Online Learning Sites

One of the benefits that can be appreciated about the world wide web is that it has provided to people is the ability to access information from wherever you are. While often there isn’t a replacement for learning something in person, online learning has its benefits. Sometimes it can be difficult to know where the best place to go. A few of the sites that provide a range of excellent instructional resources are:

  • TED: videos of presentations by people on a wide range of topics exploring new ideas. i.e. Teach arts and sciences together
  • Khan Academy provides free lessons on math, arts and sciences and includes content from partnered institutions.
  • is a subscription based service that provides a wealth including computer, business and photography video based courses and also some documentaries. i.e. Photos for macOS High Sierra Essential Training
  • iTunes U on iPad: Made to be used by classrooms there are courses from schools and universities that are available to be accessed free by anyone that has the app. Apple made some changes last year where it moved from a category in iTunes into the iPad app. There is still a section in iTunes for what Apple calls “Collections” while moving the main courses to the iPad app. After the change I looked at the iPad app and found it very well made in terms of organizing the information, ability to download content and adding your own notes. It would be good to see Apple make the app available on the Mac as well. i.e. Designing Interactive Systems WS 17/18” by RWTH Aachen University

Keeping a Photo Journal

A helpful way of organizing photos, in addition to your image catalogue, is to keep a photography journal. I find that it helps for identifying photo events: time and location. This can help for locating pictures elsewhere on the computer and any photographic details that may not be in the image data.

There are various ways of doing this. On a computer general journalling software is available that can be used as a place to enter a photo, comments and information. Another way for those that want a consistent manner of entering information is configure a database program to keep track of the details. The method I use is entering in a database program called Tap Forms, available for the Mac and iOS. In Tap Forms I have a form that provides a space for an image, date and a text entry field for comments. Syncing between devices means you can have the information wherever you are.

Yes, the new Apple Photos app can be used without iCloud

With the latest update of OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 Apple added the much anticipated Photos app. Photos which Apple developed to work more closely with the Photos app on iOS devices and in the process has meant the ceasing of development of iPhoto and Aperture.

While Apple advertises the iCloud Photo Library to sync photos it still remains possible to sync photos via iTunes for those that don’t wish to upload all of their photos. At the time 10.10.3 was released iTunes was also updated to support Photos. In order to change syncing from iPhoto to the Photos app, one needs to setup and resync the photos.

When opening the Photos for the first time it will ask about using the iCloud Photo Library at which time you can decline. To make any changes later go into the iCloud Preferences pane within Photos.

In iTunes after you have connected your iPhone or iPad select it and then find the tab for Photos in the Settings. Here there is an option with “Copy photos from Photos”  and then select which photos you want to transfer. You can transfer all photos or recent months or particular albums. When you apply the changes it will resync your photos.

My personal use of iPhoto at present (and now Photos) is primarily for syncing photos between the Mac and iOS devices. I also use it for the occasional project, such as gift cards. To avoid depending on iPhoto/Photos which hides the pictures in the Finder I import into a regular folder structure and use other software such as GraphicConverter to access the photos. Importing the photos can be done using Image Capture.

Some more tips for using the Photos app:

  • Select “Show Sidebar” from the “View” menu, in order to see albums listed.
  • Photos doesn’t appear to support Events, however, events in iPhoto are imported into albums.

OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 preview at WWDC

This morning Apple previewed the next versions of OS X: named Yosemite and iOS 8. Changes to OS X include a redesign of the user interface. While I think that they finally got things consistent throughout Mavericks and so not what I would say would make it a high priority, it will provide the option of a light or dark look to the UI. One of the major new features is Continuity that will allow one to move from working with one iOS device or Mac to another.

Some features for the camera and photos app will be access to all photos on all devices, via an enhanced iCloud service. One will be able to search photos and new editing controls within the photos app. Third party developers will also be able to extend with their own filters. In addition a Photos app that will be coming to the Mac next year.

