Are You Sharing Too Much on Facebook?

compliments of iStockphoto.com

My buddy A. J. Wood alerted us all to the fact that Walmart now has a Facebook Application that allows people to print their photos directly from Facebook to Walmart. Nothing wrong with that right? While on the surface that seems pretty harmless, it does open up photographers who post their images online, perhaps in hopes of drumming up more business to having their images printed by the people that they tag in the photo without their knowledge or consent. There has always been a lot of controversy surrounding Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy. However, the way I see it is that if you're really that concerned about someone ripping your photo off, then you probably shouldn't put it online in the first place. Nonetheless, A. J. offers a simple way to fix this one issue on his blog.

 

Control Your Content On Facebook

I actually like Facebook. Although I'm on Flickr, Twitter, and other sites, Facebook seems to be the popular choice of my friends, family co-workers, clients, fans, and just about everyone else I know and that's both a good thing and a bad thing all at the same time. Like I said above, if there is a photo that you don't want someone to steal, then you probably shouldn't put it out there. However, the same kinda thing goes for just about everything else. There's a fine line between what you might feel totally comfortable with sharing with your friends vs. if your employer (or potential employer) were to see it. We joke around, we post funny pictures, we might even make off the cuff comments, and it's all good until it's seen by the wrong person. 

I'm actually teaching a class this September at Photoshop World in Vegas, on…. "Why you should be on Facebook." The class is really aimed at Facebook from a business use scenario and how being there can help bring in more new clients. However, one of the things I'll be addressing in that class is how to control who sees what. 

So without giving away the whole class here, I will share one tip with you for now:

 

Use Lists!

I LOVE the Facebook "Lists" feature. When you choose Edit Friends from your Account Settings, you have the ability to create lists and add your friends to those lists. You can create as many Lists as you need to. For example, perhaps you have a list called "Close Friends and Family", or "Co-workers" or "People I actually know" or "Immediate Family", "Classmates", etc. Once you have these lists setup, you can use them to control just about ever aspect of your Facebook page AND YOUR PHOTOS. For example, perhaps you only want your "Close Friends and Family" to see personal pictures taken at your home and of your children. Perhaps you only want the "People you actually know" to see your Wall Posts. Maybe there was a company picnic and you only want your "co-workers" to see those shots. Get the idea? Although you have a mixture of "friends" on Facebook, you can still control who sees what. 

Here's how to do it for a photo album: First create the album (or you can use an existing one). Then choose Account->Privacy Settings. The click Customize Settings and from there click Edit album privacy. Now you can go to the Album that you want to change and set the privacy for that particular Album to a specific or multiple lists and only those people will be able to see those photos. 

Happy List Creating and I'll see you in Vegas!

G Design updates their iPhone tripod holder for the iPhone 4

  

The good folks over at G Design have modified their popular iPhone Tripod Holder (original review here) to accommodate the slimmer iPhone 4 handset. Now that the iPhone 4 is sporting a 5MB camera and HD video, more and more budding photographers and videographers are taking it more seriously.

 

Addition of rubber grips

This is basically the same holder that they made for the iPhone 3G/3GS, they merely added rubber grips (bumpers) on both sides to fill the gap and hold the iPhone 4 in place.

 

 

Yes, it holds it tight enough even upside down

Just like the previous model there is very little danger of the iPhone 4 sliding out and falling to the ground. As you can see here I've got it completely upside down. Although I can't think of too many times that I would need to mount it this way (sideways/landscape is fine), it's good to know that it holds it in place if I do.

Not only would this work well for your next photo/product shoot or video project, but it would also be handy for those extended FaceTime sessions. 

 

You can get the NEW iPhone 4 Tripod Holder here from their site. You can get the GorillaPod featured above here.

What do Point & Shoot Cameras and GPS Nav Units Have in Common?

They are both on my endangered species list…

I wrote a post a while back asking the question, "Are camera phones the next point and shoot cameras?" Back then, I pointed out how I either carry my DSLR camera when the picture that I want to take really matters or I shoot casually with the camera on my smartphone (which is always with me) when it's something casual and in the moment. While point and shoot cameras will probably continue to have the advantage when it comes to better lenses, more megapixels and probably better quality files, smartphones continue to drive the one feature that matters most to most casual shooters: SHARING! Most people take pictures so that they can not only capture the moment, but also so that they can share them easily. Yet only a fraction of point and shoot cameras today include built-in WiFi and even then it's difficult to setup and use. The standard smartphone (iPhone 4 and various Droid models) have all gone up to between 5MP-8MP sensors.  While it's true that point and shoot cameras typically come in the 8MP-14MP range these days, for the average person 5MP is plenty. Not only are these devices shooting great pictures, but they are also shooting great HD video! Although I love my Kodak Zi8, I honestly think that I won't be carrying it anymore by the end of this year. 

