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Star Wars Day & Finn’s Name, Polarr App, Scanbot App

Star Wars Day & Finn’s Name

So today is Star Wars day, May the 4th, and I thought I’d take a moment to talk about how Finn got his name.

The day that The Force Awakens came out, Jenn and I still had not decided on a boy’s name. We had a thousand girls names that we agreed on, but for boys we just couldn’t agree on one. We had a shared Wunderlist of boys names that was 15 names long and we couldn’t pick one.

There’s little Finn!

While we were watching The Force Awakens on opening night with a BFF (boys can say that too right?) we felt Finn kick for the first time. I knew he would be a Star Wars fan! But during the movie I kept hearing Poe talk to FN2187 or Finn. I kept hearing that name and just loving the way it sounded. Jenn had put the name Finley on our list. I never really stuck with that name, but hearing Finn sounded great.

A week had gone by and I couldn’t get the name Finn out of my head. So we were driving down the name and I turned to Jenn and said, “Let’s name him Finley. We can call him Finn.” She was ecstatic. We decided to choose my favorite name, Truman named after my Grandfather, as his middle name.

This was last year. Finn with his hunk of junk!

So we didn’t directly name him Finn after Finn from the movie, but Star Wars was the deciding thing that pushed me to go with the name Finn. So Finn has close ties with Star Wars. He even has a small plush Millennium Falcon that he loves to play with.

So that’s our Star Wars day story.

Polarr App

If you haven’t heard of the app Polarr then you need to go check it out. It’s a photo editing app for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It edits RAW and has about every single option for editing that you can think of. It even has the ability to do local adjustments with the Apple Pencil on the iPad which is what many photographers have asked for.

My one hang up is the UI. I just don’t really like it. Swiping through the filters, which aren’t super great, is horrible. It’s such a pain to navigate most things too. Compared to Snapseed it’s a chore to do anything it seems. Snapseed seems so natural to use whereas Polarr just is not that great. Now, it’s super functional. Don’t get me wrong. It has everything you could want, but it isn’t beautiful.

All the buttons at the bottom are just too small.

One thing it has that I just discovered is the ability to save a preset. Even Lightroom doesn’t have this option. So I edited a photo tonight and saved the preset and used it on other photos and it works perfectly. It even syncs between devices. That’s pretty hot.

So I’m trying to use it more for editing, but not for it’s pre-made filters. I just don’t really like them. I don’t know why, but they seem a bit more extreme. VSCO, RNI, and Filmborn’s filters are a bit more subtle which I’m seeming to like more now.

I’ll keep giving it a try this week and report back on if it makes it to my first page of apps.

Scanbot App

Scanbot is an app you need. I don’t care who you are, but this is an app you need. It’s just a simple scanning app, but it works perfectly. Any, I mean absolutely any, important paper I get that I don’t want to forget I immediately scan it in to Scanbot. Scanbot has the best scanning technology and it immediately turns it in to a PDF and pushes it to iCloud and Dropbox as well as keeps it in the app. It can then use OCR (optical character recognition) to read numbers and text for you to copy. It’s insane.


Recently Scanbot added the ability to fax from the app. Yep, you can now fax something you scanned in. Jenn and I have to often fax papers in for Finn’s medical bills and what not. This will be helpful. We haven’t tried it yet, but I will be trying it tomorrow.

There’s something super comforting about scanning in every piece of paper and always having it with you. Business cards, bills, packets of information, everything. I scan it all in. We get lots of packets of info regarding Finn every time we go to the Cystic Fibrosis Center downtown. I scan them all in. I will then go in to Dropbox and take them out of the Scanbot folder and store it an the appropriate folder.

Scanbot is the app that I never knew I needed, but now it sits on page 1 of my iPhone and I use it all the time. It’s an app you definitely need. Go check it out now.

-Woody

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Baby ducks, The iPhone As An Image Editor, Shooting In JPEG

Baby Ducks

There’s something pretty fun about seeing baby ducks. I don’t know why, but it seems like something from a book for kids, lol. We have some ducks that were born at work in our lake. It’s great walking in to work and seeing them. I mean could there be anything cuter than a baby duck?


That’s all I really have to say about that. I love ducks.

The iPhone As An Image Editor

The iPhone is becoming a very capable image editor. It can process RAW photos and in many ways is comparable to some, not all, desktop solutions. Snapseed, Lightroom Mobile, RNI Films, Max Curves, and Polarr are all extremely good editors that are getting better.

Tonight I took a few pictures of Jenn holding Finn and used Snapseed to edit them. Because Jenn was sitting by a light, I used the camera app to lock the exposure and focus and then lowered the exposure so the light wasn’t as harsh. You can recover shadows, you can’t recover blown highlights. I then took the photos in to Snapseed and was able to create a much better image. Here are the before and after.



It went from a dark image to a more dynamic image. This is also the type of image that would best to not use a filter with. Some images that are well lit are much better to use a filter on, but with a photo on the iPhone that didn’t have much light, adding a filter can often show more noise.

If you shoot JPEGS on your camera or only need light editing, I would definitely use the iPhone. If you are doing a lot of editing of RAW images, than you might be able to use the iPhone, but it won’t be quite as good as desktop software. But it depends. I could probably be ok using Snapseed, Lightroom Mobile, or Polarr, but it would take some adjusting. Which leads me to my next topic.

