Week 27: Before and After, Photos app, and Presentations

Before & After by Esther Honig

What a fascinating experiment. Esther Hoing used Fiverr to get people from more than 25 countries to do some post processing of a photograph of her face. This is how she explains it:

In the U.S. Photoshop has become a symbol of our society's unobtainable standards for beauty. My project, Before & After, examines how these standards vary across cultures on a global level ... 
With a cost ranging from five to thirty dollars, and the hope that each designer will pull from their personal and cultural constructs of beauty to enhance my unaltered image, all I request is that they ‘make me beautiful’ ... 
Photoshop allows us to achieve our unobtainable standards of beauty, but when we compare those standards on a global scale, achieving the ideal remains all the more elusive.

Check out her project on her website. (Via a link someone sent me from Buzzfeed, go figure!)

A Closer Look at the Photos Adjustment Bar

Joseph over at ApertureExpert.com takes an in depth look at the official screenshot of Apple's Photos app from the announcement of the death of Aperture. Interesting. As I said, I have high hopes for the new Photos app.

Presentations: The new MacSparky Field Guide

I'm looking forward to this one and have already preordered. David Sparks produces really great books using iBooks Author that truly take advantage of the medium. You can find out more here and preorder from the App Store.

Week 26: Aperture Workflow eBook, Timelapse photography, and Essentialism

Effective Aperture Workflow Book Updated

If you use Apple's Aperture you need to get this book. It's written by Scott Davenport, an active member of the Aperture community and a great landscape photographer.


I purchased Effective Aperture Workflow many months ago and enjoyed it immensely, but more importantly, I learned a lot from it. Scott goes through his workflow in a lot of detail and believe me, it's a good workflow. I've adapted many things from the book into my own.

The book is available in the iBookstore and includes a bunch of video where Scott shows you as he explains. It's only $6.99.

Last week Scott updated it with new content and I'm going through it again.

The Art Of The Timelapse by Michael Shainblum

Not much to add to this other than... wow. See more from Michael Shainblum at his website and Vimeo channel.

Greg McKeown on Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

I often fall for this. Sometimes I try to do way too many things and end up finishing none. Or the ones I finish are half-assed because I had to split my time and attention on too many non-essential things. The worst is, as Greg McKeown explains in the video below, when you do something that's successful and that opens a lot of new doors and you try to go through all of them. Success can bring failure indeed.

The video is about Greg's latest book titled Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (Amazon | iBookstore | unfortunately I couldn't find in Audible). I just purchased it and it's next on my reading list.

FlixelPix eBook bundle offer for June


I've mentioned these eBooks by David Cleland from FlixelPix before. I bought them a few months ago and I enjoyed them both. In particular, I learned a lot from the Long Exposure one. I even purchased a 10 stop ND filter and have been experimenting with long exposure photography. It's awesome.

David is offering a bundle with both eBooks for just $8.

They're normally $6 each and $10 for the bundle, so this is a good deal. But it's only valid for June, so get them now. They're worth it.

To claim the discount just enter the discount code JUNE and 'update cart'.

Weeks 14 & 15: Lightroom Mobile, Fonts, and another wallet

Life got extremely busy recently and I didn't have time to write much outside of my day job. I've neglected this site and I apologise. Thankfully, things are under control again and regular posting should resume this week. However, I did miss 2 weekly roundups so I'm combining them into a single post.

These are some of the cool things I came across during my hiatus.

Adobe released Lightroom Mobile

If you read this site regularly, you've heard the news about the new Lightroom for iPad called Lightroom Mobile. I've been reading up on it and frankly, I'm disappointed.

On one hand it pisses me off that Adobe beat Apple to it. I've said before that I want an Aperture for iPad, and I've complained when Apple infers it works with iOS in any way. So kudos to Adobe for releasing it.

But on the other hand, Lightroom Mobile isn't what I wished an iPad version would be. It's limited in functionality and worse, requires a paid subscription to Creative Cloud. What a joke. I'll have more thoughts on it soon. UPDATE: Couldn't help myself and I just wrote my thoughts on Lightroom Mobile.

Font Men: Jonathan Hoe­fler and Tobias Frere-Jones

If you know who Hoefler and Frere-Jones are, watch this video. It's before their recent breakup. 

Comic Neue

Everyone that loves typography loves to hate Comic Sans. It's an awful typeface that's often overused in frightening ways.

