Faxing stuff: apparently still a thing

Last Monday was my birthday, and I took a personal day to go downtown and enjoy my favorite NYC cheesesteak.  While relishing my sandwich, I couldn’t help but overhear a group of guys talking at the next table.

“I mean, who sends a fax anymore?” one of the young men asked his group.

As they went on talking, I was able to figure out that they were a film crew.  Apparently, in the course of their current shoot one of them needed to send a fax on the fly. They met with some difficulty, since they couldn’t find a Kinko’s or other available fax machine that they could use.

Being nosy and alone, I helpfully chimed in with some information about the eFax site, which I’ve used to send digital faxes.  However, I wish that at the time I’d known about the eFax iPhone app, because I would definitely have recommended it to them.  It’s great – a straightforward business proposition that takes faxing into the mobile productivity era.

This simple app would have probably been perfect for our friends in the sandwich shop.  Some sophisticated business users may have found it too simplistic, but luckily eFax has responded by announcing today that users can now integrate digitized signatures into documents for fax and email. The free app can now e-sign, authorize and approve documents right from your iPhone.

As if it’s not enough that you can now receive, endorse, and return documents when you’re miles away from your desk, they’ve also added some nifty sorting and searching features for folks with lots of documents to fax.  I also like the smart integration with the phone’s contact list that allows you to easily populate a cover page with your intended recipient’s information.

Although an app like this is not as entertaining as playing Temple Run, the value of managing your faxes from your handheld likely sounds very sexy to some business folks.

TripIt 3.0 Update for iOS let’s you see “What’s Next”

I’m a pretty big fan of the TripIt service on the web and for mobile devices. Forwarding travel confirmations to TripIt and having it automagically build my travel itinerary is just flippin’ genius. So I thought I should clue you in on the latest update to the iOS app.

TripIt has updated its travel dashboard to give you a quick outlook on your TripIt account activity & future plans.

– What’s next lets you see your immediate upcoming travel plans

– Trips lets you see all of your trip activity

– Network gives you an idea of what the people you share TripIt info with are doing including letting you know if anyone in your network is currently in your area.

– If you’re a TripIt Pro subscriber, Points lets you keep track of all the rewards information you have synced with your account. Read More

SOL Republic Delivers impressive quality for under $100

I recently got a demo pair of SOL Republic Tracks headphones and I couldn’t have been more excited.  Honestly, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning when I unboxed them.  Everyone with a mobile lifestyle knows that headphones are a vital part of your day.  As a New Yorker, I wear headphones a lot; like, really a lot.  I wear them on the subway, in the gym, at my desk, and just about anytime that I take a phone call.

Because I do all of these different things with my headphones, I need durability; but I also want something that is comfortable and cool-looking.  It would be a bonus if they could also control my iPhone, and maybe even actually produce good sound.  At the same time, I don’t want to break the bank buying headphones.  It’s hard to explain to your wife that she has to wait to replace the dishwasher because your headphones make the latest Ratatat single sound REALLY awesome.

I’ve got to say, these Tracks headphones had me covered on all counts. Read More

Platform as a Service makes building apps a breeze

In business, development time can mean serious money.  There’s a delicate dance of cost vs. benefit – processes that could potentially be automated aren’t because the time it would take to write the code isn’t worth the time that would be saved.  Luckily, the industry is changing, and we’ll soon see a day where your business can develop an app without writing a single line of code.

That day might just be today, AT&T’s new “Platform as a Service” (PaaS) product is a huge step in the right direction.  PaaS offers a complete development environment designed help your business build and launch custom applications quickly, run them reliably and manage them easily throughout the full application lifecycle.  The best part is that you can make it accessible from any device, all at the click of a mouse. Read More

Gone in a Flash

Adobe is going through some serious changes, one of which involves the cutting of close to 750 jobs as part of a broad restructuring; probably not what we need in this economy, but times are tough all over. The second rumor is also surprising, and bad news for many: according to ZDNet, Adobe will no longer support Flash on mobile devices — devices including the ones running Android. Adobe was quoted saying,

“We will no longer adapt Flash Player for mobile devices to new browser, OS version or device configurations. Some of our source code licensees may opt to continue working on and releasing their own implementations. We will continue to support the current Android and PlayBook configurations with critical bug fixes and security updates.”

I hope this means that Adobe is moving more towards AIR mobile apps and heavily investing in HTML5, which in my opinion is the way of the future. Adobe is expected to make an announcement in the next few days. Even though this probably means good things for Adobe, if you are a Droid user you can’t help but be disappointed. Android users have long flaunted the Flash support as proof of superiority over Apple’s iOS. Can Android compete with iOS if it loses Flash forever?  Your thoughts in the comments.

