Tag Archives: iPhone apps

Planning a Dinner Party like a Geek

A dinner party can be a tough thing to host, you have to send out invites, buy the drinks, plan a menu, keep your guests entertained and make sure they all get home safely at the end of the night. It’s enough to make you want to skip the whole thing altogether… but then you might be forever alone.  Geekaphone has taken on the task to make sure you are never alone again, so we researched and produced a great infographic to help you host a dinner party with the help of your phone!  Break out the d20s at your discretion but please make sure the food is good and good luck!

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Feel free to embed the infographic on your blog using the embed code below:

<a href="http://geekaphone.com/blog/planning-a-party/"><img width="600" height="3143" src="http://geekaphone.com/blog/files/2011/06/Dinner-Party.jpg" title="Plan a dinner party infographic" alt="Planning a Dinner Party like a geek"/></a><br /> <a href="http://geekaphone.com">Geekaphone</a>'s  <a href=" http://geekaphone.com/blog/planning-a-party/">Hosting a dinner party on your phone</a> Infographic

Reminder: We Just Launched Mobile Speed Test

A few weeks back we launched our Geekaphone Mobile Speed Test, and so far thousands of people have run our test to see how fast their phone is. If you have not had the opportunity to see how fast your phone is than scan this QR code or go to Geekaphone.com on your phone.

Android is kicking ass and taking names, our leaderboard is dominated by Android phones, but both BlackBerry and Windows Phones are “leading” our slowest phone leaderboard.


Apps from the infographic:

POST: Design and send custom invitations and notes right from your iphone! $0.99

Drink Planner: Drinks Planner is an app that lets you calculate the approximate amount of drinks that you will need for your next party. $1.99

Kitchen Calculator Pro: Kitchen Calculator PRO does all the recipe conversions for you. $3.99

Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List (Android): Thousands of recipes on your phone. Free

Glee Karaoke: Sing your heart out to songs from the hit TV show while a little magic helps you sound amazing. $0.99

Party Hour: Party Hour lets you build a custom remixed playlist in mere seconds. $0.99

Let’s Party!: Great games to get the party going. $9.99

Simple Soiree: An app that helps you plan almost every aspect of your party. $1.99

Weber’s On the Grill: A huge list of recipes for the BBQ. $4.99

Speak Up!: Remind your friends not to drink and drive without breaking the mood. Free

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QuadCamera App and Jelly Lenses for the iPhone

Whether or not you think the iPhone 4 can be considered a serious camera, it is, after all, a camera and it captures images in a similar manner to all the Point & Shoot cameras and all the DSLR’s.

Where the iPhone4 really shines is that it’s fun, adaptable, portable and unobtrusive. Going out for an evening of fun and you want to take photos of your friends? You have your iPhone. You’re at a birthday party for your child’s friend and forgot your camera? Take photos with your iPhone. If you have an iPhone you probably always have it with you. Because you do, you always have a camera with you and not only does it take pictures but there are hundreds of apps as discussed in the last post and lots of gadgets that you can buy. For this article, I’m going to concentrate on one app and three add-on lenses.

The app is QuadCamera – MultiShot. It sells for $1.99. The fourth release in the series of Takayui Fukatsu’s ToyCamera allows you to take continuous shooting with high quality effects. In 2009 this app was the winner of Best App Ever Award and the 2009 Best Photography App.

QuadCamera will take either 4 or 6 photos at one press of the button. The 4 photo option appears to fit better with the iPhone than the 6 photo option. This photo of the birdbath shows the result of taking a photo with the QuadCamera app.

You can adjust the speed at which QuadCamera captures the images from 0.20 seconds to 3.0 seconds. The image above was taken with a 0.50 second time between captures. For the next image I set the interval timing to 2.0 seconds so I had time to turn the camera (iPhone) and re-compose the image before the capture.

You can also select from 6 preset color/exposure settings. For everyone that’s really tired of the winter weather, I included the next two images to demonstrate two different color/exposure settings and to feature some of the palm trees in my back yard.

QuadCamera is a fun app but not overly practical. However, I think it’s possible to capture an interesting series of images, especially, if the subject is moving. If you don’t already have QuadCamera I recommend adding it to your collection of apps on your iPhone.

