iPod Touch

If you’re an iPod Touch owner you are in the right place. These are all apps we have written about that can be used on the iPod Touch.


Card Scanner Pro

The good folks over at Readdle (makers of my favorite PDF App for iPad – PDF Expert) have released a business card scanner App for iDevices. As a public presenter I get my fair share of business cards handed to me at events. When I get back to my hotel room or home if I don't deal with them right then and there I will have no idea later why I even have that person's card. I'm a Contacts freak! I'm always maintaining and updating my Contacts on a regular basis (one of the keys to my success). However, I hate manual data entry. I've used other business card reading Apps in the past (my past favorite being Business Card Reader). While I was content with my past choice, I decided to give the Readdle App a try since they did such a good job with their PDF apps. You start the process by taking a picture of the business card with your iDevice camera. Then you decide if the picture is good enough or retake it. Next your tap the process button to begin the OCR.


Accuracy is the key

The card above needed a correction to one digit in the phone number and a dot added in the email address. This is likely due to the small italicized type on the card.

Let me start this off by saying that NO BUSINESS CARD READING APP IS PERFECT at reading all business cards. Some cards will scan 100% accurate (rare), most will need minor tweaks/corrections and some will be easier just to enter by hand. It all depends on the source card. Cards with clean easy to read type will work best. Cards with fancy or photographic backgrounds will be the hardest. Card Scanner Pro uses the ABBYY OCR engine, which is well known for its accuracy. This helps, but again it will depend on the source card.


Garbage in, Garbage out!

The card above is an example of one that just won't work well with these Apps.


Other features

Card Scanner Pro offers the ability to choose your Language up front. This helps when dealing with International contacts. Once you get the card scanned in and made any corrections that needed to be made, the next thing will what you can do with the card? Card Scanner Pro offers the ability to store the card in its internal card holder as well as send it to your Contacts on your iDevice. If you're syncing with your computer/MobileMe/iCloud then your New Contact (business card) will end up in your Address Book on your computer too. I also like the fact that Card Scanner Pro offers the ability to add the contact to one of your pre-defined Groups too. A must for me! While these are the features I'd expect, I actually would like to see a few more. I'd like to see a Universal version for iPad too. Granted this App will work on an iPad 2 with a camera, but I'd like to see it in the native size. It would also make doing corrections easier with the larger screen, keyboard, etc. It would also be nice to see some social networking tie ins such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ etc. to lookup and compare info with.


The Bottom Line

Card Scanner Pro is definitely a contender. It's stable (haven't had a single crash, which isn't always the case with Apps in this category), and does a good job at what it does. I like that it can show you the original card on demand when you're editing a particular entry and can't tell what the OCR was trying to read. This is great for not having to keep the paper card. If you don't have a business card reader App or not happy with your current one, Card Scanner Pro is worth a look.


You can get Card Scanner Pro for $6.99 here from the iTunes


Files Connect to Access my Servers


Although I have a great App (Desktop Connect) to remote control my computers from anywhere on the internet, what I didn't have was a simple way to connect to my home file server to grab a file. Yes, this could be accomplished with Desktop Connect and even some of my other Apps, but it would require more steps. There are times where I'm out and about and I want to pull down a file from my Mac OS X Server at home and either work with the file on my iDevice or send the file to someone that needs it. This is what led me to search for a more direct way to access AFP, FTP and SMB servers/NAS boxes remotely. 


Files Connect does what I need it to do

As you might expect there are a few different apps that do this. Some ranging in price of $20 and others costing less. Files Connect proves that you don't need the most expensive App on the App store to get the job done. I grabbed it and within about 2 minutes I was securely connected to my OS X Server and able to see all my files and folders. Not only could I download files from the server to my iPad or iPhone, but I could easily print them or share them with others. Perfect! Since I have the necessary ports open on my router to be able to access my server from the internet, I now have access to terabytes and terabytes of my files from anywhere I happen to be in the world all in the palm of my hand. 


An Added Benefit

Files Connect works in the other direction too. You can turn your iDevice into a file server for others to access your content. I really don't have a need for this, but it's nice to know that it's possible if I need to do it. Files Connect also supports Bonjour, this makes it easy for the App to discover available network resources on your LAN without having to know the specific IP addresses. The App is also rather speedy. It seems as fast if not faster than accessing the same folders using my Mac. I really like the Bookmarks folder to drag commonly accessed nested folders to to speed up access.

It sees your printers too. Not only does it support iOS native printing, but it sees your CUPS printers too.


A cool test that worked

As a photographer I store my RAW files in Adobe DNG format. This format isn't natively supported on the iPad therefore there's really no way to preview them natively. However, there are apps that will open and work with DNG files like Photogene. I used Files Connect to download one of my DNGs from my Server and used the Open In command to open it in Photogene for iPad. It worked! Very cool! Files Connect will of course preview the files that are supported natively such as JPG, MOV, PDF, etc. It even has a movie player built-in.


The Bottom Line

If you have a file server running SMB, AFP, FTP, SFTP, or webDAV protocols and you want to access those files from your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, then this App is for you. The only thing stopping me from giving this app a 5 star rating is that it did quit a couple of times upon launching. Otherwise it works very well.


