Hopefully everyone was able to get through that miserable February weather… just in time for March to enter like a lion, or whatever that proverb says. We’re expecting both temperatures in the 70s and snow this week in North Carolina, so hopefully it’s crazy everywhere!
Fortunately, February marked the second month in a row of some pretty excellent apps to talk about. So, without further ado…
Here are my best new apps for lawyers released in February 2015:
One of the best automation platforms available, IFTTT has been helping you organize your life for a while now – at least if you’re like me. Recently, they’ve decided to go through an entire re-branding of their system, taking the “If-This-Then=That” and making it into separate apps for convenience.
Now, using three separate apps, the team at IF wants to make it a bit easier to operate some of the most frequently used functions. Using the Do Button, you’re able to trigger one of a significant number of actions based on a particular input, like controlling your smart light system at home. Do Camera, as should be painfully obvious, triggers events based on taking pictures on your phone. Do Note triggers many of the note-taking features, such as copying to Evernote or Pocket – a feature I use daily to collect my resources for these very monthly new app posts!
It’s one of the best tools on the market, so if you’re not using it yet, you should really get to it!
We’ve all been there – giving a speech based on notes scribbled on a notepad or note cards. Halfway through, you look down, only to realize you have no freaking clue where you were on the page. Despite the bad rap they seem to get, teleprompters have become ubiquitous in modern presentations for a reason. They work.
Now, you can avoid that horrible situation I just described using only your iPad. Designed for viewing in both portrait and landscape modes, you’re always able to keep track of your text. Draft your speech on your computer and transfer via DropBox, or even compose directly within the app. If you’re an attorney who routinely has to present to large crowds, this is an app you need to check out.
As part of my attempt to get attorneys more involved in social media marketing, I have begun to explore apps that enhance existing networks. Social media is about connecting, not directly about sales, so lawyers need tools that help in that area. If you’re attempting to reach an under-40 crowd, Instagram is the place to be.
However, the native functionality of Instagram isn’t very easy to navigate, and sharing is damn near impossible. Plus+ seeks to take all those options you took for granted on other networks and combine them in one place for Instagram. Easily search, share, repost, and cultivate a dedicated following to make sure you’re connecting to your target audience. Familiarity is one of the best ways to make sure someone thinks of you when they need legal advice!
Trello by Fog Creek Software, Inc., free (Update).
Trello has long been one of the best project management apps available. Whether you’re organizing your own life or collaborating with an entire team of lawyers, paralegals, and other professionals, the tools and connections available are invaluable.
A massive new update dramatically increases the functionality on iOS. An adjusted, cleaned-up home screen makes your entire project easier to assess. Moreover, iOS sharing is now available, meaning you can share information from other apps directly into your Trello account. The addition of Handoff support, allowing easy transmission from your phone to your Mac is another huge addition. Lastly, activate a Trello widget to make sure you know what your current priorities are without even needing to open the app.
That’s right, more social media advertising. This time, much more explicitly, though. If you use Facebook ads to promote your business, you absolutely need to look into Facebook’s newest app.
The app is actually an extension of the Facebook Ads Manager mobile site, designed to give advertisers much more control over their ads while on the go. Directly from your iOS device, you’re able to edit your ads, track results, edit your budget, and much more. You can even set up push notifications for benchmarks you set beforehand. If you use Facebook ads, this app is essential.
I’ve long said that it doesn’t matter what an app seeks to do, provided it does that one thing right. Some of the best tools I’ve ever used were the ones that, while not overly ambitious, did what they set out to do well. Even better are those tools that perform a task that seems simple, but has phenomenal utility because of how often you use it.
The latter is definitely the case with Alt-C. It’s a simple app – you can copy text seamlessly from your Android device to your PC, or vice-versa. No login is required, and your device and your PC don’t even have to be on the same network. Provided they’re both connected to the internet, the connection is automatic. It may seem simple, but you may be surprised how often you’ll use this handy little tool.
Prezi by Prezi, free.
One of my favorite presentation apps for iOS, Prezi finally comes to Android. Complete with a full set of available business templates, Prezi can be your primary or backup presentation software. Similar to other slide show presentation tools like PowerPoint and Keynote, Prezi allows you to present beautiful slide shows directly from your device.
More importantly, should you ever need something in a pinch, Prezi allows you to create new slideshows right from your phone or tablet. Use their built-in templates or add your own, and you’re on your way. One neat feature of the Android version is the ability for you to present your slide show remotely. That’s right, you no longer have to even be in the room to subject your visitors to a slide show!
iAnnotate PDF by Branchfire, free.
Seriously, I have no idea why this one took so long to get to Android. iAnnotate PDF is my go-to PDF viewing and annotation tool on my iPad, and it’s finally available on Android. Easily import PDF files, add highlighting, notes, stamps, and about any other form of notation you can imagine. Then, you can export your PDF files with or without the annotations, even printing selected versions.
Multi-tasking is easily accomplished, as you’re able to switch seamlessly between tabs with open files. Although this app is somewhat behind the iOS version (cloud storage capability somehow not yet available), given the numerous updates they’ve made, expect rapid improvement.
Blinq by Blinq.me, free.
If you’ve been following this blog recently, you’ll know how important I believe social media marketing and connecting is for attorneys. Whether you’re using social media to supercharge your LinkedIn connections or to market your firm, you need to be up-to-date on what’s going on with your connections.
Blinq is the tool for you. Connect with your social profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more, and receive updates any time your connections modify their profile. One of your mentors publishes something new? You get a notification. One of your former classmates takes a new job? You get a notification. Changes in titles, locations, and even the addition of a family member, and you’ll know.
The first app developed by NPR with Windows Phone users specifically in mind (by this, I presume they mean a disturbingly small percentage of the market).
Sorry, now that I have my dig at the Windows Phone out of the way… If you’re a fan of NPR, you need to have this app. Period. All of your favorite shows stream right through your phone, and are even curated with your preferences in mind. Listen to your favorite shows, but never miss up-to-the-minute breaking news or important stories.
Ok, so maybe this one was also for entertainment value too. This app, supposedly marketed to families and business groups, allows you to add people to your “squad,” and know where they are and what they’re doing at all times.
Yes, it’s creepy. While there definitely are potential uses of this app that aren’t really that creepy, Microsoft appears to go all out in assuming that the not-so-creepy uses will be the only thing you’d use this for. However, on a limited basis, this could actually be somewhat useful for work groups and such. Don’t abuse it, please!