Doing the math: iPhoto + iPad + DSLR

iphoto1 Doing the math: iPhoto + iPad + DSLR

Good enough to ditch the desktop?

Since Apple’s first iPad came on the scene in 2010, people have wondered if tablets could stand in for computers. Few would argue they’re not up to casual tasks like Web browsing and emailing, but what about the more demanding ones? What about, say, photo editing? Until recently, that was firmly out of the question. The graphics and processing power of even the top tablets couldn’t hack it. But now, with the new iPad, I’m not so sure.

Apple’s latest slate boasts a Retina display with an astounding 2048×1536 resolution, all powered by an A5X processor with quad-core graphics. But as impressive as those specs are, if Apple had stopped there, so too would the question I’ve turned over and over in my mind. Without the proper software, all that hardware’s useless, and tablets wouldn’t be any closer to replacing their desktop cousins. Fortunately, that fact wasn’t lost on Apple, and it debuted a mobile version of iPhoto, Mac’s popular photo-editing app, alongside the iPad. The combination’s potent, but how potent?

With DSLR (Canon 7D) in hand, I was determined to find out if the duo could save me the trip to my desktop.

thegear Doing the math: iPhoto + iPad + DSLR


cameraconnection Doing the math: iPhoto + iPad + DSLR

Because the Canon 7D only uses compact flash memory, and Apple’s Camera Connection Kit only supports SD cards or USB, I had to rely on a USB cable to import my photos. Many cameras, including our soon-to-arrive 5D Mark III, support dual memory cards, so for a lot of photographers, the process can be done wirelessly. But cable or not, it’s painless.

Getting pictures into iPhoto was a cinch, too. Once I plugged in my camera, the iPhoto app opened instantly and prompted me to import images piecemeal or all at once. And the speed with which iPhoto imported those pictures impressed me. In my experience, when transferring less than 100 photos, images showed up faster in iPhoto than they did in Lightroom.

sidebyside palm1 Doing the math: iPhoto + iPad + DSLR

The original image is on the left. You can see that the shadows on the trees are much more prominent, and the leaves have virtually no color. The sky is blue, but not as blue as I’d like, and overall the image could use an increase in saturation. iPhoto did a wonderful job here.

carcover before Doing the math: iPhoto + iPad + DSLR


This vintage Bimmer is in desperate need of some TLC, but with the midday sun lighting up its trunk, it looked fantastic as is. The original image is nice, but I wanted to give it the warm, rustic look it deserved.

carcover after Doing the math: iPhoto + iPad + DSLR


To get this effect, I did a little bit of sharpening, added a nice vintage filter, and threw in a vignette. One thing I would love iPhoto to have is the ability to control how much of the filter comes through. Camera+ does a great job of this, and I’d like to see it in iPhoto, too.

ehsan before Doing the math: iPhoto + iPad + DSLR


A good friend goofed off while I snapped away. This untouched picture stood out, but I was shooting for something more dramatic.

ehsan after Doing the math: iPhoto + iPad + DSLR


I really like how this photo turned out. It’s more powerful in black and white, and the vignette is the icing on the cake. Speaking of the vignette, the way it’s handled in iPhoto, with pinches, is simply amazing.

sidebyside car Doing the math: iPhoto + iPad + DSLR

In another picture of a vintage BMW, I wanted to showcase iPhoto’s ability to increase color saturation and repair where necessary. In most instances, iPhoto’s repair option was okay at best, but it had little trouble shaping up solid colors, and removing the deep scratches from the trunk wasn’t a problem. I also applied a cooling filter to give the dated metal frame more of a pop.

road before2 Doing the math: iPhoto + iPad + DSLR


I took this photo while driving up California’s 101. As you can probably tell, the horizon’s off. It’s not perfectly centered, and it could use some cropping and edits.

road after Doing the math: iPhoto + iPad + DSLR


iPhoto did a wonderful job of automatically straightening my photo. It was also incredibly easy to crop and center the image to my liking, and a few more tweaks added just the right amount of depth.


All in all, I’m impressed with iPhoto on the iPad. It’s a great mobile solution for editing pictures, and I have no doubt that any photographer worth his salt could churn out quality images without running to his computer. But as big of a leap forward as iPhoto for iOS is, and as enticing as its portability can be, it doesn’t make a good enough argument for ditching that desktop altogether. Not yet. It lacks the options found in traditional photo-editing programs, and the new iPad, though powerful for a tablet, pales in comparison to the average computer. Nevertheless, I suspect iPhoto for iOS is a sign of things to come. The ability to literally touch and manipulate pictures is deliciously intimate, and years from now, when tablets have advanced and left behind today’s bottlenecks, I have a feeling many photographers will look no further than their slates for editing.

