Cute Tech

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As you guys know, I’m a big fan of iPhone camera app, CameraBag — So it may come as a surprise to you that I should be reviewing another Camera App.

Let me tell you, Hipstamatic is rapidly becoming my new favorite.

This app uses a cute, lomo-like interface, which is demonstrated in this youtube video.

The user chooses a lens, film, and “flash” before taking the picture.
Each combination produces a different effect.

The app comes with a small selection of lenses, film, and flashes, and there are others available as in-app purchases.

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Check out the Hipstamatic photo pool on flickr for more examples.

What’s your current favorite app?


As you guys know, I am obsessed with anything and everything red.
As such, I needed a laptop case to be able to achieve optimal redness.

I bought a SeeThu case from Speck for my Macbook, and I liked it so much that I got one for my MacbookPro, as well.

My only complaint about this case is that, with it on, I can’t fit my Mac into my docking station at work.
This is a problem that I’d have with any case, really, so it’s not really a fair criticism.
Just know that if you use a docking station, you will have this problem–I just use the top half of the case on my work laptop.


Being basically thrilled with spek’s laptop cases, I went ahead and got one for my iphone, too.

However, I had a much different experience.
The rubber bumpers on the sides started coming looks within a month of purchase.
They sort of held on for a few weeks, only coming off halfway, resulting in the adhesive getting all over the sides of my phone & making everything sticky.
My hair would get caught in it, and I eventually just removed them entirely.
After that, the phone didn’t feel right in my hand anymore and I abandoned the case.


so, in conclusion–
for laptops: speck is awesome!
for your iphone: NO BUENO!


You all may remember the last time I bought headphones.
About a year later, I found myself looking at my beloved but beat up & broken skullcandy ‘phones, wondering if I should get another pair with their awesome 50% off retail replacement deal.

This plan became flawed, however, when I realized that since I have an iPhone now, I should get something with a built-in mic type thing. There’s this one iPhone ad, where a girl is listening to her headphones and dancing down the street. She gets a call, and the music pauses while she gracefully pushes a button on her earbuds and answers without even taking her phone from her pocket. At this point, we notice that her shadow has continued to dance despite the lack of music. The call then ends, and she steps right back into step with her shadow, dancing down the street. Upon seeing this, I decided that I, too, wanted to give my shadow the opportunity to rock out while I was on the phone, but I wanted to do it in something more stylish than apple earbuds.

Enter Boosted Pequeño Rojo.


I originally saw these headphones at the Boost mobile booth at the treasure island music festival. I was immediately in lust with them because they’re red, but this is a common feeling I have for most red objects. I later found them again at Urban Outfitters, but decided I could probably find a better price for them online, with the added bonus of being able to read some reviews.

Unfortunately, at the time, I couldn’t find these headphones online anywhere. This shocked me, (wtf? who doesn’t have their stuff on Amazon) and I couldn’t find any reviews on sound quality or anything beyond the typical “They look really cool!”. Frustrated and no more educated than before, I returned to urban and made a blind purchase.

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… & I am so glad I did. Not only do these sound better than my skullcandies, but the microphone system works great for calls. The one thing that’s a little unfortunate is that the cord needs an adapter on the end of the cord to fit your phone of choice (shown in first photo), but it fits snugly enough that having it come loose isn’t an issue.

I am so into these, am tempted to buy a backup pair.

Find them in Urban Outfitters stores nationwide, or from the only online retailer I could find, Zumiez.

As you might know if you follow me on twitter, I recently acquired an iphone.
This, of course, means I’ll be reviewing some iphone apps.


Let’s talk about CameraBag, shall we?


CameraBag is an iphone camera app that applies effects to photos you’re taking, or photos in your library.
Many of the filters included emulate toy camera photography, vintage photos, and (you guessed it!) Polaroid.
Here’s the official list:

The cameras included in CameraBag:
-“Helga” – A square-format toy camera feel with washed-out highlights and old-school vignetting.
-“1974” – This is your father’s camera. Faded, tinted, and hip.
-“Lolo” – Shoot from the hip and take life as it comes with vibrant, colorful shots.
-“Cinema” – Dramatic, moody, wide-screen stills from the movie of your life.
-“1962” – Dynamic black and whites from the photojournalists of a bygone era.
-“Mono” – Smooth gradation from black to white.
-“Infrared” – Simulation of the popular landscape photography technique.

