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Entries in sharing (6)

Is it time to switch on Photo Stream on your iPad?

As much as we wanted to use it, we haven't bothered with Apple's iOS5 Photo Stream feature so far because we simply didn't want every app screenshot we take, or fuzzy shot of our foot, ending up on all our devices.

Now that Apple have released iOS 5.1 we can finally select an individual photo and delete it from the Photo Stream for our account. For us, this makes Photo Stream worth switching on at last.

Why is this a big thing for iPad Creative? The imminent release of the New iPad and its 5MP camera, of course! Not to mention the even more fantastic photo viewing experience we expect from iPad 3's sharper and more saturated 'Retina Display'.

Finally we can look forward to having a camera in the iPad that we are not embarrassed to share the results from, or that we do not have to dress up with numerous filter apps to make useable (although we will still be doing that, especially with the release of iPhoto for iOS - but more on that soon).

What do you think?

We would like to hear from you, are you already using Photo Stream? Has the new update prompted you to turn it on now? Or is it something you just find no use for? Let us know in the comments.

SoundCloud Release HTML5 Widget that works on iPad 

After we complained on Twitter this morning about the hassle we had trying to get a SoundCloud embed working on the iPad (well Safari for iPad really), SoundCloud tweeted us straight back and basically said, "Wait til later today!", and they have delivered.

They have just gone live with the announcement of their new HTML5 Widget, it's now an extra tab on the 'Share' pop-up and it works great. If you are reading this on your iPad, check out the lovely HTML5 widgetyness below (sorry about the tune, I didn't have much to use). 

Expect lots more audio goodness from SoundCloud on your iPad now that this widget is finally live.

A Picturesque iPad app

Picturesque by Kelibo LLC looks like a fun app for kids to get creative on the iPad but also learn about perspective in art, with a little bit of education on the alphabet thrown in.

Combined with fun music and lots of sounds that will appeal to young children it looks like a nice way to play with the kids and share their creations either via e-mail or by saving into your iPad's Photos app.

It does seem to be a little bit too animated at times, with some of the animations being reminiscent of PowerPoint's animation effects, but on the whole, for $1.99 (£1.19), Picturesque looks like a good way to get the kids involved creatively with the iPad and keep them entertained for at least a while.

If you are a Graphic Designer or Sound Artist yourself, Kelibo are looking for people like you to get involved with the app's development. Check the link for more info.

3D Modelling Gets iPad Social

 

3D modelling evangelists and software developers 3DVIA have recently released an iPad version of their 3D model viewer, 3DVIA Mobile HD. An iPhone/iPod Touch version has been available for a year now, but the new version takes advantage of the iPad's larger screen real estate to allow panning, zooming and up close inspection using the multi-touch interface.

There are over 20,000 community provided 3D models on the site for you to play with and use in your projects and, once you have created a free account, you can search through and access all of these on your iPad. Using the Collage functionality, models can be placed on to existing images in your iPad's library, useful for things like room layouts, garden design, shop fitting previews, etc.

Anything you create in 3DVIA Mobile HD can be shared on Facebook too.

There are very few 3D Modelling apps available for the iPad so we thought this was a good solution, backed up by a massive online community and sharing resource to make a great tool for anyone, professionals or students, working in the 3D modelling arena.

´╗┐Normally $4.99, 3DVIA Mobile HD is being offered at the introductory price of $1.99 (£1.19) for a 'limited time' on the app store.

As always let us know if you use 3DVIA Mobile HD and what you think of it in the comments below.

Inkling: It's like iTunes for your Textbooks

(edit: Video removed - YouTube version was not authorised, text amended to refer to Inkling website to watch the video)

Inkling_Two_Up_highres.jpgImagine the scene:  You are about to leave home for the first time and enter the  world of Higher Education, you're off to College or University.  You are excited and nervous. Everything is packed, and you are ready to walk out of the door and into your new 'adult' life, but just as you are about to leave your Parents hand you an A4 sized box.

"Yes", they say, "it is an iPad!". They also tell you that all of your textbooks are in that little box too, and there's more, they tell you that you have credit enough on your iPad for hundreds of individual chapters from any textbook you need. "Don't spend it all at once!" they say, and they mean exactly that, you don't have to spend all of your credit at once on one very expensive textbook. Instead you can buy just the chapters you need that term (semester) and just the ones you will need for the rest of the year.

With the release of Inkling for the iPad, this is now a reality, and we think it has very important implications for the publishing business as a whole.

What is Inkling?

Inkling is the name of a new app, and also the company who have developed, with the publishers/authors, new electronic versions of certain key textbooks. The four launch titles, all from McGraw-Hill, are:

This is certainly only the beginning.  As faculty and institutions begin to see the impact of using electronic versions of these textbooks and the learner engagement that comes from using the iPad, and arguably other tablet-type devices, we are certain that this type of application, if not just Inkling themselves, will radically change the way that key texts are delivered and distributed to students at all levels of the Education stream.

