Tips and Tricks: for Better Smartphone Photography

For many, phones have completely replaced dedicated digital cameras, but even pros reach for their iPhones or Samsung Galaxy phones to snap images from time to time. Here’s how to take better pics with your smartphone.


By Jim Fisher of

Your smartphone is always with you, a constant companion that can connect to the web to look up any tiny nugget of trivia, and generally keep you in constant contact with the outside world. It’s one of the key items you grab before leaving the house, and the last time you (probably) turned it off was at the movie theater.

This also makes your phone your take-everywhere, shoot-anything digital camera. Just a few short years ago, making images and video with smartphones was a compromise, with poorer image quality but a heck of a lot more convenience than a good point-and-shoot camera.

But times have changed and phone cameras have gotten better and better. The latest models offer superior imaging and video to budget point-and-shoot cameras, and offer nifty software tricks to blur backgrounds, just like an SLR and f/2 or f/1.4 lens.
Check out these tips to get the best images you can get from your phone. But remember, even with the latest tech, phones aren’t as versatile imaging tools as modern interchangeable lens cameras.

Start With a Good Camera Phone

Smartphone camera quality has enjoyed a big leap forward in quality over the past couple of years. If you’re using an older handset, chances are the camera isn’t up to snuff. If camera quality is a priority when shopping for a new one, make sure you peruse our list of the top camera phones we’ve tested. But remember that you really can’t go wrong with the latest Apple iPhone, Google Pixel, or Samsung Galaxy devices.

Look for the Light

Smartphones have very bright lenses—the Samsung Galaxy S9 has one that opens up all the way to f/1.5. But sensors are much smaller than you find in a premium compact camera with a 1-inch sensor like the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II. That gives them a distinct disadvantage in image quality in dim lighting. To get the best shots, look for opportunities where your phone’s sensor can shine. If you’re indoors, try to set up your shot so there’s light falling on your subject—some window light will do more to improve your photos than a new phone or camera. It’s always a better option to find good light as opposed to using your phone’s underpowered LED flash.

Adjust Exposure

Smartphones are the modern point-and-shoot, but the apps that run their cameras typically offer some level of manual control. The most basic adjustment you can make is exposure—brightening or darkening a scene—and using it effectively can turn a bland image into a head-turner. Use it to brighten the shot of your fancy dinner to make it perfect for Instagram, or to darken shadows in a portrait for a more dramatic look.

The feature isn’t always labeled the same. On an iPhone you’ll want to drag the sun icon, to the right of the focus confirmation box, up to brighten an image or down to darken it. Android phones typically have the more traditional +/- icon for exposure adjustment.

Turn On Your Grid

Pro SLRs typically have framing grids in the viewfinder window to help you better square up shots and conform to compositional guidelines like the rule of thirds. (For more on composition and other photo basics, read our tips for basic photography, which apply as much to smartphones as they do to pro cameras.)

You can turn on the same thing in your phone’s camera app. Adding a grid line gives you help in keeping the horizon straight and is a big plus for portraits in front of famous landmarks. With the notable exceptions of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it’s generally a good idea to keep upright structures perfectly vertical in your photos.

Learn Your Camera’s Features

The imaging capabilities of modern smartphone cameras are staggering. We’ve seen advances in computational photography that allow you to blur the background of images, mimicking the look of a wide aperture lens and big image sensor, and some handsets can also capture insanely slow-motion video.

Your phone probably has a good burst mode too, and it’s never a bad idea to take a few images in a sequence to get the best one—just make sure not to post all of them. iPhone owners can check out Live Photos, which mix still images and video together.

Try an Add-On Lens

Your phone’s camera certainly has one lens, and some models offer dual rear cameras with the second lens capturing a tighter or wider angle of view than your phone’s main eye. A quality add-on lens will cost you—the bargain-basement ones we’ve reviewed have been universally terrible. Go with a trusted brand like Moment or Olloclip.

Picking the type of add-on lens is important too. I think a macro adds the most versatility to your phone’s camera, but you may prefer an ultra-wide, a fish-eye, or a telephoto conversion lens.

