Quick App Review: Touch Retouch vs. Photo Fixer

You want to remove something from an image on your iPhone? As always, there’s an app for that. Here’s a quick test of two. Links: Touch Retouch and Photo Fixer.

Image 1: Remove the path

Touch Retouch

Brush a red layer on what you want to remove.

When you are satisfied hit “go”. Wait. And:

Photo Fixer

On this image it kept giving me a message about the fact that the area was too large. So I gave up.

Image 2: Remove the trashcan

Touch Retouch

Select and process:

Not completely satisfied, so I select more and get a decent result:

Photo Fixer

Select:

And process:

Not satisfied, so I select and process more:

Image 3: Remove the poster

Touch Retouch

Select:

Process:

Photo Fixer

Select:

Process:

Image 4: Remove the statue

Touch Retouch

Photo Fixer:

Problem with too large selection. I decided to do it in several steps.

And got this result:

My conclusion after this quick test is that Touch Retouch is easier to use, is faster and gives better results than Photo Fixer.

But Photo Fixer is the new kid on the block and will probably mature as it gets updated etc. So keep an eye on both of them.

Update:
See the comments. One of my requested features is a sort of popup that shows what’s going on under your finger. The people behind TouchRetouch tells me that this is coming in version 2.0 later in November.

…in addition to lots of other improvements:
• 1:1 image viewer;
• Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, Twitter sharing;
• Clone Stamp tool;
• Finger move hint;
• Localized help;
• Application settings;
• Improved algorithm for large pictures;
• Landscape mode;
• EXIF data support.

Looking forward to that. And it’s very nice to see that both developers have contacted me because of this quick review. I’ll keep an eye on both these apps.

Quick App Review: Touch Retouch vs. Photo Fixer

Essential equipment for your presentation


I am doing a lot of presentations. For about 10 years running Powerpoint on Windows based laptops. And for the last 10 months running KeyNote on a MacBook Pro. First some words on “the switch”.

The experience with the Mac is simply much better. Period. And I am an advanced user that actually have been able to use Powerpoint to play videos, do transitions and behave quite well on all my windows boxes. But KeyNote is in general a better application than Powerpoint. The way it renders the slides, support for better graphics with proper shadows, effects, transitions, alpha channels and everything that simply makes your presentation look better.

And the Mac handles the projector with better stability and ease of use. The video always plays on the projector and the Mac always switch to the proper resolution when the projector is connected. When I save my presentation it is saved like a package that includes the media files. No more “can’t find the movie clip”.


But the best thing is that I always get both the current and the next slide on the screen in front of me while the projector shows the current slide. That makes it possible for me to do presentations with extremely fluent transitions and exact timing. Because I don’t have to memorize the presentation and remember what the next slide will be. I know that this is possible in Powerpoint as well. But my engineering degree has not been enough to make it possible for me to use that function with confidence on the laptops that I have used. On my Mac it simply works. Always.

But I have a couple of mandatory accessories to make the experience even better.


For my Mac I need to remember the converter from DVI to VGA. Apple have this tendency to ditch old technology a couple of years too early. About 1% of the conference halls I have been to support DVI directly. The fact that you need this connector is also the reason why Apple computers have this bad reputation regarding presentations. And personally I think it was a bad decision from Apple to ditch a proper VGA connector on their MacBooks. But let’s go on. I have learned to remember this connector along with my other three mandatory accessories.


My beloved remote. Covered in detail here.


The USB key. Always keep a backup of your presentation on one of these. The full KeyNote copy. In addition to a Powerpoint version and a PDF. Keep the USB key separated from the rest of your equipment. When your laptop gets stolen on your way to that important presentation it is very nice to have a backup in your pocket.


For the advanced users. You only need it in about one out of fifty presentations. But when you need it it is extremely valuable. The VGA amplifier. In some conference halls the cable to the projector is very long. This degrades the quality of the signal. This small device has done wonders a couple of times. Everything from making the image from my computer look way better than the person before me. To making me the only person actually getting an image on the projector.

Google “Extron P/2 DA1 Peaker” or something like that to find a shop near you selling this device. More details: “P/2 DA1 USB”. “Line Driver”. “P/N 60-319-03″. It was pretty expensive where I found it. About $200,-


And the last one. Some small loudspeakers. My experience is that most meeting rooms and conference halls have a projector that works. But the audio might be a problem. Especially in small hotels and meeting rooms. These speakers won’t help you in that large 500 people hall, but is very valuable in a small conference room.

