Posted by David in Digital on June 02, 2012



There's something deeply satisfying about a well-made animated GIF...its that hypnotic, repetitive seamless perfection that sucks you in and suspends time for a few seconds.

In the past couple years the file format has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts due to the popularity of "cinemagraphs", which are essentially animated photographs.

And now you can make your own with your iPhone: check out Cinemagram (or Kinotopic, which does the job but is a little buggy and crashes sometimes). If you're familiar with Instagram then you already know how this works. While the animations aren't always perfect, the rough DIY aesthetic does have its own charm.

The experience may be a bit slow at times due to the file size of some of these GIFs, but besides that its easy to use, has a slick interface and is reliable. You'll soon find yourself looking at things around you diferently, always on the lookout for cinemagraphic potential.

If you wanna up your Instagram game, we highly recommend you give this app a try.

Posted by David in Digital on April 08, 2011


I'm a bit of a photography hobbyist. Starting with SLRs and medium format cameras back in high school and college, I would clock in many hours in the schools' darkrooms back in the day. In the 90's it was all about the digital compacts, starting with 2 mp Cybershot models and moving on up to 8 mp IXUS's. I then switched back to manual cameras, playing around with Lomos, Actionsamplers and the like. The 2000's is the age of DSLRs, which is what I use now. So I've pretty much tried it all. But for the past few years I've been taking much less photos. The size and weight of my DSLR made it difficult to take it around everywhere, and I wasn't happy anymore with the quality I got from my digital cameras. Plus I had too many goddamn cameras!

Last August I purchased my third iPhone, the iPhone 4, with its HD screen and 5-mp camera. I loved that I could finally have an excellent camera inside my phone. Even then, I only used to it to for visual note-taking and the occasional family photo.

And then along came Instagram.

I've played around with other photo apps before, but there was something about Instagram that got me hooked from the start.

1. Its fast, responsive, and easy to use: upon opening the app, its clear exactly what you need to do. Theres a very simple and single-minded path, making it no-fuss and reliable, perfect for spontaneous shots…..its not trying to be a whole bunch of different things (which is where other photo apps have failed), and its great at what it does do.

2. Your photos look damn good, maybe even a little bit better than it should. Their camera filters are that good. This was a huge insight on the app developers part. Their focus on making these kick-ass vintage camera emulators totally nailed the reason why photo hobbyists love playing around with cameras - because of the individuality and nuance each camera gave to their photos. The Lomo is an excellent example of this, known for its contrasty, saturated colors and grittiness. I used to tweak my digital photos in Photoshop to make them look Lomo-like! To get the same effect with Instagram, you press the "Lomo-fi" button. Purists may condone this, but I think its amazing what the developers have done. Along with all the other filters, Its like carrying 15 cameras around with you. Now with the new tilt-shift filter, you now have instant (simulated) depth of field. It just gets better and better.

Posted by Belle in Digital on March 12, 2011

After two long flights, I'm finally at South by South West! For those who haven't heard of SXSW, it's an annual film/music/interactive conference conducted every march at Austin, Texas, since 1987. It's a really awesome event for web geeks. As a SXSW noob, I'm only here for the interactive conference this time. After picking up my badge this morning I attended a few interesting sessions and booths. The one I particularly enjoyed was "Your Meetings Suck and It's Your Fault" by Kevin Hoffman from Happy Cog

Posted by Elmer in Digital on June 15, 2009

The Facebook username landrush has passed, and I had to settle for my firstname.lastname combination after the username I desired was no longer available. Even if I was on my machine during the waning moments of the countdown.

While only a handful of my Facebook friends were in the bandwagon of 200,000 users in the first minute (and was reported that there were 500,000 in the first 15 minutes and 1,000,000 in the first hour) the event was successful.

But there were those who tried to steal everyone's attention. One has to be careful to spell usernames. There is no UNDO function for mistakes made. At the same time one has to be very quick to register his/her username. Popular online personality Michael Arrington at Techcrunch learned it the hard way. (I think he'll get that one sorted out.) Others were simply furious. Still, there are others who just want to make people smile:

Posted by Elmer in Digital on June 12, 2009

Tomorrow noon time in Hong Kong (13th of June), Facebook members will have the chance to personalize their accounts as a replacement to the current irrelevant numerical assignment system. This means that if I am the first to grab the name 'elmer', my profile can easily be accessed through instead of

This new format is available on a first come first serve basis; if you're John or Peter, you're probably competing with hundreds of thousands of other Peters and Johns worldwide to get that coveted name. Such multiple occurrence of first name and last name prompted Facebook to let users decide on which username to use. I imagine if everyone has unique firstname-lastname combination, Facebook could just simply do a URL format.

