Sunday, January 29, 2012

Free Picnik Alternatives

Since 2010, thousands upon thousands of people have used Picnik to creatively edit their photos. But Google announced recently that they are shutting down Picnik on April 19, 2012 and moving their editing tools to Google+. If you use Google+, then you're in luck! If not, you will be forced to move to another web-based photo editor. Here are the ones I recommend:

BeFunky - BeFunky does the exact same thing as Picnik, and has roughly the same or a smaller amount of effects. BeFunky also produces great photos, and you can still share your photos to the same places. BeFunky also has premium features, available for $2 a month. I have reviewed the BeFunky iPhone app here: http://www.soleiltechprincess.com/2011/09/app-review-befunky.html

Pixlr - Pixlr's photo editor is very similar to Photoshop, so if you have used Photoshop before you'll feel right at home. Unlike BeFunky and Picnik, you have the option to create something from scratch instead of starting with a photo. After playing around with it some, I found it to be useful. Aside from the photo editor, there is a section for "Retro vintage effects." I enjoyed using these as well. They are fun to play around with to transform your photo. There is also a Pixlr-o-matic iPhone and Android app, which has the same functionality.

Those are the two free alternatives to Picnik I recommend. Comment below and let me know what other free photo editors you use! Remember, Picnik is only available until April 19th, and the premium features are now free! So edit away!

Thanks for reading,

Elisabeth

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Official Logo for Soleil Tech Princess

Hello everyone! I have finally finished creating Soleil Tech Princess's new logo. I have been coming up with ideas and thinkingabout this for a while and I am glad I finally have a chance to share it with you. Here it is!




The main inspiration for this logo was the name. Soleil (pronounced so-lay) means sunshine in French, so that's where the bright orange tones came from. I knew I wanted more than one shape in the logo, and that a different shape each word in the blog title would be perfect. As for the font, the 'princess' part of the name came to mind. I like almost all of the scripted fonts.

I created this design in Adobe Photoshop, and it really didn't take long to make, approx. 15-20 minutes. I have some experience in Photoshop and I create projects there often. You can see a couple of them on my Flickr: www.flickr.com/pinkpaparazzi1

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Comment below and let me know what you think of the new logo, or if you have any ideas on how it can be improved. Also feel free to give feedback on Facebook: www.fb.com/soleiltechprincess

Be sure to like Soleil Tech Princess on Facebook so you always get the latest, as well as Wallpaper of the Day and other fun things I come up with!
Thanks for reading,

-Elisabeth





Sleep Cycle App Review

Introduction

Good morning/afternoon/evening readers! I have a new app review for you guys today for an iPhone/iPod touch application called Sleep Cycle. This app helps you manage how many hours you sleep per night, and assists you in waking up refreshed in the morning. Continue reading for more information!

The Review

When you first enter the Sleep Cycle app, there is a welcome screen that explains how the app works. SC makes use of your iPhone or iPod touch's accelerometer to track your movement as you sleep to determine your different stages of sleep.

The second tab at the bottom of the screen opens a placement test. This makes sure that your phone can track your movements laying facedown on your bed. (The iPhone/iPod must be on during the test, more on that later...) When you press start, there is a red stop button at the bottom og the screen and a green light that illuminates and makes a noise if it senses movement. Toss and turn a little to test this out. If you hear a noise when you move, it works!



On the third tab, you can change a few settings in the app. The first setting is Alarm Sound. What makes these alarms different from other alarms is that these calmly wake you and do not rudely awaken you or jerk you as soon as the set time approaches. They still do their job, but let you awaken peacefully. You can choose from 8 of the preset alarms, of choose a song from your iPod, but I'd advise you to choose wisely, if you pick a song too loud it may cancel the effect of you trying to wake up peacefully.



The other two setting options are snooze (self explanatory), you can turn snooze off completely, or you can set a wake-up window, where the alarm rings for a 30 minute time period until you wake up, i.e. 6:30am to 7:00am.
This is another way Sleep Cycle helps you wake up feeling better. There are also some advanced settings you can tinker with if you want to.

The fourth and most important tab is the Alarm tab. This where you can actually initiate the sleep test. First, set a time for you to wake up. In the example below, I picked 6AM. Notice how the app automatically sets the wake-up window from 5:30am to 6am. This means my alarm will start ringing at 5:30am and stop at 6am. If I don't want to wake up that early, I can switch the alarm time to 6:30am, this way, the alarm rings from 6am to 6:30am.




After you have set your time, turn the volume all the way up, and press start. As soon as you hit the button, you get some important reminders on how to conduct the test. Read through these, then press OK. Turn your iPhone or iPod touch on its face so the glass touches your bed, and you may go off to sleep. Until the app senses you wake up, the test will run. Keep your iPhone or iPod plugged in because this app runs all night and uses lots of battery. I know from experience that when my iPod is unplugged and I run this test, the battery is dead by morning and I have incomplete results. Press the home button when you get out of bed, and hit "Stop old alarm".

