App Review – Paint Tester.

Today’s App Review is Paint Tester by Luminant Software. For anyone that has ever decorated a room the progress usually begins with multiple splotches of different colours all over the wall trying to figure out what is right. It is ok when you know the general colour you want but if not the test colours could line up like a rainbow on your wall. This App makes the initial process easier. All it does is take a photo of your room and then you use the paint feature to pick your color and give it a try. It is handy because the room you see is what you get. The color can be added using a fill or paint brush and you can decide to use more than one color at a time as well. You are probably wondering how you then know if the colour is the right one compared to the bucket of paint in your paint shop. Well the App gives you the RGB percentages so you should be able to find one close enough or mix one up. It would be handy if the App did contain major paint brands but logistically this could be a nightmare trying to make it accessible internationally and also because paint colours change each season so the RGB indicators are definitely the best solution.

So if your thinking about redecorating anytime soon forget about buying those testers and download this free App HERE.

App Review – iSafeplay

Today’s App Review is iSafeplay by Fanship. There is so much information on our devices these days and some of it you may not want the whole world to see. While there is the option of password protecting your phone this can easily be hacked if someone sees you doing it regularly. Another option would be to download an App like iSafeplay which requires a separate password to access the App. Some people may have information to hide others may just want to hide their contacts,  messages, emails or simply hide their Facebook to prevent friends from being ‘fraped’ by friends.

The App can access your messages and contacts etc from within the App so it is a very good all in one tool. This way it is easy to just use the App for Facebook instead of downloading the Facebook App. The one complaint I would have is that it doesn’t really protect your contacts as they are in a second inbuilt App that cannot be deleted. However, this can be solved by adding contents one by one into the App itself.

The App is free so the privacy is 100% free. Any of the basic features such as searching the web or watching YouTube can also be accessed so it really does away with any need for extra Apps.

So if you are in a situation where your iPhone may be picked up and accessed this is definitely a recommended App. I personally use the inbuilt iOS lock settings to prevent access to my emails and messages and personal photos but this is a great App solution.

To download the App for free you can visit HERE

App Review – OCR Apps.

Today is my 150th Review. Yes I really did manage to write one review every day for 150 days which is not something I thought I would last at but to celebrate I am going to review some Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Apps.

I was recently asked for advice on OCR Apps and although I had tried some out I had never really needed one so never paid much attention. In today’s digital age so much work is saved in a digital format but many of us still have old paper copies and there is no better time than now to turn these digital.

The trick in finding a good OCR App is to find one that will recognise the characters and let you edit the script. Without this feature you may as well just use a scanner. So I searched the App store and tried a bunch of OCR Apps. For each App I tried two tests one with handwriting and a second with typed text.  This is what I found.

OCR Scanner

The first App I tried was OCR Scanner by Smart Mobile Software and I tried it because it was free. This App works off credits so you can try it for free 5 times a day. After that it is 89cent for 30 credits or €2.69 for unlimited credits. The test showed that the handwritten example resulted in symbols and nothing much more than *+_+_(*()&^ type deal. Not very useful right? For the typed text it was pretty good it was about 90% accurate. The one issue is that the formatting is non existent so you would have to put time into redoing that after. Once the text is converted you can then copy it to a clip board or send by email. There is also an option to translate the text into another language. I tried to translate English to Spanish and to French and it didn’t work at all. The translation is a waste of time. I don’t know why they have it as a feature when it doesn’t work. Also my attempts to translate used up two credits for nothing.  Overall if your looking for something free and are willing to reformat the text then it is a good enough option. Personally I wouldn’t have the patience or time.

Download from HERE

Image to Text

The next App I tried was Image to text by MadLove . Again I tried this because it was free. I tried to take a photo and the ads blocked the button so I couldn’t then when I tried to add an image from my camera roll there was again no result. And this is where the review ends. Neither option worked so basically the App didn’t work so don’t bother your time with it for now. They may decided to fix it in the future and if that happens it can be downloaded from HERE

Image to Text – OCR

The next App I tried was Image to Text – OCR by Ricoh Innovations. Again this App was free and again an absolute waste of time. All the App does is take a picture of the text and makes no attempt to convert it. It can be downloaded HERE. but doesn’t do what it claims it should be able to if I wanted to take a photo I could just use my inbuilt iOS camera.

