Alexander Abnos – ScribbleLive http://www.scribblelive.com ScribbleLive is the leading end-to-end platform for content marketing engagement. Wed, 13 Jul 2016 18:26:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://s3.amazonaws.com/scribblelive-com-prod/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/favicon-91x80.png Alexander Abnos – ScribbleLive http://www.scribblelive.com 32 32 Digital Sketching: 5 Drawing Apps for the iPad http://www.scribblelive.com/blog/2012/08/13/5-drawing-apps/ Mon, 13 Aug 2012 14:56:11 +0000 http://www.scribblelive.com/blog/2012/08/13/5-drawing-apps/ When Apple first released the iPad, the tablet’s size was something of a joking point for many, who claimed it was really nothing but a blown-up iPhone. Now that it has stuck around long enough to change entire industries, not to mention have its own a South Park episode dedicated Read more...

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When Apple first released the iPad, the tablet’s size was something of a joking point for many, who claimed it was really nothing but a blown-up iPhone. Now that it has stuck around long enough to change entire industries, not to mention have its own a South Park episode dedicated to it, the tablet’s size has actually become one of its biggest strengths. With its 9.7-inch display, an iPad allows you to digitally achieve what you could with a piece of paper: reading, writing and, yes, drawing. There are countless apps out there that can accomplish the drawing part: so much so that simply choosing one can be overwhelming. Here are five that we feel offer the best range of options. Whether you want to use your drawing app for serious illustration, fun with friends, or quick brainstorming, chances are pretty good that one of the five apps below will suit your needs. (Note: we have included multiple screenshot for each app. To view them in a slideshow format, simply click on the image in the article.)

1. xSketch

[slideshow id=4 w=618 h=463] xSketch is a nice, no-frills drawing app that allows you to do a lot with the free features it offers. At first, its drawing tools may seem a little limited – you have several backgrounds to choose from, and brushes. But where the app really shines is in how you can modify those brushes. Each one can be made a wide range of sizes and, more importantly, opacities. There is also a special tool, or brush, that lets you draw dashed lines, as well as a gradient drawing tool that lets you draw… well, gradients. There is a useful dropshadow option, as well as a pre-set color palette with 16 shades that can seem like much more with judicious use of the opacity slider. You also have the option to import photos from your photo roll or take a picture yourself and use that as the background, in addition to the five canvases provided. You can then save your creations to your iPad’s photo roll, send them in an email, or post them to Facebook. Last but not least, xSketch offers a gallery mode, which allows you to organize your sketches any way you like, on an endless board. (It’s a feature we have yet to see in any other drawing app.) In-app purchases: RGB color picker and eyedropper tool, photo effects (instagram-style): $1.99 each, or $2.99 together.

2. Bamboo Paper (Free)

[slideshow id=5 w=618 h=463] Before you start, we should note that this app is best (and perhaps designed for) use with the Bamboo stylus, which can cost anywhere from $20-$30. However, it still works just fine with your finger. Bamboo is clearly designed to replicate the experience of drawing and pasting pictures in a notebook. It doesn’t provide many options – there’s a marker tool, a pen tool, a picture insertion mechanism, and one plain white background. The tools they do provide work well, though, and with its no-clutter interface the app is incredibly easy to use. You can save drawings to your iPad and email them out, but there is no social sharing option, which pretty much says it all. Chances are, the things you draw here are for your eyes only. In-app purchases: Multiple notebooks, cloud archiving, and social sharing are upgrades offered in the full version, which costs $1.99. Works best with: Bamboo Stylus ($20-$30).

3. Draw Something Free

[slideshow id=6 w=618 h=824] If social drawing is what you’re after and you’re not planning to be productive with it, then Draw Something is the app for you. In reality, this is more of a drawing game than a drawing platform, and it’s entertaining enough for people to have really taken to it. Basically, the game pits you against one of your friends (or a random person) in a battle of drawing skill. Each player gets one simple prompt (pictured: draw a barn. Clearly, I am not an artist). Good drawings get coins, which you can then spend on a wider color palette and other in-app improvements. Again: not productive, but a fun and creative way to draw competitively. In-app purchases: you can purchase coins (to spend on new color palettes or “bombs” that allow you to either guess words more easily or access items to draw that pay more coins. From $1.99 for 400 coins to $24.99 for 10,000 coins.

