Category Archives: app of the week

Prisma – iPhone App of the Week

Tyntesfield House

Prisma App of the Week

prisma

This is usually a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available, though it has been three years since I last did a post in this series… Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

This week’s App is Prisma.

Prisma transforms your photos into artworks using the styles of famous artists: Munk, Picasso as well as world famous ornaments and patterns. A unique combination of neural networks and artificial intelligence helps you turn memorable moments into timeless art.

Free

As I write this is very popular in my networks and I see it all over Instagram, Facebook and the Twitter.

Prisma really doesn’t do much which is new, it takes your photographs and applies artistic filters to them. There are many apps like this, I have reviewed others in this series. However where I think Prisma really stands out is the quality of the filters and the results you can get. Another key aspect is that it is (currently) a free app.

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VideoScribe HD – iPad App of the Week

VideoScribe HD – iPad App of the Week 

VideoScribe HD - iPad App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

VideoScribe HD

This week’s App is VideoScribe HD.

Update: Sparkol have replaced this app with VideoScribe Anywhere.

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ToonCamera – iPhone App of the Week

ToonCamera Image

ToonCamera – App of the Week

tooncameraicon

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

This week’s app is ToonCamera.

ToonCamera is an amazing video and photography app that turns your world into a live cartoon. Apply real-time cartoon and art effects to your camera feed, record video, snap photos, and convert existing video and photos from your albums to create instant works of art. Save your creations and share them with friends through email, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Instagram, and YouTube, all from within ToonCamera.

£1.49 (currently on sale at £0.69)

ToonCamera

I have an infinity for various apps that convert images into cartoons, one of my favourites has to be Paper Camera. Another app has recently found favour with me is ToonCamera.

ToonCamera is a lovely way to create cartoon images and videos. You can either use images you already have, or use the camera to catch images and video live. It also an universal app so works equally well on the iPad as well as the iPhone.

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You can apply effects on the fly or after you have captured the image.

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There are various tools that represent crayons, pencils, ink, paint. You can also adjust the “thickness” of the strokes.

What for me is a weakness is that it is difficult to ascertain what each of the tools or effects do, so as a result it can be challenging to create a similar effect across a range of images, especially if you are using the app at different times.

After creating your image you can then save to the camera roll or share to various social networks and online services.

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This is a really nice app for creating cartoon style images. These images could then be used in other applications such as Comic Life or Keynote.

Get ToonCamera in the iTunes App Store.

Frame Magic – iPhone App of the Week

FrameMagic - iPhone App of the Week

Frame Magic – iPhone App of the Week

FrameMagic - iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

This week’s app is Frame Magic Premium.

Your best collage maker with tons of layouts, endless options and unique decorations!

150 customizable layouts with up to 36 photos

£1.49

I have seen the results of this app many times on the Twitter and in Instagram, but I have never actually got around to using the app myself until recently.

Continue reading Frame Magic – iPhone App of the Week

Comic Life – iPad App of the Week

Comic Life Icon

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

Photo 02-04-2013 14 36 42

This week’s App is Comic Life.

Comic Life, the award winning photo comic creation software, has been redesigned for iOS. It’s the funnest, easiest and fastest way ever to create photo comics on a mobile device. Your comics come to life with our integrated reader on brilliant iOS displays. Easily go from taking photos to creating full comics all on one device with full page templates and panel layouts. Bring in photos from Photobooth or your library, and use our powerful editing and design tools to get exactly the look you want.

Comic Life 2.0 for iOS has everything you need for creating and sharing comics, including fun and quirky templates, stylized image filters, and an easy-to-use drag and drop placement. You have full control over the design of your comics with a huge selection design options – colors, fonts, gradients, balloons, captions, panels and more.

The Comic Life app is designed to parallel that of Apple’s iWork suite of apps, making it easy for you to transition your skills from Pages and Keynote to Comic Life. With similar tap functions and commands, it is simple to hit the ground running.

When your comic is complete, use the integrated reader to flip though the pages. You can also easily share your comic with other options: print, e-mail, or upload to Facebook and Twitter. Use the innovative In Tray option to share comics with nearby iOS devices. Comic collections provide a simple way to keep things tidy as the number of comics created on your iPad increases.

£2.99

I have been a fan of Comic Life for many years and when it came out for the iPad, I did buy a copy. I think this kind of app shows what a tablet, such as the iPad, can be used for, and certainly shows how it can be used as a creative tool. It was a good app with the first iPad, however it really came into its own with the release of the iPad 2 with the built-in cameras.

