, unlike the 60s. Do the feds plan to bring in troops? I hope this doesn’t turn into a Kent State. Will mothers pound on the doors of the capital building? Cameras are the great equalizer. They record the truth. 

On the night of Thursday, Nov. 13, 1969, the “March Against Death” began. By the time that weekend was over, Washington, D.C., had seen more protesters than any single event in its history had drawn. Here we go again. 

Take some historic photos like this









Sunday, March 11, 2018

Best Quote for March

"If You're Not Embarrassed By The First Version Of Your Product, You’ve Launched Too Late"


Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn


Friday, March 9, 2018

coreML vs Watson for Machine Learning

Why do I need to know about this?






Suppose you want an App with image recognition.

Basically, you want to use what is being called machine learning or artificial intelligence. You have two approaches: 1) Onboard and built into the App (coreML) or server side APIs like (Watson).

Ok that's easy enough for an App developer to understand. The advantages of onboard are obvious, it's faster and no need for an internet connection. However, one problem with the current implementation of coreML is that your trained ML Model files are not dynamic. You have to update the App in order to get a new version of your model.

Watson as an API is server based so your trained model is able to be updated at anytime without updating the App. Watson is also more accurate because it has access to more trained models.

The difference is important for App users to understand.  Depending on the marketing claims, see if your machine learning App is onboard or server side. They are doing some amazing things with onboard ML, but compared to the entire world? True artificial intelligence is tapped into big data. There is only so much you can do with embedded models.

But that is not to say onboard ML is not valuable. It can be extremely valuable for certain kinds of applications. coreML is a terrific addition to Apple's core SDKs. And Watson is an amazing feature in the IBM Cloud.

Best Camera Predicts a partnership here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Expose your App in the App Store

Find Me if you can!


ASO is App Store Optimization

Apple App Store 

What you want is to rank high when someone searches keywords in the App Store.  Well that's pretty obvious. But to do this, you need to understand the search engine algorithm. This is important because when someone is searching keywords, the first 5 Apps found are downloaded 70% of the time; the first two Apps found get 55% of the downloads.  And if you are found below the top 30, you will not likely get downloaded at all.

So how do you get found first? You can hire an ASO expert, but it's kind of important that you understand this search engine algorithm stuff yourself if you are an App developer or in marketing.

Let's look at an App I'm reviewing in the IOS App Store. This is a nice App and deserves to be found, but it would receive a F for App Store Optimization.  So let's examine the keywords they are using circled in red. What could they do to improve their ASO?



First of all, you only have 120 characters for your keywords, so do NOT put a space between the comma separator and the next keyword like you see here. They wasted enough space for another keyword.

Ok, next they are using the keyword "greeting cards". But the algorithm automatically creates all possible combinations and pluralities. So "greeting,card" would be more effective.

No live testing So you cannot alter your keywords in a live App. Apple only authorizes keyword changes when you update. So you want to get these right before you publish.

So you need to find good keywords and possibly a new way of marketing. Apple has a new service called Search Ads.  When someone searches for an App, it's possible for your Ad to show up, like this one


You can set your own budget and decide when to activate your Search Ad, if ever. But there is a nice tool with this service. They have a way to evaluate the popularity of keywords. Not kidding. You can try any keyword and Apple lets you know how popular the keyword is. So this is useful for setting up a potential Search Ad, but is also great for your App Store ASO search keywords. 

Here are some popular keywords I found, using this Search Ads tool, to replace this poor Apps useless keywords. But for the App we would use photo,editor and greeting,cards because the popular variation we see will be generated by the search engine. 


So just head over to https://searchads.apple.com/ 
Login with your Apple ID and play around with this service. This service can be especially useful for new
Apps that have no metrics or users yet so placing some ads can't hurt.  

Intro Video to Spike your App Store rating

I discovered that Apple rates your App in the store based on how long someone spends in the App. So
when you get a new user you want to keep them in your App for awhile. Well wouldn't it be great if you
helped get the new user started and also improve your App Store ranking?  I noticed that this Rain Cards App
has a nice 30 second preview video. What you can do as a developer, is embed your video and let the user 
play the intro inside the App. If you need to download initial content or otherwise setup your App, play
play the video at the same time.

Reverse Dictionary for keyword research

There are reverse dictionaries on the Web to help you with your keyword search research.  www.onelook.com
is a good example. A reverse dictionary is great for finding variations for a keyword idea. Take those
words and try them on Search Ads to see how popular they are.  I should mention that there are other ways
to test your keywords with paid services such as https://sensortower.com and https://www.appannie.com/en/

Good luck with your new ASO knowledge