Third Party Photo Book Plug-ins You Can Use With Apple Photos Right Now

In the latest update to the Mac Photos App, Apple has enabled third parties the ability to write photo project plugins. Until now only editing plugins were available ie to retouch or add filters to your images.

Now there are a range of plugins available for printing your images and turning them into photo books.

Some of you may remember that there was the option of doing this in Aperture (rest in peace), however the selection available at the moment are very much consumer focused services and not the likes of Queensbury or Couture Books et al.

All you need to do is head to the App Store to find the appropriate app (links below) and it will install itself. When you launch the apps all that will show is a splash screen as the apps themselves are installed into the photos app as a project option in the sidebar on the left.

This is a little clumsy and I think the need to have an external app to do this is a bit confusing but nonetheless that’s how it’s done.

Here are some available right now.

1. Whitewall

Whitewall is a popular service for creating framed prints at lots of different sizes with lots of customisable options.

2. Mimeo

Mimeo has a similar offering to Apple’s own range of printable products but its always good to have a choice right?

3. Shutterfly

Shutterfly is another web service that has jumped into photos app integration. They have a huge range of products and often have sales and discounts making them one of the cheaper options.


So what's a HEIF anyway?

HEIF or High Efficiency Image Format is the new format that Apple is going all in on for their devices and products from the release of iOS 11 onwards (any day now). It will replace JPEGS as the standard format for iPhones (which happen to be the most used cameras in the world).

Of course any changes like this tend to cause panic amongst those used to doing things a certain way so we will take a moment to explain what HEIF is and how it will (or won't) affect you.

What is it?

HEIF is actually the still image form of the H.265 video format that is now a go to standard. The biggest advantage to you and me is that a HEIF file will take up roughly half the space of an ordinary JPEG but will actually be higher quality in terms of clarity and colour reproduction. This will mean you will free up a huge amount of space on your iPhone, as it is generally photographs that take up the majority of space on our devices these days, this is particularly useful for those who opted for a 16gb iPhone (I couldn't cope!).

JPEG (Joint Photographic Expert Group) has been around a very long time and significant advances have been made in imaging technology so it seems only right that it should now be replaced with a superior and more efficient format.

So other than space what else can this new format do?

The efficiency of HEIF means that it should also be less taxing on your devices processor and ultimately the battery too. Encoding of the format is hardware accelerated on Apple devices.

The other point is rather than being just a filetype, a HEIF is actually a container. What this means is that it can be more than just a simple image. It can be a collection of images and include sound. If that sounds familiar it should, Apple's Live Photo feature has these elements and this is partly why Apple are choosing this format as it allows them to experiment with photography on their phones with greater flexibility. It can also handle transparency like a GIF file.

The only way is up! Right?

There are no downsides I can think of in using HEIF over JPEG. Currently JPEG is king in the world of photography. Apple has made it clear that when using HEIF in iOS 11 - you won't notice any difference in what you do. The images are taken in HEIF but when you need to send them to someone or upload them somewhere they are dynamically converted to JPEG to ensure complete compatibility.

So you don't need to worry about converting anything or incompatibility. Basically until the rest of the world catches up and switches over, you will benefit from extra space and speed. When the world (and indeed the web) switches over to this format browsing websites will be much faster and that can only a good thing.


Is Apple working on an actual TV?

Some blurry shots surfaced today that seemed to suggest Apple may be working on creating a full blown television screen - jumping beyond the set top box market.

They seem to be in an acoustics testing facility.

It is said to be a 60 inch display completely encased in aluminium with cameras and microphones with all the electronics in a small area in the stand and featuring an OLED screen.

It may, of course, also be a next generation display for the upcoming Mac Pro redesign but at 60 inches it may be pushing the practicality a bit far.

Of course, many products Apple test never see the light of day but it would mark an expansion into consumer electronics that has been on the rise since the acquisition of Beats Audio and the release of AirPods, Apple Watch and the upcoming Homepod due to be released in December.

Do you think an Apple TV would be worth the inevitable premium? Would you queue for one?

P.s. What are these images always so blurry? HD cameras have been around for a while now. What gives?


Trust in your intuitions

Once I gave the headphones a thorough once-over exam, I tried them on. As I mentioned, they have a classic over-the-ear style and just looking at them, the padding on the ear pieces seem adequate and the peak of the headband seemed to be a bit lacking, but you don’t really know comfort unless you try on the product. So, I slipped the headphones on and found them to be exquisitely comfortable. Once I gave the headphones a thorough once-over exam, I tried them on. As I mentioned, they have a classic over-the-ear style and just looking at them, the padding on the ear pieces seem adequate and the peak of the headband seemed to be a bit lacking, but you don’t really know comfort unless you try on the product. So, I slipped the headphones on and found them to be exquisitely comfortable.

