Posts Tagged ‘facebook’
Welcome to our fourth podcast, in this episode Alex is back and we jump right into discussing Instagram; with it’s recent purchase by Facebook and Instagram’s growing role within Photography and Photojournalism. We also spend discussing Alex’s move to Canada and what are his first impressions and we reflect on KONY2012 and compare its media attention to similar projects (like Aaron Huey’s: American Natives Prisoners of War TED talk & TED wish) that haven’t been given the same attention they should deserve, especially when they are closer to home.
02:00 – Facebook buys Instagram
40:35 – Instagram’s role within Photography and Photojournalism
War Never Looked So Hip (Duckrabbit), Photojournalists debate ethics of Instagram, Hipstamatic (www.poynter.org), See the Eyes of VII in the Hands of Hipstamatic (Griffinmuseum), Instagram is the Best, Instagram is the Worst (TheVerge), iSay: Stephen Mayes on Smart Phones, photography and the future (blog.corbis.com),
1:16:50 – Alex’s First Impressions of Canada
1:27:40 – What About Aaron Huey and his Force for Change?
Alex and myself are going to discuss this tonight on the podcast (and some other aspects of Instagram as a force in the world of photography), but I want to share some thoughts now. Just some very quick bullet points in reaction to the take over.
- Facebook says both services will remain separate. That’s fine. But the back end? All that juicy location information? I doubt it.
- I haven’t been critical of Facebook for buying, I just don’t want to use their service and restrictive terms. But some people wonder why Facebook just didn’t make their own app instead of buying Instagram. Those people miss the point entirely, it’s not the app, it’s the brand value, its user base and its value for monetization from that segment of the mobile phone market. Facebook can build the app no doubt about it, but the mindshare and trust? That’s the hardest part. That’s why Mark Z was so upfront to point out the app won’t change.
- Instagram lets a photographer keep the rights to their photography, Facebook doesn’t, they demand a perpetual license to freely use your images. At some point there has to be a change in the terms and conditions with Instagram
- Already there are worrying straw man arguments springing up. Those like me who are quitting Instagram are considered hipsters, (doesn’t this mean ‘poser’ on some level? Who is posing exactly?) the issue of privacy hasn’t been an issue for those not quitting, instead I’ve seen on forum boards, people directly being critical of users of the app who are trying to quit.
- If you still want to use those filters, but don’t want to share your photography on the Facebook network (and that is what it is now). You have two options: 1) Don’t delete your account, keep it, but turn off internet access while using it. Images that you attempt to upload are still saved to the photo library. Oh and just in case, don’t update the app in case this behaviour changes. 2) I’ve been using GifRus for a while, it seems to do the same thing, apart from sharing.
That’s what’s important; sharing your work, but ultimately Instagram isn’t the only place to share your work.
The podcast should be online tomorrow for those interested.
Ever since Safari supported extensions I’ve made regular trips to the Safari Extensions Gallery. Lots of useful stuff is there which makes my browsing that little bit better. Before I get onto the main topic, DaringFireball with comments is fun to have, if you read John’s website often. It’s amazing how these extensions open up the web in little ways.
That’s in fact what Ghostery does.
It’s an extension that reveals what happens behind your browsing habits; showing you what on the web is tracking you. ‘See the invisible web’ as they say. Ghostery also blocks your activity from those companies accumulating this information. I didn’t think all that junk out there was tracking me as I strolled to my favourite websites and they ALL want a piece of that juicy statistical pie.
As an aside, I didn’t even know Facebook tracked you outside of Facebook.com until I read this article. I should have been wiser to that when their ‘Like’ buttons started appearing everywhere. Not only do they record what you ‘liked’ when clicking the button (which I don’t click anyway) but as I understand it, they know where you go on the web when your browser loads their icons. (This also means all the other like buttons from Google+, Twitter and so forth do the same thing. Ugh).
I felt kind of dum, I’m more savvy than this but these companies are relentless in their pursuit for constant information to then sell on to others for better targeted adverts.
Thankfully Ghostery is really easy to install.
Using Ghostery makes everything a bit more honest and transparent, though slightly depressing because of its scale and because I consider this type of stuff in the same league as malware and viruses but unaccustomed to it because I’m on a Mac and I have to install software to block it.
