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Apps Reviews

PDF Reader iPad Edition App Review

Before the arrival of tablets, I used to read books on my computer. Then I moved to iPad, because of its mobility and the tactile feel in my hands. As I started using it, I had to try a few PDF reader apps for reading eBooks. Let me review one such app.

PDF Reader iPad Edition was a bit pricey, especially given that I was looking at the app in order to save money on eBooks, but because of all the positive reviews and interest on the web I decided to go with it. The interface is easy to use, it has the balance between simplicity and many functions that every app should look for, and it enables you to carry as many books with you as you could ever read. Plus, the ability to download almost any .pdf file from the internet on the go can be a real life saver. It’s not without its issues though, like a few interface errors that can sometimes lead to crashes.

PDF Reader iTunes Store image

You can jump to your .pdf library to open and read your stored PDF’s, jump to the Import section to add new content to your library, even scan and compile new PDF’s from photographs. Managing files is not difficult, and reading your stored. This PDF Reader is is as intuitive as any eBook reader out there. This simplicity of use is important for any utility that could potentially be one of the most used apps on an iPad, so this is definitely something the makers of PDF Reader iPad Edition did well. Users can also copy and paste text from your files, edit them, comment on them, even fill in signatures with the touch screen.

The only issue with the interface was a tendency to stutter while trying to scroll quickly through large lists or through a PDF file. This can be quite a frustration, but only very rarely leads to more complete crashes or bugs. If you read or work from your iPad in almost any capacity, iPad Reader PDF Edition will quickly pay for itself. This app is compatible with iPad and requires iOS 4.3 or later.

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Apps Reviews

Snap2PDF – An Easy Way to Manage Your Documents

Managing documents is always difficult, especially when you have a lot of them. Certainly, it is not possible to carry all of them wherever you move. But it is easy to carry your iPhone/iPad anywhere you go. You must be wondering what makes this app so special. With just a few simple clicks of your mobile’s camera, you can manage your documents perfectly using Snap2PDF.

About the app

Snap2PDF is a universal app, designed for both iPhone and iPad, for organizing your whiteboards, receipts, business cards, magazine articles, posters, print outs, coupons and newspaper clippings. All you have to do is take a snap of the document and the app converts it to PDF format right away. Now you can share the converted files through SMS and email. It recognizes various languages like English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Dutch, Czech, Danish etc.

Working of the app

Snap2PDF is a very simple app to handle. Just take snaps of your documents and they get converted to PDF files automatically. You are provided with many options to manage your documents. For creating a PDF document, you can either take a snap using your device’s camera or select a photo from your album. Your PDF documents can be edited and managed, as per your requirements. You can add/delete/rearrange pages in your document effortlessly. You can also organize your documents under different categories by tapping the category, naming it and adding the document to it. Searching for a document can be easily done using the keyword search option.
Snap2PDFSnap2PDF allows you to share your documents in .pdf format through email. The most convenient feature of this app is that you can create a Dropbox account, select documents and export them to your Dropbox account for safe management. You can open a document as a PDF file in other PDF viewer apps like iBooks, FileExplorer etc. You can make your document search easy by choosing the preferred language of index. There is also an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) facility to automatically pick out blocks of text from images.

Snap2PDF is a very useful app that provides multiple ways of managing, securing and sharing files easily. It costs $2.99 and requires iOS 4.3 or later.

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Apps Reviews

PDF Reader Pro App Review

PDF is the most common file format used to share and publish documents. That’s why people always look out for apps that can help them handle PDFs on the go.

PDF Reader Pro lets users download, edit and email PDFs right from their iOS devices. Although a little complicated at first, this tool really is indispensable if you need a reliable way to help you keep on top of your workload.

This app is optimized for use on the iPad but works just as well on the iPhone even if the buttons are a little small.  The file structure is well laid out, organized and easy to navigate. The search facility is fast and comprehensive – looking into all folders inside the app and not just the folder you are in at the time.

A screenshot of PDF Reader Pro for iPhone and iPad You are able to download single page, as well as full PDF documents, via the in-app browser. It has a scan facility that uses the iOS device’s camera to take pictures of text or pictures and convert them into PDFs. This scan mode is fast and the text is clear and crisp. It also has editing functions to change colors, sharpness, brightness etc. and is something that really adds to the usability of the app.

Once you have scanned or downloaded a PDF, you are able to use a freehand tool to highlight, annotate, mark or just add a personal touch. This is where the bigger screen of the iPad would really help as it can be tricky if you do on the small screen of the iPhone or iPod Touch.

