Exclaim surpasses 400,000 paid subscribers for mobile apps

Exclaim Mobility, Princeton, N.J., a provider of mobile photo sharing and socialization applications, surpassed the milestone of 400,000 paid subscribers. Exclaim’s Pictavision app has received an unprecedented 116,000 five-out-of-five star ratings in AT&T’s AppCenter, where it is consistently a top seller. Exclaim’s flagship app, Snap Mobile, also continues to grow in popularity.

In just the past four months, Exclaim has grown its paying subscriber base from 250,000 users to more than 400,000. The company was recently recognized by AT&T’s Developer Program with the Deliver Award for outstanding sales and marketing.

Caricature Studio 6 brings amusement park-style photo novelties to the desktop

Novelty Photo Software, Clearlake Oaks, Calif., released a new version of their caricature software that creates novelty photoson the desktop. Caricature Studio 6 allows users to apply a variety of effects and overlays to any photo. Personalized greetings, fliers and web graphics are just a few applications. The photo-to-cartoon filters and talk bubbles make custom comics and cartoon panels. For a last-minute economical gift that will make a big impact, an inexpensive frame and matte can be used to create an instant signature frame. Create a fake magazine cover from a favorite photo of the recipient, then add one of over 100 templates included with the software. Friends and family can sign the matte and add personal anecdotes.

Caricature Studio 6 is available both as an instant digital download from the company’s website.

In Compliance: Lead paint in commercial buildings

The next major action from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) affecting building renovation and repair will likely be a rule to control lead-based paint hazards in public and commercial buildings. The rule will be directed at buildings not addressed in the April 2008 EPA rule; the 2008 rule covered lead-based paint hazards created by renovation, repair, and painting in target housing (i.e., most housing built before 1978) and child-occupied facilities, which includes some public housing.

The upcoming rule will cover the remaining pre-1978 public buildings and commercial buildings that are not child-occupied facilities. Following issuance of the 2008 rule, EPA reached an agreement with environmental and children’s health advocacy groups to issue a proposal to regulate renovations of the exteriors of public and commercial buildings other than child-occupied facilities.

In the May 2010 advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR), EPA notes several key factors that will guide the upcoming proposal. One important consideration is renovations on the exteriors of public and commercial buildings can create hazards in target housing and child-occupied facilities. EPA explains lead dust can travel in the environment and has been shown to be readily tracked into homes and other buildings. Another factor is a 1978 ban by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on the use of paint containing more than 0.06 percent lead by weight on interior and exterior surfaces of buildings used by consumers specifically exempted industrial and commercial building and equipment maintenance coatings.

With this exemption in mind, EPA raises the question of how to define public and commercial buildings in the context of the rulemaking. The definition is critical because it dictates the number of buildings that would be covered. The actual restrictions, likely an eventual rule, will impose the controls now practiced by renovators.

These include practices such as:

  • Closing the windows of the building during exterior renovations and the windows of other buildings adjacent to the work area
  • Placing plastic on the ground to capture fallen chips and dust during exterior renovations
  • Avoiding exterior renovations during windy conditions
  • Sealing off the work area for interior renovations

The EPA advanced notice was published in the May 6, 2010, edition of Federal Register.

InVisage secures series C venture funding

InVisage Technologies Inc., Menlo Park, Calif., received its series C round of venture funding, led by Intel Capital. The undisclosed amount will be used to bring the company’s QuantumFilm technology and products into mass production. Intel Capital joins InVisage’s existing investors RockPort Capital, InterWest Partners, OnPoint Technologies and Charles River Ventures.

“Image sensors for smart phones and handheld devices are a huge market opportunity and InVisage is well positioned to capture significant market share,” says Dave Flanagan, managing director, Intel Capital. “InVisage is the first company in a while to think differently about image sensors and we are confident that its products will lead the imaging market on a new vector of innovation.”

QuantumFilm is based on quantum dots — semiconductors with unique light-capture properties. To learn more about InVisage and its QuantumFilm technology, listen to a DIMAcast interview with Michael Hepp, director of marketing for InVisage.

More than 50 new effects now available on FX Photo Studio HD

MacPhun,  New York, N.Y., announces an update to FX Photo Studio HD, a photo processing app available for the iPad. The update will include more than 53 additional new effects, giving FX Photo Studio HD the largest variety of photo effects and filters of any app on the iTunes App Store, MacPhun says.

The update also adds a customizable interface that allows users to label their most often used effects as favorites, save combinations of effects into presets, and share images and presets via social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr as well as email. Individual effects themselves can also be adjusted for deeper customization, and with a total of 181 photo effects and filters, endless possibilities now await iPad users and their cherished images.

FX Photo Studio HD 3.0 is US$2.99 and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Photography category.

Mitsubishi Imaging launches DP Series Specialty Media for Indigo

Mitsubishi Imaging, Rye, N.Y.,  introduced its new DP Series Specialty Media for use with HP Indigo presses.

Designated as an HP Indigo Certified Substrate, DP Series Specialty Media is designed for the production of professional photo books and albums, photo and fine art prints, cards, posters, brochures and more.

It is available in six different surface finishes, from 8 mil to 10 mil and in single sided and dual sided finishes for superior photo reproduction without the need for lamination.