Ghostery can be found here and here. The number of trackers vary from page to page, so while I remember using Ghostery since Safari allowed extensions, I was aware of the two or three instances where it would catch small things, mostly Google Analytics and DoubleClick. That was until I came across a North American website last week (which I can’t recollect now and isn’t the same one in the screenshot above; that one is even worse and needed screen grabbing) and Ghostery found and blocked 12 instances, 12! Crazy to think there are that many tags to a single page. I did however write down on paper what they were:
- Baynote Observer
- Comscore Beacon
- Facebook Connect
- Facebook Social Plugins
- Google Analytics
- Google Website Optimizer
The twelfth interview from a series of interviews with Photographers and iOS Developers alike. All of them develop portfolio Apps for Apple’s iPad and iPhone in some way. This interview is with Alrik Swagerman based in Rotterdam. Co-founder of the online portfolio service Viewbook.com.
Viewbook can be found at any of the links below:
The third in the series of interviews with various Photographers and iOS Developers. All of them develop portfolio Apps for Apple’s iPad. This interview is with UK developer Nick Kuh of Portfolio To Go.
Nick Kuh is a freelance iPhone/iPad Developer based in Brighton, UK. Nick is also responsible for various Apps on the Apple App store, one of them in particular is Tap To Facebook Chat.
Portfolio To Go can be found at any of the links below. A PDF version of this interview can be found here:
What gave you the inspiration to write Portfolio To Go?
I wrote and submitted the first version of Portfolio To Go before the iPad launched in the UK. I’d already authored a number of iPhone Applications and I wanted to build an app that would run on both iPhone and the new iPad. My wife, Nicole Carman (www.nicolecarman.com) is a photographer and when she visits new clients she often carries a large portfolio of her printed work. With it’s beautiful large, high res screen I felt the iPad could be the ideal replacement tool for photographers and artists who need to take their portfolio to go!
Who are you? Are you a photographer? Tell us a bit about yourself or the Portfolio To Go team.
I’m a freelance iPhone/iPad Developer. My wife is a photographer.
Is this your first App for iOS?
No – I have about 8-10 apps in the App Store, a combination of personal projects and commercial work.
Do you write any other Apps for iOS?
My most popular app is also my most recent. Tap To Facebook Chat (http://www.facebook.com/taptochat) enables users to Facebook Chat with Friends all on one screen. Built for iPhone and iPad in partnership with Chris Ross (http://www.hiddenmemory.co.uk) we developed a free, ad supported version and a paid version. Our app has been downloaded 60,000 times in the 3 weeks it’s been live.
Will you write other Apps for iOS devices? More importantly, photography related ones.
I will continue to write apps. I don’t have plans for further Photography apps at this stage although another of my apps – Buddies Facebook Browser also focuses on Photos for Facebook users.
What is notable about the photo function in the Buddies Facebook Browser? I read a 4 star review on iTunes, it stated that for a facebook app it seemed more concerned about the photo features (and chat) than anything else.
Buddies enables users to create Facebook photo galleries and add photos from their iPad. Buddies batch uploads multiple photos in the background while the user continues to browse Facebook. Users can even create Facebook galleries and add photos when they’re not connected to the Internet – Buddies just syncs their changes the next time they connect.
You released Portfolio before iOS 4.2. Did coding for iOS 4.2 make much of a difference compared to iOS 3.2?
There’s not much work involved if you’re a competent iOS developer. You have to be aware of Apps going in and out of the foreground rather than actually shutting down and restarting but Apple makes this process pretty straight forward for developers.
How long did it take to write Portfolio To Go?
Erm… I didn’t really keep count. It’s an ongoing process so the hours will have built up a lot over time. Maybe around 6 weeks development total.
Where do you want to take Portfolio To Go with future updates, where do you see yourself in a years time?
I get a lot of positive feedback from customers about Portfolio To Go which is always nice to receive. I don’t have imminent plans to update this app as it does everything I set out to do with the app. It does provide a beautiful way for photographers to show clients their work.
It’s admirable that you set out and achieved what you wanted to do. Not many individuals can actually say that. So you don’t feel any pressure from the competition then?
No, I don’t feel any pressure. Personal apps are my secondary source of income – I make my main living from working on commercial projects. Obviously I want my apps to do well though!
