Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Receive Faxes with Genius Fax

With Genius Fax 2.0, the day has come to get rid of your fax machine.

Having the ability of receiving a fax generally means the following: buy a fax machine and reserve a line, or subscribe to an expensive service with ridiculous and incomprehensible fees.

With Genius Fax 2.0, you just pay as you go. You reserve a fax number for a very small fee (as low $3.49 per month) and you only need credits to receive pages. These are the same credits that you use to send faxes.

Update main screen displaying
your fax number.

As you receive a fax, you will get a push notification and an email and the received fax will appear in your app:


A received fax. Tap on "View document"
to display your document and
export it to other apps.

This feature is available now in Genius Fax 2.0 on the App Store.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

How to Print your Genius Scan Documents on Android

The Android version of Genius Scan+ now supports printing via Cloud Print.
Cloud Print is a technology from Google that allows you to print to any printer wirelessly.

The first step is to setup your printer to be used with Cloud Print. You can find on this page the list of Cloud Ready Printers and the instructions to add such a printer to Cloud Print. If your printer is not in this list, you will simply need to connect it in Google Chrome settings, as explained in details here.

Printer added to Google Cloud Print

Then, install the official Cloud Print Android app on your device, open Genius Scan+ and export any of your scan, as JPG or PDF, to the Cloud Print app.

Select Cloud Print on the Export screen

A cloud Print dialog appears and enables you to choose your printer and edit the printing settings.

Edit printing settings


Your document will print as soon as your printer is online! 

Printing requires Genius Scan+ ($6.99).



Monday, March 17, 2014

Genius Scan and OneNote, capture and save!

Everyone knows Genius Scan as a scanner in your pocket. We designed it to make it easy for individuals and small businesses to digitize their important documents. Today, we are excited to announce that our iOS and Android versions now integrate with OneNote.


Microsoft OneNote users have been looking for a better way to go paperless and Genius Scan is a great solution for that. On the other hand, a lot of Genius Scan users look for great services to store and organize their documents. By working together, Genius Scan and OneNote open a whole new world of possibilities.

Using the integration with OneNote is simple:

1. Snap a picture of a document (contracts, business cards, whiteboards!) with your device. Genius Scan detects the frame of the document, crops it and enhances the colors to make it legible, like a real scanner would do.



2. If desired, save your scan in a PDF document. You can add multiple pages.

3. Export your document to save it to the cloud, share it with colleagues and friends. With the OneNote integration, you are now able to save your documents to your OneNote notebook. The [OneNote integration, http://www.thegrizzlylabs.com/onenote] is available for both iOS and Android.


Tell us what you think at contact@thegrizzlylabs.com and follow us on Twitter @thegrizzlylabs to get more updates.

Friday, February 14, 2014

International Faxing with Genius Fax

We want to make Genius Fax the easiest and most intuitive solution for people to fax from their phones and we have been making a lot of incremental changes.

One thing that wasn't obvious for our users was which countries were supported. While we listed these countries in the description and in the help, it wasn't there when user most needed it: when they were entering the fax number. With Genius Fax 1.2, users can now select a country and type a number for this country. Genius Fax will format and validate the number before even attempting to send the fax.

We also bumped up the file size limit from 5MB to 20MB. Note that the largest the file you send, the longer it will take to transmit. A page should take about a minute or two to transmit, but if the pages contain images and lots of graphics, it can take much longer.


Some of the supported countries in Genius Fax.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Stay Organized with Genius Scan

Genius Scan has two main goals: to enable you to scan documents on the go, as quickly as possible, and to organize these documents as you digitize them. In this tutorial, let's focus on the latter.



Documents

The first way to organize your scans is to group them into documents. A document corresponds to one PDF file with one or multiple pages, so it typically represents the different sheets of a paper document.

For instance, if you scan your 2013 Form 1040 after filling it, you will save it as one document with 2 pages. Another example would be 10 receipts from a business trip that you group together in one document of 10 pages to send to your company's accounting department.

To create documents with several pages, scan and use the Save button at the top right of the scanning screen. You will be able to choose if you want to save the scan in a new document or an existing document:

The Save button lets you create
multi-page documents.

Tags

In Genius Scan, tags are labels assigned to documents. They play the role of folders but are more powerful: you can assign multiple tags to a document. For instance, a document can be tagged with "receipts" and "taxes 2013" if it's a receipt you need to keep for the April madness. Another document will be labeled with "receipts" and "expenses" if it's a receipt you need to use for your expense reports.

All your tags are visible in the side menu:


You can also use the tags to filter your documents in the document list. This is particularly useful if you have a lot of documents. To do this, pull down on the document list to reveal the search field and start typing:


How to edit tags

To add a tag to a document, open a document and tap on the "No tags" button - or on the existing tags just below the document title.
A view will open letting you create a new label or select existing ones. Remember that you can select more than one if desired:


To edit tags globally, you can also tap on the Edit button in the side menu. Tags can be renamed later as desired. If you delete a tag, the documents associated with that tag won't be deleted:


Exporting

What happens to tags associated with a document you export? It depends, but the short answer is that they are preserved.

If you export a document as PDF, the tags will be stored as PDF keywords. This means that your documents are searchable based on those tags once saved to your computer.

PDFs are searchable with Spotlight using the tags.

Evernote supports tags. If you export a document to Evernote, the corresponding note will be labeled using the tags from Genius Scan. Genius Scan also allows you to set default tags to anything you send to Evernote. For instance, you may want to label everything coming from Genius Scan "paperless".

Tags you add in Genius Scan are reflected to your exported notes.

Conclusion

This concludes this short tutorial on how to organize your documents with Genius Scan. If you have more questions or have any suggestions, please contact us at support@thegrizzlylabs.com or comment below.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Genius Scan 1.3.6 for Android

Hello!

Just before the week-end, we released an update to Genius Scan for Android. This addresses a bunch of little annoyances:

  • The perspective correction keeps the right proportions when the skew angle is high.
  • Genius Scan is smarter to detect the image orientation especially when the device is flat. If you look at the camera icon in the capture screen, it will match the orientation of the photo.
  • We fixed a few crashes affecting in-app purchases, so if you had trouble upgrading to Genius Scan+, this will now be easy.
  • The document detection has been improved. Sometimes, it could be triggered multiple times in a row under some circumstances. This is now fixed! We also addressed a bug that we had nicknamed "Diabolo's bug". Sometimes the detected border would look like a diabolo.
Stay tuned for more cool updates very soon!

(Image attribution: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Diabolo_large_and_small.jpg)

Friday, January 24, 2014

3 Years of Remote Work and Counting

The Grizzly Labs is a team of two split over different time zones: Paris, France and San Francisco, USA. We have been working on Genius Scan and other projects for several years on our free time.


Working with 9 hours time difference makes it difficult to create overlap to communicate. Working on your free time also calls for efficiency: you don’t want this extra work to affect your social activities and work-life balance. In spite of that, we have been able to grow Genius Scan to 10M+ downloads and millions of scans and maintain great quality for our apps. We also developed several other projects (Genius Fax and Jotana).

The coding part is straightforward. We each focus on different code bases and we rely on git for code versioning. Problem solved. However, communication for product decisions is also critical. A few techniques and tools helped us. Finding these took us some time and we hope this blog post will help other remote teams facing similar challenges.

Task Management

Each day, we depend on each other for several tasks. Asana enables us to organize the tasks and initiate mutual requests (we used Asana so much that we built Jotana.) For example, as I finish a new update for Genius Scan for iOS, I will create a task in Asana and assign it to Guillaume, requesting him to test the new changes. As Guillaume checks the app and notices quirks, he adds new tasks to Asana, assigns them to me so that they are ready for me to see the next morning.


Compared with email, a task is often less pressing. While an unread email in the inbox cries for attention, a task in Asana has to be completed at some point but doesn’t require taking care of it immediately unless it has a clear deadline. We keep email for interactions with the outside world or more pressing issues.

We also use Asana individually to track our own tasks. It enables us to stay focused and visually marking them as complete is rewarding. Another benefit: when you have little free time, it also makes it easy to find small bits of work. It’s hard to start coding when you have only 20 minutes free in front of you; yet it’s a good time to tweet or reply to a few support emails.

It’s unavoidable to accumulate tasks and add to your backlog features users suggest. A task that seemed important a month ago may not be anymore. Regularly, we cleanup Asana. We try hard to be more aggressive than we naturally are. If we know that we won’t have time to work on a task soon, we just delete it. If a feature request is really crucial, we definitely hear about it again.

