One question I get asked a lot (well, quite a lot anyway, considering the small size our team) in the Cult of Mac chatroom is "what camera should I get for taking better product shots?"
As reviews editor, this make me happy – of course I want better pictures on our reviews! – but the truth is that the iPhone is more than capable of making amazing product shots, especially as the target is a 640-pixel web-ready JPG.
With that in mind, Photojojo put together a tutorial for Etsy to help its users take better pictures of their home-made wares. The same advice also applies to your Ebay listings, pictures for your insurer or – yes – review shots.
Gorgeous. Etsy shop owner Peter Morris has rejuvenated an old Atari 2600 by turning it into an iPhone speaker dock, replete with 6 equalizer settings, an FM radio and a 3.5mm input jack. It’s one of a kind, but if you get in quick, you can buy it for the pricy-but-still-tempting sum of about $230.
New on the store this week is Etsy for iOS, and it’s beautifully done. Taking cues from apps like Flipboard and sites like Pinterest, Etsy is an exceptionally neat way of browsing and buying from the site that’s full of interesting hand-made things.
The iPad Mini at the Apple Store in Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona. Photo Charlie Sorrel (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)
The iPad Mini is here, and it is lying naked and vulnerable on your desk/bed/lap/passenger seat. And that’s ok, because today is all about tweaking and configuring your settings, installing apps and seeing which of your pants have back pockets big enough to carry it (don’t sit down!)
But what of tomorrow? Soon you’ll start searching for cases, speakers, docks and other accessories for the latest tiny addition to your family, and that’s where we come in. Yes, you can use most of your iPad and iPhone accessories with the new Mini, but here are some add-ons which work particularly well with Apple’s littlest tablet.
Face it. Your Apple TV is boring. It looks just like every other Apple TV, everywhere in the world. Sure, you might say it doesn’t matter, that the whole point of the little puck is to get out of the way and let you watch TV shows and movies, but that shows a lack of imagination. What you need, my friend, is a set of decals. And not just any old decals. You need decals that make your Apple TV look like a NES console.
I can’t be sure, as I was a brainless, sieve-memoried child at the time, but I’m pretty sure that our family’s first portable (B&W) TV had a screen that wasn’t much bigger than the screen of my iPad. Still, the crappy picture and bulbous, almost circular screen didn’t stop my brother and I laying belly-down on the end of our parent’s bed and watching Monkey roll up the screen in a fuzz of snow and bad reception.
Now I can relive those dark days by putting my iPad into the Handmade Natural Stained Wood Retro TV iPad Dock, an Etsy product whose name is as good as a description.
True story: When my mother was pregnant with me, she and her friends got together to do a Ouija board. The story goes that the glass moved around, and then smashed. My mother told everyone that they should finish things up properly, and “put the spirit away,” or some such thing.
They laughed, and ignored her. Over the next few weeks, everybody present at the séance had an accident. My mother fell out of her car while leaning out the door to reverse. Luckily, her hair was styled in a bun, which cushioned the impact.
Did this make me superstitious? Nope. In fact, the first thing I thought when I saw this Ouija Book Cover Case (€66 or $87) from Etsy maker Joe V was “if you’re able to look into the future and communicate with the other side, Mr.V, then why the hell is the screen of your iPad so scratched up? Surely you should have seen that coming?”
Skepticism aside, the leather book cover looks like the perfect Christmas gift for Cult of Mac’s own resident mysticist John Brownlee aka. Dr.Crypt. Or should I say “pagan midwinter fertility-festival gift”? The hefty tome is etched with the alphabet, numbers from one to zero and — of course — the words “yes” and “no.” Thus equipped, our hard-working editor will be able to check up on us minions without even entering our Cult of Mac chatroom.
“Will Charlie finally write a serious post?” he will chant in monotone, as the empty diet Coke can moves all by itself over to “no,” yet again.
“Whose post will get the most page views next week?” he will continue, and the can will scrape drily across the leather towards the letter “B.” Then, as it slides down and right towards the “U,” Dr. Crypt will hurl the can aside in petulant frustration. “Damn you, Buster Heine,” he’ll shout, “Damn you and your interesting, reader-friendly posts!”
Then, as Mr. Brownlee’s harsh words float down onto the aging cowskin, something happens on the other side of the country. As Buster picks up his morning beverage and relaxes with his iPad to read the news, the air suddenly grows chill, and the screen doors start to flap and slam in the rising breeze. Buster looks up to see the livid, contorted face of his editor swirling in the mists now whipping in through the open windows. He starts, and the iPad slips from his hands, cracking the screen in one corner.
If only he’d had it in a sturdy, witchcraft-proof case.
This is probably the most amazing, and yet the least practical iPad case we've eve seen
An iPad stand made from a pair of hammers, a screwdriver and some old coins and bolts. What could possibly go wrong? This amazing iPad stand was put together by Etsy makers Docks4iPods, and works just fine for the iPads 2 and 3. It will also take up more than its fair share of counter or desk space, and the screwdriver can be moved by loosening the wing-nuts and rotating it further back, letting you angle the iPad a little lower.
Do you have an old film SLR lying around that you promise yourself you will one day load up with film and take out shooting? Well, forget about that — it’s just taking up space and picking up dust. You should instead do what Etsy-er Roberto Altieri does, and turn it into a dock for the camera you actually use every day: Your iPhone.
If you own a napkin scrawled upon by Picasso, you might want to have it turned into an iPhone case
These cute little iPhone cases are made from nothing more than paper napkins and a little bit of lacquer. Using a technique called decoupage, these cases are made by hand in Thailand and sold on Etsy under the NapPage brand.
What I love about them is that the whimsical designs are fashioned into such clean, professionally finished cases.