Interesting apps

It has been a while since I reviewed selected mobile apps. My most recent set of reviews focused on those I encountered during my summer of travel in 2016. I have recently been using the following apps. Since they represent a broad spectrum of what one can do with mobile devices, I thought they were worth reviewing.

  • Duet Display – allows you to use your tablet as a second monitor
  • Office Lens – allows you to capture various documents and store them in OneNote
  • Pilot – useful for translation. Until the translation earpieces come out.

Let’s look at these in a bit more detail.

First – Duet Display. This one does cost (presently $US 10). This app allows you to use your iPad as a second monitor. Sine the tablet is touch enabled, you can also tap on selections in a typical desktop application and navigate. You can also arrange your screen in an application (such as PhotoShop) to maximuze the use of two monitors. Here is a screen capture of me working with Adobe Captivate on the iPad using Duet Display (I am not using the Captivate Draft iPad app, but Captivate on the desktop).

Duet Display app running on iPad showing desktop version of Adobe Captivate

You can also use a second monitor if you need to share your view of what you are working on with others (in a small office where there is no need or availability of a projector).

You first purchase the app from the AppStore. You also need to download the Mac or Windows version of the desktop application. That part is free. Once installed, you will see an icon on your system and can configure the application a bit. Here it is running on my Mac.

Duet Display application running on Mac showing configuration options (screen resolution options).

Of course, you should also be able to do this on a Windows computer as well. Although the site indicates this is a possibility, here are my experiences.

Windows 10doesn’t work. Period (as best as I can tell). This is after updating drivers, reinstalling drivers and taking every recommended step to configure this properly. Of course, anyone who doesn’t already know my opinion of Windows 10 simply hasn’t been reading these posts over the past year. Spoiler alert, OS was released well before it was ready for “prime time” and has been trying to catch up ever since. I suspect some additional driver is missing, but I don’t have a clue what that might be at this point.

Windows 7Works fine. I still have a few computers running that OS. You can either extend your monitor or mirror your display. In the first screen capture below, I am mirroring the display (less than ideal at 1024 x 768).

Mirrored display of system preferences

Since I often give small presentations, here is an example displaying the speaker notes of a presentation on my tablet (which I use the larger laptop screen to display the presentation to others).

PowerPoint presenter view on tablet

If you haven’t upgraded to Windows 10, Duet Display seems to work fine.

For those who are curious, here is what the Duet Display interface looks like on Windows.

Duet Display interface on Windows 7

Second – Office Lens. This is a handy app which allows me to scan business cards, photos, documents, whiteboards and import them into OneNote. These days, I use OneNote to keep track of most of my notes and Office Lens integrates well. This app is also available for both iOS and Android. Once I install (and link to my MS account), I can quickly use the camera to scan items (and the text is then converted). In the screen capture below, I am “scanning” one of my course schedules.

Scanning a class schedule with the Office Lens app

As mentioned, I can also scan business cards. In this case, I have already done that and the details are shown below (for my business card).

Results of a business card scan

It also converts this into a format that can be pulled into contacts easily.

Both visible details and .vcf format are created

If I encounter a document or whiteboard that I need to quickly capture, I rely more and more on this app.

Lastly – Pilot. This is a translation app. It is free. It does need to connect with Waverly Labs to perform the actual translations. You are encouraged to have an account, but you can also use the app as a guest. I understand that in a short time, Waverly Labs will release their earbuds which do the translation. In the interim, they provide this app. As best I can determine, the app does a reasonably good job at translation. It also will speak some languages. Here is a quick screen capture. In this case, since the language was French, the translation was also spoken to me. I do plan to travel a fair amount later this year and look forward to using this app frequently.

Translating a phrase from English to French

Those are some of the more recent apps I have encountered. I am curious what your experience have been with these apps (or others you find interesting and worth investigating). Please provide your comments below.

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