PDF Reader Pro browser downloadThe zip function helps in condensing the size of file; therefore ensuring no extra space is used when saving the documents. Not just able to export, but the app can also import already taken photos from your Photo Albums. The private folder has the option of password protection to ensure security when you are carrying around sensitive information.

As I said PDF Reader Pro has a lot of features. However, the price of this app is slightly on the higher side set at USD 5.99. I think the developer should find a right strategy in terms of pricing to make this app even more successful.

All in all, PDF Reader Pro can help users one who needs quick, on the go, access to a reliable PDF reader, viewer and editor. It is compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad and requires iOS 4.2 or later.

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Reviews Software

Infix PDF Editor – Review

This is a sponsored review on behalf of Infix. To find out more about sponsored content on Technology Bloggers, please visit our Privacy Policy.

In this article I am going to review a piece of software by Iceni Technology, called Infix PDF Editor. The version I will be reviewing is Infix Professional for PC.

Infix PDF Editor is a program that enables you to edit and then save PDF documents. As Iceni put it:

“Infix Pro includes tools for handling graphics such as grouping, hiding and locking. It also adds the ability to edit and create clipping masks plus a vertical ruler to allow easier object alignment together with grids, guides and page margins.”

The quote mentions ‘Infix Pro’; this is because there are three different versions of the software. Form-Filler – a free version of the software which only lets you edit and reflow text. The ‘Standard‘ version of the software offers a lot more functionality, also allowing you to convert PDF files into other formats (ePub, RTF and HTML), add notes to the document, among other things. The ‘Professional‘ version lets you do even more, including joining multiple PDFs into one document, automatically renumber pages and adding/removing watermarks.

For full details of what the different versions offer, check out the table below which is from iceni.com.

Infix Version Comparison Table

The Form-Filler version of the software is free to download. The Standard version costs £59 and the Pro version £99.

So, that is the technical specifications of what the three different versions of the software offer, but, the real proof of the pudding is in the using – how easy the software is to use, and does it really work like it says it does.

The Interface

The interface is very easy to follow. It works in the same way that many programs do, so that you can find your way around it really easily, and you don’t have to spend a long time pondering what buttons do. I call this type of approach to software interface design KISS – Keep It Super Simple.

A KISS approach to interface design is, in my opinion the best. People don’t buy software for it to look good on their PC, they buy it because they want to increase their productivity, learning or enjoyment in some way.

As a result of the KISS approach, the interface does look a little basic. Basic is easy to understand, but not necessarily the most aesthetically pleasing.

In my opinion the functionality of software comes first, and aesthetics comes second. If you want software that looks okay and works well, then Infix fits the bill, however if you must have designer looking software, then you might be better looking elsewhere.

Below is a screenshot I have taken of the software.

Infix PDF Editing software interface
The interface design of Infix PDF Editing software

Ease of Use

As I mentioned above, the design really aids the usability of the software. It is easy to find the function you want with the various optional toolbars, and the menu options.

Much of the software on your computer is probably not made by Microsoft, however you will probably notice that most software designers stick to the standardised layout. File, edit, view and help are standard on the top menu, below the top menu comes some optional toolbars, then the main content you are viewing, with a few options (often involving resizing and scrolling) at the bottom of the window.

There are some software producers who stray away from this tried and tested design. Sometimes it works, often it doesn’t. In Infix PDF Editor, the design conforms to the standard design, meaning that it is really easy to work out what is what.

Does It Work!

Iceni Technology LogoOkay, the software may be easy to use, affordably priced, etc. however if it doesn’t work, you aren’t going to want to buy it. I can inform you that it does work, and it works really well!

I have tried editing various different PDF documents with the software and it has surprised me every time with the functionality it offers. Like in Microsoft Word, you can ask the software to track changes, and put them in a different colour. This can be really handy if you want to show someone what you have edited.

You can also add notes when editing PDFs, sticky-notes, scribbles, text highlights and stamps are all available options, and as you would expect, when you save, you can view the edits with any PDF viewer. For more details, check out this handy screenshot and explanation on the Iceni site.

Not only does the software make it easy to edit PDFs, but it also makes is it easy to copy data from them. Sometimes, the way the PDF is constructed, if you try to copy some of the contents, say to quote it, when it goes into your document, it can often be a little mixed up. Infix makes it really easy to copy data from PDFs and transfer it to other locations.

The software also makes finding and replacing text really easy. Edit > Find and Replace > Replace > type in the word(s) you want to be changed and what you want the change to be to > click ‘replace’ and the software will chew its way through the document, changing any occurrences of the terms you asked it to. If you are tracking changes, you can then see the words that have been changed.