I found The Lolo filter to be pretty inaccurate as a fake lomo effect, and the Fisheye & Cinema settings to be fairly silly…but all the rest of the stuff in this app’s bag of tricks is pure magic.

There are a lot of things about low-fi photos that I love, but let’s be honest, the iphone camera doesn’t really do it for me on it’s own. CameraBag changes all that, making this tiny camera the kind of gritty it should be.

Reasonably priced at $2.99, it gets the Cute Tech stamp of approval.

Check out my examples of “1962”, “Helga”, and “Instant” below:

CameraBag Trio

For more examples, check out the CameraBag photo pool on Flickr.

Nokia Chronicles

I was chosen to participate in Nokia’s mobile photoblogging project, The Nokia Chronicles. They gave me their new phone, the 6650, to try out for a couple weeks while I photoblogged for them.

Unfortunately, I’m having trouble sending images to them from the aforementioned phone, so my participation as been minimal. I’ll be reviewing the phone at the end of my trial period, so even if the kinks don’t get sorted out, I’ll be posting all the pics as part of that.

Fingers crossed that it gets worked out before that!

If you read my blog, it’s likely that you read a number of blogs run by my friends, the unofficially organized but still very real society of lady bloggers.

As such, you’ve probably already read countless articles about twitter and what a great tool it is for networking, supplementing your blog, and killing time at the office…

But I want to talk about twitter in a different way.
I want to talk about twitter as a means for artistic expression.


I, myself, have been striving to use twitter in an artistic way…but it’s so very hard to do so when you’re also trying to use it to facilitate your social life.

However, there are some people who have pulled this off much better than I, and you should know who they are:

Jenny Holzer
Who she is:

Jenny Holzer is a conceptual artist, best known for her use of profound text in prominent public spaces.

Why you should follow her:

Quite frankly, twitter is the perfect digital canvas for the work she’s been putting on billboards, posters, and bathroom stalls for the past several decades.
It’s unclear to me whether this is Holzer’s official twitter, or if someone is just republishing her work. This doesn’t matter much to me, because I just can’t get enough of what she has to say.

Sample Tweets:


Guy DeBord

Who he is:
Filmaker, Marxist, and leader of the Situationist International, best known for writing Society of the Spectacle and Comments on the Society of the Spectacle.

Why you should follow him:

Whoever is tweeting Mr. DeBord’s words from the grave (DeBord died in 1994), picks selections that relate to each other in succession. The things said are made more profound by what has been said before.
Unfortunately, this account has been inactive for several months…Perhaps new followers will make the DeBord ghostwriter pick it up again.

Sample Tweets:

“The spectacle within society corresponds to a concrete manufacture of alienation.”
“This is why the spectator feels at home nowhere, because the spectacle is everywhere.”
“What binds the spectators together is no more than an irreversible relation at the very center which maintains their isolation. ”


Who he is:

Chip Zdarsky is a cartoonist from toronto who’s gritty take on life is nothing short of hilarious.

Why you should follow him:

If you’re like me, and enjoy dark humor, you will laugh until you spit your morning coffee out all over your keyboard.

Sample tweets:
“I’m going to tear you a new one, right next to the old one.”
“I find that a real conversation starter on a first date is a shovel. Bring one along and see!”
“I need to believe in something bigger than myself, like, say, a seven-foot version of me.”


What it is:
Oblique Strategies is a set of published cards created by musician Brian Eno, and artist Peter Schmidt. The cards are printed with odd and interesting methods to solve a conflict or dillemma.

Why you should follow:

Eno and Schmidt solve problems in ways I only think of in dreams.

Sample tweets:
“Take away as much mystery as possible. What is left?”
“Instead of changing the thing, change the world around it.”
“Question the heroic approach.”

Please let me know if you’re aware of other people using twitter in anything but the usual way!
Also, y’all can add me here: thisisstar on twitter.