Photobucket’s Stories Akin to iPhoto for iOS Journals

Photobucket has introduced Photobucket Stories as a brand-new Photobucket feature; in fact, it looks like Stories are still in Beta, and part of a general overhaul of Photobucket.

screen shot of an iPhoto for iOS Journal pageThe basic idea behind Stories is that you upload pictures, you select a background, you arrange them and title them, you select their size (small, medium, large), and you add text annotations in the form of small text fields with a choice of color and font (limited in both cases, but quite reasonable options).

You can drag and drop to rearrange; you can change photo size, text placement, etc. And it’s dead easy to Share your saved/published story, or invite collaborators.

Photobucket Stories are strikingly similar to iPhoto for iOS Journals. You can see what I thought about Journals for iPhoto for iOS.

You can’t add weather and calendar widgets, and stories are a bit more limited in terms of options for layouts, but the concept is the same, and frankly, it’s a bit easier to us (at least on the Web; thus far it doesn’t seem to be actively supported by the PhotoBucket iOS app). Like Journals, Stories have built in facilities for sharing a link to a Story, but at least at present there’s no way to download all the content and make a stand-alone static Web site, the way you can with iPhoto for iOS Journals.

What’s interesting in particular about Stories is that you can collaborate with others on a Story. That’s a neat way to create a record of a family or group event, or to share data.

I made, roughly, the same kind of a Story as one of the previous Journals I made with iPhoto for iOS.

Here’s the Photobucket Story about Life in Washington.

Here’s the iPhoto for iOS Journal about A Year in Washington.  

I’m curious to see which of the new features are implements and supported in iOS apps.

Google Releases Snapseed

Last year Snapseed, Nik Software’s nifty photo editing app for iOS was named the 2011 iPad App of the year. Then in September Google bought Nik Software. There was already a version of Snapseed for the OS X desktop, and now there’s a version for Android too.

Snapseed uses the Camera Roll on iOS for photos, but lets you edit, crop, rotate, adjust and apply various filters, and then share the results. There’s a decent Getting Started Snapseed tutorial on their Web site.

Today, Google released Snapseed 1.5 for iOS for free. Go, get it. It’s a super companion to iPhoto for iOS, or the iOS Photos app. The update includes the expected cosmetic branding changes (new icon Google branding) some new filters, and Google + integration for sharing. I’m intrigued by the Instagram-like “square mode” given the disappearance of the Twitter “cards”feature for inline images from Instagram.

iPad for Book Lovers

Peachpit has posted an article by me about my love for books, and the iPad:

Lisa L. Spangenberg, coauthor of The iPad 2 Project Book, readily confesses to being nuts about books. Like many of us, she is gradually becoming more comfortable with substituting digital reading for paperbacks and hardbacks, but she is already hopelessly in love with the many free (or very cheap) apps that let lovers of reading explore the written world in a whole new way.

There are so many super iPad apps for readers and bibliophile’s that I’ll be posting about some apps that I had to remove from the Peachpit article because it was already quite lengthy. In the meantime, head on over to Peachpit to read The Best iPad Apps for Book Lovers.


I always check out new blogging and CMS platforms, so when I started hearing about, I took a look, and then tried Pinterest. Pinterest describes itself as “Pinterest is an online pinboard. Organize and share things you love.”

Pinterest isn’t really directly comparable to any of the extant blogging or CMS systems; it’s most similar to Tumbler. Pinterest is image-driven. An image is scraped or uploaded, re-sized, and the original URL is retained as a link. There’s a field for a brief comment, and other people can comment on posted images or “pins.” Each Pinterest “board” is presented as an image collage; you can click-through via any individual image and see the associated comments, a larger view and the original link.

Each Pinterest account can have several boards. Boards can be associated with a number of pre-defined categories, as well as shared between several posters. You call also “follow” individual boards, or all of a Pinterest account’s pins and boards. The top page of the site features recent “pins” and comments.

The idea behind Pinterest is that you:

  • Find an image online (or a local image from your computer.
    You use a bookmarklet on your toolbar or you copy the URL and log onto your Pinterest account.
  • You pick one of your boards, or one that you have posting access to.
    You paste the URL into a field.
  • Pinerest asks scrapes the images and shows you reduced versions of the images on the page, and asks which image to use.
  • You select an image, and Pinterest grabs the image, reduces it if necessary, , and the URL, offers you a field for a comment and posts or “pins” the image to your board.
  • Other Pinterest members can re-pin your image, like it, or follow you or aparticular board.

Pinterest is not suited for building a presence online by itself; it is however an interesting ancillary to an established presence. It looks to me like Pinterest has more utility as a research tool and memory aid. Pinterest thus far (it’s still an invitation-only beta) is most enthusiastically being used by recipe collectors, and dedicated shoppers with specialized wish-lists. You’ll see people planning weddings or designing rooms, and using Pinterest to collect images and ideas. It’s an extremely useful research tool for writers. As I mentioned, there are a lot of people using it to track recipes, items to buy as a sort of visual wish list, but also people collecting images for buildings, locations, furnishings and clothing to use in writing, especially in terms of historic style and location. My friend and graphic designer Michael Rowley has a board featuring typography, off to the right.

I’ve created a few boards here. I’m using it for recipes, but also as a research tool for the garden and for a couple of scholarly articles I’m working on. I can see some potential issues with respect to image copyrights—I suspect that Pinterest is relying a bit forcefully on safe harbor clauses, and the fact that what users are doing with scraped images is pretty much what search engines do with scraped images. I notice that as of today, Pinterest allows rights-holders to opt out of having their content used.