Morfo – iPhone App

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If you’ve heard of the uncanny valley, the balance between animation and human features can create well and truly fantastic, emotional animation, or something that’s just extremely creepy.

Morfo does a fantastic job of going to the very top of the uncanny valley and creeping out everything within it. The idea behind the app is to take a picture of yourself or a friend (assuming you have one) and then masking on top of the image the head shape and size, eyes, nose and mouth. This then allows the app to animate the face using pre-determined animations that can be universally applied to the face. It also decides to mount the 2D image on a 3D baloon sort of object allowing the motion of the head.

I’ve showed this app to countless people and they’ve all just said, “that’s weird”, “that’s creepy” or just “errr”. Fair enough to all of them too. It is creepy, it’s weird to see yourself animated in a way that’s not quite true to life. It almost takes your personality away because everyone moves in different ways, even if there are very slight movements such as blinking or smiling, people do it differently and we do pick up on it, whether that be subconsciously I don’t know but when it changes you sure as hell notice the difference.

The things you can do with morfo include startling the face, making it dance or doing your sort of fatbooth, elfbooth and herobooth effects on it. Every single effect is creepy, weird and pointless. It’s a bit of fun to show people every now and then but the truth is that it takes ages to mask the face and then there’s only so much you can do with it before the app anoyinngly prompts you too pay £1.2o for some more creepy extra’s.

I’m not going to reccommend you go and download this app, it’s a bit boring after one or two go’s and it’s just weird and pointless. Sure, go ahead and download it if your into that and you want to show people what you magnificent iPhone can do with their face but other than that it’s just a time waster and not the good sort like Angry Birds as it feels like you actually have to make an effort before you can have a brief 20 seconds of fun.

 

Ministry of Sound – Mash Up Mix Bass

ministry of sound mash up mix bass

Ministry of Sound has launched it’s Mash Up Mix Bass album. A combination of dubstep, drum and bass and a little bit of commercial top40 music shoved on top with a bit of grime here and there. Yes it’s a lot of genres mixed together by the Cut Up Boys but it works surprisingly well.

It’s not like some of the more hardcore dubstep, drum and bass or grime mixes though it’s a tad easier on the ears than all that and if you want something that’s an easy listen (well, for this type of music) then this is probably going to impress you. There are a few mixes on there obviously better than the others such as the Sub Focus / Wretch 32 mix which shoves the hit song Traktor on the Rock It drum and bass track. It works incredibly well and has been mixed perfectly however as is the case with too many Ministry of Sound albums, the songs that are good are on the advert and the rest are never as good or hard to find out of the 40 odd songs you get with the album.

It’s annoying because with half of the Ministry of Sound albums it would of been better to buy a megamix of all the mixes rather than the whole album as they get boring quick and this could be said for Mash Up Mix Bass as well.
You also shouldn’t be deceived by the 90 tracks included label on the front of the box as there are actually only around 40 with multiple songs mixed in, maybe they weren’t trying to trick you into buying the album but it might seem a little bit confusing to some.

There are two continuous mix tracks included with the album, which are awesome if your going for a drive and want to listen to one long mix of the songs with smooth transitions between tracks and no silences and skipping and if you have a good sound system in your car this whole album will push it a bit but not too much so your blowing your speakers unlike the advert suggest.

If your into this stuff, give it a bash, you might like it and it’s only a tenner and if your not in the mood to spend that much on music, all the compilation CD’s come down in price pretty fast so wait a bit and browse youtube to find your favourite mixes. I’m not sure if you can buy tracks individually on iTunes but if you can, finding your favourites on YouTube then getting them on iTunes might be a better option than buying the whole album as I doubt many people will like every track on there.

Made In Chelsea

E4 Made in Chelsea

Most people who have ever followed me on any internet website will know that I am an avid Twitter fan. Twitter shows everyone’s opinions in one place and a perfect example of how awesome it is was when the first episode of “Made in Chelsea” launched on E4 last week.

Channel 4 had worked out that big brother was becoming tiresome and axed the show at the right time but now they seem bored and in need of hopping on the reality television band wagon again however this time they decided to copy an already successful show. Not just any old reality TV show would do though, they couldn’t of copied ITV’s “I’m a celebrity get me out of here” because they couldn’t just have another jungle show with bush tucker trials, no, channel 4 wanted something similar but different. In this case, the copying came from a show that I find hilarious, “The Only Was Is Essex” or “TOWIE”.

