Creating Facebook 360 photos on your iOS Device

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Creating Facebook 360 photos on your iOS devices like your iPhone with either the iPhone Camera app or Google’s Street View app for iOS.

First I will say you can do this on other devices as well such as Android devices via Google Camera, but since I only have access to and iPhone this is all I can show you. I”m sure the steps are similar but the steps in the apps you use will be different.

Both the Google Street View App and the iOS Camera app were tested on an iPhone 6s running iOS 9.3.2. and using Facebook app version 58.

There is an option to embed 360 video as well, but you need a 360 camera to do this and at the moment I do not. So see the Facebook FAQ for more information on video 360.

 

Creating Facebook 360 Photos on iOS with the iOS Camera App.

Open the Camera app and switch to pano mode. Create your pano making sure it is not too narrow. There is no way to really know, but if you make it to narrow it will not upload in the Facebook 360 format. The wider the panorama is the more movement you will have left and right after you have uploaded it to Facebook. Once you have your panorama created you can now upload it to Facebook.

 

Uploading your iPhone pano to Facebook.

You can upload your pano photo to Facebook either directly from your iOS device such as and iPhone or you can upload it from your computer.

 

Uploading from your iOS device such as an iPhone.

Open the Facebook app, create a new post by selecting “Photo”, then select the pano from your camera roll, click done. Add text, description, and tag your friends etc if you wish, then click post. Your photo is uploaded and you are sent to the Facebook 360 post on your feed. Although the text and such is not required it is nice to have a description of what the photo is about.

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Getting a website created and online in no time with Bluehost

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So you are thinking of creating a website and not sure where to go and how long it will take, I have a quick and easy solution for you with Bluehost, my hosting provider.

These days I think everyone is in the website hosting business and there are many providers you can choose from, but I know Bluehost can can get your website up and online in no time.

Wither you are a techie and like to do everything yourself or someone who just wants to get online and not worry about the details, Bluehost has solutions for you.

So how do you get started…

Before you even go to Bluehost, I would recommend that you do a little pre planning.

Things to think about:

  1. Your domain name. Come up with a list of domain names that you might want to use. I would come up with at least 3 and order them in preferred order. There is always a chance that the name you want is already taken so you want to have your 2nd and 3rd choices ready to go.
  2. Think about the type of site you want to have. This is anything from a blog to a just a e-commerce store. Bluehost has options for any type of site that you want and I believe WordPress can accommodate most types, but if you need a specialized type of site, they have various options for those as well.
  3. Know you budget. Like every hosting site there are a ton of options from the low-end shared hosting to dedicated servers just for you site. You can always start at the shared hosting option and move up the options list to the dedicated server as needed. Also, you can get more for your money using the introductory pricing if you get multiple years of service up front. This is what I did and it has saved me a lot over my initial sign-up period
  4. Think about your content. This mainly comes in for the Basic and Plus shared hosting options as there is a limit on server space. If you site is going to be heavy on images or videos that are stored on your site you may have to go with the Pro shared site option to start as it has unmetered storage space

Knowing these things will help you deciding which of the multitude of services that Bluehost can offer that you will need to start with.

Now that you have done your pre-planned. Lets go through the steps of getting you online and up in running.

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Review of Nowvel

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My Review of Nowvel and a few tips of an iOS app for printing photo books on your iOS devices such as a iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Through a recent promotion I was introduced to a iOS application that will take your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch photos, Facebook photos, or Instagram photos and create a 20 page photo book with up to 100 photos.

This is my review and experience with that product.

The product is currently only for iOS devices running version 8.0 or later.

I’ve used it on an iPhone and on an iPad.  I’ve found it easier to use on the iPad just because things are larger and my eyesight is not what it use to be. It behaves the same on both devices. On both devices it is only in portrait view, which I can see on the iPhone, but I wish it would do landscape on the iPad.

Initially I found the app a little hard to use. Like a lot of apps these days there is no manual. Granted the younger generation that are use to mobile apps might would have picked it up a little faster than I. Once I figured the basics of adding, ordering, and editing photos I found the program very easy to use.

