AiO Remote by Hewlett Packard

24 03 2014

Printing documents seems to be old-fashioned in the modern era of digital communication. But occasionally printouts of documents are necessary. I for example use it for if I have to look on two or more documents to compare the contents which is pretty uncomfortable on an iPad because of the One-Window-Technique.

AirPrint

Apple is known for simple and user-friendly solutions.
In cooperation with Hewlett Packard the company developed the AirPrint technology.

AirPrint is a feature which is implemented in Apple products starting with OS X Lion and iOS 4.2 in November 2010, for printing using a wireless LAN, either directly to any AirPrint compatible printers (such as HP’s entire ePrint range, Brother, Canon, Dell, Epson, Gestetner, Hewlett-Packard, Infotec , Lanier, Lenovo, Lexmark, Ricoh, Samsung, Savin, Xerox and more) or to non-compatible printers through a MS Windows, Apple Mac OS X, or GNU/Linux PC. AirPrint does not require printer-specific drivers.

The current list of AirPrint compatible printers (at the time more than 1000) can be found on

Apple Support HT 4356

Manufacturers supporting AirPrint with their printer products are

Brother, Canon, Dell, EPSON, Fuji Xerox, Gestetner,
Hewlett Packard with 95 Printers
Infotec, Kyocera, Lanier, Lenovo, Lexmark, NRG, NTT, Oki Data, Olivetti, RICOH, Samsung, Savin, Sharp, TA Triumph-Adler/UTAX, Toshiba, Xerox, Zink

A number of software solutions allow for non AirPrint printers to be used with iOS devices. For such printers, AirPrint support can be achieved by configuring such support on an intermediary system already having such printers configured for local printing, shared on the same network. Since AirPrint is driverless, such a configuration compensates for the lack of native AirPrint support by using the drivers on the intermediary system instead.

Note
The simplest solution for all platforms is to create a new Bonjour Service that tricks iOS clients into believing they’re talking to an AirPrint device.
Presto by Collobos Software Inc. is an example for such a desktop application which allows printing from iOS devices to every printer connected to the same network.

Bonjour is Apple’s implementation of Zero-configuration networking (Zeroconf), a group of technologies that includes service discovery, address assignment, and hostname resolution. Bonjour locates devices such as printers, other computers, and the services that those devices offer on a local network using multicast Domain Name System (mDNS) service records. Bonjour comes built-in with Apple’s OS X and iOS operating systems. Bonjour can also be installed onto computers running Microsoft Windows.

AirPrint in details …

My home configuration consists of an Apple Airport Extreme Router and an HP Photosmart 6510 which is AirPrint capable. That means the printer has just to be connected to the power supply. In a further step the connection to the WiFi network is established via the iPhone-like control panel by entering the networks password.

After connecting the printer to the WiFi network it appears in the print menu of every printing-capable app. No installation of drivers, no cables, no additional software which usually comes from an installation CD and is nothing more than ad of the manufacturer.

AiO Remote app by HP …

There are two ways to connect an iOS device to a HP printer:

  • 1 HP wireless direct allows you to connect your iPad directly to your printer wirelessly, without a wireless router. The printer must be equipped with HP wireless direct, and HP wireless direct must be turned on to connect to any iOS device.
  • 2 When connecting to the printer over a WiFi network, you are connecting to the printer using a wireless router. The printer might be wirelessly to the router or with an Ethernet cable. A connection is established after entering the WiFi password.
  • The features …

    • 1 Take a photo and automatically transform it into a PDF.
    • 2 Scan pages placed on the device by using the control buttons on the printer’s display or controls displayed in the app. Save scanned documents in the app specific folder on your iOS device or in the cloud (Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, Evernote, Photostream, or many other cloud storages like iDriveSync via WebDAV).
    • 3 Copy documents using the control buttons on the printer’s display or the controls shown in the app.
    • 4 Show printer details like settings, comnections, supply levels, and print reports like network configuration, wireless test report, or print quality report.
    • 5 Automatic upload of new documents to iCloud and syncing documents across all your iOS devices.
    • 6 As already mentioned AiO Remote can be connected to different cloud storages. So it’s also possible to download documents from there. They can be printed, saved locally, sent by mail, or transferred to other cloud storages.
      Unfortunately Apple’s iWork file formats are not supported.
    • 7 Optional usage of the HP ePrint Service which allows to send print jobs to an E-Mail address registered on the HP ePrint website. If the registration process is finished your printer gets an E-Mail address from HP. Print jobs can be sent to this address and the printout is done if the printer is turned on. So you can print documents from anywhere by sending an E-Mail to your printers E-Mail address. All these print jobs can be managed using the HP ePrint app or the HP ePrint website.
      The HP ePrint service can also be used to print documents on nearby HP ePrint centers e.g. hotels. Nearby centers are shown within the app if Apple’s location services are turned on.

    Document management …

    I summarized some features of the configuration by taking screenshots.

    1 AiO Remote home screen if the printer is turned on

    20131219-093914.jpg

    2 Multipage scanning with a special feature, rearranging pages with Drag+Drop

    20131219-094056.jpg

    3 Saving the scanned document to a cloud storage or mailing it

    20131219-094156.jpg

    Non-AirPrint capable printers …

    When people are evaluating mobile printing solutions, one of the options is to buy a new printer. If you already use a non-AirPrint capable printer it cannot receive print jobs from your iOS device. Presto (former name FingerPrint) by Collobos Software Inc. addresses this problem. The application finds your classical printers automatically and makes them available to your iOS devices if both, printer and iPhone or iPad, are in the same WiFi network.

    How to …
    Consider a network with an attached printer and an iOS-Device in the same network. Install Presto on a Mac or a PC connected to this network. For your iOS-Device no further action is needed that means no special app has to be installed.
    Presto finds all network attached printers automatically and they can be selected on the iOS-Device with the SELECT PRINTER dialog within every app which supports printing.

    See this video for a short description of Presto by Collobos.

    Summary …

    AiO Remote is a continuously updated app from a reliable developer with outstanding features. UI and UX are perfect and the iCloud integration lets you take photos of documents with your iPhone which already arrived when you come home and use your iPad for further actions.

    Related links …

    HP Mobile Printing

    HP ePrint Center

    Thanks for stopping by.





Inspiration

20 03 2014

Mind maps and concept maps are a perfect way to visualize creative processes like brainstorming or summarizing hierarchically or non-hierarchically organized content like feature descriptions of a software product or processes.

In contrast to a mind map a concept map visualizes the whole system with it’s interdependencies and it’s not limited to a strict hierarchy as some points are bound to more than one parent topic.

There is an app named Inspiration (Inspiration Software Inc., USA) for Apple’s iPad which is suitable for creating concept maps whereas the app iThoughts (Craig Scott, UK) is recommended for creating mind maps.

Concept Maps …

Concept Maps visualise and communicate knowledge.

Joseph Donald Novak (born 1932) is an American educator, and Professor Emeritus at the Cornell University, New York, and Senior Research Scientist at the Florida Institute for Human + Machine Cognition. He is known for his development of concept mapping in the 1970s.

