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April 2011 Meeting Hilights

By Monte Ferguson

One of my personal favorite topics to talk about is the Mac /iOS Gems session. It is so very participatory. I always learn about new apps, and I notice the same holds true for most of our attendees. What also surprises me is the quality of these programs even though they may be low cost or free.

This year the iOS apps pretty much took over the meeting. There are a large number of inexpensive programs that are great at what they do.


Speak the name of an artist or band and instantly get access to:

  • Song previews
  • Lyrics, album art, and videos
  • See tour dates
  • Artist bios, album info & more

Dictionary.com app

The free Dictionary.com app delivers world-class reference content from Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com including nearly 1,000,000 words and definitions and 90,000 synonyms and antonyms. No Internet connection is needed. The app also features audio pronunciations, similarly spelled words and Dictionary.com's popular Word of the Day that is enjoyed by millions of people.

Dragon Dictation

Dragon Dictation is an easy-to-use voice recognition application powered by Dragon NaturallySpeaking that allows you to easily speak and instantly see your text or email messages. In fact, it's up to five (5) times faster than typing on the keyboard.

U-verse Mobile
AT&T has upped its ante in the mobile video race with a major upgrade to U-verse Mobile, its iPhone app for allowing subscribers of the company's U-verse service to manage their TV recordings and home DVR.

U-verse Mobile 2.0 now allows customers of specific AT&T service plans to download some shows to their iPhones for watching on-the-go. The app displays a new section called "Library of Downloadable Shows" where users can browser and download episodes.

Favorites is another new feature in U-verse Mobile 2.0, allowing you mark channels for easy access. You can also now tag your favorite shows for easier organization and search.

Keep in mind that while you can use most of U-verse Mobile's features over EDGE, 3G, and Wi-Fi, episodes can only be downloaded over Wi-Fi. Furthermore, only iPhone owners can use this new feature—it's not available on the iPad or iPod touch.

Good Reader

GoodReader is promoted primarily for productivity-related work with PDF files, but it is so much more, and it works with other file types as well. It allows you to read PDF files in multiple ways and with various settings, like double-page layouts, or by changing the background color. To save your spot in the text, you can even add bookmarks. It is useful for storing these PDF files but also stores: images, DOC files, TXT files, PPT files, and XLS files.

GoodReader also allows annotations and markups of PDF files and stores them that way, this is especially useful if you own a stylus. You can add notes to important documents and you can email them in order to read them later, even using desktop-based PDF readers.

Grocery IQ

Grocery IQ offers a wealth of features that make grocery shopping easy, effective, and frankly not so annoying. To make creating grocery lists a breeze Grocery iQ has:

  • UPC scanning – use the camera on your iPhone to add items to your grocery list
  • Multiple stores – set up lists for multiple stores
  • Auto-suggest – as you type Grocery iQ provides items it thinks you are looking to add
  • Favorites – use frequently used items to build lists
  • Database – over 130,000 built-in items
  • Organize by aisle – setup your lists by store so Grocery iQ can sort your items by aisle
  • List sync – shared lists will be automatically updated with your invited users
  • Email list – send lists to others
  • List/Coupon print – you can print lists and coupons for others using  WiFi

Meijer Find It

Find-it is your atlas to all the products, deals and destinations inside your local Meijer store – and you won't need origami lessons to re-fold your map. (Currently only available for select stores)

AppBox Pro

Opening up AppBox Pro, you are greeted with a screen, much like a regular Apple home screen, is loaded with icons, four across and five down. Its familiarity ends though when you look at the cringe worthy bright neon, 80's looking background. Past the visual experience, you'll quickly notice upon opening that you now have a new battery life meter, a cinometer, a currency calculator, a new flashlight app, a new unit converter app, a tip calculator, and so much more. It really is an app that is trying to cannibalize all other apps of its kind. It tries to incorporate a whole slew of functions. Some of which are more successful than others.

Star Walk

Star Walk is an award-winning Education app that allows users to easily locate and identify 20,000+ objects in the night sky. The 360-degree, touch control star map displays constellations, stars, planets, satellites, and galaxies currently overhead from anywhere on Earth. Highly praised and the winner of a 2010 Apple Design Award, the latest update adds a Spectrum Bar to view frequencies other than visible light. *No Internet connection required*

Scanner Pro

Scanner Pro transforms iPhone into portable scanner in your pocket. It lets you scan multipage documents, email them and even upload to Dropbox, MobileMe iDisk or any other WebDAV enabled server. Evernote integration is there too.

There you have it. Some very notable software to check out. This meeting went to iOS. There was so much interest that we did not have time to showcase Mac apps. We'll work on a MacOS X Gems meeting topic later in the year.

Posted: Sunday, May 1st, 2011

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