4. Paper by 53

[slideshow id=7 w=618 h=463] In terms of the pure beauty of its interface, there isn’t another app that can touch 53’s Paper. Like Bamboo Paper, this app attempts to replicate the aesthetics of drawing in a notebook, but does so in a much more personal and innovative way. Users can customize the look of their notebooks, and are able to get the sensation to flipping through their pages. However, the drawing tools that come with the free version are incredibly limited. You get one precision pen, one eraser, and a nine-color palette to start. That’s it. You at least get to try the new features before you buy them, though. Plus, there is a very cool “rewind” feature that lets you retrace your steps through a drawing, as well as robust social sharing options. In-app purchases: Additional drawing tools ($1.99 individually for 5 tools, $6.99 altogether in the “essentials pack”)

5. Sketchbook Express

[slideshow id=8 w=618 h=463] The free version of the Sketchbook Pro app ($1.99) still comes jam-packed with features, and may be the best pick of any sketching app in terms of the amount of control it offers. In the free version, you have an unlimited color palette, unlimited tools to control line weight and opacity, and a very cool mirroring feature to let you unleash your inner Rorschach. Sketches save in an easy-to-navigate gallery. There are a lot of bells and whistles in this app, but only where you really want them. Everything about finding the tools and drawing you need is easy and intuitive. In-app purchases: None, other than the upgrade to Pro.

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Can Big Data Help Win Olympic Gold? http://www.scribblelive.com/blog/2012/08/01/can-big-data-help-win-olympic-gold/ Wed, 01 Aug 2012 22:51:44 +0000 http://www.scribblelive.com/blog/2012/08/01/can-big-data-help-win-olympic-gold/ My friend Perry and I sat in the wooden lobby of an apartment building in Brooklyn today, when a debate familiar to any sports fan came up. “Hey,” I said. “Did you see the archery final at the Olympics today?” “Archery is at the Olympics? That’s not even a sport.” Read more...

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My friend Perry and I sat in the wooden lobby of an apartment building in Brooklyn today, when a debate familiar to any sports fan came up. “Hey,” I said. “Did you see the archery final at the Olympics today?” “Archery is at the Olympics? That’s not even a sport.” The sport/not a sport debate always seems to come around in full force during the Olympics, when events like shooting and ping pong take center stage for a brief moment every four years. But in watching the myriad competitions that make up these Olympic games, it’s important to remember that while they may not all be sports, thanks to the emergence of big data they are all a science. Simon Williams proved as much in his presentation at the Strata Online Conference last week in London, the site of the 2012 Olympics. As the Chief Executive and Co-Founder of data firm QuantumBlack, Williams has worked to design race strategy engines for some of the biggest names in Formula 1 racing. “Everybody knows about the race on the F1 track, but there’s another race going on – the innovation arms race,” Williams said in the presentation. “The fantastic plan that you’ve arranged starts falling apart at the first corner. After that first corner, it’s all about determining which course of action is appropriate to undertake.” According to Williams, having real-time, comprehensive data can help make those decisions better and, most importantly, faster. Obvious data points like speed, gas usage, wear on the tires can help a team tend to its drivers and vehicles, but where Williams saw a real breakthrough was in inferred data – taking two seemingly disparate sets of information and combining them into a useful whole. In the case of F1 racing, that means knowing even more about what your opponents are doing. “In addition to GPS and other data, teams use the TV broadcast feed to determine the engine setting of opponents,” Williams said. “This is valuable intelligence, [with which] teams can predict shifts in their competitor’s strategies and take steps to counteract them.” F1 racing is not an Olympic sport, but similarly innovative uses of data can apply to activities that are. Wired’s Mark McClusky says as much in his piece on the increasing amount of science and data analysis present in training this generation’s Olympians. “The challenges of the 21st century are very different,” McClusky writes. “At this point, the easy improvements have all been made. Margins of victory are going to be smaller, and the tools that help athletes win will increasingly be found not in the weight room but in the lab. Many sports will begin to resemble auto racing, where wins are determined by a combination of driving skill and technology.” This technology has already begun to impact sports like cycling. The Perfect Athlete video shows how intensely the laboratory has become a part of the sport.