For the gadgets I ordered three add-on or “stick-on” lenses from PhotoJoJo Store. If you’re not familiar with this interesting site, I recommend you visit PhotoJoJo Store and check out the products they have available. Most of the products are either for having fun with your camera or tongue-in-cheek items. For example, when I ordered the three lenses I also ordered a coffee cup that is a very accurate copy of one of the lenses for my DSLR. They have both a Canon and a Nikon lens replica coffee cup.

The three stick-on lenses are called Jelly Lens and come in three different models – starburst, wide angle and 6 image mirage. The diameter of the lens is about the same as a penny and has a key chain style lanyard with a clasp for attaching to your phone. The side of the lens that attaches to your phone has an O-ring of a soft plastic (hence jelly lens) that sticks when pressed against the phone over the camera lens. Each lens costs $5 and is shipped in an easy open package as seen in the photos below.

I was excited to try out these lenses when they arrived. I thought the packaging photos for the 6 image mirage and the starburst were quite interesting and the wide angle lens can be used as a fish eye lens as well. Unfortunately, at least for me, the O-ring or adhesive wouldn’t remain stuck to my iPhone. I tried all three lenses with the same result. I also tried gently cleaning the O-ring with soapy water as directed on the back of the packaging but it still wouldn’t stay on the iPhone. I don’t know if all three lenses were defective, which I doubt, or if the glass casing on the iPhone 4 is so highly polished that the O-ring can’t form a strong enough bond to the casing.

So, try again. My wife’s iPhone is a 3G that’s about 2 years old that is made with a different material for the back case. I borrowed her phone and tried sticking the lenses on it. Unfortunately, I had the same result. All this was disappointing because I really wanted the lenses to work so I take a number of photos with them. However, I was able to find some images on Flickr and have included them below.

multiple Cuca

Here is the reason I was really wanted to use the lens. This is a photo of a cat using the 6 image mirage lens.

"starburst" Jelly Lens

This image was captured using the starburst lens.

"wide angle/fisheye" Jelly Lens

And this image was captured using the wide angle/fish eye lens.

As you can see, the Jelly Lenses have the potential for a few hours of fun using the special effects they provide. I think they’re worth the $15 for the set and maybe you’ll have better luck with them than I did.

Photo Credits: All photos except those with the Jelly Lenses by Steve Russell
multiple Cuca by violinha by violinha on Flickr Creative Commons
Starburst Jelly Lens and Wide Angle/Fisheye Jelly Lens by The Shifted Librarian on Flickr Commons

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Photo Editing Apps for the iPhone

With the first cellphones that had cameras, you could take a photo and that was it. There was no way to manipulate the image without figuring out how to get it on your computer and using something like Photoshop to modify the image. Today, there are hundreds of apps you can download to your iPhone that can be used to manipulate your images. In fact, I could probably make a career out of reviewing and writing about camera/photography related apps for the iPhone alone if anyone was interested. Since this is one of a series of 4 or 5 articles and not a career, I selected three apps for this article – Hipstamatic, Camera+ and Adobe Photoshop Express. My “scientific” method for selecting these three apps was simple. The first two are hugely popular and the Photoshop (PS) Express is because I use Photoshop all the time and wanted to see how the less than 64 calorie lite version worked. I also selected those three because each one worked differently.


With Hipstamatic, you select the result you want to achieve by selecting the film, lens and flash before you take the shot. Once you take the shot, you’re done, at least as far as using Hipstamatic. That’s probably part of the appeal. It works like cameras did twenty, thirty years ago or longer. Thirty years ago if I wanted to produce a grainy black & white image, I put Tri-X (400 ASA) or T-Max 400 film in my camera and started shooting. If I wanted less grain I would shoot with Plus-X (125 ASA) or T-Max 100. Once the film was in the camera and you captured the image, even though you could manipulate the image in the darkroom, you couldn’t make Tri-X look like Plus-X regardless of what you did.

The app costs $1.99 and comes with three film type effects, three lens type effects and three flash type effects. You can also purchase any of an additional five packages for $0.99 each containing various film, flash and lens combinations. The basic package gives you 27 possible combinations of film, lens and flash, and if you buy all of the additional five packages you would have a total of 441 possible combinations. However, my guess is that most people that use Hipstamatic have a few favorite combinations that they use almost all the time to achieve the overall effects they desire.

