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Stanford/Palo Alto Macintosh User Group Newsletter
April 3, 2010
In This Issue
April 5 Meeting Agenda
March Meeting Report
Quick Links
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SLAC Info
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Dear Laurel,
Steve Jobs shows off the iPadIt's the weekend of the iPad. Does it live up to the hype, or down to the derision? See David Pogue's Online Blog post for multiple examples of the latter. Meanwhile, crowds all over the world (see San Francisco & Palo Alto below) lined up for it. If you haven't been down to an Apple Store to see or buy for yourself, or ordered one to arrive at your home today, you'll get the chance to see it demo'ed at our Monday meeting!

Constant ContactConstant Contact
April SMUG Meeting Agenda
Constant ContactSteve Shepard, creator of Storyist, will show off his new iPad.


He plans to:
Demo the iPad (hardware, out-of-box apps)
Demo some of the major 3rd party apps available at launch
Demo of iBooks (and other bookstores if they are available at launch)
Demo of getting your books into iBooks using Storyist

Storyist is a powerful story development tool for novelists and screenwriters. It helps you track your plot, characters, and settings, and keeps all of your writing organizied and accessible--so you can focus on your story. (Note from Dave Strom: And I am writing my first novel with Storyist: The Comic Book Code.)


Shareware

If you were at the March meeting, you'll have seen Bill Atkinson's demo of his iPhone/iPad app via the Xcode emulator tools. In the Shareware session, Dave Aston will take a look behind the scenes and show what's involved in developing real code for the iPhone (or even just for a Mac). Because of all the free resources available, anyone can get started!

Plus Q & A and raffle
March Meeting Report: Bill Atkinson's PhotoCard
Bill AtkinsonBill Atkinson is one of the original Apple people. An Apple Computer software legend, a world-renowned nature photographer! (Note from Dave: That is from Bill's website, www.billatkinson.com. From what I see there, the words are deserved.)
 
Bill was at SMUG a couple years ago. He has been a nature photographer since before he worked at Apple. He makes art and sells it in galleries. And more and more, people can't afford big art. And those that can't afford it give it up.
 
But Bill is a populist. He wants to make art available to as many people as possible. An alternative to $1000 art is a $1.50 postcard. Bill wanted us to see the quality of the printing, and make postcards that are really nice prints. You can have some of his art at a really cheap price. Regular post cards and written letter is pretty much on the way out. But his PhotoCard app is not. (Note from Dave: OK, I said that last sentence, but PhotoCard does look pretty nice.)
 
Bill ran the iPod simulator with PhotoCard. PhotoCard is available on the iPhone app store, a full version for $4.99 and a free version.
 
In the $4.99 version of PhotoCard, you have 150 nature photos at your disposal; the free version has 10 such photos. (Note from Dave: Those nature photos are very nice photos that Bill took. He is quite the photographer.)
 
You can flip to the back of the postcard and choose a stamp for it, address it a person, and the photo card gets the digital postage (bar code stuff). Type your message on the card. And you can decorate with 325 stickers!
 
Confirm print-to-mail to mail the photo card. Yes, it is a physical photo card. 8.25 x 5.5, printed on an HP Indigo digital press. You pay 98 cents: that is what it costs for this type of art. You can buy credits for postage. Card to the US costs 2 credits, 3 credits for international.
 
Every morning, Bill pulls down all the PhotoCard orders. He fixes all the address (people make mistakes, he fixes them, once in a while he has to email the sender and ask).
 
The electronic card is a multi-page PDF. The physical card is large, coated, and post office resistant. Some people want to just send an email, and can send it that way. You get a preview sheet, the picture you choose, and you get a 956 pixel wide jpg. You can add a voice note (only with email, not printed cards). You need an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad to send the card.
 
It costs nothing to send the photo card as an email.
 
What if you want to use one of your own photos? Use the choose-my-photos option. Bill chose a photo of his dog. He did some zoom, position, and brightness adjustments. He also had a photo of a friend. He rotated it.
 
Bill developed with Misha way to show digital postage.
 
A first! Bill told us that PhotoCard runs on an iPad, and he showed an iPad prototype! It was a Plexiglas mockup the same size as an iPad. Bill found that an iPad is very different than an iPhone or laptop. The iPad does not replace them.
 
Just as you have apps on your PowerPC Mac that can run on your Intel Mac, you have apps that run on both the iPhone and the iPad.
 
Bill showed a bit about running PhotoCard on an iPad. He did choose a photo, he scrolled between them. You can see the photos 960 pixels wide; the iPad is big enough to show that. We SMUGers are first to see this iPad demo. PhotoCard on the iPad has voice notes. And one more thing: you can turn the iPad to see the front and back of the photo card at once.
 
Postcards are mailed within 2 business days. During the non-Christmas season, the post office can get the card in one day, mail it within usually 3-4 days.
 
Bill is an artist and a programmer. His artist friends have no clue how to write an app. So he did.
 
How do you use your own pictures? You can use iTunes to sync photos, but Bill does not recommend that, since the photos get down-sampled (shrunk and lose quality). Instead, in Lightroom, export the photo at 1440 pixels wide. Take those photos, send an email to yourself with the photos attached, receive the email, press and hold to save them. The optimum size is 1440 pixels.
 
The photos Bill has in PhotoCard are copyrighted, but you get limited license to use them.
 
Bill went to his saved photos, where he had a photo of his niece. He cropped it and added a caption to it. There is no text ON the photo! It is meant to be a beautiful photo, not messed up with text. Well, you can Photoshop it if you really want that text over the photo.
 
Bill will make a Mac version of PhotoCard someday. When you are out and about, the iPhone is what you have with you. PhotoCard would be hard to run on Windows or the web: it calls Apple libraries a lot. The Mac version won't be too hard to create since the libraries are similar. It would be hard to put PhotoCard on and Android phone.
 
You can use all the fonts that are on your system.
 
It costs $1.50 card to $2 to mail a photo card within the Untied States, $2.25 to $3 international.
 
The photo cards are all made with the nice coating. They have no white borders.
 
You can zoom the photo card to fit, or zoom to fill, for orientation of the card on your system. Of course, if you send a physical card, you can manually flip the photo. (Note from Dave: Even if that seems primitive.)
 
The Perfectly Clear iPhone app costs $2.99. You take a picture and you can then do corrections for contrast, tint, and so on. You can do auto choice correction: it works well. You can bring up correction controls with sliders.
 
Tech support: wife wrote a nice manual, a PhotoCard user guide. Bill has a teaching video on his website. www.billatkinson.com/aboutPhotoCard.html
 
The free beta version of PhotoCard is nice; it gives you access to lots of nature photos.
 
Bill's code can handle 100,000 cards if PhotoCard gets really popular (he might get address correction to work more automatically and reliably). Bill prints them on the HP indigo digital press, and he does this early in morning. People operating the press get in at 6 am.
 
There will be an expansion pack available sometime. Bill plans to make this available to photographers to get their work sold.


See you all on Monday April 5th in the Redwood Room.
 
Sincerely,
 
Steve Bellamy
SMUG President
 
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