CloudOn 2.5 Getting Closer to the Full Office on the iPad

Back in January, Microsoft Office users rejoiced with the introduction of CloudOn, an iPad app that ran a virtualized Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel & PowerPoint) on the iconic tablet. Not content to sit on their laurels, CloudOn’s developers have added new features to the app that makes it more appealing and useful. CloudOn 2.5 adds the ability to annotate and track to its iOS app. But don’t worry,  Android support is coming. In addition to the previously available tools for managing, creating and editing files, you will be able to add shapes and lines in Word with your fingers, type a note and preserve those markups in the files themselves. You can save to Dropbox, Box, or  Google Drive accounts. The new CloudOn FileSpace feature reveals a real-time stream of data on changes to your documents so that you can effectively track changes across platforms. The ribbon toolbar is optimized for touch gestures for editing and spell checking. While it is running a version that is akin to 2010, rather than 2013, it is more than sufficient to give that virtualized Office experience. While it’s a bummer that it isn’t yet retina supported, it is a great tool for those longing for Office on their iPad or Android-powered device. It also bears noting that, through partnerships with both Microsoft and Adobe, CloudOn lets you open and view a variety of file types with the built-in Adobe Reader and File Viewer, including PDF, JPG, PNG, GIF, etc. And its all for free.


Burning To Get A Tablet?

Shiny new and tempting MacBook Air aside, 2010 has been the year of the tablet and 2011 promises more of the same. If you are tempted to procure or intent upon procuring one yourself, you are no longer limited to the iPad. There are several competitors out or imminently arriving. And there are definitely differences across the spectrum. Which tablet is the one that will do it for you? I myself am pretty smitten by the iPad. But Crunchgear has published an infographic on some of the other most likely candidates that might help you decide:

My Mobile Web Wish List

One of the predictions I shared with the fine folks at JD Supra and their readers is my belief that we are moving more towards a mobile web experience with our computing lives. I am no Nostradamus – I picked this vibe up from the heavy tech reading that I do and I also know my own personal computing habits and how they have changed over the past few years. Whether your “poison” is an iPhone, Android-based unit, Blackberry, Windows Mobile-enabled device, e-reader or one of those fabled tablet computers, we are pushing the little boxes to their limits and are looking for more.

So I thought I would put together my own mobile wish list for 2010. Things I would like to see happen with my own, personal experience and generally for all mobile computing whizzes out there.

First, and foremost, more voice-activated control over my device. Mobile means, well, mobile. Texting while driving is very very bad, we can all agree. So make the interface better – make it so we can easily, with the touch of a single button, start directing the phone with respect to search (already there), mapping, text messaging and emailing. And none of this half-assed voice control where you can get part of the task done but then have to hunt and peck, copy and paste. All this hullaballoo about a physical versus touch screen keyboard would all go away if we could get a better voice-based interface. Thanks, Dragon, for giving us iPhone users a gentle nudge in the right direction.

Next, location-based awareness. After a heavy-duty case of suspicious paranoia, I am growing to like the location-based applications. Obviously, common sense in using such applications goes a long way here. I would like to see more interactivity with these services. Granted there are lots of iPhone and a growing number of Android applications that employ them. But better integration and more features would be nice. I also see a great outlet for local business with these tools and hope to see more businesses employing the location services to encourage customers and clients. Integrating location awareness with your own Contacts list will push mobile communication further into the future – “gee, where is my client or brother-in-law right now? He should be here at our face to face.”

Mobile shopping – hooking up your payment information with your mobile phone so that you can use it to pay for goods and services. Its coming. We already have built-in bar code reader apps  that allow us to pull product and price information. There are a few companies working on mobile payment systems, most recently and notably, Square backed by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. This service will allow anyone to accept a card payment without pricey credit card arrangements with the swipe of a card through a dongle attached to a computer’s or phone’s audio jack. Pretty cool. Let’s see where it goes in 2010.

Let’s speed up the Web! While we already have 802.11 n out there, the iPhone is still using b / g. Why? Mobile means moving, which should mean fast. So let’s beef up the Wi/Fi and Bluetooth (3.0) in these little guys, so they can move with the best of ’em. And while “they” are at it, please, please, please, help those poor Blackberry users to get a better Web-browsing experience! I never use my Curve’s browser because it hurts far too much.

As more and more of the computing experience moves skyward, we will need the best access possible to the cloud through these mobile devices. Google, a heavy hitter in cloud-based tech, needs to do a better job making access to the cloud easier on platforms other than Android. Little, portable phones and tablets should be gateways to the cloud, offering free and easy ingress and egress.  Yet I still struggle with accessing Gmail, my reader subscriptions and cloud-based information on the iPhone. It needs to get better if cloud champions want to win the hearts and minds of the computing public.

The imminent Tablet explosion, heralded by the promised introduction of the highly-rumored Apple tablet, will certainly push the mobile computing envelope. It will be interesting to see what tricks hardware and software developers have up their sleeves to win the wallets and devotion of the tech masses. In short, I hope Apple makes its tablet affordable.

