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Photojojo’s Extra-Jolly Holiday Gift Guide — What to Buy and Why in 2007
Jack

Ever since the Three Amigos brought gifts of gold, frankenstein and maple syrup to the baby Jesus the first Christmas so long ago, mankind has delighted in the swapping of neat stuff with loved ones come this time of year.

Frankenstein and maple syrup might not be on our list this year, but we still put the same careful thought into what gifts we give to our family and friends. Without further ado, here’s our gift-giving guide to what to buy, and why, for the coming holidays….

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Add Star & Heart-Shaped Bokeh to Your Photos — Fun to Say, Looks Great Too!
bokeh-feature2.jpg

One of our favorite words as photo-loving folk is the word “Bokeh.”

Not only is it fun to say, but “Bokeh” adds incredible depth and interest to our photos – creating blurred, out-of-focus areas in them (“the Fuzzy”, we like to say) that can change a regular ol’ snapshot into a photograph.

We just found a tutorial that helps you shape the Fuzzy into different shapes – stars, hearts, butterflies… Imagine how cool it is to see hearts appear in your portraits, almost magically!

It’s actually easier than you think – simply make a fake lens hood from black construction paper, then cut a hole out of it in the shape you’d like. When light reaches your lens through the shaped hole, it’ll then take on that shape – whether its a star or a heart or whatever!

We feel like a giant anvil just fell on us from the sky, ala a Looney Tunes cartoon – we’re seeing stars everywhere with our photos now. We love it!

Create Your Own Bokeh

Don’t miss the six best ways to use this technique in your photos. Photo by joy_sale.


   
   
Make Photo Scramble Games from your Photos Online, with Befuddlr

befuddlr_feature.gifRemember those plastic scramble puzzles you used to get in cereal boxes or from the toy vending machines at the grocery store?

Now you can create a puzzle with your own photo (without pushing around hard plastic chicklets with your fingernails) with Befuddlr.

Upload your photo to the Photojojo Flickr group, go to Befuddlr and click “photojojo”, select your photo, and scramble it into an online puzzle game!

The site will even time your unscrambling attempts, making for a perfect mid-day office-wide showdown.

We did this one in 21.4 seconds. Can you beat us?

Befuddlr: Make Online Photo Scramble Puzzles from Your Photos

Photo by jessi

p.s. Our pal Amy, one of the site’s founders, tells us they’ve got lots more on the way, including user accounts and a way to challenge your friends directly!


   
   
The Game of Photo-opoly! — Customize Your Own Board Game with Your Photos
Photo-opoly

Uncle Herman may be a greedy, monopolistic tycoon, but you’re the one with the deed for your sister Betty’s dusty old garage.

In the game of Photo-opoly, it doesn’t matter if you own Boardwalk or Park Place – because it’s your photos and memories in the game instead!

Photo-opoly lets you make the game; with everything you need to make a customized version of your own ‘opoly, just add your photos!

If you’re planning on spending some time with the fam this holiday, you may have just found the perfect pastime.

Photo-opoly includes board, playing pieces, dice, cash and cards, a glue stick for adding your photos onto property lots and deeds, simple instructions, and a photo cutting guide to slice your photos to size.

Photo-opoly – Yeah, it’s like the original. Only way more awesome.

Photo-opoly – Custom Board Game from Your Photos
A customized photo-opoly board is the perfect “warm, fuzzy memory”-inducing gift for even the grouchiest in your life.


   
   
Throw Gravity Out the Window — The “Dreams of Flying” Photo Series
Dreams of Flying

Our old pal Isaac Newton spent his whole life trying to prove that Up was Up, and Up pressed Down on things that were Down.

Well we’re bucking that now-established wisdom and making Sideways where it’s at.

Jan von Holleben’s photo series, “Dreams of Flying,” cleverly switches Up with Sideways by having neighborhood kids lie on their sides amid props on the ground around them.

We guess von Holleben figured that kids spend most of their time crawling around in the dirt anyway, so why not make the best of it?

Bucking gravity, his photographs recreate wondrous scenes from our childhood dreams – taking us back to a time when our grandest ambitions were to explore jungles, walk the moon, and blaze across the Sahara on doggie-back.

The results are imaginative and brilliant. And, taking a page from von Holleben’s book, we’re now off try this for ourselves! All we need is a ladder, some kids, and a camera… Viva la Sideways!

Jan von Holleben’s “Dreams of Flying” Photo Series

p.s. Try this out along with us! Post your results in this post in the Photojojo Forum, and you may be randomly chosen to win a special prize.

p.p.s. Keen readers may note that Karina blogged this over a year ago. We just loved the idea so much we had to write about it twice!


   
   
See Life From a Dog’s Point-of-View with the Photojojo Doggie-Cam!
The Doggie-Cam!
Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

Boy, if we only knew what dogs went through.

Our canine compadres always seem to get the short end of the bone in life, so that’s why we’re inventing a Photojojo first: The Doggie-Cam.

By sticking a camera on our four-legged friend Molly, we’ll finally see the world as she sees it, and maybe then we’ll be able to sympathize. No more doggie disrespect!

Who knows, after this we might just start lobbying for dogs’ rights. Dogs deserve to vote, we think. And where’s all the doggie mayors? Well, we’ll change that. The 2008 presidential elections? We’re talkin’ third-party dog candidate, baby. Before you know it, dogs will be in positions of power everywhere — dogs could rule the world!

