Round and round

Uploaded July 11, 2012 at 06:44PM to Instagram
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Review: Take a picture and make it last longer with MoPho App

Update (July 9, 2012): The prints I ordered arrived this weekend. They are shipped separately from the other items you order. They come in a flat, secure photo mailer, which is better than cramming them in the box with bulky items. Check out my updated video review below.

More and more my iPhone is replacing my DSLR as my camera of choice. I take a lot of photos with my iPhone. So many that I tend toward hoarder. My biggest problem is trying to figure out what to do with all the photos once I’ve taken them. Some go to Instagram, others to Facebook, but the majority of them just sit on my phone or hard drive.

My wife keeps telling me to get my photos printed, and I always respond “Someday”. There are some apps like Hipstamatic and Postagram that give you the option of turning your photos into prints, and while I’ve never used them they are convenient. But what if I want something besides a 4″ x 6″ print? Like a T-shirt? Or a coffee mug? Or a beer stein? Or my cat? (OK, not my cat).

My dreams of surrounding myself with tchotchkes emblazoned with my own photos seemed impossible, until I learned about MoPho App (Free, App Store). MoPho stands for “Mobile Photography,” and besides being fun to say it is one of the more unique apps I’ve found in the App Store. This free app lets you take your iPhone photos and have them turned into any number of products and shipped right to your door, all without ever having to get off the couch or put down your soda. The app released in January 2012, and just saw a major upgrade to its interface. As part of the update, they are offering new users 10 prints for free with the offer code “10Free”. Read more ›

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Black, White, and Infrared all over

Uploaded June 26, 2012 at 08:46PM to Instagram
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Under a blood red sky: playing around with my new infrared filter

Uploaded June 25, 2012 at 09:39PM to Instagram
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Tweet Emotion: Twitter and iOS 5 (from the Random Facts archive)

This post originally appeared on June 8, 2011, shortly after Apple annouced Twitter integration into iOS 5. With WWDC just a few weeks behind us and iOS 6 adding Facebook to its social media baked in goodness, I thought I reshare the post here again. Enjoy.

Tweet Emotion

It’s time for that rarest of events. The Cancer Blog Guy is going to say something thought-provoking about technology. Don’t worry, I’ll connect this to cancer somehow.

Of course, I’m talking about Apple’s 2011 World Wide Developers Conference currently underway in San Francisco. During Monday’s keynote address, Apple announced Twitter will be an integral part of iOS 5, the next version of the iPhone and iPad operating system. As an avid tweeter and fan of all things Apple (Steve Jobs is my personal E.F. Hutton), I was very excited by this news.

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BisManApps is moving on but not moving out. Check out the new blog.

Fly me to the moonIt’s been about six months since the Random Facts of Life blog morphed into BisMan Apps. The original intent of the blog when it was founded in 2010 was to chronicle my wife’s battle with cancer from the perspective of a husband and father. Random Facts of Life will remain at where you’ll still find my witty and personal observations about life as the pop culture-obsessed spouse of a cancer survivor and parent of an overly-active toddler.

Where do we go now?

Technology related posts will continue as the BisMan Apps Blog, North Dakota’s only iOS-centric blog. The tone won’t change, and there may be some crossover between the blogs, I’ll be as witty as ever and my obsession with pop culture references will only increase. But it will be easier for my readers to find iOS app reviews tips and tricks with a dash of social media thrown in for good measure. I’ll be adding The Mobile Lens to the mix to bring you mobile photography centric podcasts and reviews inspired by lifeinlofiblog and

The name BisMan Apps might imply I’m gearing my audience to just Bismarck and Mandan in North Dakota. But as Self-proclaimed King of the Internet I believe it’s my duty to reach as broad an audience as possible. At least the Tri-State Area. So far, my blog has spread across North Dakota, and taken me as far as San Francisco, Texas, London, Paris, and Korea.

This reboot has a lot of great things in store. Hang on tight, cause it’s going to be a bumpy ride. If you have an iOS tip you’d like to share or questions about apps, I’d love to hear from you. Call or text me at (701) 5950-APP (595-0277); follow me on Twitter @bismanapps; like me on Facebook; or circle me on Google+. Operators are standing by. Or something like that.

Let’s get wild

Finally, a big thank you to WildInspire’s podcast network for providing web hosting space and production support for this old blog turned new again. Scott helped me break into podcasting with the Red Wild Show and the Top 3 Podcast. It’s great to be teaming up with him again.


– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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It’s 3 AM: Top iOS Apps to Cure Insomnia

I can’t sleep. My allergies are killing me and I’m not supposed to take anything before my allergist appointment next week. Guess whose going to ignore his doctors orders?

