An ex-NASA engineer has launched Elysium Space, a new startup with the goal of sending spacecraft into orbit with the ashes of the deceased. Loved ones back on Planet Earth will then be able to monitor the location of the ashes from an app.
A spot on the first “memorial spaceflight”, which is expected to take off next summer, costs $1,990. Customers receive a kit with a metal capsule for storing the ashes and can attend the launch if so desired. The Elysium Space app is currently available on and an iPhone version is coming soon.
This isn’t the first such service – Celestis has been offering the service for over a decade. However, Elysium Space founder Thomas Civeit is putting his NASA experience to work at making it more affordable. By comparison, Celestis’s Earth orbit service costs at least $4,995, though the company does offer a $995 flight that goes up into zero-gravity and comes back down.
The timing of Elysium Space’s public launch is curious, as it coincides with the theatrical release of the unrelated film . Civeit asserts that’s a coincidence, as he chose the name two years ago as a reference to the Greek afterlife.
So far, the space burial industry has appealed mostly to public figures, such as astronaut Gordon Cooper, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and actor James Doohan (“Scotty” from the original Star Trek). For his part, Civeit says the market research he’s done suggests strong consumer demand for the service.
Time will tell whether said demand translates into actual capsule sales, but if it does, the sky’s the limit for this startup.
Image credit: iStockphoto
Have you tried to ? Facebook ads allow you to hit a user’s newsfeed based on their employer. This allows you to get the attention of influential people. What do you do if they don’t show up?
Custom Audiences is how to reach your intended audience with precision. You can upload lists of emails, phone numbers, UserIDs, and App User IDs to be used to target as few as a single person with precision. However, keep in mind that Facebook’s terms of service requires custom audiences to opt in, so play by the rules or put on your gray hat and cross your fingers.
If you can’t find your target’s email address, you can try common email formats such as or first initial then last name at company (). Test with a few of these, and/or look for an example by browsing contact information on the company website, or by collecting business cards at your next conference.
If you know your target’s Facebook URL, You can use their User ID as a target. Grab it by using Facebook Graph. For example, If you wanted to target the president of InfusionSoft, Clate Mask, who’s Facebook URL is Clate.mask.5, You would grab the ID from .5:
Once your list is ready, Go to the Advanced Options tab and enter the custom audience label. You can also use such lists as a negative audience in the Excluded Audiences field.
Keep your campaign budget low and on a schedule, since you’re trying to reach a select few. $5-10 a day for a week should be enough.
If your custom audience fails, see if the company is targetable as an interest – for example, Infusionsoft is not a targetable workplace, but it is a targetable interest:
Search for the workplace headquarters’ location, and hit the city it is based in. Infusionsoft is in Chandler, AZ:
Research how many people work at the company. If estimated reach is too low, you can use the “Include cities within _ Miles” box to increase it. Use the average commuting distance, since not everyone lives where they work. Look up your targets social profiles to check if they’re within radius.
Test success by . Search for information on social networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Each segment should target their gender, age range, or college degree.
Research niche interests such as their favorite sports team or main hobby, making sure to tighten the reach as much as you can. Users often have these interests listed publicly- Check the left side of their profile for likes:
However, Clate’s profile is private, so targeting would be a shot in the dark if you didn’t know him personally. Dig on social channels for hints:
If using a business as an interest, researching the ratio of fans to employees in the area using Power Editor lets you know how precise to be. Infusionsoft has around 300-500 employees to the total of 9,200 estimated likes nationwide, so 30.6 fans per employee. 25 miles around Chandler, AZ, there are 660 fans, so 2.2 fans for every employee (assuming only 300 employees).
Using helps further refine your targeting:
To recap, Custom audiences allow you to target users by:
- Email addresses
- Facebook UIDs / App IDs
- Phone Numbers
The default choice should always be opted-in emails, abiding by Facebook’s TOS.
You can also supply lists of User IDs that you can acquire using , or apps.
Lastly, Use phone numbers from business cards and other sources.
If Custom audiences fail to reach your target, try:
- Narrowing down by city and outlying areas.
- Tightening the age range.
- Researching hobbies / activities, using them as a precise interest.
- Workplace targeting. If unavailable, use the workplace as a precise interest.
- Partner categories, using it to further refine demographic info.
Readers, Do you have any tips to reach precise people with ads? Any success stories from these tips?
