iOS 7 Review: The Good, The Bad and The Motion-Sick

by Cristina Calabrese, Director of Operations

The views expressed in this blog are solely my own and do not reflect the views of The Digital Arts Experience in any way. 

As a former Apple employee, I’ve had a lot of experience in both tinkering with the iOS user interface and troubleshooting it when things weren’t working as intended. Seriously. We heard it all.

  • “My battery life drains SOOO fast”
  • “I just woke up and there was water in it. I swear”
  • “I forgot my Apple ID. And my password”
  • “Can you back up my phone for me?”

(You can find a plethora of funny things Apple Store employees find themselves saying to customers at http://frsexcuses.com/)

In the past, I’ve always been excited when a new update was released. Usually, they were to fix bugs and add a few new innovative features to the iPhone or iPad to make it easier to use. For the most part, every iOS has looked the same until iOS 7 came out, and I think  with the new look, some people are going to be put off by it.

First off, you need 3.4GB of available free space to download iOS 7. I don’t know about you, but if you have a 16GB device, you’re going to have a problem. Due to the preinstalled apps that come with your device, right out of the box, your phone does not TRULY have 16GB of free space – it has about 13.3GB. If you have taken a decent amount of pictures (I mean, who hasn’t?), downloaded some songs, have a few game apps or even the staple Facebook app (306MB), that 13.3GB of space will deplete before you know it.

iPhone Usage breakdown

iPhone Usage breakdown

And wait a minute…why are my messages taking up 5.6GB of space? Let me go through all of my old conversations and delete them…QUICKLY. This appears to be a new feature of iOS 7. Previously, my usage breakdown never displayed my messages taking up storage. This is a good new feature!

Back up your device. After you remove the majority of your selfies, pictures of your cats and food, you should now have enough space to download iOS 7. For me, it took about 45 minutes to download and install. It may take longer depending on your internet connection speed (how good of a WiFi signal you have), or whether or not your iOS was up to date.

Once installed, it will prompt you to enter in a passcode. This can be removed later on, but it shows that Apple has upped their awareness of the ever increasing cleverness of thieves. According to tomsguide.com,

“iOS 7 requires users to re-enter the phone’s Apple ID and password before turning off its “Find My iPhone” feature, which can be accessed via desktop (or another mobile device) to locate a missing device, display the missing device’s remaining battery life, and remotely lock or even wipe the device.

Devices running iOS 7 also require an Apple ID and password before they can be erased or reactivated.

All this makes it much more difficult for thieves to use or sell stolen iPhones”

Back to my comment about why I think some people may be put off by the new iOS: it LOOKS different. Upon closer inspection, the same swiping, taping, and pinching rules apply. And none of the actual “desktop” interface has changed – just the icons. In my opinion, they made all of these changes to give it a sleeker, more modern look. But, it’ll take a few moments to adjust to it. It’s very bright. And white. The font has changed. I’m not quite sure why they changed the icons. In fact, according to cnet.com: “iPhone, iPad owners complain of motion sickness due to iOS 7“. The article goes on to quote forum users saying “The zoom animations everywhere on the new iOS 7 are literally making me nauseous and giving me a headache,” and “It’s exactly how I used to get carsick if I tried to read in the car.” As someone who is highly sensitive to motion sickness, I have not encountered this, but it is a little weird how the text message bubbles bounce and the wallpapers on my phone appear to move. Are they really moving? Or am I seeing things?

My favorite new feature, which I believe is a rip-off of Android devices, is the ability to  “swipe up from the bottom” to access Airplane Mode, WiFi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, Orientation Lock, Brightness, current song selection, flashlight, compass, calculator and camera quickly. Previously, for most of those features, you had to access them individually through your Settings App.

Other cool new features I’ve noticed are filters that you can apply to your camera when snapping a photo. This saves time editing the photo and adding the filter after the fact. You can now also easily swipe between camera modes: panoramic, normal, square or put it on video mode. There are also a bunch of new ringtones, text tones, and vibrations to set to your phone. You can even CUSTOM create your own vibration patterns to set for alerts.

Overall, iOS 7 is a lot like Facebook. When they make changes, everyone complains about it but still continues to use it.  Within a few weeks, everything will go back to normal as if iOS 7 has ALWAYS been the way iPhones look. You’ll see. Everyone hated Facebook’s new Timeline feature when it first came out. Now, I bet you can’t even remember what Facebook looked like prior to the implementation of Timeline. Can you? Okay…so can I.

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On Instagram from a Photographer’s Point of View

by Jordan Frankenthaler, Photography Intern

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Photo taken by Jordan Frankenthaler, Intern

Photography has interested me for almost my entire life. I remember shooting photos on a Polaroid camera, quickly putting the undeveloped photos in my pocket, and waiting a few minutes until the photo is ready. Now, everyone (including me) has a camera on his or her phone and taking and sharing photos has become much easier. Services like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Vine allow users to (sometimes artistically) show their entire lives to the world.

One of my favorite services, however, is the photo sharing app, Instagram. Instagram is interesting in that one can share photos with the option of not sharing words. This focuses the viewer’s attention and puts more emphasis on the photo. This makes Instagram unique in that people can tell stories without words, only using images. When I took my first photography class, the first thing my teacher made the class do was convey a meaning, tell a story with only images. It was one of the most helpful creative exercise that I ever did because it forced me to think about what each photo said. That’s why Instagram is so important to me; it just reinforces that exercise’s meaning. It drives creativity and forces users to think about what they are showing the world.

