Photojojo Mini Lenses

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The iPhone can take some pretty dang good pictures. In fact, many different phones can take mind-blowing shots. But your little phone can do even more if you treat it to these mini-lenses from Photojojo!

 

Contents/Installation

There are three lenses available from Photojojo: 2X telephoto, 180 Fisheye, and a 0.68x wide/macro lens. I won’t go over individual pricing, but the whole pack is $50.

Installing the lenses is painless. In your package you’ll get a few tiny, metal magnetic rings. Undo the plastic on the adhesive side and stick it around the lens of your device. If you have an iPhone, however, you should probably put the ring on a case; the sleek glass doesn’t play well with their adhesive.

Now to use the lenses, you just attach the lens to the metal ring and it magnetically locks on. Neat!

2x Telephoto

For those times when you want to get closer to your subject, the 2x telephoto lens will do exactly what you’d expect. Unfortunately it will cause a tiny bit of distortion, but not enough to make a big difference.

Without, With

As you can tell by that comparison, the lens does a nice job of zooming in, but has a bit of distortion (visible near the door handle).

Fisheye

This lens I believe is my favorite. It can capture just about everything you can see without turning your head. If you want to really capture an entire scene, this is exactly what you need.

Without, With

Pretty cool, right? Unfortunately, this lens causes a particularly noticeable amount of vignetting, but I think that it adds a nice effect. If you want to get rid of it, you can always crop it with whatever application you desire, however you’ll end up losing a bit of the image.

Wide Angle / Macro

This lens confuses a lot of people. Is it wide angle or is it macro?!

Alone, the magnetic part of the lens is just Macro. However, there’s an adaptor that screws in to the macro lens to convert it to a wide angle lens.

The macro lens doesn’t zoom in at all. It just allows you to focus WAY closer to objects. Here’s a comparison – remember, I took the first picture as close as I could while staying in focus, then I took the second as close as I could while staying in focus. This lens does NOT zoom.

Without, With

 

Pretty cool, right? You can get ridiculously close to capture textures that previously went unnoticed. On the second picture, I’m holding my iPhone a tiny bit less than an inch away from the keyboard.

The wide angle addition to this lens isn’t very fancy, it just makes the picture a tiny bit wider. It will cause some straight lines to bend in odd ways, but it still comes in handy when wanting to capture wide shots without going crazy with the fisheye.

Without, With

Doesn’t that doorway look kind of round? As you can tell, it makes the picture a bit wider but can’t capture the amount (and distortion) of the wide angle lens.

Cool uses

Yup, these work great with a phone camera. But there’s one use that I recently found – your webcam! It’s a small camera, just about as small as the one in an iPhone. Take a metal ring and stick it around, and you can use these lenses while video chatting! I personally have an LED cinema display, and although it makes my screen look a little funny, the results are totally worth it.

Here’s the display:

Ha! By the way, those things on top of my monitor are dinosaurs; you’ll get one with every photojojo order! I’ve ordered two things from Photojojo, so that’s why I have two dinosaurs.

Here’s what it looks like straight on:

Pretty cool, right?

Here’s the results:

Sweet! You can even see my keyboard!

Conclusion

These lenses are quite handy, and because they work with anything you don’t have to worry about compatibility. The whole set of lenses is $50, and if you’re interested click here to be redirected to the photojojo store!

Where’s those thunderbolt devices?

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Fourth months ago, a new MacBook Pro line was released. And as I said here, it was a total disappointment. The biggest thing on it was probably the new “Thunderbolt” port, which is a port with the same form-factor as the Mini DisplayPort, however it allows for transfer up to 10 GBPS. Yah, that’s fast.

Everyone I talked to said that it was awesome; it would be so good to use.

My argument was that it was too proprietary – Only three models of computers have that port, so why would a manufacturer go after making products for it?

The usual argument was that “It will standardize and products will be released for it eventually.”

Okay…

So here we are four months later, and the only product I’ve ever seen compatible with the thunderbolt port is an external hard drive from LaCie.

That’s it.

So….. Where’s those thunderbolt devices?

I believe that thunderbolt was (and still is) a total failure. Nobody uses it – and because no body uses it, manufacturers won’t create devices for it. And because manufacturers won’t create devices for it, nobody uses it. It’s a total loop – a manufacturer would have to make a product for it, so people would use it, so other manufacturers would make more products for it.

Nowadays, the only other computer line with a thunderbolt port is the most recent line-up of iMacs, which few people have.

But there still is hope for Thunderbolt. If every single Mac gets a thunderbolt port, after a while every Mac that is in use will have a port – that’s when manufacturers will start making products for it.

But until then, don’t expect much from Thunderbolt.

Facebook announces video integration with Skype

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During a live facebook event that took place today, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook has partnered with skype to provide one click video chatting to users.

It is referred to as a “mini skype client” by the CEO of Skype, and installs with a simple download of a java applet.

Zuckerberg claimed that there are no financial agreements with Skype, which is interesting to try and figure out who is benefiting from this. Skype CEO Tony Bates said that “We are planning to add paid skype over time as well.” This means that if you have a skype premium plan, you might be able to group video chat – but that’s just an assumption.

Speaking of group video chat, Facebook doesn’t have it! With Google Hangouts, Google’s chat service that allows up to 10 person video calling, may have an advantage over facebook. However, facebook has 750+ Million users – that’s a lot of people that are one click away from a video chat.

Video chat is available now to the public, just click here to get started.

Skype 5.2 released with group screen sharing

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Skype has released an updated version of their quite popular video sharing app which brings a couple of new features to the table, mainly group screen sharing.

Skype has always had the capability to group video chat, but group screen share is kinda new. It’s a welcome addition – I could see it coming in handy for many people around the world.

