#538 Telegram Messenger, iSkelter Lap Desks, Browser Hijack Fix, Peak Design SlideLITE, Terry Austin Tech in College Education

Correction on last week’s HooToo TripMate TM05 review – it does NOT replace a VPN. Notable appearances this week: Clockwise at relay.fm/clockwise, MacVoices at macvoices.com, Daily Tech News Show at DTNS #2568 and The Parallel at brisbin.net/TheParallel. One messaging app to rule them all with Telegram Messenger from telegram.org. Review of the iSkelter Tab lapdesk from iskelter.com. James from Minnesota tells us about a cool browser hijack fix he found. I got to go on a Trey Ratcliff photo walk and received a Peak Design SlideLITE camera strap so I gave it a review (spoiler, I really like it!) from PeakDesign.com. In Chit Chat Across the Pond, Professor Terry Austin from intelligentelectrons.com tells us about a couple of really interesting tools he uses to keep his students engaged and learning in his college classes.

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One Messaging App To Rule Them All With Telegram Messenger

messenger_iconLeo LaPorte has been talking lately about his desire for a single messaging app for all platforms. He’s found what he thinks might be the right tool for the job, Telegram Messenger from telegram.org. I decided to give it a run and I’m in love with it!

Telegram has native apps for OS X, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, Firefox OS, and even Apple Watch. If that’s not enough apps, it’s open source so you can go write your own.

Telegram is wicked fast. I am running it on my Mac, iPad, iPhone and Watch and all of them update at the exact same time. I can take a photo with my iPhone within the app and be typing on my Mac at the same time and they thread in perfectly.

From a privacy standpoint, I really like that I was able to create a nickname so I don’t have to give my phone number out for people to be able to chat with me. I love that feature! Please look me up as podfeet in Telegram Messenger when you join up! Oh, did I forget to mention that it’s free?

A Better Camera Strap for Your Micro Four Thirds Camera from Peak Design

slideliteDuring Trey Ratcliff’s after-party there was time for questions to Trey. I shot my hand up first and I was rewarded with a gift. Before I tell you about it though, what’s our problem to be solved (other than loving free stuff?) Most cameras come with a neck strap and they work ok to keep you from dropping your camera over the side when you’re on a boat, but they’re ill-designed for just about everything else. They hang straight around your neck with your camera bumping around on your chest, and if you lean over they swing way out and can crash into things like rocks when you’re hiking. You can try putting the strap around one shoulder but they’re just not designed for this in length or band thickness or pretty much any kind of comfort.

Back on show #400 I told you about the BlackRapid Curve RS-7 I had just acquired for my Nikon D5100. It was perfect for that large DSLR because of the padding and how well it fit across my chest. But now I have a diminutive micro-four thirds camera, the Olympus OM-D EM-10 and that strap was just overkill. I gave it away to a friend of mine who bought some of my lenses and he’s delighted with it.
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Trey Ratcliff Photowalk Los Angeles

allison_trey rat cliffLast Saturday night, Pat Dengler and I went on one of Trey Ratcliff’s photo walks in LA. i He’s doing them all across the US so it’s a unique opportunity to hang out with him…and a few hundred of your closest friends. If you haven’t heard of Trey Ratcliff, he’s pretty much the Internet darling of photography. He only started photography about 8 years ago and has created a massive portfolio of stunning artwork in the intervening years. His real specialty is HDR processing where he creates gorgeous landscapes. His photos aren’t cheesy HDR, they’re never predictable and always breathtaking. He has become the Internet darling because he gives away a lot of his tricks and tips for photo processing (link to his free HDR tutorial).

He’s also making a good living by teaching classes online, which you can buy for download. He even sells things like his presets for the application Photomatix that he uses for his HDR work. Right now he’s working on a kickstarter together with a company called Peak Design to develop the very best day messenger bag for photographers. He does all these business venture but also gives away his time like for the photo walks.

sunset on trey photo walk. Gold with silhouetteIf you like photography at all, I can highly recommend going on a photo walk with other photographers. There are pros and cons of such a huge photo walk though. On the one hand I got to hang out with my good friends Pat, and Victor Cajiao, and friend of the show Cemal, but I probably could have done that without Trey’s help. I did get to meet a few other people who were really fun and it was neat to hear their perspective on photography. We met one woman who had just bought her very first DSLR and looked around for a class to take and stumbled across Trey’s photo walk in LA. She had no idea what she was in for!

I have to say that more of the walk was a sales pitch than I would have liked, especially focusing on the bag he’s trying to get funded with Peak Design and a lot of giveaway contests that were all about his sponsors. The ability to learn from him directly during the walk was severely limited by the number of people around him, but Cemal and I wandered off on our own and had a grand time taking photos.

Santa Monica Pier with ferris wheel lit up in colorsAt one point we managed to lose the group altogether. It’s really hard to lose 200 people carrying cameras and tripods in a giant pack but we managed it. We were under the Santa Monica pier taking photos in the dark and didn’t notice that everyone else had moved on. When we came out into the light they were all gone! We eventually found them up on top of the pier but evidently they were even done with the pier by then. I have no regrets because we had a blast together and eventually found Pat again too.

There was an option to go to a late night class taught by Trey and Pat and I decided to go. It cost around $50-70 depending on when you bought your tickets and we had high expectations from the description to actually learn some of his techniques. This part started at 9 in theory but he didn’t actually get started till 10:30. Even then he spent most of the time just showing us some of his coolest photos, which was neat but not what I thought we signed up for. He did give us codes to download a bunch of his online training and I think that more than made up for it for me. I can now go through at my leisure, back up and take notes on what I’m learning. I hope I actually DO it though! I went through one class already and learned a lot!

I’m really glad Pat talked me into going and I think I’d like to go on more photo walks in the future. I think the best part is that you’re with people who aren’t all about getting somewhere or doing something, they’re ok if you stop and take photos.

Beautiful Wood Lapdesks from iSkelter

iskelter_lapdesk_tabIt seems that in the world of Tech gadgets you have to choose between well made, classy, attention to detail devices that are expensive and poorly made, but inexpensive accessories. You get cheap with cheaply made, and vice versa. Notable exceptions to this rule are the accessories from a company called iSkelter at iskleter.com. Their tagline is “built by people who give a damn”.

iSkelter makes wood lap desks and I had the opportunity to spend some time with a review unit of their left-handed lap desk they call “Tab”. The Tab is a beautifully handcrafted wood piece with angles cut on the edges at the perfect angle to provide no harsh edges to your legs and other surfaces.
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Clockwise Podcast #101 Maybe We Should Call AppleCare

Clockwise logo showing a gear and an arrow I had the great pleasure of joining host Jason Snell, Serenity Caldwell of iMore.com and Casey Liss of caseyliss.com/ on episode #101 of the Clockwise Podcast on relay.fm/clockwise/101. We answer 4 questions:

  • What’s your favorite tech gadget/app for travel?
  • Rumor is that Apple is going to kill their One to One program, what does that mean?
  • If you had to choose and only use one device, would you pick your computer, tablet or phone?
  • As sophisticated Mac users, do you ever call AppleCare for software support?

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