Get paid to walk around and take pictures with your iPhone

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Finally, my iPhone will start making me some money! How? Gigwalk. It’s a relatively new app that I learned about from an article in the Los Angeles Times, so it’s been around a bit and earned some high-profile, credibility-establishing attention. That’s important for something promising to make you money. How does it work? You download the app, sign up through Facebook or create your own login, then start looking for gigs. I live in Philadelphia in Center City, and there are hundreds of available gigs. What are the gigs? They can vary, but it seems the vast majority involve visiting a business and taking pictures and answering some questions about the place. The gigs pay from $3 to $90, but most of the ones I clicked on were in the $5 to $7 range. However, as you gain experience and prove to be reliable, more lucrative gigs await. Maybe! Here’s what a user had to say to the Times: More

Google+ app for iPhone, and William Shatner!

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Finally there is an iPhone app for Google+. I complained on Twitter this weekend that I was tempted to get an Android phone. Almost! The Google phones already had a G+ app and I was envious. Of course I won’t give up my iPhone 4 until a phone comes along that kicks the shit out of it. That probably will come this fall with the iPhone 5. 😀 Okay, the G+ app is nifty. You don’t get full functionality. No group video chat with hangouts, but who needs that on their phone? Group chat, yes. So my Google+ plus journey continues and the universe expands. There was a hiccup at the beginning when the iTunes App Store released a test version rather than the true release. I downloaded the test version and it was glitchy and the tech heads started to immediately bellyache. Within an hour or two, the correct version was released. Works fine so far.

Tonight I found out William Shatner is on Plus, and he calls us Plusers. And he was complaining that you can only put 5,000 total people in your circles. I hope Google listens to him, because I plan on putting the entire world into Google+.

Philly artist creating visuals for new mobile-app game

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Yis Goodwin, better known as Nose Go in Philadelphia street-art circles, has been busy designing characters and backgrounds for a developing mobile-app game called Catball. It is currently a Kickstarter project with 18 days to go to reach its goal of $4,000 in funding. You can watch the demo video here. I’m not much of a mobile gaming guy, but I like Nose Go’s art. He got a lot of attention recently from the popular Tyson Bees food truck, which he painted in his crazy, colorful style. I met him sometime in 2007 or ‘08 while I was researching a documentary of Philadelphia graffiti. He is more gallery than street these days, and his next canvas may be your iPhone, iPad and Android (and maybe even Xbox Live and PS3).

Will Apple turn off your iPhone video camera at concerts?

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Sure, video is decent, but this sounds horrible.

This really bugged me when I read about it: Apple is developing a system that would allow concert and sports venues to shut off the video function on your iPhone at arenas or stadiums (stadia?) to prevent unauthorized recording of shows or games. I am absolutely opposed to this. I am not renting my iPhone. I paid for it. I own it. It should be up to venue owners to prohibit recording devices and enforce those bans. More worrisome is the technology. Will governments (police? military?) be able to set up zones where your video-recording capabilities will be disabled? In theory, I am resigned to a future when technology will be messing with other technology. You can already buy devices now that block GPS signals around you. But I don’t have to sit back and say nothing as Apple devises ways to limit the functionality of the devices I pay for. Hey, Steve, when “it just works,” don’t mess with it.

Audioboo test

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Image credit: farlane via Flickr

Audioboo recording: Coyote Fight

Switching to vacation mode

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I’ll be in California till the end of the month, so I won’t be posting about tech stuff unless it has to do with photos I take or using the iPhone on the road. I’ll be experimenting with photo apps and I’ll try to share some of the results here. What is that thing in the photo above? That’s a donut shop and car wash. Classic SoCal.

Space Shuttle launch scrubbed, and Cloud Girlfriend changes her mind

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Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-134 (201104290004HQ)
Photo credit: nasa hq photo via Flickr

The launch scheduled today of the Space Shuttle Endeavor on its final mission before retirement, which I wrote about earlier this week, was postponed due to a technical problem. The next launch opportunity will be no earlier than Sunday. I flew down to Florida last year to catch the final launch of Discovery but left with only a bag full of souvenir T-shirts because that launch was repeatedly delayed. Good thing I didn’t act on an impulse I had to hop on a flight to see this launch.