Focus Close

Even without a macro add-on, your phone can focus pretty close. Use it to your advantage. You can snap a shot of your fancy dinner and get close up, but keep the whole frame in focus. That’s something you can’t do with a big camera shooting at f/1.4 or f/2, and one of the areas where small image sensors have a practical advantage over larger ones.

Get a Gimbal

It’s not all about images. Entry-level compact cameras are stuck at 720p, but if you’ve got a recent smartphone you have a 4K-capable video camera in your pocket. Flagship models include optical image stabilization, but that can only go so far. If you want truly smooth, great-looking video, think about a powered gimbal to keep your phone steady. Our favorite is the DJI Osmo Mobile 2, a $130 device that steadies video, can track moving subjects, and also supports time-lapse and panoramic stitching.

Add a Microphone

When shooting video, good audio is more important than sharp footage. Your phone’s internal mic is meant for making phone calls—not recording high-quality audio. Headphone jacks may be disappearing from phones, but you can get a microphone that plugs directly into your USB or Lightning port, or one that works with your phone’s audio dongle. Just make sure to read some reviews to make sure the mic is compatible with your particular phone and its operating system.

Edit Your Shots

Your phone is a powerful handheld computer, just as capable of making basic image adjustments as a high-end laptop running Photoshop. You should download some image editing software—my favorite is VSCO, a free download for both Android and iOS—or use the basic image editing tools built into your operating system.

More advanced photographers can enable Raw capture, which will deliver much more leeway in editing. And if you have a dual-lens iPhone, you can add an app like Focos, which allows you to adjust the amount of and quality of background blur in your Portrait Mode shots.

What tips do you have for shooting quality pic on a smart phone? Tell us in the comments below!

App of the Week: Photos

Apple’s Photos App Has a Hidden Feature for Tweaking Adjustments Even More


By Kirk McElhearn of

I’ve been writing about Apple’s Photos app a lot lately, because I’ve decided to master this app rather than spending my time learning how to use Photoshop and Lightroom. Sure, those Adobe apps are powerful, but you can do a lot with Photos, and I’d rather spend my time taking pictures than tweaking them with complicated workflows and settings.

When you edit photos in Apple’s Photos app, by clicking the Adjust button, you see a number of sliders. They affect things like Brightness, Exposure, Contrast, and more. You click and drag the central lines of those sliders to increase or decrease each of these settings from -1.00 to +1.00.



However, if you press the Option key, then drag a slider, the scale increases, and you can move it from -2.00 to +2.00. Here’s what the Light adjustments look like after I’ve pressed the Option key and dragged the Brilliance slider.

You can also double-click any of the numbers that display on those sliders (this is tricky, since a single-click moves the slider; you may have to double-click a few times to get the number selected), and type a number from -2.00 to +2.00 to apply that setting.

And if you don’t like your adjustment, you can reset each slider by double-clicking anywhere on the slider (but not on the number that displays).

It’s probably rare that you’ll need to make such extreme adjustments, but it’s good to know that you can.

Do you have a favorite photo editing app? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Tales from the Orchard – “Today at Apple” could easily backfire unless carefully managed at busier Apple Stores


By Ben Lovejoy of 9to5Mac

Among the images that Apple proudly featured in officially launching its Today at Apple initiative was one from an event I attended myself: an acoustic concert at London’s Regent Street store.

That was an accurate reflection of the event. The singer gave an excellent performance to an appreciative audience. But it didn’t provide the complete picture. The top photo, taken with my iPhone from my position close to the stage area, shows another aspect of the event: massive crowding with basically zero attempt at controlling those crowds …

You had to register to attend the concert, and places were theoretically limited to 250. But there was nothing at all to control numbers. The area wasn’t roped off in any way.

You could voluntarily check-in with staff, but it was clear that many of those who didn’t get places turned up anyway, and there were also people who were in the store when they saw from the huge screen that it was happening and decided to stay for it. There was no attempt by staff to find out who was registered and who wasn’t – and no system in place to make this a practical proposition.

We were fortunate to get there early enough to get places close to the front, but there would have been many more registered people who arrived before the start and would have been left standing just inside the front doors.

