Tuesday, May 20, 2014

23 Mobile Things, Thing #23: Evaluate 23 Mobile Things

Here are some questions to prompt you:
  • Go back to your thoughts/ideas about  mobile devices and apps. Has anything changed as a result of this experience?
I like my iPad a lot more now!  I still wish it had a real keyboard, but I've found some very useful things to do on it.
  • What were your favorite Things and discoveries?
I really like the apps I found in the Education Thing and the Presentations Things.  I will definitely be using those apps a lot.  And I'm super addicted to Spell Collapse now - thanks Rachel!  :)
  • How did you connect with others doing the 23 Mobile Things?
It was really fun to talk about the Things with my co-worker Allyn.  I also liked having a cheerleader. It would have been even better to have more than just one person reading and commenting on my blog. Now that I'm done, I'd like to take the time to go back and lot at other user's blogs.
  • Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
Not really.
  • What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or content?
I'm not sure.  Perhaps make it a required part of the program to seek out and read / comment on other user's blogs?
  • If we offered a another 23 Things program like this in the future would you participate?
Yes, definitely.
  • How would you describe your learning experience in one word or in one sentence, so we could use your words to promote 23 Things learning activities to others?
I guarantee you'll find at least 23 reasons to like your iPad!  :)

23 Mobile Things, Thing #22: Discovering Apps

I tried out the Quixey website.  I selected iPad as my platform and then since I didn't really know what I was looking for I just searched simply on the word "library."  Some really cool and a few obscure things came up!  

I know a few patrons who will want to know about the JW Library app, which is "an official app produced by Jehovah's Witnesses. It includes six Bible translations, Sing to Jehovah, and Examining the Scriptures Daily—2014."

My friend's son who is taking guitar lessons will want to know about the Guitar Tools app - even if it costs $3.99 - sounds like a great and useful app for anyone taking lessons.

I was very excited to find the Library of Congress Virtual Tour app since I have not yet been there in person. Another great app that I found was the MeeGenius - Read Along Library of Children's Books.  I can't wait to try this with my nephews and niece and to share it with all of the parents I know.  Super cool way to add to the summer reading fun.

There are also a lot of great apps to help manage your own personal library.  This is something that I have always meant to do and someday - maybe soon?  this summer?  I will!

What a great website.  I've bookmarked it for later use.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

23 Mobile Things, Thing #21: Free-for-all

Aside from Facebook and Pinterest, the app that I use the most is MyFitnessPal.  I can't remember if this app was already mentioned in a previous Thing (it probably was).  If not, it's a great app for helping track exercise and food intake.  What I like about it is that it's more complex than just tracking calories and fat but also tracks protein, carbs, vitamins, and minerals.

There are two new apps I recently discovered but haven't spent much time using yet.  They are Charity Miles (http://www.charitymiles.org/) and Play to Cure - "Genes in Space" (http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/play-to-cure-genes-in-space).

With Charity Miles you can track a workout and earn money for a charity of your choice.  Per the website: "It's as easy as this: get moving. Bikers earn 10¢ a mile and walkers and runners earn 25¢ a mile, up to our initial $1,000,000 sponsorship pool."  I haven't tried it out yet, but it certainly sounds like a great idea.

The other app is a game and the website claims, "By playing Genes in Space you'll be analysing significant amounts of genetic data which would have taken scientists hours to do. This data can then be used to develop new life saving treatments."  Again, I haven't tried it yet but what a cool idea!

And this isn't necessarily an app but I just found out about Amazon Smile!  It's regular Amazon except that they will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchase to a charity of your choice.  Nice!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

23 Mobile Things, Thing #20: Games

I am proud to say that I am a reformed Candy Crush addict!  I was super addicted to that silly game but gave it up this past summer and I honestly haven't missed it.

Instead, when I feel like playing a game now, I play Scrabble (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ea.scrabblefree_na) or Sudoku (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.icenta.sudoku.ui).

I was excited to read about all the different word puzzle games in this Thing!  I will likely try all of them eventually but I decided to start with Word Abacus.  Oh yeah, this is a fun one!  You move the letters around - like you would beads on an abacus - to make words and you get points based on the words you make.  Fun!  I can't wait to try the others.

23 Mobile Things, Thing #19: Hobbies

Of the apps listed for this Thing, I was most interested in the MyGarden gardening app.  In the few months we have that allow for planting, I love to grow all manner of flowers and vegetables in numerous containers around my apartment building.  Because I live in an apartment, I can't do a traditional garden, but I've become quite adept at container gardening.  However, I am always looking for more tips and tricks.  The MyGarden app seemed like just the perfect thing.  Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be totally ready to go yet as many of the plants I clicked on have incomplete information.  Cilantro, for example, says "This plant has no description yet" under many of the topics.  It seems like it has great potential.  I hope to see it grow and expand to include all kinds of gardening tips.  I think the main purpose is probably to be some kind of social media network for gardeners, but that's not really what I'm looking for.

