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Entries in travel (2)

iSpy Cameras. The best public webcam viewer on any platform

There's something quite soothing about checking in on the world, making sure that people are going about their business in every corner of the globe. I've always had an interest in webcam technology. The first time I was able to take control of a webcam in Times Square, even if only for a brief moment, was a real future-shock moment for me - being able to replace the lifeless view from my office window with the vibrant streets of New York city.

With the iSpy Cameras app every iPad owner with a internet connection can watch the Polar bears play at San Diego Zoo, the yachts glide through San Francisco Bay and the midnight sun finally set in Tromso. The world is right there, right at your finger tips.

Key features

There are hundreds of websites that aggregate webcams, so what makes iSpy Cameras special? In short, it's slick. Within 10 seconds of opening up the app you are presented with 36 live webcams randomly selected from across the globe. Swiping from right to left updates the display with another 36 live views. Tapping on one of the thumbnail previews enlarges it to full screen, double-tap and you are back to the thumbnail view.

Beyond this simple camera selection system is the ability to easily favourite a camera, save an image to your camera roll, rate the camera and, in many cases, even control the camera for a minute or two. The camera control is done in true iPad style, pinch to zoom and swiping left, right, up and down.

The thumbnail previews can be group randomly, by highest rating and most recently added. You can also search for a specific webcam via several criteria.

Examples

The images above represent just a small selection of some of my favourite scenes. Almost every type of environment is available, from a busy shop on the corner of a suburban street, to a majestic landscape at the top of the world.

Future developments

Internal links to Google maps and Wikipedia, along with FaceBook and Twitter support would make iSpy Cameras a near perfect iPad app. Even in its currently form, it's an essential purchase.

App Store Link: iSpy Cameras

"The Nimble Photographer" - Leave the laptop at home

If you are into your photography, especially if you also use Apple's Aperture, iPhoto and/or Photoshop, then you have probably heard of Derrick Story already.  He is a Photographer, Writer and Educator (he literally wrote the book on Digital Photography and presents the Lynda.com training on Aperture).

I have just finished listening to Episode 226 of 'The Digital Story' podcast from the end of May this year (yes I am quite a way behind in my podcast listening) and I think that Photographers who are considering incorporating their iPad into their photographic workflow will find this very interesting.

The podcast episode is titled "The Nimble Photographer" and it is all about travelling light when out and about shooting, leaving the laptop at home.  Instead of lugging along a big (but beautiful) MacBook Pro, Derrick discusses the merits of bringing along the iPad to lighten the load.  Of course, the iPad is not the only weight/space saving piece of kit, he also takes the brilliant Canon S90 instead of DSLR plus lens(es), giving a total weight of just 5.5 pounds, which is about the same as the MacBook Pro on its own.

What the podcast and supporting video above highlight though is how Creatives can use the iPad as at least an interim device for reviewing and sharing their work when on the move, even if it does not completely replace a laptop.  This is ideal for when taking along a laptop is simply too cumbersome or even undesirable, e.g. when you need to stay 'nimble' and light.

You might also want to check out Derrick Story's other posts about the iPad over at The Digital Story site, of which there are many. We are loving reading these and we may well mention more nuggets that our readers may have missed as we discover them.

You can follow Derrick on Twitter too.

Thanks go to Derrick for sharing these great articles, podcasts and videos.