 

What about GPS Turn-by-Turn Directions?

When I travel I live by my GPS devices. I'm the first to admit that I'm very directionally challenged. However, my beloved Garmin Nüvi 765T sits on a shelf now. Why? Because the Navigon App on my phone just keeps getting better and better. I paid for it once and it has had several significant feature updates. The latest update brings background multitasking support, weather info, the latest Maps and now finds available parking. Sure I could buy a new dedicated GPS that offers these features too, but why? I'm always gonna have my phone with me and the App on my phone will continue to get better with minimal cost in upgrading.

 

I think the days of these one trick ponies are over. Why carry a point and shoot camera, a GPS navigation device and a phone if your smartphone can do it all?


Don't believe me? Take a look at these videos:

 

A photo shoot done with a camera phone (iPhone 3GS)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOoGjtSy7xY

 

A movie shot and produced (back story here) entirely on an iPhone 4:

 

 

Navigon demonstrating their New Clever Parking feature:

 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bo84K678Rbc

 

Also be sure to check out this book on what can be done with a camera phone: The Best Camera Is The One That's With You: iPhone Photography by Chase Jarvis (Voices That Matter)

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Scott Kelby’s Lightroom 3 Book is Shipping!

Scott Kelby has released his NEW Lightroom 3 Book for Digital Photographers and just like his last book on Lightroom, this one is a must read as well. Scott uses his usual straight-forward, I'm talking to one of my friends style to walk you through the ins-and-outs of be productive with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3. I know the amount of time that Scott puts into his books and not only does he find just the right words to explain a topic, but he also spends a great deal of time finding and shooting just the right image to make his point.

You can order your copy here at a discount.

Get a MiFi without the monthly data plan charges: Pay as you go!

I love my MiFi! However, the minute I tell people about it they get turned off when they hear that it runs $60/month. Luckily for me this road warrior perk provided by my employer. Even though I couldn't think of going on a trip without it, I can certainly see how someone that doesn't travel as often as I do, wanting the convenience of a MiFi. It's easy for me to justify a MiFi for work: At $60/month I look at it as that's 6 nights worth of hotel internet at $9.99/night (and that's if you're lucky. Yes I know some hotels offer it free, but most don't). So if I use my MiFi at least 6 nights a month instead of hotel internet it's a wash. Let's say you don't travel much. However, when you do travel you want the freedom of having your own mobile hotspot without paying a monthly fee or the ridiculous tethering charges that AT&T and others charge to use your smartphone as a modem. 

 

Virgin Mobile Has the Right Idea

Pay as you go! Buy a MiFi from them for $150 (great price). Then only pay for it when you need to use it:

Even the 30 days/300MB at $20 option is probably more than most people would need for a two-four week trip. 

 

If I suddenly found myself having to pay for a MiFi out of my own pocket, I wouldn't think twice about going this route. I don't use it every day and this way I can buy the device once and use it/pay for it when I need it.

Check it out here.

Thanks goes out to Jim Nichols for the lead to this offering.

Fanboy or Hater?

Whenever there is a popular brand it seems that people start to fall into different categories regarding that brand. Now that we're in this internet age where it's easier than ever to voice your opinion (anonymously), it comes out even more. When we hear the terms Fanboy, Apologist, Hater, and Troll, we already start to name various brands in our heads. Of course brands come to mind like Apple, Sony, Bose, Adobe, Microsoft, Google, etc. People are very passionate about brands. Unfortunately this usually means they either LOVE them or HATE them. There usually isn't much room in the middle. I pride myself on trying to stay in the middle as much as possible. Take Apple for example, I've been a long time fan of their products (over 20 years). I've never worked for the company and never been paid a single dime to endorse them. I have an appreciation for good design and products that work right, but I also have no problem pointing out when something doesn't work right or when a mistake has been made (and yes they make mistakes)! Look at any review I've ever done on their products and you will see where I mention the things I like and the things I DON'T LIKE. Neither a Fanboy nor a Hater. I realize that in all of the brands I mentioned above and the ones I didn't mention, at the end of the day these companies and their products are run/made by humans and humans are not perfect. So neither are their products!

 

Which one are you?