You might be wondering what relevance the first paragraph has to the new show. Well, last week when the first “Made In Chelsea” episode aired, everyone who watched the show absolutely destroyed it. People compared it to Essex, just like the cocky announcer did on E4 just before the show except the tweeters had the complete opposite opinion to that of the announcer. It was hilarious, you could tell the producers at channel 4 studios were just completely taken aback by the reaction. Even stars from the TOWIE cast were slating the show with Amy Childs tweeting how she had turned it off.

The characters of Essex were loveable, they aren’t the smartest bunch but there was good drama, it was hilarious and it kept you guessing. These features are all things that “Chelsea” has failed to imitate thus far. That said, we are only one episode in and I’m still willing to give the show a chance, for all I know, it could become awesome and a must watch but it’s got to be pretty damn good to be as fun and gripping as TOWIE.

Like Hunters

Facebook Like Hunter

Social networking and attention seeking go hand in hand together. I’m terrible with attention seeking in the real world because there are certain times (quite often) that I like to be in the spotlight. It’s not a strange thing, many people are the same however, where as Facebook and Twitter may have been built upon the foundations of sharing things, some people over-share. Some people post stuff for effect, some people post things that don’t belong on the social networking sites at all.

Now for the definition of a like hunter as told by Tim Ford:

” A like hunter is every social networkers nightmare. It is a person who shows no shame in updating their facebook status several times a day in order to accumulate a number of likes from friends. Like hunters will tend to use things such as moral sayings and quotes that people can relate too in order to gain as many likes as possible. ”

Like hunting is not limited to Facebook however, it is relevant on many websites which support comments including YouTube, Blogs and Forums although in some cases it is not as frowned upon or unfitting. For example a witty comment on a blog that accumulates may likes or pluses is not like hunting, it is something that is genuinely funny or likeable however some idiot posting a comment on YouTube saying something such as “This guy is funny, like if you agree”, these are the worst types of like hunters, they show absolutely no subtlety at all when trying to gain likes and the chances are they are so un-funny that they have to beg for likes.

I can’t stand it, someone might post something like this twice a day and get something stupid like 12 likes all from the same weirdo’s that like it every time and it’s encouraging them to do it more and more. Maybe if your a celebrity it’s not so bad or if you’ve got a general reason to do so. That said, most of the people that do it are not famous, they are low life weirdo’s with very little to do.

I don’t dislike the fact that you can like things, or rate comments higher or lower. That’s good, if someones genuinely funny they deserve to be told or if someone has made a good point, it also saves comments such as “haha” and “agreed” being added over and over again however people who go out of their way to find a quote or paste something they found and agree with just for the attention, just for the likes, do my head in. I’ve no time for it, by now if I’ve seen it happen I probably would of removed the person from my facebook feed. I do that a lot. I can’t stand most of the posts on facebook, I really couldn’t care less about your new cow on Farmville or that you’ve found out your most like Ron in the Harry Potter films.

My message to like hunters is to get a grip. Learning the general etiquette of the internet takes time but some people are blind and have absolutely no idea what they are doing and have absolutely no intention to learn how to not suck at the internet.

Microsoft Photosynth

Microsoft Photosynth App for iPhone and iOS

It’s not everyday you can go through the top 25 apps on the AppStore and find an application has a 5 star average rating with hundred of reviews and ratings submitted. Photosynth is Microsoft’s epic technology for putting together lots of photos and creating 360 degree views or panoramic views of something.
It’s easy to think that this isn’t the most difficult thing to do and because it’s on an application that Microsoft is simply giving a way it isn’t that much of a technological achievement but it really is. This software can create some absolutely fantastic shots and can be interacted with in many ways such as on iPhones, through web browsers on silverlight and there is also a function to share it with Facebook however I assume that this will be similar to the website version utilizing Microsoft flash competitor, silverlight.
The thing that I find rather strange about this application is it is for iOS devices although designed in a sort of Windows Phone 7/Zune sort of style. It looks rather similar to a single screen Windows Phone 7 app without all the stretchy side to side business. All this is very nice as I rather like the interface of Windows Phone 7 however after a tad more research it turns out that Microsoft don’t currently make the App for their own Windows Phone 7 devices just yet because of the lack of integration features available in the current version. Microsoft have confirmed that when the OS becomes a tad more open, i.e with the mango update, it will be made available.
For the time being though, if you do have an iPhone or indeed iPod touch with Camera functions, hit the App store icon and search for Photosynth and give it a go, you’ve got nothing to lose and the chances are you’ll love it and spend some time perfecting you Photosynth technique.

