Apps to help you on the job
Summer is winding down, which means that your job will likely get busier in the coming months. Thankfully, there are mobile apps to keep you organized, to help you collaborate with others while on the go and even to identify new contacts at professional networking events.
It's easier than ever to participate in conference calls, shared PowerPoint presentations and virtual group meetings thanks to smartphone and tablet applications like GoToMeeting. Similar to the desktop-based service, GoToMeeting applications make it easy to communicate and collaborate with colleagues wherever an Internet connection is available. A great app for road warriors, GoToMeeting lets you dial into meetings with literally one tap of the screen.
It's nearly impossible to be organized at work if the rest of your life is in disarray. If you need a little assistance in keeping your life in order, Any.DO promises to help. You can create an agenda, organize it by swiping your finger across the app and easily mark when items on your task list are complete. You can also share your to-do lists with friends in the hopes that they might help out with whatever you need to get done. Any.Do, which is financed in part by Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, initially was available exclusively to Android owners. The app finally arrived on the iPhone earlier this summer. It was worth the wait!
Mission-critical files, videos and images are increasingly stored in the "cloud" these days. Google Drive is the best and most economical cloud storage solution for businesses of all sizes. The mobile app, which works seamlessly across all iOS and Android devices, lets you share large files with co-workers without clogging up your email account. Everyone who is invited to a Google Drive account can then edit and modify files in real time. Google Drive is similar to services like Dropbox, although it's cheaper, with 5 GB of free storage and 25 GB of storage at $2.50 per month.
Yammer fittingly bills itself as the "social network for your company." Acquired by Microsoft earlier this year, Yammer is an instant messaging service that allows you to share quick alerts and documents within a hand-picked group in your organization. Once it's downloaded to a phone or tablet, leave the Yammer app running in the background to see and respond to new messages. Beyond increasing your productivity at work, Yammer can also be pretty addictive.
(iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, free)
For more than a decade, Meetup.com has introduced people to interesting events in their area. More recently, the service has become a great resource for professional networking and finding new business contacts. The Meetup app not only helps you locate interesting professional events near you, but it also details who else is registered for events you decide to attend.
These reports are from Appolicious.com and Tribune Media Services.
TECH BYTES by Peter King
Back to the future
Grizzled gamers probably remember the awe they felt when they first batted a glowing rectangle in Atari's Pong in 1972. To mark the iconic gaming company's 40th anniversary, Atari has teamed with Microsoft to produce free Web-based versions of eight classic games from the 1970s and '80s. To enjoy some retro gaming, go to atari.com/arcade.
There's an ape for that
New York-based conservation organization Orangutan Outreach has rolled out "Apps for Apes" (redapes.org/a4a) to several zoos in the United States and Canada. Using donated iPads, orangutans interact with art and games apps and watch videos of other apes. The orangutans are proving to be good technology adopters. Orangutan Outreach says the apes "have an innate ability to work with touch-screen technology."
There are apps for stock prices and sports scores, but a new app from the federal government has some really big numbers. America's Economy (Android; free) delivers real-time economic data on 16 key measures, including unemployment, GNP and retail sales. The app includes graphing capabilities and links to full reports. Users can also set an alert to be notified when an economic indicator is updated.