There are so many other things this software can do, it would take far too long for me to talk about them all. To mention a few you can: adjust paragraph indents, add header and footers, add new text, merge PDFs and renumber pages.

Help

Good software always needs to be backed up by good help and support. Iceni Technology don’t fall down in this area though, not with Infix at least. Their website hosts a series of screenshot guides and video tutorials which help you get to grips with all the different functions of the software.

They also have a support helpline and email address.

Compatibility

Infix is very diverse, and can be installed on a USB memory stick, Windows PC (2003, XP, Vista and 7) or a Mac (with MacOSX 10.5 or above).

For Windows 2003/XP you need at least 512MB of RAM (almost all PC’s do) or 1GB for Windows Vista/7, as well as a 1GHz x86 processor/CPU and 60MB free disk space – that should be no problem.

In terms of weight (power and space needed to run the software) I would say it is relatively light. I have some programs that require around 15GB of hard disk space, and a very capable graphics card, along with a large amount of system memory. Don’t get me wrong, still check your PC is up to the job, but I personally think most peoples will be.

Is Infix Value for Money?

Like I almost always say when I end a review, whether you think the product or service is value for money really depends upon what your use for it would be. If you occasionally use PDF documents and would like to be able to change them as a convenience, but don’t really need the software for any reason, I would suggest that it probably isn’t going to be that useful to you.

If however you are regularly dealing with PDFs, for whatever reason, be it part of your job, hobby or whatever, and would find it helpful to be able to make changes to them, then I think you would benefit from Infix software. Whether you go Standard or Pro is for you to decide, I think they are both reasonably priced for the services they provide, and the additional help that you get online.

If you are interested in Infix PDF editing software feel free to visit the link which follows through to the software’s site, where you can learn more about it.

What are your thoughts about the software? Would you find it useful? If so, will you be buying it? Any questions, feedback or comments, as always, leave them below.

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News Search Engines

Google prunes some of its branches

It is that time again at Google when it has to prune some of its various branches. Since Google co-founder Larry Page took over the reins as CEO in April last year, Google has been reducing and trimming its projects to renew and regain focus.

Google has come under investor scrutiny as it is facing increasing competition from both Apple and Facebook.

This spring cleaning is part of the various cost cutting and refocusing efforts. In the latest cleaning exercise announced a few weeks ago, Google will be pulling the plug on seven of its projects.

1. Google Knol

Google launched Knol in 2007 to help improve web content and as a challenge to Wikipedia that enabled experts to collaborate on in-depth articles. Knol will be available till April 30, 2012, to enable users to download their Knols to a file and/or migrate them to the WordPress platform. After that till October 1, 2012, Knols cannot be viewed but users will be able to download and export content. After October 2012, the Knol content will no longer be available.

2. Google Gears

Google has closed the Gears browser extension for creating offline web applications and stopped supporting new browsers in March this year. From December 1, 2011, Gears-based Gmail and Calendar offline will not work across all browsers, and Gears will not be available for download from late December this year. Google announced that this is part of their effort to help incorporate offline capabilities into HTML5. Users can access Gmail, Calendar and Docs offline in Chrome.

3. Renewable Energy

Google has abandoned its ambitious plans to make renewable energy cheaper than coal. Google had started this project in 2007 as a means on driving down the price of renewable energy with a strong focus on solar power. Google announced that the head of the project, Bill Weihl (William E. Weihl) has left the company and it believes that other organizations were in a better position to take its efforts to the next level.

4. Google Wave

Google has earlier stopped further development on Google Wave. Now it has announced that as of January 31, 2012, Wave will be available as only a read-only version and users won’t be able to create new ones. This will be completed closed on April 30, 2012. Users can transfer individual waves using the existing PDF export feature.

5. Google Search Timeline

Google will be removing this feature that displays a historical graph of results for a search query. Users will now be able to restrict any search to particular time periods using the refinement tools on the left-hand side of the search page. Uses who wish to view graphs with historical trends for a web search can use Google Trends or Google Insights for data since 2004. If you need more historical data, the “Ngram Viewer” in Google Books offers the same information.

The Google Trends Product Logo

6. Google Friend Connect

Google Friend Connect, which is a social feature, will be discontinued from March, this is because Google wants people to start using the Google Plus social network instead.

7. Google Bookmarks

The feature will become unavailable from December 19, 2011. This enabled users to share bookmarks and collaborate with friends. The existing bookmark Lists will be retained and labelled to make it easier to identify. The other features of the Google Bookmarks will keep on functioning. The change won’t affect the non-English users as it was an English only feature.

