Foogi – A Cross-Platform Calendar & Scheduling App

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In Outlook in my enterprise, I can easily and quickly check to see who is available for a meeting at a given time. Definitely an efficiency booster.

But what if you are trying to coordinate times and attendees outside of the organization, using different platforms? Yes, of course there is an app for that. Foogi promises to match up invitees’ calendars to find the free / available times in which you can schedule your meeting. Foogi is not a calendar replacement. Instead, depending on how much information users share within Foogi, it will compare schedules and offer times within the existing calendar app so users can create an event. It works across a broad spectrum of calendaring systems, including Outlook, Gcal, iCal, etc. – users just need to have the Foogi app installed on their phones. If they don’t have Foogi installed, the app will send time suggestions to invitees by email, with one click meeting acceptance. It automatically adjusts for time zones.

If you are like me, it is at about this point in time when you start wondering about how much information are you actually sharing here? Foogi’s page indicates that only the starting and ending points of your available times are shared outside your device. There are some features coming down the road that will allow users to custom tailor what users show for available time, such as only show up to one free hour per day, or only availability on certain days during certain times. Even if you choose not to share availability in the app, you will soon still be able to see others’ available times in your calendar to ease the scheduling task.  Another soon to be released feature is the ability to group contacts and see all free / busy times for group members in the same interface to speed up the meeting creation process.

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Another thing to keep in mind is that Foogi users will automatically show in your contacts list – so app usage is shared with other app users. While slightly intrusive, it does serve to make the app more seamless. While offline or out of signal, Foogi stores your notices and will push them to your device once your are back online.

Also, in order to get the app, you have to provide your email address and cell number – the app is texted to your device, where you install from there. iOS, Android and Windows phone flavors.

It is free. Which is always nice.

I haven’t used the app yet, but if you can get around the issues of sharing your app usage and partial calendar information with Foogi contacts, and are fine with giving out your number and email in order to load it, the app does promise a feature we often take for granted here in the enterprise in Outlook. It certainly is a nice thought that you might be able to leverage that same convenience across devices and for free, using the ubiquitous smartphone calendar that rides around in your pocket.

Here’s the promo vid for your viewing pleasure.

Streaming, Personalized News Radio on Your Mobile? That’s Swell

 

 

 

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Everyone knows Pandora, right? I remember one of my very early posts on Advocate’s Studio was about the streaming music service based on the Music Genome Project that compared  your interests to other cool music you might like based on matching some 40 something-odd characteristics. I remember being totally blown away by the concept of Pandora when I first happened on it: it was one of those A-HA moments that hooked me deeply to web apps and the power of the Internet back in the day.

News radio, however, hasn’t had the benefit of personalized, algorithmic preference-based treatment like music has enjoyed. Until now.

Swell is a new free mobile app (currently iOS and soon Android) that promises a somewhat similar experience for news and podcast junkies. At first, you will get served a wide variety of podcasts and, as you skip or like shows, Swell will get better at guessing what you want to hear. This could include TED talks, NPR programs, ABC media, BBC media and other sources. Hopefully the sources will expand as the service gets more popular.

Starting with your Twitter login, Swell will base initial guesses on your network. Like Pandora, Swell will simply deliver up the content in a continuous stream, one after the other. Sort of like “set it and forget it”, but preserving the ability to skip or like to tailor the experience to your tastes. You can also bookmark content to return to later. Swell calls this a “lean back” format. So, I guess you just turn it on and lean back while the goods are delivered. The algorithm measures (from the site):

Expert rating: Rating and metadata assigned to the program by an expert human curator

User rating: Your judgment of the program inferred from how long you spend listening to episodes of the program

Content rating: A measure of how closely the content and topic matches your interests

Community rating: The Swell user community’s overall judgment of the content

Peer rating: Judgment of the content by other users similar to the you

You also can choose topics, on which Swell will then provide three articles before returning you to the regular playlist. Use of wi-fi or cellular data for downloads is selectable in settings. And, you can share content with friends on Twitter or Facebook.