Tagged Adds Some Great Features to its Mobile App

I recently wrote about Facebook’s new features and how they work for small businesses, but today I’m highlighting a different kind of social network : Tagged.  Tagged isn’t a Facebook competitor per se; as a matter of fact you can (and I do) use Facebook Login to sign into the site.  Tagged is different – instead of just keeping up with your friends, Tagged is focused on meeting new friends.  This is accomplished via site-generated friend suggestions, public profiles, group interests, and most importantly, social games.  This kind of behavior is great for your social life, and making friends can be good for your brand as well.  In the business world it’s all about who you know, and Tagged is a great way to get to know people.   Read More

Livescribe Echo Smartpen is the coolest business tool

For the last week I’ve been using a Livescibe Echo smartpen, and I flat-out love it.  When Livescribe gave me their 8gb version to demo, I have to admit I was dubious at first; I spend a lot of time banging away on a keyboard, and I was pretty sure that the pen and the pad were going the way of the dodo.  Man, was I wrong.

First, the basics: the Echo smartpen digitally captures your handwritten and audio notes, the combination of which is a ‘pencast’.  Basically, when you tap the “record” area of the specially printed paper, everything that you write (and the sounds associated with it) are recorded.  You can transfer files from the pen and share your recorded notes with others, and you can also tap any section of your notes and hear what was recorded when you were writing the note.  Livescribe makes it incredibly easy to share your pencasts with others as it automatically hooks up to your email, Google Docs, Evernote, Facebook, Mobile (iPhone and iPad) and/or MyLivescribe (an online storage space for pencasts). Read More

iTunes 10.5 is Here! Update now and install iOS 5 RIGHT NOW!

It’s just before midnight here on the east coast, but it looks like Apple got iTunes 10.5 out the door ahead of schedule. If you want to be the first kid on the block running the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system (available for iPod touch, iPhone and iPad), then you need to head on over to Apple’s site right now and download iTunes 10.5.

Once you get iTunes 10.5 up and running (it’s painless if you use software update, though the installation process is a bit slow), it’s just a matter of syncing your iDevices to your computer for (hopefully) the last time. Because with iCloud software backing up your data into the cloud (and a free 5 GB of storage to boot!), the new iOS 5 brings tons of awesome features, and we can’t wait to get it on all of our devices, so we’re not going to delay this post any longer—find your cables, connect your devices, and get your iOS 5 on! Just be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

Update: Full list of iOS 5 features and supported devices. Read More

New iPod Touch – Business Productivity Tool?

One of the many announcements during this week’s Apple event was the fact that the popular iPod Touch will now come in white, will get the iOS 5 platform, and the price has been reduced to $199 for the entry-level 8 GB version.

Now that sounds all well and dandy for the parent looking to get a gift for their tween… they can download apps that will let them txt message with their friends who are too young to have a full-blown smartphone. Said tween will also be able to play games, listen to music and movies, etc. without destroying their family’s wireless minutes. All in all, at $199 the iPod touch is a great gift, and is now a better value than ever.

But allow me to present another option for the iPod Touch – it can double as an outstanding mobile business productivity device.  That’s right, with the help of the 400,00 titles strong App Store, you can turn a “fun and games” device into a business expense. Read More

Quisitive Saves You Embarrassment, Lawyer Fees

Shakespeare wrote “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”.  Nothing could be further from the truth in business.  Naming and slogans are some of the most important aspects of branding.  People do not ask for a facial tissue, they ask for a Kleenex, rather than an adhesive bandage one might ask for a Band-Aid.  When companies want to distance themselves from a product that has tanked, they change the name, when they want to be associated with something great they adopt it’s name or naming convention.  Take for instance the letter ‘i’ in front of a product name, mimicking the iPod, accessories for the device often are named with an ‘i’, for example iDock or iClock.  Recently at the company where I work, we did some market research and found that some small changes to our name would greatly improve how our product was received by our potential customers.

Before now when the time came to name or rename a brand the only way to make sure that you were not using a name that was already associated with another brand or product was to pour over thousands of pages of patent records, or even worse, pay an expensive attorney to do so.  Why pay a lawyer to do what your iPad can do for five bucks with Quisitive?  Thіѕ awesome app allows users tο screen аnd search аll οf thе trademark аnd patent filings іn thе United States, аll frοm thеir iOS device.  Fοr thе entrepreneur or marketing professional οn thе gο, thіѕ is a critical tool tο add tο your kit.  If you think that this would be useful to you give іt a download аnd lеt υѕ know what you think іn thе comments.