Revisiting “Instagrate to WordPress”… again

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I am so thankful for my iPhone and the ease with which I can stay in touch and take photos of so many moments that would otherwise fade into my foggy memory.

I use Instagram almost daily. I say ‘almost’ because there have been a half-dozen days or so, that I’ve missed since I posted my first photo on it October 16, 2010 (yes – I know the actual date) and the honest, non-exaggerating side of me wins out in this post.

Most of these photos tell great stories without a lot of words, and would make blogging easier if I could use them regularly. But I’ve had many complaints with the WordPress app. While they have made some good updates, I still find myself deciding to wait until I get home to post a photo and caption with it, only to not do it.

So I was thrilled when I found the “Instagrate to WordPress” plugin for WordPress, back in January. It takes your Instagram photos and creates posts from them, using the caption as the post title. The idea intrigued me, so I gave it a shot and was thrilled at first.

But I do take a lot of photos that I only share on Instagram, like when I post screen shots of what we are watching on Netflix. They really aren’t worthy of a post of their own, and might work better if I posted several in a post together.

Every single photo was getting posted to my blog as an individual blog post, and sometimes, what I wrote as my caption made for a real long and/or dumb blog title. I was having to edit my Instagram posts because of how I wanted them to post on my blog, which was a big ‘ol hassle… I became annoyed. So I deactivated it, and submitted a couple of requests/suggestions to the plugin author.

I’ve kept my eye on it, hoping that some of these changes would be implemented, allowing a bit more control of how things post (eg: the option to post several photos in a collage in a single post), and the number of accounts you can use on it (I really wanted to use it on Living the Life Fantastic and have both mine and Randy’s accounts linked to it). This past week I noticed that many changes have been made to it. I’m super excited to look into it more and see how they work. The drawback: many of the changes I want are in a premium version, selling for $35. Not sure if my laziness is work that or not :/

I’m curious if any of you have tried out the premium version, or if you have another way to easily make posts from your IG photos. Or feel free to tell me to just get over it.

How To Stream Pandora to Your Apple TV

When Randy and I met, we created a Pandora station*. It’s an interesting blend of my Eurotrash and his AltMetal (with the occasional soundtrack thrown in, thanks to the fact that I like Danny Elfman’s first solo album). We are a big music family; there is almost always something playing or a dance party taking place.

In the past we’ve streamed it through our stereo, but since we got the Apple TV, we’ve been trying to figure out how to stream it via that, so that we don’t have the extra cords.

I googled it, and there are several complicated sounding ways to do it that included purchasing some other piece of software or box, but I knew there had to be an easier way (and if there wasn’t, there should be).

This past Saturday, I went onto Pandora via my iPhone and noticed this:

That little rectangle in the corner is what appears anytime I can choose which speakers I want to use: iPhone or Apple TV.

My pulse quickened (not kidding!!) as I clicked and it VOILA!!!

This appeared:

I clicked Apple TV and it immediately started playing the song through our tv.

So simple, yet I have yet to see this written about anywhere else.

CAVEAT: The only way this works is if you have the Pandora app on your phone and your Apple TV must be set up on your home WI-FI network.

*Be sure to check out the name of the account. There is a funny/sweet story behind it, waiting to be blogged about…
Also – our dual station is the “Archer” station. The rest are mine – Randy will never claim them ;)

capturing our life: photo apps

(both photos: taken with instagram)

A lot of the posts that I’ve been wanting to write on Living the Life Fantastic have been inspired by a photo. A memory triggered from a moment captured and placed on the hard drive of my computer.

I’ve always loved taking photos, but, although I have a good eye, I’m admittedly not very good at it. My iphone has been a huge help in allowing me to always have a camera at the ready. I have a fancy schnancy DSLR. But it is usually too cumbersome to carry around, especially when I know that what I take will usually turn out shaky and poorly lit. (Maybe a cute camera bag would help? Or… maybe I just need to finally learn how to use it?)

Give me a good app from the iTunes store and I’m good to go in the photography department.

So on that note, here are some of my favorites that I regularly use:

Instagram (free)
*love*
A photo social network. I’ve been having so much fun being social with my photos and seeing what other people are doing with theirs. Right now, it is relatively new, so it feels more intimate, but it is growing at an insane pace. I take photos with my camera, and sometimes edit them in other apps before pulling them on into Instagram and sharing them.

(If you join: I’m KarlaArcher)

(taken with camera, edited in TiltShiftGen, finished in instagram)

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TiltShiftGen ($.99)
the purpose of this app is creating photos that looks like you are taking photos of tiny things. I haven’t perfected that technique, but I love the blur and saturation options.

(taken with TiltShiftGen)

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PictureShow ($1.99)
FUN! and I love the sound it makes when you move from option to option. I doubt I’ll ever use some of the filters, but I still love looking at what they all can do. I especially love the grungy looks.

(taken with PictureShow)

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Polarize (free)
I like being able to write on the photo, and the retro color is awesome. (High Res output)

(taken with Polarize)

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Fun Camera (free)
This is so fun to play with; we all get huge laughs from it! It does put an ad on the photo, but just crop it off.

(taken with iphone camera. brought into Fun Camera app [for sparkles], and finished in instagram)

Old Photo Pro (free)
The edge effects in this one are great, and the antiquing effects looks really pretty. Love the “scratchy” look as well.

PS Express (free)
I mainly use this for cropping, but also like the softening and sharpening effects.

Your Turn: What photography apps do you use and love?

