Showing posts from 2011

Animoto's New iPhone App

Animoto now lets you create slideshow videos right on your iDevice. You can add photos and text, select a style and soundtrack, and preview your slideshow all without having to log into the Animoto website. For more information, visit this blog post at Animoto .

Berries on Ice, brought to you by Picasa

I'm really pleased that Picasa now includes many of the filters from Picnik , making it easy to try quick variations on your pictures. Here's a picture that was taken in my front yard during an ice storm in 2007. The filter effects are listed below each image. Click  here to see which one I decided to post to flickr. Agree with my choice? Original Holga-ish Holga-ish, then Invert Colours Holga-ish, then Lomo-ish

Playing Around with Perfect Photo Suite 6 and Lightroom

Original, as shot, in JPG format. Processed with Perfect Photo Suite 6, using masks and layers to darken sky and apply "cracked paint" effect to wall. (The school doesn't really look like that!) Same as above, just "auto-toned" in Lightroom. Converted to "B&W High Contrast" in Lightroom. "Selenium-toned" in Lightroom. I can't make up my mind about which I like the best. It's either the high contrast B&W version, or the one that's selenium-toned.  Do you have a favourite?

Portable Antivirus Software for your USB Drive

This might be useful in Computer Tech classes: The Microsoft Safety Scanner is a free downloadable security tool that provides on-demand scanning and helps remove viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. It works with your existing antivirus software. Note: The Microsoft Safety Scanner expires 10 days after being downloaded. To rerun a scan with the latest anti-malware definitions, download and run the Microsoft Safety Scanner again. The Microsoft Safety Scanner is not a replacement for using an antivirus software program that provides ongoing protection. p.s. This has been added to my publicly-available TEJxx bookmarks:

iPadography - Michael on Boardwalk

iPadography - Michael on Boardwalk Originally uploaded by pbeens . Scanned from a photo taken many years ago, coloured, texturized, frame added and posted to flickr using iDarkroom HD on my iPad.

iPadography - Houses in Cape Breton

Originally taken on my Nikon D7000, but then processed using Filterstorm on my iPad.

The Making of Arduino

How five friends engineered a small circuit board that’s taking the DIY world by storm. Read the rest of the article at:

My eBook Deal ifttt Tasks

In response to @dougpete 's request for our favourite ifttt tasks , I've posted a few that check the Kindle and Nook twitter accounts for daily deals and then email them to me.

Trouble, demo song by my son's band Seedeater

Here's a demo song called "Trouble", written by and performed by my son Michael's band Seedeater, from Seattle, Washington.   I imagine any new material from Seedeater will be posted here: . Check them out!

iPhone 4 For Sale

This iPhone is now sold. Thanks for all your interest! ========================================= I am selling my mint condition 32 GB black iPhone 4.  The phone is for the Bell Mobility network. I'm keeping my contract with Bell, but I've upgraded to a new phone and don't need this one anymore.  It comes with the original box, also in mint condition, with all original accessories (AC adapter, sync cable, earbuds [unused]). If there's anyone out that wants a great smartphone for Bell Mobility but doesn't want to be committed to a contract, this is it! It would also be great for anyone who is in a contract but has damaged their phone or wants to replace it.  Similar ads in my local area are selling the iPhone 4 for $450- $500:

Groupon Deal - Today Only! Albright-Knox Art Gallery

For my Friends in or near Buffalo, today's Groupon is for the Albright-Knox Art Gallery - half price membership. Even if you'll only go a few times in a year, buy a membership to support the arts!

Dennis Ritchie, founder of Unix and C, dies at 70

Bell Laboratories computer scientist Dennis Ritchie, who passed away last weekend at 70, has left behind a legacy that includes inventing the programming language C and co-creating the Unix operating system.  [read more   here ]

Nuit Blanche Night Navigator App -- Major #FAIL

What's the point of the app if it can't connect to the server? Scotia Bank, you should have learned from your mistakes of the previous years and supplied adequate server capacity and bandwidth. Thankfully there were paper maps of the Nuit Blanche exhibits available, but in many instances it wasn't accurate nor provided adequate details to find the exhibits. Scotia Bank, for the resources you have available to you, you should be embarrassed by this. Really, how much extra would it have cost to supply a few extra web servers and rent some extra bandwidth?

