Category Archives: Applications

[Tech Talk] Moment: Take Your Life Back, One Minute at a Time

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Being born in the crux of the 1980’s – December of 1984, to be precise – places me in the precarious position where I remember life before the internet, but have all the benefits of life in the post-technological boom era. I’ve seen televisions get slimmer and longer, watched as phones lost their umbilical cords, observed the evolution of VHS as it forayed into Super VHS, Laser Disks, and then eventually to DVD, Ultra HD, Blu Ray and now 4K; my Sony walkman was upgraded to a disc player, then an mp3 player, an iPod and now I can basically play music from my refrigerator.  And then, last but most certainly not least: the cell phone.  What was at one point an electronic brick that had the basic operations of a fancy calculator, has eventually evolved into an electronic ‘blob’ that’s acquired all the functions of literally anything else you could keep in your office or wallet besides your ID card, like calendars, notepads, a Rolodex, books, your credit cards, maps, DSLR cameras, video games, movies, foreign language dictionaries….the list could go on and on.

When the intellectual power of the world can fit in the palm of your hand, it sounds almost anachronistic to think that there’s a phone application out there whose only goal is to get you off your phone, and back into the moment – but thankfully, there is – and let me tell you, it works.  But let’s take a step back for a second and understand what leads to people being stuck on their phones.

For the most part, your cell phone is like the fridge: you open your cell phone in the morning because your brain is hungry for information, and your phone puts it at the ends of your fingertips.  Drowsy from strange dreams and famished for facts, you eagerly ingest anything your phone gives you – only it’s the fast food of information, not a lot of substance, and definitely not filling.  So, every hour or so, you open it – hoping there’s new food there, forgetting it’s the same fridge you ate from earlier – same shit, new timestamp. Untitled

Not to throw myself under the digital bus, but out of all my friends – I’d say I’m the most addicted to my phone.  I’m sure it’s somewhere in my genes, but my parents and grandparents have been large influences in the terms of technological revolution, so I’m not surprised that I had an affliction for information, and a hearty addiction to my phone. My personal irony, is I first found out about moment through a friend’s

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Instagram story, where they’d posted screen shots of how much time they used to spend on their phone versus how much time they spend after using the application; I was sold, immediately.

Moment, created by Kevin Holesh, is a saucy little minx; silently and invisibly running in the back of your phone, unless you ask for alerts, that is..  You feed it screen shots of your application use, and it lets you know how you’re fairing by cataloging your total use, including use by specific applications.

After observing myself for a few days, I decided to enlist in the free 7 day boot camp, Bored & Brilliant, which is a great introduction into getting off your phone and back to reality; shortly after I bit the bullet and got the Pro version, and did the 14 day boot camp. I’ll be honest, I’m actually on my second iteration of it because I really need the practice of leaving my phone alone.  The boot camps walk you through 21 essential tasks that will curb your enthusiasm for your digital reality and replace it with tangible moments, from not taking your phone into the bathroom, to cleaning up your home screen to remove all social apps, turning off your notifications and actually calling the people you love.  Through the app, I have small reminders on my phone to let me know, in 20 minute intervals, how long I’ve spent and I’m a huge fan of their ‘No Screen Time’ alarm: I set mine for 7-9pm at night, and it literally annoys me into putting my phone face down with a loud reminder every time I engage it.

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When I started using the application, I was on my phone up to three hours a day – now, it’s rare if I break an hour.  Plus, over the last three weeks, I’ve gone to sleep earlier, woken up without anxiety, spent more time with my cats, finished more books, had more fun conversations with friends, shared my time with my husband and have been overall immensely happier than before.  I’ve not only recommended the application to all my friends, but I’ve gone as far as downloading it on both my dad and Danny’s phones.

To download Moment for the iPhone yourself – head here! For you Android users, cue the sad violins but there isn’t currently an application for you – good news though: there’s a signup to get notified the second it’s available on multiple platforms.  For more on the applications genesis, and how it can help you take your life back – head to their website.