When you open the app you are sent to the Choose your Album of the Create a New Book menu.

IMG_0150

You can either choose one of their automatically created albums on the Album ideas tab or choose All photos or Tagged Photos tabs to start creating a custom book from your photos.

  • Albums Ideas – If you select one of the albums that were created by Nowvel it will take you to the images that they selected for this album and put you on the “Our Picks* tab that shows the pictures the app has picked for the book. You can select the photos from this list or choose one of the other tabs of “Just Faces” or  “All Photos”.
  • All Photos – You can select an album from your device, Facebook, or Instagram as the starting point for your new book. (Note you will see your iCloud Shared albums here, but do not use the those albums as a source as you either see no pictures available or it may show that most are too low of quality to print. There is a solution if these albums contain the photos you want to use and I give the steps below)
  • Tagged Photos – Shows photos that are tagged on your social media sites

Now how do you use photos that are in one of your shared iCloud albums and use it in Nowvel. Here are the steps I took

  1. Open the Photos app on your device
  2. Select the shared album that has the photo you want to use and open it to see the photos in the album
  3. Click “Select” at the top and tap each image out of this album you want to use. If you want to use them all, choose “Select All” at the top
  4. When you are done selecting the images, click the “Share” icon on the top left
  5. Click “Save Image” to have the selected images saved to the local devices camera roll.
  6. Open Nowvel if not already open and on the Choose Your Album page (on the Create a New Book section)
  7. Select the All Photos tab at the bottom and choose your Camera Roll Album
  8. You can now select the images you just saved to create your new Nowvel photo Book

If you have photos on your computer or took some with another device that you want to get into your Nowvel book and you are not using the iCloud Photo Library, just create a shared album in Photos on your computer and that shared album should show up on your device. Then use the method above to import them into your camera roll so you can use them in Nowvel. If you have enough iCloud storage and have the iCloud Photo Library turned on for all your devices then the creating of a shared library is not necessary as all your photos will already be on your device as part of that service. In my case, I do not have the iCloud Photo Library turned on as I have way more photos than my storage limit.

Once you select your images they are placed in your photo book in what I believe is chronological order by date/time and a layout is chosen for each page and you will be shown the current cover for your book. The number of images placed on each page will depend upon how many you selected, but you do need to have at least 20 photos selected before it will let you create your new book. Don’t panic if you don’t like the cover layout or any page layout as you can easily edit the book, just click the Edit Book on the top right.

You have 20 cover designs to choose from at the time of this writing and they seem to be adding more all the time. Most have some customizable text boxes on the front and back covers along with varying number of photos to be shown depending upon the layout chosen.

For each page you can Shuffle Collage to change the way the image or images are laid out on the page. You can easily add and remove images from a page, rearrange where they are located,  and add text to the page. Just tap the image to edit it or remove it. Any removed image will be put down in a little bar at the bottom of the page so it is available to put back or be placed on another page. Tap, hold and drag an image to move it to a different panel on the collage. Each image can be edited by cropping it to fit the collage panel, or enhanced the image a little, or have a filter applied to the image, or any combination there of. To add text to the page, click the Add Text button at the bottom, type your text, and click done. The text will be placed in the middle of the page. You can now change the color from White to Black, Change the Alignment, or change the font. Tapping each button will cycle through the options for that button, just like the Shuffle Collage does for the images.

I will note that if you add an image, remove an image, or Shuffle the Collage you will need to check any image that you had adjusted the cropping for as it would have been reset and you will have to redo your crop setting.

Once you have the layouts done, you can reorder the page order if you wish. When you are done editing, just click done in the top left or View My Photobook at the bottom.

Now you are ready to order your book. Just click Buy Book at the bottom of the page to get to the in-app ordering page where you will see your coin balance applied, choose the number of books you want ordered, select if this is a gift, enter shipping information, and enter payment information.