The iPhone 4 so far

iPhone 4

So I’ve explained the situation on my blog before, but just in case you want to know and don’t want to go trawling through previous entries, I broke my iPhone 3GS and before that I had absolutely no intention of upgrading as my 3GS was doing just fine. I know that an iPhone 5 is imminent but I don’t really care, I’m going to get one of those as well.

So now I have an iPhone 4 which I bought brand new and so far it’s been excellent. This, however, was to be expected. The iPhone 3GS was a fantastic phone so there was no reason it’s newest version should be any different and in all honesty, it is fantastic. As I thought, the iPhone 4 doesn’t offer many features that would entice a 3GS owner to upgrade, it’s got the odd new feature here and there but to drop near enough half a grand on one, you’ve got to have features that are worth that and personally I don’t think it is justifiable. That said my phone broke and I needed a smart phone as soon as possible and the iPhone was the simple and easy choice.

There have been some features that have stood out more than others so far and also some things that may not necessarily be boasted as features by Apple and the network providers that have changed about the phone that I like.
For example, the iPhone 4 is better at taking calls than the 3GS. In fact, if you don’t bother with the “death grip”, the signal on the phone has generally been much higher than it used to be with the 3GS and it’s made my phone a lot nicer to use because, well, I can actually use it. I’m still lacking in 3G signal in my area but that’s not the phone, that’s the networks fault.

As for the speed of the device, I’ve noticed the increase over the 3GS that the A4 processor has given the new iPhone but it’s nothing too significant that gives me the “wow factor”. It does run pretty smoothly as a rule though and I’m not complaining about that.

One of the main things that’s made me use the phone more is the battery life on the iPhone 4 is significantly better than that of the iPhone 3GS. I feel now that when I am bored, I can actually play a session of Angry Birds in the middle of the day without having to worry about being able to ring someone late at night. It’s better, but hopefully with the iPhone 5 the battery life will be further improved. I want the days of being able to charge your phone once a week to return!

The other thing that I’ve used a lot more since I’ve got the iPhone 4 is the camera. The iPhone cameras have always been really good. I remember my 2 megapixel, first-generation iPhone was taking better pictures than most competitors phones that had 5-8mp sensors and the iPhone 4 is no different. It’s 5 megapixel camera, a 1.8 increase on the 3GS is significantly better than the 3GS and it loads up a lot faster so you don’t miss so many shots. There have also been some awesome apps for photography with mobiles lately such as Instagram and Photosynth. The flash is also an added bonus as I can actually have pictures on nights out with my phone now or just take pictures in the dark. Surprising how useful it has come in really seeing as I usually always have a point and shoot or SLR on me anyway.

The retina display is nice, but it’s not really something I cared about before and I can’t really say it’s something I care about that much now either. There’s no reason to complain about it, I’d be pretty annoyed if the iPhone 5 didn’t have one or at least something as good but it wasn’t a feature that made me want to rush out and buy an iPhone 4.

The overall build quality of the iPhone 4 is way better than the 3GS as well. It feels sturdier in your hand, the lack of cheap plastic is a lot nicer as well. I also decided to get a nice Mulberry leather case that covers the whole phone as a bit of protection this time round, I don’t think it’s time to be on my 11th iPhone just yet. I’m trying to avoid scratches and dents but one here and there is inevitable if it belongs to me. I also like how it feels slightly heavy, it makes me feel like I had more for my money and that it’s actually a luxury product. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to keep this one until the iPhone 5 comes out without it breaking or me dropping it.

Overall it’s a great phone, I looked into many options as to what phones I could get, some were cheaper, some were on Windows Phone 7, something I really like the look of but I decided it would be easier to just buy another iPhone and stick my 3GS backup onto it. Simple and easy and I’m locked into the Apple eco-system now whether I like it or not. Bring on the iPhone 5!