Cyberbullying, Sexting and the Dangers of Social Media

On Saturday, May 4th, The Digital Arts Experience in White Plains hosted its first ever “Cyberbullying, Sexting and the Dangers of Social Media” workshop. The 90-minute presentation was facilitated by Director of Communications of Silverback Social, Cristin Grogan, who exerted not only her insight and expertise, but passion on the topic.

We feel very strongly that cyberbullying is a serious issue that needs to be addressed, particularly when stories of cyberbullying happen so close to home. The workshop covered the dangers of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and included cyberbullying, sexting and privacy issues as well as how to identify signs if your son or daughter is the victim of internet harassment. It is important for you and your child to understand the impact of his or her actions online.  The workshop provided the attendees with the tools to monitor their child’s interactions on social media.

What is Cyberbullying?
“Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology…including devices…such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat and websites.” It is anonymous, constant, and wide audiences see it and can participate in it. The victim can’t escape and the bully can escape punishment and cannot see the effects of his/her actions.

Where does it happen?
Email, texts, instant message, chatrooms, blogs, polling site (ask.fm), Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, Snapchat and any other social media platform.

What are the signs?
Feelings of guilt or self-blame, sleep difficulties, wanted to skip school or certain classes, going home sick a certain time everyday, lower self-esteem, depressed tendencies, ongoing sadness, health problems, poor performance in school, violent tendencies, self inflicted injuries, sudden interest in death, reckless behaviors, saying “can’t handle things anymore”, social media postings that are are out of the ordinary, dramatic changes in appearance, insomnia, anxiety, mood swings, addiction to social media, obesity, self destructive acts.

What can I do?

Take Steps to Monitor
Supervise your child’s computer use – keep in a public place, learn about the sites your child visits. Encourage your child to come to you if he/she witnesses cyberbullying. Make internet use a privilege that can be taken away. Be aware of what personal info he/she shares online. Have a no phones policy at night – place all household phones on a single charging station.

Teach Digital Citizenship
Teach your children to conscious of how they represent themselves online and how the world can see everything that that they write, share, etc. Let them know that they have rights and responsibilities online & set age appropriate expectations. Teach your children to think before they post – everything on the internet can be seen by colleges, employers etc.

If need be, monitor your child’s activities
Mac & PC have built in parental controls. If more advanced monitoring is needed, sites light McGruff Safeguard, Sector Pro, Mobistealth and others allow you to see what sites your child is visiting and what he/she is saying.

The Digital Arts Experience will be hosting another Cyberbullying workshop on Saturday, June 29th from 11AM-12PM. To register for the event, visit our sign-up page.

Emphasis on the ‘Experience’ of Connected Learning

A Day in the Life of an Audio Production student at The Digital Arts Experience.

by Emily Angell, audio engineer and instructor at The DAE – August 30th, 2012

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Emily Angell demos recording with Rob Kissner, at The Digital Arts Experience

The concept of connected learning implies that a student grows through being an active participant in his or her learning experience, instead of just a recipient of information.  It also implies that the burden of teaching lies with an interconnected network of people surrounding the student, instead of his or her teacher alone.  One of the goals of Digital Arts Experience (nice name guys!) is to implement this process. Picture this scenario:

My student (we’ll call him Joe Shmo) comes to me with a project in mind.  He is a junior who wants to create a guitar recording to help him get into a Jazz Studies program in college.  We begin the class with the basics, and I show my students (there are never more than six) a PowerPoint presentation (with several YouTube clips embedded) about the recording process.  I give them a quick tutorial of how to make a home demo using Garage Band, and have them do a one-minute group project using the technique.

Meanwhile, Joe must make a decision on what to record.  He must practice.  When he goes home he plays a couple of songs for his mother, who gives him helpful feedback on his timing.  Then he does a quick recording of the songs he’s chosen, uploads them to SoundCloud, and posts them to Facebook.  He asks his friends and family to vote on the selection they think is best.  His uncle sends him a helpful article on a finger-picking technique that would work better in the B section of the first song.  After receiving the feedback, he’s decided which tune he will record, and returns to us to make it happen.

Here at The DAE, he must go into the live room to set up his own amp and microphones, connect cables in the correct manner, and warm up so that he’s ready.  If he doesn’t know how to do something (which happens quite frequently), he has to ask.  A member of his class is in the control room manning the console and operating Logic.  She must record-arm tracks within the software and check that the sound levels aren’t too high or distorting.  Someone else must communicate with Joe, who is on the other side of the glass. “Miss, how do I get him to hear me?” one student asks.  I don’t say a word.  “Press that button to your right, it’s called the talkback.” says another student – connected learning at its finest!

Joe finishes his recording.  He’s got a great-sounding project.  Then, I send him to our Photography department, where the students there take some amazing photos of him.  He brings his photos to the Graphic Design department, where the students there create a professional-looking package for his demo CD.  At the end of it all, a student from the film department records and edits a simple music video of Joe playing his song live, so that he can put it online and link it to his college applications.  And voilà! Mission accomplished, and then some.

The moral of this story is this: I did not teach Joe how to record.  Instead, we at The DAE provided an environment in which the people in his network could support his quest to record the perfect demo.  Parties involved included his mother, his Facebook friends, his uncle, his fellow classmates, and the photography, graphic design, and film departments within The Digital Arts Experience.  In addition, he was able to use resources such as PowerPoint, YouTube, SoundCloud, GarageBand, Logic, Final Cut, and Photoshop.

In essence, the process of connected learning is exactly as it sounds.  It is the concept of evolving by being connected to those around us, as well as being invested in what we are learning and teaching.  Those are the concepts we’re trying to foster here… one experience at a time.