Tag Archives: Tech


#TechTipTuesday: Use HDR For Better Photos

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Sometimes it can be a real pain to get a great photo of whatever we’re trying to get. (OK, maybe more than sometimes!) You’ll line up the shot, get everything in frame, and take the shot. The flash goes off, and everything in the room that you lined up in the frame so beautifully…ends up washed out and overexposed due to the bright flash. While the flash has a purpose, most modern smartphones (including the iPhone 4 and up and most Androids from that period forward) have a mode called High Dynamic Range, or HDR.

Photos are rapidly becoming one of our favorite communication media. Check Facebook and Twitter if you don’t believe me. They gather clicks and views (and they’re generally prettier to look at than black-and-white text). But if you’re washing out your photos with a flash or not taking photos because you’re dissatisfied with your photos, HDR might make a big difference to you.

That difference is made bigger if your industry requires great visuals—like real estate, for instance. The house needs to look the best it can, right? The difference between an intimate-looking dining room and a washed out one is in the HDR.

HDR comparison shot

In this article, writer Elia Locardi tells and shows the difference in a series of before/after comparisons of HDR shots and standard shots. (The most impressive improvement is depicted above, as well. Click the image for a full-size side-by-side.) HDR captures multiple shots of a subject, each allowing for a different amount of light into the camera. The software then blends the three shots to get the best lighting for each of the subjects in the frame The difference between HDR and standard photography is—almost literally—night and day. Shots that would normally need a flash to wash the scene in light suddenly become feasible without spending large amounts of cash on a specialized camera. In short, HDR is the best friend of amateur photographers and business folk everywhere who need photos for their business.

So, to reiterate: if your camera has an HDR function, be sure to try it out to see what happens. It might be the difference between a simple photograph and a work of art—or between lackluster response and the sale you were looking for.


Tech Tip Tuesday: March 11, 2014

Apple releases iOS 7.1 for iPhone, iPad with bug fixes, new features

Summary: The latest version for iPhones and iPads landed on Monday, with new features, user interface tweaks, and a number of bug fixes that aims to appease those who have yet to upgrade.

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(Image: CNET, ZDNet)

Apple has released iOS 7.1, the latest iterative version of its mobile software for its smartphones and tablets.

The software was made available for download on Monday, a week shy of six months after a radically redesigned iOS 7 was released.

The latest software version is compatible with iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, and iPod touch (5th generation) devices. 

Users of iOS 7 and older versions can upgrade compatible devices over-the-air by navigating to “Software Update” in the “General” section of the device’s settings.

iOS 7.1 includes 41 bug fixes that have plagued some early adopters, along with user interface design tweaks, such as visual changes to the phone dialer and power-off features.

The software also lands with a number of new features, including:

  • CarPlay: formerly known as iOS in the Car, which supports iPhone calling, music, maps, and messaging. It also allows users to control certain functions through iOS’ in-built voice-activated assistance Siri;
  • Siri improvements: Including natural-sounding voices for U.K. English, Australian English, Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese. You can also use it in push-to-talk mode by holding the Home button for the duration of your query;
  • Calendar changes: The list view has returned in month view, and the update has also included country-specific holidays added for many locales;
  • iTunes Radio updates: The radio feature, first introduced in iOS 7, has been updated with new features, including the ability to buy albums over-the-air from “Now Playing”;
  • Accessibility additions: The “parallax” motion feature option now includes Weather, Messages, and multi-tasking user interface animations;
  • Camera settings bolstered: Including a setting that allows users to automatically enable HDR mode for iPhone 5s users;
  • Touch ID improved: The software that controls the biometric reader has been improved to make fingerprint recognition better.

Overall, with its user interface and bug fix improvements, the update is designed above all to resolve some of the initial problems with the software, which some insiders previously reported was rushed in order to land in line with the release of iPhone 5s and 5c smartphones in September.

According to Apple, about 82 percent of all compatible iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices are running iOS 7 as of late February, based on App Store data.

As many millions have waited to upgrade until some of the known and well-documented bugs and user interface flaws have been resolved, that figure is expected to rise significantly in the next days.

For those not able to download over-the-air, Windows and Mac users can alternatively connect their compatible iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices to iTunes, and upgrade by selecting the “Check for Upgrade” button in their device’s summary window. 

Or, users can download the software bundle (.IPSW) files from Apple’s website for offline installations in the coming hours. (Enterprise users can use Apple’s Phobos server for download links.) 

In past updates, downloads are often slow at first as millions attempt to upgrade at the same time.

Downloading over a Wi-Fi connection is recommended due to the size of the file, and some users may have to delete content from their devices in order to install.

By Zack Whittaker, ZDNet


Tech Tip Tuesday: August 27, 2013

 Top 3 Mistakes Realtors Make Using Youtube

Following up on our original article, YouTube for Real Estate, we’re covering the most common mistakes real estate agents make on YouTube. By avoiding these mistakes, you can fully take advantage of YouTube and grow your business through the power of creating and sharing video content.

As attention spans get shorter, especially on the internet, messages need to be clearer and presented earlier in order to engage viewers. One of the most common mistakes real estate agents are making on YouTube is creating videos that are too long. From our research, 1 minute and 30 seconds, give or take, seems to be the ideal length of a real estate YouTube video. After your video(s) have been posted for a period of time, you can even use YouTube’s Analytics feature to gauge exactly how long your audience watches your video(s). This will allow you to further fine tune the length of your videos based on your audience’s attention span.

While this point may seem obvious, it is one of the most commonly made mistakes on YouTube. A real estate agent will make a video, post it, then question why the response has been less than desirable only to find out they forgot to place their contact information clearly in the video. Placing your contact information in your videos can and should be done in a few different way. Your contact information should be verbally stated in the video, edited directly into the visual content, and placed in YouTube’s description area. Additionally, your contact information should be added to caption/description/message areas whenever you share your videos on other networks and platforms.

Using video to promote your business does not stop at YouTube. This would be a shortsighted strategy and yield little results. Unfortunately, real estate agents make this mistake frequently. Real estate professionals should start their video promotion with YouTube, but also take advantage of other mediums of communication to continue marketing their videos. Realtors should also be using Facebook for real estate, and this is one of the first places videos should be shared once they’re uploaded. Email is another very important medium to utilize when sharing videos along with posting the video on your website. Finally, your videos should be shared on other social networks like Google Plus and Twitter. By not sharing your video(s), you’re limiting the reach of your marketing, while sharing your video in multiple places increases reach exponentially.

Source: Michael Darmanin, SellState