Office Lens

Office Lens

From Microsoft, Office Lens allows you to use your mobile devices camera to take pictures of whiteboards and documents and convert the images to editable Word and Powerpoint files.

It turns your mobile device into a pocket scanner.  It also makes what you have taken a picture of easy to locate.  Try taking pictures of business cards to digitize them.  An app that we used to like, CardMunch, did this, but alas is no longer available.

You can sketch out ideas on paper, or whiteboard and then take a picture using Office Lens to capture the information for later.  You can take pictures of receipts,… pretty much any written, or printed document to digitize them.

There is also a cropping feature.

The pictures can be saved to any of the cloud drives available… like Dropbox, OneNote,…

You can select .docx, .pptx, or .pdf file types.

A good app that is available on the Apple App Store.  Check it out!

Hooks

Hooks

As pretty much anyone that is familiar with iPhone apps knows, many apps allow you to configure the app to send notifications to your phone when a specific event occurs.  New apps can send notices when a major news event happens.  Weather apps can alert you when major storms are expected.  Sports apps can be set to notify you when your favorite team is playing, or wins.  These apps, and their notifications, are ways that you can get greater value out of your expensive mobile devices.

Notifications, when used wisely, can extend the usefulness of an app as well.

A clever app that we ran across recently can make setting notifications very easy across many apps.  Hooks will send a notification for events that you request.  Hooks includes approximately 100 app references known as channels.  You can select from these channels and set the notifications that are preset in Hooks.

Setting the notifications across numerous apps is very easy.  And the really cool feature is that you don’t even have to have the individual apps loaded on your phone… Hooks will communicate with the app and send the notification you requested.  The benefit is that, if you only want notifications and none of the other function of the particular app, then you can save space on your phone!  Very cool.

The Hooks developer is adding new channels regularly.  And they’re interested in feedback for new apps to connect with.

Find Hooks on the Apple app store and make your phone even more valuable to you!!!  We have!!!

DO Button

DO Button

As our regular subscribers know, we’re huge fans of IFTT… “If This Then Than”.  It’s a great free app for setting automated tasks like sending your iPhone a daily weather report each morning.  These are called recipes and they provide recipes that they have developed.  But you can also leverage recipes that others have developed.

Well, IFTT is now, simply, “IF”.  You can set up a recipe to get a hotel wake up call, get a notice when the International Space Station (ISS) is overhead, and text you if it’s going to rain today.  The list goes on and it’s up to you to see how creative you can be with it.

AND NOW… IF has a new app… the “DO” button that allows you to set up your own button on your mobile device.  Recipes you leverage from IF, or other IF users, or ones you write, can be assigned to the DO button.  So the button can control your thermostat, your lights,…

You can have up to 3 recipes assigned to your DO button and you can swipe between them quickly to change what your DO button does.

There’s also a “Do Camera” and “DO Note”.  Check it all out at https://iftt.com!  Both IF and DO are available for free on the Apple AppStore.

Get DOing things now!!!

Use the Hopper to Find the Best Airline Ticket Price

Hopper

There are a lot of apps available for helping to find the best travel and flight and flight deals.  But Hopper goes beyond these and helps predict when prices for airline tickets will change.

It uses an easy to understand presentation using monthly calendars and color coding to show you when the flights are the cheapest for the departure and arrival destinations you choose.

You can also set it up to notify you when the fares are the lowest.

We think you’ll find it easy to use and will save you money on your airline tickets!

And what’s really cool?  It’s available for free on the Apple App Store!!!!

An App for Crafted Beer, Wine, Spirits,…

CraftedHere

We at AppTechnique are known to favor finer beers and wines and, as such, we leverage a great app that helps us find the best craft beers, wines… even coffee!

If you love craft beer, wine, spirits,… then you need to load CraftedHere!  It’s Colorado centric and provides a list of breweries, wineries, distilleries, coffee shops and canabis shops based on your location.  The view can also be optionally displayed in map form.  While Colorado centric, the app does a good job of providing information on craft breweries, wineries,… throughout the U.S.

