Instagram makes even the worst Photographers Look Good

Instagram logo
Image by AleksGrynis via Flickr

Today, I want to share an iPhone app that I love! Instagr.am.

I am not the greatest photographer. I probably take 1 good picture out of 10 shitty ones. The thing I like about Instagr.am is all the filters I can apply to a picture with the touch of my finger to make an average photo look stunning!

There are things about Instagr.am I am not fond of like not having an album view when you log into their website. I would like to have a cloud based backup of all the pics. Instead I back them up from my iPhone directly to Shotwell Photo Manager, but I figure if I am linking everyone to their site to view my picture I should be able to sort, delete, and manage all the pictures in one place…Another is the limited filters they provide. I would love to add additional user submitted filters, or even purchase ones from Instagr.am.

Instagr.am is free for the iPhone.

Here are some of my recent Instagr.am pics! Enjoy. 🙂

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larrinski back on Twitter

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

I have been off Twitter for a while. Why? Well, a couple of reasons. One, I was going through a very stressful divorce, a change of job, baby, and pretty much anything else you can think of! What a year. Now, I’m engaged and excited as to what 2011 holds for me…Two, I have been slowly trying to regain a sense of balance where technology and family/friend life is involved. You can get pretty overwhelmed by the amount of information thrown at you on the interweb. And I used to use it as way to tune out all my real world problems and not deal with them…In getting back on Twitter, I have decided I am not going to follow every Tom, Dick, and Harry. Be more selective, and follow people and sites that I truly enjoy! And, use it to promote my site, of course. 😉

I can scream through pretty much all the same content in no time at all, and if something interests me, it only takes a few moments to get to the article. I feel up to date again.

So, as I said above, I have reclaimed my account. Follow me @larrinski.

WordPress.com has also added Twitter integration. Here is the blog post about it…

I am also keeping my eye on the newest releases by nirvanahq(GTD beta app), and Nozbe, etc…

Here is my most recent comment on Nozbe, and why I think they have lost touch with GTD. An inbox for a vacation? Not very GTD in my opinion…

http://twitter.com/#!/larrinski/status/4206037309595648

As always, I encourage you to leave comments on the blog, and let me know what you think…

Which huge un-reachable corporation should I blame?

 

iPhone, iPhone 3G and 3GS
Image via Wikipedia

 

This evening I noticed a friend of mine calling me on my iPhone. Something was amiss though. His name didn’t show along with the phone number. I though it was weird, but we talked about beer, mountain biking, and his great sex life so I forgot about it. Later my son called from his mom’s number. The same thing happened. I looked in my contact list on the phone that syncs with Google Apps, and noticed all my contacts gone! WTF? Do you get that paniced feeling when 400 carefully detailed contacts just goes missing? Ya, me too…

So, now I had a technology problem to fix…Something, that truthfully I enjoy doing most of the time. I tried to check my gmail(google apps) e-mail on my iPhone to see if it was still working. No luck. It was kicking up for an incorrect password. So, I restarted my account, then I tried removing it, then tried to do the hard reboot, and then the thought crossed my mind that maybe I was drunk or something and I had forgotten my most important password that I must have entered 10,000 times! I desperately logged into Lastpass and made sure…Fuck. I hadn’t forgotten it. Good news, as I worry that Alzheimer’s will hit me suddenly one day and maybe today was the day… I was stuck.

I got home and had a few chores to attend to, but was itching to get to fixing this problem. I re-synced the phone with iTunes, checked that my contacts were safe online, etc…All was safe. I breathed a sign of relief.

Then, I went to The Google. No luck. No one posting the same problem in the last hour somewhere in the world?

I am screwed right now not being able to sync my account with my iPhone. What is the big deal? Well, let me tell you, my friend.