Dennis Yu has helped brands grow and measure their Facebook presences. He has spoken at Search Marketing Expo, Search Engine Strategies, Web 2.0, The American Marketing Association, PubCon, Conversational Commerce Conference, Pacific Conferences, HostingCon, Affiliate Summit, Affiliate Convention, UltraLight Startups, MIVA Merchant, and other venues. Yu has also counseled the Federal Trade Commission on privacy issues for social networks. Yu has held leadership positions at Yahoo and American Airlines. His educational background is finance and economics from Southern Methodist University and London School of Economics.
The Pirate Bay, arguably the most resilient file sharing website, was first founded on August 9, 2003, although it didn’t launch until September 15, 2003. Nevertheless, the group considers the former date to be its start, so today The Pirate Bay is 10 years old.
When it first arrived on the scene (pun not intended), The Pirate Bay was powered by just four Linux servers. Since then, it has fought back against multiple raids, legal problems, service issues, DDoS attacks, ISP blocks, domain seizures, and has thus moved its servers all over the world.
In January 2008, Swedish prosecutors filed charges against the four founders for facilitating illegal downloading of copyrighted material. In February 2009, they were put on trial and in April 2009, Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm, and Carl Lundströmwere were found guilty by the court, which sentenced them to a year in prison with a fine of 30 million SEK (approximately $3.5 million that year).
All four appealed the verdict, and in November 2010 the court shortened the prison sentences, but increased damages. In February 2012, the Supreme Court of Sweden refused to hear an appeal in the case.
As a result of the court case, ISPs have been ordered by governments around the world to block access to The Pirate Bay. Unsurprisingly, proxies have been to provide access to the site regardless.
Here’s the group’s triumphant blog post, typos and all:
Oh look, we made it.
A decade of agression, repression and lulz.
We really didn’t think we’d make it this far. Not because of cops, mafiaa or corrupt politicians. But because we thought that we’d eventually be to old for this shit. But hey, running this ship makes us feel young.
And we’re gonna stay young til we die.
Thank you for everything. We would not be anything without you.
Tomorrow, The Pirate Bay plans to throw a party in Stockholm to celebrate its decade-long existence.
Top Image Credit: RAWKU5
Apple has succeeded in winning an import ban against Samsung after the US International Trade Commission issued a final ruling that found Samsung to have infringed on two patents, as noted by FOSS Patents.
The final ruling was originally last week, but it was pushed back to August 9th. The patents in question are a software interface patent, which Apple refers to as the “Steve Jobs patent”, and a hardware patent for detecting when a headset is plugged in.
The ruling will undergo a 60-day presidential review before taking effect. Earlier this week, President Obama vetoed an ITC ban that Samsung had won against Apple. Samsung has already prepared workarounds for the technologies in question, but there’s no guarantee that the steps it took will prove sufficient once the injunction is active.
Image credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
Microsoft today announced the next Xbox 360 update will feature local currency. That’s right: Microsoft Points are finally going away.
The move has been a long time coming. While gamers have been hoping for the move for months, if not years, Microsoft finally confirmed the change during its E3 press conference in June, more than seven years after the console launched.
“This change was a direct result of customer feedback,” Marc Whitten, Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer for Xbox, said in a statement. “You told us you want to be able to buy things using money instead of points, and we listened.”
Yet the company wouldn’t say when exactly local currency options would arrive, and technically it still hasn’t. All we know is that whenever you update your Xbox 360 next (probably sometime this fall), Microsoft Points will be gone.
After the update, when you go to buy something or want to redeem Microsoft Points, you will receive an amount of currency “equal to or greater than the Xbox Marketplace value of your Microsoft Points.” The same goes for Points earned through Xbox Live Rewards: those will remain in your Xbox Live account and transition to local currency automatically.
Item prices will be expressed in your local currency, meaning you don’t need to calculate what an item costs, and you’ll be able to directly purchase content from Xbox stores using any current form of payment available in their region, including credit cards.
Starting in “late 2013,” you’ll also be able to buy new Xbox Gift Cards (also denominated in your local currency) through Microsoft’s online retailers and in local retail stores, which can in turn be added to Microsoft accounts. As for Microsoft Points Cards and codes, the company says it will continue to accept them “until further notice.”
Xbox One consoles will of course ship with local currency out-of-the-box.
See also – Microsoft’s Xbox 360 holds onto its US console sales crown for 30 consecutive months, moving 140k units in June and Microsoft finally gets specific about Xbox One’s internet connection, used games policy and Kinect privacy
Top Image Credit: Microsoft
One of the most popular promotions on the Discovery Channel — Shark Week — swept through Facebook. The official page for Shark Week grew in leaps and bounds, both in like totals and people talking about this, according to PageData analytics. From Monday, Aug. 5 (the first day of Shark Week), through Thursday, Aug. 8, the official Facebook page for Shark Week gained 99,592 fans. The biggest jump came Aug. 5, when the page acquired 33,488 fans. Over the past 7 days, the page jumped by 123,634 fans.
