Why can no one take a decent “selfie” of me?

Definition: “A selfie is a photo of oneself take by oneself.

In this article, we shall expand the word “selfie” (in quotes) to also include casual photos of oneself not necessarily taken by oneself using a phone camera.

Let us go ahead and exclude professional photographers the caliber of @Truthslinger and @WhiteAfrican from this definition

Now I love photos. Offer me photos of myself when I’m looking halfway decent and we have a deal.
And I love taking photos. I am the one forever taking “selfies” of my friends and they go “niiiice”, then when it’s my turn we do 1 blurry, 1 dark, 1 where I am too far and 1 just plain weird before I give up and take an actual selfie!

So for public service purposes, here are some tips.

Fundamentals of taking a good photo

Composition

Take a photo of something, not of everything. Let’s say you are at a friend’s wedding. Do not try to document everyone who attended in one photo! Not only will you not succeed, this will  also not make for a good photo. Focus on specific things, each photo  should tell a story.

Focus on something. Photo Credit - @HerGeekyness

Focus on something. Photo Credit – @HerGeekyness

Rule of thirds

Not everything has to be smack in the middle of  your photo. For awesome photos, employ the rule of thirds. This is where you divide your photo into 3 and place your subject into either the left 1/3 or the right 1/3 of your screen.

Rule of thirds. Photo credit -@Watumutiz

Rule of thirds. Photo credit -@Watumutiz

Focus!

Here is the sequence. Aim – focus – shoot. That sequence does not change and is not interchangeable.
It’s amazing how many people do not focus before pressing the shutter. When you aim at your subject, the most phone cameras nowadays will start to focus. Let it! Typically it will be shown by square brackets or a square that will turn green once it has achieved focus. At this point, shoot! After you have shot, hold the phone still for at least 3 seconds (or until you see the photo in the gallery preview) and say goodbye to blurry photos forever ☺

To flash or not to flash (lighting is key)

Most of us acknowledge a Higher Power, who is responsible for nature. The Greatest Artist so to say. It then follows that when you do take a good photo, it should look natural. I’m all for taking out the spots and zits and making faces all sophisticated. But it should look like you.

If your are taking a mirror shot, or a glass shot, turn off your flash (see below)

Glass pic - thou shalt know hen to turn off the flash. Photo by @Watumutiz

Glass pic – thou shalt know when to turn off the flash. Photo credit – @Watumutiz

The photo should be bright, and of good quality when you take it. I never fail to be amazed at people who bring dark, grainy, or blurred photos and ask me to Photoshop it and make it all better. Here’s a newsflash,  (pun intended) the photo needs to be good quality (read high resolution. We are professionals, not miracle workers ;-)

Now thee forth and take decent selfies.

-her royal geekyness-

What’s so cool about the Lenovo K900?

So this is the step up (and quite a step up it is) to the Intel YOLO. It has an Intel Atom Dual-core 2Ghz processor and a PowerVR SGX544 graphics processor.

Back view

Back view

It’s sleek! Super light. From the faux brushed metal exterior, the tiny rivets on the back cover (no taking out the battery and no SD card business either it comes in with internal memory of 16GB or 32GB, take your pick) that match the Lenovo logo engraved on the back to the neat Micro SIM slot on the side. This phone is sleek.

The packaging redefines cool – Black box with a red interior that which peeks through the etched out K900) logo. Too cool.
This phone. Is sleek.

This box redefines cool

This box redefines cool

What needs work?

1. The OS.

Android contact manager keeps crashing

Annoying especially because it every time you use messaging, it crashes. It also brings up the error message when you use the phone log, contacts, Hangouts, Whatsapp, and Telegram. I assume it will do this for all messaging apps.

Lenovo - crash screen

The crash screen

At 6.7” (hull, display is 5.5) this phone is actually a mini-tablet with phone capabilities. A phablet.
At 162g this phablet is superlight.

