Playing with iPhone photo apps

Yesterday was a very nice spring day! Easily 20 something degrees and sunshine galore! Apart from that the All Blacks won the Rugby Worldcup 2011 on Sunday night so everything was fine when having a day off!

Through a series of interesting tweets and links I ended up listening to this brief Youtube video

Only 2000 odd people watched it so far – still I think Steve made a great selection! So here is what he is suggesting

#1 – iPhone Camera
#2 – Instagram – http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/instagram/id389801252?mt=8
#3 – Pudding – Pudding – http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id379411152?mt=8
#4 – Retro Camera Plus – http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/retro-camera-plus/id403503545?mt=8
#5 – Camera+ –  http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id329670577?mt=8

Now, I downloaded the lot and started playing. I had lots of fun til my family got annoyed with me. So let me share some of my attempts:

This was taken with Camera+ and edited within the app to get that look and feel. This is probably the best all round Camera app. Above is my wife Susani (she didn’t want her photo taken – still I very much like the shot!) and below the Waikuku Beach lagoon. Actually the photo was taken with Instagram and edited with Camera+. That’s a great feature of Camera+ you can open any photo on your iPhone and edit!

A fun application is Pudding Camera! You don’t need to know Korean as the app fairly self explanatory (to be clear I don’t speak Korean and managed to use the app 😉 ). Below is an example using the Fish eye objective: It’s our dog Nougat who was quite curious what I was doing!

Below is a black and white picture of the Ashley river also using Pudding Camera.

The Retro Camera Plus simulates old film photography, I used the Little Orange Box and got this fantastic picture of my son Julius!

Summary

So, after my first futile attempts I reduce my list to 3 apps in this order

  1. Camera+ – cost a dollar but absolutely worth it. Best all round photography app I know of.
  2. Pudding Camera – despite being in Korean (even the email is …) it’s so much fun to use and a gem!
  3. Retro Camera Plus – Old style is in! Yeah, baby!
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Do not seek praise – seek criticism

In a little booklet by Paul Arden I found this

It is quite easy to get approval if we ask enough people, or if we ask those who are most likely to tell us what w want to hear.

The likelihood is that they will say nice things rather than be too critical. Also, we tend to edit out the bad so that we hear only what we want to hear.

So if you have produced a pleasantly acceptable piece of work, you will have proved to yourself that it’s good simply because others have said so.

It’s probably ok. But it is probably not great either.

If, instead of seeking approval, you ask, ‘What’s wrong with it? How can I make it better?’, you are more likely to get a truthful, critical answer.

You may even get an improvement on your idea.

And you are still in a position to reject the criticism if you think it is wrong.

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Little Angry Man

A couple of weeks ago we had a lunch time talk that turned very funny.

The helpdesk (and I’m not using names to protect the innocent 😉 ) told about a support problem on the factory floor. The user complaint about the workstation being unresponsive and she wasn’t able to do her work properly for the past 2 days. The helpdesk was astounded, we send someone immediately but why did you wait so long? Oh, was the reply, I didn’t want the angry little man to come and telling me off!

Well, we started laughing and then there was a person at our table who could have fitted the description partly. No, it wasn’t me I promise! We even laughed harder. Now, we all knew who was the little angry man and the helpdesk followed up. But the story was sticky and today in an unrelated meeting where we talked about a process that wasn’t working well it was used to illustrate the problem: “We could send the angry little man!”

Service Quality

In many organisation there is a service desk for internal system and sometimes a support team for customers of the organisation. Both strive for quality of service. There are metrics in place, reporting is done, graphs are plastered on walls and consultants help to align processes. Sounds familiar?

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Culture first

This morning I read an article in the NZ Herald about management training being below par. Intrigued by the title I found

Alexander says making hiring and promotion decisions based on skill-set alone would be a mistake – culture must come first.

For staff lumbered with an inept manager, Alexander says they will need to help them see the errors of their ways.

cited is Megan Alexander, general manager at recruitment firm Robert Half.

It reminded me of a Tweet that I saw earlier where a company fired a new CEO after 7 months because his social skills didn’t match his analytical capabilities. This stands in stark contrast to the times when I started of in the mid Eighties. I remember a certain gentleman who had no desire for social interaction. He was residing in his office, called his staff in and gave orders. Never ever was he listening to opinions or suggestions that questioned his decisions. You had to prepare him by feeding information in small doses over time.

Today such a leadership or management style is unthinkable. People would complaint, work would be delayed, quality would slip and staff turn over would increase. I wonder if (how much) tweets and facebook rants would also damage the organisation’s brand image if such a manager persists in his/her job. Thinking back at the oil spill in the gulf of Mexico it’s more a personal reputation issue than an organisational one. While originally the organisation was blamed and took a heavy beating, I bet in a poll today a third would not pick the right company.

However, what Alexander is talking about is a much less visible layer of management, the so called middle manager. Coming from the rangs and having earned their reputation on technical or practical achievements they move into a management position. Here they are confronted with something entirely different. Rather than taking the mickey how the boss has handled the issue yesterday, they are now faced with making decisions that have consequences other than for themselves. They move from being responsible for a task to being accountable for an outcome. This is a major shift. It requires a different mind set and different skills.
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The mark of a leader

During my stay at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas I stumbled across some good books they have in the room and did some cross reading. When back home we talked a bit of that leading up to this post.

Visionary

There’s in my mind a clear difference between great managers and great leaders. Leaders have a clear vision. They know where they want the organisation to be in 5 or 10 years. To make that happen they can describe this future place in vivid colours, make others feel the vibrance of the new we, or even smell and taste this visionary goal. Managers in comparison make things happen by taking one step at a time, organising resources, removing roadblocks and simply get things done. This is a different skill.

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What I learned from Steve Jobs

On Wednesday last week during the conference we heard Steve Jobs had died. Not that it came as a surprise. He was battling with cancer for a while and his stepping down earlier this year gave some hints.

Perfectionist

In my opinion Steve provided a lot of inspiration. I wasn’t an Apple (or MacIntosh) fan for a long time. The systems had a great user interface but weren’t main stream. There wasn’t a lot you could with them unless you were in a niche market that had targeted software like the publishing industry. For those markets there was hardly anything that could compete.

My opinion changed with the iPod touch. Yes, just recently in terms of computers. That device was a breeze to use and the apps market was designed with the end user in mind. Within 2 years we changed our home equipment to iMac, MacBook Air and iPhone. These tools and their subsequent improvements again provided exceptional design elements that work together like a set of drawers made by a master carpenter compared to the home handyman.

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