Instagram suddenly chokes off developers as Facebook chases privacy

Looks like Instagram is scrambling like its mother-ship Facebook to impose data access restrictions, but doing it without any warning. Understandable but puzzling to developers, given that they’ve been dealing with data scandals lately, these corrective actions though without transparency or any sort of official communication will not only hurt developers but will impact app functionalities.

VSCO playing catch up with Instagram

Update: The #NewVSCO is now available, get it for Android and iOS for iPhone.

Ask anyone who’s been Instagram’ing for the past 5 years what his/her favorite photo editing app is and you’ll most likely get the same response – VSCO or VSCOcam. While Instagram popularized the use of photo filters, it’s VSCO that must have perfected the all-in app most photography professionals and enthusiasts are looking for – an app that not only lets you apply filters, but offers a collection of customization tools for more creative possibilities. continue reading »

Spare Uber please

I have a car but I don’t drive. And when my driver went on emergency leave for over two weeks, it’s as if I was left with no choice but to commute to Makati daily for work. I live in North Caloocan, way past Fairview and almost bordering San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, that translates to about 3 hours of exhausting commute to and fro. While no cab will agree to take me straight to Makati, why I hop on an aircon bus until I reach a “taxi-friendly” spot, I was glad to have discovered Uber Manila through a friend’s tweet. Eager to try out the ride-sharing service, I downloaded the Uber app, and with the sign up credit of 300 pesos, excitedly requested my first ride. And in less than 5 minutes, I was fetched by a Ford Everest (UberBlack) that got me to my appointment ahead even in rush hour and then a Toyota Vios (UberX) on a sleepy drive to Eastwood City. This cash-less, hassle-free riding experience got me addicted to Uber. Uber is commuting in stylish comfort–there’s this excitement of having to wait or guess what car’s picking you up or riding on a different car every request–and of course the convenience of credit card payment. Compared to taxi apps, Uber turns out to be even more reasonably priced, tipping is not even required. If only Uber’s available where I live, I’d give up my car and not ride a taxi ever again. But then it’s quite understandable that Uber now only serves select areas.

To think that this is not exactly a new service, which has been quietly introduced here almost a year ago, enjoyed by credit-card-toting commuters, even car owners like me, who knew of the service by word of mouth or social media, with the originating company continuing to make headlines in countries that are traditionally taxi-riding, such as ours the Philippines. And last Thursday, social media was abuzz by news of Uber Manila being shut down, as its partner car fell in the first sting operation conducted by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Wednesday October 22. [Rappler]

And by Friday, a normally difficult day for commuting, what with the rush hour traffic affecting almost all key business areas in the metro, I was getting worried that I’d be forced to hail a cab, as I was having a hard time requesting an Uber car from afternoon until evening and I couldn’t help but think or suspect that the service must have been suspended, or worst shut down.

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But before 9:00pm clocked in, I was able to catch a Vios, that would’ve arrived at my office in 15 minutes, but got lost as our building’s not that easy to find at night, yet it didn’t bother me because the driver has been calling me for directions (who by the way spoke very good and straight English) and was apologizing for the delay. I was just relieved that Uber got stung but not dead.

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It was a long ride to Quezon City but my driver and I forgot the time and the traffic having discussed his company’s legal technicality problems with LTFRB. I agree when he said Uber Manila’s here to stay as it addresses or eases the problems faced by commuters every day, which our government unfortunately has been having a hard time solving. Pretty much like how those UV Express FX started out, vehicles thought to be mostly colorum, but now’s even part of the transport service being offered in various malls. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) sided with Uber, advising the LTFRB to “find ways to reasonably assist transport services” but you can’t help but take notice of the clamor of users for the government to simply spare Uber.

Now when or how do I get that MINI Cooper, Uber please.

Manage your photos with QuickPics

If you updated your iPhone, iPad, or iPod to iOS 8 (like I did on day one of release), you must have panicked when you realized some of your photos seem to be missing–though they’re not, actually. But gone is the simplicity of the camera roll, replaced with new folders that are supposed to keep your photos and videos effectively organized. If you miss the ease of your old media library and have hundreds, if not thousands of precious photos to scroll, then the QuickPics Photo Manager is the perfect app for you. With the all-in QuickPics app, you can snap photos, name and tag, easily find and sort, edit and share, or even send or save to the cloud.