From the outset, Concept Maps were designed to communicate. A student’s Concept Map can be systematically evaluated by their teacher, to assess their grasp of a subject. The scope of their maps and their level of understanding of the relationships between ideas are a reliable indicator of their “knowledge” – what they have learned and integrated, not just learned by rote. It is one thing to know facts, but relating them to each other and understanding their influence on each other takes us from information towards knowledge. Facts alone do not help us to predict behaviour, whereas knowledge represented by models does.
(Nick Duffill)

Summary …

Bringing Nick Duffill’s analysis of the differences between mind maps and concept maps to a very shortened summary:

Mind Maps are captured visualizations of fairly independent objects gearing for extensions and loosing much of their relevance for people who weren’t involved in the creation process.
The tree limb is just connected to the bole.

Concept Maps visualize knowledge of whole systems with interacting elements and logic operations. In contrast to a tree limb objects are connected with basically all other objects like the orbs in the solar system where the gravity and the magnetic and electric fields define the interactions.

If you are interested in a comprehensive description of the differences please read Nick Duffill’s excellent article about mind maps and concept maps (see the link below). He hit that nail square on the head.

The app Inspiration …

The app Inspiration (Inspiration Software Inc., USA) for the iPad (an iPhone version is not available) is intended to create concept maps as well as mind maps for:

  • Brainstorm new ideas and capture insights
  • Analyze information
  • Understanding cause and effect
  • Organize projects
  • Organize thoughts and topics for writing
  • Take notes

20131211-083308.jpg

Features ..

  • Simple usage because of a perfect UI
  • Diagrams are easy to build and saved instantly
  • Diagrams transform to outlines by just a single tap
  • Personalization with images, colour, shape, arrow style, and backgrounds
  • Using images from the web or the camera roll
  • Notes can be attached to any item
  • Hyperlinks can be added as floating shapes
  • Templates are available after installation

Filesharing …

Inspiration files can be shared as PDFs or in their native file format

  • with other apps by using the ‘Open in’ command
  • with other iPads via Dropbox or iTunes
    (iCloud is not supported)
  • E-Mail or export diagrams or outlines in vector PDF format

Impressions of the UI …

Work screen …

20131211-083501.jpg

Formatting of objects …

Tap on ‘i’ to access the formatting options.
Symbols automatically resize to fit the text that you put in them. You can also manually resize any symbol using the natural pinch interface of the iPad. To resize, touch and hold the symbol with two fingers then drag your fingers outward to make the symbol larger or pinch your fingers together to make the image smaller. The image will grow or shrink proportionally.

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Sometimes you may want to fine-tune the layout of your diagram. Inspiration Maps includes functions to align, evenly space, or nudge the symbols in your diagram. You must have at least two symbols selected to use the align function and at least three symbols selected to use the evenly space function. In order to select more than one symbol at a time, you’ll need to turn on Multiple Selection using the on the top toolbar.

Layout enhancements …

  • To align selected symbols
    Make sure you have at least two symbols selected.
    Then tap ‘i’. Tap the Style tab. Tap Layout Enhancements.
    Choose how you want the selected symbols aligned by tapping the top, center, bottom, left, middle, or right icon.
  • To evenly space selected symbols
    Make sure you have at least three symbols selected.
    Then tap ‘i’. Tap the Style tab. Tap Layout Enhancements.
    Choose to evenly space the symbols vertically or horizontally.
  • To nudge selected symbols
    Sometimes you may find that it’s difficult to be precise with your finger when you’re moving a symbol to a specific spot. Nudge comes in handy because you can have more control over the movement of a symbol or multiple symbols.
    Tap to select the symbol(s) you’d like to nudge. Tap the Style tab. Tap Layout Enhancements. Choose to nudge the symbol(s) left, right, up or down.

Outline interface …

Maps can be edited via the graphical user interface or, in case of hierarchical structures, via the outline interface.

20131211-084522.jpg

Shapes …

The update of Inspiration now contains 1000+ different shapes organized in categories.

20131211-084113.jpg

The pros and cons …

Pros …

  • Simple UI (user interface), perfect UX (user experience)
  • Maps can be organized in folders
  • Transfer of a map to a self-created folder is done by drag and drop
  • One and just one task bar at the top of the screen
  • Hyperlinks can be added as floating objects
  • Maps can be generated from an outline

Added new features in the update of December 9, 2013:

  • The app got tons of more or less useful shapes which can be accessed via a new control positioned top left and divided into several categories.
    Shapes also include well-known flow chart symbols.
  • Audio files can be added to every object.
  • Multiple selection of objects now can be turned on or off.
  • To refine the layout align, nudge and spacing controls were added.
  • Written or audio instructions can be added to any document.
  • Free templates can be downloaded for mostly scientific purposes in US English, UK English, French and Spanish.

Cons …

  • WebDAV is not supported
    The user is bound to Dropbox except he uses the ‘Open In’ command to transfer the map to a file management app. From their it can be transferred to other cloud storages.
  • Text color of hyperlinks cannot be changed
  • Text color doesn’t automatically change if the object color is changed
    Changing the background color from black to white should automatically change the text color from white to black.
  • Opening of hyperlinks only via dialog
    A nice-to-have feature would be the tap-and-hold gesture.
  • Connection symbols between notes and topics have a standard length
    Notes cannot be assigned to other topics.
  • Saving to Dropbox does not allow to select a folder
    The app uses /apps/inspiration maps as the default folder.
    So it’s recommended to install the free Dropbox client app to manage the files.
  • Multiple saving of the same map always creates new numbered file names
    So on one hand a version history of a useful map is created on the other hand it cannot be managed by the app (e.g. deletion of old versions). If you already shared a link it’s broken when saving an updated version.
  • Opening a map always changes the file date even if the map is not edited

Improvements …

This is an E-Mail I sent to the developer’s support in May 2013 and got this statement:

20130726-075543.jpg

The updated version of Inspiration still doesn’t fix the problems with Dropbox but solved the other problems mentioned in my mail.

Summary …

What I see is an app which is slightly improved but still has many cons.
It’s useful for easy tasks but a bit light weight for business purposes.

Notes …

Nick Duffill, Harport Consulting, Scotland

Mind Maps + Concept Maps

Nick is an expert in mapping technology as well writing sophisticated articles about mind mapping and concept mapping.

Inspiration Software Inc., USA

Inspiration for the iPad

developer of the reviewed app Inspiration and intensively taking care of my questions.

Related links …

Basics …

Mind Maps and Concept Maps

Mind Mapping (1)

Mind Mapping (2)

Mind Mapping (3)

Perfect mind mapping tools …

iThoughts for the iPad

Mindly for the iPhone

Other mind mapping tools …

Popples made by Popplet

BigMind

Three In One

Platform for shared maps …

The group ‘Apple’ on Biggerplate
created by myself in January 2013 on the world’s largest platform for shared mind maps with lots of mind maps regarding Apple and Apple products

Thanks for visiting http://iNotes4You.com.