To demonstrate how these apps work, I decided to use this bird bath in my back yard as a subject. This first image was taken with my iPhone without any manipulation to provide a base line for comparison.

This image was captured using the Blanko film, standard flash and John S lens combination in Hipstamatic.

This image is the result of the Ina’s 69 film, Jimmy S lens and Dreampop flash combination.

This is the last image taken with Hipstamatic and combines Kodot film, Kaimal Mark II lens and Cherry Shine flash.

As I indicated above, there are 27 different combinations in the basic package. These combinations were selected randomly and I haven’t tried all 27 to determine the combinations I prefer, but these four images at least provide an idea of what kind of effects the app provides. You do have to select a film and a lens, but you have a choice as to whether or not you use the flash when you take the photo.

On the plus side, I think it’s a great app for the 15 to 30 or 15 to 40 age groups. I think it’s more of a “fun” app than an image manipulation app, but in looking at images posted on Flickr, I found a number of creative applications that produced some interesting arty kind of images.

On the negative side, I found it difficult to compose an image in the small square “viewfinder” the app provides. Frequently the key subject was centered in the “viewfinder” and then off to one side or the other in the finished image. It also seems slow to change the selections, take a photo and for the photo to “develop” but that could be the user as much as the app.


At the risk of upsetting a lot of Hipsamatic fans, I believe that Camera+ is superior to Hipstamatic for one very important reason. With Hipstamatic and similarly designed apps, you select the effects and hope the result is what you’re trying to achieve. Camera+, on the other hand, is an app that allows you to manipulate the image after you’ve captured it. In other words, it’s a post processing app that is available for a price of $1.99.

The app effects are laid out in a logical workflow order. You can either capture the image once you have opened the app or you can “grab” an image from your camera roll and manipulate it in Camera+. Once you’ve selected the image there are five categories of changes you can make:

1. Scenes – this is presented as a lighting difference. It appears that it is making small changes to EV and White Balance depending on the scene type you select – night, portrait, beach, sunset, etc.
2. Adjust – this rotates the image 90 degrees left or right and/or flips the image vertically or horizontally. The horizontal flip is interesting because it mimics the result of reversing a negative in an enlarger so that left becomes right and right becomes left.
3. Crop – this category allows you to crop freeform the way you want the image or you can use a number of pre-set crops that create various shapes and image sizes.
4. FX Effect – Modifies the color and tone of the image. There are 27 choices plus an additional 9 that can be purchased for $0.99.
5. Borders – Like Crop, this one is self-explanatory. There are 18 different borders from which you can select.

The following three images were taken with the Camera+ app and manipulated in the app to produce the images.

Photoshop Express

With Photoshop Express you can:

1. Crop, straighten, rotate or flip the image
2. Change the exposure, saturation, tint, contrast or convert to black & white.
3. Sharpen, use soft focus or sketch
4. Effects which are mostly color and tone changes as well as add borders to the image.

As you might expect, this isn’t Photoshop CS5 or Lightroom 3, but for a free app, it does a pretty good job. The first image is the same tree in the snow that I used in the last article. As I pointed out, the sensor in the iPhone exposes for 18% gray and causes the snow to look gray. The second image I changed the exposure to render the snow as white and sharpened the image somewhat. I made no other corrections.

For this image, I cropped it, changed the exposure, converted it to black & white, softened the focus, added a border and showed it to the subject, all in less than a minute from the time I took the photo until I was finished with the adjustments. The Photoshop Express uses the same common finger-swiping motions to set the adjustments that the iPhone employs for other applications.

After working with these three apps for a few days, I like the Photoshop Express the best and the Camera+ second. One of the reasons I prefer Photoshop Express is because I use Photoshop CS5 and am familiar with its features and terminology. I also feel that Photoshop Express and Camera+ give the photographer more freedom to manipulate an image than does Hipstamatic. However, as the most popular image manipulation app available, there are a lot of people out there that prefer Hipstamatic and would disagree with me. It’s up to you to select the one that fits your requirements the best. They are all excellent apps that are inexpensive and easy to use.

Photo Credits: All Photos by Steve Russell

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