Rick Mercer on the Blackberry vs iPhone Debate

I was a Blackberry Storm user, and let's just say that my experience was less than exemplary. I gave Blackberry (via Bell) an opportunity to move me to a different smartphone but they would not, so I switched to an iPhone 4 and couldn't have been happier with that decision. Blackberry, if you had been more preemptive with your dissatisfied customers then I'm sure your company wouldn't be tanking the way it is. Heck, I won't even consider your Playbook tablet because of my previous experiences with Blackberry.  Maybe it's time to do what HP did with their TouchPad -- dump your products on the market at incredibly low prices to get more customers, but then take care of those customers to keep them happy! 

Nikon V1 Coming Soon

I have to admit the upcoming Nikon V1 looks very intriguing. It has a much larger sensor than my existing quite-good Nikon P6000 point-and-shoot, so the image quality should be amazing. But what really sets it apart from a normal P&S is that the lenses are interchangeable (possibly with my existing Nikon lenses?) and there isn't a flip-mirror to restrict the time it takes to snap a picture. Partly because it doesn't use a moving mirror like conventional DSLRs, it can shoot an an incredible 60fps (for 1/2 second), 5 fps continuously (!), and for instances where you're not sure you're capturing that "perfect moment", it has a mode where it very quickly captures 20 pictures and saves the best 5 for you to choose from. And it has a top shutter speed of  1/16,000 sec -- impressive! It's still not out yet so I don't have details on import features (for me) such as auto-bracketing for my HDR work and battery life. But I see it takes the same battery

Google Docs gets comment-only collaborators I will definitely be experimenting with this in the coming weeks in my classroom to see how it can improve some of my existing practices.

Test Post from iOS Blogger App

I'm just trying a quick test with my new iOS Blogger app to see how it works. At this point, I've inserted a single image that I was hoping would be inserted directly below my paragraph, but as you can see from the attached screenshot (hopefully!), it just inserted the image as a thumbnail at the bottom of the screen. I'll go ahead and post this now to see what happens, then add a followup in the comments.

Corel Painter Oil Painting Test

I'm trying a test this morning with Corel Painter Essentials 4 , a program that lets me take my photographs and turn me into the artist I never could be. My initial tests with this program were disappointing. I was converting my photographs from their full-sized originals (normally 10 or 12 megapixels) and the paintings turned out too realistic. Then one day I used a photograph from my iPhone, and it turned out much more artistic, which is what I was hoping for. The difference? The size of the original image is my guess. Below is an example of what I mean. This first image is the original jpeg image of a waterfall I shot in Virginia last week. The second is that image converted to an oil painting from the original 16 megapixel image (higher resolution than the previous tests because I'm now using a new camera).  The third is the imaged converted to an oil painting, but this time from a 1024 pixel export of the original. Yes, you lose a lot of realism with the thi

Ken Morton, Godspeed

I'm very saddened by the news of Ken’s death, more than I would have expected for a person I only met once. I had driven my motorcycle out to Washington state from Ontario, Canada, and met Ken through a mutual friend, Ted Timmons. I remember that meeting Ken was like seeing an old friend -- it was all very relaxed and comfortable, like we had been friends for a long time. After changing my oil in Ken's garage, the three of us took the "long way" up to Mount St. Helens, a challenging and scenic ride I will never forget. I really pushed the boundaries of my riding abilities that day, but both Ken and Ted made it all look so easy. After I learned about Ken's accident, I dug into my photos from that trip, and have been thinking back to what a great time it was. As someone else had said here, Ken was one of the good ones. My condolences to Ken's family and friends.

