I am now trying to get all the things I have been saying I would blog – blogged!
Next on the list – iPads for use in a Video Forensic office.
My aim here is to see what apps can be used by the video examiner.
Firstly, the big one – the web!
I now do most of my research and reading on the iPad. Keeping up with the latest news, forum entries and interesting ‘how to’s, is now just a matter of opening the front cover. No more sitting in front of a big monitor (we are there all day!) or having to endure a burning laptop on your legs.
For browsing, I prefer to use Skyfire as it has good social network integration but best of all, it plays flash video. Those ‘how to’ video’s in Flash can’t usually be played on the iPad but by using the Skyfire browser they are rerooted and converted on the fly. Problem solved.
Pulse is also worth a mention – its a news reader app that’s takes its feeds from a multitude of sources but sticks them all into a nice format.
Now that’s out of the way, lets get on with things!
There are loads of apps out there that are not designed for our specific purpose but nevertheless, can be used. I think that the best way of going through these is detailing a specific task and then documenting what app(s) could be used.
Note Taking: Personally I like PlainText
I can document any actions whilst out on an enquiry direct into a titled sheet and then this automatically synch’s with a Dropbox account. The details are waiting for me when I return to the office – all dated and timed! Taking visual notes, I.e Photos is also useful. The iPads camera is pretty poor so I only use it if I have not got anything else and the light is good. These Synch with iCloud or I can email them in to myself to save having to connect the iPad physically to iTunes.
I have just installed the new OneNote App from Microsoft. It does look nice and gives you the ability to take pictures and top them in the note but synching is limited to over wifi.
Whilst we are on the subject of being onsite, there are one or two apps that can be useful to represent colour, clarity and time.
I have used these in front of a camera and then taken the recordings to use in analysis work.
There are many things that you can make yourself.
Making images of grids and/or colour boxes to display
Making a video with timecode and moving objects to playback in front of a camera. In place of other apps described above.
Back to the office – what else can we do? (Apart from play Angry Birds)
One of my favourite uses is as a case catalogue. By using an app called Berokyo I can add PDF’s and Video files and store them in a nice ‘bookshelf’ which is titled as the job name / number. It really does look the business when you go into a case conference with everything on your iPad.
Getting things actually on the device and in the correct format does take a bit of getting used to.
Images are fine, but for Case examples I usually hold my Image sequences in a PDF. The native resolution of the iPad2 is 1024×768 so if you create your Image PDF’s at this size they play really well. iBooks holds PDF’s but there are other PDF readers available. Talking of IBooks, this is also good place to store research documents or instruction and process guidance. Remember you can name bookshelves to organise your collection of documents.
There are a few free software packages that enable the conversion of PDF’s into eBook format. Although i have tested a few of these – sticking with the PDF has been found to be the easiest method.
For Video I use Handbrake. Its quick and produces a good quality conversion for presentation purposes.
Its a good time to mention a few other bits that can be used alongside the iPad to assist in a presentation process.
The cheaper and easier of the two is the HDMI adaptor to display the video from the iPad onto a TV / Monitor.
The second is the AppleTV. You can not only send video and images wirelessly via AirPlay but it also now supports iPad screen mirroring.
Whatever you do on your iPad is seen on the big screen.
There are a number of apps for meetings and joint presentations
I am still researching these to assess their possible benefits for group viewing.
There are so many apps out there now that I quite often just browse around a try a few out – if they don’t have a use then they are deleted. Also – it has to be pretty good or have some serious potential for me to pay for an app!! I use Appshoper now to find new apps.
Well, I think thats enough for starters. I will create new iPad entries as and when there is something new to add!