Category Archives: Family

Nokia Storyteller: A Parent’s Best Friend

I saw this preview of what to expect on the new Nokia Camera + Storyteller combo, I’ve been looking forward to getting my hands on the Cyan update.

Nokia Camera + Storyteller Demo

To my delight, the Storyteller app has been updated over the weekend. (I just love waking up to app updates).

Prior to the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview, I was happy that Storyteller allowed me to group and view my photos by date and event. I have an enormous amount of photos and videos on my phone and scrolling through them using the built in photo gallery from Windows Phone 8.0 was a pain. The developer preview at least let me sift through dates which made my use of storyteller close to none since then. That all changed over the weekend as it seems the latest update has now enabled some of the features promised. My favourite being the automatic Story Video feature.

Kids == Tonnes of Photos and Videos

The whole reason I got myself a Lumia 1020 is because it was marketed as the best smartphone camera and having 2 kids, I knew I had a lot of moments that I’d want to capture. I kind of went overboard with the capturing though, i think i now have close to 60+ GB of photos and videos of my kids. This also became my reason to purchase storage on Skydrive, since everything was already backed up over there, i could easily just delete the files that were on my phone.

Nobody is going to have time to look at all that

As tempted as I am to spam my friends’ newsfeed with photos and videos of my kids, I know that’s just going to be impossible so after a day out with them, or with visiting family, I have to spend some time at the end of the day making a photo collage of the highlights of the day and posting that on facebook. When it comes to video content though, I have to review all of them, and select which one i want to post. Again, i don’t want to spam my feed with all the videos. Sometimes though, it’s tough to choose since there’s bound to be more than one activity during the day.

When I really have a hard time choosing, I spend some time with the Movie Maker 8.1 app to make a video collage but it really takes a lot of time.

Since i don’t have any royalty free music, i take the extra step of using the Movie Moments app to add sound and nice titles to my film.

This whole process takes a lot of time, and effort so I end up with a lot of pictures and footage that no one sees.

I Need A Quick Solution!

I’ve been tempted several times to revert to Google & iOS for their solutions, both Native and 3rd Party where there’s pretty much no effort to create really nice, short video collages.

Google’s Auto Awesome

Cameo App on IOS

All my assets are on my phone and on OneDrive so I am pretty much locked in, without an option. At least that’s what i thought.

Enter Storyteller’s Story Video

Like I mentioned, it used to be just a nice way to organize/view your photos. Everything automatically gets grouped by place and date. You can merge/splits stories as well so you’re in full control if it somehow messes up your Stories.

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The Story Video feature basically creates a 30 second video montage of all the media in that “Story”. If you’re not happy with it, you can easily modify the photos that are included in the Story Video but still keep these assets in the same story.

There’s a button to edit the story and you get options to change up the photos and the music.

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Some improvements that would make it even more awesome:

  • Increase the number of soundtracks (i hear they’re working on it)
  • Increase the length of video shares (1 minute to a length of a song perhaps?)
  • Improve the fonts for the photo captions
  • Add more title effects

I’m really excited to see how this app develops.

Daytrip to Legoland

My brother and his girlfriend are visiting over the weekend and they wanted to go visit Legoland. We previously attempted to go with Erik but it ended up being a really hot day and so we roamed around Puteri, Harbor instead. Erik would have been too you to appreciate it anyway, at least at that time.

They’ve just recently opened the Water Park so knowing how Erik loves the water, we decided to all go (well, except for Celyn, since she still doesn’t have her dependent’s pass)

We weren’t quite sure what to expect about the traffic going in since we’ve had different experiences everytime but surprisingly, there was not much of a queue when we were leaving SG on Monday at around 9:30. Maybe traffic’s already let up or maybe it’s because of the public holiday, not too sure, we haven’t really driven to Malaysia often enough to know whether that would have been considered normal.

Customs was a breeze, we didn’t have to get down from the car. I wasn’t quite sure it would be the same since we had tourists with us, but apparently it was. Going out of SG customs, you pay using your cashcard and on the Malaysia side, you pay with a Touch n’ Go card. If it’s your first time driving in or you don’t have any credit in your existing card, you’ll want to keep to the 2nd leftmost lane to buy a new card or top up. I think you can buy a new card for 15 ringgit and each way is 7. (we have two cards since the second time we went, we couldn’t remember where we put the first one we bought).

Finding the place was pretty easy, as they had signs to Legoland guiding you through out the way. Since there is quite a bit still under construction, it was a bit difficult to figure out where the parking was. There’s three lots and we were able to go in to L1 which I’m guessing was the closest one to the theme park. Parking was 7 Ringgit and you could pay via the Touch n Go card, so it was a good idea that we topped up more than what we usually needed for the toll in and out of Malaysia. Otherwise, there is also a ticketing machine for paying for parking.

We had left home at 9am and arrived there close to 10am, which is when they would open. Already there was quite the line but I guess that is expected of theme parks and it probably wouldn’t hurt if we had arrived even earlier.Toddlers (less than 2 years old) get in the theme park for free but for the waterpark, you’d need to pay 10 ringgit, but they give you 2 free swimming diapers. We ended up buying the annual pass for both cause we were pretty sure we’d be going back again. The annual pass was about twice as much as a day pass would cost.

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We did a quick lap around the theme park but for most of the rides, Erik couldn’t go on yet. We did find a toddler playground with a little train track that he could go on.

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By 11 am, it was getting quite warm so we decided to take a break, beat the rush hour and have lunch. You could pay with credit card so you can survive with minimal cash (although we did see an ATM machine beside the ticket counters). We spent about 40 ringgit on the two adult meals we had.

Since we agreed to leave at 3 to beat the traffic back, we decided to go for the water park after lunch and it was a great way to cool off. They had both big and small lockers you could rent out for the whole day for 40 and 20 ringgit respectively. Phones and wallets obviously went into the locker so I’m glad i brought my waterproof camera. They were out of the big lockers so we stuffed as much as we could in and brought a small bag with water and food for Erik together with the pram. We parked it at a corner close to where one of the life guards were stationed, though there weren’t really any valuables in the stash and went about our business.

They had a toddler pool that went just up to Erik’s waist and the “Lazy River” where they had floaters with lego block connectors for the blocks that were floating around. They also had a wave pool and of course the big water slides for the “big kids”.

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They also had “Cabanas” that you could rent, basically tents that had curtains to give you privacy, a fan, a safe, mini fridge and a couple of regular and reclining chairs and a table. A perfect basecamp for bigger groups. Maybe next time when Yaya and Celyn come along, though there is also a hotel that is opening up in 2014.

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When we were done, we went back to the lockers to get dressed. Key learning was to opt to put in a pin as a backup to unlock your locker as the lockers were using fingerprint scanners that don’t really work well on wrinkly, water-soaked fingers.

Outside the Waterpark, there were a bunch of restaurants and shops we could explore while waiting for the rest of the group.

We ended up going home at around 4, a bit more cars than when we came in but still manageable.

All in all, it was a fun trip, definitely one that we’ll be doing again.