My current Top Ten favorite iPad photography apps

Since photography is my hobby and all things tech (especially Apple) are my vice, I’d thought I’d make a list of my current favorite photography apps for the iPad:

  1. Filterstorm Pro – Just released in April of 2011, this is almost the app that I’ve been waiting for. (Actually I’m waiting for Adobe to come up with a REAL app for the iPad.) Filterstorm does all the things you would expect a photo app to do (crops, straightening, curves, hue, sharpening, vignetting, etc.) plus it allows you to save your photos as collections. You can apply each effect as a mask, so it allows you to do some pretty sophisticated adjustments. Since I’d much rather use my finger than a mouse, this app is one step closer to saying good bye to the laptop when it comes to photography.
  2. Diptic – This app allows you to put multiple photos into a kind of collage. (It’s what I used for the picture for this post.) It’s great for telling story’s in a hurry. I like to use it with the next app…
  3. Instagram – Actually this app is just iPad friendly, it’s really made for the iPhone. After capturing a photo with my iPhone (or my Nikon D7000), processing it with Filterstorm Pro, then sometimes composing it in Diptic, I like to upload it to Instagram.  IG is a social friendly place to post pictures and see what your friends are posting. You can apply about a dozen pretty cool filters, if you’d like, then send links to Twitter, Facebook, Email, Flickr, Tumblr, and others. (Here’s a link to the above picture in my Instagram account: )
  4. Instagallery – Until Instagram makes an iPad specific app, Instagallery is a much more pleasing way to view your photostream.
  5. Web Albums – I still post some of my pictures on Picasa (as well as Flickr and Instagram), so Web Albums is the best app I’ve found to do the Google thing.  I wish more apps (like Instagram, Diptic and  Filterstorm Pro, for example) had easy ways to get your photos to Picasa. There are work arounds, but they are messy.
  6. FlickrStackr – This app let’s you view and manipulate photos in your Flickr account.  Not great, but it gets the job done.
  7. PhotoSync – This app allows you to sync your photos between your iPad, iPhone and computer without using the iTunes sync. (The first day I don’t have to use iTunes sync for anything will be a wonderful day.) The syncing goes both ways, so it’s great for getting photos in and out of Lightroom on my iPad.
  8. Photogene – This is another app like Filterstorm Pro, but not as powerful.  It was my go to app for processing pics before April.
  9. SketchMee – This app allows you to make your photos look like watercolors or pencil sketches.  It’s pretty cool for something different occasionally.
  10. Noir – I just started using this one, so I really don’t know much about it, but I needed ten in the list.  I’ve seen some creative pics done with it, though.  It basically turns your photo to black and white with a choice of about four tints, and allows you to readjust the focus of light.

What about you?  Do you agree/disagree with my list?

What are you using?

Too good to be true?

Rule of thumb: When it sounds too go to be true, it’s probably too good to be true, right?

You’ve probably gotten the letter from the Nigerian guy wanting to give you a boat load of extra money in exchange for just a few pieces of personal information. Surprisingly, a lot of people have been scammed by that one.

Or maybe it’s the offer of a free or severely discounted iPad. (Okay, I know I’m a little too focused on shinny new technology since the iPad2 came out. I really don’t need one, do I? Well, maybe…)

There’s a whole website devoted to things that are too good to be true.

We all would do well to think twice before putting too much faith in incredible sounding offers.

Here’s the problem: This weekend we conclude our DNA of Joy study thru Philippians with one final look at a too good to be true scripture.

“My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” – Philippians 4:19 (ESV)

In the context, Paul is clearly talking about money. He is essentially saying that God has more than enough resources and can be trusted to take care of your money needs. Even in a bad economy.

Truth or too good to be true?

What do you think?

The weekend message process at Seacoast

After my previous post, I received several requests for a copy of the template that I use to format my weekly messages.  It’s actually quite simple and you can download a PDF here.

Here’s a brief explanation of how we approach the weekend message:

First, we teach thru books of the Bible

We have been teaching chapter by chapter thru books of the Bible for about three years.  In order to bring variety and make it somewhat thematic, we break the books up into series.  For example, the most recent series titles in our ACTS series have been: Compelled (Acts 12-16); Proclaimed (Acts 17-20); Arrested (Acts 21-24).

Second, we utilize teaching teams

We have a team of 5-6 weekend teachers who meet each Monday to help form the message for whoever is up to bat that week.  I do about 50% of the weekend teaching for the year.

