Afterlight finally available on Google Play

Following the pattern of so many apps that first come out on Apple’s App Store and then make their way to Google Play, Afterlight, yet another mobile photo editing tool, is finally available for Android fans at your friendly neighborhood Google Play store. 

Simplicity is the name of the game here, although the app does come packed with an impressive amount of tools, filters, and textures. There are 15 tools to adjust your images and as far as filters go, Afterlight has 59 of them, with some borrowed from other platforms and of course, the possibility of adding more though in-app purchases. Also, there are 66 textures to keep things different. As usual, once you’ve edited an image, you’ll be able to share it with other apps – Instagram, for instance; which Afterlight’s been seemingly built around. The app is $0.99 and the amount of features really justifies its small price. You can grab it here and please make sure you come back and leave a comment letting me know what you think once you’ve played with it for a while. 

August, a photo sharing website where you probably don’t belong

Yesterday I stumbled upon this post at Petapixel.com where they discussed the arrival of yet another player in the ultra saturated game of online photo sharing.

But these guys are different. First of all they’ve named their app after a month. August. How  cool is that, huh? (Yeah, I know; not very). Then, you’ll  only have access to the app once you’ve demonstrated you’re the real deal when it comes to the quality of your portfolio. I guess they’re trying really hard to keep your crappy photos elsewhere (read Instagram, Flickr and the likes).

Right, like this is the type of photo I’d be posting to August on a regular basis

So say they don’t let you in as a photographer. Don’t fret. You might still be considered worthy enough to join their artists’ community as a consumer. It’s not quite clear to me what a consumer’s supposed to do in August other than curate and perhaps help expose great work you find there through your different social media channels.  I’ve submitted my email to get in as a consumer/curator and once they let me in (or not) I’ll make sure I let you know what it’s like.

So will you try to join this rather snobbish photo sharing site? Is your photography that great? If you’d like to give it a try, here‘s where you can apply and hope the powers that be at August deem you worth letting in their precious little community. For the rest of you, fine photographers, there’ll always be SmugMug. Oh and remember you can subscribe to Dad’s Pixels and get semi-daily updates in your inbox about family, photography and the web.

How old were you when you died?

Alright folks. Time for me to get all philosophical on you. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re alive. At least physically alive. Chances are also, that your soul died several years ago. You’ve experienced death, you just didn’t know it.

During last Sunday’s mass I heard our priest say something that really got my attention: He said (quoting someone; I can’t remember who exactly) that some folks die at 25 and aren’t buried until they’re 70 or 80. He went on to explain that in everyone’s life there’s a defining moment; an event (or series of events) that causes you such trauma that from that moment on your soul is dead and only your body goes on living til it’s time to be put to rest. I know this all sounds very dramatic and yes, even downright depressing but I’m convinced that for you to experience the salvation Jesus Christ can bring into your life it is extremely necessary to remove the veil that has been cast upon us and turned us blind to our own suffering, so we can then identify what it is exactly that killed us all those years ago.

Coming clean

For me it was a couple of events that together ended my innocence; oh, I don’t know, some 35 years ago. I was probably ten and I had just gotten this super cool skateboard as a gift from my parents. I can clearly remember the wooden board with some sort of green anti-slippery material on its surface and its bright orange rubber wheels. I was going to have so much fun with that skateboard. But the first afternoon I took it out for a spin, a white Volkswagen Beetle pulled up next to me as a 20-something-year old girl sitting on the passenger’s seat asked nicely if she could take a look at my skateboard. I was naive enough to hand it to her, and just as I did she smiled, turned to the driver and softly said “let’s go”. Away they sped with my precious skateboard as I ran behind them, crying; begging for them to return what was mine. End of my innocence part I.

The other cause of my spiritual death happened right around that time but it left much deeper, hurtful scars. One fine afternoon I happened to be reading right outside my parents’ room when I clearly heard my dad talking on the phone to someone with whom he wanted to meet; this time in a different hotel. The rest of the conversation only confirmed my suspicions. My dad was cheating on my mom. My dad was having an affair with some woman. To this day there’s been only one person I’ve shared this with and that person is of course, my dear Wifey.

