Mobile Apps For The AV Industry

Analog Friends: Never Solder Solo Again, Circuit Sidekick Has Got Your Back! 

I was recently introduced to a new iPad app called Circuit Sidekick, and I think it could be very helpful to my readers who deal with analog circuits (i.e. resistors, capacitors, flux capacitors…)  Developed by Collin Cunningham, the app require iOS 4.2 or later, and can be yours for a mere $2.99.  Not quite Free (you KNOW I love me some Free) but still very affordable.  NOTE: Today, this app is only available for iPad, BUT PK Audiovisual has confirmed sources that an iPhone/iPod version is being developed.  Read on!

Here are some screenshots from Circuit Sidekick (iPad version), the first shows how it can compute equivalent resistance of parallel resistors.  There is a similar screen for resistors wired in series.Circuit Sidekick

The next screenshot shows how Circuit Sidekick cleverly computes Ohm’s Law on a wooden triangle.  Classic.Circuit Sidekick

Having EE flashbacks yet?  This the screen I find to be the most helpful.  By entering the color bands, the user can easily compute (or verify) the resistor‘s nominal value and tolerance. 

The last screenshot illustrates the Capacitor Value calculator, which is very handy in converting micro-farads to nano-farads to pico- (de gallo?  Mmm, did I mention that its Mexican food tonight, here in my home?)  There is also a decimal to hexadecimal to binary number converter, and an LED calculator.

Circuit Sidekick

Okay so before I start making my dinner, here are the top three AV technicians whom I think will benefit most from this app:
1. Bench Techs, who solder a lot, and want another excuse to have their iPad out on their bench.
2. Touring Techs, (a.k.a. Roadies, System Techs, Guitar Techs) who may not have done this in years.
3. Service Techs,  no more second guessing your math when troubleshooting a problematic piece of gear.

SPOILER ALERT – My sources  have confirmed that a smaller iPhone/iPod Circuit Sidekick is being developed.   Check out these preliminary screenshots:

Circuit Sidekick Ipod

In the future, I would love to see similar versions of this app for Droid, Chrome, etc. but it will need to prove itself in the Mac Arena first. Heyyyy Mac Arena!

What other Ipad, Iphone, or Droid apps do you use in your audio or video profession? -pk

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HIDs : Human Interface Devices

Are we addicted to multi touch?

From left to right, 3 multi touch screens: Samsung Galaxy Tab, Motorola Droid Pro, MSI Wind Top 2280

I think I’m addicted to multi touch screens. Seriously, in the past six months, I’ve purchased a 7″ Samsung Galaxy Tab (which is like a Droid IPad), an MSI All-in-one PC with 22″ touchscreen, and a Motorola Droid Pro mobile phone with 3″ multi touch screen and “hard key” QWERTY keyboard. Each device is perfect for different scenarios.

Here is a Venn diagram I created showing the capabilities of each device, and where those capabilities overlap:

Looking at the diagram, it looks like I could ditch the tablet. But like any IPad user, there is no way I’m going to give up my tablet, because it is perfect for meetings. Take the typical 1 or 2 hour site meeting.  Before the tablet, I would lug my laptop to every meeting, in case I needed access to my local files.  I would check email on my Blackberry, and it wasn’t easy to read PDFs or show them to other people.  If I wanted to use the laptop, I needed to boot it up, ask my client for a wifi password, an/or hardwire LAN connection. I need to bring my power cord and find a power outlet unless I had a good battery. Sometimes I would bring a mouse and mousepad, plus the project drawings and folder of documents. It was a backpack full.

Nowadays, when to go to a meeting or site survey, I usually only bring the Samsung tablet and a paper notepad. I leave the Droid Pro in the car, and the PC at the office. No laptop, period. During breaks, I can easily check important emails, and visual voice mail.  I have full access to my cloud stored files, including local versions, so I don’t have to bring a binder or job folder. I can reference any cutsheet or instruction manual, or video call into video conference rooms.

My particular tablet is also great for taking site survey photos. I still prefer taking meeting notes with a pen and pad. For whatever reason, taking notes on paper seems to be less rude than taking notes on a laptop or tablet; the latter almost seems like you are only half-listening. Call me old-fashioned.