The sun is bright, dragonflies dart about in warm - almost hot and humid air, car radios blast jammin beats through open windows, and bare legs and flip flops are part of the daily dress code.
It can only mean one thing: it's summertime.
Actually it's pre-summer here in Orlando.
Ok, there's no such thing as pre-summer, but we only have two seasons here, cut us some seasonal slack. This is the time of year when days are actually enjoyable outdoors and nights are downright delightful. It's the one to three weeks in Spring when living in Florida trumps living anywhere else. Summers here are brutal. Daytime temps hang around the upper 90s, humidity stays well above 60%, and nights require AC to sleep. But this time of year we get temps in the mid to upper 80s and nights are comfortably in the low to mid 70s. Good stuff.
Summer also means that most schools here in the U.S. will close or shift to a summer schedule, which mean young people will have a lot of time on their hands. If they have access to iDevices then you can bet they'll spending a lot of time in a social app of choice, and a lot of photos will be taken. Why not capitalize on that and give them free apps that let them do fun things?
No kids in the picture? No worries. The apps I'm thinking about you'll want to play around with as well because they are fun and offer some truly unique features.
In fact I've got three apps that fit the bill in this week's Free on iTunes bullpen. So lets get to it.
Samba [21.5 MB, runs on all iDevices capable of running iOS 6.0 or later, Maker: SAMBA.ME LTD]
The big vis is what you sent, the small insert is he reaction of the recipient. Cool!
Text messages are so 2010. You've got a smart phone in your hand that has two (2!!!) cameras. Why type a message when you can just say what you want and send it off?
Actually, typing a message has its advantages, but a video message can rock your socks off.
"Wait a minute Vern," you may be saying. " There are any number of apps that'll let you take a selfie vid and send it off. (Yawn)"
To that I'd counter, "True, but do those apps automagically record the response of the viewer and send it back to you? I don't think so, unless that app is Samba."
Recording a 15 second video selfies with Samba is easy. Just press the big red and white record button and do your thing. You can send it off to your friends and wait to see how they respond to your craziness. It's the ultimate app for sating any narcissistic tendencies you might have. But far more than that, Samba can give you the opportunity to say what you want to say, how you want to say it, and in a way that the receiver of your message can instantly 'get' because they see you and your expression, hear you and your emotion. It's the next best thing to actually being there.
Samba does it's magic by storing your vids on its servers and sending your recipient a link to the vid. If the other party has Samba as well then the app will record his or her reaction to your video and instantly send it back to you.
It's a great way to converse.
UltraVisual [18.9 MB, runs on all iDevices capable of running iOS 7.0 or later, Maker: Ultravisual LLC]
Why post little square photos and videos when you can post a multimedia collection, complete with text and sound? UltraVisual lets you do just that and more.
You can tell your story anyway you want, then publish it for others to enjoy, but you can also collaborate on a project, letting others add photos, movies, and other media. The project owner controls who can collaborate and view the project.
You can have a collection of projects as well, but you can also just be a consumer of the many collections posted for public viewing. There's lots of creative types out there and just seeing what others are doing could get your creative juices flowing.
Yes, talking chicken. Lots of great stuff on UltraVisual
You can import media you already have or you can use the app's built in camera and impressive array of processing tools to capture and create.
UltraVisual is the next Instagram. Check it out. I think you'll like it.
Vhoto [51.9 MB, runs on all iDevices capable of running iOS 7.1 or later, Maker: Wiffledan, Inc]
Pic from vids you've already shot
You've just taken a great video and you notice a frame that would make a great photo. You could take a screen shot of the paused vid, but it won't look all that good. Or you could use Vhoto.
This ingenious app analyzes your video to find frames that work best as single shots, so what you won't see are blurry face and fuzzy smiles. It provides a listing of "good" potential photos from which you can pick.
Once you've selected the perfect pict you can then make it even better with a nice list of familiar photo adjustment tools and filters. After that you can post your shot of Vhoto's social service or save it to your library.
The finished product looks great!
That's pretty much all there is to it, but it is surprisingly useful. This is a photo tool you should keep in your stable. You'll use it.
And that's a wrap for this week.
If you're an Infinity Blade fan then you're going to love this week's Free App of the Week, it's Infinity Blade II. A must have to show off your iPad. Also check out this weeks Single of the Week from Jamie N Commons called Jungle.