I used to use Spotify all the time on my classroom computer when I taught second grade.  I had all kinds of different playlists:  quiet time and testing music, dance music, kids requests for free time, etc.  I loved using it on a computer; however, at the time, when I downloaded it on my phone I found that I couldn't access my playlists without upgrading to Premium, which costs money.  I'm so excited to know that that has now been changed!  I'm happily listening to all the playlists again, on my phone this time! I like the iheartradio app a lot, which is what I started using after I found I couldn't access my Spotify playlists on my phone.  It will be nice to have options now and to be able to use the playlists again that I put so much time into making!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

23 Mobile Things, Thing #18: Education

Oh my gosh, I am so excited about this thing!  I used to be a classroom teacher (2nd grade) and I still have loads of teacher friends so I will be sharing these apps with them.  Reading through them, it was very hard to choose just one and I am positive that I will be coming back to this Thing over and over and eventually trying almost all of them.  This is definitely my favorite Thing so far.

Because I had to pick just one and get this blog post written and because I'm super interested in what foods I'm putting into my body lately-- and trying to make better choices -- I tried the "Eat This, Not That" app / game.  It's very interesting!  The app works by showing you two food item choices.  You pick the one you think you should eat.  And then it tells you if you made the healthier choice.  If you play the casual mode, you'll get specific details about calories and fat, etc.  If you play speed mode, you won't, but it's more fun that way because you can earn points.  :)  I was surprised many times by which was the healthier choice.  Lesson learned:  bacon is less calories / fat than sausage.  Of course, I like sausage better...  sigh.

Friday, April 25, 2014

23 Mobile Things, Thing #17: Connecting to Community

This is a great list!  I already regularly use the 511MN app.  It was especially helpful while I was commuting to and from St. Kate's for classes so I could check on the weather/road conditions.  I also used the MN State Fair app last summer and found that very helpful.

For this Thing, I downloaded the MPR Radio app and the Explore Minnesota app.  I love the MPR app and will be using that a lot - it will be nice to listen to while I'm cataloging!  I hit a snag with the Explore app though and it froze up one me.  I'll have to "explore" it again at another time.  (:

23 Mobile Things, Thing #16: Audio

I downloaded and tried the Audioboo app.  I'm not super excited about this app.  I like the other presentation tools much better because you can add visual items like pictures and drawings.  However, I can see how this might be a useful tool to market library stuff to visually impaired patrons. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

23 Mobile Things, Thing #15: Infographics

I like infographics!  I'm not sure that I'm interested / ready to create them just yet, so I decided to try one of the apps that helps you find ones that are already made, Info.Graphics.  Unfortunately I didn't get very far with this one because it kept freezing up on me.  Not sure why.  So I downloaded Infographics Hub instead.  This one worked for me but I was bummed that I didn't find anything when I searched for "library."  I did enjoy looking at the ones under the 'food & drink' category.  Other than being interesting, I'm not sure that this is a super useful app to me right now.

23 Mobile Things, Thing #14: Videos

I have to confess I don't spend a lot of time taking videos of any kind.  I'm not sure why; I've just always been more into photos.  But I do really like Vine.  I wish more people would use it -- especially for videos that do not need to be longer than 6 seconds.  There are lots of times when this is true at least with most of the videos I've seen shared by friends on Facebook.  :)  I can see how Vine would be great to give a very brief teaser for a library program or some new books being added to the collection or a new service -- really the possibilities are endless there.

However, I'm looking for something that I could use to make book trailers and promo videos for our summer reading program, so I wanted an app that allows you to make a video that's longer than 6 seconds.  After reading through the apps listed for this Thing, I decided to try Socialcam.  It was very easy to use and within 2 minutes of downloading it, I had already created my first, very short, video to test it out.  I can see how this would be a great app to use for all kinds of library stuff!

Friday, April 18, 2014

23 Mobile Things, Thing #13: Presentations

I downloaded Educreations and I think it's awesome!  I can see tons of great uses for this app and wish I had known about it as a student and classroom teacher.  It's a nice breath of fresh air to switch from always using powerpoint.  This would be a great one to use for doing book talks and other short presentations here at the library.

Here is the practice presentation I made about the best food on earth:

What a cool tool!

Monday, April 14, 2014

23 Mobile Things, Thing #12: Books, Books, & More Books

There are three apps on this Thing that I'm interested in: 

I've already been using the YALSA app but I'm not super crazy about it.