The page has grown steadily not only in fans, but in PTAT. Notice the huge jump in PTAT from Tuesday (139,874) to Wednesday (249,399).
On Wednesday, the Shark Week page , asking fans to share an image of a leaping shark if they’re a “FIN-atic.” The post included a link to Shark Week’s website. It was the most-shared post of Shark Week, as more than 5,800 people shared the photo and more than 39,000 liked it.
Two other photo posts during Shark Week also accumulated four-digit share totals:
- : Check out our at the featuring Blacktip Reef Sharks! Our LIVE diver chat starts at 12 EST, use #SharkCam for a chance to get your questions answered. (2,815 shares, 37,186 likes)
- : Wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle, yeah. http://bit.ly/19L0Zec (3,807 shares, 17,909 likes)
PageData shows that an overwhelming majority of Shark Week Facebook fans come from the U.S., but the page is also popular in Canada and Australia. Outside of the U.S., the page is also reaching people well in the Bahamas (0.17 percent of the population) and Puerto Rico (0.1 percent of the total population).
The Shark Week page was most engaging on Monday, which showed an engagement score of 11.31.
However, not all of the engagement on the page was positive Shark Week. Several posts from users, as well as comments on the pinned post, are users voicing their displeasure:
Readers: Did you post about Shark Week on Facebook?
Top and featured images courtesy of .
US President Barack Obama held a press conference on Friday to talk about sweeping reforms to be made following revelations of the National Security Agency’s Prism surveillance program. These new measures are intended to “increase transparency and restore public trust” in the government’s activities.Four new measures
The president says that while as commander-in-chief, he has a duty to protect the security of the country. But it’s not enough for him to have confidence in the security program, the public must as well. In light of recent public leaks of the government’s programs, he has consulted with his national security team and others to reform the system. With that, he has unveiled four new steps to reform the system:
Work with Congress on the part of the Patriot Act on how they collect phone numbers
Having a dialogue with Congress and civil liberty advocates, he wants additional safeguards such as greater oversight, transparency, and constraints on the government’s surveillance authority.
Work with Congress to improve public confidence in the oversight of FISC
To build greater confidence, he wants reforms in how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts approves wiretapping and spy requests from the Obama administration, saying that sometimes the judges hear just one side of the story, focused on security, but not liberty and privacy. He also wants to take steps to ensure that civil liberties are protected and that government’s authority is challenged.
President Obama ordered the Justice Department to be more public about its activities and release information about oversight. An internal NSA position will be created to focus on privacy to help ensure that Americans aren’t being spied on.
The intelligence community will also create a website to further this goal of educating the public on what the agencies are doing — set to be launched next week.
Forming group of outside experts to review entire program
Technology has given the government, and others unprecedented ability to track people and he is bringing on board an independent committee to review how surveillance technologies are being used, how to better protect civil liberties, and more. An interim report is expected to be released in the next 60 days and a final report by the end of the year.
Given the history of abuse by governments, it’s right to ask questions about surveillance by governments, particularly as technology is reshaping every aspects of our lives,
Nine weeks ago, Booz Allen Hamilton employee and NSA contractor Edward Snowden was the one who pulled back the shroud of secrecy around the program. President Obama defended the use by the government agency saying that it didn’t spy on any American citizens and that the public hasn’t been given the “complete story” behind what’s going on.
During the question and answer part of his press conference, President Obama said that Snowden is “not a patriot” and also said that there was other avenues for people whose conscience “questioned the government’s actions”. Prior to the leak, the president says he had signed an executive order granting protection to whistleblowers.
Following its disclosure, it was also revealed that many technology companies allegedly participated in providing the NSA access to customer data. The suspected parties include Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft, AOL, Dropbox, Yahoo, and others — all have denied direct involvement in the strongest words.
Whether this will have any sway in how the public thinks of its government and agencies remains to be seen. In a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted last month, more than half of Americans surveyed believe that even though Obama claims the NSA won’t violate people’s privacy, the country is most likely going to drive off the deep end.
Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
If you were to create a list of hot stuff on the Internet right now, lists themselves would earn a place on it. Ranker got its start with crowdsourced lists in 2009 and has since grown to monthly traffic figures of over 76 million page views from 7.7 million unique visitors.
