AMITIAE - Saturday 24 August 2013

Cassandra: Not all Photo Apps Suit - Studio Design

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers

I am always on the lookout for new and interesting apps, particularly if they relate to photography. I scan the New & Noteworthy listings in the iTunes App Store every day, as well as seeking out comments from online sources concerning apps that might appeal to me.

Not all apps work for me. A quick look at the information in the app store may be enough to suffice for some apps; while with others, there may be other factors that conspire to steer me away from pressing that Download or Buy button.

Some I try and do not warm to. Some do not do what the description claims. Others may have nothing to add to apps I already have. Price is not usually a factor: if an app looks good (description, logo, screenshots) that sets the user up for the experience, although of course there are disappointments.

I am ambivalent about in-app purchases. With some apps, I am irked that there are so many restrictions on the user and the only way to produce any workable output is by investing into the app. For other developers, this is a useful way to dangle an interesting app in front of users and use in-app purchases to improve the experience.

There are a couple of apps like that, and I think particularly of the rather excellent Photo Editor by Aviary which I thought was so good as a free app that I bought a couple of filter packs by way of a thank-you. Others that have been good out of the box are the free Pixlr-o-Matic from the makers of the well-known AutoCad (this has one in-app purchase) and Distressed FX for $0.99 which, like the other two here, hits the target first time.

Studio Studio

By way of some Twitter comments this week I came across an app that looked interesting and decided to have a look: Studio Design (a free app). In the description there was mention of "community" and "sharing" both of which I usually avoid, but with such apps, like FilterMania, for example - which has several other strengths - this can be avoided.

I was rather disappointed in this app as when it started - as good as it looked with the opening screens - I had two options before I could use it: login via Facebook or to an account (this could be created on the fly).

With recent questions over actions by agencies in many countries concerning the use of computers and other connected devices, as innocent as such logins may be, this just puts more personnel data online, and makes it subject to tracking or abuse.

Another objection I have to such apps is that rather than waste my time with communities - on Facebook I am a sort of "hit and run" poster, loading up images, commenting to friends and students the two are not exclusive), but my pals have real lives and do not live on the internet.

That layer between me and the app was enough for me to delete it. There are plenty of other good apps in the iTunes store that have countless useful features that appeal to me more.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.



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