There was also a woman who told staff she was unable to stand for an hour, and while a couple of members of staff said they would try to find her a seat, the crowds meant this was basically an impossible task at which they failed. Not great for a company which says accessibility is a core value.

The crowds additionally meant that it would have been a nightmare to either try out any of Apple’s products or make a purchase. The display tables were packed with people watching the show, and staff wanting to sell anything had to fight their way through the throng to fetch products.

Granted, this was a special event designed to highlight the initiative. The vast majority of the events are the same workshops that have been offered for many years, and even with extra publicity aren’t going to attract those kind of crowds. But if Apple intends to make special events a regular feature, it has to manage the space a lot better than it did at the weekend.

I wrote before that I’m all in favor of Apple highlighting one of its best-kept secrets. Workshops are a great way to learn how to get more from Apple hardware and software, and also a place to get inspired about creative projects. I also support the notion of Apple Stores becoming places you go to try products, and to get informed about them, while most sales are made online.

But Apple also needs to remember that the primary function of a retail store is to allow customers to see the products, experience them and – yes – buy them. Almost every Apple Store I’ve visited has already been unpleasantly crowded. Adding special events into the mix requires it to develop proper processes to handle the crowds. Otherwise all that is achieved is that a lot of would-be customers get driven out of the stores.

Here are some other Quotes from some other reviewers:

“After the flat response to watches and watchbands, Angela must have spent a lot of time “hanging out” at Starbucks. You know, because buying an overpriced computer is exactly like buying an overpriced beverage. It is all too clear that Apple is after the same shallow, privileged, label-focused clientele.”

“Isn’t it amazing what a brilliant multimillionaire overpaid broad can come up with to spur more sales when she has no clue what the majority of computer users actually do?”

“Sounds like a near-cliche, nothing like a zinger to jab at the competition which itself would generate love and hate articles debating its use. It generates no emotion at all, the key to good PR no matter what part of the company it comes from.
That name comes straight from tradition and from the Balmeric-style establishment.
I truly am disappointed by its lack of creativity.”

How to: post Google Photo’s awesome animations to Instagram.


By Raymond Wong of Mashable

If you use Google Photos, you know the service is so much more than just the best way to store and back up all your photos and videos into the cloud.
Share Quote

Using advanced machine learning, Google Photos can intelligently identify people, places, and things — and it’s all easily searchable. One of the cooler things in Google Photos is the Assistant (not to be confused with Google’s other Assistant on Android and Google Home).

In the Google Photos app on iOS and Android, the Assistant is a card-based panel that does three things:

1 Shows you the status of your backup.
2 Automatically creates “movies” based on related video clips.
3 Creates “animations” using batches of bursted photos. (You can also create your own animations by manually selecting between 2-50 photos, but the end result is the same — you still get a GIF file.)

I’m constantly amazed by how great the automatically generated animations are, and it sure beats using a separate app like Burstio to convert your burst photos into a video or a GIF.

There’s just one little thing: While you can download and share the animated GIFs online to Twitter, Giphy or wherever using a computer, sharing GIFs natively to Instagram is still impossible without first converting the file into a video.
Here’s how to do that quickly and easily:

For iOS

On iOS, you’ll need to use another app like GifLab (free) to convert the GIF into a video. To find your animations, type “animations” into the Photos search bar in the iOS or Android app. Then, select your animation. (These are animations you’ve saved. Animations that Google Photos created but you didn’t save within 30 days of their creation will not appear and are lost forever, so save them when they’re created.)

Tap the “•••” located in the upper right corner and then tap “Download” to save the GIF. Then, open up GifLab and do the following:
Step 1: Open GifLab and select “GIF to Instagram.”
Step 2: Select your GIF and adjust the playback speed.
Step 3: Tap “Save and share on Instagram.”

For Android

On Android, things are even easier and you can share GIFs directly from Google Photos to Instagram, as the app automatically converts the GIF into a video, no extra app required.

Select your Google Photos animation GIF as outlined above and then tap the share icon in the lower left. Select Instagram as the app (obviously, have it installed and logged in) to share the GIF. Once the GIF’s been auto converted into a video, you’ll be taken Instagram where you can select a filter and add a caption.

Do you use Google’s Photos? Tell us what you think of it in the comments below!