Camera
I am in love with the 13MP camera with its dual led flash. The split second autofocus and continuous shoot turned out to be an invaluable feature during a 7-hour event that I was live-tweeting. It meant that I could capture the targets while they were still doing what I wanted to capture, instead of a blur of the person who moved just when I finally focused. (That’s my other phone, story for another day)

The front 2MP Camera had me taking some pretty cute selfies (in good light of course as it has no flash).

The 2GB RAM makes for some awesome performance. I can do stuff on the K900 that I normally wouldn’t be able to – like Skype, a very resource heavy app, which came pre installed by the way.

What needs work?

1. The OS.

Android contact manager keeps crashing

Annoying especially because it every time you use messaging, it crashes. It also brings up the error message when you use the phone log, contacts, Hangouts, Whatsapp, and Telegram. I assume it will do this for all messaging apps.

2. Battery

Not impressed. At 2600 mAH it’s clearly Bigger than my other phone’s 2100mAH . But, with the K900 I always seem to run out of juice during the day. Also, would it kill them to provide a power backup

3. Welcome screen

Really? Was there not a designer in the vicinity?

4. Usability
I have a few objections here.

The icons are customized (read different). It took me a while to get used to.
This is not helped by the new android settings interface. After 1 month of use I still have no idea where the battery settings are. I gave up and got an app to manage battery use.

5. Naming of system apps

OK I know we want to be unique, but it took me a while to find the camera (named Super Camera) and the gallery (named Super Gallery). The phone has no camera button.

6. Size
While the phablet is superlight, it’s not very comfortable to text with for long periods. Especially lying down. It has a 5.5” display but the actual phone is almost 7”.

7. Accessories
These could use some work. The charger came apart within the first week of use. I had to patch it up for continued use, then it gave up the ghost in the 4th week.

The earphones could be more ear-friendly.
I would have voted for eardrum earphones. Those are way more comfortable and by way of proximity, noise cancelling ;-) The sound quality of the Lenovo earphones is fine though.
Jpeg
Her Geekyness’ verdict

This phone looks good, it’s superlight, superfast and takes awesome photos. If the manufacturers fix the bugs and improve the accessories, I would say go for it. Especially is you are a social media freak (Instagrammers will love this one)

-her royal geekyness-

A slightly different version was published on UP Magazine (Print Version)

Have you tried the phone? Share your experience in the comments section.

Emoji Discrimination?

 

image from Yahoo!

image from Yahoo!

If you are an avid texter/IM-er then emoji and smileys are your friend. Then no doubt you have noticed how discriminative most popular IM apps (WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook messenger, Hangouts) are to Africans, especially African woman. Right?

A number of very important emoticons for Any African woman (or man) to express herself are conspicuously missing from the IM apps.

  • Hands on hips  – any self-respecting African Woman, ahem, metro man or really macho man needs this emoticon. This is the ultimate expression of indignation.
  • NKT!  – We all need this one, duh! It is the proper African way of expressing annoyance. No matter how much you like the person you are chatting with, they are bound to annoy you at some point. At this point quickly put in your African click  – NKT!
  • Mscheeew! – Your traditional African sneer right there. It comes accompanied by the appropriate facial expression. This is necessary when you hear something so nonsensical there is no other way to express it.
  • African sassy head shake (not to be confused with the Indian shaking of the head yes. Or just generally shaking their head, LOL)

And the list goes on. Feel free to add more missing emoticons in the comments section.

Excited to learn of the messaging app Telegram which was thrust into the limelight by the acquisition of WhatsApp by the NSA, oops, Facebook. (My bad. You’ve all heard the rumors) And just to give us a taste of what’s coming, we had a couple of hours down time on Saturday 28th Feb. (Things is gonna be different), after someone has spent USD 19B on an app (you know, just USD 7B above Kenya’s entire budget!) nobody expects that’s its going be business as usual.

So Dear Devs

We look to you to work to create plugins for emoji that will capture our imaginations and our hearts and make us feel right at home. We fully expect you will work with UX/UI designers to give it that real authentic feel.  A couple of stern matriarch emoji are necessary to keep everyone online in line.

Let me know.

-her royal geekyness-