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Entries in apps (22)

Monday
Feb132012

OnLive vs. CloudOn: Finally Working in Word on the iPad

For over a year now, I typically mention two apps when I discuss creating, editing and working on Microsoft Office files:  Documents to Go Premium and QuickOffice Pro HD.  They are good, solid tools for basic document creation and editing, but they just aren't as powerful as the real thing.  There have been rumors that Microsoft was bringing Office to the iPad in the form of $10 Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps (OneNote has been the first, and it's free), but some of us can't wait that long.

That's why I was really intrigued when I learned of the debut of two new apps, both of which provide MS Office access on your iPad.  OnLive Desktop and CloudOn came out in the past two months - both are free, and both offer access to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in a virtual environment.  In other words, the Office applications aren't actually on your iPad; they exist on another computer, and you're accessing the application that computer's desktop.  I thought I would run down the basic features of each app, discuss how they handle Office files, and reveal my choice for the app I might start using in place of Docs to Go or QuickOffice.

OnLive Desktop

Brought to you by the folks who started the OnLive Gaming Network, the OnLive Desktop provides an actual virtual desktop in what appears to be Windows 7 environment.  On your desktop you'll see a folder for your Documents, and shortcuts to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint - all Office 2010 applications.

The OnLive DesktopTo get started, you can open one of the apps directly, or open your Documents folder and double tap on a document to work on it.  OnLive comes with a virtual keyboard that you can use - it's pretty cool, because it offers onscreen word hints as you're typing.

Working with the virtual keyboard in WordAnother interesting feature is the handwriting application - just tap the little pen button above the ESC key, on the virtual keyboard, and you can use a stylus or your finger to enter words into your document.

Using the handwriting feature in OnLive

Personally, I don't really like the virtual keyboard - it's just too hard to type on the iPad's screen.  I would prefer to use my wireless keyboard to work on documents, so that's what I would recommend.

One thing you might notice in the images above is that you can now use Track Changes on your iPad!  That's right - the Track Changes feature works in OnLive (and CloudOn below, as well) - this is, hands down, the number one requested feature of lawyers in document creation apps.  This alone may be the reason that you choose to use one of these tools.  

There are a few downsides to using OnLive.  First, you must be connected to the internet to use it - if you're on a plane without wireless you won't be able to work on your documents.  Further, if you're on a slow connection, you might experience some latency - that is, the app will work a little slower than you'd like.  For me, the other objection is that you must store your documents with OnLive in order to access them - you first have to upload them to your Onlive repository on your desktop or laptop before you can work with them on the iPad.  One advantage to this is that you can insert images in documents created in OnLive, because you can upload the pictures to your OnLive library; in CloudOn this feature is not available.

The OnLive app is free, as is the basic account, which comes with 2GB of storage.  However, with the free account they offer you no guarantees that you will be able to get in to use the service; if demand is high, priority will be given to those with Pro accounts (further, you'll be logged off the system if you don't use it for more than 20 minutes).  A Pro account costs $9.99/month, and in addition to priority access will give you 50GB of storage and the ability to add additional PC applications.  The Pro service is not available yet - the site says it is coming soon.

CloudOn

The CloudOn app doesn't provide access to a traditional desktop.  Instead, you connect directly to your Dropbox account - and when you log in, you'll be taken to the last folder you were using.  Just open a document and the app that created it (Word, Excel, or PowerPoint) will automatically open.

If you want to create a new document, just press the third button at the top to select the right application.

CloudOn opens to your Dropbox folders.

You don't have access to all features in the MS Office applications, like you might in OnLive (including inserting images), but you really get what you need.  Some of the features don't quite work right (for example, when you try to indent a numbered or lettered list, it doesn't change the sub-level number or letter), and it's pretty slow when you try to scroll around a document.  But otherwise, the app works just like the version of Word or Excel you might use on your desktop or laptop.