You can also Share your Photobook with Facebook, Twitter, Email, iMessage, or other service. You have the option to have your book featured on Nowvel’s Inspiration Gallery and make it available for others to buy. If they do, you earn a $1 coin for ever purchase.

The Nowvel Menu

You can reach the main menu of the program by clicking the menu button of three horizontal bars on the tops left

The menu consists of the following options

Home , Create a New Book, My Photobooks, Inspiration Gallery, My Orders, Invite Friends, Like Nowvel? Rate Us!, About the Product, and Settings.
Whats in each section of the menu

Home – Here you can quickly see your coin total and have access to the basic menu options of Create a book, View my books, and see their inspiration Gallery

Create a New Book – Here you will see

  • Nowvel’s list of Album Ideas that were automatically created based upon your photos. So far it looks like they have done a pretty good job on my photos of grouping them by event or time period.
  • All Photos is where you can select up to 100 photos for your custom book from your device albums (does show your iCloud Shared Albums here, but as I mentioned above you only want to select photos from the Camera Roll or Albums created on your iOS device), Facebook, or Instagram.
  • Tagged photos from Facebook, or Instagram.

My Photobooks

  • Photo books you have created or selected from the Album Ideas list.
  • A “Nowvel for Dummies” which describe the features of their books

Inspiration Gallery

  • Where you can see Featured Books created by other Nowvel users

My Orders

  • Any order you have placed will show here along with the Order Date, Order Number, and Status.
  • You can also Track a Package (Once your book has shipped) and Re-order a Book the book easily from this page.

Invite Friends

  • Here you can invite friends from Facebook or Twitter and email or SMS a Friend.
  • Your friend will get $5 off their first book and for each book they buy, you receive a $5 credit.

Like Nowvel? Rate Us!

  • Takes you to the App Store so you can leave a review or rate the app

About the Product

  • A brief description of their product

Settings

  • You can enter any Coin Codes you receive here to have the coins added to this device.
  • Shows what services you have connected for sources of your photos, Camera Roll, Facebook, or Instagram.
  • Shows if you have enabled Notifications
  • A Contact option that automatically creates an email to their support address that will show your devices unique code. This is how they know you and this code is different for each device, hence each device being treated as a different account.
  • The privacy and terms of use.
  • And icons to follow Nowvel on various social media sites.

Coins – What are they and how do you get them and use them.

Coins are a way of paying for all or part of your Photo Book. There doesn’t seem to be a limit on how many you may earn. You can view your balance on the Home page.

You can earn coins by doing various tasks such as connecting Nowvel to your Facebook and Instagram accounts, Inviting friends to use Nowvel, and you may receive notifications on other ways to earn more coins.

You can use your coin balance to cover the cost of the book, but shipping is not covered by your coin balance. For example on my recent order of one book the total cost was $25 for the book including shipping. I had a coin balance of more than 20 coins so  the $20 cost of the book was covered by my coin balance and I only had to paid for the shipping of $5.

The Printed Book

I ordered my first book on the 22nd and it arrived on the 26th. So 4 days from time of order to arrival I think is pretty quick and it was sent via USPS so you can track the shipment along the way.

Here are some photos to show the book I received.

 

IMG_3814

The book showing the cover. 4×8 inches in size

IMG_3815

The outside of the printed book showing cover, back cover, and spine

IMG_3817

Showing the pages and binding

After getting the printed book I realized it is not quite what you see is what you get on the view shown in the Nowvel app. This is not a problem that is isolated to the Nowvel app but a lot of the photo printed book. That being you lose part of your image on the outer edges when you have photos on the edge.

Below I show the full page and close up views of a page from my Nowvel book that shows how much is clipped from photos that are on the edge of the book. My best estimate is about 1/8 of an inch. [post review note: this was spelled out in their faq file and it is indeed 1/8 of inch]

IMG_0154

Page as shown in the Nowvel app on the iPad

IMG_3813

Page show as printed in the book

Close up of edge

Close up of the top left edge of the photo as shown in the Nowvel app on the iPad

Close up of printed edge

Close up of the top left edge of the photo showing where things were cut off in the printed book

 

Despite the edge cut off that I didn’t take in account for on a few images and not following my own advise with one image not being center, which were all my fault. I love how the book turned out and will be getting more.