I DON’T KNOW WHO TO GET MAD AT! Is it Apple for all of a sudden not working as I expect from them? Isn’t their motto, that it ‘just works’? Well, fuck you, it is not working. Is it Google? Did they do some stupid server upgrade and nuke my account on my iPhone? Seems fine on my laptop, but my phone…not so much. Is it Microsoft? It is all supposed to work because of Mr. Gates Microsoft Exchange Server. I already hate Microsoft, so it is super easy to blame them. Is it Bell, who I pay through the nose for this shiny device that I rely on like toilet paper when I’m in the bathroom? I am looking for someone to blame but have no one…

This got me thinking. I can’t contact any of them. Have you or anyone ever contacted one of these enormous companies to get help when the device relies on such a complex interaction between all these global corporations? Seriously? I realize that I and many of you rely on people complaining online about their problem to other equally desperate people and seeing if their solution works for me.Forums, blogs, google searches, porn sites. Ok, maybe not porn sites…

Are we in an age where we rely on these huge companies to help us keep track of our lives, but have no means of actually owning or controlling that information? I have been guilty of laughing when I see someone grabbing a small address book with handwritten phone numbers on them from their bag. Same goes for the seniors with their cheque registers. Who writes down how much money they have? Not anyone I know. But are they the smart ones?

Are we a society now that pays and relies on some trustworthy company(or companies) to keep track of it all for us, and have a false sense of security that when push comes to shove, we get all our lost ‘stuff’ back with a simple e-mail or phone call? I think we know the answer to that question….yes.

Do we blame the companies for our junk not working? We can try, but we have no one to blame but ourselves.

RTM vs Nozbe vs Nirvana. The best GTD Solution?

UPDATE – I’ve been using Remember the Milk for a year now. Check out my latest post about what I’ve liked about using RTM this last year, and what I’d like to see get changed. My 1 year Anniversary with RTM! My thoughts on our relationship…

There has been quite a lot of Web-based To-Do lists managers launched in the last couple of years. I blame the iPhone for this trend! It is a good trend in my opinion. I have been using a few Getting Things Done(GTD) apps this year to see what works best for me. I started by using Nozbe, then for a few reasons(not just that I am the curious type), I started trying out Remember the Milk(RTM), Nirvana, using Gmail as a GTD solution, and finally I have experimented with Evernote. I have written a few articles on the site about my initial impressions on these. Check them out when you have some time…I have been using three on a consistent basis the last couple of months, and wanted to share with you my thoughts on the experience.

The 3 main contenders are: Remember the Milk, Nozbe, & Nirvana.

Here is a small list of the criteria I am looking for in a good, always accessible To-Do List Manager. In no particular order…

  1. It has got to work in the most common web browsers. Yes, IE included…
  2. It has got to have a functional iPhone interface!
  3. It has got to be affordable. Money Talks baby…
  4. It has to be able to remind me of the shit I need to remember without me thinking about it.
  5. Does it work(whether designed that way or hacked) as a true GTD solution?
  6. Is the User Interface cluttered or easy to understand and use?

OK, not a small lists of demands, so let’s see how they faired. Continue reading “RTM vs Nozbe vs Nirvana. The best GTD Solution?”

Five Best Mobile To-Do List Managers

Image representing Remember The Milk as depict...
Image via CrunchBase

I just love mobile To-Do lists on my iPhone! My current one is Remember the Milk. It makes Lifehaker’s top 5 list, so it must be doing something right. I absolutely love the interface to enter tasks. It does a brilliant job using keyboard shortcuts to enter in contexts, due dates, setting priorities, etc.

I notice that Lifehaker leaves Nozbe off the list. It has a nice interface for searching for tasks. I would put it as #6 on the list…

Here is the Lifehaker article, fresh off the press…Enjoy.

Five Best Mobile To-Do List Managers.

Nirvana. My Review of a slick looking new GTD app

I have to start by saying that Nirvana is in Beta, so updates may fix some of my issues…But here it goes…

Recently I ran across an article on my favourite site, LifeHacker...They mentioned a new Getting Things Done site running a Beta called Nirvana. Being a big fan of the 90’s, and loving Nirvana, I thought, hell, why not give it a try.
So, off I went to the site and requested an invite using the LifeHacker invite code. Once I got the invite(it took only a few minutes), I logged in. The first thing I noticed was the e-mail style layout. If there was one thing I liked about my brief Gmail-GTD experiment, was it’s e-mail familiarity. There are a few different style setting in the preferences. I went with the Mac looking one(of course, lol). Here is a screen shot of the interface…

In comparison to Nozbe(my main GTD app), the interface is beautiful. Nirvana is very Web 2.0. Your action items(tasks) are drag and drop. You can select multiple items and move them with ease. This is assuming you aren’t using IE8(I use it at work…). Nirvana has implemented keyboard shortcuts much like Nozbe, so it is easy to navigate around, create new projects, new tasks, etc…with the press of a button. The overall desktop app experience is there for sure. In fact, if you use Mail.app on the Mac, Nirvana will feel almost second nature to you. Sweet.

