Thing 23

  • My thoughts/ideas about apps has not changed particularly in so far as I believe there are an overwhelming number of them and it’s hard to sort the wheat from the chaff.  That said, the project has motivated me to at least poke around and ask around to find things that might be fun and/or useful.  As a result of this project I am sure I will find many more apps that I would have never ventured to look for without having done this project.
  • A few of my favorite things:  StandApp, Zite, CamMe, Instagram, Word Abacus.  These are Things that I now use regularly that I did not know about before (Some Things I use regularly but knew of them before the project).  I’m also excited about Apps Gone Free (no $ risk trials). 
  • I talked with others about the project but not very much.  No one I work with is participating and no one seemed to be getting into it where I volunteer.  I know a couple of knitters who are participating.
  • I am surprised I finished!  I’m surprised so few librarians I know are interested.  I wonder if it’s because everyone feels so overwhelmed by the number of apps out there.  Plus you have situations where they die or disappear – like SpringPad was a Thing and now I’m getting emails that it’s going away.  I’m also surprised that I dislike Android so much and love my iPad (I had loaned it to someone during the project and was soon dismayed that I was working with a Nexus 7).
  • I think you did a good job of finding a wide variety of apps to work with, and I think that is a reasonable goal for a project like this.  I’m delighted with the whole thing – it has broadened my world.  Thanks!
  • Yes, I will participate in another Things in the future – assuming it’s mostly new Things.  Hopefully I will pace myself better next time (I thought I had ’till the end of the month, and then got the email that the deadline was fast approaching!)
  • This was a great way to get me off my duff, looking at new apps and trying new stuff.  Do it again soon – I’m sure I’ll be in another rut in no time!

Thing 22

I downloaded “Apps Gone Free” because I am just too lazy to look for new apps on my own.

I mean, that is why I’ve done this project – to get out of my rut and try new apps.

My first foray into the offerings on Apps Gone Free is “Strange Rain” which is kind of ironic because it’s raining out right now 😉

Hopefully I will venture into unknown territory more often with this.   Free is a good incentive.


Thing 21

I listen to podcasts a lot, and while those are traditionally found through iTunes or on websites, a lot of them have stand-alone apps now.

My favorite is The Moth, but I’m not going to endorse The Moth right now.

There’s a website called that now has its own app.  You can easily find it by searching “how things work.”  I really like the app because it is full of stuff for intellectually curious people. It can be used by anyone from the age of eight and above. There are quizes, videos, podcasts and a ton of other stuff.   It can be used by librarians at work (mostly public librarians but not exclusively) or for fun.

I originally learned of the website from an instructor who would send his students to the website to look up info on computer hardware (he taught an intro to computers class).

My love for the website and app has blossomed over the years.

Anyway, I listen to several of the podcasts from this app regularly, and I occasionally look at other stuff too. It’s a great place to find out about Stuff.

So if you love learning about stuff, or if you are constantly looking up stuff for others, this is an app you may want to get to know.


Thing 20

Ah, games.

I was raised on board games and cards.  I am too old to be into video games.  A co-worker told me about Temple Run but it gives me motion sickness.  I was all excited about the Minion game, but alas it is just like Temple Run so same problem.

I do happen to love word games, so I downloaded Word Abacus which is right up my alley 😉

While I agree that games can be good for you, I believe there is a tendency to forget the benefits of moderation.

Starbucks gives out free app cards and I discovered “Blast A Way” for free that way.  I love Sudoku, Spider Solitaire,  Scrabble and a number of others, but I try to limit my screen time per day.

That said, I’m going to go read my paper book now.


Thing 19

I am a big knitter.  I’ve tried a number of knitting-related apps but I’ve never been overly impressed with any of them.  For his Thing I downloaded “Knit – knitting counter for iOS” which was a dud. I also tried “JDKnit HDLite” but I already have GoodReader for patterns (it’s a PDF markup app).

Then I downloaded “Craftsy” which is great.  There are classes (see Coursera above) not only on knitting but also on photography, cooking and crochet – yay!  I’ve heard talk of Craftsy classes and I’m excited about taking one through the app.