Well, Australian designer Craig Rozynski decided to make a better version called Comic Neue. It's a brave effort and it does look much better. He's made it free to download.

Vinco Paper Wallets

Yes, another wallet. This one is kind of fun though. It's a paper wallet called Vinco and the creator has a Kickstarter campaign at the moment. If you pledge you get a wallet plus a guide to make your own later on. It's a fun idea.

Week 12: GeoTagr, another wallet, and Pinboard

GeoTagr Updated

GeoTagr is an iPhone and iPad app for geotagging your photographs. I've used it for years and it works perfectly. As you can read in my review, I love it.

The only feature I wished it had was to be able to import and export the GPX files via iTunes sharing for those occasions when you don't have access to Wi-Fi. Although that doesn't happen often, when travelling overseas sometimes you just don't get a change to connect all your devices to the same Wi-Fi network. It happened to me a few times and I was excited to get my photos into Aperture and geotag them.

Well, a few days ago GeoTagr got updated and this feature is now available. In addition, they've added other things like:

  • Support for geotagging of photos stored in the iPhone photo library
  • Folder selection when geotagging Dropbox photos
  • Download the GPX file of any recorded track via a browser
  • Interval based recording modes also work in the background
  • Better Dropbox authorisation flow
  • Save a track map to the Camera Roll
  • UI improvements
  • New app icon

If you're at all interested in geotagging your photographs, GeoTagr is the way to go.

The Liquid Wallet

If you've read this site for a while you know that I have a thing for small wallets. I reviewed and used the Supr Slim and the Snapback Slim. The latter has been my main wallet for about 6 months now.

Although there have been a bunch of similar minimalistic wallets since, I haven't seen one that interests me enough. But the Liquid Wallet has changed that. It looks pretty cool and it's a clever design. They have a Kickstarter running with 43 hours to go, but they've already doubled the amount pledged. And it's also designed in Australia, so there's that.

Federico Viticci on how he uses Pinboard

Pinboard is a great service and Federico did a great write up on how he uses it. It's full of information and a great read. Yes, it's geeky, but so am I.

Week 11: All about photography

This week has been hectic. I wanted to post the weekly roundup on Friday as I regularly do, but just didn't get to it. But, better late than never, so here it is. This time it's all about photography

Beauty Recovery Room by Ji Yeo

I came across the work of Ji Yeo through an article in Wired. I was particularly attracted to her series titled Beauty Recovery Room, which is the topic of the article.

This is how she explains it in her statement:

Beauty Recovery Room series uses the wounded faces and bodies of women who have recently undergone plastic surgery to show the physical cost of adhering to social pressure in Korea. Plastic surgery has become an integral part of Korea’s current culture, often regarded as a integral step in the in self improvement process. Going under the knife, enduring bruises, scars, and being under general anesthetic several times are no longer considered risky or extravagant. They have all had multiple procedures and have plans for future augmentation. The photos were taken directly after their operation while they were resting and waiting to be healed.

Fascinating work. It is NSFW and some might find the images unsettling, so be mindful of that before you go check them out.

/Body/Parts/ by Ino Zeljak

Another interesting project with a clever idea. /Body/Parts/ shows, as its name suggests, only parts of people's bodies on a table. I think I just made it sound gruesome. It's not. It's actually beautiful work and I clearly can't explain it intelligently, so just click on the link and enjoy.

Five things for every creative person by Chase Jarvis

Back in 2012 I read this post by Chase Jarvis titled Your New Hit List: 5 Things That Every Creative Person Should Get (and Give) and I saved it in OmniFocus with a reminder to read it every 6 months (I have a few of those). It popped up this week and I thought I'd share it here.

Week 10: Bitcoin, SCUBA diving, and another running app

Newsweek's The Face Behind Bitcoin

I find Bitcoin fascinating. I don't know or understand it enough to make any intelligent comments about it, but I am admittedly captivated the the whole thing. It'll make an awesome movie in a few years.

This article from Newsweek about Satoshi Nakamoto, the man supposedly behind Bitcoin, is a good read. I don't think anybody knows if he's really the one that created Bitcoin, but he sure sounds like he has a great backstory:

Descended from Samurai and the son of a Buddhist priest, Nakamoto was born in July 1949 in the city of Beppu, Japan, where he was brought up poor in the Buddhist tradition by his mother, Akiko. In 1959, after a divorce and remarriage, she immigrated to California, taking her three sons with her. Now age 93, she lives with Nakamoto in Temple City.

