Trending February 2024 # Iphoneography: When In Doubt, Shoot First, Compose Later # Suggested March 2024 # Top 10 Popular

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We cover all sorts of things in this iPhoneography series. Everything from creativity and photographic principles to apps and gear. I had planned on carrying on with the theme of our previous two lessons about composition (the rule of thirds and the golden ratio) but then I saw this deer, and my entire lesson changed.

I have been meaning to write something like this for a while, so I figured there is no time like the present. It will be a short lesson.

If you’d like to see the video about how I processed this image feel free to watch it. I also share a few tips about sharpening with Snapseed.

Today’s lesson is a simple, yet important one. In moments like this, when a deer let’s you walk up to take its picture, get the shot first, then worry about all the things we have talked about in the previous lessons. My buddy calls these ‘prophylactic images’. A ‘prophylactic image’ is a quick image to cover your bases. That way, if the deer decides to walk off, or turn its less attractive side to you, you have the shot.

Now, these type of images aren’t restricted to wildlife. Obviously, they are applicable to people (especially fast moving children) as well. But those aren’t the only things. Nope, covering your bases can apply to landscapes. As you continue on in your photographic life and become hyper aware of the light around you, you will realize that it is always changing. If you see beautiful light, and you think it’s going to change soon, make a quick image then worry about the principles of composition we have discussed in previous lessons.

Here is another example of acting quickly, composing later. I watched as this beautiful little butterfly flew past my head and landed on the grass. I didn’t even think, I simply grabbed what I could. As you can see in this first image, it wasn’t anything to write home about. However, if she were to fly off, at least I would have a photo.

I continued to making images as she proved to be very photogenic. I probably made a dozen or so images, each improving on the next as I worked my way closer and closer. Finally I made this image! It’s one of my all time favorite images (iPhone or otherwise). You won’t always get this image, but get one and continue to work until you get the one you want.

Assignment

I was having a hard time coming up with a good hash tag for this project when I was sitting down on Sunday night, wondering why Breaking Bad was a repeat (I’m not happy about waiting until next summer to wrap it up) and then it hit me!

Make sure to tag your Instagram photos with #iDBigotIt so we can call follow along.

This week will be pretty open and it is intended to showcase your own creativity. I’ll be picking a few of my favorites to showcase in our next lesson. We will see you back here in two weeks with a new app I’m diggin!

You're reading Iphoneography: When In Doubt, Shoot First, Compose Later

Buy Now Pay Later: Paypal Boosts Its Own Offering After Apple Pay Later Announcement

The announcement of Apple Pay Later has made waves in the Buy Now Pay Later world, with some suggesting that existing companies like Affirm are going to be hard hit. But some are fighting back …

Background

Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) is a term for schemes which let you make a downpayment on a product and take it home the same day, paying off the balance in regular installments. Some are interest-free, while others attract interest payments.

Some store chains have offered these schemes for decades, but app-based BNPL schemes which can be used for any purchase have recently taken off.

The Apple Card already offered a BNPL feature for purchases of Apple products, allowing interest-free payments over up to 24 months. But at WWDC 2023, the company announced Apple Pay Later, which doesn’t require the card.

This lets you pay in installments simply by choosing the option in the Wallet app when you make payment. You can pay in four equal installments, and get up to six weeks interest-free. Payments are managed through the Wallet app, so you can manage your budget.

The best thing for retailers and developers alike is that Apple Pay Later ‘just works’ – there’s nothing they need do to implement it.

Paypal boosts Buy Now Pay Later program

Paypal already offered a range of BNPL deals, including Pay in 4, which is essentially the same as Apple Pay Later: four equal payments over six weeks, with no interest or late fees. Engadget reports that the company is now offering longer-term payment plans, of up to two years.

PayPal is expanding its buy now, pay later options with a longer-term payment plan. The company has enabled users to cover the cost of a purchase over a few interest-free payments and it also offers credit cards. Pay Monthly, which is issued by WebBank, is another option for folks in the US.

It’s valid for purchases between $199 and $10,000. The cost will be split across monthly payments of between six and 24 months. If you select the Pay Monthly option at checkout, you’ll then need to complete an application. Should that be approved, you’ll be able to select from three payment options with different time frames. APR is calculated on a risk basis and will be between zero and 29.99 percent. The first payment is due a month after purchase.