If no one hates you, no one is paying attention. If attention is what you want for vanity, confidence, or, hell — to make a decent living — then know that it’s not instantaneous. Every single person that you’re currently paying attention to, at some point in their lives, was in your exact position.

You need to be
true to yourself

Just like every other human on the planet, I have epically awesome days and days when life just turne against me. And while I can’t stand most self-help (see: tired quotes over stock photography on Instagram), sometimes I need a little pick-me-up. And most of the time, in order to get out of a slump (because my brain leans more into math/science than anything else), I need to drop a logic bomb on my ass.

Yes, this is a long article. But here’s the thing — if you’re reading this in your inbox and are already like, “fuck this!” delete it. No hard feelings. If you’re reading this in a browser on a website, and you see how tiny the scroll-bar is because of how far you still have to scroll to get to the bottom, close this tab and go back to 140-character tidbits of advice. Still with me? Phew. Just had to weed out all the folks from points: #1, #4 and #8. Welcome friends, onward we go.

Remember to
never give up

If no one hates you, no one is paying attention. If attention is what you want for vanity, confidence, or, hell — to make a decent living — then know that it’s not instantaneous. Every single person that you’re currently paying attention to, at some point in their lives, was in your exact position. They kept at it and worked enough so that others started listening. Also know that if no one is watching, you can experience true freedom. Dance in your underwear. Write entirely for yourself. Like there’s a going-out-of-business sale. Find yourself — not in some coming-of-age hippie way involving pasta and ashrams— but in a way that helps you draw your own line in the sand for what matters and what doesn’t. Do what you want to do, just because you want to do that thing. This will build confidence that will come in handy later.

Once I gave the headphones a thorough once-over exam, I tried them on. As I mentioned, they have a classic over-the-ear style and just looking at them, the padding on the ear pieces seem adequate and the peak of the headband seemed to be a bit lacking, but you don’t really know comfort unless you try on the product. So, I slipped the headphones on and found them to be exquisitely comfortable. Once I gave the headphones a thorough once-over exam, I tried them on. As I mentioned, they have a classic over-the-ear style and just looking at them, the padding on the ear pieces seem adequate and the peak of the headband seemed to be a bit lacking, but you don’t really know comfort unless you try on the product. So, I slipped the headphones on and found them to be exquisitely comfortable.

If no one hates you, no one is paying attention. If attention is what you want for vanity, confidence, or, hell — to make a decent living — then know that it’s not instantaneous. Every single person that you’re currently paying attention to, at some point in their lives, was in your exact position. They kept at it and worked enough so that others started listening. Also know that if no one is watching, you can experience true freedom. Dance in your underwear. Write entirely for yourself. Like there’s a going-out-of-business sale. Find yourself — not in some coming-of-age hippie way involving pasta and ashrams— but in a way that helps you draw your own line in the sand for what matters and what doesn’t. Do what you want to do, just because you want to do that thing. This will build confidence that will come in handy later.


Irvue: Beautiful Retina Wallpaper For Your Mac

Its time for our Weekly Tuesday Review and the first in a hopefully very long debut of awesome apps is Irvue.

Irvue is a simple Free app that displays absolutely stunning retina resolution images as your background which you can set to change at intervals of your choosing. It even allows you to download the images.

The app live in your menu bar at the top which allows you to adjust the settings and download images that you love.

I can't get across quite how beautiful some of the images are so here a few for your perusal!

You wont regret getting this one. Download Here

 


Going Paperless

My office is far from spacious and as such the paper mountain is just simply not an option. Despite most of the world going digital, so much of our lives is still paper based.

Until companies, governments and our employers get with the programme we still have to battle against the accumulation of dead trees.

This is where technology can really play its part in simplifying your life and streamlining how you handle your paper work.

The first thing you should think about is investing in a really powerful scanner. Not the kind for scanning photos but the kind that can scan quickly and two sides at the same time. The Fuji Scan Snap range of scanners are pretty flawless.

 

The Scan Snap ix500 is the latest from Fuji and packs many brilliant features but the most interesting is the ability to scan straight to you ios devices.

It is certainly not cheap but its super speed double side scanning and the fact it handles all different sizes of paper at once means you can fill it with invoices, bills, business cards and receipts and in a couple of seconds the whole lot is digitised.

There are lots of services and software out there for the storage of your docs. Here are some links to some that you might find useful.

Evernote - The ever useful and ever free evernote is superb for scanning to and is often integrated into the scanners software.[/one_half_last]

Paperless - I use this software as its very similar to the Finder you have on your mac and it has basic OCR (optical character recognition  what this means, in a teeny tiny nutshell, is that the documents you scan are converted into searchable pdfs, saving time in tagging and naming files as all the text is searchable.