You can identify your favorites and get additional information on each establishment… business hours and awards that they may have received for their crafts!

Additionally, the app provides information on nearby establishments.

And all of this for free!!!

There is a Pro version for $.99 that adds filtering on searches and allows business owners to to update their establishment’s information.  The Pro version also includes nearby eateries and public parks.

Salud!

Note that if you give the app access to your location, even when not active, this can reduce your battery life, so only allow location access when using the app, not in the background.

Stop the Junk Mail!

PaperKarma

This app has been very useful to us personally.

PaperKarma allows you to take pictures of junk mail you receive that you want to stop.  You simply take a picture of the mail item that includes the name and address of the company that you want PaperKarma to notify to stop sending you mail.

The app keeps track of the requests you’ve submitted and indicates if the company has acknowledged your request, or if it is pending.

While not fool proof, our experience has been positive in reducing the amount of unwanted mailings received.  Some companies take some convincing, but it’s easy to keep sending them requests using PaperKarma.  Some companies are shrewd and know not to place their address and/or name together on documents which makes it hard to get a picture that provides both that PaperKarma can use.

And, of course, there are ones that seem to not care and still send the unwanted mail.  But, this app has reduced the amount of unwanted mail we receive.

Worldwide News in a Creative Presentation Format

Flipboard

One of our all time favorite mobile apps is Flipboard.

It provides news and information from around the world from numerous sources that you can customize.  Sources include USA Today, Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic, The Telegraph, Reuters, BBC World, CNN, The Huffington Post, MarketWatch, Forbes, The New York Times, The Daily Beast, Gigaom, TIME, CNN Money, TheBlaze, ESPN, Business Insider, Cult of Mac, Lonely Planet, BBC Future, Fox News, The Guardian, Mashable, Los Angeles Times, Outside, Engadget, Fast Company, NPR, SB Nation, NBC News,… OK… I’m tired and you get the picture!

What’s cool about it is that it allows you to quickly “flip” through the content using a board format.  Thus, the title, Flipboard.

We find this VERY easy to quickly review the news and information postings you request.  When you find an item that you want to read more about, you simply select that item instead of “flipping” past it.

Content is categorized into the Daily Edition, News, Business, Sports, Technology, Travel and Flipboard Picks.

It offers optional notifications that can be customized and you can post comments as well.

A great news and information app you’ll enjoy using!  Everyone we’ve told about it, loves it!

Maps for the World

City Maps 2Go

OK… there are a lot of mapping applications out there!  But one we’ve found, and use personally, is City Maps 2Go.

What’s cool about City Maps 2Go is that it allows you to down load maps to your mobile device so that you can access them if you’re in a place where you don’t have cellular or wireless connectivity.  Alright… Google Maps offers the same, but we’ve found City Maps 2Go to be very easy to use and accurate… not only in the U.S., but in places like Tokyo and Timisoara Romania!

It includes insider tips and popular places and is FREE.  There’s a Pro version with added features.  The developer offers many related apps specific to cities around the world.

We’ve used it a lot and found it to be very helpful.

Available on the Apple App Store.  Check it out!

Manage Budgets, Investments, Even Bills In One Place

Mint

With the Mint app and the mint.com web site, you can set up and see all your balances and transactions in one place… including credit card purchases and balances.  Mint automatically pulls all your financial information into one place, so you can get the entire picture.

It’s free and easy to set up.  It connects to almost all financial institutions.  What you put into Mint us up to you, but the more you put in, the more you get an integrated view of your overall financial accounts, spending and budget performance.  It also integrates with other Intuit applications since Mint was acquired by Intuit.

Since the data is in a data base, you can create custom reports about your spending habits, and relative to others in your location, city, or state… by category.  For example, you can compare your utility spending to those in your city to see if you are spending above, or below the average.  Pretty cool.

We personally use it and think it’s one of the best apps we have suggested over the last several years.  The app and the web site sync so that you can get the same picture and enter information whether on your mobile device, or on your computer.

If you want to keep track of your spending and your investments in one place, this is the app and web site to do that!