Unlike Apple Pay Later, however, retailers have to sign up.

PayPal says millions of retailers will support Pay Monthly — including Samsonite, Fossil and Advance Auto — and that purchases will be eligible for PayPal Purchase Protection.

However, the company says that it will be automatically available to all merchants at no additional cost, so it’s likely that many will offer it.

With all these schemes, consumers are cautioned to ensure that they can repay within the agreed terms. Although there are no late fees with many of these programs, failure to repay on time will still impact your credit rating. They can also encourage unwise spending.

It’s not the first time PayPal has responded to a move by Apple.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

When To Use Topn Function In Power Bi

This tutorial will review how to use TOPN as a virtual ranking function to generate interesting insights based on ranking logic in Power BI. You may watch the full video of this tutorial at the bottom of this blog.

Using TOPN as a virtual ranking function allows you to dynamically produce the top and bottom results for any measure.

This example will show how to work out the locations that generate the highest and lowest revenue per customer.

This table contains the Revenue for each customer.

You want to work out which locations have the highest and lowest Revenue.

Let’s say that a customer bought your products from a range of different locations.

Using Stephen Howard as an example, you can see that he bought products from six different cities:

You now want to know how much revenue was generated for each city. Then, you want to virtually rank the cities and calculate which of them belong to the top and bottom two.

This formula counts the number of locations a customer has purchased from:

The COUNTROWS function works out each unique place where a product has been bought.

However, this formula can’t give you with the ranking results you need.

This is where the TOPN function comes in. It allows you to have a virtual ranking inside a formula.

To calculate the top two cities with the highest revenue for each customer, you need to use this formula:

The CALCULATE function computes the Total Revenue using a different context for the top two cities.

Let’s now focus on the TOPN statement in the formula:

The first parameter for this TOPN statement is the total ranking that needs a virtual calculation. Thus, 2 is used to get the top two cities.

If it’s 4, it will return the top four cities.

You need to make sure that you’re only iterating through the places that a customer has purchased from. This is why Index is used rather than an element in the model.

Using Index ensures that you’re only counting the regions your customers have purchased from, and not all the regions in your model.

If you were to put the VALUES function along with the actual Name of the City, you’d get the overall Total Revenue from the top two cities — not from each individual customer.

The TOPN function creates a brand new context for each result in the table.

It’s creating a virtual table containing only the top two locations a customer has purchased from.

This is the formula used to calculate the bottom two cities:

It’s exactly the same formula as the first, but you need to change DESC to ASC.

Here’s how to check if this formula is correct:

If you bring the cities with purchases to the table, you can see that the number of iterations matches the result of the Total Cities.

For example, Aaron Bradley bought from four different locations. So, there are four iterations showing in the second table.

You can see the four different purchase amounts the customer has for each location.

If you calculate and compare the figures of the two tables, you will see that they both match. All of Aaron Bradley’s amounts equal to 173,128.00, which is the Total Revenue. The top two cities have a Revenue of 124, 191.20, and the bottom two 48,936.80.

This tutorial discussed how to use TOPN as a virtual ranking function to create effective ranking visuals in Power BI.

You can wrap the TOPN function in COUNTROWS, SUMX, or AVERAGE to create more valuable insights in your reports. It’s a very flexible and reusable tool to use.

All the best,

Sam

Apple Music First Look

Apple Music first look – Spotify threat but questions linger

Start Apple Music for the first time, and you’re faced with a ball pond of musical genres from which you’re to choose your favorites. They help shape the first tab in the UI, “For You”, after which point the music you play, playlists you create (complete with custom artwork, if you want), and which tracks you save as favorites.

Apple is leaning hard on the idea of human curation rather than an AI being left to juggle tracks, however. In fact, there are various different types of human interaction: in the “For You” tab, for instance, playlists follow the lines of “Inspired by…” or “Bring the Big Rock” and are curated by in-house experts. “Bring the Big Rock,” for instance, is the handiwork of “Apple Rock” who, despite the generic name, is an actual person who works at the company.

Those Apple Music Editors will be responsible for hundreds of playlists in each category of music, organized by activities like BBQing and Commuting. The latest playlist will appear at the top of the list, and if you follow a genre you’ll also get a notification added to your Connect timeline about any new content.