The audiobooks app sounds great!  I downloaded it and I'm super excited to use it myself, as well as tell patrons about it.

I couldn't find an app could iStoryBooks through the App Store on my iPad, and I searched both iPad and iPhone; however, I did find one called iStoryTime and downloaded that one.  Unfortunately although that app is free, the books are not.  Wonder why I get no results for the iStoryBooks app??  

23 Mobile Things, Thing #11: Library & Reference

I have always liked the ELM website.  I'm excited to learn that you don't have to download an app to use it on a mobile device - cool!

I used ELM a lot both as a student and when I was a classroom teacher.  As a librarian, I find that I'm using less now for personal use but more that I'm recommending it and explaining to patrons - especially teachers and students working on research projects.  It's just such a rich resource.

Our library does have a mobile app that we can use to access the catalog, place requests, etc. It's offered through Boopsie.  I'm not crazy about it because I keep finding that it only searches our library and if a book is checked out it doesn't show up in the search results.  I'm not sure why it doesn't work the same as our OPAC in that it should search all SELCO libraries and show if we have the book, even if it's checked out.  I should be able to put a request on an item that is checked out.  Perhaps I'm missing something...

We also use Zinio and Overdrive here as well.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

23 Mobile Things, Thing #10: SharingPhotos

I created a personal Instagram account a while ago and though I haven't done much with it yet, I do like it.  I enjoy seeing my friend's pictures that they have enhanced on Instagram, especially those that are made to look like old photographs.  That's cool.  I would eventually like to move all my culinary adventure photos to Instagram instead of Facebook.

However, I will not use Snapchat and here's why:  http://adammclane.com/2013/08/22/why-you-should-delete-snapchat/

23 Mobile Things, Thing #9: Taking & Editing Photos

I love Line Camera and have been using it for a while -- well, ever since LeAnn Suchy's session at MLA!  :)  I like the fun effects and borders and I especially like the stamps.  I just wish there were more free ones. 

I decided to try Color Splurge on my iPad and liked that one as well, though I don't care much for the ads.  I will be downloading that one to my cell phone and can't wait to try it out on my adorable niece.

Does anyone know of a good, free app that lets you make a collage out of multiple pictures?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

23 Mobile Things, Thing #8: Social Media Management Tools

I was a bit perturbed when I read about this thing because in my own personal life I only use Facebook.  So I don't really have a need for a social media organizer.  However, then it dawned on me that I could use one to manage our library's Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Sweet!  I am very good at updating our Facebook but haven't really ventured into our Twitter account yet.  I downloaded the Tweetcaster app on my iPad so that I can manage both accounts.  I managed to successfully post the same update on both accounts... however, here is the problem:  Our Facebook page is owned under a dummy person person account and the update went onto that page instead onto the library page.  Hmm.  Any thoughts on how to handle this dilemma?

23 Mobile Things, Thing #7: Content Saving & Sharing

I am a Pinterest lover from way back!  I've been using it for personal things - saving recipes, workout ideas, teaching ideas (from my days as a 2nd grade teacher), etc. but I've been meaning to create a work-related pinterest account where I could save ideas for book displays, storytimes, and programming, books and articles to read, and all other things library related.  Here it is if you want to follow me:  http://www.pinterest.com/MsDeniLibrarian/

I'm going to try my hand at using Bitly as well.  Sounds useful.

23 Mobile Things, Thing #6: Creating & Editing Docs

I downloaded the CloudOn app on my iPad.  I used it to edit some of the documents I have saved in my Google Drive.  It's pretty cool in that it does exactly resemble Microsoft Office products.  However, here's the thing, I despise typing anything on my iPad.  If it's going to be longer than a sentence, I want a real QWERTY keyboard.  I don't care for typing long things on my smartphone either, but at least it's a little bit better thanks to the Swype function.

The SignNow app seems pretty cool and a lot more functional as we move more and more into a paperless world.  Perhaps someday I'll have my summer reading program performers sign their contracts via SignNow instead of an actual paper copy...  you never know!

Friday, March 28, 2014

23 Mobile Things, Thing #5: Notetaking

I downloaded Bamboo Paper on my iPad and I LOVE it!  I have to confess that I haven't used it for anything official or work-related (yet) but I am having loads of fun scribbling and drawing and writing on it!  I love being able to use my finger to write things and my stylus too.  I think kids would like this one.  Anyone have great ideas about how to use this for work?  The only thing I can really think of is having it as a place to jot down a note when you can't find a post-it or a piece of scratch paper.  This happens to me quite a bit actually.  And the older I get, the more I find that if I don't write something down right when I think it, the idea is often lost forever...