Our darkest hour is right before the sun comes up, they say

Time, and my Savior Jesus Christ have done all the healing. It’s all forgiven, I would like to think, so now I only hope and pray that I don’t turn out to be the reason my own kids experience some sort of ontological death later on in their lives, although chances are I will.

I guess that’s enough ‘fessing up for one day. It’s your turn. How old were you when you died? Do you admit that something in your life has killed you and that you’re in bad need of redemption? In bad need of resurrection?

Image: Light after Darkness by Jhong Dizon on a Creative Commons license.

VSCO Grid now available for Android

Android enthusiasts rejoice! The folks at VSCO, considered by some as the best mobile photography app, have made their Grid social feature available to you with version 3.0, turning it into yet another Instagram competitor.

However, in spite of the fact that you are now able to follow your favorite photographers (and be followed by them) the folks at VSCO are making it very clear they do not plan to get into the whole social media-hashtags-comments-likes madness; aiming at a real community of photo lovers with an emphasis on quality over quantity (Hmm. Where have I heard that before?). In fact, all you’ll be able to do here is follow other photographers but you’ll never find a like or comment button anywhere near their photos. No followers count anywhere either. Refreshing, isn’t it?

 

 Consistent with the VSCO ethos that beautiful imagery trumps social clout, number of followers and likes are absent from the platform.

Other than that, you get a pretty standard mobile photo app, albeit very handsomely put together. Expect filters (known as presets in VSCO-land) with the ability to share to other apps and so forth. I’ve been using it for a couple of days now and at first I wasn’t really all that impressed but I’ve got to admit, the app’s beginning to grow on me. I’ve now had a chance to delve into the Grid feature and have put together my own which you can check out here. I leave you with a couple of photos I took and edited using the app; which you can get here btw. Peace.

No, Foursquare. I will not download Swarm… Okay, maybe I will

The new version of Foursquare‘s out as I’m sure almost everyone that owns a smartphone has learned by now. This latest iteration of the popular location-based recommendations app will help you find cool places to check out located within your immediate vicinity and will also offer suggestions and tips on what to order at a restaurant you’re visiting for the the first time, for instance.

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What it will not let you do anymore is check in at any of the places you frequent, the way you used to. Foursquare will now nag you to insanity with reminders and notifications telling you to download their new social, check-in ready app, Swarm. I’m still considering getting this companion app but I really find tremendously annoying the way Foursquare seems hell-bent on pushing it down everyone’s throat. At this point my options seem to be to either oblige and give Swarm a try or simply uninstall Foursquare altogether and avoid the persistent notifications telling me to check in and connect with friends (or the list of total strangers I have become friends with on the geographically aware social network). 

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New Foursquare telling you which of your tastes are nearby

Since very few of my real-life friends use Foursquare – or Swarm – I really don’t see myself using the latter that often, so perhaps I’ll end up downloading it, taking it for a spin and then uninstalling it with the hopes that I’ll be able to use Foursquare’s recommendation capabilities without a permanent reminder to also use Swarm. I’m pretty sure somewhere within the app settings one should be able to find a way to disable such reminders. You just have to get digging, that’s all.  

Will you be using both Foursquare and Swarm? Or just Foursquare? Or just Swarm? Or just neither? In case you’re interested you can get Swarm here and its parent app, the new Foursquare, here

Google Photos breaking away from Google+?

According to reports from Android Central and Android Police among other sources, Google+ is about to shed its Photos feature and launch it as a stand-alone app, which if done right, might actually make a lot of people happy in the end.  

I for one sure hope this means I’ll be able to share photos more easily with family and friends from the real world. You know, those folks out there that have no idea what Google+ is and that share their photos exclusively on Facebook? Who knows, maybe this divorce (as it’s been dubbed) between Google Photos and Google+ might turn out to be the only way Google can compete with Facebook (and Instagram) in the mega competitive field of online photo sharing. I’ll be keeping an eye out to see how the situation develops here and will of course keep you posted. Remember you can subscribe here to get all the family, photography and internet goodness in your inbox.