Most moms online up to four hours a day

Burst Media, Burlington, Mass., released the results of an online survey of 1,475 moms that found, despite hectic lives, moms carve out time daily to go online. Nearly one-quarter (23.1 percent) of moms are online for personal use four or more hours daily and another 49.3 percent spend between one and three hours online per day. The study shines the spotlight on just how important a resource the Internet is for moms, specifically the finding that two-thirds (64.7 percent) of respondents say their daily family and home routines would be disrupted if web access was taken away for one week.

Interestingly, although all mom segments say their lives would be disrupted without Internet access for one week, it is moms aged 35-54 who are most at unease with the thought of being without Internet access. Among this segment, 68.2 percent say their lives would be disrupted with no Internet access and one-in-five (22.2 percent) say it would be “a significant disruption to my daily routine.”

Social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) and niche content sites (i.e. sites focused on a specific topic) are the clear online favorites among moms to gather information to help manage the family and home. Among young moms aged 18-34, one-third (33.7 percent) say social media is their most preferred choice, while 35-54 year-old moms most prefer niche websites (30.2 percent). Moms 55 or older prefer social media (24.1 percent) over other types of sites. An interesting testament to the rise of the “untethered” web is the finding that more than one-half (55.9 percent) of all moms access the Internet with mobile technology devices including tablets, smart phones and/or netbooks.

In the realm of online advertising, few (17.3 percent) moms like ads geared specifically towards the family and home and more than one-third (37.7 percent) don’t like the ads and perceive them as “irrelevant or distracting.” Another 37.0 percent have no opinion either way. Sentiments are universal across all mom age segments. However, online ads that offer product coupons, sales promotion codes and/or other incentives resonate better: one-half (50.4 percent) of all moms say they click on such ads.

Online advertising opinions aside, there is good news for brands: two-thirds (65.7 percent) of 35-54 year-old moms prefer to buy brands they recognize, even if an unknown or generic brand is priced less. More than one-half (57.1 percent) of 18-34 year-old moms and two-in-three (66.0 percent) of moms 55 or older buy with the same mindset.

“The web provides brands a rich pallet to reach moms and break from traditional creative bounds to deliver an immersive experience,” says Kathryn Kallet, product manager for Burst Moms. “Unlike other types of media, the Internet can truly build a brand community by facilitating a conversation between an advertiser and consumer. When done with compelling, useful content and engaging creative, this brand/consumer relationship is one in which both parties benefit.”

Nielsen: Online video usage up 45 percent

According to a new study from The Nielsen Co., online video usage in the United States is up considerably from the same time last year as time spent viewing video on PC/Mac/laptops from home and work locations increased by 45 percent. Although the number of unique online video viewers only increased by 3.1 percent from last January, level of activity was up as viewers streamed 28 percent more video and spent 45 percent more time watching. Total video streams also saw significant year-over-year growth, up 31.5 percent to 14.5 billion streams.

January saw newcomers to the top 10 most popular U.S. video brands, with music and entertainment site VEVO and video rental site Netflix entering at #3 and #9, respectively. Still a relatively new site, VEVO is showing signs of potential with over 32 million unique video viewers during the month, fewer than 100,000 viewers behind Facebook.

MSN/Windows Live/Bing was the fastest-growing video brand month-over-month, increasing 26.1 percent to 17.3 million unique viewers. Netflix also saw notable gains in video viewers, increasing 15.6percent from December 2010.

Among the ten most heavily used brands in January, YouTube continues to hold the top position with nearly 8.5 billion video streams – 10 times the number of streams than its closest rival, Hulu. YouTube and Hulu are followed by VEVO in total streams, with MTV Networks Music (+79.1 percent), Netflix (+37.5 percent) and MSN/Windows Live/Bing (+36.3 percent) showing the strongest month-over-month growth in streams.

When looking at the most engaging video brands – as measured by time spent – Netflix was the top destination as the average U.S. video viewer spent over 11 hours watching video on the site from home and work locations, which isn’t surprising considering Netflix subscribers can now watch full-length movies and television shows from their PC/Mac/laptops.

Wingnut’s Lo-Fi app makes pictures “funky”

Wingnut, Raliegh, N.C., announces  Lo-Fi, a retro photo effect application for the Macintosh and Windows desktop that “gives pictures the funky look of low-end toy cameras.”

Lo-Fi turns digital photos into retro handmade snapshots. You can mix a wide range of effects from the film world, such as grain, colorful cross processing, lens blur, light leaks, and frames.

Lo-Fi looks and behaves like a gizmo you are holding and playing with. Anyone can immediately use it because it feels like a camera, not software,the company says. Drag a bunch of photos onto Lo-Fi, hit Shuffle, and you end up with a surprising variety of cool old snapshots. Then with the click of an analog button, you have shared your creations with friends through Flickr or Facebook.

Lo-Fi sells for US$29 USD at www.lofiapp.com.

SmileStop Photo Books rolls out new software

SmileStop Photo Books, Doylestown, Pa., released the newest version of its premium photo software, which is available as a free download and offers a greater variety of backgrounds, borders and frames for personalizing your digital photo book or photo calendar.

SmileStop Photo Books Premium Photo Software allows you to work offline and allows you to keep you photographs on your computer, not on the internet. You can work on a project any time and save the project for as long as you want to. Once a project is submitted for purchase, SmileStop Photo Books will store the file for 3 months at no cost so you can order reprints hassle free.