What do you as a Developer/Photographer want to see in the next iPad, either to aid your Apps or just for your own pleasure?
I’m pretty happy with the current iPad, it’s miles ahead of anything produced by the copycat competitors!
How do you see this market developing as we go forward? Are you concerned about the ‘race to the bottom’ and copycat apps affecting this class of applications?
Portfolio To Go was about the first Portfolio App specifically for iPad in the App Store I think. Now-a-days there are quite a few competitors. It does amaze me how expensive some of the competitors are pricing their apps. So high in fact that I haven’t checked out most of their products – so who am I to judge!
Some competitors are incorporating features so artists can display video work alongside photographic work. Other Apps offer the ability to brand a home screen using light editing tools. Do they sound like something you’d want to implement at some point?
Portfolio To Go is a Playback app. These kind of features would be better suited to an app that also incorporates editing. That’s never been my goal with PTG.
Are you a one-man operation or is this a group effort?
Where are you based and where have you seen the greatest uptake of Portfolio To Go at the moment?
I’m based in Brighton, UK. The US is the strongest market for every App I’ve developed.
Why is the US your biggest market do you think?
The US has the largest base of iPad/iPhone owners out of all the different App Store countries. Unless you’re making a country-specific app such as National Rail or London Tube apps you are likely to see that majority of your sales coming from the US. That’s been my experience.
I found the built in Photo Application rather lacking for a Pro Photographer, others will feel it’s good enough. Were you concerned of your App’s uptake by other Photographers before committing yourself to creating Portfolio To Go?
Portfolio to Go began as a learning experiment. I wanted to make my first iPad App and also something my wife would be able to use to show her work to clients. Portfolio To Go was less business driven (like some of my other apps) and more about learning iPad Dev skills. So no, I wasn’t concerned.
Can you explain anything about the creation process behind your app? Did you involve other photographers or even editors to ask what they would want in a digital portfolio that attempts to replicate the printed portfolio and presentation?
Primarily I see the iPad as a ‘Playback Tool’. It’s a beautiful device and it’s great that there are so many apps out there that enable you to achieve all kinds of complicated functions. However, I like to use the iPad for consuming content – browsing Twitter and Facebook using Flipboard, viewing photos, reading news etc. The default photos app is great but it requires you to connect to iTunes and sync photos each time you take a new set. My wife (and millions of other photographers) use Flickr.com to upload and organise their photos using Flickr’s online sharing service. Portfolio To Go updates itself automatically with your Flickr portfolio so it can be used as a Playback tool and not an Authoring tool. I think it does that really well.
That’s a clever feature because you actually start to spend less time ‘working’ on the iPad, those use to the keyboard and mouse will feel they are more productive. But Apps in general are trying to get us to do more with our iPads. So Portfolio To Go goes against the trend of enabling the iPad to do more. That philosophy also allows Portfolio To Go to literally live up to its name.
I believe in creating good user experiences and Apple encourages that. Less is often more when it comes to user experience if your app achieves its primary purpose well. Portfolio To Go has won an iPad App of the Week Award from Apple BTW!
How do you see Portfolio To Go existing alongside a traditional portfolio? I think such presentation apps done right are good enough to replace the printed portfolio. If the photography is good enough then it won’t matter how they are presented.
I think Portfolio To Go serves this process well. Numerous photographers have written to me to let me know how PTG helped them win new clients. Ultimately I see the App’s purpose as an introduction to a Photographer’s work and not a replacement of print in general though.
A review of Portfolio To Go can be found here: Portfolio To Go.
Coming soon: Interview and review for ‘Collections for iPad’ by Tiger Ng.
The second in the series of interviews with various Photographers and iOS Developers. All of them develop portfolio Apps for Apple’s iPad. This interview is with UK photographer/developer Paul Freeman of FolioBook.
PDF version can be found here: FolioBook Interview
Paul Freeman is a photographer and designer who started his career as a research scientist in Hewlett-Packard’s artificial intelligence research laboratory. He has been involved in hypermedia since the late 1980’s. A professional advertising and architectural photographer since 2003, his latest personal work is Space Lands (www.paulfreeman.com). His architectural work is featured at www.architecturalimages.co.uk.