Going Apple

16 03 2014

Apple has become a unique company in the last decades. Although of completely different industrial sectors it can be compared with the German company Porsche. Both companies are focused on a few products with the highest possible build quality and all their products simply do what they are intended for without bells and whistles well-known from Asian manufacturers. They just work over many years resp. decades.

Each new product iteration brings remarkable value.

Steve Jobs and Ferdinand Porsche are well-known for their restless efforts to find something new. After many throwbacks both visionaries became successful business men and both founded brands admired all over the world.

Steve with his iPhone and Ferdinand with his sports car 911 created a new market and both products were continuously updated until today. Both initiated a shift in paradigm regarding mobility, Steve with the iPhone and the iPad and Ferdinand with the Volkswagen.

Ferdinand Porsche (1875 – 1951)
was an automotive engineer and honorary Doctor of Engineering. He is best known for creating the first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle (Lohner-Porsche), the Volkswagen Beetle, and the Mercedes-Benz SS/SSK, as well as the first of many Porsche automobiles. Porsche designed the 1923 Benz Tropfenwagen, which was the first race car with mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout.

Steven Paul Jobs (1955 – 2011)
was an American entrepreneur, marketer, and inventor, who was the co-founder (along with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne), chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. Through Apple, he is widely recognized as a charismatic pioneer of the personal computer revolution and for his influential career in the computer and consumer electronics fields, transforming “one industry after another, from computers and smartphones to music and movies”.

20131214-095920.jpg

Bryan Appleyard, UK, wrote in his blog

Consider this …
Apple makes very few products – Cook once said its entire range could fit on a tabletop – and they are more expensive than the competition. So how has it become one of the biggest companies in the world? It has done so through the power of mystique, aspiration and industrial design; through, in short, the narcissistic, brutally competitive aesthetic obsessiveness of Steve Jobs. Apple continues to be formidably profitable – its stores, for example, have the highest sales per square foot of a retail outlet in the world. Yet Apple is not a viable business model: it is, like Jobs, an unrepeatable corporate freak show. Can it possibly be, post-Jobs, a freak show that runs and runs? The reviews are not yet in but doubt is priced into the shares.

Given the number of full-time Apple watchers in the world, you’d think that somebody would know – but nobody does, not even, thanks to the company’s internal as well as external secrecy, most of its employees. Products are developed in closed-off rooms entered only by those who need to know. The one small peephole in this wall of silence used to be patent applications, which are public documents. Apple’s used to be scanned for what would come next but now the company patents everything, even abandoned ideas, so there is no knowing which are the real possibilities.

However, when the watchers converge on a forecast, it tends to have at least a grain of truth. Currently, they say, an iPhone with a much larger, curved screen and pressuresensitive touch controls is on the way. But that simply augments the current product. Two possible and entirely new products could restart the company’s sigmoidal curve. “I’m pretty confident that they have at least two more technologies,” says Leander Kahney, editor of the Cult of Mac blog and author of a new book about Jony Ive.

Bryan Appleyard was educated at Bolton School and King’s College, Cambridge, graduating with a degree in English. He was Financial News Editor and Deputy Arts Editor at The Times from 1976 to 1984. Subsequently he became a freelance journalist and author. He is a three-time Feature Writer of the Year award winner and has been commended four times in the British Press Awards.

or see what Apple’s engineer Mark Zimmer wrote about the iPhone

Yes, this is one of the biggest vehicles for change because it raised the bar on handheld social media, on internet in your pocket, and on the spread of digital photography. The ability to make a difference was propagated with the iPhone and the devices that copied it. Did Steve Jobs know he was starting this kind of change? He knew it was transformative. And he built ecosystems like iTunes, the App store, and the iBookstore to make it all work. Without the App Store, we’d all still be in the dark ages of social media. The mobile revolution is here to stay.
Holding the first iPhone was like holding a bit of the future in your hands. It was that far ahead of the pack. Its amazing glass keyboard was met with skepticism from analysts at first, but the public was quick to decide it was just fine for them. A phone that was just a huge glass screen was more than an innovation. It was a revolution.
[…]
Each new iPhone iteration brings remarkable value. Better telephony (3G quickly became 4G and that quickly became LTE), better sensors (accelerometer, GPS, magnetometer, gyrometer, etc.), and better camera, lenses, flashes, and BSI sensors. Bluetooth connectivity makes it work in our cars. Siri makes it work by voice command. Each new feature is so well-integrated that it just feels like it’s been there all along. Now that I have used my iPhone 5S for awhile, I feel like the fingerprint sensor is part of what an iPhone means, now.
This all-in-one device has led to unprecedented spread of pictures. It and its (ahem, copycat) devices supporting Google‘s Android and more recently Microsoft‘s Windows Phone 8 have enabled social media to become ever more present, and influential, in our world.
Thanks to Storm Williams who posted this statement in his blog
Apple Engineer Mark Zimmer Writes About The iPhone And Its Effect

My decision …

You want to purchase a device which supports the usual tasks done by the majority of smartphone or tablet users?

Well, visit a shop and just buy one made by Samsung, HTC, Sony, or any other company.

But if you want more than just an intelligent assembling of standard electronic components you should buy artwork designed in California, more precisely in Cupertino.

Why?

Here are my reasons when I decided to move from a 30$ Nokia telephone and a Siemens Convertible to an Apple iPhone and an iPad.

  • 1
    The devices simply support me when blogging, creating mind maps for myself or the company, and accessing synced content on either the iPhone or the iPad by just switching iCloud to ON.
  • 2
    I’m no longer bound to a work desk and my brain is no longer plugged into a computer. Whether there is an idea in a coffee shop, on the sofa, or in the office, it immediately is moved into the device without booting it.

You might say that all the mentioned tasks can also be done with any other mobile device. Right, but …

  • 3
    After decades of configuring computers, updating virus scnners, installing Microsoft patches, watching blue screens, endless reading of knowledge base articles about failing drivers I got tired to see the machines stealing valuable time of my life. I needed a period of reflection without taking care of all the technical little helpers. They should support me when doing essential things and not spoil my enjoyment of being creative.
  • 4
    Slightly different from Neill Armstrong my upgrade from a 3GS to a 4S was a “One small step for mankind, one giant leap for me”. I don’t need a new device every year because my tasks basically don’t change. But it helps to see improvements in doing things even more user-friendly than before.
    The same strategy can be found when looking on an other admired company, Porsche. Perpetual improvements on their 911 flagship made the company to one of the most valuable brands in the world. No bells, no whistles, no new eye catchers every year but a product with constantly growing value and suitability for daily use. Engineers took care of the many details to achieve success.
  • 5
    I alteady bought the first available computer in Germany, it was a Sharp MZ 80K, driven by a Zilog Z80 processor with cassettes as the main storage. It was a device with advanced product quality and that’s what I again found with Apple devices. They are solid, feel valuable, and look like pieces of artwork.
  • 6
    In contrast to all the other companies in the fiercely competitive mobile market, Apple is cult, like Ferrari or Porsche. The whole world talks about the company and it’s importance comes up every day when users owning other devices again just talk about one topic: Apple, positive or negative.