The movie is going to be great.

SCUBA divers rescue dolphin

This is from earlier in the year, but I just saw it this week and need to share it. If you read my blog you might know I like SCUBA diving. In this beautiful video a group of divers rescue a Bottlenose Dolphin from entanglement during a dive. Just amazing.

More info at at the Manta Rays Hawaii website. I've bookmarked the site and it's in my list of places to go SCUBA diving.


And if you're a regular reader, you will also know that I'm a runner and have reviewed a few running apps in the past (Zombies, Run!, TrailMix Pro). Well, a few guys got together and want to create a new one called Rundercover. They explain it as a "thrilling interactive audio-game that makes your outdoor exercises more fun and more rewarding".

They have a kickstarter page where they're trying to get funding and an official website.

Rundercover sounds a lot like Zombies, Run! but they're planning on using the motion sensor in the iPhone 5s and GPS to do clever things. It sounds interesting, but it also sounds like it'll be filled with in-app purchases to buy random stuff like guns and tools that you presumably need to complete the missions. It's not really clear to me from the description, but if that's the case I think it'll ruin the experience.

Zombies, Run! does have in-app purchases, but it's only for new missions. That makes sense. Creating a new mission costs a lot of money (writers, voice actors, studio time, editing, development), but buying "stuff" is a totally different thing. It would be awful if it turns out to use the same business model as this little gem.

Week 9: Printing, Dropbox and Task Management

To print or not to print

Greg Needham wrote a great article titled Print More over on Medium where he explains why he committed to printing more of his photographs in 2014. He says:

When we view photographs on the web, there’s always another photo right below the one we are looking at. Or there is a thumbnail gallery to the right, beckoning you to come click, see another, move on through the line. Consuming is fast and quick.

This is painfully true. The way I perceive a photograph in a book or a print in my hand is so different than looking at it online.

I recently noticed this while searching for John Loengard's work. I own a beautiful book of his called Pictures Under Discussion that I was reading a few weeks ago. After a while, I jumped online to see if I could find more of his photographs and I quickly noticed that while reading the book I stopped at every photograph for several minutes. I took it all in. I read the accompanying story. I immersed myself in his work. But online each picture got no more than a few seconds of my attention.

I'm going to join Greg and print more of my photographs this year. I want to create a few books as well.

Dropbox Terms of Service changes

Dropbox announced a change in their TOS last week. I'm not a lawyer and honestly don't understand exactly what it means to me. And since I'm in Australia it's even more confusing. I find these things extremely boring but people who's opinion I value have made negative comments about this change.

Here's how Sam Glover at The Lawyerist explains it in simple terms (in the comments):

Unless you opt out, you cannot sue Dropbox in court. Instead, you have to go to arbitration. Arbitration on its own is not necessarily horrible. But forcing every dispute into arbitration, where the arbitrators are mostly paid by the corporation, is generally regarded as anti-consumer.

Forcing you to waive class actions means that consumers will have no recourse as a group against Dropbox. Dropbox obviously likes this because, given the relatively low fees it charges, individual actions are not likely to be financially viable. Class actions are probably the only way consumers would be able to go after Dropbox.

You'll have to make your own mind about what it means to you, but if you want to opt out of the arbitration process you can do so here.

The Beginners Guide to Task Management

Very good article by Michael Hyatt on task management. I use a combination of OmniFocus and Evernote for this, whereas Michael uses Nozbe. But the principles he explains are applicable no matter what software you use.

Speaking of task management software, I've used OmniFocus for years and it's worked well for me. But I'm not sure what happened with version 2. A beta version was shown over a year ago when they did an event during Macworld but they put it on hold or changed direction shortly after that. I don't know what's going on and this article from Michael has me looking at Nozbe. It looks good so far. I've created a free account (up to 5 projects) to test it out.

Week 8: John Carey, Patrick Rhone, Joseph Linaschke

John Carey's One Year video

John is the photographer behind 50 Foot Shadows. A few days ago, he published a video with all the photographs he took in 2013. And he does mean all. Here's how he explains it:

In the process of finding nice enough photos of my life to share there were plenty that did not make the cut. Piles of photos that theoretically would never be seen by much of anyone at all unless you happened to be looking over my shoulder as I scroll though my Aperture libraries.

The thought crossed my mind toward the end of the first year of the project that maybe some of you would be interested in seeing the uncut version of my photographic output from 2013 so this is exactly what I have prepared in the most chaotic way possible, at 24 frames a second in a quasi stop motion video.

