Hey everyone, Pat here again with another Behind the Business tech article. Yes, I waited in line for an iPad 2. Did I get one from that line? Nope – but I still got one on launch night. With the help of Brian Matiash, he was able to find one in his town near Boston, so I ditched my line and drove an hour east to pick one up. I was so far back in the line, I wouldn’t have gotten one anyways.
Today, I want to talk about why we got the iPad. Other than it being a big fun geek toy, we got it primarily for wedding consultations. We used to use a laptop to show a slideshow, but nothing says boring more than staring at a static laptop screen that you – for the most part – can’t interact with. Where we live, the iPad isn’t quite as popular as it is in larger cities (like Boston or NYC). Here you hand someone an iPad, and you can see that “WOW” factor. It’s really cool and we experienced this first hand a couple of weekends ago when we used the iPad for the first time during a wedding consultation.
So, about that slideshow. I did not use the built in iPhoto app. Why? Well, because I found it to be very limiting.
- It displays photos based on EXIF time stamp. Why is this bad? Initial client meeting slideshows should be a random mixture of photos from many different events. Since the iPad only sorts based on EXIF time stamp, it means your slideshow is showing photos of the same event right in a row, rather than mixed in.
- Well, no problem about the EXIF thing, right? Just use shuffle! Wrong. The shuffle feature doesn’t show all photos at least once before shuffling. During my initial testing, I found that it started to repeat photos already shown at about the 6th photo in. Nothing says “strong portfolio” than repeating photos early into a slideshow!
- Nothing says amateur more than handing over an iPad and saying, “Okay, hang on, just press ‘Slideshow’ in the top right. Okay, now press ‘Start Slideshow’. Wait, it’s not working? Try again…”
- It doesn’t help with branding. In fact, it’s horrible.
Well, that’s not going to work for a first impression! Cue FolioBook! An iPad portfolio app which focuses on making slideshows easy allowing you to change the sort of the slideshow, have more than one gallery per slideshow (e.g. main slideshow, about us, contact, etc) and most importantly making your brand stand out. The best way to describe it is like a website that is image-based and lives on the iPad. You can change where the menu buttons are, how many galleries, etc. After you have it all configured, the iPad can be completely offline and the slideshow will still run perfectly.
Once I had FolioBook all setup, there were no worries. I handed over our iPad with the image you see at the top of this post. At their discretion they tapped “Start Slideshow”, from there they were able to either let the slideshow play on it’s own, or interact with it. FolioBook allows the viewer to either pinch to zoom, or swipe left or right to flip through the photos. At the end of the show, it goes back to the main welcome screen (an option you can disable if desired). I kept this option on which was a visual signal that the slideshow was over, and reinforces our logo and branding. The couple we met with was very impressed to have been handed an iPad that was ready to go. No fumbling or fidgeting with settings. It’s all about that first impression!
Same Day Slideshows
We will also be using the iPad for same day slideshows at the wedding reception. We will not be using FolioBook for this because of one issue. Security. Apple doesn’t allow for the modification of the home button. If I could have it my way, I would use FolioBook with the option to enter a password to exit the app, but Apple won’t allow that to happen. So this means that once in FolioBook, anyone can easily exit out of the app and then have free reign with your other personal apps (Facebook, Twitter, Fruit Ninja, etc). Quite a big security hole when leaving the iPad unattended in such a public manner.
Our plan is to use the Camera Connection Kit to load 40 JPG images onto the iPad, lock the device and set it by the bar. Then we’ll use the built in Photo Frame application. You access the photo frame when the screen is locked, it’s on the right side of the lock slider bar. Remember how I said iPhoto sorts by EXIF time stamp? Well, in this case it’s actually our friend. Since the same day slideshow’s main objective is to tell a story about the day leading up to the reception, it will automatically sort the photos correctly – oldest first. Set a password on the device, and if someone slides the bar to unlock the device to try and play with it, they’ll be presented with a keyboard to unlock the screen. The Photo Frame app doesn’t allow you to interact with the photos either, which I’m okay with since the setup will be mostly to view the iPad, and not touch or play with it.
So this sums up how we use the iPad for the two slideshow scenarios. I hope this helps and if you have any questions, let me know in the comments!
Are there any other tech subjects you want me to cover? I geek to live, so just let me know!