And, at least with respect to the iPhone, there must be a means for multi-tasking. The modern computing generation is not content with performing a single task at a time in a linear fashion. We need to have several jobs running, several irons getting hot in the fire, at any given moment. Why is it that the iPhone can’t or doesn’t provide the ability to do two or more things at once? I don’t buy the battery argument, as there are devices out there that can do it. Perhaps Apple is worried that multi-tasking would open the flood gates on the data-hoggish device and overwhelm poor, little ATT. But that still doesn’t explain why I can’t leave an app open and running while I compose an email. And, while I am at the rant, where the heck is my tethering, ATT??????

Maybe this last one is an impossible dream, but I am sick and tired of getting tied to multi-year contracts when I agree to buy a phone and use a service. Maybe 2010 will see some inroads in this regard. Maybe Google will shake things up a bit with its imminent Nexus One phone. Unlocked cell phones may become the new black of the tech world.

One can dream, can’t one?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Stylus for Less – Wacom’s Bamboo

At the intersection of technology, legal practice and illustration / manual scripting, there lies the tablet pc. I have noted many tech savvy doctor’s offices equipping their employees with tablet pcs for completion of forms and composition of notes for medical files. Lawyers too have adopted the technology in their practices – the flexibility of being able to handwrite notes and employ familiar method of data entry for those who are keyboard-challenged is hard to resist. Pocket PCs and mobile phones often adopt the stylus as one of their modes of data entry and offer “graffiti” -type software for script recognition. Software giant Microsoft has noticed the trend in this direction and the 2007 Office suite embeds the ability throughout the software to draft notes in handwriting on existing typed documents or create new documents maintaining the script nature of the writing. The interface is getting better and better, with fewer recognition errors and smoother drafting.

The downside to the tablet pcs is cost. When I was researching my purchase of a new laptop, I looked at the tablet versions but was turned off by the expense of adding the tablet feature. I also noticed that the tablet pcs seemed to have less under the hood than a comparable traditional laptop. For my illustration / graphic arts work, I use a Wacom Intuous 3 6 X 8 tablet that attaches to my desktop as a peripheral through the USB port. This tablet, which offers many pen options and customization, is fantastic for this purpose, but is definitely too unwieldy to carry around with a laptop if you are a road warrior.

 Picture of the Intuos 3

Enter the Wacom Bamboo.

Picture of the Bamboo

This is a fantastic little tablet that is quite portable and able to emulate much of its big brother’s functionality, more than meeting the needs of a professional wishing to enter the tablet world. Taken from Wacom’s website:

Bamboo is a new category of pen tablets that help everyday people convey their ideas more clearly. With the natural feel of pen-on-paper, Bamboo and Bamboo Fun plug into your computer and make it quick and easy for you to get your point across. Whether you’re preparing a slide presentation or making a unique collage of your favorite photos, Wacom’s newest line of pen tablets gives you more control with patented pen technology that puts the ability to personalize your work right in your hands.

Jot notes by hand.
Mark up documents.
Sign your name.
Make sketches and doodles.
Handwrite email.

Bamboo works with the built in pen features in all but the Home Basic version of the Vista operating system. It supports wide screen displays. It has precise enough controls and over 500 levels of pressure sensitivity to permit it to serve as an effective portable illustration tool. It also has four programmable Express Keys, for faster access to functions. It permits scrolling and zooming with a Touch Ring quite similar to the controls of the Apple iPod. The pen is battery free and also has customizable buttons. I have the straight Bamboo: it comes with the pen and the tablet only. Mine looks identical to the picture above. The size is a little over 7 X 7 inches and is quite thin at approximately 1/2 an inch. The Bamboo fits easily into my laptop bag, with its removal USB cable. It also comes with a pen stand, a quick start guide and an installation cd.

Picture of the Bamboo Fun

The Bamboo Fun looks slightly different, comes in two sizes and adds a mouse. I believe that the small version might be too small for effective mouse control, but having never actually played with one, I am by no means an authority. The small Fun is slightly larger than the Bamboo, measuring a little more than 8 X 7 inches. The medium Fun is 11 X 9 inches, and might be a bit difficult to carry along. The Fun comes with three replacement nibs for the pen and adds a cd offering graphics programs Adobe Photoshop Elements, Corel Painter Essentials, and Nik Color Efex Pro. While the Bamboo comes only in black, the Fun comes in black, silver, white and blue.

After inserting the installation cd and following the instructions, I was presented with a tutorial, which I can still access if I wish. Now, hovering off to the far side of my screen with only about a millimeter or two showing, is a small text entry box. If I hover the pen over it, it slides a bit further out and I can tap on it to activate it. I can modify how this box appears and how it is activated. There is a line in the box on which I can enter text by writing on the active surface of the tablet. There are also function keys to the side for backspace, delete, tab, enter, space, right and left arrow, number, symbol and web. You can select the method of text entry at the top, either line or block, or even keyboard. It takes a little bit to get used to, but once you do it is easy and natural.

I also have my full vector graphics program installed on my laptop and have used the Bamboo for drawing. It is definitely up to the task, and much easier to manage than my laptop’s touch pad for sensitive strokes.

