WWDC 2016 Part 2 – Cool New iOS 10 Features

iOS users rejoice! The New Hotness is on its way!

Introduction
wwdc2016iOS 10 is due to be released later this fall with the introduction of the next iPhone, and it’s got some really cool, new features. While I’m not going to go through the entire new feature set, or really into a lot of detail about some of the new stuff that I AM going to touch on, there’s some stuff that I’m certain that everyone will really like to hear about.

Believe it or not, iOS and its UI/ UX has been largely stagnant since the introduction of iOS 7. The interface really hasn’t changed in over three years (since 2013 or so) as of this writing. As such, iOS 10 is offering some really cool enhancements that should make quite an impact to the usability of iPhone. Quite honestly, some of these UI/ UX enhancements should have been implemented a while ago. That is, they’re a long time coming and may be considered overdue by some.

So, without any further ado, let’s take a look at some of the cooler features that will be coming to iOS 10!

Notifications, Control Center and Lock Screen
A lot of work has been done to enhance the way these components work in iOS 10. Control Center has been redesigned to be a more useful and functional set of panels of buttons and tools. You can swipe across Control Center panes to get to needed items, including a useful Media Center view. Support for 3D Touch has also been built into Control Center, but I wasn’t able to find a great deal of information on how that might actually work as of this writing.

Calendar
Your calendar just got a whole lot smarter. Now, iOS will suggest calendar event meeting time and places based on iMessage thread content. Calendar will also suggest times to leave and will over locations suggestions, too. Calendar can do the same with email content, and overall, its ability to handle events based on email content has greatly improved.

Camera RAW
I’ve been waiting on this one for as long as the iPhone has had a “decent” camera. As a serious, amateur photographer, I prefer working with RAW files rather than JPGs or TIFFs. You get better retouching results when you work with data direct from you camera that isn’t compressed. Well, now, iOS 10 allows you to work with camera RAW images, though, at least for now (meaning until Apple and other third party iOS developers), you’ll need to use third party (and likely third party desktop) apps to edit these images.

Music Storage Optimization
If you keep a lot of music on your device – like I do – you’ll be pleased to know that iOS 10 will now automatically remove tracks from your iPhone that you don’t listen to very often in order to make more internal storage available. Storage Optimization will allow you to set a threshold of between 4GB to 32GB of space, keeping all other on board storage for other content.

This Little Light of Mine…
I don’t know anyone who hasn’t used their smartphone’s flash as a flash light. It’s pretty much universal. The iPhone and its users are no different. I use my flash as a flash light at least 2 – 3 times a week.

In iOS 10, if you have an iPhone 6s or later, your 3D Touch capable iPhone will allow you to set the intensity of your flashlight via pressure sensitive touch of the screen. The harder you push, the brighter the light.

iCloud Drive Desktop, Documents
When you pair your iOS 10 based iDevice with a machos Sierra powered Mac, you’ll be able to access the files and objects (meaning documents and folders) stored on your Mac’s desktop through iCloud Drive. Most of your really important stuff is likely sitting on your desktop. Now, you can get to all of that important stuff without creating duplicates or elaborate copy jobs to give you access to the stuff you need the most.

Dude..?!? Where’s my car?
There are some third party apps that keep track of your vehicle for you after you park it; but (unless I’m wrong here…and if I am, please ping me in the Discussion area, below and let me know…) I don’t think Google Maps or any of the other major GPS apps, like HERE Maps, Navigo or Navmii, mark the “final” resting place of your car after a navigation session.

In iOS 10, Apple maps will automatically remember where you parked your car. When it’s time to truck it on back home, Maps will show you where you parked and will lead you back there, if necessary.

Accessibility Enhancements and Apple Watch
I think this is one of the coolest things that is going to happen with iPhone and Apple Watch. Every hour – at the 50 minute mark of the hour – Apple Watch tells you it’s time to stand. This feature is on by default. However, if you can’t stand, this is a bit of a problem. Now, if you’re a wheel chair user, the iOS Activity App will ping you that it’s time to motor on down the hallway instead of standing and walking around. This is a huge development in accessibility for individuals who can’t stand and took a great deal of research on Apple’s part to pull together. It also shows that Apple really cares for and appreciates ALL of its users

Conclusion
Prognosticating what Apple is going to do for “this year’s” iPhone is a very difficult. It’s going to do “this.” It’s going to do “that.” It’s going to have this or that feature set and/ or hardware changes. All of the rumors are usually nothing more than that… Rumors. Figuring out what Apple is going to do is usually a waste of time. I won’t even write that article anymore. I’ve never been right.

However, when it comes to analysis of the first beta of Apple’s latest iOS beta, yeah… that pretty much curls my toes.

There’s some pretty cool stuff coming in iOS 10. When you pair it with the right hardware combinations (I haven’t seen or heard anything yet that will SPECIFICALLY require a new hardware feature; but its early yet…), iOS 10 is rounding out to be a really cool mobile OS.

I’ll have more on it as the beta cycle matures. Right now, it’s a little too raw for me to install on my iPhone 6; but I should have a full analysis/ review on it before it hits with what should be the iPhone 7.

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Edit images, create animation and cool icons with Chasys Draw IES

Edit images, create animation and cool icons with this full featured Windows app.

chasys_draw_ies_128Having a creative outlet can be very important. I know that if I don’t have a way of expressing myself creatively, I’m not going to be a happy person in the long run. If I can combine that with my Mac or PC, its truly a double win for me. Apps like Chasys Draw IES help make this that double win. It’s a cool drawing and animation app for Windows.