Document Storage

We rely on Google Drive and Dropbox to archive and store shared documents. In Dropbox, we tend to archive legal documents (invoices, contracts) and development files (artwork, scripts etc.) In Google Drive, we store anything that requires collaborative editing or quick updates (blog posts, data analytics in a spreadsheet).

Of course, make sure you use two form factor authentication for your Dropbox and Google accounts.

Let’s not forget backups. You don’t want all your hard work to be lost because your hardware failed or your laptop is lost or stolen. The fact that we are two in the team means that we have some redundancy. But still we do proper backups. We do two types of backups: a local one using Time Machine. This is the quick and cheap insurance against hard drive failures. Additionally, a remote backup in the cloud is our insurance against fire and burglars. We use Arq which lets you backup to Amazon S3 or Glacier (dirt cheap!) but there are other solutions like Crashplan, Backblaze etc. Of course, GitHub stores all our code.

Customer Support

We  strive to offer great customer support. Without being cynical, the main benefit of great customer support is that it makes customers happy. As a consequence, they spread the word and buy upgrades. But aside from business benefits, nothing is more rewarding than thankful customers (how often do you email Microsoft to thank them for Microsoft Word?) and it helps keep the morale up.

For our users, support is as simple as sending an email to support@thegrizzlylabs.com. Both Guillaume and I reply to emails. It’s part of our daily routine. The difficulty is that when you reply to an email, you want to make sure that the rest of the team doesn’t write a duplicate reply (confusing for the user and a waste of your precious time).


For a long time, we relied on Gmail, putting each others in copy. This prevents duplicate replies but it’s far from ideal: even replied emails stay unread in each others mailbox taking time to visually find unreplied support requests. This doesn’t scale and we looked for an alternate.

Tools such as Desk or ZenDesk were clearly overkill for us and make users deal with “tickets” or “case numbers” which is the complete opposite of friendliness. Unfortunately, these big players have a high rank on Google.

We found HelpScout and fell in love with it. It’s extremely easy to setup: we just forward support@thegrizzlylabs.com to HelpScout. HelpScout offers many benefits:

  • The support flow is extremely well done and moving from one email to another is a matter of a keystroke.
  • You can assign support requests to each others. Occasionally one of us works on a specific feature or is more aware of a bug. In that case, the other one can assign the support request to him. 
  • Canned responses. They enable you to quickly reply to common requests and offer templates that automatically start the reply with “Hi Firstname”. If you start abusing of canned responses though, it’s a sign that your UX may not be as intuitive as it should or that a bug needs to be fixed.
  • Previous conversations are displayed on the side of every support request. This is important because if customers got in touch with you previously, they expect you to remember (of course you don’t, unless you are superman.) and become frustrated if you don’t take that in account.
  • Email integration. Support requests still arrive in your email. So you can just reply to everything from your mailbox if you have to, typically on the go (we still find the HelpScout UI more efficient for daily use).
  • Reports. It’s very easy to monitor support email volume, how long we take to respond in average. You can also assign tags to conversations and the reports will display you statistics about tags. It’s very useful to gauge interest for some features. You can also see which canned responses we used the most and then address these issues in priority.
  • Spam filter. It's there and works well.

Facetime

Almost all communication can go through Asana or over email. That doesn’t replace in-person communications. If you are working on your spare time, one or two phone calls a week is reasonable. With 9 hours time difference, one of us is often just waking up while the other is commuting back from work in the metro in Paris.

We also physically meet a few times a year. We reserve that time for things that will benefit from us being in the same place: talking about our vision, brainstorming and prioritizing tasks.

Conclusion

Finding the right tools for us has been extremely helpful. Dropbox and Google Drive allows us to conveniently store and collaborate on documents. Asana helps us be more productive on our spare time. HelpScout dramatically improves our customer support quality while decreasing the time we spend on it. We didn’t discover everything on day one of our journey though, so we hope that sharing these few tips will help other remote teams getting started. Last but not least, if you are working remotely or thinking about it, we also recommend reading Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried. Good advices!

We are now confident enough that we have a good routine: we just went full-time on The Grizzly Labs and still deal with the 9 hours time difference. We will share more about that new experience in a future blog post. Stay updated by following us on Twitter.