Feb 072012
 

I said this on Facebook and no-one bothered to comment, so, either, I have no friends or perhaps it’s one of those “Doh! Did you imagine any different?” comments, but, since buying my first iPhone, a 4S, I can’t imagine life without it.

It won’t ever roll a cigarette for me but it’s enough that I can Facebook and Twitter in front of the TV without having my PC in my lap. It’s got a timer that helps me cook and I do enjoy a bit of Angry Birds. However… Although it seemingly syncs my whole PC; music, photos, films, books, notes and calendar it’s the camera that amuses me the most.

Not completely surprising, seeing that I’m a photographer, but I am utterly surprised at A) how good the camera is (I bought a Nokia N8 purely because on paper it had the best camera on a cellphone, I was underwhelmed!) and B) how it seems to have completely rekindled my love for photography.

I love the quality of the images and I love the apps; Camera+, Hipstamatic, Instagram, TiltShift, 8mm, Shoebox, Vintage Cam and PS (Photoshop) Express. I love that I can take a photo, edit it on the phone and immediately post it up on Facebook or Twitter. I can fire up Hipstamatic, give the phone a shake to randomise the film, lens and flash combo, aim the camera, press the shutter button and immediately I have a Holga/Diana style photo without the need for either sending a medium format film off for developing or doing some serious Photoshop editing on my PC.

What’s not to love?

Oh… The iPhone is tiny, it doesn’t feel like a substantial camera in your hand. It doesn’t have a 1/4-20 UNC thread to attach it to a tripod head, it doesn’t stand up on it’s own easily even though Apple gave you the option to use the supplied headphones as a remote shutter button.

Although it has a digital zoom, it doesn’t have a macro mode, nor a wide angle mode nor a fish eye lens. If you drop an iPhone it’s more likely to break than your average prosumer camera and if you use the camera for more than fifteen minutes you’d better take a way to recharge it on the fly.

Have you ever tried to watch a movie or catch-up TV on your iPhone? Did you wander around the house looking for a non-slippery surface to stand the phone on? Did you try balancing the phone against a banana for the optimum viewing angle? Did you look for a portable non-slip surface AND a banana so that you could watch catch-up TV in bed? Did you wish that there was a better way? Did you wish that better way was also a 1/4-20 UNC thread so that you could watch TV or shoot photos with your iPhone attached to a tripod? I did.

You did too? But for the life of you couldn’t find a solution… Enter the Glif+ the solution you’ve been searching for!

The Glif

The Glif

Made by Studio Neat and being a Kickstarter success project, the Glif is made from recyclable rubberized plastic and is basically an iPhone 4/4S accessory with two primary functions: Mounting your iPhone onto a tripod and propping up your iPhone at various angles. It’s small enough to fit snugly in your pocket or backpack. It has a 1/4″-­20 thread that fits any standard tripod or camera mount. The Glif is designed to work with a “naked” (caseless) iPhone.

Glif Stand

The Glif as a stand

Additionally (and the package I have) the Glif+ comes with the Serif which will keep your phone safe in more extreme situations. When you are not using the Serif, it fits snugly inside the Glif, making it very compact.  Also the Glif+ comes with the Ligature, a simple keyring loop that attaches to the tripod thread on the Glif.

The Serif

The Glif and The Serif

If you have £19 ($30 at the time of press), burning a hole in your pocket, forget buying more apps and buy yourself a physical product. Buy the Glif+. Us iPhone users are all the same; I’m guessing that you’re never really more than a room away from your phone and I have to say that now my phone is never more than a room away from it’s new best buddy; the Glif.

As a stand for watching movies, catch-up TV or FaceTime it clips on and off in seconds and is far better than a banana for getting the viewing angle spot on. As a tripod mount it clips on and off in seconds and even with the Serif attached (which I have tried safely with a Gorillapod tripod clipped to my bike) it is small enough and secure enough to allow for charging and/or using the headphones as a remote shutter button which is crucial if you want to avoid camera shake and which is surely the whole point of a tripod mount? That is, unless you’re lazy like me and while lying in bed, on your back, use a small Gorillapod perched on your chest to watch BBC iPlayer…

In summary; The Glif+ isn’t the best £19 I’ve spent in my life, (that was for a hand-job in the back room of a strip joint by a red-headed teen with awesome boobs) but it sure comes a close second. The Glif is better than a banana and I for one wouldn’t be without it now.

Get one… You know you want to!

Feb 072012
 
Muffins

Muffins (Hipstamatic for iPhone)

200g Plain (not self raising) Flour
150g Caster Sugar
½ Teaspoon of Salt (I use sea-salt)
2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder

85ml of Milk
80ml of Vegetable Oil
1 Large Egg

150g of mixed fruit (Raisins, Sultanas, Mixed Peel, Cranberries, Blueberries – Whatever). I personally use a similar mix to that which is used for Fruit Cakes or Christmas Cakes.

Alternatively for texture 130g of mixed fruit and 20g of chopped almonds. This option’s a doozy!

Sometimes I substitute 40g of the flour for finely chopped hazelnuts.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade

In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (the top four items). Doesn’t have to be fancy mixing, I use a wooden spoon, but make sure everything is mixed well.

In a jug, beat the milk, oil and egg until everything is combined well. Sometimes I add 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence.

Using the wooden spoon mix the liquid stuffs into the dry stuffs to make a batter. Don’t overdo the mixing… You’re not looking to blitz everything into extra smooth paste, just make sure everything is mixed well. If you scoop some up with the spoon it should drip off a bit like that ‘slime’ shit that was popular in the 80s. You definitely don’t want the batter runny like a liquid.

At this point, sometimes I add a couple of tablespoons of honey or golden syrup. Experiment!

Fold the dry fruit into the batter. Again, fold, not mix with a mixer.

Spoon the mix into large muffin cases. I find that 1 heaped tablespoon and 1 heaped teaspoon is ample per case. This recipe should fill about 8 cases.

I put the cases in a metal tray that’s made for small tarts/muffins. I guess there’s enough spaces in my tray for 15 cakes so I use 2 trays as to not crowd the muffins. I space them apart and use this tray to keep the muffin cases stable and roundish.

Bake for 20 mins in that preheated oven you preheated. Check if the muffins are done… A wooden cocktail stick pushed into the middle of a muffin should come out clean with no gooey stuff left on it.

Leave muffins to cool on a wire cake cooling rack or similar. Make a cup of tea and enjoy a neo-muffin afternoony snack. Yummy!