Founder Clark Benson built Ranker with the proceeds from an earlier exit from Ecrush, the teen social networking site he helped found. Traffic grew steadily over the past few years, and Ranker has placed near the top 500 for traffic in the US and among the top 100 for US mobile websites, according to Quantcast.
Ranker appeals to that deep human need to weigh in with our opinions on even the most trivial matters. The site’s lists cover a broad range of topics, and visitors can either upvote and downvote existing lists or login and create “reranks”, custom versions of lists that are weighted more heavily than anonymous votes.
“Our goal is to be the Yelp of everything else,” Benson said in an interview, adding that Ranker isn’t particularly interested in competing with the likes of Yelp in the local and travel SEO.
Benson said that the original idea for Ranker was to base the site on user-generated lists, but things didn’t really take off until the team added in the anonymous voting button. By combining the two in one algorithm, Ranker struck a balance between passionate fans with mainstream folks.
Numerous answer and opinion sites have surfaced over the years, with Quora leading the current pack, but Benson views Ranker as answering the kinds of questions that have data-centric answers and can produce “meaty long lists that you can nerd out on.”
“The real thing that’s the secret sauce for Ranker is – unlike a lot of the other opinion [startups] I’ve seen where they tend to be a yes/no question with a single answer – if you’re into a topic, there likely isn’t only one answer for that topic,” Benson said. “What we do has more depth…People that like to rank things tend to have more hardcore nerdom,” he said.
According to Benson, the company recently had a profitable month, but it’s still in a growth phase and is actively hiring. Ranker completed a $2 million venture round from Lowercase Capital and Bullpen Capital in June, bringing its total capital raised to $5.1 million.
As you’d expect from a company that’s amassing large amounts of consumer preferences, Ranker’s data could be highly valuable to marketers and brands. The startup hasn’t aggressively pursued the option yet, but it has been posting insights from its data to and could gear up to leverage it as a revenue generator as early as next year.
Since Ranker users tend to vote across a variety of topics, the site has the ability to make connections between brands. For instance, it could show a cereal brand which TV shows its customers prefer to help it decide where to advertise.
Ranker’s current monetization efforts come mainly through third-party advertising and affiliate ecommerce revenue from lead generation in specific verticals.
Power users on the site comprise about 20 percent of the community. The average visitor votes on about 12 items per list and over 15 items per session, while hardcore users have ranked as many as 7,000 items overall.
The rise in prominence that Ranker has enjoyed has brought with it manipulators trying to game the rankings. Benson said the problem only became a major one this year. The company has added functionality to control for bias, agenda pushing and self-promotion.
Ranker’s lists tend to settle in to mainstream tastes, rather than those of experts or aficionados or connoisseurs.
Search engines are moving toward building their own opinion graphs. Google bought Zagat, for example. In that light, Ranker, with the millions of customer opinions it has collect, is bound to make the top of marketers’ lists in the near future.
is making it easier than ever to travel the world. While some people blame Instagram for creating a movement of cliché photography, even the most vehement Instagram hater would admit that Instagram’s 100 million users make it an extremely versatile tool.
In the most remote corners of the earth, smartphone users are uploading pictures of glaciers, deserts and mountain ranges — the likes of which your average Instagram user would never otherwise see.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Google has turned to GitHub to take two of its most popular Chrome experiments to the Open Source development community.
If you recall last July, London’s Science Museum entered into a year-long collaboration with Google called Web Lab, a collaborative project featuring a range of interactive Chrome experiments designed to bring the inner workings of the Web to life.
Visitors to the free exhibition, which will close this Sunday, were given five separate experiments to get involved with.
Simultaneously, online participants could also ‘visit’ from around the world to interact with the same installations. Each Web Lab experiment tapped a modern Web technology to explore a specific idea that’s relevant to computer science.
Even if you couldn’t tell a WebSocket from a wall socket, Web Lab demonstrated the power – and potential – of the Internet to in-museum and online visitors. You can read more about the exhibition here.
Sketchbots was one of our favorites from the original exhibition, and it’s certainly the most immediately awe-inspiring of the five.
Sketchbots are basically custom-built robots that snap a photo of you, and then sketch them in sand. This image is one taken of me, and it does look reasonably accurate.
Until fairly recently, drawing images in a standard Web browser wasn’t easy to achieve without additional software. But Sketchbot helps illustrate the latest version of HTML, which includes Canvas. It means you can draw whatever you like, including dynamically-rendered 3D graphics as you see in computer games.
