Saturday, May 09, 2015

SmartPhones :: My Android Workspace

My LG lock screenI’ve only had my LG phone a short time but I already like it a lot. The nicest feature for making sure my camera is always at hand, are a couple of LG specific features, the first is called knock on, and it simply is a light double tap gesture on the phone screen to wake the phone up. Then on the lock screen you can set 4 app icons ready to go at the bottom of the screen, the camera app is on the bottom right. So to start the camera is just a third tap on this camera app, with a swipe up gesture. If you know morse codes its like tapping out IT (dot dot wait dash). Viola the camera app is up and ready to go. Compared with finding the power switch, turning on the phone unlocking it if necessary then the finding the camera app and eventually starting it. This is fast and natural.

I’ve seen plenty of reviews that claim the camera in this LG phone is ordinary and maybe it is but the IPS screen is really amazing, strong colours and contrast (while you’re inside!) which LG describe as beautiful colour reproduction and viewing clarity. Outside the screen suffers lot from glare and you have to manually increase the screen brightness (which can be a challenge when you can’t make out the screen). I can’t figure out why they haven’t made screen brightness automatically adjustable according to ambient light. (Other than the fully bright screen setting does eat battery life!). I soon learned you can adjust the brightness (even blinded by the light) by a swipe down gesture at the top of the screen (which brings down to notification draw and then taping again bit lower, on the screen brightness slider, and swiping all the way to the right).  K in morse code (dash dot dash).

Oh back to the real issue here, how have I setup my digital photography work space. Its actually still a work in progress but here are the basics. I have set up a whole app panel to hold camera and photo related apps. My current setup is shown below.

My LG photography app panel

I have a few old favourites which came over from my HTC wildfire, the first serious photo editor I used routinely was Photoshop Express, ok it relatively basic but it does the basics well enough and recent version allows connection to a creative cloud account, if you have one. This was largely overshadows but Autodesk’s Pixlr, which quickly became my preferred on phone photo editor. It is on of those free apps that has in app purchase options (I normally don’t like them) but they are tolerable and for other autodesk modules/tools. HDR Camera+ app is the one paid app from the wildfire and was really my favourite camera there, its had limited editing functionality (specifically tone mapping options). Finally Dropbox is a wonderfully reliable facility, I just have  it working behind the scenes and synching up my photos whenever my phone connected to WiFi (ie doesn't waste my data limit on my phone) I have sister apps on all my desktop computers so recent phone photos can be accessed there (no wires or able or separate steps required.

With the new phone and upgrade to android version, I’ve reload the official flickr app. Where the old app was clunky the new version is really much nicer and does allow a seamless upload to flickr (but I have turned off the automatic upload). Flickr is quiet enough for me I’m not interested in instagram.

The real gem I discovered was Snapseed (which was incompatible with the Wildfire) and I just managed to download it the day version 2 was released. It really is a very elegant app and a great photo editor for a touchphone. I was familiar with snapseed as the photo editor for google+ photos but the phone app is in many ways nicer to use. However now for the downside. I did originally have google+ app on the wildfire but it was a resource hog so I removed it and I don’t use google+ itself as a social network place much anyway. The LG approach has been to integrate many of the google tools as standalone apps (such as GMail, Photos, Hangouts) and this initially struck me as a great approach. Whilst the LG (google) Photos app lets you access the albums on the net, but it started acting like google auto backup vacuuming up and uploading any images on your phone (so I turned that off). A real downside of this integration has been the overwhelming of the default LG gallery app with photos (not just albums) from the every increasing google+ photo mess. Haven’t figured out how to turn this off. Lightroom mobile is only on trial and I must admit I am not excited by it. 

So now my phone’s photo collection is in close connection with google+ photo, flickr and I am still trying out Carousel (the original download on the wildfire was not reliable) as a connection to the rest of the world. It is basically a gallery app for dropbox, I’m even starting to favour it over the LG gallery app, particular for sharing with other services like twitter and SMS. I also like the everpix like Flashbacks.

I have previously posted about my alternate camera apps.

getting up close and personal with a rockFinally I also have autodesk’s Sketchbook. its not really a photo tool although you can edit photos (eg circle important parts, draw arrows etc.) I bought a cheap stylus and I find I use this app a lot as a graphics notebook, quick diagram maker, and good party trick (I sketch quick cartoonish portraits of folk)

My SmartPhone workspace is humble compared with the computer power available elsewhere but it is remarkably capable of getting decent photos and images out onto the wider net, into my albums on computers and into reports. When I started this blog over a decade ago If you’d have hinted at this power in my pocket I would have been sceptical.

Post a Comment