Before digital…

August 4, 2010

Wonderful corporate video for the Polaroid SX-70.

Look out for the person photographing a picture in a book, tut, tut.

It had all gone horribly wrong…

July 29, 2010

Sometimes you make a wise decision and sometimes you make a mistake.

When I ordered my iPad back on the 10th May when it was announced that it would be delivered on the 28th May I made the decision NOT to order the iPad Camera Connection Kit. My reasoning would be (based on previous experience) was that if there were problems with the delivery of the iPad Camera Connection Kit then my iPad would be delayed and I didn’t want that to happen. I also thought I wouldn’t have a problem getting one in my local Apple Store…

So how wrong was I?

Way wrong!

Both the local Bristol stores had sold out pretty quickly, basically within a day of the release of the iPad.

The online Apple Store suddenly went to a 4-6 weeks delivery time.

It had all gone horribly wrong…

I did consider ordering one from the online store, I could wait… but they wanted to charge me £5 for delivery that I wasn’t willing to pay.

I thought, I’ll wait four weeks and get one from the Apple stores in Bristol.

I waited…

I waited…

I checked with the Apple stores a month later and still no luck and no joy.

I checked the online Store and, still 4-6 weeks delivery and still going to charge me £5.

I waited…

So in the end I thought I really do want this connection kit for ALT-C, that’s at the beginning of September and that’s just under 4-6 weeks away.

On the 20th July I placed my order for the iPad Camera Connection Kit. By my reckoning it should arrive just in time for ALT-C.

First surprise was that I wasn’t charged for delivery, free delivery for the kit. That was nice.

Then in the e-mail confirming my order it said:

We estimate your order to be shipped by 5 – 7 business days.
I thought that’s not 4-6 weeks! Quick check of the website saw the 4-6 weeks had been reduced to 2-3 weeks.

Well that’s nice.

Then on the 24th July I got an e-mail stating my order had been shipped. It arrived on the 28th July.

Of course I needed to test it, so out with the DSLR and a quick picture later I connected the camera via the USB.

It worked a treat imported the image, I could then upload it using Osfoora HD to TwitPic via Twitter.

Well pleased and impressed.

Pity it took so long!

Hipstamatic – iPhone App of the Week

May 25, 2010

Hipstamatic – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone 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. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will also work on the iPod touch.

This week’s App is Hipstamatic

Digital photography never looked so analog. The Hipstamatic brings back the look, feel, unpredictable beauty, and fun of plastic toy cameras of the past! The Hipstamatic keeps the the quirks of shooting old school but gives you the ability to swap lenses, film, and flash settings all with the swipe of a finger. Characterized by vignettes, blurring, over saturation, discolored images, Hipstaprints have a casual and seemingly accidental snapshot feel. Pictures taken with the Hipstamatic have their very own look and unique character. Artistic and painted with light and quirk, Hipstamatic images are sometimes surprising and offer a delicate beauty turning any iPhone into an instant art making machine. Images can be uploaded directly to Facebook, Flickr, or emailed to your friends and family.


This is one of the many camera or photo apps I own and is in the “fun” category. Basically it turns your iPhone into an old film camera from 1974!

Using a variety of lenses and “films” you can take some “old school” photographs.

It has a bit of a quirky interface that takes some getting use to.

I quite like the effects and can see some use for the types of images it produces.

Interesting (as is happening with many apps) you can purchase in-app upgrades.

Additional lenses, films, and flashes are bundled within the app as ‘Hipstapaks’ and start at 59p. Each Hipstapak includes multiple items.

This is a two edged sword for me, it makes the core app cheaper (or even free) however means for added functionality and features you need to pay an upgrade. Fine if you own the phone, less so if you have an institutionally owned phone and don’t have access to the iTunes account for the phone.

I like Hipstamatic but it is quirky and won’t appeal to everyone.

Black & White Camera – iPhone App of the Week

May 4, 2010

Black & White Camera – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone 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. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will also work on the iPod touch.