Xbox 360 now more media hub than game console, according to Microsoft

It’s no secret that Microsoft’s after more than gamers with its Xbox 360. With more and more content on tap, it’s clear the company hopes to transform its console into a media hub that’s just as at home in your parents’ living room as it is in a college dorm. And that’s no pipe dream. Today, as Microsoft announced that Comcast Xfinity, HBO Go, and were on their way to the 360, the company also revealed that entertainment use has overtaken multiplayer gaming as the 360′s main draw.

PCMag has the skinny:

In fact, as Microsoft has ramped up the number of entertainment apps available, entertainment usage has actually surpassed multiplayer game usage for the first time, meaning people are using Xbox Live to watch TV and movies and listen to music more than they are playing games.

Source: The Next Web

Former Apple engineer claims Steve Jobs dismissed current Apple TV UI five years ago

Today former Apple engineer Michael Margolis took to Twitter to say Apple TV’s latest UI not only existed 5 years ago, it was rejected by late CEO Steve Jobs. Margolis also claims that there might be a “single visual designer in the consumer apps team” and that the majority of the former team has either left the company or been replaced.

Update: In a statement posted on TheNextWeb, Morgolis clarifies what he meant:

The new UI shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. There is a clear effort at Apple to make everything match the look and feel of their popular iOS products – starting with Lion and increasing momentum with Mountain Lion.

To be clear – he didn’t like the original grid. This was before the iPhone was popular and before the iPad even existed.

Given that the iPad is far more successful than the AppleTV, migrating the AppleTV to look more like the iPad was probably a very smart move – even if some of the users of the old UI don’t prefer the new one.

Apple patent reveals plan for haptic feedback on iOS devices

Haptic feedback could make its way to iOS devices after all. In the days leading up to the new iPad’s release, speculation swirled that Apple would introduce haptic feedback to its latest slate. That didn’t happen, but a recently discovered patent suggests the technology is on its way, possibly soon, and not just to the iPad. Unwired View unearthed a patent application that reveals how Apple plans to add another dimension to its devices.

Apple would use piezoelectric actuators scattered underneath the iPhone’s glass, which would provide localized feedback depending on where you touch the screen. Those micro vibrations would provide the necessary feedback with UI elements, like a search bar, or more importantly, the keyboard.

SlashGear notes that Apple wouldn’t be the first to implement haptic feedback on mobile devices – the Blackberry Storm and a number of Android phones already employ it – but its unique approach could bring new possibilities to the table, like simulating textures.

haptic Apple patent reveals plan for haptic feedback on iOS devices

Should we feel bad about working conditions at Foxconn?

Julian Dunn asks why America, a country that’s worked hard to rid itself of the deplorable working conditions of a century ago, is so willing to toss all it’s learned out the window when it comes to China and Foxconn.

Lost in the uproar over Mike Daisey’s significant fabrications about Chinese working conditions is what Ira Glass calls the “normative question underlying all the reporting… as somebody who owns these products, should I feel bad?” As I’ve stated before — and as the New York Times’ own investigative report showed — the story about working conditions at Apple suppliers is essentially true. The question we have to ask ourselves is whether any of this is acceptable, keeping in mind that, a century ago, working conditions in America were equally if not more harsh. Let me view this whole episode through the lens of another product that’s just as valuable to New Yorkers as smartphones: the subway system.

The first underground subway line in New York City, from City Hall station in Manhattan to Bailey Ave. in the Bronx, was constructed in just four years, between 1900-1904. (By comparison, the Second Avenue subway started construction in 2007 and only the first segment, from 63rd St. to 96th St., will be completed by 2016.) Much of the tunneling work was performed by hand, in extremely dangerous conditions. Rock slides from dynamite explosions, tunnel flooding, and silicosis from inhaling rock dust were all occupational hazards. Photos from the time show men digging and blasting with no safety equipment whatsoever. Worst off were the sandhogs, men who worked at the face of the excavation. They worked two shifts of three hours each, with a two-to-three hour break in between, underground in 100 degree heat, and sometimes under atmospheric pressures of 100 psi. Moreover, racist stereotypes of the day meant that blacks were often sent to work as sandhogs; it was felt that being from Africa, they were more accustomed to the heat and humidity.

Living conditions were atrocious as well, making Foxconn’s dormitories seem tame by comparison. The New York Transit Museum‘s exhibit on subway construction stated that,

Most families shared their quarters with boarders. Conditions were wretched: tenants had to fetch water from a hydrant in the yard, outhouses reeked with filth, and animals shared cellars with people. The word ‘tenement’ became synonymous with the word ‘slum’.

