The Macworld/iWorld show offered a number of different Tech Talk sessions. One series was dubbed “Appalooza” where the speakers listed their favorite and recommended apps for the iPhone or iPad. The first was “Appalooza: Productivity Apps,” where Sam Levin of AppMinute and Tim Robertson of MyMac.com highlighted these:
- AudioNote, which lets you record an audio note and synchronize it with your written notes.
- Penultimate, for annotating photos.
- EverNote, the popular utility for copying and sharing notes, web pages, and documents.
- Baby Monitor, for watching live video from your i-device.
Other software recommended included Around Me, Navicom and Garmin GPS, QuickOffice, the Kindle Store for iPad, Polkast “personal cloud,” and Circus Ponies Notebook organizer.
Appalooza: Super iPad Tools for Work
In this Tech Talk session, consultants Phil Goodman and Ben Levy provided a comprehensive list of apps most useful for the business environment, including cloud apps (“embrace the cloud” with Dropbox, GoodReader, Evernote and 1Password). For core business apps, they pointed out the surprisingly long list of Microsoft Office-compatible document programs, such as Pages, Numbers, Quick Office suite, Keynote, Office2 HD, and the cloud-based products OnLive Desktop and CloudOn, which actually run Microsoft Office in the cloud for you.
They also mentioned iPad software for a full range of business office tasks, such as presentation software, databases, task management, business graphics, outlining, bookmarking, advanced PDF management, and invoicing. There was also Square for accepting credit cards, LogMeIn Ignition for remote login, Splashtop Remote Desktop to access PCs or Macs…even Teleprompt+, a program that turns your iPad into a teleprompter.
This was the most comprehensive and useful session I attended. Browse the full slideshow here for the complete list.
This session was presented by Charles Edge, a consultant who spent nine years running IT for The Osbournes reality show and has extensive experience with a wide range of automation systems.
He surprised me by concluding that of all the many home-automation systems, vendors, and technologies, only the pricey Crestron actually lets you integrate your iPad as a system controller. The other products use their own custom controllers. (Crestron, which had a booth at the convention, also connects to Android devices, but not, the title of this talk notwithstanding, with the iPhone or the Macintosh. Mr. Edge characterized Crestron as “expensive, but it should be.”)
Despite this gap between session description and actual session — all too common at conferences — Edge gave solid advice, based on lengthy and sometimes rueful experience, on how to approach getting a home-automation system. Sometimes, the biggest problems come from trying to piece together what turn out to be incompatible (or not-quite-compatible) components. So his key recommendations:
- Pick a protocol and stick with it. You can bridge protocols, but it’s a lot of trouble.
- Pick a single vendor so everything works together. (There are a dozen major vendors in this space, by the way.)
- Buy everything at once.
- Be patient. Even if you have someone in to install and set up everything for you, it will be like any other major home improvement project: It requires lots of patience.
Edge remarked that his biggest wish-list item for home automation would be to have Siri integration so you could turn your lights on and off with a command to your iPhone.
As a security expert — he’s written two books on the subject and attends the Black Hat conferences — Edge said he has not seen any security issues with home automation systems yet, since hackers don’t seem to be paying attention to this category.
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