Editing a Word Document in CloudOn

Like OnLive, CloudOn can be slow because 1) you are using an online service that 2) is being used by other people at the same time.  But for me, the best feature of CloudOn - and the feature that will make this the app I use - is its integration with Dropbox.  When I open the app, I can open a document directly from my Dropbox folders.  As soon as I'm done with the document, it is automatically saved back to my Dropbox folder.  It can hardly get easier than that, and for me it is far preferable to using a separate online storage repository just to work on documents.

CloudOn is currently free, and there will always be a free version even if/when pricing plans are introduced. 

If it wasn't clear already, I recommend CloudOn of the two products, and am already using it regularly to work on Word and Excel files when using my iPad.

Because both CloudOn and OnLive Desktop are both free, I urge you to try both of them out, and see which one works best for you.  If you have any questions or issues, feel free to come back here and leave a comment so we can talk about it.

 

Tuesday
Nov082011

App of the Week: 5-0 Radio

Although I try to showcase apps that are useful to lawyers in their practice, I'm not sure this one completely qualifies - unless you criminal defense lawyers out there can find a use for it.

The app is 5-0 Radio HD Police Scanner, and that's exactly what it is - an iPad version of the police scanner, and at $4.99 it's a lot cheaper than a real one.  Even better, it provides access to police scanner broadcasts from all over the world.  When you first log in you will see a catalog, where you can choose to Browse Scanner Feeds, see the Top 100 Scanner Feeds, or even add your own feed.

 

The Top 100 Scanner Feeds page shows you the top scanner broadcasts in terms of listeners.

Just select a feed, and start listening!

Most of the good feeds are located here in the U.S., but you can also listen to police in the U.K, Canada, Australia, Italy, and other companies if you like - but as you might imagine, the conversations in other countries aren't nearly as interesting.

The app also provides links to radio stations around the world, but if you're interested in listening to music I would recommend the TuneIn Radio app over this one.  For the police scanner buffs out there, 5-0 Radio is a must-have.

Monday
Oct312011

The iPad for Lawyers - Links for State Bar of Montana Bankruptcy Section Lawyers

I had a great time presenting last Friday at the State Bar of Montana's Bankruptcy Section's Annual CLE in Helena.  I was asked to speak on integrating iPads into a law practice, and I covered a lot of material over two hours. So much material, in fact, that I didn't get to mention everything.  So as promised, below are links to everything I mentioned and didn't mention.  If you attended the session on Friday and still have questions, please feel free to ask them as a comment to this post.  Thanks again for having me!

iPad Accessories

Browsers

Storing Files

Being Productive

Legal Apps

Meetings

Reading

Other Apps - Productive, Useful, and Just Plain Fun

Monday
Oct102011

Answers to Questions - 60 iPhone and iPad Apps Seminar

Last week I was honored to reprise our very popular 60 iPhone and iPad Apps in 60 Minutes, presented by Josh Barrett, Jeff Richardson, Reid Trautz, and me as your humble moderator.  Because the session was so fast-paced, we had very little time to answer all the great questions we received.  We took the time to jointly answer the questions, which appear below.  If these answers raise even more questions, please let me know.  

Question #1 from S.F. from Anchorage, AK:  What is the best way for lawyers to use Dropbox or a similar service with an iPhone or iPad, assuming the need to access client information occasionally?

Answer:  Dropbox is a useful service for sharing documents between multiple computers and between a computer and an iPhone and/or iPad.  Because Dropbox is run by a third party, however, you need to be conscious of security issues.  Jeff's solution is that he only uses Dropbox for non-confidential documents, such as copies of pleadings, depositions and exhibits.  For confidential attorney-client documents, Jeff keeps those documents in an app like GoodReader or Quickoffice that allows you to password-protect documents.

Tom also uses Dropbox, but understands that SpiderOak provides better security.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t integrate with as many iPad apps as Dropbox, which limits its utliity.  Tom also recommends GoodReader as a good app for downloading and accessing your Dropbox files - it is relatively simple to connect your Dropbox account to GoodReader, and start downloading files to your iPad.  Tom says "Whenever I download a new app, one of the first things I do is check to see whether it integrates with Dropbox.  You may find you have a lot of apps that do so, and it may be easier to download into those apps directly from Dropbox, rather than into GoodReader."

