Sunday, June 15, 2014

23 Mobile Things #23 - Evaluation of 23 Mobile Things

I had an unexpected outcome from this program that surprised me.  I thought this program would transform the way I viewed my phone and iPad.  Not so much.  I don't find my phone in particular very intriguing the way other people seem to, based on the way they seem glued to them during every free moment.  I guess I thought people were using them with apps, but I'm now guessing that it's mostly texting.  I find the apps not as powerful or as easy to use as PC programs.  The only reason that I could really see using an app on my phone is if I'm so mobile that a PC is impractical or if the app has a reason to be mobile, like 5K Runner or EverNote at a conference.  The iPad I still find surprisingly useful, although none of these apps in particular make it more so.  I think Evernote is the best app I've ever found for the iPad.

That said, I found it really useful to try so many apps.  I really need a reason to take the time to try apps, and 23 Things provided that reason.  Even when I found the app not very useful, I'm glad that I tried it, because now I don't just THINK it might not be useful for me, now I KNOW.  I did find Instagram useful and will probably keep using it. 

I would participate in another 23 Things program like this in the future.  Thanks for organizing it.

23 Mobile Things #22 - Discovering Apps

For this Thing, I tried Quixey.  As the Things description says, "It’s a much better way to do some keyword searching to find apps than you’ll get in the Apple or Android stores."  I really hate searching the Apple store.  The Things have been nice, because I'm not just looking for apps on a topic, I'm searching for a specific app, which is way easier.  With Quixey, I like the layout and the ease of sorting and comparing in a larger, easier to see format.

Downloading all these apps has made me accutely aware of what a pain it is to type on my teeny tiny phone compared to the iPad.  I also noticed the headline in the Strib Variety section recently was "Is it Time for an Apps Purge?"  I thought, "Yes!"

Saturday, June 14, 2014

23 Mobile Things # 21 - Free-for-all

I was volunteering at a half-marathon last spring and was suddenly inspired by the idea that if I ran a 5k in July, I could get my kids motivated to run it with me.  Both are cross-country runners who don't train nearly enough during the summer.  I know that my sister-in-law used an app to get ready for a 5k, so I researched similar apps and downloaded 5K Runner.  The trial version only covers three training runs, so I did end up spending a small amount for the full version. 

The idea is to run a 5K after 8 weeks of training.  The app starts with a mix of walking and running, and it tells you when to walk and run.  I had to change my route away from busy streets, because I can't hear the app when there is a lot of traffic.  The goal is to run only three times per week, but the training program seems to be working.  I just completed week 6 and am up to running 20 minutes.  Nothing the app has had me do is impossible at the point it asks me to do it.  I would recommend this app for anyone trying to run a 5K.

23 Mobile Things #20 - Games

I've been playing Candy Crush for a while, so I thought I would try Bubble Mania.  It's kind of similar to Candy Crush, in that it requires looking at the layout and figuring out the best next move.  I like that it limits you to a certain number of tries per hour.  That's about all I can think of to say about this game.  Besides, I just got a new life, so I need to go play!

23 Mobile Things #19 - Hobbies

I'm a gardener, so I decided to download MyGarden to my iPad.  I like the option for a plant overview without logging in.  The plant overview is kind of simplistic, with no info on zones or colors available.  The plants are really oddly categorized, with some very, very specific varieties, along with "Phlox", which can have tons of sub varieties.  Dare I say that I wish it were more like LC Subject Headings, with broader categories above more specific categories?

The sharing piece is not very interesting to me.  There aren't very many people with particular plants in their garden, and there are very few of them in my zone.  The people who aren't in my zone are pretty irrelevant to me. I suppose this could be useful if I had questions about killing Japanese beatles, but I don't think I would use an app for that.  There are web sites that are much better for this purpose, and the U of M extension service and the Horticulture Society are much more relevant for Minnesota.  I guess that although this is a hobby, it isn't something I consider a social thing.  Or if it, is, it's social with my neighbors, not on the web.

Friday, June 13, 2014

23 Mobile Things #18 - Education

Based on the description, I chose to download Duolingo to my iPad and signed in using Google+.  I used the Spanish module.  I tried to test out of the first 7 skills based on my ancient high school Spanish.  I got pretty far, but eventually failed. I tried the first lesson, and I liked the variation of multiple choice, translating, and choosing words between explanations.  This seems like a great way to buff up my Spanish. 

I also tried Fooducate.  First I tried to locate it in the App Store using the iPad, but could not find it.  When I went to their web site, it said the app was for iPhone, so I tried searching it in the App Store using my iPhone and found it.  This app really wants me to upgrade.  I'm using a Fitbit to track my food, but if I weren't, I might use this.  Oddly, my breakfast cereal gets a lower grade on their website than in the app.  What's that about?  I like the listing of points and the ability to scan barcodes.  I'll keep this in my weight loss arsenal for a while.

This was a fun and useful Thing.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

23 Mobile Things #17 - Connecting to Community

I downloaded the Going Out app from the Star Tribune onto my iPhone.  It's great!  I can find movies, restaurants, plays, comedy, museums, and more.  I like the ability to find restaurants by location, and then I can apply filters.  I like the best bets.  The app is easy to use and the person who designed it seems to think like I do.  (That probably means that most people hate it, based on most of the apps I have used so far. :-)

I can't imagine how to use this professionally, but I will definitely be using it personally.