Posted in Equipment, multimedia journalist, Technology

Happy New Year with New Tech Tools

By Sylvia Franklin
 
It’s a new year, and that probably means new demands on your already overscheduled life. Here are a few tech tools that, hopefully, will make things a bit easier.
 
DocScanner works across iOS, Android and Symbian platforms. Just take a photo of a document, receipt or notebook page and email it as a PDF. Integrate with Mobile.me, Dropbox or Evernote.  Full disclosure, a few bugs were discovered in the previous version.  The fixes were recently released here — docscannerapp.com/2011/04/02/docscanner-iphone-5-0-1-released/
 
CardMunch, Free 
Like you, I get a ton of business cards. Problem is, what to do with them on-the-go? A possible solution — CardMunch. Use this app to scan business cards, then add them as contacts in your phone and connect with them on LinkedIn.
 
Ever get tired of registering for an event, then losing the paper ticket and registration details weeks later? Eventbrite launched its first attendee app a couple of weeks ago. You can use it to buy Eventbrite tickets and then present your ticket barcode for scanning at the door. Finally! Keeps you organized, and greener.
 
Carrying cash is so 2011. Square works by combining a small, square-shaped card reader with a free app for iPhone and Android. Plug the reader into the microphone jack of your smartphone and open the app. Transactions can be processed either by swiping the card or hand-keying the digits.
Square charges a 2.75% transaction fee but has no other associated costs. It’s great for entrepreneurs and small business in that it eliminates the need for expensive point-of-sale systems.  It’s also portable and can be used with any Android or iOS device.
 
Feeling a little anti-Mac, but loving the iPhone’s personal assistant Siri, and its voice-activated capability? Here’s an alternative – Vlingo. It does more than just take voice commands to make calls, SMS, emails, search the web, or get directions. Vlingo also interfaces with your Twitter and Facebook accounts to let you update with your voice. And it does so without workarounds. For example, if you wanted to tweet, but couldn’t because Twitter only recognizes you by your phone number instead of your user name, and the only way around it is to use your phone number and other Byzantine rules. Complicated? Yes, but not Vlingo.
 
Happy New year, happy tech tools!
 
Equal parts digital storyteller and strategist, Sylvia Franklin prefers a multiplatform approach when telling and sharing stories.
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Home of the National Association of Black Journalists's (NABJ's) Digital Journalism Task Force

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