Pandora remains a go-to app for me because I really like the “set it and forget it” or “lean back” approach to content discovery. So Swell seems like a pretty decent idea to me. If you prefer news to jams, then check out Swell. And let me know what you think.

Getting Productive in January, 2013. With Apps.

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New Year, new clean slate. New resolutions, new start, or restart, or reboot, as it were. With smart mobile devices, it is easier than ever to organize, prioritize and accomplish goals. Seems now is a good time to highlight some of my favorite mobile apps to help you on your way. Some of these have been mentioned here before, some are new. I am pretty sure you will find something in the list to meet a need or two.

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Prismatic

Free

First off, I can think of no more effective and efficient way to parse the content flowing through Twitter, Facebook and Google+ than with Prismatic. This great iOS app reorganizes your Twitter feed to promote the content that is of the greatest interest to you. Enough of the Foursquare checkins and cat pictures. Prismatic will send along content from your tried and true sources, as well as offer up new sources of material to pique your interest. The UI is beautifully designed and gesture-based controls make a lot of sense – I find it very easy to use and effective for slicing through a lot of material very quickly. For those who have resolved to wade through their news sources more effectively and efficiently, Prismatic is the tool of choice.

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CloudOn

Free

If you are on Android or iOS, and you want to get as close to that Microsoft Office experience as possible, look no farther than CloudOn. Another previous feature here in the Studio, CloudOn not only gives you a meaty Office experience, it links you to Box, DropBox, Google Drive and SkyDrive to keep your mobile device at a decent fighting weight. It also features built in Adobe Reader and File Viewer tools. With the mainstays of Word, Excel and Powerpoint, most of your Office needs can be met with CloudOn on the go. Create and share and track your changes easily with the FileSpace feature. For those who have resolved to get more document drafting and editing work done while mobile, CloudOn is your best bet.

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Sparrow

$2.99

Let’s face it, the iOS Mail app, even with iOS 6 tweaks, still leaves something to be desired. If you are left wanting more in your mobile email client, check out Sparrow. If you can live without Push notifications (and really, can’t we all?) there really is a lot in this package. Pull all your emails, IMAP and POP, into a unified inbox and directly attach photos & images when composing without having to move between apps. Easily navigate with up and down swiping in a threaded conversation, and swipe once to uncover your mailboxes, labels and folders or swipe again to get to your account list. Mail will show profile images, and swipe to star, add labels, archive or delete. Smart contacts keep your most frequent contacts on top of the list. Enable send and archive to quickly unload your inbox and use a built-in web browser to navigate the web within Sparrow. Tapping and swiping moves you quickly between mailboxes and you can single click to mark all as read. Pull to refresh and leverage Priority inbox support. You can also use email Aliases. Search gets you local mail as well as remote mail on the server. Very nice indeed. And there is more. For those who have resolved to get on top of taming their email inbox, Sparrow has got you covered.

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Paper

Free, with in-app purchase for more tools.

Are you embarrassed by your attempts to render a picture? Would you like to be able to sketch your ideas and show them to others without your audience looking at your art with sympathy? If you have an iPad and want to be able to present your visual ideas easily and smartly, check out this iPad drawing app. It truly makes anyone’s scribbles look compelling and polished. Paper doesn’t overwhelm with an overly complicated interface and too many tools. There are just enough variables and options to keep your work interesting, but not so many that you will struggle with what to toggle next. Paper also employs some smart algorithmic magic behind the scenes to help your work look its best, with its expressive ink engine. Easily share what you have done via email, or on Tumblr, Facebook or Twitter. For those who have resolved to get more in touch with their right brain, Paper may offer the edge you need.

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Pocket

Free

How many times you have been browsing the Web, stumbled on something pretty cool or interesting or on-point, but had insufficient time to fully digest it or use it for your intended purpose and later lost access to it? You may not have heard of Pocket, but you might be familiar with the by its previous name – ReadItLater. Pocket is a shinier version of the Web notebook/bookmarking tool for Android and iOS, with visually appealing thumbnails of your saved media, and the compelling ability to save and then access the content across devices, even without an internet connection. Save stuff to your Pocket when your online and then read or view to your heart’s content while flying or out of internet range. Saves from your browser as well as from some of the finest content curation tools and apps, like Twitter, Zite, Flipboard and Pulse. Share the stuff you really want to keep from Pocket into Evernote, another Studio favorite tool. For those that have resolved to more effectively save, read and organize their content even without an internet connection, Pocket is the way to go.