But, as always the most important thing is your content. Start following Presentation Zen immediately. And some valuable advice from earlier eirikso articles here:
Working with one slide
How to avoid making boring presentations
Presenting Software

And my main guideline. Seth Godin’s “Really bad powerpoint“.

And comments are open. Do you have something to add? Something more you want to know about my presentations?

Essential equipment for your presentation

Seems like DRM is dying

EMI logo London
EMI to offer DRM free high quality music for sale.

From the press release:

EMI Music launches DRM-free superior sound quality downloads across its entire digital repertoire. Apple’s iTunes store to be the first online music store to sell EMI’s new downloads.

As most of my regular readers know I don’t like DRM so this is good news. Very good news. Now, will this spread to the other big record companies? Will this influence new efforts like Amie Street and Sellaband? What about eMusic?

And, what about the television industry and hollywood? And that Vista slow suicide?

Seems like DRM free video downloads still is something that companies like Streamburst will have to take care of. From the Engadget live coverage of the Q&A at the EMI press conference:

Q: Will DRM now be removed from videos such as Disney’s where Steve has a say.
Steve: I knew I was going to get that question today. Video is different, they never distributed 90% of their wares DRM free like music companies. So he doesn’t hold the two in parallel.

The next couple of weeks will be interesting.

Seems like DRM is dying

Several versions of the Apple TV?

It is quite obvious that Apple at some point will provide several versions of the AppleTV. But they haven’t announced it. Still the apple store gives a clue.

Let’s take the AirPort Extreme as an example. It is a product sold in only one version and it is presented like this in the store:

200703302115

“Airport Extreme Base Station” at the top of the page. Simply “Add to cart” on the button. However, all the products that have several versions for sale are presented with another template:

200703302117-1

“Select your Mac mini” at the top of the page and “select” on the button. And how about the Apple TV?

Appletv

“Select your Apple TV” but “Add to cart” on the button. Let me see. Should I select the one with 40 GIG disk or the one with 40 GIG disk?

You can digg this story here.

Several versions of the Apple TV?

AppleTV in da house

AppleTV in the box

My AppleTV box arrived today. As a media center and HTPC freak it is pretty mandatory to give this box a try. I guess I’ll be back here with more info as I try it out. My first impression is very positive. The box is quite limited compared to other similar solutions, but the stuff that this box actually does is done very, very well. If you want music, movies, podcasts and images from your computer to your TV screen and the stereo in you living room this is the only box I have tried that I can recommend to non geeks.

At this point it’s not a complete home theatre solution. No traditional live TV support (recording and PVR functionallity) and no DVD, BlueRay or HD DVD player. Traditional live TV and media files on plastic disks are already pretty old school, but it’ll stick around for still a couple of years.

AppleTV in the box

AppleTV will be something that you have in addition to some sort of PVR. Of course, there are rumors of an upcoming TV tuner for the AppleTV, but nothing yet. The rumors build on the fact that a company called Miglia have done some strange moves lately and have had meetings with Apple. In addition to this hackers have found some scripts called “New Audio Capture” and “New Video Capture” in the files on the AppleTV…

Because I had ordered a box I have been following the AppleTV scene on the internet for the last week. Interesting stuff. It was opened and modified only hours after people started recieving them. In other words, hackers are hard at work adding stuff they miss. I have also found some detailed answers to the question about 5.1 surround sound from the AppleTV.

So far I can say that the box was extremely simple to set up, works well, looks good and is easy and intuitive to use. More on AppleTV later!

Apple TV connected

AppleTV in da house

Mozy Backup for Mac

I have been using Carbonite to back up my 100 GIG collection of images to remote servers from my Windows box. Now I need a simple and easy solution to back up from my Macs instead.

Mozy just released a limited beta of their backup client for Mac OSX. Limited, because it has only been communicated to the people that have specifically asked to be updated about the Mozy client for Mac.

I have tested Mozy on one of my windows boxes for a while and it works very well. Set it up, choose the folders and file types to back up and forget. Until you have a major disk crash. At that point you can restore your files to any computer through the web interface.

Mozy provides a free option that gives you 2 GB of storage. And an unlimited option that gives you… …surprise: unlimited amounts of storage. That last option will set you back $4.95 a month.

Carbonite have been working well so far, but after testing Mozy I must admit that Mozy adds some very valuable features:

1. Web access to your files. You can restore to any computer.
2. A Mac version!

In addition to this I like the Mozy interface better and feel that in general I have better control of my files.

The official Mozy client for Mac will be out in a couple of weeks. I am testing the limited beta right now and it seems to be working fine.

Mozy Backup for Mac