13 Business Apps for the iPad

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Here are my top 13 business apps for the iPad. I have hyperlinked each app to the iTunes App Store. Make sure you keep all of your apps up-to-date. It's amazing how many enhancements the developers add at no cost. If you can't find an app, wait a month or two and search again. New iPad apps are developed and launched everyday. Why use an app instead of visiting a website? iPad apps are specifically designed and formatted to fit the screen size of the iPad and the features and functions are tappable. Is that a word? It is now!

Special Note: There are several apps that not native iPad apps. The iPad version may still be in development. However, you can still use an app designed for the iPhone by simply clicking on the x2 button in the bottom right corner to enlarge the screen when you open the app. Using the x2 button can make the text appear blurry. :(

My favorite business apps:
  • iBooks (Free) This is a must have app. You can read books or pdfs with this app. TIP: Save pdf files to iBooks by dragging them into your iTunes account under Books.
  • Evernote (Free) This is a great app to store all types of miscellaneous information i.e. Images, articles, screenshots from websites. Register for the desktop version and it syncs your files with the iPad app.
  • Photogene,($2.99) Photopal, ($2.99) ColorSplash ($1.99) These are all great photo editing apps. I have all three and use Photogene and Photopal for general photo editing. ColorSplash is a unique photo enhancer that allows you to highlight color on selected objects in a photo.
  • SaiSuke ($9.99) Synchronize your Google Calendar with this app. The format is very eye pleasing and super easy to use.
  • Bank of America (Free) If you're a BOA customer you'll love this app, if not search the iTunes App Store for your bank's app. You'll love having quick access to your banking information in iPad format.
  • Xfinity (Free) We are a Comcast Business customer, they provide our high-speed internet and phone service. I love the fact that I can check voice mails from my iPad. I know you may or may not be a Comcast customer; search the iTunes App Store for your phone and internet provider.
  • Xmarks* (Free) This app enables you to access your FireFox Bookmark Toolbar from your iPad. If I want to visit one of my saved Bookmarks that I saved on my desktop, I open the Xmarks app and voila there are all the Bookmarks I have saved on my desktop and laptop computers. I have saved over 60 websites on my Bookmark Toolbar. (Love this app)
  • LastPass* (Free) This app is a great tool to store login info and passwords. You must subscribe to Premium account. $12 per year for LastPass Premium and $20 per year for both Xmarks & LastPass Premium. Worth every penny!
  • Linkedin (Free) Connect with other business owners. Every listing you and your business have on the web gets you ranked higher in search engines.
  • Friendly Plus (.99 cents) Great and easy to use app for all of us that use Facebook.
  • Dropbox (Free) This app allows you to access all your synced Dropbox files on your iPad. (LOVE this app)
  • QuickOffice Connect Mobile Suite ($14.99) This app allows you to open your Microsoft Office documents. I access all of my Microsoft Office Documents from my Dropbox folders. My favorite part is that it allows me to view my PowerPoint presentations.
  • RDP iTap Mobile ($11.99) This is a Remote Desktop App which enables all Studio Online subscribers to use all of the features and functions in Studio.

*Look for an upcoming post with more detailed information on why and how you want to use Xmarks and LastPass in your business.

This is part 2 of our series of articles on iPads.

Watch the short video below to see the amazing iPad in action.

An iPad is like having three devices in one; it's an iPod, an electronic book reading device and a computer all in one very sleek package.

Remodeling? How To Hire The Best & Stay Sane!


New HP Printer Installed

I just finished installing a new HP Officejet Pro 8500A printer. It copies, scans and faxes. I also like the duplex printing feature and automatic document feeder, very useful when I want to scan multiple documents. We have Windows 7 installed on all computers which are connected to our Windows 7 Workgroup. Installation & setup was a snap. I selected this printer because it was one of the HP printers that includes the AirPrint & ePrint technology. I can print from my iPhone or iPad; so easy. Love that!!!

If you're in the market for a new printer and you have a smartphone, iPhone, iPad or another mobile device I recommend purchasing a printer with AirPrint or ePrint capability. You'll love being able to print an email or document from any of your devices.

During the final phase of the install I was asked if I wanted to use HP's new Web-Enabled Mobile Printing. I thought what's this? My eyes perked up and, of course, I responded YES! A page instantly printed with directions and a website to visit. I signed up for a free account, listed my printer and now I can print from anywhere to my new HP printer at my office. Once you sign up you're assigned a special HP printing email address. An authorized user of your printer, (you choose who can access your printer) simply needs to send an email with the document to your HP printer's email address. Amazing . . . I added all of my staff's email addresses so they can print to this new printer as well.

I purchased the printer at Sam's Wholesale Club since they have the best return policy ever.


15 Reasons Why a Designer Should Purchase an iPad

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It seems almost every designer has an iPad, Xoom or Playbook on their wishlist for 2011. If you're currently schlepping your laptop to client appointments, you should consider purchasing one of these new tablet devices. They're powerful, compact and lightweight. Those three features alone are compelling enough to convince designers to shell out the cash.

If you're new to tablet arena, it's easy to get confused with all the choices. I have an iPad and love it. When I purchased my iPad it was the only choice. The biggest reason I recommend an iPad over the other tablets is the access to iTunes and Apple App Store.