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Zite

Free

With all that news out there on the web, wouldn’t it be nice if someone or something could simply pick the best stuff for you, the stuff that is most interesting, and give it to you in an easy to read layout with simple sharing tools? Wouldn’t it be great if your news curation assistant got smarter every time the two of you interacted? This is possible with another Studio feature, Zite. Zite initially was iOS only, but is now available on Android and Windows Phone 7 too and I find myself turning to it first when I don’t have a great deal of time to read and really only want to get the most important highlights on my most favorite news topics. And, like Prismatic, Zite will throw your some curveballs with new sources or topics that may be of interest based on your interests, so it never gets stale. For those looking to get the best, on-point news quickly and effortlessly, Zite is the go-to source.

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Google Drive

Free

While I have absolutely nothing against Dropbox, when I think free, agile and generous online file storage, I think Google Drive. Introduced this year to great anticipation and fanfare, Drive offers mobile solutions to tap into the Google cloud, edit and share your content and easily free up space on your mobile for more important things, like family pictures. Drive is a no-brainer on Android, but even the iOS app shines with features. Offline access and easy uploads make the process of moving content around painless and fast. And now, with the interaction of Gmail and Drive, you can send 10GB files out of your Drive and that is impressive by anyone’s standards. For those looking to maximize content management and local space, Google Drive is my favorite solution.

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Brewster

Free

Struggling with social fatigue because your contacts are spread out across mobile and desktop address books and social media outlets? Feeling like it is nearly impossible to reach out and touch someone, especially someone whose contact information you can’t easily find because you can’t remember where its stored? Brewster for iOS is a contact management app that combines all of your address sources into a single “book” on your device, matches pictures to contact information and even organizes those contacts intelligently so you can quickly access your closest contacts and view interactions. Easily search contacts or create your own lists. Quickly view contacts using images and tiles rather than text heavy alphabetical entries. For those resolving to stay in better contact with their numerous contacts, Brewster hits it out of the park.

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Khan Academy

Free

Feeling your brain leaking out all that valuable information you crammed in back in high school and college? Missing Stats or wishing you had a better grasp on chemistry? If you need a refresher or would like to get a decent overview in a subject, then you might want to check out Khan Academy’s more than 3,500 free video tutorials. Get them on the go on your iOS device and download them for offline watching on the iPad. View subtitles, and track your viewing progress with “credits” in the Academy. Khan covers a massive number of different topics, and you can too when you have some time between obligations and happen to have your iDevice handy. For those resolving to exercise their brains and broaden their educational horizons, enroll in the Khan Academy with their mobile app.

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LogMeIn

Free and Pro Paid Subscription

If you are out and suddenly find a need to access your home or office computer, what do you do? You hope you have downloaded to your computer and device the able LogMeIn app that will allow you to remotely access and control your desktop computer. The free iOS app offers remote control of PCs and Macs over WiFi and 3G and can connect to as many computers as you like. Access your home and work computers on the go and get to files on your computer and edit them on your mobile device. Remotely run any application on your computer from your iPhone or iPad. Even fix computer problems remotely. If you pay the subscription for Pro features, get HD video and sound streaming from any device or Pro enabled computer, use their My Cloud Bank integration to link the LogMeIn app with various cloud services, transfer files and folders between computers and save them to your device with File Manager, remotely print to any AirPrint compatible printer and use the Photo App management feature to access and transfer photos from or to your iPad and iPhone photo libraries. All the benefits of your desktop in your pocket and without the bulk. For those resolving not to forget to run their important desktop tasks, LogMeIn is a great way to go.