Josh often uses the file manager built into LogMeIn Ignition to grab confidential client files left on the computer back at the office. The transfer from desktop to iPad is encrypted end-to-end and doesn't let the document sit on a cloud based service so the confidentiality concerns some raise about services like Dropbox don't apply. The key to using any cloud based service with your device is setting up a good workflow to help keep track of document revisions, versions and originals.

Reid uses the Dropbox-GoodReader combo, and also uses DropBox to transfer PDFs to the Apple iBooks app for reading. Jeff adds that, on the iPhone, the Apple iBooks app is his favorite app for handling PDFs.

Alternate Calendar Apps
Question #2 from J.H. from San Francisco, CA: Does entering an event in Calvetica simultaneously make the entry in the iPhone Calendar app?

Answer:  Yes.  One of the nice features of third party calendar apps such as Calvetica, Easy Calendar or Agenda is that the all use the iPhone and iPad's built-in calendar database.  Thus, you can use one app to enter an event, another app to edit the event, another app to view the event, and they are all working from the same database.

Question #3 from C.P. from Greenwood Village, CO:  Do the calendar apps interface with Microsoft Outlook calendars?
Question #4 from L.L. from Saint Louis, MO:  Do the calendar apps interface with MS Outlook?  We use an Exchange server to coordinate with our iPhones.

Answer:  Again, yes,  Because all iPhone and iPad calendar apps use the built-in calendar database, if you have your iPhone and iPad configured to synchronize with your office's Exchange server, you can add an event in a third-party app and then the change will be synced to Exchange and will show up in Outlook on your computer.

Stylus
Question #5 from C.McD. from Blue Bell, PA: What stylus do you like for Penultimate?
Question #6 from M.M. from Reno, NV:  What is the name of the suggested stylus?

Answer:  Jeff's current favorite stylus is the Kensington Virtuoso Stylus for Tablet which he reviewed on iPhone J.D. here.  Tom's current favorite stylus is the Adonit Jotpro Stylus.  Josh uses the MORE/REAL Stylus cap because it has the weight and balance of a regular pen. That said, Josh recommends waiting until version 2 is released with the faster tip. If you go to the iPhone J.D. website and do a search at the top right for “stylus” you will find lots of reviews pointing out the advantages and shortcomings of many different options.


Accessing Online Legal Resources
Question #7 from: M.S. from Shawnee Mission, KS: Two general questions regarding the iPad.  First, do you have any suggestions on how to access electronic dockets and pleadings etc. in federal court?  I can access it through my browser on the iPad but cannot scroll within documents that are retrieved.  Do any apps help?  Second, and similarly, I cannot scroll down within the web browser when accessing Lexis on my iPad.  Do any apps help for this?

Answer: When you access PACER from an iPad, once you select a document from the docket, if you click the button to view a document you only see the first part of the first page and cannot scroll down.  However, there is a workaround.  Instead of clicking the button that says "view" click the button that says "download."  This will send a .zip file to your iPad, and your iPad will ask what app you want to open the zip file in.  One such app is GoodReader an app that Jeff recommended. Josh recommends ReaddleDocs for the same functionality.  Either app will allow you to unzip a .zip file and view all of the PDF files contained in that file.

As for accessing Lexis on the iPad, Lexis is supposed to be updating Lexis.com so that it can be accessed from an iPad.  Moreover, before the end of this year, Lexis will be releasing a Lexis Advance app for the iPad.  For more information on the upcoming Lexis app, see this post from Jeff on iPhone J.D.

Voice transcription
Question #9: S.E. From Draper, UT: Can the Dragon Diction app be download to an iPad?

Answer:  Yes.  The Dragon Dictation app works on both the iPhone and iPad.

Remote access
Question #10 from R.H. from Milwaukee, WI:  Is there an app to allow my iPad to connect to my desktop remotely?  I use Time Matters.