In the intervening years, we in America have decided that such harsh conditions are no longer acceptable. We’ve enacted laws to ensure that such conditions will no longer be inflicted on Americans. That’s why it will take over a quarter century to build the full Second Avenue subway: because we now believe in safety, reasonable working conditions, and, of course, consultative urban planning. But back to the case of Apple products: if we, as an “developed” nation have the power to choose how our products — products that we invented — are manufactured, why would we instead export the harsh working conditions instead of that standard of life?

code health standards 300x191 Should we feel bad about working conditions at Foxconn?

I think I know the answer, and it’s an uncomfortable one. We’re happy to exploit others when we don’t see them as ourselves. Whether that be Chinese migrant workers, or Lower East Side immigrants slaving away on the subways at the turn of the 20th century, it’s easier to justify turning a blind eye when you can reap the rewards without being the one getting your hands dirty.

There’s a subtle warning in here, though. America’s economic star is setting and China’s is rising. Will we still be so blasé about labor conditions when, in 25 years, we are the ones manufacturing electronic devices for middle-class and upper-middle-class Chinese consumers?

Microsoft building wearable displays for gaming and more

Google isn’t the only company working on wearable displaysPatent Bolt discovered that Microsoft’s taking a shot, too. In fact, the Redmond-based software giant has two versions in the pipeline, according to recently unearthed patents: one that’s glasses-based and meant for smartphone duty, similar to Google’s take, and another that fits displays to an “aviation-style” helmet intended for gaming.

microsofthelmet Microsoft building wearable displays for gaming and more

While Google ‘s forthcoming glasses are rumored to house just a single display, both versions of Microsoft’s headset include dual displays, paving the way for virtual reality and 3D applications.

Patent Bolt had this to say:

Microsoft states that a compact display system may be coupled into goggles, a helmet, or other eyewear. These configurations enable the wearer to view images from a computer, media player, or other electronic device with privacy and mobility. When adapted to display two different images concurrently–one for each eye–the system may be used for stereoscopic display (e.g., virtual-reality) applications.

An interesting patent point states that the projectors may be at least partly transparent, so that the wearer can see external objects as well as the virtual display images. Unlike other projects that I’ve read about or have seen involving glasses or head mounts shut out the real world entirely. Microsoft’s take on this appears to be one that’s a little more realistic in that gamers could go deeper into the game while being able to see a part of their real world surroundings in the periphery.

Source: Patent Bolt

Review: Doxie Go scanner

Imagine a lightweight, battery-powered scanner with on-board storage that can function without a computer. No, we’re not talking about some far-fetched gizmo Q might throw in the trunk of Bond’s Aston Martin. We’re talking about Apparent’s Doxie Go, a real-world device you can sink your teeth into for $199. It only sounds like it belongs in a spy movie.


Let’s get this out of the way: The Doxie Go isn’t the only portable scanner on market, nor does it pretend to be. Rather, the Doxie Go’s claim to fame is its simplicity and convenience. Unlike most portable scanners, which tend to be bulky and require an electrical outlet, the Doxie Go weighs just 14.2 oz, or significantly less than an iPad, and it’s powered by a lithium-ion battery capable of 100 scans on a single charge. That might not seem like a lot, but when the bulk of the competition can’t function without a cord, trust us, it’s plenty impressive.

collage doxie Review: Doxie Go scanner

The black and white Doxie Go’s also quite handsome. It checks in at an ultra-portable 10.5″ x 1.7″ x 2.2″, and its simple, one-button interface brings to mind Apple’s trademark slickness. That single button powers the scanner on and off, and it also allows users to switch from the standard 300DPI setting to the higher-resolution 600DPI setting (more on that shortly).

Storage and output

The Doxie Go’s 512MB of on-board memory doesn’t sound like much in an era of terabyte hard drives, but it’s enough to store roughly 600 pages or 2400 photos at 300DPI. If that doesn’t cut it, the Doxie Go can accommodate either a USB flash drive or an SD card. And speaking of that SD slot, if you slip in an Eye-Fi SD card, you can beam scans to your computer or iOS device over Wi-Fi.

doxie go scan orange Review: Doxie Go scanner

The Doxie Go defaults to 300DPI scans, which is fine for text-based documents, but if you’re looking to scan, say, pictures and want to do them justice, you’ll want to switch over to the device’s 600DPI setting. And the transition couldn’t be simpler. Simply depress the power button — the device’s lone button — and wait for the light to turn from green to orange.

usb Review: Doxie Go scannerScans are normally saved as JPEGs, but they can be encoded as PNGs and searchable PDFs, too. And if color isn’t your thing, black and white’s another option.