The Perfect Athlete from Duncan Elms on Vimeo.

There are other places where data is playing a big role as well. American hurdler Lolo Jones, for example, trains along with a team of 22 scientists and data analysts. Their techniques include using slow-motion video cameras, impact sensors in her shoes, and nutritionists to make sure her body is functioning at its absolute peak. It’s their job to break down every twitch of every muscle in Jones’ form, streamlining her motion to bring as fast a time as possible. The result of all these new, data-driven training methods hasn’t yet been shown on the biggest stage (Jones doesn’t hurdle until next week). However, her times have steadily improved, and she has become one of the most focused-upon athletes in the Unites States’ Olympic party. There are real, everyday takeaways from both these scenarios that have nothing specifically to do with athletics. In fact, they may help you in your own quest to use data more effectively. Lolo Jones and her team prove big data’s ability to comprehensively break down every single segment of a given action. It doesn’t have to be a run – you can apply the same principles to, say, your shipping methods. Analyze every category you can and make as many small improvements as possible, and the end product will inevitably improve. Williams’ Formula 1 systems look through an entirely different lens. Instead of focusing inward, Williams’ strategies instead show the benefits of analyzing your competition. By knowing more about what your competitors are doing, you in turn can make informed decisions about how to take your data venture forward. And whether your venture is a sport or not, that’s bound to be beneficial.

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Visualizing Euro 2012: Who Are The Players? http://www.scribblelive.com/blog/2012/06/19/visualizing-euro-2012/ Tue, 19 Jun 2012 18:58:54 +0000 http://www.scribblelive.com/blog/2012/06/19/visualizing-euro-2012/ Baseball and football, with their large sample sizes of repetitious and sometimes exhilarating events, are tailor-made for statistical analysis. Soccer? It has none of that. One ball, two goals, and 22 players on the field are the only things that are the same from match to match. Sometimes even the Read more...

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Baseball and football, with their large sample sizes of repetitious and sometimes exhilarating events, are tailor-made for statistical analysis. Soccer? It has none of that. One ball, two goals, and 22 players on the field are the only things that are the same from match to match. Sometimes even the field sizes vary. It’s tough to make an interesting graphic out of unrepetitive chaos. So, how to visualize Euro 2012? One solution: look at everything besides the action on the field. Luckily, this year’s edition of the European championship is rife with player-related storylines. There are future “all-time greats” in Cristiano Ronaldo, lovable aging vets Andriy Schevchenko and Giorgos Karagounis (easily the most dramatic, impassioned player at the tournament). There are also young, feisty, and incredibly talented up-and comers (pretty much all of Germany’s team). I really believe this: an essential key to enjoying sports is knowing at least a little bit about the background of the players and teams involved. For a sport like soccer that gets scant coverage in the US, this presents a roadblock. Would you watch the NBA Finals if you had only heard LeBron James’ name maybe once at a party (and, by extension, had no idea who Kevin Durant or any of the other players were)? A lot of this background knowledge is simple things – how old or young a team is, how much playing experience they have going in. That’s what makes up the top half of this graphic. The bottom half is more about the teams. Teams that, thanks to globalization, FIFA’s new eligibility rules, and/or a geo-political theory of your choice, are looking and more and more diverse. I thought it would be interesting to sort the Euro 2012 players not by the country on their shirt, but the country (or countries) in their blood. Turns out that even though it’s called the “European Championship,” a lot of the world is involved. Perhaps that’s why it’s so popular. I manually compiled much of the data from the UEFA web site, and used transfermarkt.com to research the eligibility background of the tournament’s 368 players. Together, these two sources make a pretty complete database. This graphic contains just a few small subsets of that data. If you like it, share it – and let us know whether you’d like to see more!
by visually. Browse more infographics.

Alexander Abnos is a digital media journalist based in New York City. When he’s not compiling data on soccer players, he’s probably watching soccer players play soccer. Occasionally he plays music, too. Say hi: @anabnos.

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