You can get Files Connect for $7.99 here from the iTunes


Contract Killer

While I don't play a lot of games I've always been a fan of sniper games. Even when playing Call of Duty on Xbox I get really excited when a sniper mission comes up. There's just something about taking your time and getting the shot at just the right moment that pleases me more than running around shooting at anything that moves. Contract Killer as the name implies puts you right in the middle of a situation where you're a hired killer to take out the bad guys. Each mission has an objective and primary target. There are civilians walking around so you have to be patient and wait for the target to appear. In most cases the target is not standing still and nor will the target be on screen for a very long time. You have to take the shot and make it count. If you miss you'll most likely end up in a gun fight with multiple bad guys shooting at you and you've only got so much ammo.


Good game play on iPhone and iPad

I started playing this on my iPhone 4, but then tried it as a universal App on my iPad too. I like playing it on both devices. Once you identify the target you can zoom in (raise the scope), aim and take the shot. Headshots get you more points, but a kill is a kill. While there is always a primary target, you can also get more points by quickly taking out the other bad guys on the scene before your time runs out. The game is free and you rack up money by completing the contracts. Like most of the games in this category you can use that money to buy more ammo, better weapons, etc. If you don't want to wait, you can use real money and In App purchases to buy what you need.


You can get Contract Killer for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch for free here from the iTunes


Facebook Messenger – Do we need it?

Facebook already has an iOS App called "Facebook". When I saw that they had come out with a separate Facebook Messenger app dedicated to sending messages to other Facebook users, I like many of you thought – why didn't they just build these new features into their existing App? That question remains unanswered, so let's take a look at the "new" Facebook Messenger App and what it does offer…


What's it for?

The Facebook Messenger App is designed to give Facebook users the ability to send messages to other Facebook users. Doesn't the Facebook App already do this? Yes, but the new Messenger App does a few things that the regular Facebook App doesn't. First of all and probably most important to me is that you can send pictures via this App to other Facebook users and they will see the photos whether they are using this App or simply logged into Facebook on their computers. Also with Messenger can not only send messages to other FB users, but any of your other contacts cell phones. This easily lets you skirt around any SMS limits you may have on your current cellphone plan. With messenger you can include your current location as well. This is especially helpful when trying to meet up with friends. Messenger does push notifications to let you know when you've received an incoming message.


What's missing?

While Messenger does what it does well, it has a couple of glaring omissions. The biggest one is that you can't see who is online right now and who isn't. The second one that I find really odd is that while the App does support landscape view, you can only compose new messages in portrait view. This will be a pain for two thumb messengers. Lastly and probably the most glaring omission is that like the existing Facebook App there is no native iPad version.


The Bottom Line

While I didn't really need a separate messaging App for Facebook, I will keep this one because it does things that the regular Facebook App doesn't do. I'm also fine with having a separate specialized App that's lean and fast, but i really don't see why these features couldn't have been added to the existing App and for God's sake please get the iPad versions out!

You can get Facebook Messenger for Free here from the iTunes


EyeTV Offers Remote TV Viewing


A while back I wrote a review of the EyeTV HD box that allows you to turn your Mac into a DVR (see the review here). The EyeTV HD plugs into your cable/satellite box and then records your shows to your Mac's hard drive. While that's cool for those that don't want to have to subscribe/pay for DVRs, there's another benefit. With the EyeTV App you can stream the live TV feed going into your EyeTV or the recorded shows to your iOS Device anywhere that you have an internet connection. It works over 3G or WiFi.


It does AirPlay too

Live broadcast of CNN playing to the Apple TV connected to the HDTV on the wall via the EyeTV App's ability to do AirPlay

I already had a solution for streaming my Comcast Cable feed and TiVo DVR to my iDevices. It's called Slingbox and the SlingPlayer App. Recently I moved into a New photography studio and while I have a couple of HDTV's for showing photos (via Apple TV slideshows/screen savers), I didn't want to pay for cable TV service or use antenas to pull stuff in over the air. What I was in search of was a way to stream TV content that I already pay for at home, from my iPad/iPhone to my Apple TV. Unfortunately to this day the expensive SlingPlayer App doesn't do AirPlay for video. However, the less expensive EyeTV App does! Eureka! I can go to my studio and if want to have TV I can just fire up my iPad or iPhone, launch the EyeTV App and stream the content to my HDTV (via Apple TV 2). 

How well does it work?

Like most streaming technologies, the playback is only going to be as good as your internet connection. When my internet connection is not doing a bunch of uploading/downloading of work, the EyeTV playback is really good. However, I've seen it stutter on occasion when the network was in heavy use by other workstations. With the EyeTV App I can remotely change channels, see my guide and of course see any shows that I've recorded to my Mac's hard drive. I can also schedule new recordings. This is all great, but there doesn't seem to be a way to delete shows from within the App. It's a shame to have to be at home to delete a show that I no longer want to keep.  I really like the ability to "test" the network connection and adjust the bandwidth within the app for optimum playback. Even on a bad internet connection, the playback of the audio is always good. However, the video my stutter from time to time similar to the old Max Headroom show. 


The Bottom Line

If you have a Mac and you're looking for a way to enjoy TV content on the go, the EyeTV HD and EyeTV App are the way to go. Slingbox doesn't require a computer, but it costs more and their iOS App isn't as good. 

You can get the EyeTV HD here for $169.89

You can get the EyeTV App for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch for $4.99 here from the iTunes

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