Negatives I see at the moment.

Each device is treated as its own account and as such the coins you earn/enter and the books that you create are only on the device you earned/entered the coins on or created the book on . They are not transferable from one device to another at this time.

One BIG problem I had with the when I deleted Nowvel. If you delete the app from you device for whatever reason you will LOSE all of your coins. When you reinstall the app you will be back to the initial balance of $0. Luckily I still had my promotional notice and was able to have Nowvel support credit my device for the deleted coins.

Since the coins you earn are per device and each device is treated as its own account when you go to order a book you can only use the amount of coin credits you have on that device. It does not matter how many coins you have in total across all your devices. For example, if you have an iPhone with 4 coins and an iPad with 20 and you buy your book on your iPhone you can only use the 4 coin credit from your iPhone even though you had enough coins on your iPad to pay for the entire book.

The program crashed for me when I tried to add an address from my address book for the shipping address during ordering on the iPad. Seems to work on the iPhone, but it didn’t let me select which address of the multiple address I have listed, such as work and home, and it put in the first address listed in my contact card which happen to be my work address. So I’d say there are a few bugs still to be worked out, but I was able to add my address manually with out any issue.

In summary

I do think this is a great app. Once you get the hang of it is very easy to use.

The printed books are have a good solid feel to them and the photos look great on the thick paper pages.

I would recommend you decided which iOS device you are going to use with this app and then stick with just that device. For most folks I think this would be your iPhone anyway since that is the iOS device most use to take their photos. This way you have access to all of your coins when you go to buy your book. You will also have access to all of your custom created books.

I’ve contacted support a few times for some of my issues and they have been very helpful and I’ve gotten responses and resolution within a day in most.

This syncing of books and coins is something that I”m hoping they have in the plans for the future to make it more usable on multiple devices.

If the iPhone is your camera, then I would say this is definitely an app for you.

I would also recommend reviewing their FAQ at http://nowvel.com/faq.html as it gives a fair amount of information about the app.

If you are ready to make the jump, I can help you out a little with a $5 gift towards your first book. Just click on the image below.

nowvel

Click the above image to save $5 on your book

#Nowvel #Photobook #Review #Discount

My experiences and tips when migrating my Aperture library to Lightroom

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I’ve finally decided to take the plunge and migrate my Aperture and iPhoto libraries to Lightroom. The following will be a description of my experience and any tips I may have to help with the migration. For this test I will be migrating my Aperture library from my New Zealand Trip.

First, it was a tough choice to decide to migrate to Lightroom. I had held off until Apple released its Photos App to see if that would do what I needed.  Now that it has been released, I’ve realized that if I want to continue with the post processing the way I would like to I would have to make the switch. Although Photos is a is a great app in itself and will suit many very well, for my purposes, it doesn’t have all the options I would like.  I will miss the integration that Aperture and iPhoto had with my various Apple devices and each other, but I think it will be worth it in the end.

So before I began just diving in and doing the migration I decided to do some web research on the best way to do the migration.  All the sites that I found agreed on a few points, some have more recommendations about keywords, but here is what I took out of them.

  1. This will be a slow process in that the pre steps take some time for the Aperture app to complete.
  2. Get your house in order before doing the transfer, that is to say, get things cleaned up in Aperture/iPhoto before you move.  Again, this can be time-consuming and in my case will be, but I think it is best to do the cleanup in Aperture/iPhoto since I”m vary familiar with how they work and I will know what I’ve imported into Lightroom will be a clean import.
  3. The biggest recommendation seems to be to generate full-sized image previews in Aperture before migrating into Lightroom.

