Aug
18
2010

The Rise and Fall of Camera+

Camera+ ($1.99 USD) has quickly become one of the most popular iPhone photography apps to be released.  Most phone cameras are decidedly lo-fi and apps like these make the most out of those tiny cameras.  You can take something lackluster and turn it into a cool image.  The ability to get the shot, make edits, then get it out on the web directly from the device really makes it easy to be creative.  Pro Photographer Chase Jarvis said it best: “The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You™“.  Now the iPhone 4 is out with it’s excellent camera and these apps are becoming even more popular.  The success of these apps has sparked the iPhoneography movement.  It’s essentially become the digital version of Lomography.

The Camera+ app itself is very good..  It’s interface is very intuitive and the selection of Scenes, Crops, Effects and Borders are plentiful and easy to use.  The ability to tap and hold one spot to lock focus then use another spot to adjust exposure is fantastic.  The “image stabilizer” is another great feature and works really well.  It uses the iPhone’s accelerometer to detect movement then takes the shot when your most steady.   After your done with the image, you can easily share images to Flickr, Facebook, Twitter or Email directly from the lightbox.

I do have a couple of issues with Camera+.  The main one being that it doesn’t save the original image when you go to save an edited image.  Once the image is edited and saved, you can’t go back to the original.  I wish it had some way to do a “save-as”.  You could take the original image, save it to the iPhone’s camera roll, make a duplicate then go back into Camera+ to edit the duplicate.  But that’s just annoying and a waste of time.  The one feature a lot of users would like to see is the ability to use the iPhone’s volume buttons to take a picture.  I’m sure these fixes and features could be easily added…but that’s where the story goes awry.

Read on…

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Dec
11
2009

Ramen Review: HooRooRook

Instant Ramen Soup is a staple of college dorms and office lunch rooms all around the world. It’s cheap, easy to make, filling and tasty. Now that it’s winter, hot soup is a great way to help keep warm. Over the years, I’ve tried many different brands and flavors. Some have been good and some were downright horrid. Since Pho and Noodle Houses have become more popular, higher-end gourmet ramen has come to market. While the taste and quality has improved, the “healthy” factor hasn’t…until now. If you look through the isles of your local asian market, you will see a small selection of “healthy” and “non-fried” varieties. The thing with most of these new varieties is lack of flavor.  They tend to be bland and or they compensate by adding way too much spice.

DSC06772

"So good, Slurping is allowed!"

I came upon Nongshim’s HooRooRook one day while perusing the ramen isle. The packaging stood out from the others and the tagline “So good, Slurping is allowed!” made me read more. The biggest surprise was the lack of MSG and Low Sodium. Most ramen has a ton of MSG and sodium. There’s some with over 3000mg of sodium per serving. HooRooRook lists sodium at 1420mg, the lowest of all the ones I saw on the shelf. It’s still high, but not as outrageous. It’s also low in fat (1g) and zero cholesterol. The numbers looked good, so I picked up a couple. At $1 each, it was worth a shot.

I was fully prepared for a letdown. The nutritional numbers might have been promising, but that doesn’t always translate to good taste. Preparation was easy as expected. I normally use half a packet of “flavoring” when making ramen. But this time I put it all in. I was surprised by the quality of the dried vegetables and seaweed. They had a nice color to them and looked appetizing. Once everything was mixed in it looked and smelled promising. The consistency definitely has a “premium” feel to it compared to the usual stuff.

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Nov
26
2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from everyone here at Teksandwich. MMMMMMM… turkey sandwiches!

Turkey!

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Nov
05
2009

Review: Puffer Alternatives

Nikon D50 with on-board flash diffuser.

Photographers have been using light modifiers on their external flash guns and strobes for a long time now.  But the lowly on-board flash has always been regarded as useless.  It’s low power and close proximity to the lens makes it less than ideal for creative photography.  It’s become more of an “it’s there in-case” tool, rather than something useful.  You can usually tell when the on-board flash was used.  The subject is harshly lit, a large shadow is cast and everything is overly bright and has a flat quality to it.