I didn't check out Springpad because it sounds too much like Pinterest and I already spend WAY too much time on that.  I'm curious about the Dragon Dictation though because I often use the speaker function on my phone to "write" my text messages.  I'll give that a shot next.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

23 Mobile Things, Thing #4: Keeping Up

This Thing just made me feel sad.  I was an avid user of Google Reader and I miss it so so so much.  It was an excellent way to keep track of all the food blogs I follow, as well as a great way to scroll through news headlines on various sites and then you could click on whatever you wanted to read more about.  I like that it had a button you could put on the tool bar to subscribe on Reader and to share on Reader.  I didn't really use the social function of it a ton because I didn't really know anyone else that was using Reader, or at least, not to the extent that I was. 

I've used Flipboard on my phone and didn't really like it.  I'm still on the hunt for something that is more like Reader was to use on my computer.  I recently purchased a Chromebook so I'll have to see if it came with a RSS feed reader installed and how it compares to my beloved and now defunct Google Reader.

I will download Zite on my iPad and use it to track all things library, but in all honesty, for reading anything in depth, I still prefer print vs. e-format and I'm not sure that will ever change.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

23 Mobile Things, Thing #3: Utilities

I downloaded an app for both of my devices.

On my Samsung S3, I downloaded Google Goggles.  It is super cool.  I can see how it would be useful in a library setting as well as in your own regular life.  I tested it on a few things I found around the house - a bag of Doritos, a couple of books, and a bottle of vitamins.  It scans the item and then brings up the exact text printed on it.  From there you can have the text translated using Google Translate --- very helpful if you're ever in a foreign land and/or any time you need to read text in a foreign language that's on something.  You can also copy the text to a clipboard and then paste it wherever you like (an email, a text message, a blog post, etc.)  Goggles also brings up any and all websites (no matter how remotely related to the item).  This is a super cool app and I can tell I've only scratched the surface of the possibilities it allows.

On my iPad I downloaded the Stand App.  I'm very excited to put this into use.  (I've been sick for the past two weeks so I haven't yet).  What is neat about this app is that it gives you a gentle reminder to take a standing break at any interval you choose.  This is important because we all sit too much (except when we're sick) and there is no reason I can't stand to do a good many pieces of my job - it's just getting used to doing it that's tricky.  The other part to remember will be to have my iPad near me at all times, which is isn't always possible.  But a healthy person is a happy person (as I've had to learn, yet again, the hard way).

Here's a bonus app for you that I downloaded to my phone:  Fooducate.  With this app you can do tons of things - track your food intake, calories, and exercise - but even better and possibly more important than that, you can find out what's really in your food.  You just scan the UPC on whatever you're about to eat and it tells you what's in it and if it's good for you.  It even gives the food item a letter grade using a grading system designed by "scientists, dieticians, and concerned parents."  In my case I was about to make a flatbread pizza, so I scanned the UPC for the new "Flatouts" I was trying.  I was delighted to learn this product had a B rating!  I picked something good for me (yay - mini miracle!)  :)  You can download it free from the Google Play Store or on your iPhone at the app store.  Not sure if it's available for the iPad...

Anyway, this was my favorite "thing" so far.  I'm tempted to look into the iSleep app too but I'm not sure how I feel about sleeping with my iPad... ;)

Friday, January 24, 2014

23 Mobile Things, Thing #2: Mobile Device Tips

I did upgrade my iPad to iOS7 so I was delighted to see all the tips and tricks.  However, I didn't really learn anything new.  Luckily for me I got to attend the MLA annual conference this past October and attended the awesome presentation "Things in a Flash: 40 in 60 iPad Apps & Tips" by LeAnn Suchy, the technology goddess!

One thing I really wanted to learn was how to make the keypad on my Galaxy S3 silent even when my phone ring volume is turned on.  I have my phone on silent all the time, mostly because I'm at work, but I even do it at home now because I just hate listening to the clicking sound!  And this issue is no longer solved by going under "Sound" in the Settings menu and unchecking the keytones option.  But, by completing a simple Google search I finally stumbled on the answer:  http://bombshelltech.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/774/ 

It works!  I can have my ring volume turned on and still silently send text messages and emails to my heart's content.  My life is fabulous once again!  Hurrah!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

23 Mobile Things, Thing #1: Blogging & Registering

Today I completed the first thing, which was to create a blog and register.

My workplace provides each staff member with an iPad.  By completing 23 Mobile Things program, I hope to learn to love my iPad and use it more effectively.

I also personally own a Samsung Galaxy S3.  I will be using both devices for this program.