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Tue 21 Oct 2014
Free iOS Apps
Category : Technology
If you’ve been to our home page, you might see that I’ve featured two free iOS apps you can download:
WordScanner is the OCR scannning app I’ve always wanted to have on my iPhone. I read a lot of books and I often want to share what I’ve found on my Facebook page
. So, what I wanted was to have an app on my iPhone where I can simply take a shot of the page I’m reading and then hope to lift the text right out of it so I can paste it onto Facebook or the Notes app or an email message.
And I wanted it all to be so drop-dead easy — I wanted it to work even if I can’t position the page precisely on the iPhone camera viewer, or if the lighting is not particularly good. And I need to be able to crop out my fingers holding the edges of the page. And I wanted it to work so fast that I can get the text onto Facebook before I lose inspiration for whatever I wanted to write about that I was reading.
I want it to never crash because OCR is particularly finicky and memory intensive. So I decided to write the app myself, using the open-source Tesseract OCR engine and some image editing code I found on the web. The result is WordScanner. I’ve had this app for a couple of months and I’ve used it to share a lot of stuff I’ve read on Facebook. And it hasn’t yet crashed, so that’s what I’m very happy about. When I first did this, it would crash every short while.
I really love this app, maybe because I had built it myself, but I’m happy to share it. It’s available for free.
BookNapper is another app for a book lover, but in this case it would only be really useful if you’re in Singapore. We’ve got this lovely, first-class public library that I always think of as our national treasure. It’s very current, so if you’re in a nice book shop and you see a nice book, chances are that our library would have it.
So what I do is, I scan the book’s ISBN number into BookNapper, which will then keep a list of books I want to read. BookNapper tells me if this book is available in our library’s collection , and if so, in which particular branches of the library system. (It also gives me the Amazon and Goodreads reviews). Then when I step into any branch of the library, Booknapper tells me which of the books I want to read is available in that library for borrowing, right then. And leads me precisely to the right shelves.
So it’s like a precision heat-seeking missile for taking out good books! And it’s available also for free.