Universal Orchestra, on the other hand, is an Internet-powered eight-piece robotic orchestra creating harmonious music. It encourages people from around the world (including visitors to the museum) to play music together, using real instruments live in the museum or virtual versions online.
You can choose from a selection of drums, temple blocks, vibraphones, marimbas and more.
The purpose of this experiment was to illustrate the power of WebSockets to enable real-time collaboration. The browser intervenes by taking the streams of notes played by everyone to transform them into pleasant music. So you don’t have to try and stay in-time with others all on your own.Web Lab lives on. Sort of.
Back in January, we asked Dave Patten, Head of New Media at London Science Museum, what the future would hold for Web Lab, and he said that while it hadn’t been decided, it definitely wouldn’t continue in London.
“We’re beginning to talk to Google about what they want to do with it at the end of the year-long phase,” he said.
“It won’t stay here, as we have something else lined up to replace it. It may go somewhere else, possibly in a modified form, or it might become something completely different,” continued Patten. “Or, it could be a one-off, and you’ll never get a chance to see this again. I’m not averse to that happening, there’s something quite nice about an exhibition that doesn’t go past its sell-by date, and either you got to see it or you didn’t. There’s some additional value sometimes if you can do that.”
As things stand, the exhibition does indeed look to have been a one-off, but at least elements of it will live on for developers to build on.
In the GitHub notes, , a Developer Advocate for Google Chrome who was involved in the Web Lab roll-out, says that Google “fundamentally believe that what we have learnt building and developing this project should be available for everyone to learn from and be inspired to build upon.” He adds that many new technologies were used for the project.
While some of the original code has been removed from what has now been made publicly available – parts that “detract from the core-experience” – the bulk of it is in there.
So this now means that developers can build hardware and the associated controllers – similar to what was on display at London Science Museum – on the original code-base. Anything could come of this really, and it Google’s taken the liberty to add extra elements to the Open Source version of the project, with Orchestra getting WebRTC.
For the uninitiated, WebRTC is an open source project for developers to let Internet users communicate in real-time with voice and video, simply by using a Real-Time Communications (RTC) compatible browser.
Google first started trialing WebRTC for Chrome almost two years ago, and it’s now at a stage to enable pretty flawless real-time communications. Firefox is also currently in the process of implementing the technology.
“WebRTC is starting to become ubiquitous in the browser,” says Kinlan. “With the Open Source project we wanted to demonstrate how easy it is to use and deploy WebRTC in real projects.”Potential projects
Now that it’s open to the development community, how does Google envisage the Web Lab code being used?
“The two experiments are very visceral and offer many possibilities for tinkering and experimentation,” says Kinlan. “While I was getting the project ready for launch, I discovered a company in London that makes a thermal printer, called Little Printer. I decided to buy one, and within a couple of hours I could send an outline of my face from the SketchBot to the printer. There are lots of ‘Maker’ projects like the PolarGraph or Lego MindStorm that could be hooked up quite easily.”
“The Orchestra is especially interesting to me because it was an area that I had no skills in before we started this project – it’s actually pretty easy to build your own instruments and hook them in to it,” continues Kinlan. “I was inspired recently by some artists in Liverpool (England), who hooked up lights to a MIDI controller and produced an amazing visual experience. It’s entirely possible to create something as amazing with the Orchestra experiment – you just have to build it!”
You can access the Open Source ChromeWebLab code on GitHub now.
Update: This post was corrected to state that the lab is open until Sunday from originally stating it had closed last month.
Twitter #Music for iOS gets new ways to discover music, artist suggestions based on your device’s library
Twitter today released the second update to its Twitter #Music app for iOS. You can grab the new version now directly from Apple’s .
Unsurprisingly, this update is completely centered on the discovery of music. You can now listen to an artist’s top tracks, check out similar artists, and “the artists that your favorite artist follows on Twitter.”
That last one is of course where things get interesting; many artists like to support each other with a simple public display on the social network. Now, there’s a greater potential the gesture will translate into more fans.
On the other side of the recommendation engine, the app now scans the music library on your device (Twitter specifically says iPhone, but there’s no reason why this shouldn’t also work on an iPod touch or iPad) and also keeps track of artists that you’ve tweeted about. Again, the idea is to bring Twitter and Twitter #Music ever closer together.
Here’s the full Twitter #Music 1.2 for iOS changelog:
We’ve added a bunch of new ways of discovering music. Listen to artist’s top tracks, similar artists, and the artists that your favorite artist follows on Twitter.
