Tag Archives: apps

Snapseed

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The best photo app I’ve come across in awhile is Snapseed. It’s free (owned by Google) and offers a significant amount of control over image adjustments. It provides your basic crop, rotate, straighten features as well as a “Tune Image” section which gives you the ability to modify the brightness, ambiance, contrast, saturation, shadows and warmth. This is all you will need for most images.

The control adjustment for each of the tuning features, referred to as a slider, is as easy as a swipe of a finger; to the right for + and to the left for –. Very intuitive.

Snapseed also offers the fun features that have made apps such as Instagram so popular, but with more creative liberties available in post-editing: variance blur, vintage, black & white, grunge, tilt-shift (which is a modifiable edge blur and automatic vivid enhancement–my personal favorite) as well as a host of high quality frames & borders.

A “Compare” button lets you easily flip back and forth between the original and modified image throughout the post-production edits.

One of the best, and unique, features of the app is the “Selective Adjust” which allows you to tap your finger on a specific area in the image and adjust the brightness. This allows for finer tuning adjustments than almost all the other iPhone/iPad photo editing apps on the market.

The app is available for both iPhone and iPad and is a great addition to the IE practitioner’s app toolbox for any project requiring photo editing.
Available in the iTunes App Store

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Image to Text

Image to Text by Ricoh Innovations is a free app that lets you extract the text from an image. You take a photo of the page of text, then send it to yourself in an email, which arrives with a text version in the body of the message and the original image attached. You can then copy the text into any text editable application and make necessary changes.

It has a pretty high accuracy rate, but occasionally misses a word or two. Glancing through for spelling errors and making a few corrections is still much faster than re-typing an entire page of text.

Two drawbacks:
1. You can only send on page/image at a time
2. You must be connected to the internet when you send the image; it can’t sit in your outbox and wait for a connection to be re-established

Despite the drawbacks, I have found this incredibly useful in a variety of circumstances and it has saved me literally hours of time.

Find it in the iTunes App Store

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Trello | Online Project Management

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Trello is a free web-based project management application using the kanban management paradigm.

The online interactive interface is akin to a white board with individual cards (corresponding to tasks) which allow users to add content, labels, create/update task lists, mark project elements completed, assign tasks to project members and more. It is a simple, visual way to project manage for individuals and ideal for collaborative group project.

Rather than sending project members multiple group emails regarding specific project elements, all the details related to one project component can be saved on the task card and updated in real time. This program can be used for projects ranging from website development, re-branding projects, video production, new program development, and more.

The program also provides mobile app platforms on iPhone and Android.

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Evernote Smart Notebook

Evernote’s new product is an effort to convert even the most traditional luddites into digital archivists.

Teaming up with Moleskine the new Evernote Smart Notebook uses Evernote’s Page Camera feature to capture the pages of their enhanced paper notebook with smartphones and tablets. Evernote Squared Smart Notebook features the unique “Evernote squared” page style with dotted lines designed to ensure a clean image during digital capture. Their Smart Stickers allow tagging of  content; when capturing a page with Evernote, the Smart Sticker icons become searchable, digital tags.

A great solution for those who want the analog pleasure of pen and paper but the digital luxury of accessing content from the cloud–keeping digital and analog workspaces synced.


Air Display

Many have moved to the dual, or multiple, display workspace in recent years. A number of studies have been conducted on improved efficiency as a result of using a second screen. Jon Peddie research posits adding a monitor can boost productivity by 20-30% and Microsoft claims the increase in efficiency can be anywhere between 9-50%. Earlier this year the New York Times posted the article, In Data Delgue, Multitaskers go to Multiscreens.

For those of us who travel internationally and find that our workspace is more often at the local coffee shop than the home office carrying an external monitor can be slightly cumbersome (try it on a bike in SF!).

The solution is Air Display by Avatron. Air Display turns your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch into a wireless display, to extend or mirror your computer screen (your computer can be either a Mac or PC). It is among my most frequently used iPad apps and a must for the traveler’s productivity app list.