App of the Week – Sprinkles

Microsoft Sprinkles camera app is fun and not at all depressing.


By Chris Burns of

The developers at Microsoft have successfully created another distraction to our everyday massacre of a modern life with an app called Sprinkles. With the app, users will be able to see how old the machine thinks they are – though that’s not a strictly new trick from Microsoft, it’s still wonderful to be able to do, if you look young. Another feature is matching your face with the celebrity that looks most like you.

Those individuals that wish to find out which celebrity they most look like will be able to do so with the Sprinkles app. Microsoft has created an app that guesses your age and matches your face with that of a celebrity. I was a bit disappointed to find that this app does not allow me to usurp cultural inheritance or go forth and swap my face with that of another face.

It’s OK, though. Microsoft has created a smart camera system which can automatically suggest captions for me. I don’t have to think of anything clever anymore. It will no longer look like I’m just showing pictures of my face because I need my face to be seen. Now it will look like I’ve become quite clever.

The icon for Sprinkles looks like a pink donut – but to be clear, this is not the Simpsons donut. That media empire is not connected to Microsoft directly at this time. Unless they’re working on some sort of secret dessert-themed software we’ve yet to hear about.

Users of iPhones and users of iPads can access the Sprinkles app download right this minute. Android users cannot access the app at this moment. Android users should – in my personal opinion – go check out an app like Nova Launcher instead – that’s freedom of device instead of automatic photo captioning. We’ll all be happier with that.

Have you tried Sprinkles? Let us know what you think of it in the comments below.

How to: use Apple Clips, the iOS video-editing app and why you’d want to.


Apple Clips is like iMovie meets Snapchat.


By Caitlin McGarry of Macworld

It’s easy to compare Apple’s new iOS app, Clips, to video-sharing social networks like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. But that’s not exactly fair, because Apple’s Clips isn’t social at all—it’s designed simply to help you create and edit fun videos. What you do with them after that is up to you.

This approach makes Clips less anxiety-inducing. To share a video on Instagram or Snapchat, you’ll want to shoot in Instagram or Snapchat to make sure the moment you’re capturing is perfectly framed. You can shoot in Clips, too, but this feels more like an app you’ll use after the moment has passed to stitch together memories and add a soundtrack and captions. Clips is way more low-key.

But that doesn’t make it less complicated to use. In fact, it’s on par with Snapchat when it comes to unintuitive design, so be prepared to spend an exorbitant amount of time creating your first clip. (We pray it gets easier the more you use it, but time will tell.) Here’s everything you need to know about using Apple Clips.

How to use Clips


First thing’s first: You need photos and videos to edit, right? Right. You can import them from your Camera Roll and stitch them together, or you can shoot photos or videos in-app. Pro tip: You can swipe left on the giant red “Hold to record” button if you plan on filming for awhile to lock the camera in recording mode. Just tap the button again when you want to stop shooting. Clips defaults to the Instagram-esque square format, so if you’re importing media, make sure it’ll look good square. (Some might mind this, but I don’t.)

From there you can swap videos or photos around in the visual timeline at the bottom of the app just by pressing and moving them. You can also easily trim video clips—just tap on the clip in the timeline and then tap the scissor icon to edit the video down to just the seconds (or minutes) you want to include.

Along with a video-trimming tool, Clips has all the standard social video-editing features (filters, emojis, etc.) tucked behind icons at the top of the app. Tapping the speech bubble icon adds captions in real time (more on this in a minute). Eight filters, ranging from black and white to my favorite Comic Book, are behind the interlocking circles icon. The star is hiding the time, your location, shapes like circles and arrows, and random words you can edit after adding them to your image or video. The ‘T’ icon unlocks title cards that can help you tell your story—the text on these cards is also editable. The last option, a music note, is how you add a song from iTunes or an Apple-supplied tune to your video.

It takes awhile to get to know the various tools and tricks to make Clips work for you, but you’ve got this. And remember that creating a clip in Clips doesn’t mean that video goes anywhere but your Camera Roll. You have to take extra steps to share it with anyone or on any platform, which makes it extremely low-pressure.

