Chris Herbert

730 posts on MacStories since September 2010

Vector & pixel trafficker for Seymour Midwest LLC, regular MacStories contributor, Hip-Hop junkie all day long; Apple addict circa 1976.

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Osmo - A Gaming Experience for iPad That Merges the Real and Virtual World

iPad gaming is big business and sometimes it’s difficult to find your niche if you’re a developer because the app community is gigantic. In my opinion, there aren’t enough interactive and educational learning games for kids; I get tired of seeing my kids play Plants vs. Zombies and Jetpack Joyride all the time.

The Osmo is blending the virtual world of the iPad with the real world to defy the boundaries of play. The Osmo is a device that snaps over your iPad’s front-facing camera and, using its reflective AI and built-in mirror, recognizes and responds to real-world activity. It also includes a dock to hold your iPad upright and off the playing surface. It’s kid-tough and doesn’t require batteries, electronics, or an Internet connection to play.

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Kickstarter: Lunecase - A Unique iPhone Case with a Wireless Notification System

Here’s a unique product looking for funding on Kickstarter, the Lunecase by Concepter. It’s “an intelligent case that receives notifications from the iPhone. Powered by electromagnetic energy. Wireless, smart, elegant.”

So what’s so unique about another iPhone case? For starters, the back has a built-in notification system that displays an icon for both incoming phone calls and SMS messages – all without using a drop of the device’s battery. Lunecase does this with the help of LEDs, as it uses free energy that is emitted by the device, converting it from the iPhone’s electromagnetic energy into a usable energy to power the notification system embedded in the case. Read more

This Is My #Mac30

Thirty years ago, Apple introduced the Macintosh with the promise to put the creative power of technology in everyone’s hands. It launched a generation of innovators who continue to change the world. This 30‑year timeline celebrates some of those pioneers and the profound impact they’ve made.  -

Here’s my story. In 1994 I was a college-bound high school senior that loved art, especially drawing. I knew I wanted to use my creativity as a career but didn’t know exactly what to do. I remember the day when one of the art supply closets was reconfigured into a small, 3 computer lab. The computers were all Power Macintosh 6100/60s with a System 7 OS – and nothing like I had ever seen before. I cannot recall what art program was on them but they kept drawing my attention every time I went to art class. We got them late in the school year, so I was only able to play around with them as no formal classes were started until the fall – and I was about to graduate. We couldn’t afford anything like that growing up so I thought I was lucky to just have a few weeks to take in that new user experience.

After moving into the dorm for my freshman year in college, we had an Apple computer lab in the building and the Internet was still new and we didn’t know what to do with it besides looking up things we weren’t supposed to – come on, we were all 18 year old boys!. Anyway, we wrote papers on Macs and used search engines such as Webcrawler, Lycos,, and Infoseek. I didn’t see those machines as the creative machines that I played with in high school; rather, as machines that we were required to use to do homework. But I hadn’t forgotten about what awesome powers they possessed for being creative.

Jump to sophomore year in the fall of 1995. One of my roommates shows up after summer break with a 1993 Apple Color Classic and I realize what a fantastic little machine it was. Not only could I write papers and play simple games, but I could create little pixel drawings and use type! That feeling I had during my senior year art class was back. I finally realized what I wanted to do for a living and I had found my digital, Apple-carved canvas.

In the second semester of my sophomore year, I enrolled in an intro course to Graphic Design and loved/excelled in it. Being able to express my creativity on that new medium felt breathtaking. While taking design classes, I would do some evening computer lab work in the art building up on the third floor where they had a more focused lab used for computer graphics and “digital photography” – it was a new term at the time and people were excited. Along with my graphic design classes, I started a digital photography class and that was where I was first introduced to the Apple QuickTake Camera and Adobe design software. While graphic design taught me history, practice, typography, and what is good layout, digital photography taught me scanning, Photoshop/Illustrator, and basic HTML coding. It was the best of both worlds, really. I was getting my minor in art history as well so it felt like a very balanced approach towards getting my BA in Studio Art with focus on Graphic Design.

After graduating college in August of 1998, I knew I had to go into debt and buy the original Bondi Blue iMac. I loved the machine: an entire PC, wrapped in a space age color casing that wasn’t beige? Who wouldn’t want one? I used it for some small freelance work, Internet, and gaming. Soon after, I started my job as a graphic designer for a daily newspaper and worked on Macs every day. We had Quadras, PowerPCs that evolved into G3/G5/G5 towers and iMacs in the nine years I worked there. Not only did I have the design background but I now had the technical knowledge of how those machines worked as our IT admin only knew Windows so I was not only the Graphic Design Supervisor, I was also the Mac admin. In 2002 I added a Titanium Powerbook G4 – one of my favorite Macs of all time – then bought a Power Mac G5 Dual Processor in 2004.

