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PSA – Facebook Messenger App has Scary Terms of Service

Okay I know this subject doesn’t really concern becoming or being an artist but nevertheless Facebook has become integral in to being an artist these days. From communicating with potential clients to just talking with other artists I find myself on it almost every day. It’s actually one of the ways our team at Once Upon a Sketch stays in contact. We have a Group discussion where we keep everyone up-to-date and when we are just communicating person-to-person we use Facebook messaging. Which brings me to why I’m writing this post. Like most of you I probably use Facebook mostly on my phone and just a little while ago the Facebook app required me to install a additional app called Facebook Messenger if I wanted to continue messaging. Some people might say well Facebook just spent $19 billion to buy a company called What’s App. Facebook must just want to get their moneys worth. This statement may be true but there seems to be a lot more going on if you dig into the terms of service accompanying this application. You may have already read about this somewhere else on the Internet but it needs to be reiterated since Facebook has now made this application required to use their messaging service. Here are a few of the permissions you will be giving up if you use the new Facebook messaging app. These are word for word from the Facebook messaging app terms of service.

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“Allows the app to read data about your contacts stored on your phone, including the frequency with which you’ve called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific individuals.”
 
“Allows the app to access the phone features of the device. This permission allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active, and the remote number connected by a call.”
 
“Allows the app to get a list of accounts known by the phone. This may include any accounts created by applications you have installed.”
 
“Allows the app to call phone numbers without your intervention. This may result in unexpected charges or calls. Malicious apps may cost you money by making calls without your confirmation.”
 
“Allows the app to record audio with microphone. This permission allows the app to record audio at any time without your confirmation.”
 
“Allows the app to take pictures and videos with the camera. This permission allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation.”
 

The list continues but this is just a handful of the choice quotes from the terms of service floating around the Internet these days. It’s worth pointing out that while these terms sound awful a lot of the permissions wording is taken straight from Android’s terms. FaceBook maybe just following the Android wording, just a bit of speculation to give Facebook some credit. Also, Apple iOS only asks for these permissions when a user tries to access one of these functions such as microphone access only being requested when a video/voice call happens. It still sounds like pretty scary permissions to give any app or company in my opinion. Especially a company who makes their money by learning everything they can about their users.

I had a friend over for dinner just the other day and she had unknowingly downloaded this app when her regular Facebook app prompted her to. I’m sure she blindly agreed to the terms of service like everyone does and didn’t even think about what she had agreed to. It so easy to do. It feels like you can’t do anything on the Internet these days without agreeing to something. So if your one of the one billion people who have downloaded this app please be careful. It may be nice to use a free application that lets you stay in contact with your friends but please remember the things you’re giving up by using it.

Source – Huffington Post

About the author

  • Norm GrockNORM GROCKContributor, Founder

    Having grown up on the shores of Maui, Hawaii, Norm has always had a love for drawing. Since leaving the Islands’ beautiful beaches and landing in Oregon he went to college and received a degree in graphic design. Now living in Beaverton, Oregon, Norm has been working as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator for the last 12 years. He has spent countless hours perfecting his craft as a freelance illustrator working on several children’s books, a few video games and creating numerous educational products. His ability to draw has given him the chance to do the thing he truly loves — Create.

Wacom Cintiq Companion Review

If you’ve been following Once Upon a Sketch for any amount of time you’ll know that I have been looking for a portable digital drawing solution. I’ve tried drawing on my iPad with expensive stylists and even tried Microsoft’s Surface tablet, but nothing I found ever made me feel like I was drawing on my Wacom Cintiq. Maybe I’m just spoiled but I wanted a product I could do professional grade work on, on the go.CintiqCompanion006 First off, I would like to mention that there are two different products in the Wacom Companion line. It can get a little confusing so let me explain. The Cintiq Companion is a drawing tablet running Windows 8. It’s pretty much a full-blown computer crammed into one of Wacom’s drawing displays. Since it’s running Windows you can use any of your favorite creative applications like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or Indesign. While it’s brother the Cintiq Companion hybrid is an android-based drawing tablet. While on the go it acts like a normal Android-based tablet allowing you to use any of the Mobile versions of drawing software but when you plug it into your Computer it stops running Android and acts like any other Wacom Cintiq. To make it even more confusing both products look the same.