Discontinuation of iTookThisOnMyPhone Service

I recently received the email shown below from the folks at . I believe itookthisonmyphone was one of the first services dedicated to uploading images from your smartphone, so in a way it's a significant event in smartphone photography history. Is it a sad day for users, or just a service whose time has come? When I went into my account to check if there were any pictures I wanted to download and keep, I realized I hadn't used it for years, having mostly switched to services such as twitpic , posterous , flickr , or even facebook . Is anyone out there affected by this event, or did you, like me, switch to a different service long ago? Dear iTook User: iTookThisOnMyPhone has operated our unique service for the last four years as a free service. At this time we are discontinuing the service effective immediately. You will no longer be able to post images or download the application from the various App stores to your device. You will be able to downl

ToonPAINT update disliked by users

Here are some recent comments reviewers provided after ToonPaint updated its iPhone app to version 2: This app WAS great until it now costs $.99 to be able to pull colors from source photo. Not pleased about that! I am certainly surprised and somewhat turned off by the fact that features which were once included with purchase, such as sampling colors from the source photo, are now an "in app purchase."  It would have been nice to keep those features available, for free, to those who purchased before the update as a courtesy. I love the ability to be able to conveniently buy apps via iTunes, but this raises the point that there is no ability to get a refund if a developer removes features and then tries to charge a fee for you to get those features back. For the record, I got ToonPaint today, while it's temporarily free, but for the customers that paid for it earlier, they've been ripped off.   @ToonPAINT , shame on you!

Who do you trust more -- Google or Facebook?

Yesterday I posted a quick survey asking the simple question: Who do you trust more -- Google or Facebook? It's certainly not a scientific survey, as it doesn't ask for any key demographics such as age or education. The results actually surprised me, as there was a much higher percentage trusting Facebook more than Google than I thought there'd be. If you'd like to add your vote to the results, please visit .

Vivian Maier Slideshow

Last week I visited an exhibition of Vivian Maier’s photography at the Chicago Cultural Center. I had learned about Vivian Maier earlier through the Kickstarter website and blogged about it here . To say I was impressed with the exhibit is an understatement. The whole story about her work being discovered and shared with the world is incredibly fascinating and inspirational, so much so, that I decided to visit Chicago to see her pictures in person. Sadly, there weren’t any books of her photos for me to buy to bring home as a memory, so I decided to assemble a group of her photos into a slideshow instead.  I’ve made an attempt to organize the photos into groups, to try to educate myself as to how she viewed the world, and maybe get a glimpse into what her thoughts were as she wandered alone, taking her photos. They are loosely organized into the following themes: self-portraits legs people that don't know they are being photographed people that do know they are being

Chicago - Day 2

Another great day in Chicago. Breakfast was at Ditka's, which is conveniently attached to our hotel. We then went to a Hottix outlet around the corner and bought some tickets for Hair, then stopped off to buy a 3-day pass for the hop on-hop off tour bus service they have here in Chicago. Our first attraction for the day was the Museum of Contemporary Art. I can't declare myself an educated art aficionado, but I do appreciate the imagination and work involved in the creation of any artwork worthy enough to be displayed in this gallery. But WTH? Some pieces of work were just blurry, badly composed photographs made really large and had a frame slapped on them. Heck, I could do that! But for every "bad" piece of art there were easily ten pieces that truly made you think about what inspired the artist. If you happen to find yourself in Chicago, this gallery is a must-see. (photos to follow) We then hopped on the bus and took it down to the Millennium Park stop so we could

Chicago - Day 1

It was a great 1st day in Chicago, although my feet are a little sore from all the walking! We did a loop from our hotel, walking down Michigan Ave to the river for some night pictures, and then back up Rush St to find our target for the deep dish pizza we were craving -- Giordano's. It took 90 minutes from the time we arrived at Giordano's 'til we got our pizza, but it was worth the wait! Our small "special" (sausage, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, and LOTS of cheese!) was delicious, and too big for two of us to finish! BTW this is the first pizzeria I've seen that not only delivers their pizza, they ship them as well! If you're a shopper, then you'd love Chicago! Escada, Cole Haan, Neiman Marcus, Nordstroms, yes, Chicago has them all. But I'm a simpler shopper, and I was quite happy with the Hershey's and Ghirardelli's chocolate stores (the aroma in these stores is fantastic!), and of course the Apple store (nope, d

