Saturday, June 21, 2014

Thing 8: Social Media Management Tools


Not going to do this one, sorry. I am "anti-social media."  The best thing I ever did online was to quit my Facebook account.

It's not that I don't want to be "in the know" or connected to my friends; I just like doing those things IRL (in real life).  

I stay up to date by reading a lot of websites that capture the trends (Buzzfeed is a good one to see what the kids are into these days).

I stay connected to my friends by corresponding with them by e-mail, Skype, or seeing them in person.

I have a lot more opinions about it, but I'd rather have a real conversation with you about it than post it on here. 

Thing 7: Content Saving and Sharing

I have been a Pinterest user ever since they opened up their site to all users. Originally, they made it so you could only use it if you were "invited" by another pinner.  How elitist, I thought!

Anyway, when I began using it, all my librarian dreams of organizing internet content came true. It also appeals to my visual learning style. 

I have found tons of great ideas on it and enjoy seeing what my friends pin. I used to go on it frequently, but now I mostly use it to look up ideas (jewelry organizer was a recent search) or to browse  the "outdoor" and "diy" categories.

After a while, I do get annoyed about how the same stuff tends to appear as it is pinned and re-pinned by others.

Overall, it is an app that is very useful personally and professionally. I have found good teacher resources there and have posted some of my own ideas (like the Bookie Monster).

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Thing 6: Documents

Of course, being a Google Certified Teacher, (finally, yay!), I would endorse Google Docs as the best app out there for documents. However, I will admit it is a bit fussy on the iPad. but in a pinch, it works!

I also tried out Sign Now. This app would have been so handy about a month ago when I was applying for a job and needing electronic documents to include real signatures. Aw well, now I know! 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Thing 5: Note Taking

was recently involved in a car accident in which another driver ran a red light and struck my vehicle on the passenger side. The damage was bad enough for the insurance company to deem my car a total loss. As a result, I have been on the hunt for a new car. 

What I've realized in my search is that there are really only two types of people in this world. People who believe less is more and people who believe more is more. After driving around a rental Prius for a week and test driving various vehicles, I can tell you I am in the less is more group!

The Prius has lots of capabilities, modes, data, and displays. Every aspect of it as a car has been rethought or redesigned. I feel like the designers thought to themselves, "What else can we add or change?" For example, the Prius has a push button start, a button for parking, and the gear shift knob has been shrunk and relocated to steering wheel level in a monstrous center console.

It seems so unecessarily complicated! Why should there a be park button when I have to use a knob for all other functions? Can't they be streamlined into one? Not to mention the seemingly infinite number of displays and readouts. There is even an animated depiction of how the energy is being transferred between the engine and the battery. Talk about distracted driving!

Like the Prius, the apps listed in Thing 5 are just too much for me. I tried SpringPad, but was immediately turned off by how much set up there I had to create an account. I looked at the others and came to the same conclusion. Too much fuss for something that could be so simple. 

Maybe I'm old school, but I like the simplicity of iOS Notes. I know it's very basic, but I think there's a lot to be said for minimalism. I don't need to go through a tutorial in order to use it, the organization is intuitive, it's free, it's quick to use and organize, and it fulfills its purpose.

I recently read this article about maximizing your use of iOS notes. I discovered a few hidden features I was not aware of. For example, did you know you can set up syncing between devices? You can! Learn that and more here:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Thing 4: Keeping Up

Well...I haven't been very good at keeping up with the 23 Mobile Things, but with Spring on its way, I feel renewed energy. Yay!

One thing I have been keeping up with is all my favorite blogs. I was a Google Reader user for many years until it was sadly discontinued.  But all is well since I started using Feedly. Feedly aggregates my favorite blogs like LifeHacker, Mental Floss, and CuteOverload. I like its swipe feature which allows you to swipe the articles and move on to the next one. One thing that needs improvement is when the user is adding specific URLs.  It tends to be a bit glitchy if you're not super fast with selecting the blog in the menu. Hopefully that will be fixed in subsequent updates.

The second best app for keeping up is Pocket. Amy told me about Pocket and now I'm a HUGE fan. It allows me to tag my saved posts and archive them from many different apps that I use. I can even send to my pocket from my web browser by emailing the article to my unique Pocket email address. I like being able to reference all the cool stuff I've read using my own tags. Pocket doesn't add to my reading list, it just makes it more organized.

Finally, I tried Zite, ScoopIt, and Flipboard. Zite is by far my favorite. It curates articles based on your preferences. I've found tons of great Education and Tech blogs I would never have discovered otherwise. Zite also works with Pocket. ScoopIt and Flipboard seemed too clunky compared to the others so I quit those.

On to Thing 5, hurrah!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Thing 3: Utilities

Most of the utilities listed for Thing 3 were ones I've known about for a while (Google Goggles, Google Search, Red Laser). Some didn't seem that useful (StandApp). Or, were like ones I already use and my version was better (iHome Sleep). 

The only one I ended up downloading was the Wi-Fi Finder app thinking it might be useful for traveling this summer. I don't have a data plan for my iPad, so it might be handy to be able to find wifi while I'm offline. I did a couple of searches and it works!  It's cool that it shows it on a map.

One not listed that I frequently use is called Sleep Cycle. My boyfriend who is an airline pilot recommended it to me. Supposedly it monitors your stage in the sleep cycle and awakens you when you are in your lightest sleep state. I can't speak to its scientific credibility, but I am waking up feeling less like a zombie.  The wake up sound is a soothing music that gradually gets louder.

To use it, you set a half-hour range of time for when you want to wake up. Then you make sure it's plugged in and it's resting face down on your bed.  It probably won't work as well if you share a bed, but according to the pilots who use it while staying in hotels, it makes a 3am wake-up much more pleasant than being jarred awake by a noisy alarm.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thing 2: Mobile Device Tips

My 5 favorite iOS tips/tricks.

1. Add to Homescreen
In safari, you can create a quick link to any website. It will appear as an app icon on your homescreen.

2. Emoji 
To enable emoji, simply go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard, then choose Emoji.

Now when you type, tap the globe icon to reveal the Emoji keyboard. Fun times.

3. Use Airdrop to quickly transfer photos between iOS devices.
Sometimes I want a picture from my phone on my iPad or vice versa. The easiest and fastest way to do it is with Airdrop. 

4. Symbols and Caps Lock.
Hold down keys on the keyboard to reveal special characters like á ö ñ ¡ £ ° etc.

Double tap the up arrow to TYPE IN ALL CAPS.

5. Undo Text
Want to erase what you just typed? Give your device a good shake and choose Undo.