The fifth and final tab is labeled "Statistics". Here is where you find the results of your sleep test. It will show the date of your test and the graph that shows your different stages of sleep throughout the night. The information below the graph shows when you went to bed and when you woke up. You may be suprised about when you shifted most during the night! After using the app for a few nights, Sleep Cycle calculates an average of all your sleeping times. If you are proud of what a great night's sleep you got last night, you can share your results to Facebook or by email. 

Here are my results from a couple nights ago:



Click the button to the right to buy Sleep Cycle for $1.99: Sleep Cycle alarm clock - Maciek Drejak Labs

I hope you enjoyed this review and that you're having a great year so far! Please share Soleil Tech Princess with your friends and like this blog on Facebook: www.fb.com/soleiltechprincess

Thanks for reading!

-Elisabeth

Monday, January 16, 2012

Like Soleil Tech Princess on Facebook!

Hi everyone! Happy Martin Luther King Day. Thank you so much for all your support and feedback. My readers mean a lot to me. I would love for you to continue your support on Facebook by liking my page here: www.facebook.com/soleiltechprincess

By liking the page you can follow my latest blog posts and updates each time you log in. You can also post your questions, comments, and concerns kn the page. I will try to respond as soon as possible.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Leather case for iPod touch 4th generation, from Overstock.com Review

Why I Purchased this Case
I have owned my iPod touch 4th generation for over a year now, and no major damage had been done until last Sunday, January 8th, when I dropped it on its face onto a hard floor. I picked it up horrified as I saw the cracks in the screen and on the glass where the home button was. The whole iPod still worked perfectly, but no longer looks perfect. To prevent further damage to the front of my iPod, I decided to get a case that covers up the face of it. I remembered Overstock.com, which is almost exactly what it sounds like: a site where companies send their products when they have ordered too much of them and not sold enough, in other words "overstocked". I found a case that fit my needs, looked great, and was a great price. Keep reading for the review!
The Review
When I first opened the case, the leather case came in an unbranded package, wrapped in plastic, and foam was where the iPod is now. The leather had a funny smell, similar to the "new car smell". I have had it for about two days now, and the smell is gone. The leather feels like quality material, though I will have to do more research to see if it's real leather.
What originally drew me to this case is the kickstand, and the folding portion.  (see pictures below)

Right side view




Kickstand



The front of the case closes via magnets on the front, surrounding the home  button. I had read somewhere before that magnets can damage your device, but I have seen no effect so far.
The kickstand works well for playing games, drawing, viewing pictures, and watching videos. The stand only works in portrait orientation. However, you can the case on its side and it will stand on its own.
The case also comes with a lanyard you can wear around your neck. This is a good way to keep up with your device. (More pics below)

Front

Case comes with a lanyard too

Left angle

Back of the case


Overall, I am enjoying this case very much so far and I am hoping that this case will protect my iPod. I may follow up on how this case's quality holds up in a month or two.

You can purchase this case on Overstock.com for $3.80 at the time of this review (1/15/12), plus $2.95 shipping (constant fee), for a total of $6.75, with no tax. I ordered this case on January 8th around 10pm, and it shipped on the next day. It arrived on Saturday, January 14th around 11am. My order was shipped by the United States Postal Service, but this may not be the case for all orders.

Here is where you can purchase the case: http://www.overstock.com/Electronics/Leather-Case-with-Lanyard-and-Kick-Stand-for-Apple-iPod-touch-4th-Gen/5902102/product.html

Thanks for reading this review! I enjoy your feedback, so please comment below and share this with your friends, family, and colleagues! If you decide to get this case yourself, please let me know and tell me what you think of it!

-Elisabeth

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

"At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.



Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Swagbucks

Hello! Hope your Wednesday is going great.

There are lots of legit and safe ways to earn money online. But, there also lots of scams that just want your personal information.

One of the legit ways to earn money and prizes online is Swagbucks. You may have heard Swagbucks before, it's popularity is growing on the web. Swagbucks.com is a site that gives out a currency called "Swagbucks", for searching the web, playing games, completing offers and tasks, and watching Swagbucks TV. You can use these Swagbucks in the Swag Store, to buy anything from stickers to iPods. You also get Swagbucks by promoting the site via banners and referring others to the site. This site has been proven by many to be legit. I am yet another person that has had success on Swagbucks. Swagbucks does not pay me or give me Swagbucks to write about their service. I have tried the site myself, and it's safe and it works.
I already have over 50 Swagbucks and I only joined yesterday. When you sign up they don't ask for too much personal info not too much more than your name and email. You need to also pick a Swag name.

Click on the picture link below to sign up, and get 30 Swagbucks immediately!

Thanks for reading, have an awesome day.

-Elisabeth



Search & Win

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Logo

Hello everyone! Happy New Year!
I hope you had a great weekend.

I have been thinking about creating a logo for Soleil Tech Princess, something that represents my blog and the topics. So far I have only created this one:


It's very simple, but I like the orange and black color scheme and the shapes. I will be able to create better and more complicated logos/symbols once I get better at Photoshop. I will post more of my ideas for logos, then let you vote.

I am also thinking about letting my readers create a logo for Soleil Tech Princess. I will announce my decision soon.

Thank you for all your support on my blog! Keep reading and commenting, it helps me out a lot. I hope you guys are having a great year so far.

-Elisabeth