It is a development that has got the team here at iPad Creative very excited about the future of publishing and Education.

What makes Inkling books special?

These textbooks are not just PDFs or electronic versions of the paper version. No, these are enhanced textbooks feature interactive illustrations, video, text highlighting, electronic versions of margin notes, and one of the most interesting and creative features in our opinion, collaborative note sharing with other registered Inkling users that you know, e.g. those studying the same course, as well as faculty members.

That's right, you can make (electronic) notes in the textbook and share these with other Inkling users by connecting with them via their username, but more impressive is the ability to subscribe to a Tutor's note stream, enhancing the learning interchange and providing Educators with another route for learner engagement, something that they are on constant quest to maintain and improve.

(This video is hosted at CNN and it looks like the embedded Flash video will not work on your iOS device, but you might be able to watch it on your device here. We mention the pertinent points for our discussion below anyway.)

In the video above, Matt MacInnis, says that Inkling went back to the authors and publishers to make these electronic textbooks so much more than the paper version, adding in interactive features such as quizzes which not only give you feedback on correct or incorrect answers, but if you are incorrect, it tells you why, and what the correct answer is to help you learn where you went wrong.


 

Not so different in the Classroom

Inkling_Reading_C_highres.jpgYou might imagine with all this new fangled stuff that it would be a bit weird sat next to fellow students with their traditional paper version when your Professor calls out, "could everyone turn to page 128". Because of the different nature of the electronic textbooks in Inkling, they do not really have pages as you would in a paper book, but Inkling have made efforts to help users out in this area by making it easy to jump to any page. The built-in search gives you the advantage though, enabling you to quickly access any text or illustration in the book, as well as in your own notes that include those key terms.

The iTunes Music Store Pricing Model

One of the key features that stood out about Apple's iTunes Music Store when it was introduced, and one of the aspects that shook up the Music Industry, was the ability for customers to buy individual songs from an album. Before, we had to buy the whole album on CD and, although there were other online music stores around, this purchasing model and improved customer choice really hit the mainstream with iTunes. In other words, we could pick and choose what we wanted, or needed, to create an à la carte product tailored to us as the customer.

Now a very similar model can be applied to the academic publishing industry. Previously, the only option for students was to buy the whole tome and swallow the hefty price tag but now, with the introduction of individual chapter purchasing, Inkling are opening up a new, à la carte, way to buy.

The price of buying the paper version of the textbooks quoted in the above video is $180, but by selecting just the chapters that are needed the student could only end up spending about $50. Savings that both the student and Parents will appreciate, arguably providing less of a barrier to accessing learning resources for those who find it difficult to afford, especially if the iPad does not have to be purchased by them, but is issued to the student by the Academic establishment as part of their enrolment (from reading the FAQs it looks like your purchases follow you to a new device if you get an iPad after finishing your studies, so your purchases are not lost).

Some of us who are not so close to College age any more might bemoan the loss of the traditional paper based books and the feel of physically flipping through the pages and scribbling notes in the margins. It has to be acknowledged though that the form factor of the iPad lends itself perfectly to reading textbook pages, being about the same size, and for a generation that are not as used to holding and using paper books, it is probably not much of an issue and is certainly what the future will look like.

Guided_Tour_in_the_Park_CMYK_highres.jpg

More info

There is a good FAQ at the Inkling site which answers a lot of questions about the detail of using the app and there are some nice little video demos of the key features too.

As we have already said, the launch of Inkling and no doubt other similar products eventually, fills us with a good deal of excitement about the future of publishing and the user benefits it will bring, even if it is a shift in thinking for the Publishing houses. With a big name like McGraw-Hill behind Inkling's launch though, it looks like an inevitable march towards a different purchasing model, at least in the Academic sphere where not all of a book is required or needed.

Your thoughts?

What do you think? Are you involved in Education in some way? Do you have any thoughts on how this might be a good move? Or do you have some serious reservations about this development?  Let us know in the comments below, we would love to hear from you.

Flickr and Facebook Photo Browsing Apps For Your iPad

One of the things that hits you hard when you see the iPad for the first time is the quality and clarity of the display.  When we saw that screen we couldn't help thinking "Photos!".

Two of the main online photo sharing sites at the moment are Facebook (apparently the world leader in online photo sharing) and our favourite Flickr.  You can check out our very own Flickr group for iPad artists here.

Recently, two apps have been released which aim to create a better photo browsing experience than the Facebook or Flickr websites offer to you in Safari on the iPad, so we thought we would let you know about them in case you are seeking creative inspiration, keeping up with your family, friends and contacts' images, or just want to spend some time browsing a few of the millions (maybe billions) of photos out there.

