Guns, Gams & Gumshoes

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Posts Tagged ‘iPhone apps for private investigators’

More iPhone Apps for Private Investigators

Posted by Writing PIs on July 10, 2012

We wrote about some handy apps for private investigators last January. To read about those apps, click here. In addition, below are some more apps we’ve found useful for private investigations (including a few that other PIs recommended).

VM Alert: Video Motion Detector $1.99

Detects motion via the iPhone camera, and can be set to use either the front or back camera. A default setting is for an alert to sound when motion is detected (be sure to turn this off). Program stores images in Camera Roll (you can then forward via email, embedded in a text message, send to YouTube–you can set up a private YouTube account so only those with permissions can view image).

GPS apps

There’s a bunch of them out there, from free to a minimal monthly charge.  Below we list three:

Waze: Free. We wrote about this community-based GPS traffic and navigation app last March (to read that post, click here). Based on other users’ real-time data, you get live traffic reports, speed cams, even the cheapest gas stations on your route. Some users have complained about there being too many road condition reports popping up and that there is no text direction summary.

AmAze: Initial download includes a free license to view maps and search for places of interest around the world. You can then purchase one year license from within the application to use the full navigation capabilities of amAze. Product offers turn-by-turn voice navigation, optional routing for cars and pedestrians, textual routing mode, navigation over satellite imagery.

TeleNav GPS: We’ve read that some users got this for 30 days free before an automatic monthly $2.99 charge starts (as of this writing, TeleNav website doesn’t advertise prices upfront). Spoken turn-by-turn directions, choose up to three different routes, real-time traffic alerts.  Some users have reported that the avatar representing your vehicle is off scale, causing problems recognizing the distant to the next turn while traveling.  Another reported problem: auto rerouting lags (users who have gotten lost needed to pull over to wait for the program to reroute destination).

Translator with Voice $2.99

If you’re like us, we sometimes need a translator (which can get expensive!) when we conduct interviews with people who speak different languages.  This app advertises that it translates several dozen languages, including Slovenian, Spanish, French, Korean and Vietnamese, Italian, Yiddish.  App also offers speech-to-text, translation from your local language (such as English) to another language, and reads/translates written text.

Square (credit card reader device) free app, free credit card reader and free shipping.

There is a 2.75% charge for cards swiped (accepts Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express). Manually entered cards, the charge is slightly higher: 3.5% plus .15 per transaction. Payments can be set up to automatically deposit into your business account (with funds often available next day), no merchant account or monthly fees.  We read about this device/app in Pursuit Magazine (an online magazine for private investigators, security professionals, process servers and others), who rave about the product.

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iPhone Apps for Private Investigators

Posted by Writing PIs on January 4, 2012

We finally ditched our dumb phones in 2011 and got smart ones, as in iPhones. Now that we have ’em, we can’t believe why we waited so long. Besides being able to check directions, look up phone numbers, research databases and more on the fly, we’ve also become enamoured of a few apps.

For the iPhone

Flashlight. There’s a number of flashlight apps. The one we use is simply called “Flashlight.” Big off/on button that fills the screen, easy to switch it on. We’ve carried flashlights with us since we opened our investigation agency yea many years ago, but we’re always losing flashlights, plus they’re cumbersome to carry, and if you’re not on top of the battery situation you can find — surprise! — you’re stuck in the dark with a weak-lighted or dead flashlight. But with this handy app, which was .99, we can now light up at any time.

TurboScan. Again, there’s a bunch of scan apps. We chose this one because reviews were good. And it is good. After taking a pix of a document, you can adjust the parameters (shorten, lengthen, add width) to encompass the entire doc. Haven’t figured out how to email the doc directly yet, but it’s easy to store a doc scan on the iPhone “Camera Roll” and email that image. We used to feel smart carting a remote scanner, which was heavy and clunky, into courthouses to scan file docs…now we just use TurboScan on our iPhones. $1.99.

VoiceRecorderHD. With this app, we can record witness interviews with our iPhones, link it to Dropbox (another app we’re fond of) for file transfer or instead connect the iPhone to our Mac and download the voice file that way. $1.99.

Lumin. Sometimes you gotta read the fine print…and sometimes you gotta read the fine print in the dark. Lumin works like a magnifying glass…lets you read the fine print, even capture the image so you can zoom in on a part of it for closer inspection, and if you’re in dim or no lighting, Lumin also provides a light for viewing. Cool. $1.99.

For the iPad

Evernote. We’re digging Evernote on our iPad, but still learning how to manipulate it on our iPhones (some apps just seem too large for an iPhone, y’know?). But on the iPad, this app is a winner. One of the Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes PIs now carries her iPad to all witness interviews and uses Evernote to take notes, pictures, voice recordings…then sends the report immediately afterward to the attorney-client. You can use the free version or upgrade for a nominal fee (something like $1.99). We went for the upgrade.

There you have it. Our current 4 favorite apps for the iPhone, and one winner for the iPad.

Have a great week, Writing PIs

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