I normally use an Android phone but I was so intrigued by the, iOS only, photography app Hipstamatic that I brought a used iPhone so that I could try it out. Hipstamatic is an app that allows you to select different “equipment”; “lenses”, “films” and “flashes” that control the final look of your photograph. There are a limited number of these available initially but more can be added via in-app purchase.

The earlier version only had an interface that looked like a “toy camera” as can be seen below. The original interface forced the user to select the lens, film and flash before shoting and gave no possibility of changing this later. The app has a “shake to randomise” feature that allow a random selection of the “equipment” from a selected range of lenses, films and flashes.

20151227_131402The latest “300” version of Hipstamatic add many more facilities. There are manual options for the camera (shutter speed, focus, etc.) and the possibility to change the equipment post shooting. There is a new shooting interface to control this (although the old interface is still available if required).

20151227_131533_001As with all things photographic the real proof of the app is in the photographs that it takes. Below are a selection of my own photographs showing some of the effects that can be created with Hipstamatic.


Adventures with an iPad 2

As a (pre) Christmas gift to myself I purchased an Apple iPad 2. For a while I had been trying to decide what to buy by comparing the iPad 2 with the current crop of Gingerbread / Honeycomb / ICS Android tablets. My research followed the normal paths and, as others have found, shows that both options will provide a tablet that will get the job done and the decision must be based on the different philosophies of the two platforms.

Apple iPad 2

  • Closed Apple ecosystem
  • Development tools cost money and only the Mac is supported
  • Many apps optimised for the “big screen”
  • Designed to “just work”

Android tablet

  • Open system
  • Free development tools that run on multiple platforms
  • Programmable on the device
  • Less tablet optimised apps
  • Very configurable

In the end my decision was made because I planned to used a tablet as a way to consume content and not create it. I have desktop, laptop and netbook machines to allow content creation in a much more comfortable environment than that provided by a tablet. At this time the quality of the apps on the iPad is higher than that on Android, particularly in respect of using the larger screen of a tablet. I am sure that this will change as ICS is deployed more widely but we will have to wait and see.

So, I now have a second iOS device to join my iPod touch. How has it been so far?

The iPad hardware is beautiful, there is no other way to put it. As well as the aesthetic qualities it is also built to last. I thought that I would miss the configurability and widgets of Android but so far I have not. The iOS launcher is a little dull but very functional; it gets you were you need to be, in an app and consuming content, with as little fuss as possible.

The main advantage of the iPad over my other devices is its “instant on” quality. When I need to look something up on the Internet it is now my first port of call. For heavy use of the Internet I will still use a PC but for reading news, social networking etc. the iPad is perfect.

Two new Android devices

This weekend I took possession of two new Android devices. The first is a Samsung Galaxy SII phone which I got as an upgrade to my old HTC Hero. The second is a Tabtech A816 tablet ordered from Amazon.

The phone is an amazing upgrade from the Hero! Mainly because of the screen and vastly increased speed and memory but also the Android jump from Eclair (2.1) to Gingerbread (2.3.3). The Super AMOLED plus screen appears huge after the Hero but I am sure that I will soon get used to it. The change from Sense to TouchWiz 4.means that it is taking some time get the home screens setup to my taste but I am almost there. Gingerbread is not greatly different from the older version of Android but appears to be a little better in almost every area.

The tablet appears, from research on the Internet, to actually be a HeroTab M816 and is one of the great number of “Generic” android devices coming over from China. The device is definitely “no frills” with a resistive touchscreen and hacked phone version of Gingerbread. However, despite this, it works fine, the screen response could be a lot better but it runs all of the Apps I have installed with no problems. I brought this to “dip my toe” into the tablet market as I was not sure that I would actually use a tablet and didn’t want to waste a lot of money! So far it is working well as a way to surf the net whilst watching TV.

Both devices will take some time to setup and get familiar with. However, I will have some fun going through the process!

PDAs over the years

I have been thinking about the number of PDAs (Personal Digital Assistant) that I have owned over the years. I started to put a list together and here are the ones that I can remember.

Psion 2 – LZ64
Psion Series 3
Psion Series 3a
Psion Series 5
Handspring Visor
Palm m505
Palm Tungsten T5
HTC Touch – Windows Mobile
HTC Hero – Android 1.5

There are a number of distinct phases in the above list. First the three evolutionary Psion ranges, PalmOs, Windows Mobile and finally Android. I look back with fondness to these old machines but I do not want to thing about the ammount of money I have spent on them!