The new updates will be available in Fall and look like they will have much to offer.

Bento and iOS 7

Unfortunately after today Filemaker will be no longer offering the easy to use database program Bento. If you use the Mac program and the iOS app one ends up with problems syncing after upgrading to iOS 7. The fix is to setup syncing as a new device.  Check the Bento forums, i.e. this thread for info.

Bento continues to work at the moment and hopefully Mavericks won’t cause any serious issues. That is what I find so problematic about Filemaker quitting development at this time, it is right at the same time as major operating system updates. If you want to check for other programs available, Bento users have posted a list of some of the options available.

Photography Assignment Generator apps for photography ideas

Noel Chenier, photographer and instructor, has created apps that are worth checking out providing photography ideas and information. They also allow you to get information on various techniques and types of photography. Along with each type there are several photos and tips to go along with them. You can choose a particular category or have the app randomly select one. He has created apps for use with DSLR cameras as well as one that is designed for those taking pictures with an iPhone.

Below is a link to the free version of the Photography Assignment Generator app.

iTunes Link

Mobile Bible apps and free NIV available with YouVersion

One of the things I like to use my iPod Touch for is reading the Bible. There are many apps to choose from with different features. The ones that I use are BibleReader and Accordance. Both of these are offline reading apps. BibleReader is available on a variety of mobile devices and has some excellent features, particularly the navigation to allow quick access to any verse. BibleReader 5 added significant enhancements to give it further capabilities for Bible study. The Accordance iOS app is fairly new and allows access to modules from the Mac program and its powerful search capabilities.

BibleReader iTunes link

Accordance iTunes link

One of the other Bible apps is the YouVersion Bible app allows for both online and offline reading. Right now until March 1, along with Biblica, they are offering the NIV translation free for offline reading on iOS and Android devices.

Youversion iTunes link

Photography apps on my iPod Touch

Following are some of the photography apps that are available for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

dSLR Toolkit for Dummies

iTunes Link

The dSLR Toolkit is an app that provides plenty of reference material and tools for you to make the most of your digital SLR. Some of the things it includes are:

  • information on how to take better pictures
  • settings to use for a variety of photography subjects
  • glossary related to digital photography
  • a place to take notes when you are taking pictures
  • a level for your tripod

Photo Tome

iTunes Link

If you like the section in the dSLR Toolkit section providing information on settings for different photography subjects then you’ll like Photo Tome. This app goes into more detail for the settings covering a wide range of topics from “Aquariums” to “Zoos”. For each subject it provides suggested camera settings, a description of the topic, along with a sample photo. It also provides some tips. A place for your own notes is also provided.


iTunes Link

With Impression you can easily add a watermark to your pictures. Simply select a photo from the photos on your iPhone and add text to it. Additional features are available with an in-app purchase.

Bill Atkinson Photocard Lite

iTunes Link

Photocard and Photocard Lite are apps that allow you to send an ecard that looks like a postcard. On the front of the card one selects a photo from one of the provided photos or one that is on your iPhone. On the back one selects one of the pictorial stamps, enter the name and address of the person you are emailing it to and your message. Photocard Lite is free with a limited number of supplied pictures and stamps. The full app provides more supplied pictures and also has an option to have your postcards printed and mailed.

Adobe Photoshop Express

iTunes Link

One of my favourite apps is Photoshop Express, it is a simple Photoshop program from Adobe for the iPhone. It has functions allowing you to make image adjustments, apply effects and add borders to your pictures. After making changes you can save the pictures or share it with your friends by email or social networks.

Color Splash

iTunes Link

ColorSplash is another image manipulation app that has one function and that is to emphasize one area through colour, while leaving the rest grey. When you open a picture in the app the picture will be grey. Using your fingers bring out the areas you want in colour. It is possible to switch back and forth between colouring and turning areas into grey and zooming and moving until you have the picture looking like you want.