Making Technology Work for You

by Tim Schrock 1 comments

Business Communication Design Fun

app store iconWe recently purchased some new technology to expand our capabilities and options for communicating our passion for good design and good business. This new direction has placed me square in the middle of a black hole of options now. Who can I follow? Where can I follow them? What is going to be my practice so I don’t fall into the black hole of social media wherein one can waste so much time?
Searching for articles on iTunes apps for designers and business has yielded few results. I’ve even suggested this topic to a magazine editor today. Then, the thought flew into my mind, “Why don’t you write down what you’ve found in your searching, and list the few that look like they could help?”

So, here I am…
Mind you, this is a list of iPhone and iPad apps. Sorry Android, I did switch to the other side.

  • Social Media
    1. Flipboard
      This has been a great find, and, I think, helps to reduce the time in the black hold of time wasting while maximizing what you want to see.
    2. Pinterest
      I’ve had fun getting on this one and just sharing some great looking pictures.
    3. Houzz
      Do I need to say more?
    4. Facebook
    5. Facebook Pages

Final comment on social media. You do need to connect to an account on all major social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. I list Facebook and Facebook Pages apps above so that you can connect to your business Facebook page.

  • Business
    1. Go Project
      This tool works well for building forms from your standard PDF documents such as proposals, contracts, change orders, etc. You can create forms and store them within project folders keeping project “paperwork” together.
      You cannot, at this time, embed a picture from either Camera Roll or from the camera into the document. I’ve been told by the developer support team that this function could be coming in March or April.
      I would like to see that I could “TAB” thru the fields to complete the form, and I don’t quite get the sharing by email thing. Right now emailing is a two-step process – 1) import the contact from your address book into another address book within GoProject, and, 2) send the email to your group.
    2. Type on PDF Pro
      While I haven’t purchased this one yet (I am using the free version), it looks very promising. It does not organize completed forms by project, so that’s one drawback.
      One major deduction for me is that the signature option is a little different. You have to create a blank document, draw the signature, store it as a signature, and then insert it. That’s fine if you’re working with only one signature, but I’m working with clients, so, I can’t just store my signature, and theirs at the same time.
      However, Type on PDF Pro allows you to set custom field types (number, zip codes, dollar format, etc), you can tab thru the fields and quickly enter the data (you can change the tab order as well), and the email process is quick and easy.
  • Design
    1. Concepts
      I like this one because you can trace over pictures to get started, draw straight lines, and it helps draw great arcs as well. There aren’t a lot of options for drawing tools or colors: 3 pens with 4 thicknesses each and 7 colors with 4 shades each, and no option for custom colors.
    2. Paper by 53
      This one has several options for pen tools and one for making custom colors (separate purchases). I like the tools, but you cannot zoom in and out of the drawing. The undo/redo feature is interesting (draw a circle with two fingers).
    3. Penultimate
      This one is ok. You’re limited to one pen, 3 widths and 8 colors. You can import a picture and put it into your note. However, “changing” the picture better be done right the first time. I can’t find a way to rotate, select, resize, or delete the picture once it’s placed. And you cannot rotate the picture in any angle but 90 degrees
  • Remodeling
    1. Magic Plan
      They are still working on some of the features, but I still like this one. You use the camera, click the corners of the room, and Voila! you have a plan, with measurements that are close. From thence, you can edit the shape, dimensions, and more from the interface. It took me about 2 hours to measure my 2000 sq. ft. home completely, and that was a lot of learning curve in there.
      For now, you can input dimensions up to 1/4″ accuracy, but it will not give that accuracy back out on paper. I had trouble with the DXF file that they exported too. I received some error message that it needed recovery, and when I did that, the scale is way crazy off, so I couldn’t even use that to get the accuracy. And even if the scale was on, they export one line for a wall thickness.
      Once we can get the 1/4″ accuracy out on paper, this will be a fantastic app! Until then, it’s tough to say, but it is handy to use for quick layouts.
    2. Color Smart Mobile by Behr
      I haven’t even explored all the possibilities with this one, but it’s great at selecting color palettes. I just wish I could take a picture of a room with my iPad and drop some color on it.
    3. Marvin & Andersen product apps
      Both of these are nice to look up products, and they have some great looking galleries for ideas.

I know I didn’t hit them all. What apps have you found to be useful?

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  1. Tim Schrock says:

    I should have added Evernote to the list under Business. It’s very handy to keep notes and files across my iPad, iPhone, and desktop PC.
    Then, I just read an article about 3 apps (may not be iTunes apps, need to research more) for leveraging Pinterest well: Pinerly, PinReach, and Pingraphy. Read all about it here.

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