How to show all your videos in iPhoto for Mac

You’d assume that there’s a default folder in iPhoto that shows all your movies, like in the iOS 7 Photos app. But there isn’t. It’s easy to set one up using the magic of Smart Albums. Here’s how: in iPhoto, head over to File – New Smart Album give it a title (like Movies) create …

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How Apple have ruined iPhoto 2.0 for iOS

iPhoto-LogoA few days ago I was sitting together with my Mum in her hotel room and explained how she can upload all her photo treasures past and present to Flickr. A while ago she bought iPhoto for her iPad as a convenient solution that did not require a laptop (which she doesn’t like).

Yesterday Apple have released a new version of iPhoto 2.0 for iOS – and sadly ruined some of the best features the app had to offer.

Let me share with you my official App Store review that I’ve just posted – before it is deleted and deemed “inappropriate”.

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US Banking in 2013

I have eight bank accounts across three countries. They’re a mixture of personal and business accounts. So I know a bit about banking. And after the last few months worth of experiences with US banks, I can tell you that banking in the US sucks. A lot. There’s really nothing more to say on that …

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iOS 7 has arrived! And here’s what it does…

icon-ios7-150x150On Speak Like a Pirate Day 2013, the 18th of September, Apple decided to release their latest and (apparently greatest) operating system for iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch devices: iOS 7.

Developers like me have had it since June and we were eased into what may well be a culture shock to many users. We were not allowed to talk about iOS 7 until today due to the non disclosure agreement that comes with the territory of using pore-release software.

Because I’ve been using iOS 7 for the last few months, I can finally tell you what’s changed, what’s better and what’s perhaps not so good about the latest release. Even if you’re itching to press that upgrade button, have a read and get into the mood.

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Plantronics Voyager Legend UC – wireless Bluetooth and USB headset in one

voyager-legend-ucA few months ago I bought a new Bluetooth headset to replace my trusty old Voyager Pro+. It was still working but people at the other end were complaining that my voice would cut out regularly even though I could hear them fine.

Besides, my old headset didn’t want to work well with my Mac. That’s because Mac’s have a problem connecting Bluetooth headsets in general – so it wasn’t the headset’s fault. I wanted one that also works as an audio input device so I can record screencasts for many of my web hosting clients.

After a bit of research I came across another Plantronics model, the Voyager Legend UC. This particular version comes with a small USB dongle, so it can be used as a Bluetooth headset AND wireless USB headset.

Since February this worked great with my iPhone and iPad, but I never got that elusive USB function to work. Until today when I had a technological breakthrough!

I thought I’d better write this down before I forget…

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How to use Spotlight in ZBrush

Cylinder with PatternI’ve gotten over the culture shock of the ZBRush Interface. It grows on you after a while. Or so I keep telling myself.

The emphasis in ZBrush is about sculpting 3D models – something I’m not really into. I want to use ZBrush as a texturing tool and paint existing 3D objects, so I jumped right ahead and took a good look at something called Spotlight. This is ZBrush’s image editing and painting feature.

Everything needs some funky name, usually beginning or containing the letter Z. I’m surprised they didn’t call this Zpotlight.

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How to fix Brush Lag in Photoshop CC

Photoshop CC splashBack in 2013 I was trying out the then-new Photoshop CC for 30 days. I wasn’t sure if the upgrade was for me or if I should stick with my trusty copy of Photoshop CS5 (which by the way I own and can use forever and a day, without a monthly license fee… but that’s another matter).

So I’ve installed CC, marvelled at the new look and the 3D tools, made a brush stroke on a new canvas and… what the hell is that?

My stroke was lagging behind by about a second or more until it appeared on the screen. I wasn’t using a complicated brush either, just a bog standard 20 pixel soft edge brush without any Blending Options.

Shocked, perplexed, dissatisfied and smiling to myself, I consulted Google. One user in particular had this problem too, and many more chipped in on a forum thread over at the Adobe Forums and the (now defunct) Photoshop.com. I was glad to hear I was not alone – yet nobody had a solution to this problem.

Yesterday, a lovely representative from the Photoshop Facebook Page got in touch with me and offered help and advice – and ultimately solved my problem. Thanks, Jeff!

Let me share with you what worked for me, perhaps it works for you too.

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Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription Woes: does it really matter?

Adobe_CS5.5_Product_LogosYou can’t buy any of the Adobe Creative Suite products anymore. From now on you can only “license” any of Adobe’s products for a monthly or annual fee. This includes Photoshop, Premiere, Dreamweaver and all the other CS products we know and love. That’s old news.