Fanboy – A Fanboy is someone that just loves the company and its products. These are typically positive people in general and even though they can see when something isn't quite right, they generally come back with lines like "Oh I'm sure they'll fix that." They are also usually pretty vocal about why they think the product is cool and would be the first in line to buy the new version. They also typically love telling their friends and anyone who will listen about the gadget they just got and how much it has changed their lives. If you didn't know better you would swear they're being paid. I actually don't have a problem with Fanboys. What's wrong with loving the tools you use and the companies that make them? Also Fanboys generally have a positive outlook on life in general and are usually pleasant to hang out with. The only problem here is that Fanboys often aren't open to even looking at another solution or product, so they may actually be missing out on something that may work better for them. Canon vs. Nikon comes to mind here 🙂

 

Apologist (a.k.a fanatic) – An Apologist and Fanboy are often looked at as being one in the same. They're not the same. While I don't have a problem with Fanboys, Apologists bug the crap out of me. The Apologist also loves the product and company. However, they are so blinded by their loyalty that if there is something wrong with a particular product, they tend to want to blame everyone else. They are the first to say things like: "Mine works great, you must just be using it wrong!" or "They designed it that way for a reason, you shouldn't want to do that?". They see the company's vision and you just don't get it! No matter what, the company and the products are perfect. There is no defect or flaw. You're the one with the problem. It's your fault! "So your arm fell off. How can you be so sure that the product caused that to happen? My arm didn't fall off. Why would you want to sue? Stop being a cry baby." There is no arguing with an Apologist. They will NEVER admit that there is something wrong. Don't waste your time, just smile and move on. 

 

Regular User – I like to live in this space. A regular user uses a product and they praise it for what it does well, but don't have a problem pointing out what it doesn't do well. They want good value for their money. They appreciate good design and products, but have no problem moving to something else if what they bought isn't working out. They usually don't comment on forums very often unless they are having an issue or they know the fix to someone else's issue. If the product that they are using is working well, they'll upgrade and recommend it to others. If not they have not problem telling you why. 

 

Hater/Troll – These are the people that love to hate a product or a brand. They are the first to post something like "LOL LOL LOL, loser, I can't believe you bought that" or "I told you it was screwed up, you should have bought ________", "Sucker!" "I'm smart, you're an idiot". These are also the people who are quick to tell you why they are NOT buying something.  Like the Apologist, these people also bug me. What I never understood about haters is, if you hate the product or brand so much then why are you hanging out on forums, blogs, etc. that are talking about that product you hate so much. I don't have any interest in Golf, but I don't seek out Golf forums to tell people how much I hate it. I walked past a GAP the other day. I saw a shirt in the window that I didn't like. Funny, I didn't feel compelled to stand in front of the store telling strangers that passed by why I wasn't going to buy the shirt. I didn't say "hey, you see this shirt I'm wearing? I like it much better than the one they have in the window. How could they even sell such a shirt? Mine has TWO pockets." Haters/Trolls are sometimes people that went against the popular choice and they don't like to feel like they bought the wrong thing. So therefore, they spend a great deal of time telling you how bad the popular choice is so they feel better about what they're using. The typical hater is a 14 year old kid in his parents basement with lots of time on his hands to be online. Not much of a social life and gets a kick out getting everyone worked up. Avoid the argument, it's not worth your time. You're never going to change a haters mind.

 

Consumer – I don't have a better word for these non-industry folks. Like the Regular User, these people bought a product and they use it. They don't go online to read about the latest advancements of that product. They aren't waiting for the next version. They really don't have any loyalties one way or the other. They just use it. If you ask them about it, they will tell you very honestly what they feel one way or the other. They have no vested interest or pride about the product or brand one way or the other. Ask me about my refrigerator. "It works fine. It keeps my food cold. I haven't really had any problems with it. Which brand is it? I forgot, let me go look." These are the people that go on about their lives and could care less about any of the above. They almost never buy a gadget the first day it comes out unless they just happened to be walking by the store and see a crowd. They would never stand in a line to get the new thing and in most cases they didn't even know the new one was coming until they saw all the people in line on the news. As much as you might not like to hear it, there are millions of these people and they probably buy the bulk of the products that you're so passionate about and could care less. I love these people too! 🙂

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Do you use in flight WiFi?

Back in April I finally made it on to a plane that had Gogo In-flight WiFi internet (reviewed it here). I loved it! It was fast and convenient. Although I certainly wouldn't call it cheap, I wouldn't say that it was way over priced either. However, the other day I saw this article on how people weren't using it (less than 10%) and more importantly the reasons why. From the comments I saw, the main 3 reasons were cost, "coach seats are just too small to work" and lastly "flight time is my time and I want to be disconnected." Some are even predicting that if the price doesn't go down or become FREE that in-flight WiFi will go the way of in-flight telephones (most have been removed due to lack of use). While I can see the point, I don't think that it's as bad as the in-flight phones were. They were outrageously expensive and really the only reason you would use one would be in an emergency. However, for me inflight WiFi is one of the few perks left of flying. I don't look at it as I want to be disconnected as much as I see it as the internet IS MY IN-FLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT. My price test is, would I pay for this out of my own pocket? While I do get reimbursed for my internet expenses, I would probably still pay for this out of my own pocket if the flight were long enough. So I guess I feel the price isn't as much of an issue as some do. So what your take on it? Do you use it? If so why or if not why not?

