Hootsuite Hiring Hootenanny

While I do worship at the altar of technology, I also know that nothing can replace good old-fashioned face to face interaction. Never has this been so clear to me since I started my search for my next challenging and exciting source of employment. When I last went on a full-out job search, postings could be found online, but it was still appropriate and acceptable to walk in and present a résumé or fill in a paper application. Now personal interaction and paperwork is pretty much shunned. Yesterday, I practically had to force front-line employees to accept a paper resume at places where I had already applied online. The managers at both locations were not available for me to shake hands with or present my cover letter and resume in person. Both times I was directed me to the online application, which I had already filled out.

Signing in at the Hootsuite Hiring Fair
Signing in at the Hootsuite Hiring Fair

So it was a sweet-scented breath of fresh air when I showed up at the open house hiring fair at Hootsuite that evening. It was an energetic crowd that lined up for a look at Hootsuite’s new headquarters in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. After an efficient sign in process, where my paper resume was cheerfully accepted, we waited in the lobby for a bit and then were released into the rest of the building. Our name tags were colour coded with the department (Marketing, Sales, etc) that we expressed the most interest in at the entrance, but we were encouraged to talk to anyone. The staff wore the same style of name tags, with just their department or position added.

Friendly Wanna-be Owls
Friendly Wanna-be Owls

Everyone was ridiculously friendly and approachable. There was a buzz in the air and lots of stickers scattered everywhere with Hootsuite’s feathered mascot Owly. I had some great conversations with Hootsuite staff as well as other interested applicants. It was a fun and fantastic opportunity to get a peek inside their new nest and see all the interesting open-work spaces and hang-out places. The best part was just being able to meet people I had been getting to know through Twitter and Instagram and to actually be acknowledged back as a real person. It’s ironic that a high-tech company comes across as more human than places that have store fronts and are built on customer service. Thanks Hootsuiters, for giving a hoot about meeting me and shaking my hand!

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Four Fab Photo Apps

Science World in Vancouver edited with Picfx
Spacey Science World edited with Picfx

Photography has been a passion of mine for a long time. I’ve played around in a dark room, manipulated Polaroid emulsion transfers and I bought a digital camera when 4 mega pixels was a big deal. One thing I was not quick to embrace was cell phones with cameras. I saw it as a useful tool to capture data, but I was not open to the artistic merit angle. I usually carried a camera with me, so I never relied on capturing essential images with a phone. Well, that all changed when I switched from a Blackberry to the iPhone4S last year. It finally dawned on me that it was not the technical specs that was the key feature of using the camera on smartphones (though finally it was on par with point-and-shoots) it was the share-ability of the images captured. Rather than waiting to download scores of images to my laptop (usually late at night) and then finally getting around to putting them up on Facebook, I could instantly share what I was seeing with friends, family and all my social networks. Over the last year I’ve gotten more creative with the images I share and here are the top four iPhone apps that I have used the most:

Instagram

Victoria Cityscape edited with Instagram
Victoria Cityscape edited with Instagram

I started using Instagram mostly as a way to share images with Facebook, Flickr and Twitter and I played around with the filters, frames and blurs. Lately, I’ve been more interested in Instagram as a social network as there are some amazingly talented and creative people who share their creations through Instagram. I’ve started using more hashtags on my photos under @juliaaustine and I’ve seen the number of likes and comments go up as well (also the amount of spam, but I figured out how to delete those comments).

Picfx

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Powerful Sky edited with Picfx

After using Instagram for a while, I noticed that people’s images were going beyond the manipulations offered there and so I started looking for ways to add more effects to create more dramatic images. I downloaded Picfx (paying a whopping $1.99) and haven’t looked back. With over 100 effects and the ability to layer effects and control the intensity, there are a mind-boggling amount of combinations that can be created.

Bokehful

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Sun Forest edited with Picfx, Bokehful & Instagram

One of my favourite effects from Picfx was the different bokeh light layers. The only problem was that it was static, you could adjust the intensity but not the placement. Enter Bokehful. For 99 cents, I could not only control the intensity and placement, there were colour palettes and shapes literally at my fingertips! I keep reminding myself that less is more so that I don’t go overboard.

PicFrame

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Diner Desires edited with PicFrame & Instagram

A photo may say a thousand words, but sometimes that’s not enough! From the same designers as Bokehful, ActiveDevelopment, I turned to PicFrame to solve this dilemma. By dropping another 99 cents, I’m able to put multiple images together with a variety of frames and labels that I haven’t tired of yet.

Though I mostly use Instagram to share the final images, I’m finding that to create the effect that I want I sometimes use ALL of the above apps to tweak the original shot before sharing it. So get creative and take a boring pic that anyone could capture and make it your own!

Please let me know what your favourite photo app is as I’m always looking to add to my image arsenal.

Video: Recap of Apple's New iPad Unveiling

Our Apple family has expanded with the addition of our (read: my) new iMac. It’s the basic model, but way fancier than my 5 year old MacBook Pro. The laptop is still alive, but it had reached the point where it could no longer upgrade to the newest operating system. It was stuck in Snow Leopard and I wanted to join the pride. Once I realized that I don’t take my laptop anywhere since I’ve had my iPad, it made sense to go with a desktop. Bigger, faster, better, more and all for less. So, I’ve been pretty Apple immersed and obsessed with the researching, shopping and setting up. The Apple mania reached its pinnacle today with the much-anticipated (in my house, at least) Apple announcement at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco.

The rumour mills have been churning overtime since Apple sent out invites for the unveiling of the new iPad last Tuesday. Would it lose the home button (nope)? Would it have Siri (kinda)? Would it have a retina display (yup)? This morning at 10am Pacific, the questions began to be answered in San Francisco. I followed along on wired.com‘s live updates, refreshing between sips of green tea latté at my local Starbucks relaying the hi-lights to my Apple loving son.

Watch the video for what stood out for me. Some pretty cool upgrades, but no “one more thing” to blow us away. Maybe next time…

Until then, check out the new Facebook Page for Meat of the Message. You can ‘like’ it right from this page!

we Message

Last Autumn I traded in my Blackberry for an iPhone 4S. There were a few things that led up to the decision: my husband had recently switched to an iPhone, my Blackberry was dying and I bought into the iPhone 5 hype. I was reading every rumour and myth online about the upcoming “rethink” and all the magical features that it should, could, would have.

The transition wasn’t without its hitches and blips (not unlike going from a PC to a Mac), but there is something to be said for being in sync (literally) with all your devices and for being on the same wavelength as the rest of your family. With the arrival of iOS 5, all our Apple units can wirelessly update and connect. My son texted me from his iPad at school on Valentine’s Day that he had forgotten the Valentines for his class. I ran them over before lunchtime.

I miss all the BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) contacts that I had amassed, but now I am filling up my contacts with iMessage peeps. I do prefer that it is integrated with text messaging, so I only have to go to one place, the speech bubbles format is also easier to read and review conversations. One thing that has made these iMessage chat-a-thons more fun is activating the built in emoticons. No need to download an app, all your smiley friends are already there! Just go to Settings, General, Keyboard, International Keyboards, Add New Keyboard…, Emoji. After all that, when your keyboard pops up there will be a little globe icon to the left of the space bar. Tap the globe and it will switch to hundreds of faces and icons and awesomeness. This works for iPads and iPod Touches as well. I have tested sending some of these with a Blackberry pal and all she got was black squares.

The latest thing to get even more excited about is the new upgrade for Mac’s will include Messages as well! This will make our world a little smaller and bring us all a bit closer and I’m all for that!