This post will be focusing on the Cintiq Companion running Windows 8.

More information about the Wacom Cintiq Companion.
Wacom is the leader in drawing tablets for graphics professionals. Wacom’s products have traditionally been desktop-based until they released the Cintiq Companion in August. The Companion is designed to be the first portable graphics workstation (Thanks Popular Mechanics, I could not have worded that better). It’s not an iPad or an android tablet it’s a full computer inside of a Wacom 13.3in Cintiq. The Companion runs 64bit Windows 8 and has a full HD display with a touchscreen stylus combo with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity. Continue reading

New Jot Touch 4 Stylus for iPad Art

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If anyone’s been reading Once Upon a Sketch for a while you’ll know that I’ve been looking for a way to turn my iPad into a drawing tablet. I’ve tried a bunch of different App solutions and styluses but nothing has seemed to make Apple’s tablet a good drawing device for me. Not to mention when you try to draw on the iPad you have to hold your hand at an awkward angle so that your hand doesn’t touch the screen while you’re drawing. Well the new Jot Touch 4’s palm rejection technology means no more hand hovering to avoid touching the screen and make creating art on your iPad as natural as drawing with a pen and paper. Or so says Kris Perpich, CXO at Adonit “Art is about expressive freedom, and artists shouldn’t feel restricted by their tools. The new Jot Touch stylus gives artists that freedom.” The Jot Touch 4 has 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity and has over a dozen drawing apps that are compatible. Apps like ArtStudio, Inkist, Inspire Pro, SketchBook Ink, Sketchbook Pro and many more are adding support soon. As I was looking through their of compatible apps I noticed that not all the apps are using Adonit’s palm rejection technology at this point. I’m sure the app developers just need to implement this new tech into their software but if you watch the sketchbook Pro video on their website the demonstrator never touches his hand to the iPad screen. Maybe this is just a feature that is in the works but only two of the apps that are specifically for drawing use their new technologies. The video below shows you what it takes to pair your Jot touch with SketchBook Pro.

When I first heard about this product I got super excited, but after doing a little research my hopes have come down a bit. The Jot Touch 4 has a lot of great things going for it. Pressure sensitivity with a stylus on the iPad is a dream I’ve had for a while now and it looks like its come true but at an $89.99 it comes at a price. Please don’t take this as a review. I’ve never use this product before. It’s just what I can glean from their site and a little research. I’ll have to continue checking back and hoping for a few more apps to add support for the Palm Rejection technology then I think I’ll be in. iPad artists were almost there. The Jot Touch is available today for purchase.

Source: http://adonit.net/jot/touch/

Robot Media is Trying to Make Creating Digital Children’s Books Easy

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As we all know, the last couple of years the publishing industry has started to move more to the digital side of publishing. Leaving us illustrators that don’t have any or very little coding skills trying to find ways to get are content out there. But what if anyone could create interactive children’s books for tablets and mobile? Well thats the question Barcelona’s Robot Media is trying to answer.

Right now on Robot Media‘s website you can sign up for an invite to get the beta of their application, Storybuilder. Storybuilder is an award-winning (Publishing Innovation Awards) desktop application made to produce stand alone children’s and comic book apps for mobile devices. With 3 million downloads and content from publishers like Random House and HarperCollins Robot Media could be on its way to becoming the industry’s leading interactive picture book platform. The “Storybuilder” tool provides “everything an author needs to build a rich, interactive, animated book as easy as creating a Powerpoint presentation” says the companies founder Hermes Pique.

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So what’s in it for Robot Media? Their model sees them take 30% of what is left after Apple’s or Google’s 30% app store commission.

I’ve downloaded the Storybuilder application and I’m playing around with it now. Not a lot to report yet, but I will give it a full review when the app gets out of beta. As of now the software beta is only for Mac. No word of it coming to other operating systems. If you are interested about the software, you can sign up for the beta at littlerobot.com to try it for yourself.