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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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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.

Tech News

Anti-surveillance mask – creepy, ingenious, or potentially illegal?

(TECHNOLOGY) Advances in surveillance tech have impressed the masses, but as our cultures consider the risk and reward, some are preparing to protect themselves from overreaching technologies and governments.

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anti-surveillance prosthetic

How many surveillance cameras do you pass when you walk down the street? Most of us don’t know and prefer not to think about it. We know that public and private entities, from social media sites like Facebook, to law enforcement agencies, are using facial recognition software. In most cases, we haven’t actively consented to this surveillance, and we don’t know what will be done with information – but it also seems like there’s not much we can do about it.

Enter artist Leo Selvaggio, who is interested in “increasing the amount of public discourse about surveillance and how it affects our behavior in public space.” Selvaggio has launched a venture called URME Surveillance, whose focus is “protecting the public from surveillance and creating a safe space to explore our digital identities.”

URME is doing this is in an unusual, and admittedly kind of unnerving way. The site provides masks, in the likeness of Selvaggio’s face, that you can wear in public to protect your own mug from ending up on file. These “Personal Surveillance Identity Prosthetics” are sold at cost – Selvaggio isn’t in it for the profits. There’s a $200 resin prosthetic, a set of 2D paper masks for large groups (protestors?), and a downloadable PDF paper mask that fits together like a 3D puzzle, giving the mask more dimension than the flat, 2D version.

paper anti-surveillance

“Our world is becoming increasingly surveilled. For example, Chicago has over 25,000 cameras networked to a single facial recognition hub,” explains the URME website. “We don’t believe you should be tracked just because you want to walk outside and you shouldn’t have to hide either. Instead, use one of our products to present an alternative identity when in public.”

Is this product a genuine solution to non-consensual surveillance? Or is it simply an artist’s attempt to make a statement? The 3D resin mask is fairly realistic, but with the wearer’s eyes peeking out of the mask’s holes, it’s creepy, to say the least.

anti-surveillance face

While the mask may thwart surveillance cameras, it will probably attract attention from other people nearby – so perhaps anonymity isn’t the goal.

It’s more about making sure that your face doesn’t end up in a databank; or at the very least, inspiring conversation about the topic of public surveillance. Potential customers should also be advised that many states and cities have laws against wearing masks in public.

Regardless of the ultimate intention, the fact that Selvaggio is willing to sacrifice his own likeness to Big Brother means that he takes the issue seriously. Cameras linked to facial recognition software will identify and track Selvaggio, regardless of who is under the mask. URME has actually tested the product using Facebook’s “sophisticated” facial recognition software.

Selvaggio even acknowledges that people could use the mask to commit crimes, which could land him in hot water. However, he has “come to the conclusion that it is worth the risk if it creates public discourse around surveillance practices and how it affects us all.”

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Tech News

For meetings that should be an email? There’s an app for that

(TECH NEWS) If you’re tired of having your precious work time taken up by useless meetings, there may be a solution.

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Have you ever attended a meeting that turned out to be a waste of time and set you back on your work? I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that every person reading this article is nodding in agreement.

Meetings, if executed appropriately (and sporadically,) can be effective. However, having weekly (or even daily) meetings that are designed to catch-up or give reports can add up to a ton of wasted time.

Across the board, meetings are generally geared towards productivity, and oftentimes they are counterproductive. So, how can you still get that need for touching-base with employees while still being productive? StandupMeet might just have the answer for that.

StandupMeet is a tool designed to make meetings more productive and agile. According to their statistics, more than $37 billion per year are being spent on unproductive meetings.

The main features include: the digitization of meetings, the instantaneous sharing of minutes, and the ability to assign actions and keep track of progress.

By making the meetings digital, you organize meeting points in one place. Decisions, actions, and key points can be logged in real time and accessed before the meeting.

This makes projects more agile and helps to increase critical success factors.

With instantaneous sharing of minutes, you can collaborate and share minutes of the meeting, key result areas, and action points. This is also done in real time and is shared with colleagues to make sure that each person is on the same page.

Finally, by assigning actions and keeping track of projects helps to ensure data integrity and provides accountability to each team member. Automated reminders are available so that you can spend your time on the more valuable tasks first.

In addition, StandupMeet also offers: project wised meeting, customized meeting types, organized agendas, shareable meeting minutes, accountability, reminders to ensure time is being appropriately applied, recurring meetings, conflict-free meeting scheduling, locations, automated follow ups, automatically tracked action points, and flexibility across time zones.

This can save time and increase productivity for on-site workers and can also be beneficial for teams that are remote.

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Tech News

Drag keeps your email insanely organized

(TECH NEWS) Determining the best way to organize your tasks is a task in-and-of itself. A new app is here to help you organize your emails.

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Finding the best way to keep yourself organized can be trial and error. And, there’s not one correct method for every element that you have to keep organized in your life. How you track your finances may be completely different from how you organize your art supplies.

All of this can vary based on the person at hand, as well. Some people are visual, some are list-makers, some are a combination of a little bit of everything.

With much of our work and communication being done in the virtual world, one of the more crucial organization concepts to determine is how to organize your email. This is something I just recently found a good-method-for-me after years of everything just being scattered in my inbox.

Now, a new application is available to help people be proactive in their email organization.

Made specifically for Gmail users, the Drag app exists to change the way you organize.

According to developers, “Drag lets you transform your inbox into organized task lists. Sort your emails between pipeline stages (To Do, Doing & Complete) with simple drag ‘n drop, and mark as complete. Change the way you manage your emails, right inside your Gmail inbox.”

The platform is designed similar to a site like Trello, where you have columns of cards (in this case, emails) you can customize.

Drag’s example shows a “To-Do List,” “In Progress,” and “Complete.” This way, users can keep track of what emails still need attention as well as seeing exactly where they’re at in the attention stage.

This is great for someone who has many task-oriented emails. However, if you’re someone like me who has many folders/labels for email organization, the visual aspect may become overwhelming quite quickly.

With that being said, there is still the option to keep the folders/labels while introducing the visual aspect. As someone who is very list-oriented, this could be a beneficial way to enhance organization.

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