Shooting In JPEG

I’m going to start shooting mostly in JPEG. I’m doing this because I love editing on my iPhone and I’m going to start editing some more on my iPhone. Unless I know I’m going to be shooting in low light situations, than I’ll be shooting in JPEG only. For work I think I’ll shoot RAW+JPEG, but for personal I’ll mainly be shooting JPEG. Sony has great JPEGS, but from what I’ve heard Fuji has the best JPEGS which isn’t hard to believe considering what I’ve seen. I’ll let you know how it goes.
-Woody

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Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month, Quantified Self, Airmail

Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month

So May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness month. Our son was diagnosed when he was 1 month old last year on May 13. We had no idea what CF was.

For those that don’t know, this is how the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation describes CF:

Cystic fibrosis is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time…People with CF have inherited two copies of the defective CF gene — one copy from each parent. Both parents must have at least one copy of the defective gene.

Jenn and I are both carriers of the CF gene ∆F508. So Finn has the mutation double ∆f508. Right now he’s doing good. There are still lots of struggles with this disease. He has to do breathing treatments two times a day for the rest of his life or until there is a cure. He needs to take enzymes before he eats because he can’t get all the nutrients from his food. Here’s how the CFF explains this and a few other things:

People with cystic fibrosis are at greater risk of getting lung infections because thick, sticky mucus builds up in their lungs, allowing germs to thrive and multiply. Lung infections, caused mostly by bacteria, are a serious and chronic problem for many people living with the disease. Minimizing contact with germs is a top concern for people with CF. The buildup of mucus in the pancreas can also stop the absorption of food and key nutrients, resulting in malnutrition and poor growth. In the liver, the thick mucus can block the bile duct, causing liver disease. In men, CF can affect their ability to have children.

Because of the thick sticky mucus we have to be super careful with germs. We now have to become “those parents”. You know, the kind that wipes everything down with Clorox wipes and bathes in sanitizer. We have to so that Finn will be healthy. Yes, we can get looks at restaurants or even comments from waitresses, “First time parent?” Yes, we actually had a waitress ask that and we said, “Yes, why do you ask?” She pointed out all the cleaning we were doing and we had to explain to her that our son had a rare disease and we had to do this even though we don’t want to. She apologized and all was well.

Every day can be a struggle, but with the right support system it can work. We have amazing friends and family that help us.

Finn doing his breathing treatments.

May is also when the CFF has their big fundraiser Great Strides. It’s a 5K walk to raise money. Georgia always does very well. Here’s our Great Strides page if you want to learn more or donate: Finn For The Win

Quantified Self

I’ve always been super interested in the quantified self movement. The whole idea behind it is that you track certain things about yourself so that you can take that data and see possible ways to be better. Small versions of this is tracking your heart rate and steps. There are some people that take this to the extreme, but also are able to get a lot of excellent insights.

I’ve been using an app on and off over the past few years called Reporter. The app sends you six random “surveys” a day that asks you a bunch of questions and collects data. You write the questions based on what you want to know. So I have questions like, “Are you being productive right now?” And after that I have, “What circumstances are encouraging you to be productive?” and “What circumstances are hindering you from being productive?” After a certain period of time I can take this data and start to see if there are trends on when I’m being productive and what typically contributes or hinders me being productive. It also records your location and who you are with so you can see if there are certain locations where you typically are happier or certain people that make you happier.

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Not only is Reporter a useful app, it’s very well designed.

I’ve just started this app back up again and I’ll report back when I have about a months worth of data. Before the app wouldn’t back up to iCloud and it does now. Super excited.

Airmail

I’m going to start using Airmail as my new e-mail app. I really like the design and it has a ton of 3rd party integration too. I really like sending e-mails to my to-do app. It helps me remember the context of certain to-dos.

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From airmail.com. It’s a simple and great looking app.

I’ll update after I’ve used the app for a while to see if it’s a worthy replacement for the stock app.

 

-Woody

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Microsoft To-Do, Random Pipe, Portrait Mode

Microsoft To-Do

I have to say something…I like a Microsoft app. I’m sorry. But I actually like it. Recently Microsoft announced that they are slowly going to be killing off Wunderlist and creating their own app called To-Do. They are getting ripped on ProductHunt and Facebook. It just seems to be easy to beat up on Microsoft. They are sort of like the nerdy kid in school: he’s useful, smart, but a little ugly. It’s easy to make fun of them.

But I have to say that I believe that these people are wrong. To-Do is a great looking app. It’s simple, well designed, and functional. I really like it. I’m going to give it a go and write up a little mini-review later.

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I think people are just upset that Wunderlist is finally going away. That part I understand.

Random Pipe

Anyone understand pipes? Our townhouse has a random pipe that comes out of the ceiling in our second bedroom. They assured us that it would never drip. Guess what? It’s dripping.

The good thing is we will be out soon anyways. There’s just no way that having a pipe stick out of the ceiling is up to code…

Portrait Mode

I cannot stress how amazing Portrait Mode is on the iPhone when you have good lighting. I used to have the setting on where you keep both the Portrait Mode photo and the original, but I found I never used the original. So now I just save the Portrait Mode photo. The results are amazing. Take a look at a few pictures of Finn using Portrait Mode with some light shining in. I edited these using the RNI Films app.

 

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Edited using RNI Films app on iPhone.

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Edited using RNI Films app on iPhone.

-Woody

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