This week I was supposed to be speaking at the Knoxville Chamber as a panelist discussing apps.  Myself and a few other techies from around town were going to show off the apps that are most meaningful to us (right this second anyway) and then have a discussion around what the audience members were using.  Unfortunately though, mother nature decided to throw us all a curveball and the meeting was snowed out.  I thought it was a bit of a shame to have put effort in on this… so here is what I was going to talk about… and you didn’t even have to get dressed up! 🙂

Apps for business:

 

Sharefile hosted by Claris Networks

The Pitch: Services like Dropbox have made sharing files between your devices and friends exceptionally easy. These services are great at the consumer level, however they present challenges for businesses, especially businesses that have to deal with compliancy (like HIPAA).

The Good: Sharefile, available for Apple and Android, allows our customers to regain control of their data by defining and keeping records of who shares company data, while giving end users the flexibility they are after. Compliancy is met by keeping all of the company’s data in our secure data centers and by giving the control back to the company, instead of the end user.

The Bad: Sharefile isn’t free, BUT it is cost competitive with Dropbox business (which you’re supposed to be using if you’re a business anyway).

ScanBizCards

The Pitch: You know that stack of business cards you have laying around that 1) you never do anything with and 2) you can never seem to find that one you’re looking for? ScanBizCards allows you to take a picture of the business card with your phone’s camera and import the information straight into your contacts.

The Good: The character recognition of this application works quite well and is very inexpensive; $1.99 for Apple users and free for Android users.

The Bad: Despite taking a picture of the business card the way the software tells you to, you still have to rotate the image several times before the app learns your habits; not a deal breaker, but somewhat annoying when you’re trying to learn the app. The free version for Android only allows you to scan 3 business cards per week. The premium version is $3.99… it’s worth it.

Apps for Leisure:

 

DSLR Controller (BETA)

The Pitch: Have you ever come home from taking pictures, only to realize that the one picture you were super excited about, wasn’t quite composed just right? Or maybe you’ve been shooting video with your DSLR and wished that screen on the back was bigger so you could see what you’re doing better (external monitors are expensive!)? DLSR Controller (BETA) works with your Android devices (phones or preferably tablets) to give you complete control of your camera through the device. You’ll need an On-The-Go (OTG) cable to make it all work… don’t worry, they’re like $2 on Amazon.

The Good: You can instantly have a 7” or 10” screen for your camera! With this app you can change almost every setting on the camera and have it take a picture / start recording, all from your device. Composing shots never felt so good!

The Bad: The app is perpetually in BETA, which is code for “if it crashes, don’t worry about that”… and it does crash sometimes. Mounting the tablet in such a way that it is safe and not obtrusive can be a challenge. Search around on the internet to find DIY mounting options, or pony up some serious cash to buy one pre-built. Only available for Android.

Google Sky Map

The Pitch: The night sky is a beautiful thing; this app allows you to locate constellations and even “fast forward” to see where they will be in a few minutes, or a few days!

The Good: Never miss the North Star again when you’re out doing night photography and easily locate where and when the Milky Way will be visible (assuming it isn’t cloudy!). You’ll also seem infinitely more intelligent to your friends by being able to rattle off a few constellations and where they are!  Seriously, any time I’m out shooting star trail images, I’ll have this app out.

The Bad: Only available for Android, however there are some alternatives that get good ratings.

 

World Travel Guide

The Pitch: Thinking of traveling somewhere and want to check out a free guidebook before committing? Triposo’s World Travel Guide is the ticket. The app has downloadable guidebooks for TONS of places around the world that will keep you informed, and off your data plan. The app also features, local time and temperatures, currency conversion, useful phrases in the local language, as well as recommended attractions.

The Good: The downloadable-ness of the guidebooks is a huge seller for me. I hate worrying about international charges when I’m traveling. The app is also a neat way to simply explore the world we live in.

The Bad: This is a newcomer for me, so I haven’t found any drawbacks yet… I’ll let you know though!

 

–Dan Thompson

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