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I could really go on and on with these great apps – I have found lots of them over the course of the past five years of using mobile devices. But this should be a pretty decent start on the road to a more productive 2013. Happy New Year!

 

Lots of Legal Apps For You

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Want to check out new legal apps for your mobile device? Thank the fine folks over at the UCLA School of Law / Hugh & Hazel Darling Law Library for a very nice list of interesting tools to boost your mobile, legal productivity. There are nearly 60 apps listed, some of which I have mentioned here in the Studio before, but plenty more that are new to me and maybe new to you. I won’t mention them all here – hit the jump above for the complete list. But I do have to mention a few that look particularly fun, such as the following (quoted from the site):

 

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The Wolfram Lawyer’s Professional Assistant is a legal reference tool that provides access to a dictionary of legal terms, statutes of limitations for each state in the U.S., a tool for calendar calculations, a variety of calculators, and crime rate and demographic data. The app is powered by the Wolfram|Alpha computational knowledge engine and is compatible for use on all iOS devices. The app sells for $4.99 and may be downloaded from the iTunes App Store.

 

 

 

mobiletranMobile Transcript is an app that provides attorneys with the ability to read deposition transcripts formatted for their devices. Transcripts are uploaded by attorneys’ court reporters to the Mobile Transcript website, which in turn downloads the transcripts to the attorneys’ devices (court reporters must hold asubscription with Mobile Transcript to be able to upload transcripts). The app allows attorneys to highlight and flag text. The app is FREE and is available for use on iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad devices, as well as Droid and Blackberry devices. For iPhone and iPod devices, the app may be downloaded from theiTunes App Store. Mobile Transcript has a separate app optimized for the iPad that may be downloaded from the iTunes App Store. The app for Blackberry smartphones may be downloaded from the Mobile Transcript website, and the Droid version may be downloaded from Google Play.

 

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The Legal News Reader app is a simple RSS feed aggregator that retrieves important news stories from a number of legal news sites, thereby allowing the user to keep up to date on developments in the news in one convenient place. The app allows users to comment on articles, to read comments left by others, and to share stories with others. The app is $0.99 and may be downladed from the iTunes App Store.

 

 

 

pocketThe PocketJustice FULL app provides you with abstracts of the U.S. Supreme Court’s constitutional decisions and access to audio files for its public sessions. The app includes voting alignments and biographical sketches for all 110 Justices, searchable transcripts, and information and audio for more than 600 constitutional law cases heard in the U.S. Supreme Court. The full version of the app is available for $4.99 and may be downloaded from the iTunes App Storefor use on the iPhone and iPod Touch (a FREE version may also be downloaded from the iTunes App Store, but it offers fewer features). The app may also be downloaded for use on Android devices from Google Play for $4.99.

 

 

And there are lots more to check out. Load them up and head out with your law office in your pocket.

Let’s Talk iOS Gmail

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Native email on the iPhone and iPad has always left a lot to be desired, particularly if you are a Gmail user. Same has historically been true for Gmail users on iOS. However, with a major refresh of the universal iOS app yesterday, Gmail has really come into its own on the Apple mobile front. I’m not sure whether buying uber-popular email app Sparrow had anything to do with it or not – I’m just happy with the results.

 

Obvious changes include improvement in the physical UI, which is simpler and easier to view, and responds beautifully on my iPhone 5. Other improvements clearly had me in mind as well – I am thrilled that the newest version not only has multiple sign in, but allows really simple switching between accounts with icon-based buttons. You can add up to five Gmail accounts within the app – I’ve filled up four slots already.

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Another new benefit is better integration with other Google products – clearly the direction Google has been heading in with all its products. You can now add calendar invites and events from within Gmail without having to switch to another app. And you can post to Google+ from within your Gmail, such as +-ing a post.

 

There are notifications, now, if you prefer to have your incoming email accompanied by a charming tone and a lock screen note. Really. Some people like that.

 

Easily add photos or scribbles to your emails. Yes, scribbles. You can draw something and attach it.

