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My Top 5 Favorite Apps of 2016

by Jamie Sanford on December 22, 2016


I am surprised that I haven’t created one of these posts in the past! I’ve been an iPhone user for almost 6 years, and apps have pretty much taken over.

Here we go with my top 5 favorite apps of 2016.

1. A Color Story

A Color Story is the best photo editing app I have tried, and I have tried a LOT of photo editing apps. You can adjust curves! For anyone who uses Photoshop, you know how valuable this is in a phone app.

2. Instagram

I joined Instagram in the middle of 2011, and as of 11/30/16, I am 3 posts shy of 3,000 images posted. That’s a lot of estate sale photos. I do miss the old algorithm, because I don’t feel like I see as much as I want to anymore.

3. Hilton HHonors App

I don’t know why it took me as long as it did to start using the Hilton HHonors app. We took a lengthy road trip last Christmas and stayed in Hilton hotels all the way, racking up points along the way. The app is so easy to use that I don’t ever go on the regular website anymore to book Hilton hotels. I can’t think of a higher compliment than that.

4. Timehop

Why spend all of this time putting content on social networks if it can’t create a beautiful set of memories to look back on? Timehop is GENIUS and if you aren’t using it, you are missing out. Every morning, I check to see what I did 1 year ago, 2 years ago, etc. It is one of my  favorite apps ever.

5. Slack

Unlike most people who use Slack, this is being used in my personal life, not my professional life. I would love to start using it in my professional life, but for now, I have a lovely group of friends in a group, with multiple threads for us to talk about whatever comes to mind. I love that I can use this so easily from my phone.

Honorable mentions:

  • Whatsapp: for texting internationally, there is no better option.
  • Facebook: for all of your unneeded political opinions.
  • Wunderlist: for creating and sharing lists – the one used the most for me is Will and I’s shared grocery list.
  • Glympse: mildly creepy but you can share your GPS location with someone else. Will and I use this for when we are meeting somewhere and cannot provide updates by text due to driving etc.
  • Snapchat: good times with those filters.
  • Later: this has been great for posting Instagram content for Noritake.
  • Tumblr: for aggregating lots of content about specific things I am interested in, I haven’t found anything better.
  • Spotify: playlists, playlists, playlists.
  • Twitter: for commentary during live events I’m watching on TV, there is nothing better.

Tweet at me with your favorite apps of the year.

 

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Podcasting on a Budget

by Jamie Sanford on June 14, 2013

This is one in a series of posts pulled from Chris Brogan’s “100 blog topics I hope YOU write.” (#96)

My current setup for podcast recording.

I started officially podcasting with The Jamie and David Show (completely NSFW) in 2009. We fell off the wagon for quite a while but have been doing shows about once a month for a while now. We’ve been through a few different methods of recording, but this is the current setup. I am not making any money from the show, so this is my budget version of podcasting.

To create the podcast, you will need the following:

1. Computer. I am assuming that everyone has access to a computer and the Internet. (Here’s some info on recording podcasts with a mobile device if you’re into that – I haven’t worked that out just yet.)

2. Software. I have always used Audacity to edit and assemble my podcasts. It’s free and really user friendly. Here’s a list of some other pieces of software for podcasting. I also use MP3 Skype Recorder (also free), since David and I do not currently live in the same place so Skype is a necessity. It’s also been great for recording interviews for the show.

3. Hardware. Other than the computer, there are some things you need, at the very least a microphone and headphones. If your computer has an onboard mic, feel free to start with that. However, if you’re going to be using Skype or another program to record with more than one person, a set of headphones is  necessary to avoid feedback issues. Even earbuds will be fine for this.

My version:

I started out in podcasting with the earbuds I had with the attached mic from my iPhone.  This was a workable solution but the sound left something to be desired. I did some research and purchased a Blue Yeti microphone (currently $79.99 on Amazon). An even less expensive option is the Blue Snowball ($58.68 for the white version on Amazon), which I had also used successfully at my previous workplace. I admit to choosing the Yeti in part because it just looks amazing. (Warning though – if you have this in your carry-on when flying, you are SO getting searched, because it definitely looks like an incendiary device in the x-ray machine. I speak from experience.)

After doing some reading about sound issues, I also purchased this Nady Pop Filter ($17.56 on Amazon), which has been an amazing improvement for the money. I cannot listen to our old episodes now without feeling like I’m being tortured. I’m thrilled with the results that have some from spending less than $100 to improve the sound. I don’t imagine I will ever need to replace these items.

To share the podcast, you will need the following:

1. Hosting Location. You need somewhere to host the file you’ve created, and a good place to start would be Blogger. You can get a free blog, and easily post files and have an RSS Feed created for you. Tumblr + Dropbox would also work, as described here by Adam Wilcox.

2. RSS Feed. Feedburner will let you enter in the RSS feed info and it will convert it to work as a podcast feed. In my opinion, everyone should be using Feedburner for their podcast feed, because the stats are good, and if you ever change hosting locations, you will not lose subscribers when you update the information.

3. iTunes Submission. It is free to submit your podcast to iTunes, so why not? Here’s a great instructional page from the fine people at iTunes on creating and submitting your show.

My version:

I started out our show at Mevio, but that went downhill and we lost all of our data and subscribers. I learned the hard way about not using Feedburner. After some Twitter chat, I moved our show hosting to Libsyn, and started hosting our show notes on a Tumblr blog. I chose Tumblr for this particular show because of the existing audience for our content and ease in sharing.

Libsyn is not free. The cheapest plan is $5 a month for 50MB of file adding. I currently have the slightly higher $15 version as our shows are rarely under 50MB. Libsyn really did all of the work with creating our new show feed, and that was the clincher in choosing to move our show there. It’s super simple to add episodes and so I will stick with them for now. However, the free methods are totally fine as well.

Extras:

1. Music. Some podcasts have music constantly playing in the background, which isn’t for everyone. Some, like mine, have music at the beginning and the end. You can certainly Google “royalty-free music” to try and find something to use, but I highly recommend Jamendo. Searching for what you want is very easy, and there are a lot of free options for downloadable tracks. Remember to give credit to the artist in your show notes!

That’s my guide for podcasting on a budget. Please leave your own ideas and tips in the comments!

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Link Tank #1

by Jamie Sanford on May 24, 2013

Click here for all of the link posts on JamieSanford.com.

Tumblr is the best image provider ever. The head bob on the one in the back is spectacular.

Does anyone think Oprah is doing all that much work on her lovely farm? I don’t think so. (People.com)

Minnesota is the latest state to do the right thing and clear the way for marriage equality. (NY Times)

Here’s an interesting breakdown of information on when fonts and font size matter. (Big Brand System)

A timeline of the lifespan of iTunes, including top downloaded songs of each year. (iTunes)

Great post from Jasmine Star on explaining what it is that makes you, you. (Jasmine Star)

Connect with me on Twitter if you have links to share, or leave a comment!

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