Download it from the App Store


Zite

Zite is a free iPad application that uses algorithms to automatically learn what type of information you are interested in and generate relevant content to create a personalized digital magazine.

Zite is definitely note-worthy and has made my top 5 apps of 2011. There are other applications such as Flipboard and StumbleUpon which provide tailored content based on the user’s interests and preferences but I have found Zite’s platform to produce the best depth and breadth of information. 9 times out of 10 I am interested in what it produces and find I read almost every article it recommends for me.

Zite watches your click preferences as well as how long you stay on specific articles to create future content. If you tweet, Zite looks at the text & links in your tweets and includes that information as relevant search topics when providing tailored content for “your magazine.” I use Pulse and a few other RSS feed aggregator apps but I find this one to be much more dynamic as it weeds out content I don’t want to see, even if it is from a news source I typically read.

The Zite app has a clean and attractive interface, landing you on your Top Stories page, with a side bar of subject areas you can customize to your interests (from Arts & Culture to Gadets to Photography to “Enter your Own” Category).

I talk with many educators who feel overwhelmed by the number of sources of information we are required to reach in order to stay updated in our field and related interests. We are constantly inundated with information, and it’s not getting any easier. While we need to stay abreast of current events it can be difficult to find time to wade through all of the unrelated content we are faced with on a daily basis.

If you need one go-to application to stay current on topics of interest, this is it.

Get it free from the iTunes app store: Zite

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Google+

Reviewers are deeming Google+ (aka Google Plus) Facebook’s newest challenger in the social networking business.

Google+, or The Google+ Project, is Google’s new social networking platform. With their Circles feature they are trying to solve one of the main issues social networking platforms have: user’s “friends” are all linked into the same network.

You know, we’ve all faced it at one time: that situation when you receive a friend request from a current student but adding them means they will be able to see your brother’s friend’s posts, who sometimes shares slightly inappropriate jokes or photos on your wall.

Facebook has tried to solve this “meshing” issue with an option to “group” friends but it still doesn’t completely solve the fact that we are complex beings with multiple communities of friends that may not always be compatible.
[For more information on this see my previous post The Real Life Social Network featuring a Slideshare presentation by Paul Adams discussing identity and human social interaction are affecting the future of web & online social networking design.]

Google’s approach, according to Bradley Horowitz, who oversees Google’s communications products and social applications, is:

“[With Google+] we’ve created a system that’s based on the concept of circles, so that I can take my college friends and drag them into a circle called ‘college buddies,’ and I can take my work colleagues and drag them into a circle that’s called ‘work friends.’ And I can share selectively the parts of myself with those circles that I choose to.”

What this means, beyond avoiding mishaps due to online exposure between current students and your brother’s inappropriate friends, is that you can more effectively target different groups of students and contacts in your social networking profile such as those currently on campus, new incoming students, individual groups studying for a semester abroad at various locations, your education field professional contacts, etc.

It remains to be seen how effective Google’s new platform is at managing these multiple communities in the online environment. With the launch of Google+ some reviewers have noted the previous failed attempts Google has had at social networking, projects such as Buzz and Wave, but the Google+ Project seems to have potential.

Several other Google+ features besides Circles is Hangouts, which is an online space where up to 10 users can video chat with each other, and Sparks, a stream of online content including videos, photos and article links based on topics of interest to the user.

One other notable point on this project is that Google is approaching privacy, and how information is shared, quite differently from the notorious social network leader, Facebook (who is well known for their lack of respect for users’ privacy).

Google is following its typical roll-out of a new product: beta testing by users invited to join by a friend who has invitations to share. This allows Google to watch how a small group of early adopters use and engage with the product, affording the developers insight into what changes & improvements need to be made before opening the product to the public.

We’ll see if this product finally puts Google on the social networking map and helps us more effectively manage the ever-increasing complex web of our online existence. I, for one, have hope and look forward to seeing them give Facebook a good competitor in the social networking game.

You can view the Google+ demo here.