    There is a company-DNA and blood flows through the prominent veins of responsible employees. They are VIPs on stage, we know their names, parts of their biography and philosophy. We can feel their intention when using one of their valuable devices. There is a well-considered ecosystem.

    There is a company which reminds us if one of the top influencers of our times with a role function for all of us dies. I’m talking about Neson Mandela.

    There is a company strongly supporting the educational sector and a company which initiated a shift in paradigm of learning, teaching and mobility.

    Imagine these three concentric circles:

    the innermost labeled “Why
    the middle labeled “How
    and the outermost labeled “What.”

    and Apple’s official video about the company’s intention where “simple phrases with elegant visuals describe the thoughts and emotions that go into creating each Apple product”.

    The first thing we ask is what do we want people to feel?
    delight, surprise, love, connection

    Then we begin to craft around our intention.
    There are a thousand no’s for every yes.

    All employees of a company know what they do, and some know how they do it, but most of them don’t know why they do it. Apple’s competitors lead with messages about what they sell, but their leaders do not communicate why they do what they do.
    Apple’s why message is that “Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently.” Apple challenges the status quo is by making beautifully-designed, reliable products. So Apple can then say, “We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”

    People don’t buy what you do but why you do it. Almost from the beginning, with Jobs and Wozniak, Apple told you why it developed the Apple II – to create a more affordable computer. When Jobs introduced the Mac, he said he believed that computers were too boxy, unexciting, and difficult to use. If you watch the famous 1984 Apple Super Bowl ad you’ll quickly realize Apple believed it was breaking the mundane tyranny of the boring PC and creating the next computer for the Everyman. It had new graphical user interface, mouse drawing software, and was fun to use. He invited customers to follow him away from the stodgy old PC and into the new world of computing.
    Jobs started attracting new converts. Sure, most business stayed with the PC, but those who believed in Jobs’ vision followed him. He often uses the term “I believe” in his speeches at product launches as he preaches things like, “I believe people want products that are easy to use, and always work.” Every chance he gets, he shares his vision – the why that drives him and Apple forward.

    Watch Apple’s iPad ads closely. Unlike HP’s TouchPad ads that glorify stars, Apple’s simply show you what you can do with its products.

    People follow leaders or buy products they believe in. Apple knows that the vast majority (including me) is not necessarily interested in tweaking products for more personal customizations or they want to get rid of an ongoing personalization which, after some times, often leads back to the original state.

    It takes some time to internalize that using a device is more valuable than configuring it.

    The iPad ads convince you that it is elegant, easy to use, and will meet your needs as is.
    People are not only buying Apple products because they are great, but because they are also buying into Apple’s vision of why. They believe in the same vision and want the benefits that this vision gives them.
    I suspect Apple will continue to gain even more converts who also believe, like Steve Jobs, that tech products should make their digital lives richer. They relate to what the products do for them and are willing to follow Apple since they have adopted its vision for themselves.

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It’s #4, #5, and #6 that let me buy Apple devices. Admired leaders, a unique strategy not driven by market shares, and a consistent ecosystem makes the difference. I don’t like bloodless companies just looking on market share, stealing ideas, and claiming to be innovatove without being so. Market shares have never been indicators for quality, innovation, or usefulness.

Summary …

Similar strategies, skills, attitudes paired with obsession
=
Rainmakers with similar success and importance

Related links …

Steve Jobs

Ferdinand Porsche

Apple’s Strategy and Ad

Designed by Apple in California

Apple’s Ecosystem

Apple’s Customer Relationships

Apple’s Intangible Assets

Apple, a unique company

Thanks for dropping by.





Go Paperless with Tap Forms

12 03 2014

My last blog post was about going paperless with a document keeping app. This post is about a much more powerful solution using a database app.

About databases …

It’s out of question that databases on mobiles are the most efficient way to manage large amount of data.

The strong benefit of a database is the synopsis of otherwise widely spread information. Apple’s App Store offers a lot of apps suitable for productive operations but all the informations saved by these apps are cut into pieces saved in app-specific folders. Database management tools summarize all the different types of information in just one app.

If you create structured data (e.g. contacts, where every contact consists of a set of fields (e.g. name, email-address, phone number, account, bank) with different contents and save them as a file you have a very simple database. Its just a container in which similar data are stored like in a spreadsheet.

Lets call the set of FIELDS a TABLE (Form, Library) and the contents of one set of fields a RECORD and a subset of all records a QUERY (collection) and one or more tables and queries a DATABASE

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An improved version of a database contains many tables, stores your data securely, lets you collaborate simultaneously with other people and gives you fast information about people, stocks, insurances, words in other languages and beyond. But the pure data won’t let you do the jobs. It would be like searching in a very bulky phone book where data are not sorted.
So you need database management software (DBMS) to support your curiosity.

A Database Management System (DBMS) is a set of algorithms that enables you to store, modify, and extract information from a database, it also provides users with tools to add, delete, access, modify, and analyze data stored in one location. A group can access the data by using query and reporting tools that are part of the DBMS or by using applications specifically written to access the data. A DBMS also provides the method for maintaining the integrity of stored data, running security and users access, and recovering information if the system fails.

An powerful feature of databases comes up, if you connect data in different tables. If a record is about a device you might want to attach the receipt and a certificate of warranty. So the first table is about the device itself and the second table contains file attachments e.g. In PDF file format. Records of the two tables are linked together via a common key which could be the serial number of the device. When looking at the main table ‘Devices’ your DBMS retrieves the file attachments from the second table and shows it to you.

A database solves many problems with your otherwise widely spread data.
Where is the “egg-laying, milk-bearing woolly sow app” that makes it all easy to manage?

The short answer is: nowhere except with a database app.

Tap Forms by Tap Zapp Software is by far the best mobile database app for iOS devices and the company offers a desktop companion app which is fully compatible with the iOS version. So there is one and only one data pool accessible from all you Apple devices and syncing via iCloud.

Creating the form …

Within Tap Forms tables are called ‘forms’. So let us create the form to manage the personal repository. To do so just tap on the ‘+’ icon in the main screen, enter a name for your form and add fields by selecting them from the field list. Enter names for the fields and, if necessary, edit the field options.

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Notes …

  • Missing fields
    Don’t worry, you can add them later and remove fields you don’t need.
  • Pick List
    Use pick lists to choose text from predefined lists. It saves time and prevents from using different terms or different spellings. Use a pick list for the field ‘Keyword’ to quickly find related records with a query.
  • URL
    Add the field URL to a record to quickly access the website with further information from within the app.
  • Note
    Always add the field ‘Note’ to a form to enter annotations which otherwise don’t fit in any other field.
  • Alert
    Alerts are shown in the notification center and as a counter on the apps icon e.g. to remind you of an important maturity.
  • Audio
    An Audio field offers the ability to quickly comment on a record.
  • Layout
    After finishing the field creation procedure you can adjust the layout of the form: rearrange the order of fields, set colors and fonts for labels and values, decide which fields should be shown in the navigation area on the left side of the screen.