If finding that one photo have you scrolling with frustration, then the QuickPics Photo Manager got you covered, but you should use it to take all of your photos moving forward, allowing you to immediately name and tag each photo you snap.

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Use the app to name (if you prefer, otherwise photos are archived by date) and tag each photo (including old ones), even add multiple tags, for easy searching and sorting later. With its slide selection feature, you can select hundreds of photos quickly and tag them all with just one click. Aside from names and tags, the app also allows finding and sorting photos by date, so you can instantly get to the photo/s you’re looking for.

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QuickPics Photo Manager comes with the Aviary photo editor, which has basic editing features yet powerful enough for your phoneography needs, such as filters (effects), frames, stickers, radial and linear blur, adjustment controls, typography among others.

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Once you’re done naming/tagging or editing your photos, the app lets you directly share to your favorite social networks, insert photos into your email or text messages, and sync with your cloud storage of choice (iCloud, Google, or Dropbox).

QuickPics Photo Manager is currently iOS-only (used to be US$0.99, FREE for a limited time), but an Android version is currently in the works. Go to QuickPicsApp.com for more information.

And VSCO Cam goes Android

Its website proclaims VSCO Cam as “the standard” and Instagram’ers and Phoneographers who take their mobile photography seriously can only agree. The app pretty much got you covered: from the straightforward camera and image tweaking tools, to the creative filters or presets, and its own network of VSCO goodness via the Grid. It recently broke its iOS-only iteration with its release of VSCO Cam for Android, that will run on most Android devices with version 4.0 up, available now as a free download from Google Play.

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I borrowed my son’s Samsung Galaxy Duos (Android 4.0.4) to download and explore the app, and my initial impression is that there’s almost no difference to its iOS counterpart. VSCO Cam for Android comes preloaded with 10 presets and you can add more via purchase from the in-app store.

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VSCO Cam is a personal favorite as it is one of my essential apps for Instagram’ing and phoneography. The familiar interface is clean and straightforward as usual and it almost felt like using VSCO Cam on an iOS device.

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If you’re on Android and have been waiting for a phoneography app that is equally powerful as its iOS flavor, then check out VSCO Cam, it’s perfect for the snap-filter-share workflow, and should get you going with your creative visual storytelling.

#KTGVR

iOS 7 turned Instagram flat and roundish

It’s been a week since Apple released iOS 7, its totally revamped mobile operating system that embraces what most call as flat but a clean and bright design statement, ditching its skeuomorphic tendencies, of which critics were quick to proclaim as Android-ish. And while Instagram may have missed the first week of rollout, today it has released version 4.2 that adopts the iOS 7 look and feel, and a few aesthetic tweaks.

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Yesterday I was playing around with Studio Design app and posted circle-cropped posts on Instagram and it was such a coincidence that the app would later release an update with a simplified (read: flat) interface and rounded profile photos in the feed. And yes, today’s my birthday 🙂

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Thin borders, clean background all throughout, and the photos and videos are now larger (and padding smaller) in grid views, with the resolution enhanced as well, supposedly for a better Instagram’ing experience. So far I’m not complaining. Go ahead and update your Instagram app for iOS.

From Instagram Blog.

BBM for iPhone got out but later pulled

The much awaited release of BlackBerry Messenger or BBM for both iOS and Android is supposedly this weekend, and true enough, late Saturday night (PST +8:00) I was able to download the app from the Philippine App Store, but the link by Sunday morning no longer works (even that of the Purchased link) and unsearchable – the app seem to have been pulled.

My BBM experience is short-lived, but I wanted to try out the app anyway, if it’s any good compared to current iOS messaging big timers, such as Line, KakaoTalk, or even Viber. And of course, so I can reach out to friends who are purely on BBM. Though I must say the app’s look and feel is dated, now that most iPhone users presumably have upgraded to iOS 7.

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continue reading »

The Instagram 4.1 update is almost unexpected but welcome

Well I thought limiting only “at the moment” video uploading to Instagram is a great idea (though there’s already a workaround) as it forces you to share only your freshest of videographic creations – that will change with the 4.1 version for iOS and Android – which allows you to upload videos from your phone’s media library, regardless of when they were captured. An update that’s almost unexpected but of course very much welcome.

According to Instagram, this is one of the most requested features, and with this update, you can pick a previously snapped video clip and trim it down to parts you like to share, now with the option to choose how to square-crop so you can keep the action front and center. continue reading »