OCR Kit

After the frustrations of the free Apps I decided to give some paid Apps a try and this is when I tried OCR Kit by ExactCODE. This App costs €2.69 and worked with a plain piece of text which featured no bolds or italics but when confronted with handwritten or wiki pedia style text it produced muddled results. I was disappointed by this as at first with the positive plain text result I was hopeful. The camera feature also failed. I was disappointed by this App as in the end the result was pretty much the same as what I got for free in OCR Scanner. The App can be downloaded from HERE

Prizmo

The next App I tried was Prizmo by Creaceed. Again this was a paid App and for €4.49 you got more for your money than just an OCR App. Before we get to the OCR I would like to point out that the App also features a great text to speech function as well as image editing and cloud integration. The OCR feature worked very well on the plain text image and even kept the formatting which up until now no Apps had succeeded to do. The handwriting translation failed miserably I am afraid and the wiki formatted text worked but with varied accuracy. Overall I would compare it to OCR scanner in that both worked ok on the plain text but failed on the wiki text and handwriting. For the added features the App is worth it but a reliable OCR translator it is not. It can be downloaded from HERE

Text Grabber

Nearing the end of my attempts and ready to give up I tried Text Grabber by ABBYY which costs €4.49. At this stage I really wasn’t expected much but was surprised when the App recognised the plain text without faults and the wiki text with minor errors. This was a big step forward from what I had been seeing. Again it failed the hand-writing image which got me wondering if maybe it was the image I was using so tried a different one but it failed again. So I think I may have to give up on finding an accurate handwriting translator but at least it can recognise different types of typed text and you can edit the texts in App. An added bonus is that the translator also works! I again tried French and Spanish and they both seemed to work although I am fluent in neither so accuracy may not be 100%. All in all I think we may have a winner here. To download the App you can visit HERE

Text from Image

The final App I tried was Text from Image by Ngo Lien. Again this App was a paid one and cost 89cent. Already knowing that Text Grabber is the winner of plain and wiki text I decided to go straight for the handwriting and it was a downright fail situation again. I can’t say I was surprised at this stage. The real surprise however came when I tried the plain and wiki texts and the App froze upon being confronted with either I guess all that can be said is another one bites the dust! If you want an App that doesn’t like hard work and freezes upon seeing it you can download it from HERE

Overall verdit

all in all I have to say that I have given these Apps a good chance to prove themselves and tried a varied selection from free to what I would consider expensive at €4.49 and none of them lived up to the full challenge. If you are working with text then Text Grabber is the definite winner there but not one of these 6 Apps can win out against the handwritten text. There may be undiscovered Apps out there but from this sampling the OCR feature does not appear to be fully developed so if there are any developers out there I have found a niche in the market now try and fill it ! If anyone does find a good one you can contact me here or tweet @MirCWalsh

Featured image from Text Grabber


App Review – DocuSign Ink

Today’s App Review is DocuSign Ink by DocuSign.

Although digital signatures have been around for years I have never had a use for them until recently. When I suddenly needed one I didn’t know where to start but knew I wanted an iOS App due to it being easier to sign on a device than on a computer. That is when I discovered DocuSign Ink.

DocuSign has a lot of functionality. You start off with creating your signature. You can create a signature in blue, black or red ink. The signature can be edited at any time.

Once created all you have to do is decide what document you want to sign. You can sign photos from your camera roll or take a photo, you can also import documents from Google Drive, Evernote, Salesforce, Box, Mail and DropBox  which is a great accessible feature.  If there are other Apps you can give it permission to access them too. After retrieving and signing a document they can be sent right back to wherever they came from with the added signature of course.

You can link your signature with your contact details so it is an all in one, accessible, user friendly bundle.

In-app purchases give you the option to add more signatures to the App. It is always free to have one and if you want to add extras they are 89cent each which is reasonable.

I have been using this App without any issues for several weeks now. Although digital signatures may be traditional used for work documents the App is also great if you want to add your signature to a photo you took.

The App is free and well worth it if your after a reliable App and you can download it from HERE.

App Review – Templates for Keynote Pro.

Today’s App Review is Templates for Keynote Pro by Jan Heiermann.

I make keynotes daily averaging at least 15-20 different presentations per week and I have gotten to the stage where all the basic templates that come with the program (iOS and Mac) have been used to death. Power Point themes are no better and I prefer to use Keynote. There are options in that you can download themes or Mac Apps but these are usually really expensive and although trying many sources I never was impressed.  A couple of weeks back I discovered this App was free so gave it a go. I had tried other Apps but they were not user friendly and just didn’t work for me. From the moment I downloaded this App I absolutely loved it.

There are over 50 themes to choose from and they are beautifully designed. They are handsdown the best selection I have ever found and for a regular price of €4.49 it is beyond a bargain. The developer could easier charge ten times that and I would be happy (but please don’t!)