The best Clips features


Clips has a few features that set it apart from other video-editing apps, the most notable of which is Live Titles. That’s what Apple calls its real-time captioning tool, which is designed to make your video totally watchable without sound. This is perfect for scrolling through Facebook’s auto-playing News Feed, but also improves accessibility, making videos easy to watch for viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Live Titles supports 36 languages at launch, which is a feat for a brand-new app.

The Live Titles feature doesn’t always nail the speech-to-text translation, though. I didn’t experience any captioning errors in my tests, but if you speak quickly and run your words together, you might confuse the algorithm parsing your sentences. Speak slowly and enunciate to avoid having to edit your captions. (I actually didn’t know this was possible, but the Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern discovered that you can edit a caption by tapping on the video clip, then pausing the video where the error appears on screen and tapping on the text. Yeah, it’s kind of a process.)

But basically everything you see on screen is editable, which is incredibly useful. Every bit of text can be changed and even emojis can be easily swapped out by tapping on the emoji on-screen and then tapping again to access your emoji keyboard.

In your first few hours with Clips, it’ll feel a little burdensome. But once you figure it out, creating social videos with Clips is a cinch.

Time to share

Once your masterpiece is finished, it’s time to share it. Clips uses facial recognition to figure out who’s in your video and then suggests that you use iMessage to send your video to those friends, which is really cool.

You can also share a clip via email or post it to your go-to social networks, minus Snapchat. Snapchat is not designed for sharing what’s essentially a short social movie (not to mention the fact that clips are square and snaps are vertical). But clips seem tailor-made for sharing on Facebook in particular. Imagine creating movies of your kids or making your own DIY Tasty food recipe video with Clips. Post them to your page and watch the likes roll in.

It’s a good thing Apple didn’t try to build a social network around Clips (lesson learned from Ping, perhaps). Instead, Apple is doing what it does best: giving creators the tools they need to make good work. Right now, popular media tends to be short and shareable. With Clips, maybe you too can snag 15 minutes—or more likely seconds—of viral video fame.

What do you think of Apple Clips? Let us hear from you in the comments below!

WIT: Stopping revenge porn starts with more women in tech.


By Melanie Ehrenkranz of

Nearly three years after dozens of celebrities and actresses were targeted in a massive revenge porn campaign called the Fappening, women are under attack again.

In March, thousands of current and former male Marines were discovered to be sharing a massive stash of explicit nude photos without their subjects’ consent. The same month, someone reportedly leaked more private images of women in Hollywood, and stars like Emma Watson and Amanda Seyfried, allegedly targeted in the attack, are taking legal action.

Hacks like these are more than invasions of privacy. They’re serious personal attacks that more often than not fit the description of a sex crime. The distribution of explicit or sensitive images of someone without their consent is a form of revenge porn, or “image-based sexual abuse,” Durham University law professor Clare McGlynn said in an interview with Refinery29. This type of harassment is difficult to both prevent and enforce: When the Marines’ private Facebook group for nude photos was busted, users simply flocked to other, more off-the-radar sites.

As lawmakers have fought for harsher punishments for revenge porn distributors, there’s another way to protect victims: cybersecurity measures that protect users from having their personal images spread around the web. It’s an urgent reason to bring more women, who are disproportionately targeted in these attacks, into cybersecurity — a field with dismal gender parity and an inability to develop a work culture that allows them to thrive.


Revenge porn has millions of victims

Posting someone’s nude images online without their consent isn’t a form of harassment unique to celebrities. As many as 1 in 25 internet users in the United States (approximately 10.4 million people) has been threatened with or actually experienced having their explicit photos or videos posted online, according to a study from the Center for Innovative Public Health Research. The study showed that individuals from communities enduring the most harassment online also experienced a higher rate of revenge porn threats.

“Our findings show that particular groups — such as young adults and lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans — are not only much more likely to be victims of nonconsensual pornography, but are more likely to experience a range of online harassment and abuse,” lead researcher Amanda Lenhart said in a statement. “This includes other types of privacy violations, such as having their online or phone activity monitored, or having their passwords stolen or coerced by others.”