 

Search in the iOS app is now predictive – Google will offer up options as you type your query. Certainly speeds things up a bit. And, with infinite scrolling you can slam through 150 emails with a few swipes, without having to reload after 50 items.

 

All of the new features have usability in mind. I like the new app so much, I am thinking of moving it to the tray. A lot of these features have already been available in the Android version, which really is no surprise at all. And Google also updated the Android version yesterday as well, keeping it well ahead of the iOS version with pinch-to-zoom on individual messages and swipe (left or right) to delete or archive. There is also an ability to “auto-fit” a message to your phone’s screen, a thumbnail view of attached images that can be tapped to open a swipeable gallery, and the ability to attach phone-captured videos to an email. For phones with Android 4.0 or higher, unfortunately, but still pretty cool.

 

Both apps are free. What are you waiting for?

Slices: A Great Twitter Management Tool

 

Yes, Twitter needs management, unless you follow fifty or fewer people. Yes, there are tons of Twitter management tools out there. But, like there are many different learning and processing styles, there are many different ways to consume information and one may work better for you personally than another.

 

Slices is another option for this purpose. Right now, it is a live app on iOS and Android, and a Web version is promised but is still in invite-only beta. I tried it out on iOS and it works beautifully. While the layout is pretty standard, it offers a Twitter directory for finding the best follows on Twitter, a “Live Events” filter which shows the live stream for the top news stories of the day, and Trending filters for your city, country or worldwide. What really is interesting is the “slices” themselves – you can group your timeline into slices to view segments at a time. To show you how, the app will set up some slices for you. It created for me a Tech and Science slice with 34 people, a Business & Money slice with 31 people and a News slice with 9 people. You can filter, right off the bat, people who are not in a slice, so you can “slot” them into a category. Once you organize it, you will be able to easily “slice” through your full feed and see exactly what you want to see when you want to see it. Reminds me a bit of the old Twitter lists concept. Within the slices you can see all types of tweets or just photos and videos, with thumbnail and player right in the tweet. Drill down into follows and add them to a slice from their profile. You can share slices by email, SMS, Tweet and Facebook. Set up your various favorite sharing services within the app for images, video, URL shortening, read later and text expanding. Your saved searches are in there as well and you can start a new search. And, of course, you can tweet yourself from the app.

 

 

 

 


  

 

When the web version drops, it will sync with the mobile version, so you need not miss a beat. You also can upgrade to Pro and lose the ads for $4.99, but I am not sure it is worth that cost to do so.

 

OneLouder is the developer and they aren’t new to the mobile app game – they are the able team behind such great social apps as Friendcaster – my favorite Android Facebook app and Tweetcaster, as well as several other specialized applications.

 

I like Slices a lot – with nearly 1,000 follows, I can use a tool that helps me break out information into categories so I can find what is right now, right now. Nice app – OneLouder!

Lucky Android Now Has Fastcase App

 

I have been a fan of Fastcase on iOS for more than two years and now I have some great news for Android toting lawyers – Fastcase is now available on your Android-powered device! It has a similar interface and feature set as the iOS app; most notably FREE access to case law and available statutes as well as synchronization of research between mobile and desktop. Results come back to you with case name and the most relevant paragraph, with results listed by relevancy ranking. Search terms are highlighted. Using Mobile Sync and desktop access, you can go back on your desktop to stuff you’ve found and saved on your mobile so that you can more easily read and print your results.

 

Bottom line, though, is that these features come to you for free on your mobile. I can think of no other legal mobile app that offers such a great research alternative for so little money. Go, Fastcase!

Barrister App. For Mobile Phones & Not Just for U.K. Lawyers

I stumbled on a post today from the Dallas Association of Law Librarians about a new service that will create and maintain an iPhone app for your law firm. The company is called Digome, LLC out of Nashville and the app is called Barrister App. Unlike some of the do it yourself options I have talked about here in the Studio, this app is essentially a content management system with a slick, iPhone, Android or Blackberry friendly face. The components include: Who We Are – the list of firm attorneys, contact information and practice areas; Where We Are – firm office or offices on Google Maps; What We Do – list of firm practice areas; Notifications – the key to communicating with clients regarding anything from appointment reminders to firm news; My Notes – user-generated notes, presumably pertaining to their legal representations; and, My Profile – where the client enters information.