We also scan your iPhone’s music library now to suggest more relevant artists to you. And we show you the artists that you’ve Tweeted about so you can always get back to them.
Finally, we’ve localized #music into all of your favorite languages. If you’re one of those good looking people living in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, or Switzerland then we’ve got you covered!
That last part is a total of 12 new countries, all of which are in Europe. Twitter is slowly but surely ramping up the app to support all the languages the social network does.
As we said when the last update was released, there still doesn’t appear to be a Twitter #Music app for Android. We’ll let know when that starts to change.
Top Image Credit: iStockphoto
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Anyone that spends any significant amount of their day online (and particularly on social media) will see new viral content and memes as they emerge from their embryonic state, but eventually many of them make it to the wider mainstream media.
But how long does that process take? And where does it catch first?
Well, Meg Pickard, former head of digital engagement at the Guardian has put together a tongue-in-cheek diagram to show exactly how quickly and where exactly it spreads. Shortly after , Pickard got in to over the provenance of the ideas (bearing, as it does, a close resemblance to this one, in French).
Fear not, it all .
According to the Guardian, a loophole in National Security Agency (NSA) rules in the US allows for the spy agency to carry out searches for US citizens’ email and phone call details without the need for a warrant.
The NSA, whose surveillance activities (along with the UK and Germany) came to light following disclosures of classified material by former NSA agent Edward Snowden earlier in the year, can reportedly carry out ”warrantless searches for the phone calls or emails of law-abiding Americans”, according to comments from Senator Ron Wyden included in the report.
While the surveillance of foreign nationals looks to have been widespread, authorities were thought to have been unable to try and trace US individuals without a corresponding warrant under Section 702 of the of the Fisa Amendments Act (FAA). These disclosures would seem to challenge that belief.
Featured Image Credit – Getty Images
At this point, there’s no need for me to explain the popularity of smartphone photography or how it has changed the way we share our daily lives. Apple’s competitors continue to release handsets that offer new and improved camera sensors – the Nokia Lumia 1020 and Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom being the most recent – but the iPhone has always been the device to beat.
iOS photography apps are released and updated every week, so keeping track of them all can be pretty tough (not to mention a little daunting). For our money, these are the essential apps to keep installed on your iPhone.Shooting
Forget vintage filters, post-processing and the plethora of social networks waiting to be filled up with your awe-inspiring images. The act of capturing a photo is arguably the most important part of the entire process, so picking a decent camera app should be top of the list.
Knowledge is power, and Camera+ offers it in abundance. The app is one of a limited group that display the exact shutter speed, aperture, ISO speed and focal length. It’s not possible to change these settings – no iOS app can, for reasons unknown – but it’s still incredibly useful to have them on-screen.
The digital zoom and flash options are shown at all times, but there’s also a trio of additional shooting modes that aren’t supported in the default iOS camera app. These are the timer mode, which can be set to a 5, 15 or 30 second countdown, burst mode and a stabilizer mode. All are pretty competent and worth utilizing when out in the field.
That’s right, the camera app that comes installed on every single iPhone is also one of the best. It’s fast, lightweight and incredibly simple to use, which is part of the reason why so many photographers simply never look for an alternative.
It’s also the best choice for capturing those one time only, spur of the moment images that occur when you least expect it. The default camera app is available from the lock screen – you can’t switch it out for any other app – which ensures that it’s always the fastest way to fire off a single shot.
While there are plenty of camera apps offering specialized shooting modes, most of them look downright ugly. The interface is cluttered, or the creators have tried to emulate a traditional DSLR and ended up with a child’s play toy.
Moment is beautiful. Six tiny circles line up on one edge of the screen, providing one-tap access to the flash, on-screen grid, burst mode, timer and more. The only notable omission is being able to set the focus and exposure point independently – a useful feature also covered by Camera+.
Post-processing can sometimes save a terrible photo, as well as turn a pretty good image into something jaw-dropping. Emulating a piece of professional desktop software such as Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop is far from easy, but these app developers have nailed it.
It’s not hard to see why Nik Software, creators of Snapseed, were acquired by Google in September 2012. The app is like nothing else, giving users the ability to make ever so precise tweaks to the brightness, ambience, contrast, saturation, white balance and more.
The interface is refreshing and intuitive. Users tap and slide their finger vertically on the screen to switch between different editing tools. Once selected, swiping from left to right changes the intensity of the effect. It’s a little jarring at first, but within half an hour you’ll find it hard to use anything else.
Some of the biggest companies such as Yahoo, Polaroid and Squarespace have partnered with Aviary to leverage their professional editing features.