But many people still don’t take revenge porn attacks seriously. Brianna Wu, a video game developer and game studio founder, is currently running for Congress on a platform of privacy rights and inclusive technology. She knows the perils of online abuse firsthand. “We’ve seen young girls commit suicide after being violated online without consent,” she said in an email to Mic. “This is causing immense harm, but many men in tech are blind to it.”

“I was really amazed by how many men I knew in tech considered the Fappening on Reddit a fun diversion,” Wu said. But when she “tried to talk to them about it being a sex crime, a light did go off.”

The tech industry isn’t set up to prevent revenge porn

Mary Anne Franks, a professor at the University of Miami School of Law and the legislative and tech policy director of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, treats revenge porn as a “war on three fronts: legal, technological and social.” Socially, there’s been progress since 2012, she said, but her organization is still trying to “appeal to the tech industry to get a handle on the problem that they helped create.”

Tech companies rush out new products with lofty dreams of changing the world, but rarely do innovators appear to have considered the possibility of their revolutionary products being weaponized. “What’s particularly missing from that conversation is, ‘How will this affect women?'” Franks said.

“You can see that just in the way that Twitter is designed, you can see that in the way that Facebook” — which she said still hasn’t figured out how to prevent clips of rape and child abuse from popping up — “is designed,” she said. Franks also noted Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg’s previous creation, 2003’s, a website that allowed users to rank women on attractiveness based on their Harvard ID photos. “It’s not a coincidence that we ended up with the features and products that are heavily male dominated,” she said. 

So when “Facebook says, ‘Oh, we’re trying to figure out ways to get a handle on [violent, abusive content],’ that should be an unacceptable response,” Franks said. “Because if they didn’t have a handle on it before, they shouldn’t have rolled out the product.”

Facebook did recently address abuse issues following the Marines United scandal. New guidelines will address revenge porn by using photo-matching technology to stop the spread of nonconsensual images. 

As Wired notes, this will be helpful in mitigating revenge porn, but not preventing it. And it took a headline-grabbing scandal to nudge Facebook to roll out this protocol, when it should have anticipated the needs of its users before bad press forced its hand.

Another problem: The cybersecurity business is heavily male — and heavily white

According to a new report, women “account for just 11% of all cybersecurity professionals, earn less than their male counterparts across the board and generally feel underappreciated by their employers,” Fortune reported. 

Silicon Valley is notorious for its lack of diversity, its deeply rooted bro culture and, as a result, its pervasive exclusion of both women and people of color from the types of roles that can reshape that culture. It’s unsurprising that this trend persists in the cybersecurity industry, and that it extends beyond the business concerns to affect the internet’s most vulnerable users.

“It is entirely possible that these men never imagined the internet would free us from our earthly limitations,” Jenna Wortham wrote in the New York Times. “Instead they strove to create a world like the one we already know — one that never had equality to begin with.”

Cybersecurity experts have the ability to mitigate online abuse from a technological standpoint: They can create more efficient algorithms that scan the internet for revenge porn and quickly wipe it before it’s visible. Tech companies have the power to more strictly enforce the removal of such content. The Brookings Institution has recommended device manufacturers and internet companies develop webcams that are more easily obscured so that hackers can’t use them as surveillance devices. (In the meantime, you can always stick a Post-it note on yours.) Brookings also suggested that these companies can better encourage users to make sure they have strong passwords with less easy-to-guess security questions.

What women can offer

“Study after study has shown that women are more risk averse,” Tina Gravel, senior vice president of global channels and strategic alliances for Cryptzone, said in an email referencing a Harvard Business Review report. Gravel said that this finding can be an advantage in terms of developing the next generation of infrastructure and tech needed to stave off cybercriminals.

“Women are more likely to build these systems with security and risk reduction in mind and look for increasing ways to decrease risk, which will benefit us all,” she said. 

Franks said that until the tech industry scraps its flawed way of thinking — products exist, therefore they are valuable and should be protected even if they have issues — its products will continue to imperil women and minorities. As it stands, “the welfare of the people most likely to be hurt is always going to be an afterthought,” Franks said. 

And those most likely to endure harassment are going to be able to put those issues on the radar before they come up. That’s why a diverse team is so important.