This week’s App is Black & White Camera

If you love black and white photography, this is the app for you! Just take a photo or pick a picture from your photo library, you will get beautiful black and white art photos.


– Create black and white photos directly using iPhone
– Create black and white photos for pictures in photo library
– Automatically create and save to file
– Processed and saved in original size
– Fast processing & saving
– Polished UI, beautiful design

The pro version “Black & White Camera Pro” comes with flash to do fine grain brightness adjustment.

Free and £0.59 for the Pro Version

I sometimes think the best Apps for the iPhone are the simple ones, the ones that do one thing well.

Black & White Camera is one of those Apps, you take a photograph, it converts it to Black & White and saves it as a new image to your camera roll.

Nothing more and nothing less.

It’s a free app, the pro version has a “flash” but that isn’t necessary for most photographs. If you want to use photographs from your photo library (for example on an iPod touch) then you can do that too.

Regular readers of the blog will know that I do like to use black and white images to illustrate posts. This App allows me to take a picture and use it in a blog article quickly and easily. The top image was created using this App.

USB Microscope

February 17, 2010

There are many different types of cameras on the market, and a fair few USB cameras out there.

At Gloucestershire College we have just invested in some new USB cameras, however these are not standard USB cameras, these are USB Microscope cameras.

Install the software, connect the USB microscope and then place whatever you need under it. Once in focus and or zoomed in you can then take an image or capture a video.

You also have the possibility of a live preview, therefore showing what is happening live under the microscope through a data projector, even to an interactive whiteboard.

This is an eyebrow.

There are many uses for this in various curriculum areas.

The obvious choice is Biology to look at biological specimens under the microscope.

Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy have many uses for looking at hair and skin in much more detail.

Computing can stick the microscope into a PC or over a circuit board to see it in more detail.

Engineering can use it to look at issues with components or engine parts.

There are a wealth of uses, what would you use it for?

Shiny Dragon Boating

May 26, 2009

One of the key things about getting staff to use technology, is to remove barriers.

One of the barriers is a lack of familiarity.

When asked by a member of staff if they could use one of our Sanyo CA9 cameras to film themselves in the recent Gloucester Docks Dragon Boat race, the answer was of course, and here is the result.

The next stage will be to take that video and show the member of staff how mobile versions can be made. This will include tools we already have in college and possibly using MoLeTV.

As a result we now have a member of staff who will be confident in the use of video technologies and the use of video with mobile devices.

Oh and a video for use on our atrium’s Knowledge Tree.

Post first appeared on Shiny.


April 22, 2009

Well I have started packing for the Plymouth e-Learning Conference. Well less packing and more charging. I seem to take more and more equipment to conferences these days. Some of it will be used in my workshops, some I will use to blog and twitter, and some I will bring because I think I might use it, but generally don’t.

Apart from the workshop equipment I usually like to have the following on me at conferences (and a jacket with big pockets to carry it all).

Laptop – though I have a selection of micro-laptops or UMPCs I generally always fall back on my reliable MacBook Pro. In the main as it has a decent keyboard, partly as I have a spare battery for it and it has a built in camera.

Phones – normally two, this year three. Not for making phone calls mind you. I have my work Nokia which is what people at work will be able to call and SMS me on. I have my home T-Mobile Nokia N95 which I use for internet, either on the device or configured as a wireless router, a digital camera, a video camera and a broadcast camera using QIK. This year I will also be bringing an iPhone!

Digital Camera – despite having the 5MP Nokia N95 I do like to have a proper digital camera with a proper lense. I would love to bring my Canon DSLR, but it’s too heavy, so I have a little Sony pocket camera which does the job.

Video Camera – I have found my little Panasonic HD camera a great tool for conferences, at the ALT Conference I used it to create a little video that I then edited on my MacBook Pro (another reason to carry that around). Quick and easy to use, and records to SD cards so video clips can be easily transferred to the computer.

MP3 Recorder – I always carry this, thinking I should record some podcasts when I am at the conference and never seem to get round to it… this conference I hope will be different.

Chargers – as batteries never seem to last as long as the conference.

So what do you bring to a conference?