Over the years, people have come up with all sorts of ways to modify the light coming from the on-board flash.  There’s the DIY methods using an old film canister or cigarette box.  There are also commercially available ones from the likes of Lumiquest.  But the one that really caught my attention was the Gary Fong Puffer.

If you’ve seen a pro-photographer with a big tupperware-like device attached to the top of his/her flash gun, it’s most likely a Gary Fong Lightsphere.  He changed the game with the Lightsphere and it’s become a standard in the industry.  Gary’s light modifier designs are very innovative and the Puffer is no exception.  The design of the puffer is simple: use the existing hot shoe as a mounting point for a bracket that holds a opaque diffuser in front of the flash.  It’s an elegant design that is far superior to the other attempts I’ve seen.  It works very well in those times when you need fill flash and you don’t have a flash gun with you.  My only complaint is the price.  I know photography is an expensive hobby/profession.  But for something your not going to rely on all the time, $25 seems like an awful lot of money for a few pieces of plastic.

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Sep
01
2009

PowerbookMedic

powerbookmedicPowerbookMedic.com is great resource for parts and repair for your broken Mac.  They have great guides and videos for getting into your Mac and fixing it yourself.  We here at Teksandwich are big supporters of DIY repairs and sites like PowerbookMedic.com really help. They also offer a mail-in service if your not comfortable doing your own repair.  Make sure to check their blog for latest updates and contests.

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Jul
16
2009

DIY: Cable Management

desk-001_1

Well, it’s been awhile since a post and during the break I have had the chance to organize my Desk/workbench. Like everyone, keeping the cables of the various electonics on the desk is a chore. Especially when one tends to change their systems around alot and also trouble shoot PC’s of friends and family on the same work space.

I have seen the signum cable management rack from Ikea and loved the idea. Unfortunately the closest Ikea to me is 2 hours away. Then it was off to search office supply stores, which lead to wasted gas and dissatisfaction.

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May
16
2009

DIY: Paint Bucket Tomatoes

bucket11The lowly paint bucket.  It’s interesting how something so simple can have so many uses.  We haven’t had the time to set up a proper garden this year, but figured it would be nice to grow some tomatoes.  We’ve tried growing them in pots before, but it just didn’t work.

Looking around on the intarwebs, I found a few really good ideas.  The EarthTainer looks interesting.  It uses a storage tote to create a low maintenance growing environment.  I like the idea, but was looking for something simpler. (Although, this might be a project for next season).  I looked at hydroponics, but this was even more complicated.   I’m sure you’ve all seen the late night info-mercial for the Topsy Turvy.  It grows your tomatoes upside-down. The Topsy Turvy looked interesting, but I knew there had to be a DIY solution.  Here’s where the five dollar paint bucket comes in.  A little Googleing found some great solutions.  Most of them make use of either a bucket or hanging pot.  I decided to do a combination of both.  Read on…

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May
07
2009

Review: Top Gun for iPhone/iPod Touch

topgun1Recently released on the iTunes App Store, Top Gun is what you would expect this type of game to be.  The premise is simple, shoot the bad guys and stay out of the “Danger Zones”.  I have to say, Paramount did a really good job with it.  Click on for my review! (more…)

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May
05
2009

Teksandwich Old Hardware Series: Keeping it Old School!

Old Phones

Remember the days before iPhones and Blackberries?  Mobile phones were just that…phones.  They made and received calls, not much else.  It was a much simpler time.  The old phones were built like tanks and were made to last.  Today’s phones are almost disposable.  Most people barely hang on to one for more than a year or two.  The latest phones have become complicated devices, so much so that placing a voice call is almost secondary.  So when your new fangled multimedia playing, internet connected, multi-touch, Qwerty keyboard and GPS enabled device fails to send that video MMS…remember what it was like when all we had were phones that only made phone calls.

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Apr
30
2009

edamame hummus

dsc09491We here at teksandwich are addicted to the edamame hummus from trader joe’s. It’s ridiculous how tasty it is in sandwiches or just as a dip for pita chips. TJ’s also does this bummer move where they discontinue products that we love…so get it while it’s hot!

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