Yep - This little gem is great for those of you that like to use tags to organise your world. You can download a demo from their website.

One of the other elements of my near paperless life is the ability to make reasonable scans with my iPhone. I only have an iPhone 4 and yet the camera is more than suitable enough to scan documents. There is an app that makes things very simple and that is Genius Scan.

There are hundreds of scanning apps for iPhones and I have tried many of them and this one is heads and shoulders above the rest.

The main trick for me is its ability to auto crop and size your snaps as well as converting to High Contrast black and white which means that those wrinkled up thermal printed receipts that are normally so difficult to capture are made super clear and easy to read.

What do you use? do you have any gems to share? If so please leave a comment below :)


Quick Tip: Mac - Unit Conversions in Spotlight Search

Spotlight search is such a brilliantly smooth and action packed feature of Mac OS.

One under utilised skill that spotlight posesses is the ability to convert units as quick as a flash.

Invoke spotlight search (⌘ + SPACE) > then type something along the lines of “588 rupees in pounds” and it will instantly display the resulting currency conversion and several other popular currencies.

Neat huh!


iPhone Quick Tip: Enable Field Test Mode For All Kinds Of Nifty Info!

Todays Nebula Tip is a nifty little trick to get the signal strength to display as a number on your iPhone, enabling a much greater ease of finding a good signal when out and about.

'By typing in a simple code on your iPhone you can enable certain information to be displayed that is otherwise kept from our reach by Apple.

The trick is enabled by dialling *3001#12345#* and then pressing the call button. Your iPhone will switch away onto a grey screen, after which you’ll see the extra information.

For me, the most useful change is it enables a number to display next to your signal strength which gives you a much better idea of how good your signal is, much better that just 4 bars at least. Maximum strength displays at around -40 and no signal is around -120.

If you would like to keep the number in the corner, instead of the usual dots, then simply hold down the power button. The message to turn the phone off will appear, and then press the home button.

The feature should then be enabled. You can switch between the two ways of viewing the signal by pressing on where they display, in the top-left hand corner.

 


Saving to PDF in iOS 9

iOS 9 was released earlier in the year but it is still possible to find a gem of a feature that has gone under the radar amidst the bigger changes and additions.

 

Saving web content as PDF documents has always been a handy way of saving receipts or booking confirmations online without firing up the printer and wasting paper and ink.

 

Now you can do it on your iPhone or iPad too.

 

All you do is whilst in the browser, tap the share button and one of the options will be save PDF. To iBooks. Once it is in there you can organise it.

Note that if you don’t see the “Save PDF to iBooks” option, tap “More” and ensure that it’s switched on in the list of sharing options. If it doesn’t appear in the “More” section, this means that the content type you’re sharing can’t be saved as a PDF.


El Capitan Is Here!: Heres What To Do To Prepare Your Mac

So finally, Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan is about to become available. Installing a new OS is perhaps the most intense thing you can do to your beloved mac and it should be done with care and following a few basic rules.

First of all BACKUP!

Make sure you have a sound backup via time machine and I would even go further and make a manual backup of your most important files to an external hard drive (i.e photo library, documents etc).

Space, space and more space.

Secondly, Make sure you have enough space on your hard drive. Typically you should alway be running Mac with at least 10-15% of your hard drive empty. This allows the Mac to utilise that space to aid keeping speed up. El Capitan needs roughly 15-20gb of free space to install.

Maintenance is Key!

Lastly, make sure your Mac is in tip-top condition before embarking on your upgrade adventures. This means clearing the decks of old files, emptying trashes and generally making sure the wild cat is purring before you give it a bath.

The way that we keep on top of maintenance of Macs for our own and for our clients is to use CleanMyMac by a company called MacPaw. This piece of inexpensive software is a marvel indeed. It allows you to scan your Mac for System Junk (Stuff thats left over when you install new software), Empty large caches of data, old iOS updates (which can be huge), unnecessary languages, these take up quite a lot of space. CleanMyMac also has a maintenance mode that will scan the Mac and go through all the protocols to make sure that the mac is functioning exactly as it should.

There are a lot of bogus Mac maintenance apps out there ( lets not even mention the keeper that shall not be named mac) but this one really does find huge amounts of lost space and keeps everything running smoothly. It even monitors your memory usage and allows you to easily check on attached drives via the menu bar.

If you are going to install El Capitan we would highly suggest you investing in CleanMyMac to make sure you start off in the best possible scenario for the massive brain transplant that is a Mac OS update!

 

Happy Mountaineering!

 

Click Here to Visit CleanMyMac