Third, we use a modified version of Andy Stanley’s model

We identify a central theme for the passage and then break it down into five basic parts:

  1. Welcome
  2. You/Me hook – Usually a real life question (“Have you ever felt like…”)
  3. God – What does God say about the issue
  4. Practical take aways – We aim at three lessons.  I’ve tried to limit it to one, but that doesn’t work for me.  Two is too few, four is too many.  Three seems to be a good balance.
  5. Response – We are driving toward a personal response time that occupies about 12-15 minutes toward the end of the service.  Response stations include crosses, candles, communion, prayer, and offering boxes.

Our approach is heavy on participation and light on programming.  Not necessarily the right way, but definitely fits who God created us to be.

Hope that helps.

How does your experience differ from ours?

    Why I’m not in love with my iPad…yet.

    Okay, I’ll admit it. I ordered an iPad the first day you could. I gave my reasons HERE.

    I’ve had it almost two weeks so I thought I’d give my impressions.

    What I noticed first:

    • The screen. It’s very cool. You’ve got to see pictures to really get it.
    • The size. For me and my uses, it’s perfect. I don’t really like the rounded back, but I use it in a case most of the time so I guess it doesn’t matter
    • The cool factor. Apple did it again. They know cool.

    What I liked best:

    • You can preach with it. That’s the main reason I wanted it, to replace my black 7X9 notebook and paper notes. The idea of being able to continuously update my message as a thought hits me is the killer app for me. I’ve tried using laptops, but it ties me too close to the computer and I get distracted by remote controls. The ability to carry it around while I talk and have it look like a small legal pad works for me. I’ve already used it twice. Love it.
    • You can read on it. I’ve already become a Kindle lover to the point of refusing to buy and carry around “real” books. (Hint, hint…if publishers want me to read and promote books, send them to me in epub format. Otherwise, I just give them away.) Reading on the iPad takes it to a whole nutha level! I love how my Bibles look (youversion, ESV online study Bible).
    • You can share vision with it. A big part of my job is communicating vision. With the Keynote app I can sit down with someone and give visual emphasis to what I’m thinking about. That’s pretty cool…something I want to get good at.
    • It doesn’t look like you are lugging around a computer. It’s great for jotting a few notes in a meeting (or watching the CUBS on MLB if the meeting lacks interest :-). Since it looks like a “real” notepad, you can easily carry it anywhere.
    • You don’t have to sit by the power outlet. It seems that the battery lasts a LOT longer than my laptop (Macbook Air) or my iPhone.
    • You can attach a keyboard to it. While I’ve gotten used to one handed “thumbing” on my iphone, you are not going to want to type a very long email or article on the virtual keyboard on the iPad. There is something about resting your fingers on a live keyboard that can’t be done on the screen. I still find myself resorting to my thumbs and an occasional index finger. It’s nice to have the option of hooking up to a bluetooth keyboard.
    • You can think with it. I’ve been using programs like Carbonfin Outliner, Evernote, and the native Notes App to capture my thoughts with my iPhone, but the extra screen real estate is even more inviting for a good solo brainstorm.

    What could be improved:

    • You can’t work on one document from multiple locations very easily. My standard work flow goes something like this: I open a “Sermon Template” document to start my message prep every week. I save it to Evernote immediately so I can access and edit the same file from any computer. At the end of the week I distribute copies to the proper people from the Evernote file. You can’t do that with the iPad. I suspect it has to do with Apple’s “walled garden” philosophy. I have figured out a work around using, but it doesn’t need to be this hard. Honestly, the iPad Pages App is good for touching up what you’ve already created somewhere else, but it’s difficult to do very much moderately serious word processing. (I had to type this blog on my laptop.)
    • You can’t print from the iPad. Why not? Good question.
    • You can’t do much on a big screen. I purchased the VGA adaptor hoping to be able to project on a big screen. I was disappoint to find that the only thing that projects are Keynote slide shows (somewhat poorly) and a few youtube videos. I would love to project my Pages notes, web surfing, and other things for our weekly message planning meetings. Not so much…
    • You have to take it out of it’s case to put it on a keyboard stand. The case fit’s like a glove, so that is always a bit of a wrestling match. I’m tempted to buy a third party case that will support the iPad on a horizontal slant (Quirky), and use an unattached bluetooth keyboard.
    • You can’t do video conferencing with it. No front facing camera. That’s just dumb…
    • You can’t multi-task. What does that mean? Normal stuff is twice as hard. Fortunately this one is being addressed this fall.

    The verdict:

    Do I like it? Yeah, a lot.

    Do I love it? Nope, not yet.

    My advice? If you can’t wait, go ahead and get one.  It does some pretty cool things.  But if you’ve got the patience, you might want to see if someone (Google? HP? Generic Android?) comes up with a comparable product that let’s you leave your laptop at home.  Now that would be really cool.

    Check back with me in a couple of months. I may have changed my mind.

    What do you think?