Since I’m awake, I might as well share my top apps to cure insomnia. (The proceeding statement has not been verified by the Food and Drug Administration. BisManApps is not designed to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Please consult your doctor and your bank account before starting any app regimen.)

1. Words With Friends. Chances are if you can’t sleep at least one of your friends is probably awake, too. Challenge them to a game.

2. Audible. If you have an account, download this free app and grab your favorite audio book. Preferably one narrated by someone with a British accent.

3. BlogPress. Blog something.

4. Angry Birds Space. Killing green space pigs with superpowers bird projectiles has always helped me.

6. Hulu+. For $7.99 a month you can watch practically any TV show known to man. Past or present. Snorks marathon anyone?

7. Netflix. Same price as Hulu+, but with movies and more TV shows. Just don’t watch The Walking Dead. Your trying to fall asleep, remember?

8. HBOGo. If you subscribe to HBO via cable or satellite (check with your provider), download this free app to watch streaming on demand movies and series. Pick a documentary and wait for the Sandman.

That’s it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, Game of Thrones is on.

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Mr. Smith Gets an iPhone, part 2

This is the second article about top political apps for use on smartphones and tablets. You can hear more about these apps on Top 3 Podcast via the Wild Inspire Podcast Network. You can listen to the podcast after the jump.

U.S. Capitol in Black and WhiteIn the last Top 3 Podcast, we talked about apps for political news. In the penultimate scene of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” Jimmy Stewart’s Senator Smith passes out after seeing bins of telegrams and letters from his constituents calling for his removal from office. In the age of social media, letters and telegrams may seem an antiquated way to reach out to your senators and representatives in Congress. Yet, phone calls and traditional letters are still a large part of how the public communicates with Congress.

And with more and more elected officials are embracing social media, it is hard to be believe that Congress didn’t really embrace e-mail until the mid to late 1990s. The Library of Congress’s THOMAS internet legislative database is just 17 years old. Then in 2001, the anthrax attacks on the U.S. mail system forever altered how traditional mail is handled in congressional offices, causing e-mail use to skyrocket.

U.S. Capitol in Black and WhiteSpiral bound paper directories like this are still quite popular in political Washington. They are informative and easy to use, and recently started to provide social media information. But the directories are updated just once a year, so would quickly become outdated should a senator or congressman resign or die in office. Mobile directories have started to spring up to fill that gap, both for iOS and Android devices. The best of these directories provide phone numbers and addresses along with links to voting records, detailed bios, social media services, staff contacts, and more. If you’re unsure of who represents you in Congress, the apps can use your phone’s GPS to find your congressman. There are several directory apps for both iOS and Android, but these are the best.

  1. The only directory on the iPad or iPhone you’ll ever need is one of the Congress in Your Pocket appsdeveloped by Cohen Research Group. Cohen Research Group has been provinding electronic congressional directories for years, starting with Palm Politics on the Palm Pilot apps are not free, but they are worth every penny. The apps have been featured on the App Store five times.
    • Congress, $0.99, iPhone, is a barebones app, providing key information for members of Congress: photos, bios, contact information, and social media links. Most people will find this app more than sufficient
    • Congress+, $4.99, (iPad/iPhone) is for a person with more than passing interest in politics. This universal app adds committee assignments, top congressional staff members for each office, links to legislation, campaign finance, and other web sources. You can also add notes to individual records.
    • CongressPro, $29.99 (iPad/iPhone). This app is the granddaddy of them all. While the first two apps cover most everything anyone would ever need, this app is for people in government affairs or policy position who need more in depth look at Congress, but for what it provides it is worth the price. It includes everything from Congress+, with an expanded committee section. Business professionals can also add notes in the app to track appointments or specific items discussed in meetings and share them within their organization. Most importantly, it provides free automatic updates. Every time there is a change in the database, those changes are downloaded to your device so you always have the most current information. The app currently provides information on the 112th Congress. When a new congress is seated after the elections this fall, the database can be updated with an in app purchase.

    Cohen Research Group has also expanded it’s apps to more than a dozen state legislatures, making the premier provider of legislative directories in the App Store.

  1. MyCongress, free, iPad, and Congress 411, free, iPhone. At 99 cents, the Congress app is difficult to pass up. But free is even better. For iPad users, MyCongress is one of the best free directories available, making good use of the iPad’s larger screen. MyCongress provides current news, YouTube videos, and tweets from senators and representatives. It does not have sponsored legislation or vote information, however. Congress 411 is similar to Congress, but adds votings records for senators and representatives – one thing Congress is missing.
  1. Congress, Free, Android Market. If you own an Android device, this app developed by the Sunlight Foundation is the only directory app you’ll ever need. The Sunlight Foundations an open government and transparency advocacy organization. The app provides all of the contact information you’d expect, and adds real-time updates of legislative activity when Congress is in session. The app’s design is also on par with those available for iOS, and since it is built on the database, the legislative information it provides is updated frequently.

