Here are Instagram’s five new filters

For the first time in two years, the photo sharing company is introducing new filters. This is a big deal for users, who express themselves, their emotions and their most glorious selfies through the tinted lenses.

The new shades are called Slumber, Crema, Ludwig, Aden and Perpetua. Take a look below:

Screenshots of new Instagram filters

Screenshots of new Instagram filters

Along with the new colors, Instagram introduced a filter management tool. “We know that everyone has their favorite filters,” Instagram said in a blog post. “Tap [the Manage button] to re-arrange the order of your filters and hide the ones you rarely use.”

Users can also now preview a photo they’ve taken in multiple blurred filter thumbnails to make it easier to choose a lens.

Instagram's new management tools

Instagram’s new management tools

Filters are key to the Instagram experience. Arguably, they’re the reason Instagram overcame other social photo sharing applications on the market. For the power users, Christmas came early.

Note to media: Serve your users, not your platform

A simple news service like Evening Edition — which a group of web designers came up with as a side project — contains a number of lessons that mainstream media outlets might want to consider, such as serving readers’ information needs instead of their own.

6 Ways to Stop the Social Media Madness

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling the strain of the onslaught of information brought about by social media tools. Even though I’m sure I qualify as an information junkie, I feel that I’ve surpassed the limits of the amount of information I can consume.

Poladroid Adds 1940’s Flare to Your Modern Snaps

Macs are definitely not all-work and no-play machines, and this fact is made even more evident via a nifty little application called Poladroid. With holidays coming up, nostalgia will most likely be at an all-time high and Poladroid helps you inject some into your modern pictures in a very slick way.

Not content to just provide a Photoshop (or PhotoBooth) filter, the makers of Poladroid came up with a way to electronically “develop” your photos into Polaroid-like snaps, complete with the ability to shake the film while you wait!
Simply drag an existing photo onto the application, sit back and watch the results appear – slowly – right before your eyes. The process is done when the red mark appears and you’ll find a full-size JPEG, complete with oversized white border, in your “Pictures” folder ready to add to your online or in-print collection. You can save a copy of the photo during any stage in the “developing” process by right-clicking on the film and choosing “I want a sample now”. But there is one catch…you only get to process ten photos per application launch as that was the limitation in the original Polaroid film cartridges.

I have made the full size before and after images available, but the actual source photo was much larger. Poladroid auto-crops the images, so make sure you are working with what you want your end result to be. For those that make holiday DVDs through iMovie, you could save a photo at various points during the developing process to make for a very nice transition element or just use the resultant image to mark special moments on a timeline.
If you are inclined to share outside your normal circles, Poladroid has its own Flickr group and encourages you to add your own “new nostalgia” to the mix. If you are more of a DIY-type person, right click on the Poladroid application itself, “Show Package Contents”, and drill down into “Contents/MacOS/stuff” to find a Polaroid-style frame you can use in your own creations.
Poladroid is free, and available for download and is a great example of the fun one can have with REALBasic.

Filtrbox Dials the Noise Way Down

Filtrbox Home PageI hate learning curves. I hate having to futz and fiddle with my apps to figure them out. I want the functionality to be intuitive, and if it is not, I throw up my hands and move on to something else. I attribute this impatience to information overload and don’t want to have to use a crowbar to insert complex instructions for an app into my brain when it is supposed to make my life easier.

That said, I am so glad that I took the time to seek out a demo of Filtrbox. As someone who is a major consumer of information from the Web as part of my Web work, Filtrbox is going to be my new best friend. Initially, I misunderstood its purpose and saw it as another feed reader. But with some hand-holding from the company, I realize that their term “media monitor” truly is a better fit. And I’d add “little miracle worker” and “fire hose diffuser” to the description.

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iSquint Gets .AVI to Apple TV, iPod

iSquint logoThe Apple TV and iPod are often maligned for being proprietary. Designed to work with all the content you’ve acquired and ripped into iTunes, they work primarily with music, TV shows, and films you’ve acquired from the iTunes store, or with your iPhoto library. But step outside these file formats and you’re pretty much out of luck.

I’ve been using a program called iSquint to convert .AVI files to play in iTunes, my iPod and via the Apple TV. Now, if you have a friend’s home videos sent to you in .AVI, or you download a video from the Web in .AVI, you can get them onto your big screen.

Using iSquint to make the conversion is simple.

1) Drag the .avi file from your hard drive to the application.
2) Choose to optimize for iPod or TV.
3) Select a quality range, from “Tiny” to “Go Nuts”.
4) Check the “Add to iTunes” box.

iSquint Small
iSquint in Action

A few minutes later, when the conversion is complete, you’ve created a brand new .mp4 file, alongside the original .AVI file, and can see it in the “Movies” section of iTunes. If your Apple TV, iPod or iPhone are set to sync, then you’ll have the video the next time you do.

While there are very likely other solutions out there, this is one I’ve found that makes the process simple. If you’re not using iSquint, what have you used to bridge the gap?