Answer:  Yes, any of the remote access apps that we discussed in our session will let you do this — Citrix Receiver, LogMeIn Ignition or GoToMyPC.

Question #11 from P.O. from Austin, TX: Is LogMeIn Igntion better than iTap RDP?
Question #12 from P.dB. from Stuart, FL: Do you recommend LogMeIn more than iTeleport?


Answer:  None of the presenters have used the iTap RDP, but in Tom’s opinion, it looks like a good option.  It uses Windows’ Remote Desktop Protocol, which is a solid method for remotely accessing your computer.  Tom thinks that LogMeIn might be better for one reason:  ease of configuration.  With LogMeIn, it “just works,” and requires very little configuration.  It looks like the iTap RDP requires a little more work under the hood, which might limit the app’s appeal to more advanced users.  Further, with LogMeIn you can access your desktop from any computer using just a browser, with no configuration; with the Remote Desktop Protocol, you’d have to configure it on any computer you plan to use.

Likewise, none of the presenters use iTeleport, which also looks like a solid remote desktop application. However, like iTap, it does not appear that you can use iTeleport on regular computers to remotely access your desktop - LogMeIn’s universal capabilities give it an advantage here.

Reid’s office has a corporate GoToMyPC account, so he has to use their iPad app. He finds it works well on his iPad2, although sometimes a bit balky.

First generation iPad
Question #13 from J.G. from Pocatello, ID: Do most or all of the apps discussed work with the first generation iPad?

Answer:  Very few apps that work with the iPad require the iPad 2, although some do exist.  All of the apps that we discussed work on the original iPad and the iPad 2, although some of these apps are designed for the iPhone and therefore run on the iPad/iPad 2 in iPhone emulation mode.

Accessing Word documents
Question #14 from M.H. from Lubbock, TX: What is the best app to read and edit Microsoft Word documents?

Answer:  The most popular apps for reading and editing Word documents are Documents to Go, Quickoffice and Office2.  Jeff's current favorite is Documents to Go because it is the only app of the three that shows you footnotes and shows you redline edits (although it will not let you create footnotes or create redlines).  But these apps are updated frequently, so hopefully the other apps will add this feature soon.

Apps for transactional law
Question #15 from D.C. from Naperville, IL: I am a transactional lawyer, with a specialty in business law, estate planning, tax and some business litigation.  What are the apps you would consider important for a lawyer with that type of practice to have?

Answer:  As a transactional lawyer you deal with a lot of documents.  If those documents are in PDF format, GoodReader or PDF Expert are essential apps for managing and annotating those documents. Josh prefers PDF Expert because of the easy to use document signing too, the ability to reorder/move/delete pages from a PDF and the ability to fill PDF forms. You also need one of the Microsoft Office compatible apps like Documents to Go or QuickOffice.

Josh recommends creating a folder on your Dropbox with your principal forms. This will give you access to your key drafting inspirations from anywhere.

If you use a Mac in the Office, also consider TextExpander Touch (with the desktop companion TextExpander) which allows you to expand text snippets into words, sentences or even paragraphs. With this app, Josh types "attfee1" and TextExpander types his preferred attorney fee clause. The snippet "simplemisc" expands into my preferred miscellaneous clauses for a basic contract that I can then edit. "engageltr" expands into the text I start with when drafting my engagement letter or email.  Note that iOS 5 will also provide a shortcut feature like this but it is unclear whether you can sync the shortcuts to a computer.

One key to making the iPad work well for transactional lawyers is to have some flexibility or be willing to try new things in your workflow. For example, Josh does lots of drafting in plain text on the iPad and only worries about formatting when back in front of a desktop computer. Even with the Word compatible apps mentioned here, they aren't WYSIWYG. You will still need to fine tune back at the office on your own or send to an assistant to format. Plain text is also necessary to take advantage of TextExpander since at this time the Word compatible apps do not support it but apps like Elements or Plaintext do support TextExpander.