You may find other free or paid apps for both iOS and Android, but they are poorly designed and lack significant developer support. If you’re a casual user or a business professional, any of these apps deserve a prominent place on your mobile devices.

As always, please share your favorite political apps in the comments below and we may review them in a future podcast. You can also send your recommendations via Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.

Bonus for Jimmy Stewart fans.


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Rumor Has It

It’s time once again for that yearly event that gets the tech bloggers giddy and keeps the rumor mills churning out predictions: Apple, Inc., is about to release…something. That something is reportedly a new iPad. That’s about the only thing that is easily predicted, since Apple likes to stick to yearly product updates. So below, is my prediction on what will or won’t be in the new iPad. But, since my predictions are usually wrong (just like most of the rumors floating out on the Interwebs), I present you a summary of the latest rumors I’ve seen, in Mad Libs form. I figure if enough of us fill this out, one of us has to be right. It will be like monkeys typing Shakespeare.

Recent reports point to Apple releasing the iPad 3 on DATE. That is the name most NOUN have chosen for the new tablet, but it could just as easily be called the PROPER NAME or PROPER NAME. One thing is clear, the new iPad will be ADVERB more ADJECTIVE than previous versions. It will retail for NUMBER and have capacities up to NUMBER gigabytes. Apple will also introduce a ADJECTIVE version and a NOUN, which has long been seen as the next ADJECTIVE step in Apple’s plan for ADJECTIVE NOUN.

The camera in the iPad 2 camera has received poor PLURAL NOUN for its low resolution, so Apple will probably VERB the new iPad’s camera to NUMBER megapixels, and video resolution VERB to NUMBER. It will also include the ability to VERB while GERUND its NOUN. The iPad’s NOUN will be ADVERB ADJECTIVE, while its NOUN will allow you to VERB it longer.

On the connectivity front, the iPad 3 will include NOUN, and might include NOUN. It will mean Apple has solved the NOUN of NOUN. If NOUN is missing from the iPad, it will be ADVERB VERB or VERB by tech pundits, depending on which NOUN you read. It will be sold by PROPER NAME, PROPER NAME, and PROPER NAME. Apple will also release iOS version NUMBER, which finally adds NOUN integration and NOUN. PROPER NOUN users will VERB these additions, saying their ADJECTIVE NOUN has had NOUN for time.

The iPad’s NOUN will have significantly more PLURAL NOUN, rivaling the NOUN of previous versions. The NOUN screen will be virtually ADJECTIVE, thanks to the addition of NOUN and NOUN. Internally, the iPad will run ADVERB thanks to a new NUMBER NOUN, designed by PROPER NAME in COUNTRY. This will enable users to VERB NOUN SIMILE.

All in all, the iPad 3 will be a ADVERB ADJECTIVE device. Of course, all of these rumors are subject to VERB, because no one really VERB any NOUN about just what Apple is going to VERB.

And now, the required blog title music video reference. If you’re not a Glee fan, I’m sorry. I really need to get out more.

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It’s another day at the hospital, this time for one of the last surgeries for Shannon. Since we can no longer have children (doctors orders), she has gone in for a hysterectomy and oophorectomy. Her chemotherapy already put her into menopause, and both her OB and her oncologist believe this is an appropriate course of for both her long-term health and her cancer treatment. She has to be on anti-estrogen medication for the next 5 years, and having the surgery will increase her options greatly. And, as Shannon has said in recent months “It’s not like I need those parts anymore.”

The etymology of words has always fascinated me. “Hysterectomy” comes from the Greek hystera meaning “womb.” It’s where we get the term “hysteria,” a catch-all medical diagnosis popularized in the 19th Century to describe any number of “female disorders.” It is no longer an official medical term used by physicians, but it did give us one of the greatest lines in movie history and a pretty kick-ass British rock anthem.

Today’s hospital visit brings our total trips to Medcenter One to more than 50 in the last year and a half. Five more trips and we get a surgical wing named after us. Or a free Slurpee. I haven’t read the fine print yet. That would be sweet.

As I sit in the waiting room, Shannon is in “holding” and we’re waiting for her surgery to start. It’s a relatively simple procedure, and should take about an hour once they start. Medcenter recently started offering robotic-assisted laproscopic surgery, so it will cut Shannon’s hospital stay to just overnight, and her recovery at home to a few weeks. I’ll be posting updates to Facebook and Twitter throughout the day. If anyone wants to come keep me company, feel free to stop on down.

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