Once you’ve picked your poison and scanned your documents or images, there are a few ways to upload those scans to another device, whether it’s a computer or an iPad:

  • You can use the supplied mini-USB cable to export scans. If you go this route, you’ll also need Doxie’s software, which you’d download to the computer you’re transferring the files to.
  • If you connected a USB flash drive to your Doxie Go prior to scanning, then whatever you scanned can be found on, and imported from, that drive.
  • And the same goes for SD cards. If you had one on board before scanning, just eject that card, plug it into your computer (or Apple’s Camera Connection Kit, with an iOS device on the receiving end) and you’re good to go.
  • Or, if you’d rather transfer scans remotely, you can plug an Eye-Fi SD card into that same slot and can send files to a computer or iOS device wirelessly.


Scanning with the Doxie Go is a breeze. Once it’s powered up and you’ve selected the appropriate DPI, simply line up the image or document you intend to scan (Doxie accepts files up to 8.5” x 14”) with the device’s automatic feeder, which will grab that hard copy and start scanning it within seconds. In our experience, 300DPI scans took roughly 5 to 8 seconds to complete, while files scanned in the higher-resolution 600DPI mode took from 10 to 12 seconds.

doxie go scan Review: Doxie Go scanner

Smaller files, especially pictures, can be tricky to feed into the Doxie precisely. Fortunately, Apparent thought of this and included a special sleeve that fits those pesky pictures and helps scan them more accurately. If we’re honest, though, we can’t see ourselves using the device to scan loads of pictures. Not that it’s not up to the task. You could certainly scan pictures to your heart’s content, and the Doxie does a decent enough job, but it seems better suited for text-based documents and the occasional picture.

All told, scanning with the Doxie Go is painless. The company warns that wrinkled or torn papers could pose a problem, but in our testing, neither tripped up the Doxie.


Importing scans from the Doxie Go using the included mini-USB cable requires the use of specialized software, which can be downloaded from Apparent’s site. If that sounds like a pain, rest assured, it isn’t. The software’s a cinch to use. In fact, all we had to do was plug our Doxie into our MacBook Pro, fire up the software, and click “import.” With that, all our scans showed up on the Pro’s desktop.

doxie go software1 Review: Doxie Go scanner

Earlier we mentioned that the Doxie’s scans can be saved in several formats. Well, that just scratches the surface of the device’s versatility. You can also send scans to a variety of local apps, including Acrobat, Photoshop,  iPhoto, and Preview. What’s more, you can send scans to cloud services such as Dropbox, Evernote, Google Docs, CloudApp FTP, or even Doxie Cloud –– a free service for Doxie customers.


Talk is cheap, so here are four scans saved in several different formats.

JPEG photo scan of yours truly when I was young man  (600DPI)

JPEG scan of Merlin Mann’s “business card” (300DPI)

PDF Doxie provided pamphlet in full color (300DPI)

PNG wrinkled receipt (300DPI)


We never thought we’d sing the praises of a scanner. Not now, all these years into the digital age. As far as we were concerned, we had already gone paperless and had no use for such things. But the Doxie Go proved us wrong. It made us realize that no matter how many “go paperless” boxes we’ve checked, we still depend on hard copies. And as long as that’s the case, as long as companies and relatives and stores continue to deal in dead-tree documents, there’s always room for a device that can easily translate those hard copies into more modern versions.

The Doxie Go is, in a word, fantastic. It’s light, intuitive, and relatively cheap. We couldn’t ask for more.

Google’s 7-inch Nexus tablet could cost as little as $149, says supplier

Google has a 7-inch Kindle Fire competitor in the pipeline, all right, and it could cost as little as $149. According to a source in the company’s supply chain who wished to remain anonymous, Google has tapped ASUS to build its Nexus tablet. The source called the arrangement a “done deal” and said the upcoming slate, rumored for a May release, will cost from $149 to $199.

Source: Android and MeBGR

How to disable the Twitter email-digest feature

Dave Caolo over at wants to spare users from Twitter’s spam. To that end, Caolo has laid out the steps necessary to opt out of the company’s new email-digest feature, which automatically emails users a weekly list of tweets it considers relevant.

Twitter has launched a new feature that I think is pretty annoying. Once a week, it delivers a digest of tweets you might find interesting to your inbox. I don’t want it, but it’s enabled by default. Here’s how to turn it off.

  1. Log into your Twitter account
  2. Click Settings
  3. Click Notifications
  4. De-select “A weekly digest of Stories & Tweets from my network”

Follow those steps and you won’t have to worry about Twitter filling up your inbox. Thanks, Dave!