On to the nuts and bolts…
There are a few interface things that drive me nuts though. Once you have completed a task, the item grays out, which is great, but it stays in your project or Inbox FOREVER, unless you manually move them to the Archive. A pain in the ass…Yes, you can go to the top of the page and select “Archive Checked Items”, but why bother. The point of a list is to complete it and get it out of your sight. Nirvana, you need this to be automatic, or at least sweep it everyday, ala Nozbe…
Another bone to pick, is their implementation of the Next list. IMO, your Next item list should be everything you need to do Today(filled in from you scheduled items) as well as your next action on your projects. Nirvana is working on this after getting tons of feedback from beta testers. Currently everything labelled with a Star, moves it to today, not Next. You may have an important task that you wish to label but it may not necessarily be due today.
You can choose to hide your projects and/or today from Next, but if you select your projects to show, it shows all your action items, not the next one to be done. What is the point? I think they understand that this currently is not working, so a fix is in the works. Good job! I love when developers listen to feedback, interact with the community, and keep everyone up to date on updates!
On to the way Nirvana does their Waiting for and Schedule. In one word, fantastic! Waiting for has a great assign feature. When you move a task to this list, a screen pops up to assign a name to it. You can even attach an e-mail address, so when you do your weekly reviews, if the item hasn’t been dealt with by the person, you can click the link and a new email is created with the task title as the subject line. Very nice.
One thing I really like, is the ability to create a due date on a task and move it to Scheduled. If it was in your Inbox, it is moved to the list. Out of sight until the due date. This solves the problem in Nozbe where you have an individual task you need to accomplish, but want to move it out of your inbox, and don’t want to assign it to a project. If you have a task in your projects and drag it to your Scheduled, it stays in your project but flags the item with a due date tag. This helps keep all your tasks of a project at hand to review.
Contexts…I am quite disappointed with them so far in the beta. You can add them to a task(Nirvana calls them tags, much like Twitter), and they will show up at the top of that particular list.

The problem lies that unless you have the tag cloud activated in your preferences, you have no way of sorting your tasks by context! This is one of the key strategies of GTD…If I am at the phone ready to call someone, I want easy access to the @phone context. Not to hunt around throughout my various projects, and inbox to see all the people I need to call. The tag cloud needs to be more fleshed out. A bigger aspect of the UI. I would really like to see them have the ability to drag a task to a context to tag it, though the developer mentioned to me that this was not currently in the works.

The last thing that Nirvana needs to work on(and badly), is the mobile app. They haven’t got an iPhone app like Nozbe or Remember the Milk yet, so they have written a mobile version of the site that runs in Safari. One good thing to say about the look, is that it looks a lot like the desktop. Very nice. Simple. But there are problems brewing…Where the hell are all the contexts? Again, not a major focus in the beta. On the home page of the mobile app, that don’t have a sort by context selection. Bad. Take a lesson from Nozbe and link all the contexts/tags to the home page. When I am out and about, I need my GTD context to be easy to access. Until this is fixed, this is a deal breaker for me…

Nirvana is beautiful and does some things extremely well(waiting for & scheduled to name a couple). They need to work on auto-hiding completed tasks, contexts all around, and Next for sure. I am going to keep my eye on it over the next few months to see how some of the bugs and interface quirks are handled. I especially will keep the mobile app in my radar. It needs work but has potential…

The beta is free for you to try out. Nirvana haven’t set up a pricing structure yet after the beta ends, and once I find out, I’ll update the blog with information.

Let me know what you think of Nirvana! What have you liked, disliked, want added? And of course, Nirvana has very active developers that listen to your feedback. Go ahead and use Nirvana, go to their public discussions section and be part of the beta community! They are looking for feedback.