Midweek Q&A

I get asked a number of tech and gadget-related questions quite frequently. Instead of waiting to write up a full article to share the answers with the rest of you, I thought I'd share at least the highlights in a regular mid-week column.

This week we step beyond dictaphones, and take a look at fitness trackers, expense claims, and wireless multimedia.

Tash: has anyone used a voice recording app to record interviews on their iPhone? 

For an interview I would use Audionote. Very much worth the money for this paid app. You can write notes at markers in the synced audio which makes tracking through a long interview or meeting much easier and more efficient. A few of my colleagues won't take meeting minutes any other way.

Given I'm into using technology to be more efficient and effective, I'd recommend upgrading our smart devices to be better than old tech. This method of tagging whilst recording is a step beyond using your device as an expensive dictaphone. This is pretty nifty for students recording lectures too.

The iOS version pictured allows not only text but also sketches, highlighting and photographs. Handy if you want to snap a pic of something being talked about and have it associate with that particular segment of the recording.

Audionote is also available on Android.

Rebecca: have you ever used a fitness tracker and which ones are good?

Yes, I've tried using the Fitbit Zip and even managed to write up a little about it. Even if you're considering a more fully-featured device, it's worth seeing if you are the kind of person who would remember and be disciplined or motivated enough to actually use one of these. You can do this with a monitor-less app approach: the Fitbit app and MyFitnessPal are both available free and can be used without a tracker. If and when you get a tracker they integrate nicely.

I'd recommend trying something small like the Zip before investing a lot more money on functions which may be beyond your real requirements. Even better if you have a friend who's finished using theirs and doesn't mind loaning it for a trial.

Feeling zippy | Gadget Girl Files

Julian: do you have an app you use for receipts/expense claims?

Since my consultancy migrated to Xero, we've been using the expense claim function on the smartphone app. It's simple, allows immediate coding of expenses and it's an easy snap and attach for photos of the receipts. Of course it requires having a Xero account for every person who will be claiming expenses in this fashion.

If you don't use Xero or someone's only occasionally going to be claiming expenses, then take a gander at iExpensesClaim by Nicholas Thenoz for iOS. For $1.29NZD you get an app that allows you to snap and classify expenses than export to Excel and/or PDF for submitting. We used this app before we migrated to SaaS for our accounting software.

Dan: had any experience with HDMI/wifi dongles? I haven't used one myself but I have heard good things.

I've trialed AirPlay, Miracast, Android Mini PC and a wifi video receiver all for various purposes from streaming multimedia to full-on device mirroring. They all have their pros and cons but definitely nothing yet has shouted "I'm really, truly great for wireless hi-def audiovisual".

Have yet to try anything which has an HDMI transmitter off an HDMI output sending to a paired HDMI receiver on an HDMI input. But would love to.

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