Each templates comes with different features for graphs, tables, pictures etc. Templates vary from fun to business based with my personal favorite being Rainbow theme so are suitable for everything type of presentation. The only complaint I can possibly have is that the developer hasn’t made a Mac version. I would definitely download one if there is as I do a lot of my Keynotes on my Mac. That aside though these iOS templates can be emailed so will also work on an App. I don’t know if that is what the developer was considering but the high quality converts perfectly.

So if you are someone who does make a lot of Keynotes and want. to liven them up a bit look no further than this amazing App.  If you want to download the App it is excellent value for money and can be found HERE.

App Review – My Script Calculator.

Today’s App Review is My Script Calculator by Vision Objects.

I am currently working with a Maths teacher to create an iTunes U Collection and was wondering how we could bring Maths into the digital age and was looking out for technology but not being a massive fan of maths didn’t know where to start.

Then I found this App. It is a great resource for students and teachers. All you do is draw the maths equation on screen and the App magically transforms your writing into text and even better than that it also solves the equation for you. Being absolutely useless at maths I find it pretty impressive that this App can do that.

A few of my students who also study maths have started using this App and the results are great. One student who never had an interest in maths and always considered herself a failure at it said it has helped her to finally understand it.

The App isn’t limited to + and – it also does percentages and complex equations. There is  also full social media and email integration

So as a student or a teacher or just someone interested in maths I would definitely recommend checking out this free App.

To download the App you can visit HERE.

App Review – Skyfire Web Browser

Today’s App Review is Skyfire Web Browser by Skyfire.

I have always been asked does the iPad have flash and I have also heard a lot of people posting/ saying negative things about the iPad because of the absence of flash. To be honest I have never had this problem or missed having flash on my devices but I know everyone is different. In the hunt for a solution I have tried several Apps out so at least I have an answer for people and this App really does the job for me.

Skyfire acts as a browser and all you do is open up the App and work away as if you were using Safari and all websites work perfectly. I have tried a few with positive results. The only thing I noticed is that there is a delay in opening websites I guess this is so the flash feature can kick in. Because of this I would recommend using this as a back up browser instead of your primary browser.

Although this is a fantastic App like I said I don’t have a whole lot of use for it so have it in a folder and still use Safari. That being said it does what it says and works perfectly. So if you are one of the people missing flash or if the absence of flash is a deciding factor for you then I would definitely recommend this App and it is free too which is always a plus.

To get the App you can download it from HERE.

App Review – EasyBib

Today’s App Review is EasyBib by Imagine Easy Solutions.

When I was in college I always hated making writing bibliographies at the end of research projects and I don’t think anyone really enjoys doing them. My class are certainly no different so it was great to discover EasyBib. This App scans the barcodes from the back of books and instantly gives the reference information. No need to remember whether the author or date comes first this is the best and easiest way to do it.

It has worked perfectly on the few books I have tried so I have not found any major issues. The one thing I would say is that it is limited to physical books and so won’t work on many iBooks or web resources. It would be great if in a future update that the developers could add these in and students these days use far more online resources instead of taking a trip to the library.

The App is also a great resource for students to practice the makeup of different bibliography sources through scanning a few different books themselves.

To download this App you can visit HERE

 

App Review – Strata 3D SE

Today’s App Review is Strata 3D SE by Corastar. It’s been a while so today it’s time for another Mac App review. This time Strata 3D SE. This App always kept catching my eye when I saw it in the App store so last summer I decided to give it a go. I was particularly interested in the 3D text feature. The first purchase and download didn’t go so well and the program kept crashing upon opening. Thankfully iTunes understood and gave me a refund.

I always wanted to give it another go and when others reported issues as being fixed I decided it was time for a second chance. Second time round I was much luckier and the App now works. The features are what you expect and there are many options to build 3D objects and texts as well as use pre-made ones. Being a newbie to 3D I didn’t find the program very intuitive and did end up relying on YouTube tutorials to get me started. Corastar do offer tutorials but you have to pay. I did a few bits and did get my 3D text in the end and was quite proud of myself. All in all I think that although I really liked what I saw this program is for me a bit too complicated for what it does and I have managed to produce better results with easier to use software or even iOS Apps.

If 3D is what your after though and if you have $50 to spare you can always give it a go HERE

App Review – Motion

Today’s App review is Motion by Apple. It has been a while since I reviewed a Mac App so have decided to give Motion a go.

Motion 5 is a video effects App used in conjunction with Final Cut Pro  X to make custom animations, text and effects.

I have Level One Pro in Final Cut Pro and Motion did look a bit alien to me at first until I worked my way around but it offers endless opportunities to editors and is a definite asset to Final Cut Pro X.

My favorite features are the text effects which I have used every since downloading the App.

For beginners I would recommend basic training in Final Cut or Motion. The App is about $50 and there are plenty of training tutorials available for free online.

To get the App you can download it from HERE