With the in-built cameras, it actually improves and speeds up workflow, compared to using a “normal” camera, iPhoto and an app like Comic Life on the Mac (or the Windows PC).

Comic Life is very much designed for working with photographs, though you can of course use drawings, but you would need to scan them in first. With a lot of scanners this means you also need a computer, however some of the HP all-in-ones use an in-built web server allowing you to scan and save the image direct to the iPad using Safari. This means you can use printed photographs or drawings too.

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Noteshelf – iPad App of the Week

Noteshelf Icon

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

This week’s App is Noteshelf.

The most beautiful note-taking app ever designed for the iPad. Noteshelf is the handwriting note taker that features super natural digital ink, a stunning UI and a comprehensive toolset that will increase the benefits of owning an iPad by leaps and bounds.

£3.99

I am still trying to work out the best way to take notes using the iPad, actually it’s not just about making notes, it’s also about sharing notes, annotating notes and transforming notes into articles, reports and other stuff.

I have already reviewed some note taking apps before, including Microsoft OneNote for iPad and Bamboo Paper however I realised I’ve not covered Evernote in this series, though that is one app I do use a lot, maybe that’s one for another week. I will also be looking at some other note taking apps too.

I do wonder though Noteshelf looks nice and has lots of nice features, if it is too pretty and is form over function.

Noteshelf App

The key with any note taking app, is, is it easy to use, does it allow you to easily make notes, annotate stuff and also share notes. Noteshelf does work better with a stylus.

What I like about Noteshelf is that there are lots of different tools allowing you to be very creative with your note taking. You can make your notes using a variety of paper types and pens.

Noteshelf App

Not a great fan of in-app purchases in many instances, however in this app they are mainly used to add features, rather than add functionality that should be in the app in the first place.

Yes this app is a little pricey to many note taking apps, but you will have the best looking notes on your iPad.

Get Noteshelf in the iTunes App Store.

Educreations – iPad App of the Week

Educations Icon

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

This week’s App is Educreations.

Educreations turns your iPad into a recordable whiteboard. Creating a great video tutorial is as simple as touching, tapping and talking. Explain a math formula… Create an animated lesson… Add commentary to your photos… Diagram a sports play…

With voice recording, realistic digital ink, photos and text, and simple sharing through email, Facebook or Twitter, now you can broadcast your ideas from anywhere.

Free

Educreations

There are quite a few so called whiteboard apps. These apps have a blank screen onto which you can write or draw. The session is recorded, along with audio, so that you can play it back later. I was introduced to this app by a colleague at work who has been using it for a while, and I think it’s a really useful app, though it is much more useful if you create a free Educreations account. As well as creating presentations, there are also lots available from other people. As you might expect the quality does vary a lot, but they certainly give you ideas on how the app can be used.

Starting the app you are faced with a blank screen with a toolbar at the top. The process is quite simple, press record, start drawing, press stop, upload, share. The app will record your voice and what you do on the whiteboard.

Educreations

There are drawing tools and a text tool. So as well as drawing you can also enter (readable) text. You can also import a picture (or diagram) from your camera roll (or use the camera). You can pause the recording, so as you add text and images as you go along without making the animated drawing (or presentation) too long.

The key with using these apps is not to try and record it all in one go, though obviously that is faster. A little preparation will really enhance your animated drawing. It also makes sense to do some planning in advance.

I like the fact that you can have multiple pages. This means you don’t need to try and do everything on one page, but you can prepare pages in advance too.

Another clever way of using the app, is to bring an image from your camera roll. Wikimedia Commons has some fantastic graphics and images that would work really well with this app. Likewise using something like Keynote you could produce some slides to place within your animated drawing.

Once you have finished, you save your work, and then decide where it is going to go. There are various privacy options, from only you can see it, to allowing the world to share in your creation.

Educreations

You can share the link on your social networks or usefully there is an embed code that allows you to add your drawing to a web page or the VLE.

Educreations

For me one of the downsides of this app is that you can’t go back and edit what you have done, no chance of correcting mistakes or redoing sections where you messed up. You would need to start all over again. As a result I could not recommend this tool for making long drawings or presentations. Much better to do lots of short drawings rather than one long one.

It might appear that a teacher using the app to create lessons is an ideal way of using the app, but one way that it could be used, if the learners had access to iPads would be for them to create lessons and then see if they could learn from each other. It is often said that one of the best ways of learning is by teaching to others; here is an ideal tool to do just that.