The company’s own iOS app is a delight though, offering an expansive blend of filters, frames and light-hearted stickers. For the more serious photographer, there are also numerous options for altering the depth of field, brightness, warmth and saturation. It does it all, no questions asked.
Some photographers will swear by the Adobe Creative Suite – or the Creative Cloud, as it will be known moving forward – so luckily there’s a mobile friendly version of Photoshop too.
It’s the most advanced on our shortlist, but also the trickiest to use. Similar to the deskop version, users can choose from a dizzying number of selection options, as well as the clone stamp, blur and smudge tools. Color balance, shadows and highlights, brightness and contrast, temperature and noise tweaks – it’s all here.
If you have some time to burn, this app will produce the best results.Sharing
The beauty of smartphone photography is that everyone can see your work immediately. One tap and they’re uploaded to the Internet, where anyone can comment, ‘like’ and share them with their peers.
Sometimes we just want our close friends to see our photos on Facebook, Path or Twitter, but if you’re looking for some constructive criticism these are our top apps to check out.
The platform has dropped in and out of popularity in recent years, but Flickr remains one of the best photography communities on the Web. Yahoo gave its iOS app a major overhaul in December last year, followed by a similar revamp for its Android app and website.
Users can review the most recent photos uploaded by other photographers and groups, as well as shoot a new image and apply some filters (supplied by Aviary). Best of all, photos can be added to an existing ‘set’ or group with geo-location data, tags and the like.
If you’re still uploading photos to Flickr from a traditional DSLR camera, this is a fantastic way of keeping everything together.
Instagram has a huge userbase and perhaps more importantly, people are opening the app and reviewing their feed on a regular basis. Instagram’s ease of use and uncluttered interface almost guarantees that your images will be noticed. Feedback, whether it’s a quick ‘like’ or comment, can be near-instantaneous and incredibly gratifying.
The square-crop requirement can be a bit of a pain sometimes, but that’s partly why Instagram has been such a massive success. Throw in the hipster analog-inspired filters, hashtags and people tagging, and its a difficult service to ignore. Instagram is here to stay, and rightly so.
Google’s homegrown social network is yet to find the mainstream success enjoyed by Facebook or Twitter, but it’s quickly grown into one of the most engaging platforms for sharing and enjoying photography.
Images look fantastic on Google+. Files are stored in their original resolution and the galleries and individual photo pages are beautiful to browse. The iOS app can be set to upload all of the images in your Camera Roll automatically – and it’s also incredibly easy to share a batch of photos both publicly and to specific circles.
We’ve stuck to three apps for each category, but a few others deserve mentioning:
Have we missed anything? As always, sound off in the comments below!
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Image Credit: ANA AREVALO/AFP/GettyImages
A design graduate from Coventry University has caused a bit of a stir with Apple fans by mocking up an imagined version of the OS X operating system that takes design cues from the company’s iOS 7 platform for the iPhone and iPad.
Obviously, the concept designs (called OS X Ivericks) are just his thoughts and not a reflection of any known Apple plans but perhaps they should be, judging from how quickly the mock-ups are spreading across the Web.
The designs include small tweaks to the home screen, a redesigned Finder, Contacts, Calculator, Notes, Notification Center, a mini iTunes player and more. Check out the shots below, or for more.
Featured Image Credit - Kim White/Getty Images
How do I switch it off? Virgin Atlantic Little Red passengers to get live in-flight comedy and music
Virgin Atlantic is going to start providing passengers on some of its Little Red flights with live in-flight comedy acts and other entertainment, beginning this month for people travelling between Heathrow and Edinburgh.
Starting soon, comedians on their way to the Edinburgh Comedy Festival will get a last-minute chance to hone their material and give it a final live run through before reaching the festival gigs, and passengers on board will get a chance to a sneak peek of some material.
According to The Telegraph, the full line-up of acts will be revealed through Virgin Atlantic’s social media channels. Virgin is also planning to offer live music acts on some flights from September, including those travelling between Heathrow and Manchester in a bid to help its freshly launched Little Red service win customers from rival airlines. Quite what you do if you have no interest in seeing comedians or other entertainment on board is another question, though.
Check out the video below to see Rhys from Flight of the Conchords recanting his “worst gig ever”.
Featured Image Credit – Getty Images
According to a recent survey among 9,000 Facebook brand pages, 7 percent of all posts published are considered spammy by the users. It is Komfo – a social media marketing suite provider – who has conducted the research and it further shows that the lead to a significant decrease of the reach of the pages.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
If you ever find yourself struggling to catch twenty winks on a transatlantic flight, might just come to the rescue.