Legislators need a better grasp of consent in the digital age

Rape culture still permeates our everyday lives — from media to victim blaming to sympathy for convicted rapists. It is also a pattern of behavior that persists among representatives in the legal system, according to Franks, which can contribute to the normalization of online sexual violence.  

“If we’re talking about legislators, the major problem is getting people past really, really outdated ideas and really moralistic ideas about sexual behavior,” Franks said. “When women are sexually assaulted, or they’re catcalled or when they’re harassed at work, we have this tendency to treat them as though it were their fault or as though the things that are happening to them are just not that serious.”

Franks said that the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative believes that the war on revenge porn can’t hinge purely on strong legislative reform and better practices from tech companies. It also requires a society that makes victims of online abuse feel safe speaking up about their experiences. It means people in power, like courts and lawyers, need to fully understand the issue at hand. It means approaching this type of harassment with empathy, not shame. 

“There are so many legislators who will honestly, in front of people, say, ‘Well, I don’t know why people are sending naked pictures to begin with,’ or, ‘If you’ve ever sent a naked picture before, you probably deserve it if they were to distribute it to someone else,'” Franks said. “There’s this really bizarre attitude toward sex that you see on the part of many legislators,” who are not just predominantly white and male, she said, but also “tend to be older.”

And tech companies need to step up

Wortham discussed her conversation with Alice Marwick, a fellow at Data & Society, summarizing Marwick’s point that “Silicon Valley tends to be ruled by a libertarian viewpoint — the notion that the less regulation and political interference in technology, the better.”
But the denizens of Silicon Valley also have a responsibility to regulate the spaces they’ve created, which too often afford their users the ability to discriminate, cyberbully and threaten others with spreading their private information. Franks said Silicon Valley tends to have a hands-off, no-regulation mentality, which has “proven to be pretty disastrous. … Many of the laws being written are not going to be terribly effective because the tech industry has so much immunity,” she said.

Many are hoping the legal system will catch up with tech and more rigorously enforce perpetrators of revenge porn. Until then, as Wired’s

Emma Grey Ellis has written, “tech companies have even fewer excuses for lagging than Congress.”  

Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google, Bing and Yahoo have all adopted policies, beginning in 2015, that ban revenge porn from their platforms. But these companies can still stand to work toward pre-emptive measures, as Franks noted — like waiting to roll out products or features until teams have deliberated on all of the ways, good and bad, they might affect users. 



Diverse teams build more inclusive products

A diverse team is not only good for a company’s bottom line, but also ensures that its products cater to the needs of a more diverse consumer base.

“The single most obvious reason to push hard for diversity is that promoting diversity means promoting understanding,” journalist and engineer Ipsita Agarwal wrote in a 2016 Medium post. “And that leads to better products that solve problems for those who might’ve otherwise been sidelined.”

Those in power can hire more women into cybersecurity, and also ensure they have female role models or mentorship when they arrive.

They can ensure that both men and women have equal opportunities to rise within the company. They can push recruitment teams to look for candidates in the right places (no, it’s not a “pipeline problem”), foster an inclusive environment and weigh men’s and women’s qualifications equally when considering them for a promotion.

“We need to help break down stereotypes and show young women that the field of cybersecurity is open to them,” Brenda Piazza, director of cybersecurity at CBIZ MHM, LLC, said in an email. “We need more women to enter the field, to demand equal pay and to help other women enter the cybersecurity industry.” 

In this specific instance, hiring more women — women of color, women from the LGBTQ community, women from the trans community — into cybersecurity will not only economically benefit the company itself, but it will lead to products and solutions that better address the privacy issues a larger breadth of consumers face. 

“Without a diverse set of individuals contributing to the industry (be that females, minorities, etc), we simply close the aperture by which we see risk, and that is harmful for everyone,” Gravel said.

Franks agreed: “The more diverse experiences you have in the room, the more likely it is you are going to see problems before they arrive.”

Who better to grasp what vulnerable users might face online than individuals who are disproportionately targeted?

App of the Week – Blogo

Probably the Best Blog Publishing App for Mac


By Asif Ahmed of

Have you ever been in a situation where you write a really long post, doing the formats, add images and when you are ready to publish, suddenly something off happens to your page and it dies, not the literal death, but the page fails to load and all your work is gone, just like that.