Then there are “Curators” who are experts but outside of Apple. Exactly who that list will include is still unconfirmed, but expect names in the manner of music site Pitchfork.

The Radio tab is where Apple’s flagship station, Beats 1, lives. Live, 24/7, and across more than 100 countries around the world, it’ll be run by DJs including Zane Lowe in Los Angeles, Ebro Darden in New York, and Julie Adenuga in London. Contrary to the new breed of on-demand stations, Beats 1 is a return to the traditional days of radio: everybody hearing the same thing, at the same time.

Currently, Beats 1 is playing a prerecorded clip of Zane Lowe, and eventual programming is yet to be confirmed. Also unclear at this point is how Apple will signpost upcoming content on Beats 1: right now, there’s no schedule of shows, so catching your favorite genre, track, or an interview with your artist of choice is a matter of luck.

I’d be surprised if Apple didn’t add some sort of alerts system eventually, perhaps tied into your choice of artists included in your Connect timeline.

There are other Featured Stations within the Radio tab, basically iTunes Radio stations. Quite a lot of Apple Music is recognizably pulled from earlier audio offerings from the company, in fact; from an artist or track, for instance, you can start a radio station or create a Genius Playlist.

Connect, the next tab along, is one of those things the success of which hinges on how eagerly artists embrace it. In effect it’s a mini mailing list, through which they can share anything from a thought-of-the-day status update, through photos, audio clips, and videos.

Artists themselves will need to be verified by Apple before they can claim a Connect page. Once that’s done, they’ll get an extra “Post Status” button in the Apple Play app, along with the option to also share across other social networks like Facebook and Instagram. What it doesn’t do is the reverse: Apple is clearly positioning Connect as the home for artist updates, rather than just another spoke in their outreach strategy.

As for sharing content, what the recipient will be able to do with that depends not only on whether they have Apple Music themselves, but also if it was a status produced by Apple or the artist.

Say, for instance, you want to share an album with a friend via email. They’ll get a link which, if they have Apple Music installed, will automatically open that album in the app. If they don’t have it, they’ll get a preview webpage – though not a playable version of the audio, not even the 30-second snippet iTunes offers before you buy – and a link to download Apple Music.

If, though, you share a Connect update shared by a musician themselves – a behind-the-scenes photo of a setlist, perhaps – then that will apparently be visible, since it’s the artist’s content not Apple’s. While I can understand the distinction from a licensing point of view, I can also see it being a little confusing to users at first.

The final tab is My Music, and of all Apple’s varied attempts at music services and apps before, it’s probably the best I’ve seen in terms of straightforward usability. Here, purchased music local to the phone, saved tracks streaming from Apple Music, and offline tracks from Apple Music all co-mingle in a single list, with an overarching search to help navigate through them.

Offline playback is one of the most useful features of Spotify and other streaming music services, particularly if your commute takes you out of cellular coverage. Right now, you can flag a track for offline use by hitting the “Make available offline” button; tracks are thus available in perpetuity, as long as you have an active subscription.

Unfortunately, you can only have offline playback on a single device, though currently you can have five devices connected to a single-user Apple Music account.

There are still more than a few questions lingering overall. Apple isn’t saying exactly how many songs will be available – only that it’s “millions” – and nor will it say just what sort of overlap with the tracks in the iTunes catalog available to download there is. Supposedly most of the catalog is in there, but it’s an evolving thing and – just as Netflix sometimes gains content but loses other movies – will change over time.

Apple isn’t talking about what partnerships, if any, there might be in the works. One of the reasons I like Spotify, for instance, is that it integrates so tightly with Sonos, but it’s unclear at this point whether that will be the case for Apple Music. You’ll get Bluetooth streaming, and versions for Windows and – eventually – Android, but they’re the only certainties right now.

Update: Apple Music will be at 256 kbps. In comparison, Beats Music uses a 320 kbps bitrate, as does Spotify, while Tidal offers a high-bitrate option.

Apple Music feels familiar, which is probably a good thing. Much of it feels educated and shaped by previous Apple experiments: iTunes Radio, Genius, iTunes Match, even the little-loved Ping. While there’s something to be said about the joy of venturing out and discovering new music, there’s also a lot to be said for simply knowing where to go to find a reliable and entertaining soundtrack to your day.