Friday
Oct072011

60 iPad and iPhone Apps for Lawyers - The Apps, Redux!

As promised, here's the list of the apps that were mentioned in Wednesday's 60 iPhone and iPad Apps in 60 Minutes webcast. You'll notice there are more than 60 - the presenters mentioned a few other apps during the presentation, so I'm including them, too. I'll be posting the answers to attendee questions here over the weekend or early next week, so stay tuned.

  1. Black's Law Dictionary - the venerable legal reference ($54.99) Black's Law Dictionary, 9th Edition - West, a Thomson Reuters business
  2. Book of Jargon - Corporate and Bank Finance version (free) The Book of Jargon™ - Corporate and Bank Finance - Latham & Watkins LLP
  3. Calvetica Calendar - new, cleaner way to view your calendar ($2.99) Calvetica Calendar - Mysterious Trousers, LLC
  4. Agenda - another clean calendar app for iPhone ($1.99) Agenda Calendar - App Savvy
  5. Easy Calendar ($1.99) Easy Calendar - T. van Zummeren
  6. Appolicious - keep up with the latest apps (Free)Appolicious - Appolicious
  7. Atomic Web Browser - great browser alternative to Safari ($.99) Atomic Web Browser - Browse FullScreen w/ Download Manager & Dropbox - RichTech
  8. Sticky Notes for iPad - make sticky notes (free) Sticky Notes for iPad - tewks
  9. Keynote - the definitive presentation tool for the iPad ($9.99) Keynote - Apple®
  10. Penultimate - note-taking app ($1.99)Penultimate - Cocoa Box Design LLC
  11. iThoughtsHD - mind-mapping tool ($9.99) iThoughtsHD (mindmapping) - CMS
  12. Chase Mobile - deposit checks with your iPhone (free) Chase Mobile (SM) - JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  13. Citrix Receiver - remote access app (free) Citrix Receiver for iPad - Citrix Systems, Inc.
  14. LogMeIn Ignition - another remote access tool ($29.99) LogMeIn Ignition - LogMeIn, Inc.
  15. Food Truck Fiesta - find food trucks (D.C. only) ($.99) Food Truck Fiesta - APPease Mobile
  16. Google Translate - great voice translation app (free) Google Translate - Google
  17. Jibbigo - another good voice translation app (different versions - this is English-Spanish) ($4.99) Jibbigo English Spanish Speech Translator (for iPhone 3GS, 3rd gen iPod or newer) - Jibbigo LLC
  18. Flipboard - magazine-style news aggregator (free) Flipboard - Flipboard Inc.
  19. Zite - another great news aggregator - learns what you like (free) Zite Personalized Magazine - Zite, Inc.
  20. Instapaper - save web pages to read later ($4.99) Instapaper - Marco Arment
  21. Documents to Go Premium - view and edit Microsoft Office documents ($16.99) Documents To Go® Premium - Office Suite - DataViz, Inc.
  22. Dragon Dictation - terrific speech transcription (free) Dragon Dictation - Nuance Communications
  23. Dragon Go - search by voice (free) Dragon Go! - Nuance Communications
  24. Eye Glasses - use your camera as a magnifying glass ($2.99) Eye Glasses - Freeverse, Inc.
  25. Google Voice - free phone service (free) Google Voice - Google
  26. HootSuite - social media aggregator, for managing your Twitter account (free) HootSuite for Twitter - Hootsuite Media Inc.
  27. iCPR Full - emergency medical tool (free) iCpr Full - D-Sign
  28. Digits Calculator ($.99) Digits Calculator for iPad + iPhone - Shift
  29. PDF Expert - PDF annotator ($9.99) PDF Expert - Fill forms, annotate PDFs - Readdle
  30. Fastcase - legal research (free, but full use requires Fastcase subscription) Fastcase - Fastcase