Get Educreations for the iPad in the iTunes App Store.

Flickr – iPhone App of the Week

Flickr – iPhone App of the Week

Flickr - iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

This week’s App is Flickr.

Get the power of the world’s largest photo-sharing site in the palm of your hand! The all-new Flickr App is a complete redesign of the previous version. It’s now easier to use, more beautiful and includes more of the great features you love using on Flickr.com

Free

Flickr Opening Screen

When the iPhone first had apps there was a Flickr app released, which to be honest wasn’t much good, so I used FlickStackr instead, which I did review back in 2010. Yahoo have now updated and released a new version of the Flickr app and I have to say I am very impressed with both the ease of use and the functionality. This is the app that should have been released back in 2010, it would have certainly made people think twice about signing up to Instagram. With their change in terms, more people now might want to look at Flickr instead.

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Keynote – iPad App of the Week

Keynote – iPad App of the Week

Keynote - iPad App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

This week’s App is Keynote.

Keynote is the most powerful presentation app ever designed for a mobile device. Built from the ground up for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, it makes creating a world-class presentation — complete with animated charts and transitions — as simple as touching and tapping. Highlight your data with stunning 3D bar, line, area, and pie charts, animated with new 3D chart builds such as Crane, Grow, Radial, and Rotate. Use full-screen view to present right on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. Or use video mirroring to present on an HDTV, and preview your slides and notes on your device using the Presenter Display. The Retina display on the new iPad makes everything you do in Keynote even more brilliant. Keynote works with iCloud, so your presentations stay up to date on all your devices — automatically.

£6.99 – Update, the app is now Free.

Keynote

I actually purchased Keynote (and the other iWork apps) before my first iPad had arrived so I could use these apps straight away. I remember trying out Keynote and been initially very impressed with the app and how it worked. I then rarely if ever used it for a while, hence it hasn’t featured in my App of the Week series until now. However in the last few months I have been using Keynote on the iPad for both creating, editing and presenting presentations. Though I much prefer the desktop version of Keynote, the iPad version certainly is very usable and has a lot of flexibility.

My reason for using it was one of convenience, but also as I was presenting about the impact of mobile devices I wanted to use a mobile device, not just for creating the presentation (or in some cases editing the presentation) but also for delivering the presentation.

Creating presentations in Keynote is simple, but the app is very powerful and has a lot of functionality. There are a lot of themes from which to choose, there is of course a smaller range than you get on the desktop app.

Keynote opening screen

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Podcasts – iPad App of the Week

Podcasts – iPad App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

This week’s App is Podcasts.

Podcasts app is the easiest way to discover, subscribe to, and play your favorite podcasts on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Explore hundreds of thousands of free audio and video podcasts from the Podcasts Catalog, and play the most popular podcasts, organized for you by topic, with the all-new Top Stations feature.

Free

One of the issues I have had with the iPad and more so with the iPhone is how awful they were when it came to managing podcasts. The only real way to make it work was to sync with iTunes and be done with it.

If I didn’t sync with iTunes and then tried to download an episode of a podcast that I was subscribed to in iTunes, but wasn’t “transferred” to the iPhone, then when I next synchronised with iTunes, I would have two “copies” of the same podcast. What made it worse was that then this would be synchonised and transferred to the iPod classic I normally use for podcasts resulting in a duplicate of the podcast feed and duplicates of the podcast episodes. That caused me problems as these duplicates would then take up disk space.

There have been separate podcast apps in the iTunes App Store, but despite my problems I have never actually downloaded them and tried them… came close, but never quite got there. This was partly as I heard about them on a podcast, like MacBreak Weekly, but couldn’t remember the name when I actually came round to downloading the app.

Apple has finally decided that the iPad and the iPhone needed a decent podcast app and have released their own. This takes podcasts out of the Music app and puts then in their own Podcasts app, as they did with movies and putting them in the Movie app.

It’s a really nice app and works really smoothly. There are also some really nice design features, which is something you kind of expect from Apple now. Like some of their apps there is also a retro design that I think works well, and appeals to people like me!

If you already subscribe to podcasts on iTunes that you transfer to the iPad or iPhone then these will be transferred automatically. Unlike the Music app, the Podcasts app will download new episodes in the background, so you can be sure that the next time you pick up your device it should have the latest episode on it. This is part of Apple’s wider strategy in doing more updates wirelessly in the background rather than through iTunes. In the future you can expect to see Apps updating in the background, as well as podcasts.

If you haven’t been using your iPad for podcasts then you will get this screen.

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