Posted by Elmer in Digital on June 10, 2009

Everyone seems to find it exciting to use Twitter, the microblogging tool that allows one to send short messages 140 characters at a time. Because blog is long and boring, Twitter offers an avenue for one to be more straightforward, direct to the point. As Twitter becomes a new tool to broadcast ourselves, let's consider it as another marketing channel where we can draw attention from the crowd. And with digital marketing, visits to our links via Twitter should be tracked. In this manner we will be able to compare how effective Twitter is. We write our rants, we respond to questions, we share links (with the help of URL shortening services). That's the beauty of Twitter. (In case you're starting out with Twitter, you may want to read this user manual. Otherwise, you may want to follow BeansBox if you haven't done so yet.)

Let's say I am blogging about '101 Tips to be Productive with Twitter', track my pages using Google Analytics and I want to promote it through Twitter, Google AdWords and Digg. Each application allows me to customize the blog URL so that I can embed tracking codes. I will use Google Analytics' URL Builder to do so. Using its interface, let's enter the following information:

Posted by beansbox in Digital on May 20, 2009

Twitter has become part of the mainstream social media. It has spawned new vocabulary terms like tweeps, tweets and more. People from almost all walks of life (artists, NBA players, US government agencies) and all ages (from a baby in the womb to a 104 year old woman) and used on a variety of purposes (was the reason why Jennifer Aniston broke up with John Mayer, used to gauge whether Ashton Kutcher is more popular than CNN and was first to report the emergency landing of US Airways plane at Hudson River in New York City.)

Perhaps you have a more interesting, more weird, or more enduring stories to share about this application. So there is no need to expand the list.

However, if you haven't been immersed into the Twitter craze, don't worry. It's better to keep quiet than add to the noise many people are sharing through Twitter medium. And I am not even talking about spammers who now comb the application to harvest email addresses. Worse, careers, reputation and future could be at stake in every unsuspecting Twitter update gone bad.

Posted by Elmer in Digital on May 15, 2009

We are now deeply exposed to the social media phenomenon. This is good because as explained earlier, we are encouraged to use social media and reap the benefits for us or for our businesses. However, sometimes there are a few people in our social network that everyone seems to be silently talking about. They are the ones who:

  1. Post comments, drop messages and joining the conversation with the ONLY aim of promoting their products, services or themselves.
  2. Post Twitter messages ONLY about themselves or their business.
  3. Can't seem to go out of their "comfort zone" and decide not to dwell on discussing topics that have nothing to do with their ulterior motives.
  4. Dismiss ideas that might conflict theirs, instead of engaging in a healthy conversation online.
  5. Are too conscious about their profile that it is necessary to use popular search engine keywords in hope that they will be (the likes of "Top Social Media Blogger in the Whole Wide World. Period")

I have seen too many of them because in my Facebook account for example, I have close to 500 contacts and have a little over 150 at Twitter. In Facebook particularly, I can easily pinpoint who are those classified under this category. They just don't see the real meaning of healthy balanced conversation and only think of ways how to become the center of attention.

Posted by Elmer in Digital on May 13, 2009

After Google started to display search results that include multiple media such as news, images, maps, blogs and the like, we realize the importance of getting every single media asset in our website appear prominently on its own individual domain.

For example, I post a blog and on every blog entry I make, I also include a related photo. Traditionally, I want to rank my blog well for related keywords. I may be happy to rank for my blog in the past, but now I also want my photos to rank in Google Images. Moreover, I'd like to provide convenience to my readers by setting up RSS feeds, submit to social news website Digg to distribute content, and maybe include my images in image hosting service Flickr. Such combination of actions constitute the idea of social media, in our effort to generate publicity using these tools, collectively referred to as social media.

Originally coined by Rohit Bhargava, social media optimization becomes part of the mainstream marketing efforts. He defined the five rules that govern social media optimization:

Posted by Elmer in Digital on May 11, 2009

While it is good to see in our web analytics tool that our website attracts a good number of visitors, it is not enough. We may notice a general improvement in the number of people who visit our site using a variety of channels but if it does not bring us to our ultimate goals (convert to a purchase or become sales leads), we are attracting high volume, low quality traffic. Worse, large volume of traffic could cost us more through excessive bandwidth usage and could render our site useless.

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