In 2007, I completed the full circle and purchased another 24” aluminum iMac, but this time a much larger and faster version. After almost 7 long years, the longest I’ve ever had a computer, the hard drive died just weeks ago. Rather than sell this (still) awesome piece of computing history, I’m going to give it a new hard drive and a second chance on life, much like Steve Jobs gave Apple one when he returned in 1997.

Apple has been such a big influence in my professional life and personal life. With devices like iPods, iPhones, and iPads, Apple has truly changed how their users have evolved and who they are today. It’s amazing how at one time a computer took up an entire room and now it easily fits in our pocket. The old saying is right,“the Apple (user) doesn’t fall far from the tree”. This is my #Mac30.

iOS 7: Tips, Tricks, and Details

iOS 7 is a major redesign of Apple’s mobile operating system that, alongside a fresh new look, comes with dozens of new features like Control Center, new multitasking, new Notification Center, and improved browsing experience in Safari. At the same time, together with all the most visible additions and user features, there are hundreds of details, tricks, and hidden functionalities that you can take advantage of to get more out of iOS 7.

At MacStories, we enjoy finding all the little gems that come with a brand new iOS version each year. In this post, you’ll find 100 tips, tricks, and details of iOS 7 that we’ve collected throughout the summer since the first beta release of iOS 7.

For more iOS 7 coverage, check out our news hub and Federico’s Living with iOS 7 article. Read more

Realmac Software Releases Ember - A Digital Scrapbook for Your Mac

Realmac Software, makers of great apps such as Clear, Rapidweaver, Analog, and Analog Camera, have released Ember for Mac today. Last month, Realmac detailed in a blog post what the future of LittleSnapper was and the team explained:

Over last few months, we’ve been getting a few emails asking about LittleSnapper - with some folks wondering if the app is still under development.

As it happens we’ve been heads-down-working on LittleSnapper for some time, and I’m absolutely thrilled today to dispel any rumours of the app’s demise and announce today that we’ve been hard at work on the next version of LittleSnapper: Ember for Mac.

Remember the original Ember? It was a great webapp (saved screenshot) that let you browse and add images to collections for inspiration: I used it all the time before Dribbble became so popular. Back in June of 2011, the Realmac team shut down the service and it was a major bummer for me – but it was understandable. Today, Ember is back as a Mac app, and it works great. Users of the old LittleSnapper are going to love Ember because it’s much more than a simple name change, but rather more like a ‘Pro’ version of the old software.

LittleSnapper users can easily import their libraries upon launching the new Ember app. The only thing you need to do to prepare for Ember is to make sure you’re using the most recent version of LittleSnapper, as only LittleSnapper libraries opened with LittleSnapper v1.8.5 can be imported into Ember. After that, Ember will be populated with all your goodies (Ember also supports importing multiple libraries if you need to do so).

Ember is a great place to store photos, images, drawings, websites, app screenshots, or just about any image that inspires you. Just drag, snap or import the images that you want to keep, then organize them into your own relevant collections. Ember lets you annotate the images you need to give feedback on with drawing and text tools that allow you to give feedback / edits on images; if you need to, you can rotate and crop your images so they are correctly sized and aligned.

Images can be shared via AirDrop, Messages, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, and CloudApp. In terms of library organization, tags help you sort and projects keep them all neatly organized, while smart projects work just like OS X Smart Folders – you can set the parameters on what they filter and collect.

If you’re looking for inspiration and items to add, Ember has a few options. You can use the built-in web browser (it’s responsive!) and snap from there with built-in tools; the browser has a smart element detection that automatically suggests areas to snap as you roll over a webpage. Under the Subscriptions tab, you can subscribe to a site’s RSS (like Dribbble’s popular feed) and the app will refresh the feed on launch (or manually). Ember has browser extensions that will import snaps from Chrome and Safari there is a menu bar tool for quick and easy snaps from anywhere on your Mac.

Ember can also auto-detect iPhone and iPad screenshots. Drag the PNGs from your iOS device and Ember will automatically sort them into “Phone” and “Tablet”. Preferences let you set your image and text editor of choice, plus snap shortcuts, among other things. Ember will let you open images in your default browser, use Notification Center to let you know when you have new subscription images, and many more nice little touches.

When discussing Ember’s release, Federico asked me what I thought about the lack of sync an/or iOS apps and I answered: “For me, it doesn’t come into play at all with this app because I can import iOS screens. Most of my inspiration/design browsing is from my desktop computer and, if I really need to snap a screenshot from iOS, I can save it to Dropbox so when I get home I can import it into Ember. In a way, that’s like having sync.” Now, I do think syncing ember data across Macs (via Dropbox or iCloud) would be nice but that’s not yet available but could be in a future update.

Ember is a very polished app with a fantastic UI, slick animations, full-screen mode and it’s simply a fun app to use and organize images with. If you’re a digital creative person and want to organize your screenshots, inspirational images and reference files, Ember could be what you need. Ember for Mac is available today via the Mac App Store for $49. The price may be a little steep for some, but Ember is powerful, sexy, smart, and worth every penny.