Since I’ve been using iPhoto and then Aperture over the years I found I had several different libraries for various projects a mix of general photos in both.  I started the migration process by merging all the Aperture and iPhoto libraries together into one master library for each app of the general photos and left 2 Aperture libraries as it as I knew that were clean and I wanted to keep those project seperate.  If your individual libraries are good and you want to keep them in separate Lightroom libraries this is not necessary, but for me, I had photos all over the place and wanted get ride of duplication and know what I had before migrating.

After doing the merging I proceeded to do a test with my New Zealand Trip Aperture library. So here are the steps I did

  1. Generate Full Resolution Previews.
    • To do this in Aperture, Open Presences, select Previews, Change the Photo Preview to Don’t Limit, Select the Photo Preview quality at least 10 or higher.Aperture Prefences
    • After changing the preferences you need to actually generate the preview by going to the Photos menu and select it, then hold down the option key so that you change Update Preview to Generate Preview, then go down and select the Generate Preview to create the new previews
    • This process even on a small 11000 image library did take several hours on my iMac. The speed will depend upon your library size, computers processors speed, memory, and hard drive speed, so results will vary.
    • Also, it may look like Aperture has crashed, when in fact it has not.  I use the Apple Activity Monitor to make sure something is still happening. Even in the monitor it may say that Aperture is not responding while it is building the previews, but if you keep and eye on the CPU usage and the I/O you will see something is happening. You just need to be patient and the task will eventually finish.
  2. Make sure you disable the shared connections before leaving Aperture.
    • During my first import test I noticed I was getting pictures that were not part of my Aperture library. After looking at what they were I determined that they were coming from my flickr and other shared accounts that I had set up in this library
    • For flickr and any other connection you have under the Shared section in Aperture, disable the connection so that you are not also importing these pictures into your new Lightroom catalog.Flickr Disable Screen
    • Check your Aperture trash and empty if needed after disabling the shared services as photos that were downloaded, but not part of this library will be moved their when you disable the service.
  3. IMPORTANT if you have RAW + JPEG pairs.
    • I discovered that this import script will only import either the RAW or Jpeg photos that have RAW + JPEG pairs but not both.
    • As a result you will need to decide which format for those pictures you have as RAW + JPEG pairs to be imported into Lightroom. You can tell if you have any that are RAW + JPEG pairs but selecting Photos in your library then in the search box check File Type and select RAW + JPEG. This will show all the photos in the Aperture library that this will apply to as shown hereRAW + JPEG pairs
    • You notice on the left there are images with either a J or an R on them. This indicates that the Original shown is either Jpeg or Raw.  Once you decided on which format you want to transfer to Lightroom (and I would recommend the RAW) you need to make sure all the pictures have that format set as the Original as that is what Lightroom will import.
    • So to to set your Originals to the format that you want, select all the photos and then right click on one of the images to bring up the menu and select Use RAW as Original. The menu is shown below, but this will change all the Original displayed images to be RAW format and Lightroom will import the RAW image. It will not import the Jpeg version.Use as Original
    • If you had imported the RAW version and how you would like to import the Jpeg version, it is possible. In this case you would go back into Aperture and set the Jpeg version to be the orginal image this time, then repeat the import process into Lightroom. It will take just as long if not longer that the first import as Lightroom checks each image to see if it is a duplicate. Since the Jpegs are not duplicates they will be added to your Lightroom library.
  4. Afterthepreviewswere generated,IopenedLightroom CC 2015 and started the import process
    • For this test I choose to create a new Lightroom catalog by going to file and choosing New Catalog and picking a location on a hard drive that I knew had enough space.
    • I went down to Plug-in Extras in the file menu to go and choose Import from Aperture Library only to find it grayed out as shown below.Greyed out Plug-in
      • TIP – My work around was to close this catalog and re open it.  Once opened again, the Import from Aperture became available.
    • Now that I’m able to select the Import from Aperture Library, I selected it and then worked through the series of Prompts.
    • On the first dialog box you will need to select which Aperture library you are going to migrate along with the location for where the files will be copied to.Lightroom Import Dialog 1
    • Next, while on this dialog, select the Options button. On the options page, check the box on the line for previews from Aperture to import the previews that were generated in the previous steps.Lightroom import options
    • After clicking ok on the options dialog, you can click import after checking that everything is ok.  Note it does show you how much disk space is required and how much is available on the destination so make sure you have enough space before clicking import
    • You may get prompted to do reverse geocoding. What you do here is up to you, in my case I choose to enable it as I had geotagged all of my New Zealand trip photos to create a map in Aperture
    • During the import you will see your status in the following dialogLightroom Progress
  5. Click done when the process has completed.
  6. You will be presented with the below information as a reminder of what was doneLightroom Import notice