If its three month trial is sufficient to convince the ears that having people shaping playlists is delivering better mixes than an algorithm alone might, then rivals will have to raise their own game to compete. Otherwise, Apple is counting on users wanting to plunder the majority of its music catalog for a set monthly fee, and not being bothered to go comparison shopping across alternatives such as Spotify.

Catch up on the rest of WWDC 2024 in our Apple hub

Oneplus 8T Revisited: The Good And Bad Six Months Later

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

OnePlus just released its latest marquee smartphone, the OnePlus 9 Pro, which squarely puts the company in premium territory. This is a far cry from its last flagship phone. The OnePlus 8T, released back in August 2023, took aim at the affordable flagship market. Unfortunately, our review pinned it as a mediocre device. The display, battery life, and OS performed well, but the poorer camera performance and relatively high price made the 8T a bad choice compared to the competition.

Today, six months later, the 8T sits at a much-adjusted starting cost of $599. As a result, it offers a lot more for the money, but is it worth buying today? Find out in Android Authority’s OnePlus 8T review revisited.

Our original verdict: OnePlus 8T Review

The good Battery

Historically OnePlus phones have been solid when it comes to battery life. After using the OnePlus 8T for multiple days, I was averaging about six hours of screen on time. This consisted of heavy usage, a few hours of YouTube, social media, some photography, and an hour or so of gaming.

Related: The best phone charging accessories

On lighter days, I averaged a little more, and the phone lasted well into the second day. In large part, this impressive performance is due to the lower resolution display, but the 4,500mAh battery that ships with the 9 Pro is no slouch either. Even when the phone did power down, I could charge it up from 0-70% in just under 40 minutes due to the included 65W charger.

Still, charging isn’t all sunshine and roses. Unfortunately, the OnePlus 8T does not support wireless charging of any kind. Once a rarity in the affordable flagship space, there are now plenty of options out there that support wireless charging. Its absence still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Software

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

One of the things I love most about OnePlus phones is their attention to detail. Although the shift from Oxygen OS 10 to 11 created some friction with old school OnePlus fans, the revised user interface of the OnePlus 8T is still enjoyable.

The OnePlus launcher has come a long way since even the 8T’s launch. It’s easy to navigate, there are customization options abound, and the native Google Discover integration on the left-most home screen is still welcome. I found myself altering icon packs and the sizing of the grid to my liking. Everything is changeable, and you can even download themes should you want to do so. Apart from Pixel phones, I think this is the best interpretation of Android you can get.

OnePlus typically supports its main and T series handsets for at least two years with three years of security patches, so expect to see similar support for the 8T. Unlike Google and Samsung, that’s not set in stone, but OnePlus has a good track record for long-term support. Just don’t be too surprised if it takes a while to see those updates, as OnePlus’ software rollouts for older devices have been a little slower and a lot buggier in recent years.

The not so good

Design

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

Phone designs have all become fairly homogenous, and the 8T is no exception. The design is very uninspired. I understand that some people will prefer the simple design and soft matte finish, but it’s too plain for my taste. I also don’t love that the camera bump has been relocated to the top left corner. While this isn’t inherently bad, and would be improved upon with the OnePlus 9 series, I miss the simple centered design of the previous flagships, such as the OnePlus 7 Pro and 8 Pro.

One of my biggest gripes is that the 8T feels far too similar to its budget counterpart, the OnePlus Nord. Maybe this is just me, but for even an affordable flagship phone to look and feel almost identical to its budget sibling doesn’t speak miles for the phone. Instead, it feels as if OnePlus cut corners with this design.

Cameras

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

Our initial review of the OnePlus 8T revealed the then flagship’s less than satisfactory camera performance. While there have been a few updates, unfortunately, most of the criticisms still ring true today. Images produced from the primary 47MP f/1.7 sensor tend to be oversharpened and contrasty.

While detail remains adequate, the volume of software sharpening at work makes for an unnatural-looking image. HDR is also underwhelming, and the dynamic range is limited. Most of the highlights tend to be overexposed, and the shadows are regularly crushed, again making for higher contrast images.

The ultra-wide camera suffers from the same issues as the primary lens, but it is significantly less detailed and sharp. Thankfully, the amount of noise reduction isn’t as bad as past devices; still, some photos come out looking like oil paintings.

Unfortunately, this poor performance carries through the rest of the cameras. While the 8T features a new macro sensor, photos are washed out, and the color science favors magenta colors, making for some red-looking skin tones.

