Business Machine

Technology, business
and innovation.

And, not least, about
the Mac.

Weblog Archive Cutedge

by: Bernard Teo

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Copyright © 2003-2012
Bernard Teo
Some Rights Reserved.

Tue 21 Oct 2014

Free iOS Apps

Category : Technology/iOSApps.txt

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.

WordScanner and BookNapper are both available on the iOS App Store now.

Posted at 10:26AM UTC | permalink

Sat 03 May 2014

Liya 2.0.1 for iOS

Category : Technology/Liya2dot0dot1.txt

Liya on iOS is now a Universal binary that works for both iPhone and iPad, thanks to the AutoLayout feature in Xcode. 

With AutoLayout in place, it’s getting to the point where it really doesn’t matter what exact size an iOS device is anymore. Even if the iPhone gets larger, or we get an iPad that is intermediate in size between the iPad mini and the classic iPad, or even a giant iPad, it’ll all just (mostly) work. I love having just that single code-base to work with on iOS. Already I’m able to share a lot of code between the iOS and OS X versions of Liya (as with Hai Hwee on Luca). I have an idea to do a web app framework, something like PHP but in Objective-C—something like WebObjects. Then I can do a project that straddles iOS, OS X and the web—all accessing the same database libs to get to SQL databases.

There’s this Steve Jobs quote: "We used to dream about this stuff. Now, we get to build it. It's pretty neat."


Oh, and I’ve added an option for the port number to be given as a connection parameter.

The iCloud part continues to work well. We’ve been told that SQLite on iCould is not recommended. But it’s worked OK so far. So much so that I’m now quite far along with an iCould version of my BookNapper app (available on the iOS App Store), where you can run BookNapper on both your iPhone and iPad, accessing the same list of books on iCloud, to organise your search for good books to read. That’s also almost done now.



Posted at 8:09AM UTC | permalink

Thu 24 Oct 2013

BookNapper for iOS 7

Category : Technology/BookNapperiOS7.txt

I’ve released a slew of updates the last few days, including BookNapper for iOS 7, which reminds me—I haven’t updated its screen shots on the App Store.

BookNapper is an app I wrote to allow me to keep a list of books that I’ve chanced upon in book stores, that I might like to read later on, if I can find it in our local library.

This is how it looks like in iOS 7 :


The point is, I’ve come to think that it looks better now in iOS 7 than in iOS 6. Here’s the screen shot from iOS 6.

Which comes to the point I really want to make—Jony Ive’s remake of the iOS interface seems to have worked. There’s a vibrancy that’s apparent in spite of the “flatness”, or maybe because of the flatness. Now, looking at Mavericks, I believe we’re due a similar make-over for the Mac. It really needs a clean up.

Posted at 9:11AM UTC | permalink

Thu 22 Aug 2013


Category : Technology/BookNapperPlusGoodReads.txt

I built this app called BookNapper so I can keep a list of books I want to read. Then when I'm in any one of the very excellent public libraries that we have here in Singapore, the app will tell me which of these books I want to read can be found there.


It's been working quite well and you can find it at the App Store. But what I want to do now is make it work with Goodreads, so the books that are napped goes into a Goodreads Currently-Reading shelf and eventually to a Read shelf. 

This is what I'm working on now (besides all the Mavericks stuff, that is, which I find a pain. Can't Apple leave us alone for a while so we can catch up with the technology, rather than change things every year?).

Posted at 6:53AM UTC | permalink

Put your Mac to Work Now how would you do something like that?

Weblogs. Download and start a weblog of your own.

A Mac Business Toolbox
A survey of the possibilities

A Business Scenario
How we could use Macs in businesses

VPN Enabler for Mavericks

MailServe for Mavericks

DNS Enabler for Mavericks

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Luca for Mavericks

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Postfix Enabler for Tiger and Panther

Sendmail Enabler for Jaguar

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  • MySQL database
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all set up using MailServe, WebMon, DNS Enabler, DNS Agent, VPN Enabler, Liya and our SQL installers, all on Mavericks.