Linkage Love: Pocket

by Lauren Creamer

If you’re anything like me (and I’m sure some of you are), you spend a good portion of your day checking up on social media sites or trolling around the internet looking for some new interesting piece of information. I tend to check my Twitter and Facebook as I ride the bus to my practicum (a short 20 minute trip), wait for a meeting to begin, or just to kill a few spare minutes before I head to class. And in that time – when I seem to have no time – I always find articles or stories that seem intriguing. But I never actually have enough time to read them. However, I was recently introduced to Pocket, my new favorite site/app/gift from God and great solution to my time-crunch problem.

Pocket

Pocket is like some sort of amazing cross between Evernote, Pulse, and Pinterest. Like Evernote, you can save PDFs and articles as you find them and access them across multiple mediums. Like Pulse, it categorizes those articles in a neat, organized fashion. And, like Pinterest, it does so at the click of a button on your search bar. Pocket will also save photos and videos, so you can save three different types of media at your finger tips (videos are especially great to save and watch later – I always find myself doing this with TED Talks).

While I know I have the option, it seems so silly to just keep book-marking pages and going back to them on my laptop periodically. Pocket lets you save articles from your smart phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop – and allows you to access them anywhere, as they are all connected. So now, instead of trying to speed read an article, I can save it with a click and browse them as please.

 

Linkage Love: Pocket

Highlight an App: 30/30 for Productivty

By Brenda Bethman

As I think I’ve previously mentioned, I’m both a bit of an app addict and a stickler for being organized. The combination of those two things means that I have tried just about every to-do list app that exists for iOS. Today I want to write about one of my favorites, 30/30. Made for iOS devices (sorry Android and Windows peeps!) by Binary Hammer, 30/30 is both a task manager that combines a to-do list with a timer. Using it is simple: just enter your tasks, set an amount of time, color code and set icon if you like, and you are ready to start:

Screenshot of entering a task
Screenshot of entering a task

Tasks can be grouped in lists or you can just use one list for everything. Personally, I like lists as I can then look back and see when I did what:

Screenshot of task lists
Screenshot of task lists

Once tasks are entered, you can then use the app as a timer. Simply press the timer button and it starts counting down the time for the task. You also have options to increase or decrease the time, mark complete, move to the end of the list or delete. Tasks that are not active can be rearranged — and hidden in settings is a feature that adds the time to the task. For example, 30/30 tells me right now that I will finish writing this blog post at 1:49 p.m. In settings, you can also sync with other devices via iCloud (and I should note that this is vastly improved with the latest update — previously syncing tended to erase data. Not good). Here is what my list looked like earlier today:

Screenshot of active task list
Screenshot of active task list

You’ll note that I don’t put meetings, breaks, etc. on my list (I just pause the app when I take a break), but one could. I also don’t use it every day — I tend to use it on the days when I have a lot to do and really want to focus as I find the timers to be incredibly helpful in that respect.

30/30 is a free app, although you can make in-app purchases of extra icons if you wish. They are not necessary, though and there are no ads, which is nice. The only thing I wish it could do is sync with Clear, my other favorite to-do app. Do you use 30/30 or other task managers? Share your thoughts and recommendations in the comments!

Highlight an App: 30/30 for Productivty

Highlight an App: PhotoApps

By Jess Faulk

While the number of apps I use on a regular basis decreases dramatically based on the length of time I own my smartphone, I still have some favorites that I manage to find reasons to use.  Most often these apps are a way to capture the moment, or make a photograph unique.  While I most often use them for fun, I have found uses for many of them professionally as well.

Here are three of my favorites:

Microsoft PhotoSynth (Windows Phone or iOS)

provincetown

This photo-stitching app is great for capturing a moment in time or showing off a unique space.  I’ve used it to photograph vistas, our wedding venue, and even the international pillow fight day.  While posting it via twitter or facebook certainly works, the best way to view the outcome of this app is actually in the app itself, or on the web after uploading it to the photosynth site (check out this image of Inauguration 2013 by EricJay).  It feels like you were actually there.  I received quite a few retweets posting my photosynth of the NEACUHO conference final banquet on twitter – it captures so well the scale of an big event.

Pocketbooth (iOS, Android, Nokia, Windows Phone)

Alison & JessG

This has become the #1 app for capturing a moment for my fiancé and I.  During one of our very first vacations together (to the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk) we toiled for over 45 minutes with one broken photobooth after another, and waiting for the repair guy before I remembered I had a photo app on my phone.  Now we capture the moment whenever we are visiting somewhere new.  Our best use so far: pass the app around the table at a wedding and end up with a collection of our friends’ funny poses!  This would be an awesome way to capture the personality  your staff or members of a student organization. Revive the retro style of photo fun!

Popsicolor (iOS)

Just another fun filter to use on your photos.  This is certainly very different from your average instagram filters, and would make some fabulous wall art.  It would also make for a fun and colorful staff bulletin board!

Kiddo

Highlight an App: PhotoApps

Life in the Clouds

By Valerie Heruska

Cumulus, Stratus, Cirrus, Nimbus. Clouds.

When it comes to technology terms, cloud computing is one of those things that I wish was around since the beginning of time because it is just such a useful tool that has helped me in both professional work and personal fun.

Evernote and Dropbox have been my two biggest loves.

