Oct 27, 2011

More on Free Audiobooks

Earlier this year I wrote Listening to Audiobooks on Your iPhone and Where to Get Them Free.  One of the places I mentioned getting free audiobooks is through ChristianAudio.com's free book of the month. If you sign up to be contacted by email, you'll know what each month's free offer is.  Occasionally, like this month, ChristianAudio.com will offer a second book for free.

Oct 25, 2011

Your iPhone as a DSLR

There is no way, even with the new iPhone 4S, that you will be able to get as good a picture with an iPhone as you can with a digital SLR camera. There's also no way to set aperture on an iPhone to get a narrower depth of field. Fortunately, there is an app that gives you the ability to give this appearance to your iPhone photos after the fact.

I've used several "paint-on blur effect" apps in the past but Big Lens seems to work the best. With this app you can paint the part of the photo you want to be blurry or clear with your finger and then set the aperture for the blurry part. You can pinch to zoom to do more precise "painting" and the app even has an "auto" option that will attempt to determine what you are trying to make clear and paint that for you.

I had mixed results with the auto option. It seemed to work better, the less busy the picture. However, by manually painting on the object in focus, I was able to get a really good focal effect. It's important to note that the amount of blur is based on setting an aperture setting as you would when taking a picture with a DSLR.

Oct 20, 2011

Multi-day Calendar View: A Surprise iOS 5 Feature

I upgraded to iOS 5 the first night and it went pretty smooth but took a while due to the number of apps I have on my iPhone 4.  I've been exploring the new features, some of which I may talk about in the weeks to come.  However, one of them I found completely by surprise.  I was looking at my calendar, turned my head, and when I turned it back to my phone, I noticed I was now holding it landscape-style.  In landscape view, my calendar had changed to a multi-day view, showing three days at a time and allowing me to scroll up & down and right & left. It was a much more practical way of looking at the week than even the List view, which is what I use the most.

What other less obvious iOS 5 features have you found?

Oct 11, 2011

Preparing for and Using iOS 5

Tomorrow is the much anticipated release of iOS 5 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.  GigaOM has some things you can do to prepare, including preparing for iCloud.

iCloud looks very promising when it comes to keeping your devices and your Mac or PC in sync, especially documents and camera roll photos. However, I don't think I'm going to use it for mail and calendar.  I'm already using the cloud for these with Gmail and Google Calendar. It will be hard for Apple or anyone else to beat Gmail for search and for spam filtering.

Reminders also looks interesting but I don't know that I'll replace my Toodledo-Todo combination for to-do lists with it.  Toodledo and Todo have recurring to-dos and other features that I use and I frequently use the Toodledo website itself to manage todos, especially if I'm sitting at a PC instead of a Mac. What Reminders in iOS has that my current system doesn't have is location-based "to-dos".  I may simply augment my own system with Reminders.   In other words, I may use reminders for those "urgent, can't forget before I leave or once I get there" things.

What features do you plan on using? What features do you plan to skip using?

Oct 4, 2011

Use Your iPhone to Memorize Scripture

As a Christian, at past points in my life I've memorized verses from the Bible.  Effectively memorizing Scripture requires going over it during the day.  In the past, I would write verses on index cards and then go over them during the day.  The cards made it possible to carry them around and review them whenever I had down time. The cards also made it possible to review verses that I had already memorized without having to look them all up in the Bible individually.