Attach files …

In my first blog post ‘Go Paperless’ I already mentioned that the PDF file format should be used for scanned documents. So now we have to decide how to attach the files generated by an All-In-One printer with the app AiO Remote by HP or with the help of Scanner Pro by Readdle with which a photo of the document is converted into a PDF file and transferred to Tap Forms.

Basically you can add multiple fields of type ‘File Attachment’ to a record so that several documents can be attached to a record. When creating the form you do not know how many files must be attached later. It can be just one or many updates of documents you get from your insurance company over time. So the best solution is to create a second form ‘MyRepositoryFiles’ which contains the files and is linked to the basic form ‘MyRepository’. In my example I used both fields, a field of the type ‘File Attachment’ and a field of type ‘Link to Form’ which sets the connection to files in the linked form.

Linking a second form to the main form is explained in my article DBMS on iOS devices (2).

Secure the data …

A personal repository contains sensitive data which should be secured by a password for the app as well as an encryption of the database. Tap Forms then encrypts backups of your database on Dropbox and iCloud with 256-Bit AES algorithms.

20131209-070203.jpg

Sync …

To update the whole database on all your devices activate iCloud Sync. If you use your iPhone for taking a picture of a document or scanning it with the app Scanner Pro by Readdle you usually create a new record, add the document, and want to have it on all other devices when coming home. iCloud Sync does it for you.

20131209-070315.jpg

Backup …

Because of the relevance of a personal repository it’s indispensable to regularly backup your data on an external storage. With Tap Forms you backup to Dropbox. So there are three copies of your database: on your device, on iCloud, and on Dropbox. This redundancy never let’s you loose your data.

20131209-070404.jpg

The workflow …

Here is the complete workflow visualized in a concept map.

20131209-135411.jpg

Summary …

In contrast to a document manager like Docunents by Readdle a database is definitely the better choice for managing your personal repository. It adds many useful features not available in pure file managers. To just save PDFs often is not suitable to keep all necessary information together and to complete a record over time with further data e.g. alerts, notes, or files like renewal certificates.

20131209-075735.jpg

Don’t worry about using databases. With Tap Forms it’s really easy to build your own ‘application’ for managing secured information in one place with accessibility on all your other Apple devices.

Related links …

About the company…

Tap Zapp Software Inc., Canada

About the desktop companion of Tap Forms …

Tap Forms for Mac

About the usage of databases …

DBMS on iOS devices (1)

DBMS on iOS devices (2)

DBMS on iOS devices (3)

DBMS on iOS devices (4)

DBMS on iOS devices (5)

Importing Data

Form Access To Tap Forms

zBase vs Tap Forms

Thanks a lot for visiting my blog.





Go Paperless

8 03 2014

Stats say that every human living in an industrial nation uses about 20,000 kg paper in his life.

About paper …

Paper may be impregnated, enamelled, metallised, made to look like parchment, creped, water-proofed, waxed, glazed, sensitized, bent, turned, folded, twisted, crumpled, cut, torn, dissolved, macerated, moulded, and embossed. It may be coloured, coated, printed or even written on! It can be laminated with fabric, plastic and metal. It can be opaque, translucent or transparent. It is naturally combustible, or can be made fre-retardent. It may be a carrier or a barrier or a filter. It may be made tough enough to withstand acid, or soft enough for a baby’s skin. It can be read and worn as a garment. It can be re-used and recycled and it is made from a renewable, sustainable source.

The range of possible uses of paper seems almost limitless. New ways of using it are being devised daily. This evolution will continue because paper is an expression of everyday living.

  • Agriculture
    Sacks, seed packets, and animal bedding Building
    Wallpaper, damp-proof courses, roofing, flooring, flame resistant papers, plasterboard, and decorative laminates for furniture.
  • Business
    Print out sheets, receipts, circulars, catalogues, filing systems, sales and service manuals, brochures, and letter heading.
  • Cars
    Fascia boards, door and roof liners, filters the Highway Code, and driving licences.
  • Communications
    Writing pads, envelopes, newspapers, magazines, greeting cards, calendars, diaries, telephone directories, labels, business and identity cards.
  • Domestic Products
    Tissues, paper plates and cups, toilet paper, kitchen towels, table napkins, and lampshades.
  • Education
    Books, exercise books, wall charts, flip charts, and report cards
  • Electrical
    Special insulating boards, electrolytic condenser paper, wrapping and identification for electrical cables, printe( circuits, and battery separators.
  • Entertainment
    Menu cards, paper hats, crackers, fireworks, wrapping paper, programmes, playing cards, board games, kites, model aircraft, and race cards.
  • Filtration
    Filters for water, air, coffee, medicine, beer, oil, and mechanical uses.
  • Impregnated Papers
    Polishing, waxing, and cleaning.
  • Industry
    Protection for manufactured goods, in transport, transfer sheets for decorating chinaware, display boards, point of sale materials and in storage.
  • Medical
    Wrapping to keep instruments and equipment sterile, bandages, first aid bands, clothing for nurses, face masks, surgeons’caps, disposable bed pans, sheets, and pillowcases.
  • Money, Finance, Security
    Bank notes, insurance forms, cheque books, travellers’ cheques, postal orders, stamps, cash bags and security papers that contain special markings which are only visible when subjected to ultra-violet light

This is an amazing variety of applications but although there is a sophisticated recycling industry the usage of paper still destroys parts of our ecosystem.

Paper consumption …

The paper consumption in individual countries is related to their gross national product. The further increase in paper and board consumption will be different in different countries depending on whether economic saturation, as e. g. in the United States, in the North European and some Central European countries, and also in Japan, or fast increasing demand, as in China, is prevailing. But also India, Russia and some other Asian and East European countries will come up in the near future with growth rates above the average. The following comparision between the paper consumption per capita and the population in the various regions of the world demonstrate the significant differences and devine the future development of the paper demand there.

20131207-095558.jpg

The production and use of paper has a number of adverse effects on the environment.
Worldwide consumption of paper has risen by 400% in the past 40 years leading to increase in deforestation, with 35% of harvested trees being used for paper manufacture. Logging of old growth forests accounts for less than 10% of wood pulp, but is one of the most controversial issues.
Paper waste accounts for up to 40% of total waste produced in the United States each year, which adds up to 71.6 million tons of paper waste per year in the United States alone.
Conventional bleaching of wood pulp using elemental chlorine produces and releases into the environment large amounts of chlorinated organic compounds, including chlorinated dioxins. Dioxins are recognized as a persistent environmental pollutant, regulated internationally by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. Dioxins are highly toxic, and health effects on humans include reproductive, developmental, immune and hormonal problems. They are known to be carcinogenic. Over 90% of human exposure is through food, primarily meat, dairy, fish and shellfish, as dioxins accumulate in the food chain in the fatty tissue of animals.

The tasks …

If you plan to go paperless you won’t change the stats significantly but there are some other benefits when moving from ring folders to flash memories.

Scanning documents is a daily task for big businesses but it also can be useful for private purposes. You have access to all important information without taking heavy filing folders with you, search within documents without looking through countless pages, send documents or parts of them to companies or authorities, etc. instead of copying them on new paper. Another benefit is that you still have the content even if original documents get lost for what reason soever.