Chasys Draw IES is actually a suite of applications that includes a layer-based image editor with animation, icon editing support. It has image stacking through Chasys Draw IES Artist, a multi-threaded image file converter with Chasys Draw IES Converter, a fast image viewer in Chasys Draw IES Viewer and a RAW camera file processor with Chasys Draw IES raw-Photo. The whole suite is UAC aware and is designed to take advantage of multi-core processors, touch-screens and pen-input devices, so it will work well with Surface Pro and other Windows 8 Pro tablets.

CDI-07

Chasys Draw IES is a unique application. It does NOT imitate Adobe Photoshop, or try to. It is fast and stable, giving you the performance you need in a full featured drawing and animation application. Its also innovative, applying new techniques and different methods for getting the job done.

Chasys Draw IES is an awesome application. Its got a full set of features so that you can create the drawings you want with the tools you need. Its easy to use, so if you’re used to full featured drawing apps, you’ll feel at home. The best things about the app is that its donationware. While this makes it essentially free, if you find the app of value, the author is asking for a donation, nothing more.

download Chasys Draw IES

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Take control of your digital darkroom with Scarab Darkroom

Scarab DarkroomI love digital photography. Unfortunately, I was bitten by the camera bug quite a while back, and I am constantly on the lookout for a new lens, new picture tweaking or developing software and new information to help my pictures become more professional looking. Tools like Scarab Darkroom really fit the bill, too. This Windows based app is something that most every owner of a supported camera should have.

Scarab Darkroom is a digital camera file converter with support for over 100 different camera models. Many digital cameras can take pictures and save them directly as a JPG or other compressed file format, but doing so really limits your ability with what you can do to the file, post production. Many cameras have their own native formats, often called RAW. Most image editing apps don’t support them out of the box. Scarab Darkroom does.

Scarab-Darkroom

The compression algorithm in JPG’s is popular as a storage format – files are usually small and easily transported from one computing system to another. JPG’s are also very popular with web sites like Facebook , Flickr, and Shutterbug. However, when you try to tweak a JPG, you lose a lot of information and detail.

Scarab Darkroom provides support and tools for editing RAW files directly. It allows you to edit fill light, brightness, contrast and black levels and provides a way to edit simple tone curve adjustments. You can also tweak color temperatures and gives you the ability to pick white balance from a gray area in the picture, among other editing options. When you’re done, it provides a lightning fast conversion with excellent detail rendition using a proprietary demosaic algorithm. Basic editing options – crop, resize, etc. are also supported.

Scarab Darkroom is a decent application. Its support for many RAW file formats from Nikon, Sony, Canon, Olympus, Panasonic and others is something that can provide value to a great many enthusiasts. The anticipated Pro version is said to have all of the freemium features as well as others including more color controls, a grayscale mixer and noise reduction, among others. A Mac version is also anticipated next year.

Download Scarab Darkroom

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Convert your photos to the universally accepted DNG raw format with Adobe DNG Converter

The Adobe DNG Converter 7.2 is a free service that allows you convert files from over 350 different types of camera into the more usable DNG format.

DNG, or Digital Negative, is a photo format that was created specifically for the purpose of providing photography buffs with a universal single format that can be read on any machine. Having this simplified format allows pictures to be archived and documented all the more easily, while keeping them more secure.

The converter comes with an easy-to-navigate interface that allows for the simple transfer of photos from one format to another. It can also be used with a range of camera and photo files, meaning that all of your pictures, no matter what format they are in, can be protected and stored.

The Adobe DNG Converter 7.2 is an unbelievably useful tool for converting and protecting different types of photo. Yes, at the moment the device only supports 350(!) types of camera, but this is still quite a lot and future updates may include additional camera support. Considering the converter is free, it really is the best tool you can use for editing your photographs into a simpler, easier to use and more secure type of file.

download Adobe DNG Converter

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Take charge of your graphics, icons and digital photos with irfanView

Taking control of your digital photos isn’t an easy task. If you’re like my family and have a lot of children and a photo happy wife, then you’re going to accumulate a lot of digital pictures over the years. This is why I’m happy I’ve got things like irfanView.  It’s a graphics and digital photo editor and management tool for Windows

irfanView (pronounced ear-fan-view) is designed to be simple for beginners yet powerful enough for professionals or advanced users.  It was the first Windows graphic viewer with Multiple (animated) GIF support, and one of the first graphic viewers with Multipage TIF support. It was also the first graphic viewer with Multiple ICO support.

irfanView supports many file formats, and includes support for select RAW file formats, so you may be able to edit files right off your digital camera, before you convert them to a more popular format. It also supports Adobe Photoshop filters, allowing you to bring power to an easier to use editing program, all this even before you consider its own drawing and editing tools.

One of the best things about irfanView is that it runs from a single executable file. It doesn’t require any dynamic link libraries (DLL’s) that may be installed or scattered across your hard drive in order to run.  It also doesn’t contain any registration or nag messages. The application is free, though the author does appreciate monetary support through donations.

read the full review | download irfanView

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Photivo, the complex open-source photo editor

Editing a picture from your personal collection may be a simple task considering the multitude of photo editors that are available on the market. You can choose from a huge offer of similar products, but there are few that can be considered professional tools and can be used for free. But there are exceptions. One of these is Photivo, a free photo editor that stands out in front of other much more popular applications because of its complexity and high level of editing procedure. With Photivo you can work with regular bitmap files but also with RAW files, giving the user a huge amount of control while editing uncompressed images.

read full review | download Photivo

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