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5 fun and innovative smartphone photography tools

(Tech News) Photojojo offers five incredibly innovative iOS smartphone photography tools to make getting professional-quality photography results simple.

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smartphone photography

smartphone photography

Take your smartphone photography to the next level

Thanks to technology, we no longer have to lug around multiple devices to take awesome, professional-looking photos and videos. These days, all you need is your iPhone, iPad, or other smart device and the right accessories. With the right accessories, you can turn these smart devices into full-blown professional photography gear for a fraction of the traditional cost. Here are five of the newest, coolest, Photojojo dream tools:

iOgrapher

iographer-ipad-case-f503_600.0000001402789836iOgrapher for iPad or iPad Mini turns your iPad into the ultimate video rig. The base looks like a regular iPade case, but with handles. The handles are super tough and durable, so you do can focus on what you are filming, rather than worrying about dropping your device. It also has three cold shoe mounts for accessories: tripods, pro-quality microphones, and lights. It comes with a wide angle lens, but will fit any 37mm filter. You can order the iOgraher with the rig and wide angle lens for $85, or go all out and order it with the Rode mic for $320. (If you do not have an iPad, you can purchase the RODE mic separately, see next post).

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Rode VideoMic Pro

rode-videomic-pro-boom-aa68_600.0000001402794845While technology has brought us a long way in terms of photography, the built-in microphones on smartphones and tablets, can leave something to be desired for professionals and avid amateurs alike. The Rode VideoMic Pro plugs directly into the audio jack on your DSLR, iPhone, or iPad for pro-quality recording from up to 20 feet away. It can be used with any hot or cold shoe mount and boasts a suspension system (cutting down on pops and crackles). It is powered by a single 9-volt battery, so it will not drain your device’s battery. Each 9-volt should last you approximately 70 hours. The Rode mic can be paired with the iOgrapher rig, or used alone.  For the creative-minded business entrepreneur this could be a great investment to make your own marketing videos, YouTube tutorials, and virtual tour videos. The Rode VideoMic will run you $229.

The Phantom 2 Photography Drone

phantom-2-photography-drone-9edc_600.0000001401392519Drones are an amazing piece of technology. They can go where humans cannot or should not go. They capture amazing images that would not be possible or economical without their help. Now you can get one for your own use. The Phantom 2 works on 3 axises to hold your camera as steady as possible. You can approximately a half a mile away, or use the built-in GPS assisted hovering feature to film just a few feet away. You also have a simple, intuitive remote control. The Phantom comes in two different setups:  Phantom 2 with vision camera and Phantom 2 with GoPro camera mount. The first option comes with a high definition camera built into the rigging, so when you connect the drone to your phone via the DJI Vision Mobile App, you can see, in real time, what the drone sees as it is flying. The second option is for individual who already own a GoPro camera (any kind). While the price is a bit high; option one with camera included is $1299, option two GoPro mount is $959, there are numerous instances where aerial photography and video would come in handy, not the mention the cool factor.

Nova

nova-wireless-phone-flash-e5fb.0000001402246485Nova is a wallet-sized, wireless flash for iPhone, iPad, and iPod, that uses Bluetooth to talk to your phone from up to 20 feet away, syncing its flash with your shutter, allowing you to take the perfect picture. The Nova has 40 LED lights that are diffused through a white panel for super even light. Nova has three light modes: gentle, effective for removing shadows; warm, giving skin a natural, even look, and bright, to light up large areas or large crowds.  If you find it is too bright, too warm, or too cool, you can adjust the setting of the Nova through the mobile app; even customized a brightness and temperature that works for you. The Nova does not need to be attached to your device, so you can position it wherever and however you need it to get that perfect shot. The Nova device is so slim it will fit actually fit in your wallet and charges via a USB  cable. The Nova is $59 and could come in quite handy since it is so portable.

iPhone Super Suit

iphone-super-suit-ad43_600.0000001398533111iPhone 5 and 5s users will delight in the Super Suit. The Super Suit case is completely sealed and waterproof, as well as sleek. With this case, you can use your camera underwater, up to six feet.  While swimming with your iPhone, all buttons and the touchscreen are 100% protected and accessible. They say you can even use your phone’s camera with the attachable Photojojo lenses. It also protects against drops and bumps from up to six feet high. If you visit their page, there is a water test with the Super Suit and a link to a story about what happened to it when the creators took the Suit camping. The Super Suit is $79; well worth it if you are prone to dropping your phone in the sink, enjoy underwater photography with your phone, or just want to text in the shower without ruining your iPhone.

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. chrisshouse

    July 5, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Hmmm I would love something like this for my Samsung.

  2. Pingback: Prynt is a kick ass smartphone case with built-in printer - AGBeat

  3. Pingback: GoPro launches licensing, could become the Shutterstock of kick ass videos - The American Genius

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Business Finance

Can you afford missing a paycheck? Finance tips for freelancers

(FINANCE) Freelancers who are not always promised a regular paycheck could benefit from staying on top of their finances. Here’s our tips!

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money for paycheck

Most Americans don’t have a regular savings account and could not handle a $1,000 emergency, let alone miss practically a month of pay. We all could benefit from some careful reflection about the precarious nature of our personal finances.

Particularly those of us who don’t receive a regular paycheck.

Entrepreneurs and those invested in the gig economy have volatile incomes, and literally no promise of a paycheck ever – that can impact your personal finances in a number of ways.

Variable incomes are normal for this group and can impact entrepreneurs in ways as simple as handling debt.

If this is you – here are a few things to keep in mind that can help you deal with the volatility of living on a variable income and handling your personal finances.  

