All posts by LaVena.Wilder

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app talk: CamScanner – PDF Creator & More

CamScanner – PDF Creator

Have you ever been in a situation where you needed a paper document converted into a digital form, but there’s no scanner in sight?  Or maybe you like scanning old photos to upload into Facebook or Instagram.  Guess what? Flatbed scanners are no longer needed.  If you have a smart phone (Apple, Android, or Windows) the CamScanner app turns your smartphone into a scanner for managing documents.  Not only is it quick and easy, but it can be done from any location, at any time.

Put simply, this is how CamScanner works:  Take a picture of the document/photo, CamScanner will auto crop and enhance it, while still allowing you full control of any changes.  Once your document/photo is saved, next you have the option to PDF it and/or shares your file via several options (email, Dropbox, etc).  By signing up for a FREE CamScanner account, you also get 200mb of free cloud storage and document syncing across various electronic platforms (smartphones, tablets, computers and the cloud).

With just CamScanner’s basic FREE features you’re able to scan documents, batch scan, do merging, rotating, cropping, enhancing, text searching, along with password protecting and categorizing via preset Tags.  Watermarking and limited annotations (via In Note) are also included features inside this powerful app.   If you’re still in need of additional features, a paid premium is also available.  An added plus for students and educators…upgrade to the full version for Free when you use an .edu email address.

I’m rating CamScanner as one of the top 10 apps on my list of favorites.

CamScanner

app talk: Need a Personal Assistant?

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Cozi, Available on the web and for most mobile devices (iOS, Android, Kindle, Nook, Blackberry), free

If you have a busy family that you need to keep organized, this is the perfect app for you. Cozi Family Calendar & Lists, available on the Android market (Play Store) is a cool way to keep your family’s lines of communication open. Cozi Family Calendar & Lists works with one shared account, which allows each family member to add and edit calendar events (doctor appointment, school activities, etc), to do lists, shopping lists (groceries: milk, cheese, bread) and even jot down those memorable events you wanted to share and remember via its journal, plus so much more. This app is free unless you want to upgrade to the ad free Cozi Gold for additional features, but the free version alone is more than enough.

All entries are updated within a matter of minutes for all family members to see. Cozi can be accessed via its app or online (www.cozi.com). It also keeps family members informed of the upcoming week’s calendar appointments via email without having to access the app or its website. If you’re in need of family organization, this is an app you can’t do without.

 

Robin screenshot

Robin, Android, free

You know the iPhone’s Siri, well meet Robin.  Robin, the Siri Challenger, is free and available for the Android user.  Ask Robin a question and he or she will do his or her best to answer it. That’s right, Robin can be set to utilize either a male or a female voice, whichever you prefer.  When asked, who is Siri? Robin affectionately responds, “Siri is my fruity sister…” yes, Robin also has a sense of humor.   You can ask it to open a specific app, tell you a joke, remind you of something, give you the day’s news or weather, read your social media feeds, or report traffic conditions to home or work.  Robin will even automatically announce incoming text messages and will ask if you’d like them read to you.  Robin can almost do it all.  If you’re looking for a great personal voice assistant for your android, look for this free app in the Google Play Store.

 

 

Digital File Formats

If you’ve ever taken a digital photo, scanned a document or uploaded an image to a website, you’ve probably worked with file extensions.  A File extension is the suffix of your file name (ex. Photos.jpg).  This extension is an indication of the type of encoding done on a particular file.  That encoding is referred to as file formatting.  When speaking of file formats for digital images, there are four standard types: JPG, PNG,TIF and GIF.  I will discuss each of these 4 formats and help you determine when and how they are best used. Before we begin, there are a few terms you need to be familiar with.

I.      Lossy Compression: image loses certain data, especially redundant information, such as color information beyond that of which the individual eye can detect.

II.     Lossless Compression:  All original file information is uncompromised during the compression.

Keep these two terms in mind as file formats are explained.

Digital File Formats

JPG/JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)

Is the most commonly used format for photographic images.  Many digital cameras have JPG as their default compression format.  Once you take a picture, it is automatically saved in the JPG format.  JPG is perfect for small files, such as email attachments and web content, where you don’t mind sacrificing a little quality.  JPG Compression is always Lossy, while compression is done, it still can maintain a very high picture quality. Too much compression, manipulation and repeated saving or editing of JPG images can lead to noticeably fuzzy images.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics)

PNG is the newest format which was formulated as an alternative to the GIF and TIF formats.  PNG is in the lossless category and it allows for repeated editing without loss of image quality.  PNG is also great for image storing as a master format.

TIF/TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)

Is a universal format used by professionals and in the commercial industry.  Its lossless compression, guarantees you will have no quality loss due to the compression.  This is important when you need to preserve a master copy of your images.  Unlike JPG images, uncompressed TIF files are often very large.  This is the most popular format for graphic based applications, image manipulation programs and optical recognition software used when faxing and scanning document.  TIF produces high quality; detailed images with a maximum file size of 4GB.  If a smaller file size is needed, TIF’s can be reduced down to JPG or BMP formats.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)

GIF, was introduced in the 1980’s to allow high quality, high resolution graphics.  GIF’s can be used as a replacement for JPG’s when the quality of the image is important and you need a smaller file size than that produced by a PNG.  GIF’s however are best on images with very few colors (fewer than 256 colors) and with areas of exact uniform colors, possibly  line drawings.  It too is lossless, yet it can compress more than JPG without creating obvious flaws in the image.  Due to the color limitations of GIF’s they are not necessarily appropriate for color photographs, but mainly for simpler line drawings and graphics.