What isn’t so old is the bitching and bickering from everybody (including myself) about the idea of being “forced” to shill out small regular payments and pay for “access and incremental upgrades”, rather than “invest big” once and own the software.

While this is certainly a departure from the old licensing model, I wonder: is it really worth losing sleep over it? Let’s examine the options and see if perhaps a monthly subscription is actually cheaper than purchasing a product the old fashioned way.

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The First 48 Hours with ZBrush

ZBrush DogConfusion, headaches, frustration, anger, hopelessness, sadness, depression and resentment. Those words probably best describe my first two days with this new software.

These are not emotions commonly associated with creativity, artistic output, joy, happiness or inner fulfilment.

And I had such high hopes for ZBrush! My capability of wanting to learn, the excitement of exploring new territory and the certainty that sooner or later I’d be able to figure it out were no longer with me.

Plus my usually reliable learning resources weren’t able to teach me the basics!. For a moment there I lost all hope.

Then I discovered that there may be light at the end of a very dark tunnel after all. Let me tell you all about it in the first part of this exciting new series or Learning Zbrush.

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Mes vacances avec ZBrush

ZBrush LogoDon’t panic, this post is not in French, it’s merely an homage to my man Fred Lebain whose collection of Holga images has always inspired me.

I hear great things about a piece of software called ZBrush. Apparently it’s the best thing that’s happened to the 3D industry since the candy machine. The current release 4R6 packs a heft price tag of $795 (about £560) and therefore sends the message: “It’s not a hobby tool – it’s business software”.

The sales pitch says it does it all and more – from modelling in a very artistic and intuitive way, to texturing better than any other app could ever do. Their customer service is fantastic and they have a showcase site called ZBrushCentral where creators from all over the world can share their works and be admired.

Over the next four weeks, I’ve decided to find out for myself.

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Hitman in Haringey

Ah, the old neighbourhood – I used to live there you know. A mix of light industrial fashion industry warehouses next to council estates and victorian family homes. I remember the security guards with the “talk to the hand gesture” when I tried to cross the yard and shave off 10 minutes from the walk …

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Agent Dash 2.0: Should you really upgrade just yet?

Photo 10-04-2013 17 29 34
Meet Agent Dash, full time spy

I’m a huge fan of Agent Dash. It’s a “Temple Run” type game in which all you ever do is swipe left, right, up or down. The graphics are insanely good and it’s a very addictive little time killer.

As Agent Dash (or any of the other characters) you run through tricky levels, collect diamonds, shoot at enemy technology and avoid obstacles. That’s it.

When the new update came along a couple of weeks ago it promised many good things. But what I’ve found is that many of the changes have an impact on the game dynamic that we have come to love.
Currently players are heavily coerced into upgrading – but before you do, let me tell you what has changed in Agent Dash. If you don’t like it, you can always restore your game from a backup and wait until these little niggles have been fixed (if they ever will).

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Kindle DX

IMG_3559We have a total of 6 Kindles in our household, that’s between two people. I know this sounds excessive, but believe me every single one of them has their specific purpose.

Recently I added a lightly used Kindle DX to my arsenal, making up the 6th one. I’ve had a few weeks to play with it now so let me tell you what I think of it – and why I think it’s extremely sad that Amazon aren’t making the Kindle DX anymore.

It feels weird to write a review of technology that has just been taken off the market – but looking at several message boards this device has a cult following – myself included. I can understand why people love it so much.

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Developing the Development Tools

PatchBay Icon 512x512Every major software company has a collection of internal tools to help them develop their software. These are either off-the-shelf apps like Photoshop, or they are so specialised that they have to be custom written in-house by a team of specialists, often by a dedicated department.

Right now I’m in a similar situation myself: We need a dedicated tool to create the data structure for future reference apps. Specifically we need a simple input mask that makes my iPhone App understand what data I’d like to display without having to tweak a text file.

I can’t quite believe that I have successfully written such a tool for precisely this purpose. Best of all, I did this almost without any code using Cocoa Bindings. Aptly titled PatchBay, this app allows us to create a Core Data store file which I can pick up in iOS and display on the iPhone.

Let me tell you how it came to be, why it’s useful for us and how gobsmacked I am that this has become a reality.

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Seek and Ye shall find

folder_findFor the last week and a half I’ve been having fun researching and coding the search function in iOS Table Views.

You’d think there’s just a “thing” you drag into your view, hook it up somehow and “hey presto, it works” (alas that’s how you do it in jQuery Mobile).

Not so in iOS: we’ll have to deal with a search bar, a search display controller and its many intricacies, and then something called a Predicate.

I don’t mind telling you: my head has been smoking… but my hard work and perseverance has paid off, and now I can finally add a search function to all my iOS Apps!

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