The video includes 8,212 frames and looks great. It gives you a glimpse into his thinking process when he's behind the camera. It's also a great way to look back on a year of memories.

John is a talented photographer. Last year he created a new site called Yesterday was only where he shares photographs every day. I took inspiration from him to start posting a photo a day of my own.

Patrick Rhone's new book

Patrick published his new book titled Some Thoughts About Writing. He calls it a "collection of back pocket wisdom for those who wish to be successful writers". If this sound interesting, head over to his website and check out the preview with some excerpts from the book. Patrick is the man behind Minimal Mac amongst other things.

I just purchased it (it's only US$5) and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Aperture Expert Live Training News

You can now get the Live training series as a bundle for only US$30. It includes all 25 sessions. It's good value and a great way to learn Aperture. Even if you're already familiar with it you will learn a few new things. I finally understood Aperture's Places and geotagging in Aperture through session 17, which is all about Places.

Some of the videos were recorded with versions 3.0 to 3.2 of Aperture, and the interface changed a bit with version 3.3, so Joseph is also planning on starting the series again soon.

Week 7: VSCO Cam, Fujifilm X-T1, and iTunes Radio

VSCO Cam 3.0

VSCO released an upadate to VSCO Cam for iPhone, their awesome photography app, to version 3.0. The new version adds a few new features, amongst my favourite are:

  • Integration of VSCO Grid into the iOS app. You can now see other photographer's grids and follow them. Check out my VSCO Grid.
  • Tilt & Level alignment. They figured out a clever way to add a level-style function to the camera that helps you align your photographs both horizontally and vertically.
  • You can now order Presets alphabetically with one button. Finally!

There are other new features that you can read about in their blog. If you haven't purchased VSCO Cam, do it now. It's the best photography app I've used on the iPhone. I assume the Android version is just as good, but I've never used it.

If you have issues downloading the presets, here's how I solved it.

Fujifilm X-T1 Reviews

The reviews for Fujifilm's X-T1 are starting to appear. Here are a few I found worthwhile:

This camera is seriously tempting.

iTunes Radio available in Australia

A couple of days ago the icon for iTunes Radio appeared on my Apple TV. I've been playing with it since and so far I like it.

Back in September, I complained about the difference in the US and Australian press releases for iTunes Radio, where the Aussie one had a "in the US" in parenthesis after "Coming this fall". Well, it's finally here in Australia and I'm happy.

Here's the press release.

Week 6: Love, pockets, and Evernote

Find what you love and let it kill you

This week I read an article by pianist James Rhodes in the Guardian titled "Find what you love and let it kill you". It's beautiful and there's really nothing I could quote here without taking away from the piece. Please go read it now. It's worth it.

I've become a fan of Rhodes and just purchased one of his albums in iTunes. Amazing music and he's the type of artist I love supporting.

Via: Steven Pressfield.

Jerry Seinfeld on creating a show today

Jerry Seinfield:

Why would I put a show on a big heavy rectangle in your house when I could put it in your pocket.

This guy is brilliant.

Evernote adds descriptive search

From their announcement:

Imagine walking up to a bookshelf in your home. If you know where your desired book is, you see it and grab it. If you don’t know where the book sits, then you’ll try to recall the color of its spine, neighboring books, chronological placement, or any number of other attributes of the book until you find what you need.

Evernote’s search has always been great at providing the first part. If you know what you’re looking for, type in some keywords and the notes appear. Today, as part of our drive to create great experiences for users with a lot of notes, we’re introducing a new approach called Descriptive Search, which will let you find those notes, even if your memory of them is fuzzy and contextual.

This is great news and it works well if you use tags extensively. Unfortunately, it's not smart enough to look in the titles of notes. For example, I have a notebook in Evernote titled "Blog Post Ideas" where I create a note for each idea for an article I may want to write at some point. To keep them organised, I start the title with a related keyword. For example, articles about Aperture start with "APERTURE: Bla, bla, bla". I know I should use tags for this, but it's easier and faster for me to just start the title with a keyword.

Today I tried to search for "blog post ideas about aperture" and I didn't get what I expected. The search was for notes in "Blog Post Ideas" but that were tagged with "aperture". Since none of those are tagged it didn't give me any meaningful results.

I guess I should start using tags a lot more. There's a whole chapter on tags in Evernote Essentials that I just might read again over the weekend.