 

For my Aperture library that had 11966 photos in it it took about 4 hours to complete on my older iMac. During the import it said it was going to import 13301 files which is more than what was in my Aperture library so I needed to investigate.

Here is the view of my Aperture library

Aperture Library ProjectsHere is the file view in Lightroom after the import which shows the different dates for the photos.

Lightroom files

After reviewing the list I noticed I had some files from 2013 which were not part of my Aperture library. More on that in a bit.

Here is a view of the Collections in Lightroom

Lightroom CatalogSo between the two views I found some oddities with the import. I don’t blame Lightroom on this one, but Aperture. What I found was I had some extra photos added to Lightroom that were not part of my New Zealand Trip Aperture Library. After doing a little digging I determined that they were photos that I had shared via iCloud. Even though I had disconnected the iCloud connection these photos were still imported as part of the import. I suspect this was part of the reason the import took so long as it was downloading these from iCloud as it imported them. I’m not totally sure yet why this happened, but I suspect it has to do with Apertures iLife Browser support.

Next oddity shows up in the Collections. The import did put all of my New Zealand Library projects into a Collection called From Aperture, the Albums are correct, The Projects are correct, but the oddity comes in the Published Project section. Again, even though I had disconnected all my shared services it still showed the list of shared projects that I had shared on my flickr account and on iCloud. There are no pictures listed in each of these projects, just the list of projects themselves except for the 2 projects that I had shared on iCloud.

The projects that were imported show in the collection under their name, but the photos them selves show in a sub-folder of the project name called “Project Pictures” as show above for the two projects “Brooke’s Photos” and “Lighthouse”

Even though the import process imported more pictures that it should have and added extra items in the Collections, overall I’m please with the process. I would rather a process import more that it was suppose to than had it the other way around. I do have one mystery to figure out in that my Aperture library had 11966 photos in it and after removing the extra imported photos from iCloud Lightroom still shows 12390 photos as being imported. Did a little digging and confirmed the count difference is a result of the import process importing another image of any Aperture photos that were modified. In the finder it is easy to find these photos as they have “_Aperture_preview” added to the file name.

I consider these issue minor and the import test a success, but I would recommend keeping your Aperture library backed up someone just in case. Especially if you have RAW+JPEG images.

In summary I would say that I was pleased with the import results and if you plan and prep your Aperture library before doing the import I believe you will also be pleased with the results.

There are many sites our there thankfully and here are a few of the many that I’ve found useful when I was researching how to do the transfer.

 

My first tutorial -How to clean your camera’s sensor

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I’ve finally completed my first tutorial and it is a video. So please enjoy.

I walk you through how to  clean the sensor on your DSLR as I clean my Nikon d80’s sensor.

I will say, since this is my first tutorial video, it does have a few minor video issues. Such as when I was more concerned about cleaning my sensor than noticing that the lamp was in the way of what I wanted recorded.  Luckily, I did move enough so you can see what it was I was doing in the end. If I ever need to clean my sensor again I’ll think about re doing the video then.

I’ll just blame it on the Google Glass for now as that is what I was using to record the video. I was lucky enough to know someone who lent me theirs to test some of the Google Glass features and I decided to use it for creating this video.

I obviously forgot that the video camera is a little above your eyesight level so you have to remember to look down a bit to get the same angle in the Google Glass recording. Hence the lamp in the way for a short time as it was just above what I was working on.

I hope to have more video and tutorial posts to come so keep an eye out for them.