Archive for the ‘Apps’ Category

Too many bookmarks and favorites? 3 ways to save material to read later.   2 comments

We’ve all been there. We find a great article or blog post to read online, or on Twitter, and we just don’t have the time to read it right then and there. So we bookmark it, or if we’re on Twitter we “favorite” the tweet and hope to get back to it later. Of course, we rarely do.

Here are three useful ways to save material to read later. Two of them, I use regularly, and the third I hope to try soon.

1. The first is Evernote. In a previous blog post I talked about how I use Evernote to read pdfs. Another great use for Evernote is to copy a link that you want to go back to later, open a note in Evernote and copy the link. The cool thing about Evernote is that you can tab your notes. For example, I have notes that I tab “blog” where I save blog ideas and links to articles or blog posts that inspire me to write a post on my blog. Evernote also allows you to “clip” sections of a webpage and save that to read later by copying it into a note.

2. The second is Instapaper. Instapaper can be installed on your Mac or PC, and it exists as an iPhone and iPad app. What it does is that it allows you to create a bookmark named “Read later” and when you are at a webpage that has content that you want to save to read later, you simply click on your “Read later” bookmark, and the content of the webpage gets sent to Instapaper. You can then go to Instapaper and (you guessed it) read it later! The advantage of Instapaper is that once you have something saved on your device using their app, you do not need an internet connection to go back and read it later. For example, if you save something with Instapaper on your iPad, you can go back and read it later even if you don’t have an internet connection. This is great for people who don’t have 3G on their iPad. Instapaper also allows you to share content, or to access content recommended by others, so you will always have something ready to read at your fingertips. Ironically, for a service that many people use to keep up with reading the news, Instapaper was recently in the news itself because the FBI seized a server that it was leasing in an unrelated raid on a scareware ring.

3. The third is Safari’s upcoming Reading List. Apple is coming up with its own Instapaper-like service called Reading List which will be part of iOS5 and Lion this fall. It will reportedly synch with iOS devices, much like Instapaper does. I look forward to trying it when it comes out this fall.

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Posted June 30, 2011 by deboraplehn in Apps

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Dropbox security issues   Leave a comment


In my last post I promised that I would write about security issues with cloud-based web services. As fate would have it, there have been several recent stories about Dropbox security issues. As this article on CNET explains, on June 19 a bug with their authentication system permitted access to Dropbox without passwords for a period of 4 hours. Dropbox has assured users that its service is secure, and that the files stored on Dropbox are encrypted using the same secure methods as banks and the military. In response to allegations that Dropbox employees are able to access user data, Dropbox has responded that a small number of employees must be able to access user data for the reasons stated in their privacy policy (e.g. when legally required to do so) (Read: subpoena). For more details read this report on a complaint that was filed at the FTC in May by a prominent security researcher.
The bottom line is that Dropbox is a very convenient service, but like with all online services, you should be aware of the security issues. Personally, I still use Dropbox, however I mostly use it to store pdfs of documents like published or issued patents which are publicly available, and which I need to read on my iPad for my job. You can’t beat the convenience of uploading a pdf to Dropbox from your laptop or desktop computer and then being able to access it anywhere with your iPad or iPhone or on any other computer which has Dropbox installed.

Posted June 26, 2011 by deboraplehn in Apps

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Reading pdf files with Dropbox   Leave a comment

In my last post I talked about how I use Evernote to store pdf files in the “cloud” of cyberspace where they can be accessed and read from any mobile device or computer that has Evernote installed. Another way to store documents and files in the cloud is by using Dropbox. Dropbox has free iPad and iPhone apps, and you can also install it for free on your computer (PC or Mac). Dropbox gives you 2G of free storage space in the cloud. When I’m on my iPad and I download a pdf file, for example, I am automatically asked if I want to open it in Dropbox, Evernote, iBooks etc. If I click on Dropbox, the pdf will automatically open in Dropbox and be stored in the cloud. I can create folders in which to organize my files, and the cool thing is that all my files on Dropbox can be accessed from my iPad, iPhone and computer. You can also use Dropbox to store photo, music or video files. Dropbox has an integrated music player, or you can use iTunes to access the music or video files in Dropbox and open them in iTunes. This has saved up a lot of space on my computer! Of course, if you use Dropbox heavily, as I do, you quickly use up the free 2G of space. You can then upgrade to a Pro account for a fee, if you need more space. For example, for a one time payment of $99 a year you get 50G of space and for $199 a year you get 100G.

Dropbox has been so successful that there are now many other services that allow you to store files in the cloud (Apple’s iCloud being the most talked-about recently!). I will review them in future posts so stay tuned!

ETA: there have been many concerns lately about security issues with these cloud-based services. This will also be the subject of a future post.

Posted June 21, 2011 by deboraplehn in Apps

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Reading pdf files with Evernote   Leave a comment

In a previous blog post I talked about how I use iBooks to read pdf files on my iPad. One of the drawbacks of iBooks is that it doesn’t automatically synch your pdfs to your other mobile devices or computers. In comes Evernote, a free app for iPad or iPhone that uses cloud computing to store “notes” in the “cloud” of cyberspace. You can either use it to write yourself notes or reminders, or to clip web pages to save and consult later using their web clipping tool, or you can use it to store pdfs in the cloud. For example, I recently downloaded a Federal Circuit case from www.patentlyo.com (great blog!) on my iPad and was automatically asked if I wanted to open it using Evernote. I clicked yes and voilà! It opened in Evernote, and the great thing is that I can now read that pdf on my iPad, my iPhone, my computer, or anywhere else I have installed Evernote.

Posted June 17, 2011 by deboraplehn in Apps

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Reading pdf files with iBooks   Leave a comment

In my work as a patent attorney I have to read a LOT of documents. It is a pain to carry around those heavy printouts of patents, cases, office actions etc. An easy way to read these documents on my iPad or even iPhone is to use iBooks. I email the documents to myself. When I open the email, I download each document by tapping on the document icon at the bottom of the email. Once the document has finished downoading, I am automatically asked if I want to open it in iBooks. I click yes, and iBooks then automatically opens and voilà! I can read my pdf anytime I want by opening iBooks. This is great for plain old reading, however it does not let you annotate the pdf. I have read on lawyertechreview.com that iAnnotate is a great app for (surprise!) annotating pdfs! I have downloaded it but have not yet had the chance to try it out. Stay tuned…

Posted June 11, 2011 by deboraplehn in Apple, Apps, iPad

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Through the looking glass–a patent lawyer’s adventures with mobile technology   Leave a comment

I decided to start a blog because I wanted to share my experiences navigating the wonderful new world of mobile devices like the iPad and the iPhone in both my career and in my personal life. I am a patent attorney and my scientific background is in biochemistry. I love computers and gadgets, but am pretty much self-taught when it comes to how to use them. I also love social media. I have a twitter account (@deboraplehn) from which I microblog about anything and everything that interests me. I found that sometimes 140 characters just wasn’t enough for me to share with others my experiences. After lawyertechreview featured me in an article for App Friday, I received a lot of positive feedback. Many colleagues enjoyed the article and were curious as to what other gadgets or apps I used. This made me think that other people, like me, were new to the world of mobile gadgets and might enjoy hearing about my adventures as a new user. This is why I decided to start this blog. I hope you will enjoy it and I hope many people will share their stories and expertise with me as well!

Posted June 9, 2011 by deboraplehn in Apple, Apps, iPad, iPhone

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