Earth Day Apps for iPhone

Looking for some Earth Day worthy apps for your iPhone? Here are some of the best reviewed apps for Earth Day 2010:

Billion Acts of Green: (free) “Wondering how you can do your part this Earth Day? Participate in the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day by downloading the Earth Day 2010 Billion Acts of Green application! Your actions matter, why not share them with the world? Use our app to log your personal “Acts of Green” and help us build a more sustainable planet. Your efforts will help Earth Day Network reach its goal of logging One Billion Acts of Green! Need ideas? Check out our tips or view acts from other eco-friendly people around the world. Don’t forget to share your contributions with your friends via Facebook!”

iRecyle: (free) “iRecycle makes it easy to find recycling locations anywhere in the U.S. Find places to drop-off your old cell phone (or water bottle or motor oil or… well, you get the idea), get directions and find out what else they accept. iRecycle also now hosts information on local green events in your area and the newest stories and features on Earth911.com!”

Ecoki: (free) “The Ecoki Reader brings you the best in sustainable lifestyle news, tips, vegan recipes, and hands on reviews.”

Greenopia: (free) “With green ratings for thousands of businesses in over 50 cities, Greenopia makes it easier than ever to shop, eat, and live green.”

Greenpeace Tissue Guide: (free) “The Greenpeace Recycled Tissue and Toilet Paper Guide makes it quick and easy to find out which brands of facial tissues, toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins are truly green and which should be avoided. Greenpeace’s experts have carefully evaluated over 100 brands and recommended those that: contain 100% overall recycled content; contain at least 50% post-consumer recycled content; and are bleached without toxic chlorine compounds.”

Green Map: (free) “This App connects you with the Green Map movement. With over 600 locally-led projects in 55 countries, each Green Map provides a fresh perspective on local green living sites and the community’s natural, cultural and social resources. Every Green Map is a unique project, but all combine local knowledge and globally designed Green Map Icons to highlight important assets and issues.”

Living Green – The Missing Manual: ($4.99) “Living Green: The Missing Manual helps make earth-friendly decisions more manageable by narrowing them down to a few simple choices. This all-in-one resource is packed with practical advice on ways you can help the environment by making simple changes in your home routine, work habits, and the way you shop and get around town. You don’t have to embark on a radical new lifestyle to make a difference. Living Green: The Missing Manual shows you how small changes can have a big impact.”

Gorgeously Green Survival Guide: (.99 cents) “The Gorgeously Green Survival Guide is a quick reference eco-guide for the woman on the go. Developed by New York times bestselling author Sophie Uliano. Sophie has appeared on Oprah, Good Morning America, The View, and other national television shows teaching women how to update their beauty regimen, create an eco-friendly home, adopt a healthier diet and fitness routine, indulge in guilt-free shopping, and more.”

Tipping Bucket: (free) “Can $1 change the world? We’re out to prove it can! Tipping Bucket taps the power of social media, micropayments, and money-back guarantees to launch social startups. Our project partners build community gardens in Baltimore, literacy centers in Bangladesh and maternity clinics in Bamako.”

iLocavore: (free) “iLocavore is a tool for locavores and ‘shop local, buy local’ enthusiasts. What is a Locavore? A locavore is someone who strives to eat food grown and produced locally. Oftentimes locavores choose to eat food grown or produced within a certain radius (50, 100, 150 miles).”

Good Guide: (free) “The GoodGuide app helps you find safe, healthy, and sustainable products while you shop. With this update, simply scan the barcode of the product and immediately see detailed ratings for health, environment and social responsibility for more than 65,000 products and companies. GoodGuide provides this information about personal care, household chemical, toy and food products for free on your iPhone / iPod Touch and is adding thousands of products every month. By making information about consumer products transparent, GoodGuide’s goal is to help people shop smarter and motivate companies to offer even better products.”

Simply Organic: (free) “The Simply Organic iPhone app is a key to a simply healthy way of life! ”

Tree Hugger: (free) “TreeHugger is the leading media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream. Partial to a modern aesthetic, we strive to be a one-stop shop for green news, solutions, and product information.”

Find Green: (free) “Find green and sustainable businesses quickly and easily with the Find Green app. It helps you make everyday choices to reduce your environmental impact and make a difference!”

Go Green: (free) “How Green are you? Are you part of the solution or are you part of the problem? Get this app and get collectible Green tips that are saved to your Green list. You get a new Green tip each time you visit the app. Your Green status also changes as you earn more Green tips.”

Green Energy Now: (free) “Stay up to date on the latest Green Energy News, learn how to protect the environment and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and share your knowledge with others. Impress your friends with your knowledge of Green Energy, and test your knowledge with Green Trivia Challenge.”

Carbon Calc: (free) “Carbon Calc is a Green House Gas (GHG) emissions calculator. If you have wondered what your contribution to global warming is, Carbon Calc is a simple calculator that lets you input your Driving, Flying, and Home energy use. Once you know your footprint, you can compare your net emissions to the US average and the world average. You can optionally offset your footprint by purchasing Carbon Credits.”

Earth photo source

Things to Come

As you may have noticed, Modern Media Mom has been sitting quietly for the last several months. The last actual post I wrote was a “Happy New Year” post.

Not a good thing for a site which touts itself as being a resource for up-to-date tech news. Just sayin’…

While this site has sat silent, I’ve done a lot of thinking about how to expand it to make it even more useful for families and individuals looking to use technology to simplify their hectic lives.

It’s become more important than ever for me to do this in my own life, as it has changed dramatically in the time that I’ve been away. Technology is becoming even more central to my day-to-day life as I prepare for some big personal and professional changes.

Therefore, while my posts will continue to be informative, there will also be more of a personal element to the posts, as many of the things will be tips and ideas that my family and I will have tried out. They won’t just be tips on how to use sites you’ve never heard of, but tips on how to use sites and apps you already use in a different way.

I look forward to sharing these things with you, and I hope that you find them as helpful as I have.

As always, I want to make each of you a part of this site; if you have tips and tricks I’m happy to share them with readers.

photo credit