FolioBook can be found at any of the links below. A PDF version of this interview can be found here: FolioBook.
So with our first question what gave you the inspiration to write FolioBook?
I’ve been involved in both content creation and hypermedia for twenty years or so, when the iPad emerged I saw it as a way of doing some exciting new things with photography and hypermedia. A large part of it is the desire to do something really interesting with pictures on one of the coolest computers created so far.
And are you also a photographer yourself?
Yes, I’ve been some kind of a photographer since my dad introduced me to developing black and white at the age of 8, and a professional for the last few years.
Is this your first App for iOS?
No, there are a couple of others that I worked on as prototypes but decided not to release.
How easy was it to code in order to create FolioBook? How long did it take to get FolioBook to Version 1?
In a sense it took me 20 years as I’m applying techniques and knowledge to the app that I started developing as long ago as 1989 when I first started thinking about electronic publishing. It took me about six months to learn enough about the iOS platform to attempt it. Apparently a nine year old can write apps, so its as easy as the app someone wants to create. I’m really a designer not a coder. When I say ‘designer’ I mean the internal design as well as the visual appearance. I’m more like the architect who builds the house than a bricklayer, but I can make a reasonable job of laying bricks when I have to.
You state it took you 6 months to learn enough about the iOS platform to eventually start coding for it. Is that something anybody could do or did your previous career as a scientist help you?
Let me break this down a bit. Any competent programmer can learn the basic structure of an iOS app in a couple of hours. In fact XCode can generate an ‘app’ for you in about 10 seconds, but it doesn’t do anything interesting. The thing that takes the time is understanding how to use the Apple libraries to achieve what you want to. It took me 6 months to develop a certain kind of ‘skill’ which I needed to do what I wanted to do. I could have built a fart app in a day.
However you ask ‘is this something anyone can do’ and the answer to this is that no, not every one can do it. Good programmers tend to be born not made. Anyone can learn the basics but not everyone can stick with it to become good at it. Anyone can create some kind of drawing, but only Michaelangelo can create one of his drawings. Software is more like art in that technical respect than people generally realise. In this respect it’s very different to plumbing or bricklaying.
Do you write any other Apps for iOS?
No, one is enough for now, I want to leave enough time to shoot more work as well as gaze at a computer screen.
Will you write other Apps for iOS devices? More importantly, photography related ones?
Maybe. But for the immediate future Foliobook will remain the focus, though there may be spin-offs that are closely related to it.
FolioBook is a relatively new App in the App Store. Arriving after the release of 4.2. Did coding for iOS 4.2 make much of a difference compared to iOS 3.2? 7a. What made a difference in iOS 4.2?
No, not a lot of difference except that Apple has added a few nice additions to their API which makes it possible to do more interesting things with the media. Also some of the bugs in iOS 3.2 were removed, so that helped a bit.
How long did it take to write FolioBook?
I didn’t count. Lets just say I haven’t slept much since May 2010.
Where do you want to take FolioBook with future updates, where do you see yourself in a years time?
I like to keep the plans for Foliobook fairly close to my chest, what I can say is that the current version is only about 10% of the vision I have for the product.
Quite a vision, you believe you have ample opportunity to take FolioBook beyond replicating the behaviour of a printed portfolio then?
Yes indeed. You only have to look around the app store, eg: at something like ‘The Elements’ to see the potential. The next release of Foliobook will include a video capability that we think is going to be ground breaking, at least in terms of portfolio type apps. I won’t say too much because I don’t particularly want to help competitors, but clearly an app like this has to handle many types of content not just still images. Some competing apps have given lip service to multimedia but have failed to make navigating it a pleasant experience. This will be the next step for us.
What do you as a Developer want to see in the next iPad, either to aid your Apps or just for your own pleasure?
More memory! Its quite ludicrous that there is about half the RAM on the iPad as the current iPhone 4, and that when my app starts its lucky to get 25Mb to start up in. For my own pleasure I’d like to see the device lighter in weight, with a warmer rear surface so that I can comfortably read an electronic book in bed.
This question is in two parts: Considering how new your FolioBook is, I’ve already seen FolioBook vs PadPort in discussions and Google search results. You have a competitor with a similar feature set. How do you see yourself differentiating from your competitor/competition?
