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.

cardmunch

CardMunch – Business Card Reader by LinkedIn

Recently I reviewed a new business card reader by Readdle that uses OCR to translate the picture of the business card that you take to text. OCR is not perfect and therefore will usually require some manual checking, verifying and corrections. These corrections are made by you, a human. What if you could hand a stack of business cards to your Administrative Assistent and have him/her enter them for you? If you've got an Admin, then you probably can. For the rest of us it's up to us to get our Contacts entered on our own. One of my readers suggested that I take a look at CardMunch, so I did. 

 

CardMunch uses humans :)

The big difference between CardMunch and all the other Business Card Reader Apps is that when you take the picture of the business card with CardMunch, it uploads to a LinkedIn powered service that employs real human beings to transcribe the business card, proof read it and then send it back down to your iDevice with a push notification to let you know it's done. Best of all it's FREE! Wow! Once you upload the photo of the card via the App it can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes on average to get the transcribed card back. However, in every one that I've tried to date they have come back 100% correct requiring no further editing on my part. You are required to have a free LinkedIn account to use the App. Since the cards are being transcribed by humans it doesn't matter how complex the card is in terms of hard to read graphic backgrounds that would confuse the OCR based solutions. Once you get the transcribed card back down into the App you can then choose to add it to your iOS Contacts or just keep it in the app. Bonus Tip: When you turn your device to landscape orientation it gives you a cover flow style view of all your scanned cards. Cool!

 

Sounds great! What's the downside?

While this is very magical and seems perfect, there is one bit of concern and that is that you are submitting your business cards/contacts to a 3rd party. This may be a concern to those who have Privacy issues in general. 

 

You can get CardMunch for Free here from the iTunes

AcquireforPS

Acquire for Photoshop

When Adobe released the Creative Suite 5.5 updates Photoshop remained at CS 5. However, it did get one new capability in a free update and that was the ability to allow other Apps to remote control Photoshop. These Apps can be on iOS Devices, other mobile devices or even other Apps on your computer. Don't worry, this feature has to be enabled and it's password protected. Also the user has to be on the same WiFi/network as you. With that said, my buddy Brian Maffit (After Effects Guru) has helped develop this new App that allows you to use the camera on your iDevice and send the image wirelessly directly to Photoshop CS 5. 

How does it work

After setting up Photoshop to be a server (a simple process) and putting your iDevice on the same network, you fire up the Acquire for Photoshop App on your iPhone, 4th gen iPod touch or iPad 2 and snap a photo with the App. If you like the photo you can send it directly to Photoshop and it will open in Photoshop right before your eyes. The image comes over at full resolution and pretty instantly. Once in Photoshop you can do with it whatever you like. The big plus for me is that it can also send over screen shots taken with your iDevice. Since every review I do here has a screen shot, it makes it very easy to get them from my devices over to Photoshop to include in the review.  It's also important to me that the photos are still saved on the camera roll of the device too.

 

See it in action here:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tak9kbujJhU

 

The Bottom Line

This is a good use of Photoshop's new open/remote controllable architecture. My only small grip is that this isn't a Universal App. Yes, it works on the iPad 2, but I'd like to see it full size on the iPad without screen doubling. Otherwise it rocks!

You can get Acquire for Photoshop for $1.99 here from the iTunes

gotomeeting

GoToMeeting: Participate in Meeting On Your iPhone or iPad

It is always nice to be able to participate in online meeting from wherever you are on any decide that you are on. The GoToMeeting app allows you to attend a GoToMeeting meeting or a GoToWebinar webinar from your iPad or iPhone. The application allows you to join and participate in a meeting. You will be able to see what is being shared as well as the attendee list (if the presenter has made that available). A major disadvantage to the GoToMeeting app is that it doesn’t offer the ability to host a meeting directly from the app. Joining a meeting works perfectly, however running one is impossible. Part of this reasoning might come down to the fact that GoToMeeting is, unlike Acrobat Connect, geared towards sharing your screen and to the far extend your webcam. Neither of these have up until very recently made much sense on an iPad (screen sharing is just not possible). Now that Apple has added a camera to the iPad 2, I want to see this app updated to support it.

Conclusion

If you participate in a fair few number of GoToMeeting meetings I would definitely get this app. Having it adds the opportunity of not having to sit in front of your computer to participate in the meeting. The app however is nothing that should make you think about switching from another online meeting provider.

iTunes
 

CardScannerPro

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

FilesConnect

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

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