iCam watches more than just your dog :)

One of Apple's latest iPhone television ads (Dog Lover) features an App called iCam. At the end of the Ad they show how they can keep an eye on their dog at home (provided he or she sits and waits for you in front of the camera :) ) from their iPhone. I've long been a fan of WiFi cameras for home monitoring. I have four Panasonic network webcams (some wired and some wireless) that work great. Although these cameras can be monitored and even panned from a standard web browser, I was intrigued by the possibility of having a native App to use. So when I saw the Dog Lover spot, I headed over to the App Store to check out the App. At first glance it didn't seem to provide much more than I already had in my web browser and it would even take away the ability to pan/rotate the cameras (my specific models support this), but I decided to give it a shot. I'm so glad that I did. I love this App!

It's all about the Motion Detection

Although more four cameras are wonderful, each one acts as its own independent web server. I can set it up to email me photos on a regular basis or FTP them up to a server. I can time the cameras when to broadcast an image and when not to. They offer a variety of great options. However, what I was missing was being instantly notified if someone or something walked past my cameras. Especially the ones inside the house when no one is supposed to be home. iCam makes this really easy by adding Push Notifications to this surveillance. If my cameras detect motion, the iCam server software (a free download for Mac or PC) will send me a Push Notification right to my device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch) and let me see the camera right away. Great if you happen to catch it. What's even better is that you can set the software to record a series of images anytime motion is detected and YES, you can view these images right on your device! Whoa! That's Cool! Another problem that this App solves is that my network cameras have passwords and although you can save your passwords in Safari, for whatever reason it doesn't save the passwords to these cameras. So I have to enter the password each time I want to look at the cameras in the browser. iCam saves the password at the server on your computer. So you never have to enter a password in the App besides the one you enter once to connect to your server.

This solution works over WiFi, 3G and Edge.


You can get it here from the App Store: iCam (Webcam Video Streaming) Get the Server Software for Mac or PC here.



iPad Camera Connection Kit Video Review



Using the iPad to take Notes with Penultimate

One of the things I had high hopes of using my iPad for was to use it for presentation notes. When I give a presentation via my MacBook Pro, I can't look at my notes on the computer because I'm usually demoing software on the computer at the time. So I typically either type or write them and have a piece of paper right next to me as I'm presenting. That works OK, but I also like to take notes during the presentation if someone asks a question that I either don't have the answer to right then and there or I want to follow up later. Again, I can't stop the presentation to bring up a text document and type out the question. So I usually jot it down on a scrap piece of paper which usually gets lost by the time I get home. While there is a Notes App in the iPad already, the built-in one requires you to type or sync notes from your computer. The larger keyboard for the iPad is great and so is the Keyboard Dock, but I'm not going to try to type out a long note using the on screen keyboard and I have no desire to travel around with the keyboard dock. I need to be able to write it down. 

Penultimate let's you use your finger to take notes

The idea behind Penultimate is so simple it's genius. The App gives you the ability to create as many notebooks as you need and then to "write" or draw on the pages with your finger. Now while it doesn't require anything other than your finger, I highly recommend a stylus! It will feel much more natural to "write" with something that feels like a pen. Here's a great one that I recommend. You can name your notebooks so that you know which one is which. Once you take your notes you can either just refer back to them on screen or email them out (as .PNG files) right out of the App. You can email a single note or an entire notebook. You also have the option of choosing graph, line or plain paper. That's a nice touch. You can also switch between the pen and an eraser.

Although this App does exactly what it claims, I'd like to see a few more things. When you rotate the iPad to landscape orientation the size of the note doesn't change. I kinda get why you might not want it to, but it just seems odd that it doesn't so perhaps a preference to let the user decide. Also I'd like to see more email formats besides just .PNG. I get that it's just a graphic and that probably is the easiest format to send, but PDF would be nice too. There is an Undo button at the top of the screen, a shake to undo would be nice to have too. Otherwise this App was just what I was looking for. Luckily no one has to read my handwriting besides me :)

You can get Penultimate here from the App Store.

If you're more interested in just drawing instead of writing, check out the FREE Adobe Ideas App here for iPad and here for iPhone.


25 Tips for the iPad: Free iBook

Yesterday I took a stab at creating my 1st iBook for the iPad and everything worked GREAT! I wanted to share with you 25 of my favorite iPad tips and more importantly, allow you to read the book right on your iPad itself in the iBooks App. So using the NEW Adobe InDesign CS5 I was able to layout the entire project and export it right to ePUB format (the standard used by the iPad's iBooks App). It's here as a FREE download! If you don't have an iPad, but still want to check out this book, you can download the FREE Adobe Digital Editions Player here and view the book on your Mac or PC. Enjoy :)



The Ultimate Flight Tracker App: FlightTrack Pro Now for iPad Too


FlightTrack Pro is one of those rare Apps that occupies a spot on my 1st Page of Apps on my iPhone. I depend on it and use it every week and sometimes every day. I remember hesitating when I first bought it months ago because at $9.99 that's considered expensive for an iPhone App. However, I'd easily pay that again for it without hesitation. This App just keeps getting better with each update and this latest update brings iPad compatibility at no additional cost. The real beauty of FlightTrack Pro (besides being a very visually compelling App) is that it integrates directly with TripIt.com. Don't get me wrong, you can certainly use the App without using TripIt, but with TripIt, everything is sync'd automatically to FlightTrack Pro.

FlightTrack Pro Push Notifications Saved The Day!

I was headed home from Germany. I was on my flight that was going to connect through Paris. Just as I sat down after boarding, I got a push notification on my iPhone that my next flight had been cancelled. It was because of this notification that I was able to call my travel agent and rebook on a better flight immediately instead of a couple hours later after landing in Paris. That was certainly a day that the App paid for itself (again). You can even look for alternate flights right in the App!

It's gorgeous on the iPad

While it's certainly functional on the iPhone, this App is stunning on the iPad. You get a beautiful detailed map of your flight(s) routes from point to point. FlightTrack Pro gives you just about every detail of your flight including gate information and stats on how often that flight is on time or not. You get the type of aircraft it is as well as your reservation number, seat number take off and landing times and if you're tracking someone else's flight or on a plane with WiFi you can actually see where the flight is at any given time on the map.

You can get FlightTrack Pro here from the App Store: FlightTrack Pro ? Live TripIt Flight Status Tracker


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