A new service from Qipit, a San Francisco-based provider of document-capture technology, enables users to save and distribute handwritten material, such as notes from a whiteboard.

Qipit makes clean, readable PDF files from images captured using a camera phone  or digital camera. Through a partnership with ShoZu, a service that provides one-click uploading, users can quickly send a JPEG file to Qipit. Qipit then processes the image and sends the resulting PDF to a specific e-mail address or fax number.

The basic Qipit service is free. In the future, the company plans to charge for upgraded features.

Remind Your Customers When to Shop

BigDates Solutions, a San Ramon, Calif.-based personal assistance services company, is now offering its gift-reminder service -- which is currently used by Barnes & Noble and other large retailers -- to smaller businesses.

The service enables retailers to offer their customers e-cards, paper greeting cards, and cell phone or e-mail reminders  of gift opportunities like birthdays and anniversaries. Customers enter important dates into a personal BigDates calendar then BigDates sends text message or e-mail message to remind the customer when the date approaches. Retailers can customize the service with their branding and include products as gift suggestions in e-mail reminders.

Depending upon how many of a retailer's customers use the service, retailers pay from five cents to 10 cents per user per month, with a minimum monthly fee of $50.

New Alternative to Acrobat Reader

Adobe's  virtual monopoly on PDF readers might not last. The Brava Reader 2.5 was released November 15 as an alternative to the Adobe Acrobat Reader. The software is available for free from Informative Graphics Corporation, a Scottsdale, Ariz., software developer.

The reader works with TIFF, PDF and CSF files and with Brava's Desktop and Enterprise software, it even supports viewing annotations, such as markups made to the files.

Its feature-rich format allows users to easily view oversized, computer-aided design drawings, as well as search and find elements within documents. It also comes with security controls for viewing CSF, or content sealed format, documents.