Expanding your app-titude

A monthly look at apps and websites that can make the CPA’s job and life better.
By Greg LaFollette, CPA/CITP, CGMA

Many practitioners have grown accustomed to using multiple monitors at the same time. I have three in my office and two in my home office, but on the road I have only one. I have tested many potential solutions for using an additional monitor when traveling. None worked well enough for everyday adoption ... until now.

DUET DISPLAY ENABLES AN ADDITIONAL MONITOR

Duet Display allows me to use my iPad Pro as a second monitor for my laptop. Granted, the iPad Pro screen is not as big as the second display in my office, but having any second screen definitely improves my productivity on the road. Duet works with an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, but I found the smaller screens, even the relatively big iPhone 7+, quickly proved unsatisfactory for anything other than simple notifications.

The iPad connects via USB, and its charging and syncing functions are enabled as usual. But upon clicking the Duet Display app, the connected laptop takes over with the iPad becoming a second monitor in either extended or mirrored mode. Duet has two options for the display. First, the frame rate at either 30fps or 60fps; and second, the display mode at either retina or normal. I used the retina mode; the display was crisp and sharp. A pleasant surprise was to find that Duet adds touch capability to any program running on the iPad display. That means you can launch programs, move the mouse around the display with your finger, and use gestures such as two-finger scroll. And, if you have an iPad Air 2 or iPad Pro with iOS's split-screen multitasking capability, you can allocate part of the display for laptop display apps while keeping the balance for another split-screen iOS app.

Duet is smooth and fast. I noticed no lag time. That is probably because of the required wired connection via USB cable. At first blush, I saw this as a limitation but quickly realized that by using the cable, Duet can deliver solid performance and keep my iPad fully charged.

The only other requirement is that the Duet app must be running on the devices you intend to connect. While the Mac and PC app versions are free, there is a charge for the iOS app itself.

  • Website: duetdisplay.com
  • Cost: Regularly $19.99; requires iOS 8.0 or later; compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
  • Operating systems: iOS, Windows


TURO BRINGS AIRBNB MODEL TO CAR RENTALS

Turo is to the car rental industry as Airbnb is to the hotel industry (see "Expanding Your App-titude: Airbnb: What You Need to Know," JofA, July 2017).

Turo matches excess capacity (i.e., people with cars they're willing to rent out) with unmet need (i.e., people who need cars but don't want to pay car rental agency prices). Download the app, set up your account including credit card and significant background information to show owners that you are trustworthy, and you're ready to go. To use the app, simply indicate the date(s) and city, and Turo presents a list of cars including pictures, notes, and prices. Some owners provide a delivery service while others require that you pick up the vehicle. Choose your vehicle and Turo charges your credit card but, like Airbnb, holds the funds. Once the rental is complete, Turo pays the owner, minus a fee. Although Turo claims to provide $1 million of liability coverage, like all "shared economy" arrangements, there are significant insurance implications so proceed with caution and ask lots of questions. I have not used the service, but assuming it works as advertised, it might be worth a try. And, if you have clients in the car rental business, it's certainly a conversation you'll want to initiate.

  • Website: turo.com
  • Cost: Free; vehicle owner pays a variable fee (10% to 35% of total rental based on insurance package chosen)
  • Operating systems: iOS, Android, web

Greg LaFollette (greg.lafollette@hq.cpa.com) is a strategic adviser with CPA.com, the commercial subsidiary of the American Institute of CPAs.

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