  31. GateGuru - provides restaurant and services info for just about any airport (free) GateGuru - featuring Airport Maps - Mobility Apps LLC
  32. TripIt - fantastic tool for organizing your travel itineraries (Free) TripIt - Travel Organizer - FREE - TripIt
  33. Goodreader - excellent file reading app ($4.99) GoodReader for iPad - Good.iWare Ltd.
  34. Price Check by Amazon - compare prices (free) Price Check by Amazon - AMZN Mobile LLC
  35. Noted - note-taker (free) Noted - CignoSoft
  36. Siri - personal assistant (free) Siri Assistant - Siri
  37. Fuze Meeting HD - online meetings (free) Fuze Meeting HD - CallWave
  38. Plaintext - text editor/writing (free) PlainText - Dropbox text editing - Hog Bay Software
  39. Court Days Pro - date calculator ($2.99) Court Days Pro - Rules-based Calendaring for La... - Law On My Phone
  40. DaysFrom - date calculator ($.99) DaysFrom Date Calculator - QD Ideas, LLC
  41. Note Taker HD - note-taking app ($4.99) Note Taker HD - Software Garden
  42. Notes Plus - note-taking app ($4.99) Notes Plus - Handwriting, Note Taking, Shape Drawing, and Sound Recording - Viet Tran
  43. Noteshelf - great note-taking app ($4.99) Noteshelf - Ramki
  44. NotesPlus ($4.99) Notes Plus - Handwriting, Note Taking, Shape Drawing, and Sound Recording - Viet Tran
  45. Kensington Virtuoso Stylus ($15.62 on Amazon)
  46. Adonit Jotpro Stylus - works just like a ballpoint pen! ($29.95)
  47. Wunderlist - To Do List (Free) Wunderlist HD - 6 Wunderkinder
  48. Text'nDrive Pro - listen to text messages and email ($9.99) Text'nDrive Pro - Hands Free Email Message Reader - HandsFree Software
  49. Word Lens - translation app (free) Word Lens - Quest Visual
  50. Office Bleepster - communicate with your office staff ($9.99) Office Bleepster - Peakland Innovation Group, LLC.
  51. TextExpander Touch - macro utility ($4.99) TextExpander - SmileOnMyMac, LLC
  52. TuneIn Radio Pro - listen to and record thousands of radio stations ($.99) TuneIn Radio Pro - Synsion Radio Technologies
  53. PDF Converter - save files to PDF format ($6.99) PDF Converter - Save Documents, Web Pages, Photos to PDF - Readdle
  54. Pro HDR - improved HDR photography ($1.99) Pro HDR - eyeApps LLC
  55. Skype - VOIP and video calls (free) Skype - Skype Software S.a.r.l
  56. WordPerfect Viewer - view (but not edit) WordPerfect files ($4.99) WordPerfect Viewer for the iPad - Corel Corporation
  57. Join.me - online meetings (free) join.me - LogMeIn, Inc.
  58. JotNot Scanner Pro - scan receipts and other documents ($.99) JotNot Scanner Pro - MobiTech 3000 LLC
  59. MindMeister for iPad - mind-mapping tool ($7.99) MindMeister for iPad - MeisterLabs
  60. PhotoSync - transfer photos from iPhone to iPad ($3.99) Photo-Sync - Carsten Fels
  61. Trickle for Twitter - Twitter display ($.99) Trickle for Twitter - Caleb Thorson
  62. Reeder - RSS reader ($4.99) Reeder for iPad - Silvio Rizzi
  63. Mr. Reader - another great RSS reader ($3.99) Mr. Reader - Oliver Fürniß
  64. iMovie - edit movies ($4.99) iMovie - Apple®
  65. Localscope - find nearby businesses ($1.99) Localscope - Cynapse
  66. GoToMyPc - remote access (free) GoToMyPC (Remote Desktop) - Citrix Online
  67. TrialPad - fantastic trial presentation tool ($89.99) TrialPad - Saurian
  68. Snapseed for iPad - photo editor ($4.99) Snapseed for iPad - Nik Software, Inc.
  69. Instacast ($1.99) Instacast - Vemedio
Enjoy!