We receive lots of emails and calls into the office asking questions regarding the iPad. Many designers want to know which iPad they should purchase. Due to the nature of our business I purchased the iPad with 3G and the 64GB hard drive. Yes, it was the most expensive iPad. Adding the 3G capability to your iPad gives you the ability to connect to the internet when a Wi-Fi connection is not available. When I'm at client's home I don't want to ask my client if I can connect to their Wi-Fi, therefore, I needed the 3G capability. I recommend the 32GB or 64GB hard drive since our business is visually oriented and images from our digital cameras can be quite large. All of my personal and client project photographs are accessible on all my devices through Dropbox* which I discussed in a previous blog "A Smart Way to Backup Your Files."

*Saving photographs ~ Systematize: When downloading images from your camera, SAVE only the good photographs. You will save hard drive space in Dropbox and on all your devices as well as saving yourself from browsing unnecessarily through bad photos. During the initial downloading of photographs from your camera take the time to delete ALL of the bad, the ugly and duplicate photos.

15 Reasons to purchase an iPad:
  • Large viewing screen
  • Powerful, compact and lightweight
  • Battery life is incredible (10 hours) compared to a laptop
  • Instantly on and ready to use; reboot is hardly ever necessary
  • Multi-Touch screen is precise and responsive (no mouse or touchpad necessary)
  • Large on-screen keyboard makes it easy to type
  • An impressive way to present your portfolio (clients can actually browse through your portfolio themselves)
  • Ability to access the internet at your client's home (as low as $15 per month for service)
  • Quickly access initial photographs of a client's project for a quick memory refresher
  • Checking emails is much faster than on your desktop or laptop computer
  • Viewing your calendar is easy
  • Thousands of Apps available (lots of them are free)
  • Connects to your iTunes account
  • Play music, watch videos and listen to audiobooks
  • Read books, pdf documents or manuals while waiting for a doctor appointment or waiting in line to pick up kids
  • Bonus: Take actual photos with iPad 2's built-in camera
  • Bonus 2: As you sync to iTunes your entire iPad is being backed up
Watch the short video below to see the amazing iPad in action.

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An iPad is like having three devices in one; it's an iPod, an electronic book reading device and a computer all in one very sleek package.

Next week, I'll share my favorite business apps for my iPad.


A Smart Way to Backup Your Files

Setting up a backup system to backup your company files is one of the most important projects a business can do. Have you ever felt the horror of losing all your files? I hope not. That would be a terrible situation for any business owner. It consumes massive amounts of time and creates an enormous amount of stress. With that being said, if you don't have a good backup system in place this email will be the most important document you'll read this week.

All of us at Minutes Matter use Dropbox to backup and protect our files. Dropbox is a slightly different type of backup system. I save and store all of my files to a folder in Dropbox. You simply setup a filling system like you would in Documents. All files inside the Dropbox folder are stored/saved locally on our computer. Here's how the magic begins; once I save a file, Dropbox automatically syncs that file to my Dropbox account on their server in the clouds. Now, when I purchase a new device such as a new desktop computer, laptop, iPad or iPhone I simply install the Dropbox software on my new device and immediately my new device begins the sync process.

Why is this better than other backup systems? Most backup systems don't store a local copy of your files on your computer. When your files are locally stored on your computer, you can access your files faster and you don't need a internet connection to access/restore your files.

Here's why I love Dropbox in a nutshell! On my desktop computer, I can save a file for a client (a Studio Rendering or a proposal from QuickBooks in pdf format) to my Client folder in Dropbox and instantly it syncs to my Dropbox account in the clouds and then it syncs to my laptop, iPad and iPhone. Within minutes I have access to that file on all of my devices. Dropbox also allows you to share files or entire folders with partners, family or friends. That is just about everything you need or want in a backup system.

Finally, an easy way to save and store files to a central location. You can access your files from anywhere and from any device and with or without an internet connection. Are you beginning to see possibilities and benefits?

Two scenarios how Dropbox can be a great solution for your business:

Create a document on your desktop computer at the office, then at home later that night access that same file from your laptop computer.
Create a document on your laptop computer at home. Ask your partner/design assistant to look at the document and make any necessary changes from their computer.

You can access your Dropbox files easily on a Mac or a PC. Install the Dropbox software then click on the Dropbox icon.

Dropbox icon on a Mac (right side on top menu bar next to the clock)

Dropbox icon on a PC (right side on bottom taskbar next to the clock)

Are you wondering the price of this wonderful software? You can sign up for their free account which gives you 2GB of space. Once you determine the value of this unique backup system and want to save and store all your files in Dropbox you can sign up for a paid account. They have two levels $99 per year for 50GB and $199 per year for 100GB. We use the first paid level at $99 per year.

Share Dropbox with your partners, employees, friends and family and they get an extra 250MB of storage space free and you also get an extra 250MB for sharing with your friends.


Do They Know What You Do?

During my morning reading today, I read a very thought provoking blog that Jane Pollak wrote. Jane titled her blog What You Don't See. As you read you kinda chuckle, thinking about the people you know or really don't know. Maybe we really don't know how much knowledge our friends possess on a specific subject or how amazing they are in their field of expertise. Which brings me to Jane's final question . . .

Do Your Clients Know How Good You Really Are?

If you don't tell them who will? Many of our clients have only seen a limited scope of our skills and talent. It is easy to share little bits and pieces of your knowledge with your clients and potential clients. All you need to do is begin writing weekly newsletters or blogs. Make sure your articles automatically feed to Facebook and Twitter. Remember, your articles should be short, sweet and have photographs. Many times longer articles are put on the back burner to read later, when the reader has more time. When will that be?

Jane you're right, your friend Katie Settel is a remarkable photographer. I love the theme song she selected for her website Just Like Heaven by Katie Melua. To read Jane's entire article click here. . .

Don't have a blog? We can help. Minutes Matter offers a Blog Design service that will get you up and running in no time.