Yes, the revisions feature has helped me recover my lost posts but sometimes the loss between two revisions it just too much to handle.

This is why I love Desktop Publishing Tools, like the Windows Live Writer. I have always created posts in it since 2008. I am a kind of Ninja at doing posts using WLW.

It’s been a while since I moved to the Mac from PC. Thanks to the use of a Chromebook, which was my work machine for a few months. I had customised my workflow in a way that bypasses the need of a particular OS.

But, there were times when I had to turn to a Computer that supported apps, for video and photo editing, and that made me think about moving to Mac, which had most of my favourite apps, if not all. And offered great battery life, which is the reason I opted for Chromebook (it’s close to 8 hours of work time)

One of the app, that I missed terribly since moving from the Windows OS was Windows Live Writer, and that too when I am using my laptop for work.

I have always been a PC guy, even before when I started blogging, and I recently made the switch to Mac.

Thanks to the use of Chromebook for several months that I am able to customise my workflow in a way that I can get my work done inside a browser. Macbook is a good piece of hardware, I love the battery, which lets me work from Cafes without worrying about carrying the charger.

I mainly use it for writing along posts and working on other work that requires long form writing. I still publish most of my content from my Windows Based PC. I love the fact I can create posts faster with Windows Live Writer.

I’ve moved to publishing posts right from the WordPress Dashboard but I still feel using a Desktop publishing app like WLW can save a lot of time and energy.

There are few Desktop publishing apps for Mac as well, but I couldn’t stick with any of them until now.

Introduction to Blogo

I feel the need of a publishing app when I am away from my Home Office and have to use my MacBook Air primarily for everything. One such scenario occurred recently and I found Blogo in the App Store.

Blogo is a premium app priced at $29, the good thing is that it has a 30 day Free trial period which is enough to decide whether you want to invest $29 in it or not. I did, and I have been using it from last few weeks.

I’ve reached to a point where I know the app pretty well and can present my views which may help you decide whether you want to go for it or not.

Blogo supports WordPress, BlogSpot, Medium etc.

Few features include ➜
★ Saving your drafts to a linked Evernote Account,
★ Distraction Free Writing,
★ Inserting Images inline,
★ Edit/Crop/Resize the images and
★ Ability to preview the post how it is going to look like on the blog once it is live.

Setting up your blog with Blogo is easy, just put the blog URL to it and your are asked to put your login credentials to it. You can save the theme of your blog for a live preview of your posts. You need to enable the xmlrc in the WordPress which gives Blogo the ability to post on your blog.

Once my blog was added to Blogo and I started writing, it felt completely different from Windows Live Writer. In some cases, it lacks simple functionalities, like writing posts in theme layout editor. But, Blogo has a Separate blog preview windows that looks much better than Windows Live Writer’s preview.

WLW never really picked up the right theme layout most of them time, and the default one is not great to look at. Blogo’s default Editor is pretty nice and you can actually write without struggling to find your own words like in WLW.

Apart from that, the photos you insert appear only appear when you hover your mouse over the images, that too not in full height. But then I’m getting used to it because the Blog Preview Window shows me everything perfectly in real time.

Blogo also includes an Image Editor, which has some basic tools you can use to make changes to the images you insert.

Having said all the praise about Blogo, it is still not a perfect app (at least not yet) for example, I have to always click on Full Size, by default Thumbnail is selected and it adds a ‘image_thumbnail.jpg’ string to the image URL. Though it might not bother a lot of people, It bothers me a little and  I am expecting to get it fixed in future updates.

I have received two software updates in one month’s time. So, hopefully, the development team of Blogo is working hard to making it perfect. But it still is an amazing app to own if you write a lot of posts or own multiple blogs.

Features like pulling blog posts from the blog in a snap or approving pending comments on the posts right from the app itself, make it worth checking out. And thanks for the 14 days Free Trial, you can try before you buy.

Blogo is Free to use now, with some features available in a Premium Subscription.

Click here to try Blogo for Mac OS.

Click here to buy Blogo for iOS.

If you’re a Blogger, tell us what you’re workflow / favorite app is in the comments below.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: