Cool Tools!

Here are some tools and apps we've discovered that can enhance your productivity in the workplace, teach you new skills, and make your life easier.

Otter

Otter is a smart note-taking and collaboration app that records speech as text and lets you search and share your voice conversations. Once you turn the app on, it will automatically start recording all the conversation around it as text. It recognises and records different voices separately, making it ideal for recording meetings.

Not only can you record your conversations with the app, you can upload your recordings from, for example, phone calls or video conferences. There is a keyword search function that enables you to jump to specific areas of interest in the dialogue.

Grammarly

Grammarly is writing-enhancement software. It's available as a mobile app (Android and iOS), as well as via plugins for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. In addition, it covers all bases by offering apps which integrate with Microsoft Office and Windows.

Grammarly scans the text you type and automatically detects potential grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, and style mistakes in your writing. It also includes a plagiarism detector.

The Grammarly Keyboard app for your phone checks your text as you write and catches those pesky mistakes that can creep in while typing on mobile devices.

If you're installing on a computer, note that you'll have to temporarily disable McAfee antivirus.

Microsoft AI School

With Artificial Intelligence rising to the forefront of technological advances, the Microsoft AI School is an exciting way to learn more about AI – from the basics to building your own AI solutions. Find out how to build intelligence into your current solutions and apps, or delve into deep learning tools like Azure Machine Learning, Visual Studio Code Tools for AI, and Cognitive Toolkit.

The school caters for both beginners and experts, with courses covering the absolute basics up to advanced tools. It's an exciting resource to either gain a basic knowledge or go deep into the up-and-coming world of AI.

Harvard SC50

The Harvard SC50 is essentially an online crash course in Computer Science. It consists of 9 problem sets which take between 10 and 20 hours each and will leave you with a well-rounded understanding of Computer Science and programming. Concepts such as abstraction, algorithms, data structures, encapsulation, resource management, security, software engineering, and web development are all covered. You will also learn the basics of programming in several languages, including C, Python, SQL, and JavaScript plus CSS, and HTML.

Find out more or sign up on the edX website.

 

Grasshopper

Grasshopper is an app developed by Google's internal incubator, Area 120, available on Android and iOS. It offers you simple, straightforward tutorials in coding JavaScript, aiming to provide you with a good grounding in the basics before you launch into more advanced coding. The lessons are designed in a 'game' format with visual puzzles to develop problem-solving skills. These puzzles unlock increasingly difficult and advanced concepts and lessons. You can also test your knowledge with quizzes, while the app also provides real-time feedback on your progress.

You can check your progress in the Achievements tab, which shows you your coding streaks, the JavaScript keys you've learned, and the concepts you've unlocked.

Grasshopper comes with a built-in optional reminder, prompting you to follow good coding practice and exercise your skills frequently. There is also a Code Playground section where you can experiment, play around and create your own projects.
The app is available for Android and iOS.

WordWeb

WordWeb can look up words in seconds and give you ample useful related information. Once installed, you can use it to search for any word the program will present you with a user-friendly interface into which you can type the word of your choosing. The app then shows you with the definition, synonyms and similar words, the text pronunciation, the audio pronunciation, and more information about the word in question. It also includes related nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives. WordWeb also links you to the word on dictionary websites such as Wiktionary and Wikipedia (to see the word in better context), and related nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives.

If that sounds like a mouthful, it's because this tool is dynamite in a small and simple package. It's ideal for all lovers of language, writers, editors, and crossword junkies.

WordWeb is available for Windows, Mac OS, and mobile devices (Android and iOS).

However, if you don't want to install the app, there's also an online version which you can access via web browser. You can link to words you want to remember, as well as use the service if you're working on a computer without the software installed.

There are mobile app versions too, which you can install for Android and Apple devices.

Pocket

Ever spend time surfing the web for hours, getting side-tracked, going off on tangents, clicking hyperlinks and thinking "I must check out that page later"? Do you end up with 50 tabs permanently open, meaning to go back and read those articles and eventually give up and close the lot?
Researchers, students, writers…no matter what you're doing, you probably stumble upon lots of articles during a day. Instead of losing productivity and getting side-tracked, you can try installing Pocket (formerly known as Read It Later). It's a multi-platform offline reading app that is available on mobile devices and PC. Once you have installed the browser plugin or downloaded the app, you will need to create an account (you can also sign in with Google if you prefer). Once you've done that, a 'Pocket' icon will appear in your browser search bar. Every time you find a page you want to save for later, simply click the button and your choice will be stored in your Pocket account, for you to read at your leisure.

The great part is that you can access your saved articles on every platform and every device. Pocket has stand-alone apps for Android, Mac, iOS, Windows, or Chrome OS, and you can also use the web version. Another great thing is that your saved content is stored for use offline, so you can read it whenever you like even if you have no network access (remember to sync your content before going offline, so it's all available to you). You can also use the app to share articles to multiple social networks.

For tips on using Pocket like a pro, check out this article.

If there are any Cool Tool you use that you would like to recommend, please drop us an email and let us know.