I also found a knitting chart maker app, but I have nothing to convert to a chart at the moment so that will have to wait.



Thing 18

So many great apps on this thing!

I tried “Eat this not that” and was surprised by some of the answers.  The problem is, I don’t eat fast food very often so it has limited use for me.  Actually, I don’t eat out that much at all.

I did download “Ted.”  I had downloaded Ted Books but not the talks – can’t imagine why.  I watched Marla Spivak’s talk right away (it was on my to-do list).

“Khan Academy” is something that I had downloaded already.  This and Ted both have many uses to help students, although because I’m in for-profit education permissable use is limited.

“Art Circles” is another thing I had on my iPad but had forgotten about….so much fun!  How I wish such a thing existed when my children were young!

I also downloaded “Today’s Document” not because I have any use for it but because it fascinates me.  I used to read from a book, “Today in History” to my kids every day and I’m hoping it’s like that – today’s document is the notes from speech in Berlin from 1987 calling on Gorbachov to tear down the Berlin Wall.  When that speech was made no one would have imagined that the wall would really come down so soon.

I would also like to mention that “Coursera” has a very useful app.  It’s great for doing anything in your MOOCs.  And next month a class on Copyright for Educators and Librarians is being offered by Coursera – I’m hoping it’s a worthwhile class.


Thing 17

I am very pleasantly surprised by the “Going Out” app from the Star Tribune.  I think this will come in handy when looking to see what’s happening – especially at the last minute.  It has a good breakdown between movies, music, art, stage, etc.  the “Best Bets” will be great for those nights when you’re not sure what you want to do, only that you want to go out.  I plan on building a favorites cache.

I can’t think of a professional use for it though, unless I were in charge of finding someplace to go for next quarter’s happy hour 😉   I may look for similar apps in other towns though, to use when traveling for work.

Just a note – I tried “City Bot” too but really don’t care for it much. Perhaps I didn’t give it enough sample tries, but it told me on one search that the beginning and end points were too far apart to walk.  I beg to differ!


Thing 16

I have been a consumer of SoundCloud in a MOOC (as a student) earlier this year.  It’s a great way to communicate simple instructions or tell a story.  The app is simple to use and I love the fact that you can include background music/special effects/whatever.

Because it’s so simple to use I think this would be a great way to do podcasts.  We already do SnagIt for short instructional pieces at work – this includes audio too – so I’m not sure I’ll be switching any time soon for work related things, but for a free app this is very useful.



Thing 15

I would like to begin by saying that I LOVE infographics!

To get inspiration I downloaded the Infographics Hub app.  I had a lot of fun looking at what others have done.  Because I work at a for-profit, my interest is primarily in making my own though, since permissions in the for-profit world tend to be quite spendy.

So I downloaded i Visual.  I was disappointed that it does not have an iPod version because my iPad is out on loan right now.  I did not find it when I searched iTunes on my Mac.  So I downloaded the version for Android on my Nexus.  While I would like to say thanks for the warning, I would also like to say that I never got it to work on Android.  Not at all.  Very sad.  

Hopefully there will be a version that works with iPod sooner rather than later, or one that has an Android version that works.  In the meantime, I will enjoy looking at what others have done for inspiration.  I think that info graphics are a great way to spread the word (about almost anything).


Thing 14

I downloaded the Viddy app and played with it a bit; it seems to be a good app and videos can be a lot of fun.

That said, I was having a hard time imagining what the videos could be used for, but then I stumbled upon this piece from ALA Direct on the use of Vine.   Originally I downloaded Viddy because I didn’t want to be limited to six seconds, but seeing what they did by stringing a bunch of Viddys together really impressed me.

Now, there’s always the issue of how to apply this sort of thing to library services when you’re completely virtual, but I am working on it.  Six second testimonials from students at Residencies could be pretty cool, for instance.  And we could introduce ourselves to students with them too, and probably embed them into instruction pieces like Captivate tutorials.

All I need now is a little practice taking videos!