Cloud Girlfriend was released this week. I was a bit skeptical about whether this thing was legit or some kind of publicity scam. Originally, the concept I was led to believe was that the service would artificially create a girlfriend experience online that you could interact with in some fashion. However, Cloud Girlfriend was unveiled to be a kind of pretend dating service for people who assume fantasy online personas. Since I wrote about it before, I felt obligated to provide this update. The initial concept the company put forth was intriguing. The reality was disappointing, kind of like a bad blind date.

In February, I wrote about IntoNow, the app that listens to your TV and can tell you what you are watching. It was reported this week that Yahoo! will acquire the start-up for as much as $30 million. The iPhone app debuted on Jan. 31.

Last week I said that I was testing some photo apps on my iPhone. The most impressive has been Microsoft’s Photosynth, which creates photo panoramas. It’s very easy to use and I was eager to show off my results. won’t allow me to embed a photosynth, as they are called, so you can view them here.

Color app update: It’s listening to you

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The much-maligned app Color did a promo event Sunday evening in conjunction with the New York premiere of “Water for Elephants,” a movie starring Reese Witherspoon and, more importantly, Robert Pattinson. He’s the dreamy Twilight vampire who makes the girls go gaga online. Color, which tries to create live social networks based on photos you take, has revamped itself and I thought it was time to give it a second look. Then I came across this report on about Color using the microphone on your phone to listen for certain sounds:

Color uses your iPhone’s or Android phone’s microphone to detect when people are in the same room. The data on ambient noise is combined with color and lighting information from the camera to figure out who’s inside, who’s outside, who’s in one room, and who’s in another, so the app can auto-generate spontaneous temporary social networks of people who are sharing the same experience.

Frankly, this doesn’t really bother me, but I know it will REALLY bothers privacy advocates. And I agree with one key point: Color should let users know this is occurring. Full disclosure is all I want. Then we can make informed choices. Now back to trying to figure out Color. More

8 megapixel camera for iPhone 5?

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Grandfather's volunteer badges

I shot the above photo with my iPhone 4 camera. The detail in the original image is amazing. The file, when viewed at full size, is huge. If you have good light, a steady hand, and a subject that isn’t moving, the camera is awesome. If you’re in a dark situation, or if your subject is moving, the images won’t be so good. It’s the nature of photography. It’s the limitation of digital photography when you aren’t shooting with a DSLR. I don’t need more megapixels. I need a bigger sensor that can capture available light in dim situations. I need a faster processor to freeze moving images. So the news that maybe the next iPhone will be equipped with an 8 MP camera isn’t encouraging. That means larger file sizes and slower processing times. I’m assuming there will be some performance boost to accompany the added megapixels. But why not just make the 5 MP camera that already exists on the iPhone 4 better without the added baggage? More megapixels is a scam to make consumers buy the next gen of digital cameras. But the camera manufacturers play that game for a reason: Consumers are dopes and fall for the scam. Also, there are Android phones with 8 MP cams, and they aren’t better, but in the marketing battle, it doesn’t matter what is better. If the 8 MP iPhone cam is the pipeline, then all I can hope for is that Steve Jobs, when he does his iPhone 5 introduction, does a demo that, somehow, blows me and my reservations away. You want to see how good the iPhone is, watch this movie which was shot with the 4: More

What is Augmented Reality?

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We used to date

My first experience with Augmented Reality, or AR, was when I got my first iPhone in 2008. There was a novelty factor about holding up the phone, using the camera to see around you, and have information pop up on the screen showing the nearest McDonald’s. I say novelty because I never became a regular user. I read about apps that help you find stops for the New York and London subways systems, but I’ve never been to London and rarely visit New York. I lost track with what was going on with AR. Lately, however, I’ve been coming across articles about new apps using AR that show the field is developing in potentially cool ways. The photo above is from the app “Paranormal Activity: Sanctuary.” It shows a ghost-like demon in my condo. You play the game through your iPhone in your neighborhood, or wherever you want. You can go on missions or explore the augmented weirdness around you. The game can connect you with other players, so if the game becomes a hit, you will see massive displays of geosocial geekiness on the streets. I need to spend more time with the app to give it a proper evaluation. If nothing else, you can take pictures of the apparitions (apart from the usual freaks) lurking in your local supermarket. Here are some other apps I’ve been testing: More

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