Flick Stackr

Flick Stackr has a very impressive list of features, most notably for us when wanting to share photos with others, is the ability to run in 'slideshow mode' and display it on an external monitor or TV via the iPad's VGA output.

The app also background caches photos in Sets on Flickr, hoping to deliver them speedily when you want them, rather than waiting for the photos to download when you select them, which can be a bit laborious in our experience with slow Internet connections.

For each photo you can see the comments, meta and GPS data associated with the image and also e-mail the photo (with e-mailing of multiple photos coming in the next update).

Another interesting feature is Stacks, which lets you mark photos and create what are really your own sets.  This Stack is then saved to your device, but it is not saved on your Flickr account; useful for reviewing images later without having to create albums or sets on the Flickr's site.

If, like us, you have more than one Flickr account in the household, but only one iPad, Flick Stackr has you covered, allowing multiple accounts to be active at the same time.  But you don't even need an account with Flickr to browse photos on the site, so this app can be used without being linked to an account as well.

Here is a full list of features from the website:

  • For Flickr users: you can look at your own photos, your sets, your favorites and your contacts and their photos.
  • Explore and browse Flickr groups
  • Full screen photo browser that lets you swipe through photos and zoom by pinching. (Landscape and Portrait).
  • Slideshow mode, including support for external displays (TV & VGA)
  • No need for paging while looking at large photosets. FlickStackr does it automatically in the background. Photos are cached locally for fast access.
  • Tags, exif and photo location viewing
  • A unique feature is the 'Stack'. The Stack lets you mark photos from you or any other people.
    This stack is saved on your iPad/iPhone, so that you can keep this list without having to publish it to flickr. 
    Useful when you want to review photos later.
  • Support for having multiple Flickr accounts active. This is ideal for households sharing an iPad or for people
    with multiple identities online.
  • Search photos in Flickr : using keyword + geographic location.
    Search public photos, or specifically owned by you or a person
  • A flickr account is NOT required. FlickStackr can be used by people who just want to explore flickr.
    Stacks and searches work without an account.
  • Supports all iPad screen orientations.
  • As a universal application, FlickStackr is also compatible with iPhone and iPod Touch 3.0+

It's not a bad looking app with some features that will make browsing around Flickr and working with images a lot easier than it would be on Flickr's own site and we think it has a nice set of features to recommend it over using the web interfacce, even for casual browsing.

At $0.99 (59p) from the app store it is definitely worth a try in our opinion.  If you do try it, let us know what you think in the comments.

 

Flickpad

For those of you who are sharing photos on Facebook, Shacked apps have recently released an updated version of their Facebook focussed app Flickpad.

We have featured Flickpad because the developer has been quite creative in their use of the multi-touch interface on the iPad, aiming to serve up a different way of browsing your friends' and contacts' photos.  As you will see from the video below, the interface starts off looking a bit like a pinboard with printed photos stuck all over it.  This shows the photos shared by your friends today.  From here the app gets interesting and offers some cool UI twists.

On the main screen you can drag and drop photos around.  If you don't want to look at a photo you can literally throw, or flick, it off the screen and it is replaced by the next one in the queue.  If you want to see a photo in more detail single touch on it and the view zooms in, from here you can see the comments, mark it as a favourite or share the photo.

Back on the main screen, touch a photo with two fingers to make it a favourite, including a cute little animation which folds the corner of the photo down, like bookmarking a page in a book to go back to.

Double-tap the photo (not the same as double-touch) to open the rest of the album that the photo comes from, and triple-tap the photo to see all the photos from that person.  Tap and hold on a photo from the main screen to bring up a menu from which you can e-mail the photo to anyone (even non-Facebook people), mark that particular Friend's photos as seen, along with other options.

If you want to look at the photos from a certain Friend on Facebook you can search for their name in the search bar at the top of the screen and see all their photos.

An interesting feature is the date orientated interface, as you will see from the video, you can skip back a day or two, or you can bring up a spin wheel interface which allows you to go weeks, months or further back through your Friends' photos.

Of course, Facebook needs you to login first with your account, so it is not like Flick Stackr above where you can browse the photos without an account; but as you probably know, this is not really how Facebook works.

The developers say that Flickr browsing is going to be added soon, but we are not sure how much of this will apply to the slightly different way that Flickr is organised, so it will be interesting to try the app when Flickr browsing is added in the future.  Flickpad is considerably more expensive than Flick Stackr at $4.99 ´╗┐(£2.99) and that is a 50% off Special.  Flickpad version 1.5 is available on the App Store now.

Be sure to watch the video below for an overview of the Flickpad app, and let us know in the comments what you think.

Flickpad - Facebook Photos for iPad from Shacked on Vimeo.