 

 

You can use your own logo, but there are limitations on color scheme. Additionally, the app requires a log-in, which seems a bit counterintuitive and makes it more useful for existing clients than new ones.

But the company will do the heavy lifting for you, maintaining the CMS system and making sure everything runs smoothly. Pricing for the app is displayed on the chart below, with additional maintenance charges of 20% of the initial cost per year on top:

 

 

If you are a smaller player, you might want to skip to cost and make your site mobile friendly or use a Web app. However, if you are interested in keeping tight contact with your clients and facilitating the flow of information in both directions, Barrister App might be an attractive option.

Microsoft Office On Your iPad? You Bet, With OnLive

 

Have you seen this very VERY cool app for your iOS or Android device? OnLive, the streaming service for PC games, has developed a desktop client and companion mobile app that allows you to stream your favorite Microsoft desktop apps to your tablet. The iOS app has been out for about a month, and the Android app was just released this past week.


Want to try it out? Navigate to OnLive’s web page, create a free account, and download the client. Then, launch the app and sign into the account you created. You then will see a simplified Windows 7 desktop screen on your tablet. When you need to type, a proprietary keyboard pops up. Don’t get frustrated – the Windows interface is definitely stripped down when compared to its desktop counterpart. But, when you open up the applications, you will see the full Windows versions of PowerPoint, Word and Excel, as well as Adobe Reader. Easily move files between the desktop and the tablet. And they work pretty freaking well, with very little lag.

 

Free gets you 2GB of online storage and use of the core Office applications. $10 / month gets a Pro account, 50GB of storage, web browsing within the app and additional features promised, including collaboration and chat features. The Pro account also offers a faster experience and the ability to add a few more programs to the tablet-top.

 

Oh, and guess what? You can even run Flash in the browser on your iPad using the OnLive app, when you up-purchase your account. And, just to make it fun, they added a couple of games. For those times that you feel you have been too productive on your tablet with your new-found virtualization abilities.

 

It’s internet based, so the app won’t work without a connection and, when you have a lousy connection, it will show when you try to use the app. And if you have lots of typing to do, consider a bluetooth keyboard rather than the propriety Windows screen-based keyboard. Another downside to the free version is that you will be pushed to the end of the line for server access, making it difficult to use it when there is heavy traffic.

 

But, there is little doubt that OnLive is on to something and that this type of tech, along with apps like Dropbox, are definitely the wave of our productive, working future. If you would like to see the magic in action, check out Walt Mossberg’s video review for the Wall Street Journal YouTube channel – there is no question that this app can perform some magic.

Run, Don't Walk, To 50GB Free Cloud Storage Via Box

Ever watching out for the free goods, I clapped with delight when I saw this great deal. If you are the lucky owner of an Android device, and you find the idea of free cloud storage and collaboration pretty nifty, then download Box’s mobile storage application for Android, log into your account and, Voila!, you will be gifted with 50GB of free storage. That ain’t no chump change – you can hold a lot of stuff with 50GB.

Box offered a similar incentive for iPhone / iPad users back in the fall. Now Android fans can partake of the free-ness.

Box distinguishes itself from services like DropBox by focusing more on easy collaboration. It most closely resembles Google Docs with file / folder sharing, version tracking and collaboration tools. It bears noting that the per file size limit is 25 MB for free users, which may not be enough for certain of your file types. You can upgrade to 1GB file sizes for $10 / month. Another important limitation: there is no desktop application for the free version like DropBox - you have to download your docs, edit, and then upload and can’t get auto-updates in all places – not quite as handy as Google Doc’s ability to permit edits in the cloud. Nonetheless, free is free and 50GB is 50GB. And, on the plus side, Box integrates with a lot of other services like Gmail, Google Docs, and Microsoft Office, so there are work arounds to be had.

So, grab that storage while its hot. There must be something you can put in the Box.