The only other new update is a mini-call-window, which will always sit on top of your other apps and allow you to watch/control your call whilst multitasking.  I could see this coming in handy, and I usually have to use a third party app like Afloat to keep my skype window over the others.

The new “Call control bar” is available free with the update to skype 5.2; group screen sharing isn’t. You need to have a subscription to Skype Premium, which will cost you $4.50 a month if you go for a 12 month subscription.

Interesting about the timing, didn’t Google just release Hangouts with Google+? In case you don’t know, Hangouts is google’s group video calling servgroup-video-sharing-460.jpgice that is integrated into Google+. A timing coincidence? I think not.

Skype is trying to keep ahead of everyone else with new features, but because social networks are so popular and you already have lots of contacts added, they are going to get an advantage over proprietary networks such as skype.

Why I’m not upgrading to the official 2.2

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So the official OTA 2.2 Droid Incredible Update is finally live.

But I’m not upgrading.

So to install this, I would have to unroot my phone. There is no way to root this version of 2.2, so I won’t be able to use my beloved Wireless Tether.

Now I already have a leaked version of 2.2 so I get everything of 2.2 other than the 720p video recording, but I get my wireless tether. So it really becomes a tradeoff between the wireless tether and 720p recording. Now I know that 2.2 has the built in 3G mobile hotspot, but that holds me at 2GB and costs me another $20/mo. Riiiight.

So I’ve decided to stay how I am with a partial 2.2 update and stick with my Wireless Tether until they find a way to easily root this version of 2.2.

P.S. Sorry for the lack of posts, I have a few more coming soon. :)

Flip Mino Review

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I recently got myself a Flip Mino. And I must say, it’s pretty good stuff for a budget camcorder. Try turning it on. Press the small on button on the side. Flip. Nice Name, eh? Now it shows you time left to record, battery life, and the video preview. Want to record something? Just press that big red button. When you are done recording, press the big red button again. Would you like to see what you just recorded? Press the Play/Pause button. You are now watching the most recent video you took. Would you like to turn up or down the volume on the playback? Use the + and – buttons. To fast forward through a video, just press the > or the buttons to navigate through them. Hey, I don’t like this video. Just press the trash button. You can also zoom in/out while in a video: just press the + or – buttons while recording. The buttons light up (except for the red one) when you can use them. For example, when you are recording you aren’t going to use the play/pause, trash, or left and right buttons, but you are going to use the + and – buttons. All of the buttons except for the + and – buttons are illuminated. When you are browsing through videos, you aren’t going to use the + and – buttons, but you are going to use the Play/Pause, delete and left and right buttons. For this reason, All of the buttons but the + and – buttons are illuminated. While in the middle of playback, all of the buttons are illuminated. You can trash it, play/pause it, use the + and – buttons to change volume, and hold the buttons to fast forward/rewind through. I do not have the HD version, but I am completely happy without it. I get 640X480, which is better than any video quality I have ever gotten in my life. I even had them print a custom image onto it. This can be done for no extra charge! It has to be a VERY big image, or the online software says it’s not high enough resolution to make a good print. Here is a picture of mine.
At one point, you are probably going to want to get the videos from the flip to your computer. In the box, there is no installation CD. No cable. And no port on the thing. But sometime, you are going to have to figure out why they call it a flip. They call it a flip because of how you plug it in. Pull a little switchy thingy and a USB digi “flips” out of the top. you can them plug that straight into your machine, buy one of their cables online (extra cost) and plug it into that, or even using any old USB Extension cord works. If you have a little station for all of your gadgets to plug in, I recommend just getting a usb extension cord (they come in handy for LOTS of situations other than this, too). After plugging it in, you will see a USB drive appear either in My Computer or on the desktop (depending on your operating system). Open it and you will see Flip for Mac and a Flip for Windows. These both require a driver to be installed (3ivx er something), but that’s no biggie. The application will run straight off of the drive. In the application, you can download the video files and save them. But I have never used that much, because on the first launch it said would you like to upgrade to FlipShare, and of course, being me, I LOVE updates. Now, Flipshare then deletes the other applications from the flip and replaces it with Start flipshare. It will only do this to the application compatible with your system. The other one (in my case the .exe file) turns to Setup_Flipshare.exe. FlipShare installs on your hard drive and opens each time you plug in the flip. FlipShare the application itself is actually pretty nice. It has a very newish feel, and allows you to do a lot with your video. Save them , make a movie of them, and even upload them straight to AOL video, myspace™ and YouTube™ all without even having to open an internet browser. You can take a snapshot of a certain place in a video. you can export the video. You can email a video. You can even make a video greeting card with it. FlipShare is pretty cool. But if you don’t want to deal with any software and just want the files, easy. Open up the drive, and there will be a folder called DCIM. Go down as many folders as you can and you will be greeted with a bunch of .AVI videos, waiting for you to manually copy them off. If you just want the videos and nothing else, here you go.
Now when it comes to charging and battery life, it’s pretty cool. The battery is like the one in iPods, sealed in and not replaceable. But to charge it, just plug it in to your computer. Recharging a completely dead battery can take up to 3 hours, but that doesn’t usually happen. Usually it take 1.5 to 2.5 hours for it to charge. You know if it is charging by looking at the USB digi. There is a small bright light, that blinks while charging. It stops blinking when it is done charging. The battery life is around 2 hours, not bad at all for how much it can do.
In the end, I give this a 5 Star rating. The sensitivity of the buttons is almost as good as the touchscreen sensitivity of the iPhone. Easy to use, and just like they say–video recording is now as easy and cheap as taking a photo.
Easy cheap video recording and sharing–The Flip Mino