Here is a brief overview of documents which are worth scanning

  • Insurance Policies
  • Receipts
  • Certificates of Warranty
  • Passport, ID Card, Driver License
  • Ad-hoc information taken with a camera

After buying an iPad about one year ago I started to reduce paper consumption. The first step is to find out the right apps and then optimize the workflow from incoming or already existing documents to permanent storage on an iOS device.

The requirements …

For me, a reliable solution is based on software of reliable software developers which should meet the following requirements:

General …

  • UI design following Apple’s iOS Human Interface Guidelines
  • Reliable developer updating his apps regularly
  • Universal app (running on all iOS-Devices)
  • Further apps from the same developer for related tasks
  • Understandable and fast support
  • Code stability
  • iCloud support
  • Scanning

Specific …

  • Integrated camera usage
  • Saving photos as images or PDFs
  • Combining several photos as pages to a unique document
  • Connection to different well-known cloud storages including iCloud as well as WebDAV-Connections
  • Setting of meaningful filenames for images respectively PDFs
  • Organizing scanned objects in folders
  • Mailing of scanned objects
  • Availability of the iOS ‘Open in…’ command
  • Access to the camera roll and the photo stream
  • Password protection for the app
  • Encryption of documents when uploaded to cloud storages and sending by E-Mail
  • Syncing of scanned objects across all iOS-Devices using the same Apple ID
  • Printing of scanned documents
  • Extended search functionalities

There are three apps available at Apple’s App Store which meet all these requirements.

Scanning …

  • Scanner Pro by Readdle
    with an impressive user interface for scanning by using the integrated camera.
  • AiO Remote by HP
    for hardware-based scanning in connection with an AirPrint capable Three-In-One (Print, Scan, Copy) device by Hewlett Packard.
  • Prizmo by Creaseed
    for extracting text from photos and saving the content as PDF.
    This is a much more faster procedure than scanning documents with an AiO device although the quality is slightly reduced.

Document management …

  • Documents by Readdle
    as the main container for scanned documents with access to Apple’s iCloud and other cloud providers

Useful utilities …

  • File Browser by Stratospherix
    as a tool to access nearly all cloud storages as well as local computers running on OS X or Windows with powerful features like moving multiple files from one storage to another, zipping files, etc.
  • Native apps
    of cloud providers like Box, Dropbox, and iDriveSync
  • 1Password by AgileBits
    as the main password keeper for all sensitive data

It was a rocky road to find out these apps in Apple’s App Store with thousands of productivity apps. The developers of the mentioned products did their homework in the last months and today the apps are quite powerful.

As you can see this suggested solution is not based on a database system. I will discuss the alternate way to go paperless in my next post.

Feature descriptions …

Documents by Readdle

20131207-112952.jpg

Documents supports Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, SugarSync, SkyDrive, Office 365 Sharepoint, CloudMe, WebDAV, Windows SMB, FTP Server, and SFTP Server (as of Dec 2013).

For a full feature description of Documents by Readdle see my post mentioned under ‘Related links’.

AiO Remote by HP

20131207-112809.jpg

AiO Remote supports, iCloud (for syncing), Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, and any WebDAV access, e.g. iDriveSync.

Scanner Pro by Readdle

20131207-113350.jpg

Scanner Pro supports Apple’s iCloud so that documents e.g. scanned with an iPhone are automatically also available on an iPad.

Further considerations …

Many of the scanned documents contain information which must be available over years. So it’s indispensable to use a suitable file format which allows access over a long time and it turns out that it’s the PDF file format of Adobe.

Additionally it’s worth thinking about the folder structure where scanned documents should be saved.

My suggestions how to group the information …

I called the root folder ‘ARCHIVE’ with the following subfolders:

Long-Termed (many years)

  • Insurance Policies
  • Real Estate
  • Certificates of Warranty
  • Personal documents
  • Last Will
  • etc

Short-Termed (1-2 years)

  • Receipts
  • Carrier contracts
  • etc

I always use structured file names containing a date (e.g. conclusion of a contract) and an added short description pointing to the main content, for example 2013-12-06-AppleTV or 2014-01-13-CarLeasing.

An essential point is that there are at least two different storages so that access is still possible even if a device is broken, replaced, or not in use.

It needs some efforts to replace old documents by newer ones and to delete documents which are not valid any longer. But this is a task you also have to do when using ring binders. Nothing is more annoying than to find invalid information when searching for essentials.

Legislation …

Check the legislation in your country. Paperless storage of certain documents without keeping the originals might be inoperative. In this case the old-fashioned usage of ring binders is still indispensable.

Note
This was the case in Germany where companies sent their invoices as PDFs which were inoperative if the company didn’t digitally signed them. Legislation was changed because it hampered the workflow of small enterprises.

Security …

It’s up to where you primarily store your documents. Keep in mind that everything is stored in Apple’s iCloud if you device is backed up to iCloud. So if you don’t want your documents saved in iCloud you should turn off iCloud backup.
If you use a cloud provider it is indispensable to read the terms and conditions. Free cloud storages are subject to change and suspension without notification.
See ‘Risky free clouds’ under ‘Related links’.
A suggested provider is iDriveSync with encryption of data in transit (during transfer from your device via internet) and at rest (when saved on a provider’s server).

Summary …

Here is a summary of the hard- and software configuration

20131207-141641.jpg

Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
Apple iWork/Microsoft Word DOCX
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

An annotation …

Valid for reducing paper waste in the private and business sector …

If your goal in maintaining a paperless office is greater productivity, you may find it more useful to focus on that, rather than on the paper itself. For example, if you receive lots of printed documents and your main problems are finding information in them and figuring out where to file them, the scan-OCR-shred routine will serve you well. It won’t literally reduce the amount of paper you encounter, but it will address the inconveniences you struggle with.

Then there are the trees. Environmental issues, including saving forests and reducing waste, are certainly noble reasons to decrease paper usage.
MacWorld

Related links …

About paper …

Fast facts on Paper Use

Paper Consumption

About the hard- and software …

Documents by Readdle

zBase vs Tap Forms

Text Recognition (1)

Text Recognition (2)

About clouds …

Risky free clouds

iDriveSync Privacy

Thanks for stopping by.
Please do not print this page, just save the PDF version.





About statistics

4 03 2014

The fiercely competitive market of mobile devices is already mentioned in Apple’s Financial Reports. What we see everywhere are reams and reams of charts mainly about the two fighting companies Apple and Samsung and their operating systems iOS and Android. Most often neither the sources of the presented numbers are named nor are they explained. That’s very poor journalism and often just intended to get attention that means, to increase clicks on websites.

Statements like

“Apple’s brand is just overwhelming here,” said Eiji Mori, a Tokyo-based analyst at BCN Inc. “It’s not about specifications. It’s not about rationale. It’s about owning an iPhone.”

always incite useless platform wars when published in social media. Users of Apple devices always get nothing but scorn and derision if Androids read those lines.
Everybody is entitled to make his decision up to his requirements but also must be able to retrieve reliable data about companies when it comes to any financial engagement.