The Wacom websites shows a price for the Bamboo of $79 and a price for the Fun of $99 for the small and $199 for the medium. However, I paid substantially less for my Bamboo on Amazon.com, so it would benefit you to shop around. My impression is that if you are trying to add the tablet to a laptop for mobile computing, the Bamboo or the Bamboo Fun small is the way to go. Whatever you choose, adding this small, capable tablet is an inexpensive and flexible way to enter the world of tablet pcs, and is a device I highly recommend.

For more visit http://advantageadvocates.com

Stylus for Less – Wacom's Bamboo

At the intersection of technology, legal practice and illustration / manual scripting, there lies the tablet pc. I have noted many tech savvy doctor’s offices equipping their employees with tablet pcs for completion of forms and composition of notes for medical files. Lawyers too have adopted the technology in their practices – the flexibility of being able to handwrite notes and employ familiar method of data entry for those who are keyboard-challenged is hard to resist. Pocket PCs and mobile phones often adopt the stylus as one of their modes of data entry and offer “graffiti” -type software for script recognition. Software giant Microsoft has noticed the trend in this direction and the 2007 Office suite embeds the ability throughout the software to draft notes in handwriting on existing typed documents or create new documents maintaining the script nature of the writing. The interface is getting better and better, with fewer recognition errors and smoother drafting.

The downside to the tablet pcs is cost. When I was researching my purchase of a new laptop, I looked at the tablet versions but was turned off by the expense of adding the tablet feature. I also noticed that the tablet pcs seemed to have less under the hood than a comparable traditional laptop. For my illustration / graphic arts work, I use a Wacom Intuous 3 6 X 8 tablet that attaches to my desktop as a peripheral through the USB port. This tablet, which offers many pen options and customization, is fantastic for this purpose, but is definitely too unwieldy to carry around with a laptop if you are a road warrior.

 Picture of the Intuos 3

Enter the Wacom Bamboo.

Picture of the Bamboo

This is a fantastic little tablet that is quite portable and able to emulate much of its big brother’s functionality, more than meeting the needs of a professional wishing to enter the tablet world. Taken from Wacom’s website:

Bamboo is a new category of pen tablets that help everyday people convey their ideas more clearly. With the natural feel of pen-on-paper, Bamboo and Bamboo Fun plug into your computer and make it quick and easy for you to get your point across. Whether you’re preparing a slide presentation or making a unique collage of your favorite photos, Wacom’s newest line of pen tablets gives you more control with patented pen technology that puts the ability to personalize your work right in your hands.

Jot notes by hand.
Mark up documents.
Sign your name.
Make sketches and doodles.
Handwrite email.

Bamboo works with the built in pen features in all but the Home Basic version of the Vista operating system. It supports wide screen displays. It has precise enough controls and over 500 levels of pressure sensitivity to permit it to serve as an effective portable illustration tool. It also has four programmable Express Keys, for faster access to functions. It permits scrolling and zooming with a Touch Ring quite similar to the controls of the Apple iPod. The pen is battery free and also has customizable buttons. I have the straight Bamboo: it comes with the pen and the tablet only. Mine looks identical to the picture above. The size is a little over 7 X 7 inches and is quite thin at approximately 1/2 an inch. The Bamboo fits easily into my laptop bag, with its removal USB cable. It also comes with a pen stand, a quick start guide and an installation cd.

Picture of the Bamboo Fun

The Bamboo Fun looks slightly different, comes in two sizes and adds a mouse. I believe that the small version might be too small for effective mouse control, but having never actually played with one, I am by no means an authority. The small Fun is slightly larger than the Bamboo, measuring a little more than 8 X 7 inches. The medium Fun is 11 X 9 inches, and might be a bit difficult to carry along. The Fun comes with three replacement nibs for the pen and adds a cd offering graphics programs Adobe Photoshop Elements, Corel Painter Essentials, and Nik Color Efex Pro. While the Bamboo comes only in black, the Fun comes in black, silver, white and blue.

After inserting the installation cd and following the instructions, I was presented with a tutorial, which I can still access if I wish. Now, hovering off to the far side of my screen with only about a millimeter or two showing, is a small text entry box. If I hover the pen over it, it slides a bit further out and I can tap on it to activate it. I can modify how this box appears and how it is activated. There is a line in the box on which I can enter text by writing on the active surface of the tablet. There are also function keys to the side for backspace, delete, tab, enter, space, right and left arrow, number, symbol and web. You can select the method of text entry at the top, either line or block, or even keyboard. It takes a little bit to get used to, but once you do it is easy and natural.

I also have my full vector graphics program installed on my laptop and have used the Bamboo for drawing. It is definitely up to the task, and much easier to manage than my laptop’s touch pad for sensitive strokes.

The Wacom websites shows a price for the Bamboo of $79 and a price for the Fun of $99 for the small and $199 for the medium. However, I paid substantially less for my Bamboo on Amazon.com, so it would benefit you to shop around. My impression is that if you are trying to add the tablet to a laptop for mobile computing, the Bamboo or the Bamboo Fun small is the way to go. Whatever you choose, adding this small, capable tablet is an inexpensive and flexible way to enter the world of tablet pcs, and is a device I highly recommend.

For more visit http://advantageadvocates.com