Insights For Success

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Microsoft PIX is an AI powered free IOS Camera App

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment

You can download Microsoft PIX from the Apple app store now for free.  The claim to fame (according to Microsoft) is that it uses artificial intelligence to take the best possible shot every time without forcing the user to fiddle with any settings.

This computer voodoo is possible because the app takes 10 pictures every time you press the shutter button. Some right before you pressed the button and some right after. It uses data from every shot to build the best possible image (Apple's default app also does this very same thing but it seems Microsoft is pushing the technology a little bit more). Even though it selects the best possible shot and discards the rest, it uses data from app the pictures (even the ones it will delete) to reduce noise, brighten faces and ensure it has captured colours as accurately as possible.

Another cool trick up its sleeve is motion analysis. If it believes there is motion in the series that could enhance the image then it will animate that worthwhile section and create a "live" photo. It could do this for a sparkler on a cake or hair blowing in the wind or a beautiful waterfall behind the subject. 

All of the intelligence is hidden from the user. There are no settings to change or configurations to optimize, everything is taken care of for you. It is the kind of app even your mother can use.

It is smart enough to detect faces and optimize the settings for it/them. It will detect open eyes. I started playing with this app a couple of hours ago and so far like it enough to put it on the first page of my iPhone next to the default camera app.

You can checkout this Microsoft Research page to learn more about the cool tech behind the app.

Should you buy the Olloclip or the Moment Lens?

technologyEdward KiledjianComment
The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You
— Chase Jarvis

I have had "real" dSLR cameras for the last 8-10 years but there are many situations where the only camera with me is my smartphone or it is the camera that is the most convenient to use. Unlike many smartphone users where this becomes their only camera, my smartphone is my supplemental camera. I believe in using the right tool for the right job.

I have bought 30-50 different lenses over the years but the two that I have consistently come back to are the Olloclip and the Moment Lens. 

The Olloclip

There is no denying the Olloclip has become a sensation. Since their Kickstarter launch, they have continued to grow their portfolio with new products and by supporting new smartphones (iPhone 4/4s/5/5c/5s/6/6 plus and the Samsung Galaxy S4/5).

Until their most recent iphone version, the Olloclip was always designed to work (sans case) by attaching to the corner of your smartphone. The new iPhone 6 version is snaps on the top middle and works with both the front and back cameras (your welcome selfie lovers.)

The new iPhone 6 version also comes with with the above keyring holster so you are less likely to lose yours (trust me this was a problem with their older products). This one $79 package gives you 4 different lens options:

  • Fisheye
  • Wide-Angle
  • 10x Macro
  • 15x Macro

 So from a value perspective, it is a great offering. But... The new clip on the middle design is a pain in the ass. Aligning  the lens with the iPhone camera takes time and patience. Plus sometimes you will knock it out of alignment by mistake. Remember that the iPhone 6 and 6 plus have beautifully smooth bodies with rounded edges which means there is nowhere for the lens to clip or grab onto. There were times when I lost a great photo opportunity because the lens had moved and I had to waste a couple of seconds to realign the lens.

The second complaint about the Olloclip is something I have had since the beginning: you cant use it with a case. Taking the case of your phone every time you want to take a picture quickly becomes annoying and I will not carry a nude iPhone.  

I took 25 pictures (indoor, outdoor) to compare the quality of the Olloclip and Moment Lens. The Moment lens easily beat the Olloclip (for visual quality) in every single picture.

The Moment Lens

The moment lens feels more like a "real" dSLR type lens. It has an all metal construction and attaches to your phone with a 2 piece bayonet system that is easy and solid. Moment lens is $99 per lens (each lens performs one function). You immediately realize this is aimed at the more high end market. Everything just feels more solid and higher quality. The lens is big and beautiful. And it produces exceptional pictures. 


The above image shows the mounting plate you stick onto your smartphone. It comes with a very strong 3M branded sticky tape already applied onto the plate. To install the lens you insert the lens into the plate's grove and turn it 90 degrees to lock in place. 

The mounting system allows you to use the lens system even with some thin cases (I use it with the original Apple leather case and it works great. This is a good time to mention that the Moment lens works with iPhone 4/4s/5/5s/6/6 plus, ipad Air/Air2/mini/mini retina and a handful of android devices (Nexus 5, Samsung Galaxy S4/5, Galaxy Note 3/4).

The negative part of their plate installation system is that once the plate is installed, it will require a tremendous amount of force to remove. They include a second set of 3M tape but when you remove the plate, it will be bent and not reusable. Extra plates cost $9.99 each which is expensive considering you just shelled out $99 for a lens.

Moment Lens should make additional mounting plates available for $5 or less.

Since I've had my lens kit, I have replaced my iPhone 3 times which means I have had to buy more mounting plates. Moment lens believes it can solve the plate problem by creating a new case that adds dSLR like functions and I think they are right (it is on kickstarter now). Unfortunately this case won't work with last year's iPhones or any Android device.


If you are a photo snob and are looking for the best quality lenses you can buy (and lenses that will work for your future devices) then Moment is king. Even though it is bigger, heavier and more difficult to carry. 

If you want something that gives you more photography options but you are a filter obsessed person anyway (aka less concerned about quality), go for the Olloclip.

The smartphone case for the selfie generation

technologyEdward KiledjianComment

The current generation of smartphone totting youngsters seems to be obsessed with taking selfies but don't you hate the fact you have to hold the smartphone out at arms length? Doesn't that limit your creativity?

Now iLuv has the solution for iPhone, iPad and Samsung Galaxy users via a special smartphone case called the Selfie. You slip on the case, pair the bluetooth trigger and you're ready to use this case with any app you already have.

All of this fun can be yours for only $50... You can preorder your very own Selfie now (link)

PhotoDirector 4 MAC/PC Free until March 16

technologyEdward KiledjianComment

Nothing feel better than getting something of value for free. Now CyberLink is running a special promo for CNET's by offering their well respected ($99) photo management app for free.

Head over to this special promo page (link) and enter promo code PHD4CNET in the "redeem code" box. You get an immediate discount which brings the price to $0, nada, zilch.


Selfies leading to lice

HealthEdward KiledjianComment
Image by     mollybob  under Creative Commons License

Image by  mollybob under Creative Commons License

Selfies are so popular, Apple built an entire app collection in the AppStore for it. Selfies are a way to preserve memories when your having a good time with friends but selfies can be dangerous for your health.

A California lice expert, Marcy McQuillan, told the SFist (link) "I've seen a huge increase of lice in teens this year," . "Typically it's younger children I treat, because they're at higher risk for head-to-head contact. But now, teens are sticking their heads together every day to take cell phone pics."