  • Set up an emergency fund. Start with 500 if you have to, and remember this is an emergency fund for your personal expenses, not your business. If you have an emergency fund, make sure you identify what an emergency is and also be prepared to put money back when it comes out. If you have a hard time not spending money in front of you, put your money in a local bank or CU that you don’t have immediate access too.
  • Stick to a budget. when you can’t forecast your income appropriately, controlling expenses is so critical it’s the few things that are in your control.
  • Don’t mix business with personal. While you may be pouring your personal energy and time into your start-up or gig, be careful about mixing expenses for two reasons: First, it messes up your budget. You need to have separate budgets for personal and business. Second, there could be tax challenges – consult a tax professional for more information. Here’s a little primer to get you started.
  • Save for retirement. There are tax benefits and come on, don’t wait till you can’t work anymore. Also, an IRA IS NOT AN EMERGENCY FUND.
  • Practice good financial behaviors. Automate bill pay. Online statements. Digital receipt tracking. The more you can automate your life, the better you are. You already have so many demands on your time, reduce that so you can spend more time doing what you love and what matters.
  • Consider diversifying your income. Either ensure you have multiple strings or a backup gig (even if it’s just uber driving) or be prepared to do temporary or contract labor during your slow seasons.

The path to entrepreneurship is rough. If the government can be unstable, those of you who work in the world of startups, gigs, and entrepreneurship, need to be even more on your toes. The “normal recommendation” for saving is 10% of your income, but normal may not be enough for you. Be prepared and save (more) of your paycheck.

Disclaimer: I am neither a tax nor investment professional. This is personal financial advice and I encourage you to visit a professional if you need more specific plans of action.

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Tech News

iOS 15 beta has blur nude photos opt-in, but its not without fault

(TECH NEWS) To protect children from explicit content, the most recent beta version of iOS 15 includes a feature that allows users to blur nude photos.

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Woman looking at Apple iPhone representing new iOS 15 beta that will blur nude photos.

In a move to protect children from explicit content, the most recent beta version of iOS 15 includes a feature that allows users to blur nude photos received in the Messages app. Amid privacy concerns, the feature has yet to be released.

The option to blur nude photos is opt-in, reports The Verge, and does not prevent users from choosing to view the photos in question even after being implemented.

This iteration of the feature is distinct from the original one insofar as it will no longer alert a parent or guardian when nude photos are encountered. While this may seem like a controversial change, several experts pointed out that exposing nude content on a child’s device in some households could result in abuse or, as Harvard Cyberlaw Clinic instructor Kendra Albert suggests, the outing of “queer or transgender children to their parents.”

With the most recent version of this feature enabled, children who receive inappropriate photos via the Messages app would be able to do two things: choose to avoid (or see) the content, and choose to send a report to a trusted adult if they see fit to do so.

Blurring photos is just one of several aspects of Apple’s Communication Safety suite, a feature that aims to prevent child sex abuse by making it easier for children to avoid and report predatory content.

 

Child on electronic device- iOS 15 beta that will allow blur nude photos should protect children.

Another feature that Apple has tested – but not released – is their Child Sex Abuse Imagery Detection (CSAM-detection), which scans and reports iCloud content that shows child pornography or abuse to Apple moderators for further review. As one can imagine, the feature drew mixed criticism, the majority of which came from privacy advocates.

While the vast majority of humanity can (hopefully) agree that fighting against child exploitation is a noble cause, these groups argue that scanning and reporting individuals’ personal photos via an algorithm opens the door to government interference and increased surveillance. Switching the algorithm’s baseline to scan for things like anti-government content, for example, would be easy, these groups posit, making the feature extremely dangerous in principle.

There is no current release date set for any of these aforementioned features, though iPhone users can reasonably expect them to drop at some point during iOS 15’s development.

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Tech News

Amazon Music debuts synchronized text transcripts for popular podcasts

(TECH) The first feature to hit Amazon Music is auto-generated and synchronized text transcripts for their most popular podcast shows. Sign us up!

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Amazon Music Transcripts

Amazon set out to accelerate the growth and evolution of podcasts last year by acquiring the podcasting network, Wondery. Now, the company is doing just that with the launch of its auto-generated and synchronized podcast transcripts feature on Amazon Music.

According to an Amazon Music tweet, with this feature, you’ll be able to “Roll it back, jump ahead, and follow along” with the podcast you’re listening to. For instance, you can scrub through the transcript to find that line of text with that quote or movie and book suggestion you can’t quite remember. When you tap on a particular line of text in the transcript, you’ll be able to jump straight into that specific part of the podcast. I can already see all the time saved! But, if you just want to read along as you listen, you can do that, too. The transcript will match the audio as you’re hearing it.

Right now, the company is only rolling out podcast transcripts in the US on both iOS and Android devices. When it will expand to other countries isn’t known, and the feature isn’t available for all podcasts yet. For now, it is only available on a selection of popular podcasts like Smartless, Crime Junkie, This American Life, Uncommon Ground, and Modern Love, but more are coming.

Amazon Music Homescreen

To use it, all you have to do is open the podcasts tab on Amazon Music and select one of the podcasts you’d like to listen to. Of course, you’ll need to select a show with the podcast transcription feature to see it. When your show is playing, on the top of the album art and in fullscreen mode, the transcriptions will be available for you to read along to.

Oh, and if you’re worried about having to read through the ads, you have nothing to fret about. Ads won’t be transcribed. Instead, the transcription will read “audio not transcribed” when they are playing.

So far, Amazon seems to be going strong in the podcasting game with the release of podcast transcripts. The feature makes it easy to search and find what you are looking for in a show. And, for those on a long and noisy bus and subway ride, you’ll finally be able to read the information you previously couldn’t hear.

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