"Couple in Love #1" Photo Used

The manager for a coffee house in Russia emailed me about a theme he was working on for Valentine's Day and asked if he could use a picture I took entitled "Couple in Love #1". When I took the picture, I wasn't really very happy with it. It was taken with a cheap point-and-shoot camera and the overall quality wasn't great (proving that often the best camera is the one you have with you!), the lines in the photo didn't align, and it just generally didn't grab me like some of my other photos do. Nevertheless, I posted it after a little manipulation and was surprised that it became the 3rd most popular photo in my flickr account in terms of its "interestingness" ( ). The manager asked if he could print my photo and display it in a gallery in his coffee house. There was no hesitation in saying "yes", as it's quite an an honour for me anytime a photo of mine is recognized

NimbleKit iPhone/iPod/iPad Development in the Classroom

Today's 24-hour-only Maczot offer got me interested: "NimbleKit is the fastest way to create applications for iOS. You don't need to know Objective-C or the iOS SDK. All you need is to know how to write an HTML page with Javascript code." NimbleKit normally sells for $99, but for today only, it's half price . Many of you know I'm a supporter of app development in the classroom, having been one of the first high school teachers to experiment with Google's App Inventor with my students. (see my App Inventor presentation here .) Being the cheapskate teacher I am (meaning I have a very small budget!), I contacted the folks at NimbleKit  to see if I could use my license on the three Macs I have in the classroom. Here was their reply: Hello Peter, We all been students and understand how important to make learning material interesting and how big influence it can have, therefore we support educational organizations. You will need to have 1 valid license

Ontario Technological Education Teachers Mail Lists

When I did the provincial training for the new Tech Ed curriculum back in 2009, I created mail lists in Google Groups as a way for the teachers to network, both as part of the training and afterwards. A number of these mail lists have become hugely successful, with lots of dialogue about anything from field trips to textbooks, and what I am most happy about, with teachers creating and freely sharing resources that they have developed. To join any of these lists, you have to have a Google account. If you have a Gmail account, then you already have a Google account, so you can just use that address to join. If you don't have a Google account, you'll have to create one, which you can easily do by following the directions after you click on one of the links below. Note that you do not have to create and use a Gmail account to join; you are welcome to use your school board or personal email address. To join any of these mail lists, just click on the appropriate link below : An

My 2009 Hyundai Sonata is a POS

Dear diary: My 2009 Hyundai Sonata that I bought at Performance Hyundai in St. Catharines, Ontario is a POS. The car is only 20 months old, and in that short time... - had the disk rotors machined because of vibration (which didn't solve the problem), - when it's cold out, the radio occasionally refuses the let AM or FM work (they couldn't find anything wrong), - had a headlight assembly replaced because it had condensation in it, - had an oil leak on the engine repaired, - had a temperature sensor replaced after the heater failed, - has a loud buzzing in the exhaust in certain conditions (cold, low revs, pulling strongly, like up a hill) that they say is "normal", - and now, at only 20 months of age, has a seized brake that has completely worn out a disk pad and caused major damage to the rotor. My car is now limp in the driveway until the brake parts come in next week so it can be repaired. Thank goodness I have a carpool partner that can pick me u

Finding Vivian Maier, Chicago Street Photographer

This is a story of a full-time nanny/part-time street photographer in Chicago named Vivian Maier. Vivian sadly passed away in April of 2009, with her photographic work totally unknown to the world. It took a local real estate agent named John Maloof to uncover her amazing talent after purchasing her negatives at an auction. He hadn't heard of Vivian, and only bought the negatives in a search for some content for a book he was writing. It was when he was scanning the negatives that he realized what he had. John didn't know what to do with this amazing body of work, so he started by putting together a blog to showcase some of the photos. He then reached out to the flickr community  for ideas. It was there that someone recommended John look for funding on , which is how I learned about it. John is looking for $20,000 to help fund the pre-production of a documentary movie he'd like to put together about Vivian and her work. The fundraising started two weeks a