What do you do to curb your cell phone addiction and what tips do you have for others wishing to do the same?

 

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[Tech Talk] The Best Photo Editing Apps for The iPhone

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When it comes to camera, photography and picture editing applications for the iPhone and Android (sorry, Blackberry…) there’s a menagerie of good ones to choose from; so much so, that it might seem overwhelming at times – at least, it has to me. Fortunately for y’all, I have an affinity for apps and a growing love of photo editing. When I start playing around with elements in a picture (Saturation, Contrast, Hue, Tone, Temperature, Vibrance, etc) I have one of two goals. To either make the picture look exactly the way I saw it with my own two eyes, or -conversely – to manipulate the image into something otherworldly and fantastical. My favorite part of the later is to make the unimaginable and unreal both visible and accessible to everyone that so much as glances at it.

Though I’ve technically only had an iPhone since last February, I’ve been using my dad’s deactivated iPhones as ‘Glorified iPods’ for the last three years in conjunction with my varied and beloved HTC Android models. Technically, that means I ‘ve been horsing around on photo editing applications just as long as the next iPhone addict. There are a few apps that I was first introduced to on my Droid, that bless their beautifully coded hearts exist in duplicate in the App Store and Google’s Play Store; when they do, I’ll be sure to point them out. Truth be told, I’m always interested in the latest and greatest apps to see how they stack up against my tried and true go-to gadgets. Some were recommended by friends, others I’ve been lucky enough to snag during an ‘App of the Week’ deal and the residuals – well, they’re just worth it. Without further ado, let’s get to know these awesome, and essentially effortless, editing tools while I use them on some of my favorite snaps.

RePix

A quick fix of an editing app – with great built in presets and easy to use metrics to toggle, it’s fun to edit pics and watch them transform right in front of you. But beyond simple touch ups, you can add flares, bokeh, “magic dust”, crackle effects and more! A great beginners app to getting creative on some pics.

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Fragment

The most fun I’ve had with an app in forever! Currently, Fragment is an ‘App of the Week’ over in the Apple Store so go head and treat yoself to a copy. At a basic level, you’re overlaying and intertwining fragmented parts of the picture on top of itself – the results are spectacular.

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Mextures

Mextures comes with built in filters that you can layer over your images – color fades, grains and blending modes; and it contains fun presets for when you just want to play around.

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KaleidaCam

For those times you just want to be a trippy kitty, this is the purrrrrfect adventure of an app. You can use your camera and snap a pic in app to use, or you can use a pre-existing image on your photo roll and the app will fractal the image around itself and look, well, like a kaleidoscope! There are add ons if you really get into it but the free version is great.

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PixlrExpress (Android Version)

I first fell in lust with this editing app on my Android; there are a few different variations and I’m super happy that there’s a version made for the iPhone. You can do it all – tint editing, filters, color burns, adding galaxies and changing the focus of the picture. A great all around editing app.

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SquareFX

Because let’s face it, we all love Instagram and it would help if the pictures would just fit on their own. With SquareFX, you can pick the outline of your picture – hearts, stars, circles and geometric shapes, the opacity of the background and the color of the background itself.

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FilterStorm

All encompassing editing app for beginners to expert level; highly recommend the iPad version because it’s just that awesome. When you’re editing a picture, the image gets split in half so you can really see what changes you’re making to the original.

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Roll World

Back when I had my HTC, I was in love with ‘Globe Photo‘ – so when I found an equivalent in the App Store, I was stoked.  Roll World takes the two ends of your picture and stitches them together to make ‘worlds’!

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Sketch Guru

If you’ve got the insane idea that you’d like to transform a photo into a chalk scribble, a penciled out doodle or in neon lights – this is your savior. You can literally transform a picture into dozens of other media right before your eyes.

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Over

For those times that you need or want to add some delightful, and colorful, text to your pictures: Over is your man. From flirty to childish, typewriter to serif, the stock version comes with heaps of fonts to choose from and for just a dollar or two extra you can buy awesome add-on packs.