Sunday, June 15, 2014

Thing 23

I did the other two 23 Things programs and enjoyed them very much. I do appreciate having the chance to take part in a group activity where we can learn from each other. I actually did go to other blogs and check out their comments on the "thing of the day." 

I thought that this was another good opportunity to learn new tools. It won't be long and everyone will be toting around a mobile device and we need to know about them too. At my library last year, all the librarians got a tablet of their choice and since then we have had some show and tell sessions. This program will give me some more apps to share.

Truth be told, I would not have tried many of the apps if I had not done 23 Mobile Things. I do admit being annoyed each time I had to make another online account to try an app, but being able to use Google accounts, Twitter accounts and Facebook accounts instead helped a lot. Even if I never use some of the apps again, at least I know about them and can recommend them to those who might find them useful.

Thing 22

I did not have an App for discovering apps, so I first looked at Quixey, but when I tried to install it on my Sony android tablet, I was informed that it is not compatible. I then went to Droid of the Day (DOTD) which suggests a different app for the day. DOTD lets you see lists of apps by date, name, category, top tools, top games, loved apps, hated apps, and installed apps.

Under the fitness category I found a 7 minute workout that runs you through a set of exercises like jumping jacks, wall sit, push-up, crunches, planks, squats, lunges, etc. The sets are quite short but intense. There are 12 exercises for 30 seconds with 10 seconds of resting  in between. It seems to be backed by a scientific study and if I ever get the motivation to try it, I will let you know how it goes. The idea of getting a full workout in only seven minutes is intriguing however.

Thing 21

I love to travel so I am always looking for travel apps to make my life easier. For example, every time I signed up to go to a conference, I would make my hotel reservations and travel plans and then, in a very unorganized way, I would search email for the confirmations whenever I was wondering when and where and how I was traveling. Then I downloaded TripIt and have used that to track my plans. I forward all the confirmations to TripIt and TripIt creates a detailed daily itinerary. The itineraries are available offline which is extremely handy and I can get directions, maps and weather for each trip. Plans can be synced with my Outlook calendar and each plan can be edited manually too. It makes traveling a lot easier when I don't have to remember to print out pages of documents before I leave home.

Here is what an itinerary looks like in TripIt:

TripIt Travel Organizer – Free - screenshot

Friday, June 13, 2014

Thing 20

So Thing 20 is games and I downloaded one last night and even though it was described as addictive, I went ahead and played it. The app was Take Ten, a brain puzzle game. It is a grid of numbers and you try to remove them in adjoining matching  pairs or in adjoining pairs that equal ten. If you get to the point where you still have numbers left but cannot remove any (and believe me, you will get to this point) you click the + button and the puzzle adds several more rows. I never won and I could not figure out a strategy, but I had some fun trying. I used to play the bubble game too, but got tired of it. I still like to play solitaire occasionally and also have a long streak of playing video poker behind me. I had to quit playing it so much when I realized that my neck was hurting at work from playing poker at night holding up an iPod 1 for several hours. I think I had better wait until retirement for any more games. I really understand how people can get caught up in playing a game, but am worried that not everyone can stop. 
Cover art
Here is Take Ten!

Thing 19

Thing 19 is hobbies. I have been intrigued by geocaching ever since I went to a conference in another state and one of my colleagues was having a nice walk and entertaining himself by trying to find a nearby geocache. Since then I have attended sessions on geocaching in the Library at two different conferences, bought my husband a GPS thinking he might be interested in it (wrong!) and downloaded the app, c:geo, to my first smartphone. When I sit in my office and turn on the app, I see a whole page full of caches that are within a half mile of me. Someday I am going to go out and find them!

The app is completely free and if other people are using the same app, you can see their location and what cache they are going after. Libraries could use them in scavenger hunts for different locations and services--I imagine most students have a phone that they could use for this. I think it would be fun, but I think I would rather take part in something like this than organize it.

Thing 18

Thing 18 is education and I tried several of the apps. I know some Spanish so I tried Duolingo which is a completely free language learning program. The webpage says that Duolingo will always be free because the users "create value" by translating documents while they learn. However, I did not see any option for this in the application but then again, maybe you have to pass all the modules before they would let you do any translating. I tried a few basic lessons and they seem to assume that you know certain things before you start. Since I did know some things I had no problem but I think it would take some creative thinking to catch on that the article ending usually matches the noun ending and other basic rules of grammar. Still the website cites a study that indicates the app is as effective as a semester of a college language. You can't beat that!

I also installed Today's Document by the National Archives and Records Administration. The app brings up a different historical document for each day. Today's document (June 13) is the opinion of the court by chief Justice Earl Warren in the Case of Miranda v. Arizona, 06/13/1966. I sent it back to my birthday and found the D-day statement to soldiers, sailors, and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force, 6/44. This is a great way to pick up on tidbits of history. Imagine how you could impress your friends in games of trivia.

I am of the opinion that you can learn almost anything you want on the Internet, so whatever you need, just Google it.

Thing 17

Connecting with community has many interesting apps that I am very interested in trying. I don't know if I should try ones I am interested in and see if the app convinces me to go there or just wait and see if I go and use the app when I get there. That said I think I will tell you about a different app that I discovered at a conference a few weeks ago. It is called Field Trip--I have the android version but I think that it has an Apple version too.
Field Trip finds local places of interest when you get near to them. When I sit at my desk at MSU, I get information about the Amos Owen Garden of American Indian Horticulture which is grown and maintained at MSU. Another place nearby is our Highland Park which is billed as Mankato's First City Park and apparently was first called Bunker Hill but the city decided to name it Highland when they made it into a park. The listings that come up as nearby is every single art sculpture on our city art walking tour. It lists the sculptor, something about him/her and something about the work itself. I highly recommend this app.
The app draws information from several sources including Arcadia, Historvius, Food Network, Zagat, Atlas Obscura, and Daily Secret among others.I had not heard of most of these sources, so now will have to explore them too.
I also downloaded the Mankato 311 app. I think it is great to be able to report problems right when you see them. I have done it by email in the past and Mankato actually responds and tries to rectify the problem if possible.