2014 Ends, 2015 Begins

As you hear so often – the year really flew by. I think the last time I really saw time fly was when I dropped my Garmin during a marathon. I was switching it from my left wrist to my right one (since 15 miles on one wrist is about all I can stand). It flew about 3 feet to the ground. Not very much, but I had to stop to grab it. Not a great feeling during a marathon! Was that off topic enough for this blog? 🙂

Happy Holiday 2014
A holiday card I created with a number of apps: Snapseed (to enhance the original), LensLight (to add the light), BrushStroke (to give it the painted look), Snow Daze (for the snow), Fold Defy (for the folded look), and Phonto (to add the text). If you live/visit in downtown Charlottesville you’ll know exactly where you are based on the pavilion in the background.

Anyway, it was an amazing year for iOS photo apps. One of the big changes is that Apple allowed app developers access to the camera APIs in iOS 8, and that has led to manual controls in various apps. You can manually set the ISO, capture time, focus, etc. Very nice. I’ve used a few of the apps including Camera+, Few, Manual, Manual Photo Camera (currently free), and Manually. I haven’t had a lot of time to explore them all, but I think Camera+ is my favorite right now, but they all seem nice.

It was also a great year for creating ‘artistic’ photos. BrushStroke and Waterlogue1 are my two favorite apps for creating things that look like they’ve been painted. Both of these are Universal apps, so they are good for both your iPhone and iPad.

On the iPad only side of things, Pixelmator was named the Best iPad App of 2014. It’s a very powerful editing app that also has a Mac version for when you want to continue your editing on one platform or the other. I’ve been using it a bit and am starting to enjoy it more every time I do (the GUI took me a few uses before I got familiar with it – it’s so powerful and I didn’t realize how much it could do initially). There are many other great apps out there that people love, and if you want you can see what Mobitog members think about the best apps of the year in this lively thread.

Although it was a great year, there was one thing on my “naughty” list – the iCloud Photo Library. This is supposed to give you access to all your photos at full resolution on all your devices. Right now it still shows up as beta in the iPhone settings. I’m guessing it won’t come out of beta until the new Photos application for the Mac is released in early 2015. This new program is going to replace both iPhoto (free) and Aperture (hundreds of dollars in the past, still $80 online). Most have a feeling it will be a bit above iPhoto, but will pale in comparison to Aperture.

I tried this once, but between how the iCloud Photo Stream and the iCloud Photo Library, it was hard to see what was really going on. There are still a lot of discussions about it on the web and many are as confused as I am about what should really be happening. There was also confusion due to the removal of the “Camera Roll” when iOS 8 was initially released (it was added back in an iOS update). Too much confusion and no one ever wants to lose any photos they took! Hopefully Apple clears up all these issues in 2015.

Looking ahead, I’ve heard the rumors that the camera may be drastically upgraded in the next iPhone late in 2015. I would have no problem with that! My question is about the size of the lens. With the iPhone 6 (which is really thin) the lens extends outside the iPhone, so if you don’t have a case the lens can scrape around on your desk and in your pocket. I’m not a big fan of the design and am looking forward to the new one in October 2015.

For my New Year’s resolution I’m going to try to average at least one post a week (I only averaged one every two weeks for 2014), and I will try to always respond to email I get (trust me…I see it all, but just don’t find time to reply). Two resolutions seem like plenty.

I hope you all have a great start to 2015 as time continues to fly by.

Finishing a race a few weeks ago. You can see my Garmin sitting there on my wrist. This was a 5k and I finished in 20:03. Pretty good race!
Finishing a race a few weeks ago. You can see my Garmin sitting there on my wrist. This was a 5k and I finished in 20:03. Pretty good race!

1Waterlogue actually came out last December, but that is right around the start of 2014 😉

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