Cool Idea: Cohdoo Audio Highlighting

Just in case: I have not bought, used, or been given the Cohdoo Highlight app. As a matter of fact, I don’t own an iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad. (I do still use my iPod Classic, but that doesn’t count, does it?) This app just recently caught my eye, and I figured I’d cover it because I like the idea so much. I have, however, tried and liked Dragon Dictation. Again, though, I found it on my own and haven’t been paid to use or mention it. If you’d like to contribute your experience with either app, please feel free to do so in the comments section

As an editor and writer for the school newspaper, I record my interviews, either in writing or digitally. While using an electronic recorder lets me to keep track of the conversations I have, I usually prefer to use a pen and paper so as to have my own version of things. This approach lets me jot down questions, organize thoughts, and underline the most important information to make the writing process that much easier.

Of course, my preference comes with a caveat; very few people can write quickly enough to keep up with a conversation while maintaining full attention to detail.  Tapes and digital recorders, of course, don’t have that issue. Eventually I wondered whether you could combine the perfect “memory” of a digital recording with the ability to draw attention to the most important snippets of whatever is going on in real time. The solution doesn’t have to be complicated, and I’m fairly certain it isn’t. If a manufacturer were to add a button that could be depressed and returned to normal by users, and if the recording had a special indicator, the interview process would be easier by leaps and bounds than it currently is.

Enter Cohdoo Highlight. It’s an app for iOS devices that allows for just what I described. Recordings appear to work just as they do on the iDevices’ built-in Voice Memos app, with the significant addition of a big “Mark Highlight” button in the center of the screen. As one might guess, users tap the button to visually highlight the parts they deem important.

For journalists, this still isn’t a perfect substitute for scratch paper to record thoughts and new questions. And there will always be the occasional Luddite source who prefers that the reporter not use any recordings. Of course, there’s also the risk that this might cause some information loss in the hands of writers on tight deadlines, giving them a tool that lets them skim over their interview files and miss the content they forgot to highlight. But the benefits here are pretty significant, and the idea has applications in many places. Take this quote from a student reviewer, for example.

We really enjoyed having the ability to highlight important parts of each recording. While listening to a lecture, we took written notes while using the Cohdoo Highlight to record the lecture. As the instructor emphasized on important points, we highlighted those parts and noted the highlight number on our notes for our future reference when cramming. Compared to Voice Memos this app definitely has significantly better features which make the app absolutely a charm to use when recording and especially when listening to recorded content.

(“Cohdoo Highlight Review” by Erphan Al-Delgir)

The logical next step would be to apply this not just to audio but to other recorded media. I’m looking forward to seeing new iterations of the idea. As a side note, how about combining Cohdoo Highlight’s features with a speech transcription app such as Dragon Dictation?

For more information on Cohdoo or the $4.99 Highlight app, check out the company’s products page and the blog. Apparently, they’re working on a few updates.

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Cool Idea #10: Word Lens

The video says it all, but blogger Judith B. Herman’s says it all when she says your phone can translate signs. Word Lens is an augmented reality app that translates text within the view of a device’s camera. It does so without requiring phone/data reception, too, making it perfect for travelers.


As you can see in the video, the app is fast and the view is clear. And according to PC Mag, it works as shown in the clip except when translating long paragraphs or fast-moving text.

Word Lens is available for free, but translation packs are a premium feature. To see the app for the iPhone or iPod Touch, start here.