Introduction …

As the leading industrial nation the USA developed rules for financial reports which are basically overtaken by other countries (even Germany, the country which is well-known for it’s very special and complex legislation nobody really understands). The responsible commission in the USA is the SEC (U.S. Security and Exchange Commission).

The laws and rules that govern the securities industry not only in the United States but also in all other industrialized countries derive from a simple and straightforward concept:

All investors, whether large institutions or private individuals, should have access to certain basic facts about an investment prior to buying it, and so long as they hold it.

To achieve this, the SEC requires public companies to disclose meaningful financial and other information to the public. This provides a common pool of knowledge for all investors to use to judge for themselves whether to buy, sell, or hold a particular security. Only through the steady flow of timely, comprehensive, and accurate information can people make sound investment decisions.

20131130-103813.jpg

For example, domestic issuers (other than small business issuers) must submit

  • Annual Reports on Form 10-K
  • Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q
  • Current Reports on Form 8-K

for a number of specified events and must comply with a variety of other disclosure requirements.

20131130-103954.jpg

SEC filings have to be segmented by Parts and Items. Items are predefined subtopics and must contain detailed information following the principle of clarity and comparability. The relevant items are:

Number Content
Item 1 Business
Item 1A Risk Factors
Item 2 Properties
Item 3 Legal Proceedings
Item 4 Submission of Matters to a Vote of Security Holders
Item 5 Market for Registrant’s Common Equity and Related Stockholder Matters
Item 6 Selected Financial Data
Item 7 Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Item 7A Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Item 8 Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Item 9 Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Item 9A Controls and Procedures

20131130-104226.jpg

The SEC sets the rules, companies have to provide a well-functioning internal control system to generate testable data which then are validated or rejected by accounting firms or single auditors.

The facts …

The SEC …

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is an agency of the United States federal government. It holds primary responsibility for enforcing the federal securities laws and regulating the securities industry, the nation’s stock and options exchanges, and other things, including the electronic securities markets in the United States.

The regulatory agency was created during the Great Depression that followed the Crash of 1929. The main reason for the creation of the SEC was to regulate the stock market of 1940, the SarbanesñOxley Act of 2002, and the Credit Rating Agency Reform Act of 2006.
The enforcement authority given by Congress allows the SEC to bring civil enforcement actions against individuals or companies alleged to have committed accounting fraud, provided false information, or engaged in insider trading or other violations of the securities law. The SEC also works with criminal law enforcement agencies to prosecute individuals and companies alike for offenses which include a criminal violation.
To achieve its mandate, the SEC enforces the statutory requirement that public companies submit quarterly and annual reports, as well as other periodic reports. In addition to annual financial reports, company executives must provide a narrative account, called the “management discussion and analysis” (MD&A), that outlines the previous year of operations and explains how the company fared in that time period. MD&A will usually also touch on the upcoming year, outlining future goals and approaches to new projects. In an attempt to level the playing field for all investors, the SEC maintains an online database called EDGAR (the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system) online from which investors can access this and other information filed with the agency.

The audit firms …

Reports of companies are audited by accounting firms. Auditors receive a special training in universities and later on in the audit firms and it takes up to 10 years before they are qualified to do their job.

The Big Four are the four largest international professional services networks, offering audit, assurance, tax, consulting, advisory, actuarial, corporate finance, and legal services. They handle the vast majority of audits for publicly traded companies as well as many private companies, creating an oligopoly in auditing large companies. It is reported that the Big Four audit 99% of the companies in the FTSE 100, and 96% of the companies in the FTSE 250, an index of the leading mid-cap listing companies.

Note
FTSE Group is a global leader in indexing and analytical solutions. FTSE calculates thousands of unique indices that measure and benchmark markets and asset classes in more than 80 countries around the world.

FTSE indices are used extensively by market participants worldwide for investment analysis, performance measurement, asset allocation and portfolio hedging. Many leading pension funds, asset managers, ETF providers and investment banks work with FTSE to benchmark their investment performance and use FTSE’s indices to create world-class ETFs, index tracking funds, structured products and index derivatives. FTSE also provides many exchanges around the world with their domestic indices.
A core set of universal principles guides FTSE’s index design and management: FTSE’s transparent rules-based methodology is overseen by independent committees of leading market participants, focused on applying the highest industry standards in index design and governance. The foundation of FTSE’s global, regional, country and sector indices is the FTSE Global Equity Index Series, which includes the flagship FTSE All-World Index.
FTSE is well known for index innovation and customer partnerships as it seeks to continually enhance the breadth, depth and reach of its offering.
FTSE is wholly owned by London Stock Exchange Group.

The Big Four firms are shown below, with their latest publicly available data.

20131130-104111.jpg

Ernst + Young has audited Apple Inc. and it’s internal control over financial reporting as of September 28, 2013, based on criteria established in Internal Control and Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission. Apple Inc. and it’s management (Tim Cook, CEO, and Peter Oppenheimer, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer) is responsible for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting, and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting included in the accompanying Management’s Annual Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting. It’s in the resonsibility of Ernst & Young to express an opinion on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on their audit.

Apple’s report 2013 …

Apple filed it’s 10-K Form about the fiscal year ending on September 28, 2013 on October 30, 2013. It can be downloaded here:

AAPL Fiscal Year 2013, 10-K Form

Some details …

  • Part I Item 1 Business

    Business Strategy
    The Company is committed to bringing the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software and services. The Company’s business strategy leverages its unique ability to design and develop its own operating systems, hardware, application software, and services to provide its customers new products and solutions with superior ease-of-use, seamless integration, and innovative design. The Company believes continual investment in research and development, marketing and advertising is critical to the development and sale of innovative products and technologies. As part of its strategy, the Company continues to expand its platform for the discovery and delivery of third-party digital content and applications through the iTunes Store. As part of the iTunes Store, the Company’s App Store and iBooks Store allow customers to discover and download applications and books through either a Mac or Windows-based computer or through “iOS devices,” namely iPhone, iPad and iPod touch ® . The Company’s Mac App Store allows customers to easily discover, download and install Mac applications. The Company also supports a community for the development of third-party software and hardware products and digital content that complement the Company’s offerings. The Company believes a high-quality buying experience with knowledgeable salespersons who can convey the value of the Company’s products and services greatly enhances its ability to attract and retain customers. Therefore, the Company’s strategy also includes enhancing and expanding its own retail and online stores and its third-party distribution network to effectively reach more customers and provide them with a high-quality sales and post-sales support experience.