Whoa, Nelly. So we might not go that far. But sometimes, we think it’s worth it to look at life from the underdog’s point-of-view, and with the Doggie-Cam, now we can.

p.s. Help us out, Digg this tutorial!

(Thanks to reader Wayne Pyle for pointing us to what we should admit is the first doggie cam, and hooking us on this idea.)

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Square is Out, Circle is In — Circle-ize Your Photos with the Circle Cutter
Circle Cutter

Cassette tapes. Pop tarts. Refrigerator boxes. Your photos.

Rectangle and Square might have dibs on a lot of neat stuff, but that doesn’t mean Circle has to put up with it.

We think it’s high-time our pal Circle got some of the photo love. Luckily, we’ve got the perfect tool to make it happen: The Circle Cutter.

Using it is simple: adjust the (aptly-named) Circle Cutter to the size you want (it’ll do several, up to about 4″), put it on a regular ol’ dull rectangular photo, then turn the Cutter all around as it cuts. In no time flat, you’ve circle-ized your photo – not a 90-degree angle in sight!

Round just opens up a wide new realm of cool possibilities for photos – photo curtains (clip ‘em together with the 30 included Foto-Clips), photo badges (circle-ize your photos and pin ‘em on proudly), photo mobiles (cut ‘em then hang ‘em with some thread)… heck, Circle-izing makes the whole world possible (quite literally.)

We love you, old Circle friend. We’re right there with ya, and now, we’re pleased to say, our photos are too.

The Circle Cutter
Now on sale for $14 in the Photojojo Store!


   
   
De-Pixelize Your Photos Instantly with VectorMagic
VectorMagic - pixels be gone!

Ever had Grandma Edna email you her latest vacation cruise photos, only to find the images so small and pixelated that she and Gramps look like they were made of LEGOs?

VectorMagic has the answer. A free website from the folks down at Stanford, VectorMagic takes your raster images and turns them into smooth vector drawings.

Unlike raster images, vector drawings are made of geometric shapes instead of pixels, so you can infinitely resize them with no fuzzy or blockiness! This makes them ideal for blowing up a small photo to, say, the size of your bedroom wall.

Other programs that will do this, but VectorMagic is web-based and will run on most computers. Plus, its algorithms do an impressive job of translating photographs into realistic vectors — something others choke on.

So dump those passé pixels… and give your tiny photos a new photographic life, smooth and vectorized!

VectorMagic — Convert Photographs to Vector Images Automatically

See also…
Rsizr — Free seam-carving image resizing on the web
A magically intelligent seam-carving, image-resizing tool

The Rasterbator – Huge, Wall-sized Prints Using Your Inkjet or Laser
Turn any photo into a wall-sized poster using the printer in your home or office

BlockPosters – Turn Photos Into Posters With Block Posters
An alternative take on the giant-photo-poster-making hipness

p.s. Be one of the first to join our brand-new Photojojo fan club on Facebook! (We’re having decoder rings made up as we speak.)


   
   
Take Photos From Inside Your Mouth … with the Smiley-Cam!
The Smiley-Cam!

There’s nothing like a big “Say cheese!” to bring out the pearly whites.

But all this talk of grinning reminds us of one of our life-long curiosities — what about our teeth’s perspective? What it’s like looking out from inside our mouths?

At long last, we’ve found an answer: the Smiley-Cam!

Pinhole photography enthusiast Justin Quinnell has perfected the art of using bite-size pinhole cameras to get those difficult but illuminating inside-your-mouth-looking-out perspective shots. Even better, Justin’s selling his pinhole ‘smiley-cam’ cameras for cheap.

Finally, you can turn the tables on Uncle Herman the next time he shouts, “Say cheese!”

The Smiley-Cam — The In-Mouth Pinhole Camera
Check out Justin Quinnel’s Smiley-Cam pics or get your own from Justin for $23 bucks.


   
   
Add Wi-Fi to any Camera with the Eye-Fi Wireless SD Memory Card
eyefi-feature.jpg

Before we even start to tell you what this thing is, we have to tell you: it’s amazing, we LOVE it, and it makes us feel like we’re living in the future.

Also, let us answer up front, with a dandy little mini-FAQ, what you’ll soon be asking:

Q: Is this really as awesome as it sounds?
A: Yes. Maybe awesome-er.

Q: Wait, are you serious? Is this for real?
A: You betcha.

With that out of the way… the Eye-Fi Wireless memory card adds Wi-Fi to any camera that uses SD memory. It’s orange. It looks like a normal SD camera memory card. It holds 2 GB of photos. And it wirelessly uploads your photos to your computer and to Flickr or one of 16 other photo sharing sites.

We always dreamed that someday, we’d merely turn on our cameras and all our photos would be invisibly downloaded to our computer and uploaded for our friends to see. It’s someday.

No buttons, no antennas, and no wires. Just modern technological magic.

Wi-Fi SD Memory Card
$99.99 at the Photojojo store for 2GB of storage and antenna-free, cable-free, subscription fee-free wifi heaven.

p.s. We’re the first to ship this little bugger (we started last night) and we’re already sold out of half of our inventory. We think it’s gonna be a hit!

p.p.s. Wish there were a CompactFlash version? We do, too. We’re testing adapters and expect to have one for sale next week.

p.p.p.s. To our friends abroad, the Eye-Fi is not yet certified for use outside the United States. They’re working on it!


   

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