 

SIM to MicroSIM back to SIM

With the introduction of the iPad WiFi+3G and now the iPhone 4, one thing as a gadget guy that has become more challenging is moving my SIM cards around between devices. As I test various devices whether they be 3G MiFi devices, 3G USB data cards, iPhones or Androids, I want to be able to simply use the same wireless accounts and go back and forth as I please. After all that is the advantage of GSM devices over CDMA. However, the iPad and iPhone kinda screw that up because they use MicroSIMs and all my other devices use full size SIM cards. The good news is that technically there is no difference between the SIM and the MicroSIM other than the physical plastic around it. The pin layout and contacts are the same. 

Cut My SIM to the rescue

Since a MicroSIM is nothing more than a regular SIM card with the excess plastic cut away, I ordered a Cut My SIM MicroSIM cutter. The device resembles a hole punch and you just insert full size SIM in, press down and out pops a microSIM from the bottom. They even provide two SIM converters to use in case you ever wanted to put your MicroSIM back into a device that uses full size SIM cards. Since I didn't want to risk screwing up a working SIM card, I first tried it on that had been deactivated. I cut it, popped it back in the converter and put it back in the phone and although it wasn't an active number, the phone did recognize it as a SIM card again. Next I tried it with the SIM card from my iPhone 3GS and put the newly cut down MicroSIM in my iPhone 4. No problem! It works! Later this summer when I test the Android phones (and maybe the tablets) it will be great just using the same SIM/MicroSIM card to go back and forth between the two devices.

You can get Cut My SIM here from their site. ($25) Due to the heavy demand, there will likely be a delay before yours ships.

If you're starting out with a MicroSIM and just want to go to a regular SIM size using the converter trays, you can get those here.

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iPhone 4 Camera White Balance: The Other Issue

Wow! There certainly has been a lot going on in the press about the iPhone 4's phone reception issues. Any time you sell millions of anything you're going to have a percentage of users that have issues with it. Especially if the something you're selling is created under a veil of secrecy that may inhibit testing under a wide variety of conditions. For the record, I can't repeat the "cosmetic" signal strength indicator problem. I've covered the little black strip areas with my fingers and I've held the iPhone 4 as tightly as I can and at the most I saw a brief one bar drop in signal on the display that I couldn't even repeat. However, although I can't repeat what others are saying is happening doesn't mean that there isn't a reception issue! It also doesn't mean that just because I can't make it happen that others aren't having a real problem. I will say that out of all the iPhones I've ever owned (all models up until now), that prior to putting the "Bumper" on my iPhone 4 I dropped more calls on my iPhone 4 than all my other iPhones combined in the same locations that I always call from and calling the same people that I always call! I've also had random disconnects and reconnects using my Jawbone ICON bluetooth headset that I never had with my 3GS. So there is definitely something going on there and it's not just how the bars are displayed on screen. Again, you may not be having a reception issue at all and you may have the best signal strength and call quality that you've ever had, but that doesn't mean that it isn't happening to others. So please don't tell me about how just because it's not happening to you, the problem doesn't exist!

Speaking of problems that not every iPhone 4 is having:

 

Is there a White Balance Issue with the iPhone 4's Camera?

On my iPhone 4 there definitely is a problem and I'm not alone. If I use the camera outside, the pictures are great! No complaints. However, depending on the lighting situation inside my pictures will have an extreme yellow tint to them.  As a photographer and video enthusiast one of the main reasons I upgraded to the iPhone 4 was to get the better camera AND HD video recording. Since the problem is in the way the rear camera interprets the light it also affects any video shot too. Once again, this isn't happening to everyone. My buddy Jack Beckman has NOT been able to reproduce this with his iPhone 4. Even on mine it doesn't happen in all cases. For example, I took a shot in my dining room the night I got my iPhone 4 and it was pretty much unusable as everything and everyone was YELLOW. However, the next day when more sunlight was coming in the window, the pictures came out great. Using the camera flash doesn't seem to matter much. I took this shot in complete darkness and for the most part, except for the Sony label on the tripod the white balance is fine. 

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