This spring cleaning is only a sign that Google knows that it currently faces big competition, so it needs to make sure that it discontinues disused/inefficient services it provides.

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Apps Reviews

With F.A.M.P. store asset details in your iPhone

The need for managing details about one’s assets, valuables or important documents in a quick, streamlined manner is something that is required today. A few people of the extremely wealthy group, have that luxury of deputing their own wealth managers, while some take their own approach to have the time to handle it. If you are like me and tech savvy, well then you can get a little bit of help from ‘F.A.M.P – Archive Assets’ iPhone app.

F.A.M.P. (Find and Archive My Property) helps users record and store information about their valuable assets to keep track of them. This app is pretty simple to use, to be honest – just take a snapshot of your assets and label it accordingly that you may remember for future reference. Users can also edit the archived details and also have an option to export them to their emails accounts as PDF files, pretty cool. There is also an archive calendar that one can use to sift through information in a periodical manner. In short, the F.A.M.P. iPhone app, offers a simple method to organize, label and store information about one’s assets for future reference.

FAMP iPhone appThis app is somewhat unique, I searched the app store for a similar app but did not find one. The concept of the app is clear and the interface is easy and intuitive to use. No fancy gimmicks and this shows that the developer has tried to keep things simple.

Even though the app is simple to use usability wise, the interface is a blast from the past. The developer needs to address it and I would personally prefer a web 2.0 style interface with a quality and clean design.

Moreover, the app also needs clear set of instructions in its ‘Help’ section for users to easily get a grasp of things. There is also a game within the app called ‘HOT and COLD’ and this too needs clear instructions as I had a hard time to learn how its played. It turns out to be a ‘identity’ game that one plays with his family / friends by guessing what the asset is about. Not sure if this is my cup of tea, but try out yourself to find out.

Another feature I would like the developer look in to is security, which I assume they have overlooked. What happens if my iPhone is lost? Will the data be secure? Are there any means to password protect the details? This is a serious feature that needs to be addressed and I would like the developer to have this solved in the near future.

F.A.M.P. is available for US $1.99 at the App Store and this app is compatible with the iPhone and iPad running iOS 3.0 or later. Have a play with it and share our experience via the comments section.

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Apps Reviews

MobiReader Pro Android App Review

Misplacing a valuable work document or losing the biz cards of important contacts is every businessman’s nightmare. Having to locate some paperwork just before a conference or hunting through scores of cards to find a particular phone number is indeed stressful. I recently found an Android app called MobiReader Pro that solves this problem.

If you are looking for a iPhone app for business card scanning, check out my review of WorldCard Mobile, it has loads of features and is a good tool.

What is the app about?

MobiReader Pro scans business cards and documents. The contact details from cards are sorted out and saved in the respective fields of your phone’s address book. Printouts of your projects, text from books, magazines or newspapers and any other paperwork can be scanned quickly and saved on your phone.

MobiReader Pro Android AppHow does it work?

The app works on OCR and transfers details from business cards and documents to your iPhone. It focuses on a card automatically, captures an image of it, recognises the details on the scanned card and saves them in the correct fields. There is a virtual card holder that sorts out cards according to contact or company names.

Scanned documents can be organised in folders, edited, converted to pdf, renamed, deleted, sent as MMS or through email and uploaded onto Google docs. This app can even recognise the structure of a document in addition to its ability to recognise text.

Special features

The app has an image correction function that improves the quality of scanned content. It is efficient in organizing your documents and has a separate indication for pdf files, making it easy to locate documents when you have many in your folder.

As MobiReader Pro can process text written in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Russian, you don’t have to worry about receiving cards with information in different languages. Details like the contact’s name, designation, the company’s name, phone number, postal address, email address etc., are sorted out by the app with a high level of accuracy and you don’t have to manually type in the info. You can use this app to translate your documents to as many as 54 languages.

I found the augmented reality function to be very useful getting info about a location by recognizing the details in the address field of a business card. The convenience of looking up word definitions in a dictionary, without having to type in words through the keypad, is another feature I found very helpful.

Low points

The only low point is that the OCR is not hundred percent perfect. I did encounter a few errors and one needs to have a keen eye to spot those. But as any OCR based app, I assume there are some kinds of readability problems attached to them is no surprise.

To conclude, MobiReader Pro is a smart and quick way to digitise your cards and documents and carry them around wherever you go. By efficiently managing your cards and documents, it takes the strain out of your work life. The app is available in the Android market for US $4.

EDITOR NOTE: This app no longer exists, so links to it have been removed – note by Christopher