Airsleep serves up a number of ambient sounds to help cancel out cabin noise, and promises to guide you into the land of candy floss clouds for some slumber.How it works
First up, click on ‘Depart Now’, and you’ll see a library of sounds – Rainy Day, Beach Sleep and Desert Wind. These are the free sounds, and you’ll have to cough up $0.99 to unlock additional efforts, such as Monk Chants. Part of me wishes it said ‘Monkey Chants’, but I digress…
Now, these are downloads, so you’ll have to set this up before take-off. It takes just a few seconds though, and then you’re good to go. Plug your earphones in, and hit the Start button.
The default program length is four hours, but this can be adjusted by shifting the little slider accordingly. Also, you can select to be awoken by a Chime, Gong, Harp, Xylophone or Bell.
Airsleep isn’t the most elegantly designed app in the App Store, but if you’re looking to try out some of the free sounds available to see if it can help you grab some much needed zeds before you hit the tarmac, well, it’s worth your time.
Disclosure: This article contains an affiliate link. While we only ever write about products we think deserve to be on the pages of our site, The Next Web may earn a small commission if you click through and buy the product in question. For more information, please see our Terms of Service
Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock
This week, High 5 Games is hiring an associate project manager, and WildTangent needs a marketing manager. Meanwhile, Warner Bros. Games is seeking a lead designer and a senior gameplay/tools engineer. Get the scoop on these openings below, and find additional social media jobs on Mediabistro.
- Associate Project Manager High 5 Games (New York, NY)
- Marketing Manager WildTangent (Seattle, WA)
- Lead Designer (Mobile) Warner Bros. Games (San Francisco, CA)
- Senior Gameplay/Tools Engineer Warner Bros. Games (San Francisco, CA)
- Senior Director of Advertising Sales SupersonicAds (San Bruno, CA)
Find more great social media jobs on our job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented AllFacebook pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow .
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Mobile messaging apps have become the heir-apparent to SMS, but what about calling? Some apps dabble in voice and video calling, but their usefulness relies on the other party downloading and using the app, while the quality of calls is often sub-par.
Step forward Maaii, a Hong Kong-based service that blends the telephony focus of services like Skype with the social approach of chat apps like WhatsApp and Line.
Like the Skype-out service, Maaii enables calls to regular phones across the world directly from the app. Users can purchase calling credit, as they do with Skype and SIP-based services, or alternatively earn it by completing tasks such as inviting friends to join, rating the app and more.
I earned $0.30 just by filling in my profile and was pleasantly surprised that a three minute call to a UK landline cost just $0.08 — while the quality of the audio was on par with a regular phone call.
The app includes all the usual features of a messaging apps too. When connected to the Internet, users can send unlimited text chat messages, share images, emoticons, stickers and push-to-talk voice messages. There’s even Snapchat-like photo messages which expire after 10 seconds.
The app also connects to Facebook to let you find and chat with friends from the social network. That’s very useful, but Facebook yanked the very same feature from MessageMe earlier this year so it isn’t clear if it can remain in the long-term.
That the app leans on telephony and has a Skype-style feel to it is no coincidence since Maaii is privately-funded by a Hong Kong mobile operator and led by Chris Lewis, who was formerly head of Skype in Asia.
Lewis tells TNW that the app has “millions” of users and is most popular in Asia — particularly China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand — and is charting growth in Middle Eastern markets like Saudi Arabai and Kuwait, where established apps like Viber are banned.
In a sign of its potential, Maaii added 500,000 new users in Thailand within 24-hours of introducing Thai language support.
Initially, Maaii used the sale of calling credit to generate its early revenue and gain traction, but Lewis explains that it is moving towards a more content-led approach. He says a forthcoming update will allow users to “personalize and customize their calling experience, and do much more than they can typically do on a regular phone call.”
That could include customized video calling messages — which display when a call is incoming from a particular contact — in-app sound effects and more.
Maaii is also moving towards a system that will reward users with calling credit when they engage with content, such as advertising or third-party game downloads, although that is a little further off.
Maaii’s background and focus on telephony services gives it a clear differentiator to the rest of the messaging market, and Lewis is confident that the app can co-exist with the likes of WeChat, Line and Kakao Talk, which boast user bases in excess of 300 million, 200 million and 100 million respectively.
The app feels like a mobile-first version of Skype, and for that reason I think Maaii is well worth an exploratory download.
➤ Maaii: |
Headline image via Thinkstock