Front-facing photos are fine, but there is a considerable amount of noise and oversoftening in each image. You can turn off the image softening in the settings, but it doesn’t make a big difference.

The images produced from the 8T are downright underwhelming and not that much different from the company’s budget offerings such as the OnePlus Nord.

See also: The best camera phones you can get

Price

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

Initially, the 8T retailed for $749. That’s a steep starting cost for a device underperforming in the camera and design department. At first glance, the adjusted $599 starting price of the OnePlus 8T doesn’t seem half bad. However, when you look at the competition, the 8T doesn’t stack up.

The OnePlus 8 Pro ships with the same processor, wireless charging, IP68 certification, and produces much better photos, all for $100 more. Again, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE similarly has the same chipset in addition to better cameras, an IP rating, wireless charging, and a level of polish found lacking with the OnePlus 8T. You can also pick one up for ~$400 in sales — not bad for our 2023 Editor’s Choice.

OnePlus 8T review revisited: The verdict

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

Although the new adjusted price of the OnePlus 8T makes the phone a better value proposition for the money, it still can’t keep up with similarly priced phones. Furthermore, the cameras have not improved enough through updates over time. The software experience and display are both great, but they don’t make up for the more considerable downsides.

Is the OnePlus 8T worth the $599?

2157 votes

At the end of the day, it’s pretty hard to recommend the OnePlus 8T. This is especially the case considering that the OnePlus 8 Pro is now discounted to $699 and the OnePlus 9 retails for $729. Six months later, the OnePlus 8T sits at an awkward price point, offering a great user experience at the sacrifice of good camera performance and a few key essentials for any modern, value-centric flagship.

OnePlus 8T

The OnePlus 8T delivers fast performance, super speedy wired charging, and a fluid 120Hz display.

See price at OnePlus

Instagram Will Let Users Draft Stories To Save For Later

Instagram users will soon be able to create stories and save them as drafts to publish later, the company confirms in an announcement.

Instagram has long offered the ability to save regular posts as drafts, while stories have always had to be created at the time of publishing.

If a user starts crafting an Instagram story, and wants to put more thought into it before publishing, there’s no way to save one’s work to finish at a later time.

There are several use cases where the ability to save story drafts will be a welcome addition to Instagram.

Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, says this is a highly requested feature:

You asked and we’re delivering… story drafts coming soon 📣

— Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri) March 23, 2023

Instagram’s main Twitter account also confirmed this update is on the way soon:

Something new is coming 📣

Soon you’ll be able to finish what you started with story drafts.

— Instagram (@instagram) March 23, 2023

Few specifics are available at this time, but it’s not too early to think about the ways this feature can be used in a strategic way.

How to Use Instagram Story Drafts

According to Instagram’s own data, there are 500 million accounts using stories ever day.

Of the accounts using Instagram stories, one-third of the most watched content comes from businesses.

One in five stories gets a direct message from its viewers, making this feature an effective way for businesses to remain visible and generate engagement.

That’s not lost on most businesses, as Instagram says over 50% of all business accounts on the site create stories in a given month.

Instagram stories are well regarded by influencers as well. A report on influencer marketing from MediaKix find Instagram stories are the second most effective content type – behind regular Instagram posts.

With all of that said, it’s worth looking at story drafts more closely and thinking about ways the feature can be used as a tool rather than an afterthought.

Here are a few uses cases that come to mind.

Create in Advance, Publish Later

This could either be done ahead of a big announcement, or simply to save for posting at a time when when a business’s audience is more active.

Businesses can create the content when they have time, save it, and hit the send button when their audience is most likely to see it.

Team Collaboration

Saving Instagram story drafts can be a useful addition to the workflow of teams that manage a single account.

Teams can collaborate on content by adding to and editing story drafts before they go live. Similar to how teams would collaborate on a WordPress post or a Google Doc.

If you’re a marketer working for a client that likes to review content before it gets published, drafts will make it easier to get their approval on stories.

Give it A Second Thought

Some content is better left in the drafts, but we often do not start second guessing our own content until after it’s been created.

If you’re having second thoughts after crafting a story, soon you can save your work and review it later rather than deleting it.

Look for this small but useful addition to Instagram to be available in the near future.

Sources: Instagram, MediaKix

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