    Competition
    The markets for the Company’s products and services are highly competitive and the Company is confronted by aggressive competition in all areas of its business. These markets are characterized by frequent product introductions and rapid technological advances that have substantially increased the capabilities and use of mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and other digital electronic devices. The Company’s competitors who sell mobile devices and personal computers based on other operating systems have aggressively cut prices and lowered their product margins to gain or maintain market share. The Company’s financial condition and operating results can be adversely affected by these and other industry-wide downward pressures on gross margins. Principal competitive factors important to the Company include price, product features, relative price/performance, product quality and reliability, design innovation, a strong third-party software and peripherals ecosystem, marketing and distribution capability, service and support, and corporate reputation.
    The Company is focused on expanding its market opportunities related to personal computers and mobile communication and media devices. These markets are highly competitive and include many large, well-funded and experienced participants. The Company expects competition in these markets to intensify significantly as competitors attempt to imitate some of the features of the Company’s products and applications within their own products or, alternatively, collaborate with each other to offer solutions that are more competitive than those they currently offer. These markets are characterized by aggressive pricing practices, frequent product introductions, evolving design approaches and technologies, rapid adoption of technological and product advancements by competitors, and price sensitivity on the part of consumers and businesses.
    The Company’s digital content services have faced significant competition from other companies promoting their own digital music and content products and services, including those offering free peer-to-peer music and video services.
    The Company’s future financial condition and operating results depend on the Company’s ability to continue to develop and offer new innovative products and services in each of the markets in which it competes. The Company believes it offers superior innovation and integration of the entire solution including the hardware (iPhone, iPad, Mac, and iPod), software (iOS, OS X and iTunes), online services, and distribution of digital content and applications (iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store and Mac App Store). Some of the Company’s current and potential competitors have substantial resources and may be able to provide such products and services at little or no profit or even at a loss to compete with the Company’s offerings.

  • Part II Item 6

    Selected Financial Data

20131130-104349.jpg

  • Sales Data

    by region and by product

20131130-104534.jpg

  • Research
    shows the operating expenses with a significant growth in research (doubled, compared to 2011).

20131130-104747.jpg

Summary …

Reading all the numbers shows a company which is unique in the world.
All other world-wide operating concerns are far away of being as powerful as Apple. A reason might be that Apple is not involved in the junk market with its fiercely price fight. But there are some other risks described in the annual report under Item 1A.

Reports of competitors registered at the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) can easily be retrieved from their websites or from the SEC website. Extracting relevant stats from SEC filings is the only way to get reliable numbers.

Related links …

About the facts …

Apple SEC Filings

Samsung SEC Filings

About the reasons of success …

Apple’s Strategy and Ad

Apple’s Ecosystem

Designed by Apple in California

Apple’s Customer Relationships

Apple’s Focusing

Apple’s Supplier Responsibility

Thanks for stopping by.





Documents by Readdle

28 02 2014

Documents by Readdle (USA) is a universal app for iOS devices and intended to support file management. The developer is a reliable company updating it’s products regularly since years.

File sharing is an indispensable requirement for collaborating, backing up relevant files and continue working on other devices. For private and business environments the following features should be provided by apps for the iPad and the iPhone.

  • 01 Connection to well-known cloud providers
  • 02 Connection to external storages via WebDAV
  • 03 Connection to storages attached to Windows networks
  • 04 Connection to storages attached to Apple’s routers
  • 05 Connection via SMB, FTP, SFTP
  • 06 E-Mail support for sending and receiving multiple documents from within the app
  • 07 Reading all well-known file formats (Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, etc.)
  • 08 Transfer of files between all connections
  • 09 Organization of files in self-created folders

Some technical information about SMB …

Wikipedia: Server Message Block
In computer networking, Server Message Block (SMB), also known as Common Internet File System (CIFS) operates as an application-layer network protocol mainly used for providing shared access to files, printers, serial ports, and miscellaneous communications between nodes on a network.

Not only does SMB allow computers to share files, but it also enables computers to share printers and even serial ports from other computers within the network. For example, a computer connected to a Windows network could print a document on a printer connected to another computer on the network, as long as both machines support the SMB protocol.

Though SMB was originally developed for Windows, it can also be used by other platforms, including Unix and Mac OS X, using a software implementation called Samba. By using Samba instructions, Mac, Windows, and Unix computers can share the same files, folders, and printers. This is great for those Windows-based office networks where there is a graphic designer who refuses to use anything but a Mac and a tech guy who does everything on his Linux machine.

Features of Documents …

The developers description …

  • READ
    - View Office Documents
    - Read and Annotate PDF files
    - Search Inside Documents
    - Edit Text Files
    - Read Books and Articles
  • MANAGE
    - Manage your files
    - Copy Documents from Mac or PC – Sync with iCIoud, Dropbox, Google Drive and other cloud storages
    - Share Files with Your Friends
    - Protect Everything with a Password
  • SAVE
    - Store Email Attachments
    - Download Documents from the Web
    - Save Web Pages to Read them Later
  • ENJOY
    - View Photos from your Trip
    - Watch Movies while on a plane
    - Listen to Your Favorite Music

20131126-140533.jpg

Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

Documents and iWork …

Of you use Apple’s iWork Suite and activated iCloud to sync your documents across all of your devices it might be useful to add an additional security layer for important documents. Why? Well, if you accidentally delete an iWork document on one of your devices it will we deleted from all of your devices.

Apple’s document management in iCloud doesn’t support the recovery of deleted documents.

So it’s worth saving documents at an additional place. You can do it by using the ‘Send a copy’ command within iWork and send a copy to an additional cloud storage which is accessible via WebDAV e.g. Box net, iDriveSync, etc. In many cases users prefer a Dropbox account (because the majority of apps support Dropbox) but there is still no chance to access Dropbox via WebDAV.

20131126-140746.jpg

The alternative is the usage of the ‘Open in another app’ command within the iWork Suite and choose ‘Documents’ as the destination application. If doing so Apple’s operating system moves a copy of your document to the app specific folder of Documents. An unwanted deletion of an iWork document then doesn’t affect the copy which has been saved in the documents folder of Documents. For the reverse way, from Documents to iWork, you also can use the ‘Open in’ command from within Documents.

Additionally you can activate syncing within Documents so that the copies of your iWork documents are synced with your preferred cloud storage.

Keep in mind that all documents saved in the app specific folder of Documents are only accessible on the device which contains the copy. You have to activate iCloud for Documents to automatically sync data of Documents with the app related part of your iCloud account.

Highlights …

Some impressions of the UI and my personal highlights …

  • Drag + Drop
    Drag + Drop to move files between folders
  • iOS Data Protection
    iOS encrypts all files when Passcode Lock in device settings is enabled and device os locked.
  • Office Documents Search
    Full text indexing of MS Office, iWork, HTML files
  • Zip
    Zip selectable files
  • E-Mail
    E-Mail selectable files (in contrast to iOS no limitation of the number of files)
  • Websites
    With the integrated browser websites can be saved in PDFs or HTML format
  • SMB support
    Easily connect to Windows PCs

Summary …

Documents by Readdle is an app with a perfect UI following Apple’s iOS Human Interface Guidelines. The developer is continuously improving it’s apps.
Another noteworthy app of the company is Scanner Pro also operating on a high quality level with a perfect UI. Apple’s iWork Suite, Documents, and Scanner Pro together build a powerful extension of features on an iPad and an iPhone.

Related links …

Every app is an i(s)Land

Scanning documents

Apple’s iOS Human Interface Guidelines

WebDAV Basics

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