It’s interesting you mention PadPort because I only became aware of their website shortly after launching Foliobook in August 2010. I don’t consider them a serious competitor at this point as their feature set and usability is behind either Foliobook or Portfolio for iPad. Their intent seemed similar to ours, but when I came across them they had no software only an idea and a nice website/logo. It seemed to take them a long time to get to market, so I wondered if their aspirations rather outstrip their ability. I’m quite disappointed with their current release as it is buggy and doesn’t support portrait orientation.
I should point out that while Padport seems to have converged independently on a similar-ish interface idea that there is at least one other app which seems to plagiarise the basic presentation of Foliobook. While imitation is a sincere form of flattery, such developers should expect to face very robust competition.
Foliobook by the way was the second app in the market after FlexFolios and was the first app that tried to put the images first. Of the competing apps I see, Portfolio for iPad is a serious contender at the moment. The developer of that app has focused on getting the nuts and bolts right. There is a general misapprehension that software is all about having a really unique idea, but an idea isn’t much use if the execution of it is poor. So far none of the portfolio apps are what I would consider ‘great’ and this is much to do with the details as the basic idea. My focus is on making Foliobook ‘great’ but that will take a little more time.
But also, How do you see this market developing as we go forward? How do you see yourself differentiating from the competition in the future when there will be more competitors? One reaction is to drop the price in order to compete and/or develop for another platform. Are you concerned about the ‘race to the bottom’ and copycat apps affecting this class of applications? What do you think?
The differentiation will not be by cutting prices but by increasing value. Good apps will become more expensive, there won’t be hundreds of them because they require more investment than ‘joke’ apps like you find on an iPhone. Once an app is good enough it can charge double or treble what Foliobook costs today. To reprhase… how is it that people buy Apple laptops for twice the price of generic laptops running Windows? Clearly price isn’t the right variable to focus on.
Are you a one man operation or is this a group effort?
It’s a group effort. When possible I spin off chunks of work to collaborators, but I have to stay in control so this is done fairly carefully. I involve other developers when necessary and also a graphic designer as well as a usability consultant. In addition we have a couple of business angels beating on the door offering investment funds which we may need in future. And of course I have a cadre of top photographers who act as a focus group.
Where are you based and where have you seen the greatest uptake of FolioBook at the moment?
I’m based in the UK, the US is the biggest market. There are more iPads there than anywhere else, ‘Simples’!
I found the built in Photo Application lacking anything for a Pro Photographer, others will feel it’s good enough. Were you concerned of your App’s uptake by other Photographers before committing yourself to creating FolioBook?
No. Originally I developed it for myself as I wanted a way to show off work. Actually I developed a couple of different demo apps, showed them to some top advertising photographers over a coffee and they wouldn’t let me leave without promising to turn Foliobook into a product. Some of the ideas in the other demo apps will be added to later versions of Foliobook.
Can you explain anything about the creation process behind your app? Did you involve other photographers or even editors to ask what they would want in a digital portfolio that attempts to replicate the printed portfolio and its presentation?
Already answered in part. However as a professional photographer trying to raise my profile I have a lot of experience with showing my work to agents, art buyers etc. So I know first hand about what is needed.
How do you see FolioBook existing alongside a printed portfolio?
I know some very highly paid photographers who have not sent a printed portfolio out for two years. For established people, often a web-link is all thats needed. Theres no rule. For some people there will be no point in spending £2000 on a pair of books bound by a craftsperson in Clerkenwell, it won’t get them the job. Obviously it depends on to whom and in what context you are showing the work. In some cases you will be laughed out of the room if you don’t show a print portfolio, in other cases it just gets in the way and costs a lot of money. Also, increasingly the sort of people who need those expensive printed books will have to include motion in their portfolios, and until they figure out how to print a movie onto Photo Rag, the iPad will be the best option.
And just wrapping up, anyone notable who is using FolioBook?
Some top photographers using it include Michael Prince, Julian Calverley, and Brian Smith, though there are quite a few others of note who I haven’t asked for permission to mention their names. When the motion capability is added I think there will be some pretty interesting people who start to use it. The Foliobook Hall of Fame is a good place to see some of the fantastic work people are showing with the app. http://www.foliobook.mobi/hall-of-fame/
A review written in conjunction with this interview can be found here.