Evernote

For those of you who don’t know and have always been curious about Evernote, here’s a quick snapshot of what it is:

Evernote is a suite of software and services designed for notetaking and archiving. A “note” can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten “ink” note. Notes can also have file attachments. Notes can be sorted into folders, then tagged, annotated, edited, given comments, searched and exported as part of a notebook. Evernote supports a number of operating system platforms (including OS XiOSChrome OSAndroidMicrosoft WindowsWindows Phone, and WebOS) and also offers online synchronisation and backup services. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evernote)

Evernote is simple to use and I know many people who use it for research papers or just about anything they need. Evernote can be used to hold recipes, ideas, notes, research, etc. And there’s a cute elephant involved.

Dropbox

Dropbox is a file hosting service operated by Dropbox, Inc., that offers cloud storagefile synchronization, and client software. Dropbox allows users to create a special folder on each of their computers, which Dropbox then synchronises so that it appears to be the same folder (with the same contents) regardless of which computer is used to view it. Files placed in this folder also are accessible through a website and mobile phone applications. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dropbox_(service)

I love Dropbox because it’s simple and user-friendly. I like to use Dropbox with my Senior RA, because it’s so easy to share files (RA Evaluations) so we can both do them and it will automatically update any changes (in the similar way to Google Docs Drive). I used to “share” my music and pictures with friends. The downside is that there is only so much storage on their server, unless you connect with a billion people, then you should be fine.

Apple iCloud

Like a delightful nimbus cloud, the Apple iCloud is great for anyone who is an Apple hoarder (me). I only have to download my music on one device and bam, it’s on all of them. Pictures can be transferred via the cloud, as well as all my apps. I love you Apple iCloud!

 

So there ya have it… life in the clouds is pretty spectacular and hopefully it will make life a little easier for you!

Life in the Clouds

Highlight an App – Fig

by Kristen Abell

So, to be honest, I debated about highlighting this app – do we really need another accountability app to add to the list? And I haven’t gotten totally into it yet, but I wanted to throw it out there and see if other folks had tried it and had more success with it.

Fig is an all-around wellness app. No, it’s not about fitness or weight loss, or how you eat – although it can be, if you want. What makes Fig unique is that it allows you to choose just how you want to use it. Do you want to drink more water? Make your bed every day? Have lunch with your significant other? It has all those options, and more. Plus, you can choose to share or not share as you wish – whenever you add an activity, you have the option to schedule the frequency and the privacy setting. And yes, it does integrate with Facebook (though not Twitter yet).

So positives so far? I like the types of options it provides – especially when I want to focus on improving myself in all areas of my life, not just exercise and food. I think if more people were on, we’d also enjoy seeing what others are working on, and knowing me, I’d find additional ways to encourage them. (For example, if someone was working on, say, a dissertation, ahem, perhaps they could add that activity for others to see and urge them on. Just sayin’. Not that I know anyone working on a dissertation or anything…).

Negatives? It’s still in beta, so there are a few user-friendliness options missing. Once you add an activity, you can’t delete it.  There probably needs to be more interactivity with Twitter in addition to Facebook. There doesn’t seem to be an option to look at other people using Fig so that you can add friends – it seems you can only add them through the invite process. And I’m not sure how many people are ready for an all-around wellness accountability tool as opposed to one focusing on one or two areas.

But don’t let me tell you whether or not you’ll like it – try it out for yourself! Let me know (kabell96@gmail.com) if you want to be friends, and I’ll send you an invite!

Highlight an App – Fig

Holiday Gifts + Instagram = FUN TIMES

by Jennifer Keegin

Love yourself some Instagram?

Here are  two ways to indulge this holiday season.

Have a ton of photos you’d love to have with you always? Want to turn your photos into a cool Holiday gift? Here’s a round up of some cool ideas and websites to get started:

  • Make a bracelet from your shots on Etsy.
  • Instagram magnets. From StickyGram.com. Each StickyGram is 50mm x 50mm. That’s approximately the same size as they appear on your iPhone. They come in packs of 9.
  • Blow your pics up and turn them into a work of art – on canvas.
  • Make calendars via apps called Calendagram or Keepsy.

Love instagram? Or know someone who uses it constantly? Buy them something Instagram related:


Crocheted Instagram Mini Bag. Purse. Pouch. OR a case for your sunglasses here.

Either way, have fun taking photos with the changing of the season and all the fun times ahead of you during the Holidays.

Holiday Gifts + Instagram = FUN TIMES

App Review: Tweetbot for iPad/iPod

by Valerie Heruska

Recently, I was at #NASPATech and I presented on the fundamentals of Twitter– your basic how do I get started and where should I begin. Aside from the questions that would be expected during a beginner’s session, I was asked multiple times about which app is the best to use for Twitter on a mobile device. There are so many out there and I empathized with my audience, as I’ve struggled with finding the best app for me. After trying multiple programs, I stumbled upon Tweetbot for iPad. I was willing to pay the $2.99 and try it out, after multiple programs were a big epic fail.

I love this application for a number of reasons. One of the reasons I love this application is for the interface. The app is beautiful and doesn’t make your screen hemorrhage with clutter.  It’s so easy to read all the tweets that come in and no matter if you’re holding your iPad vertical or horizontal, it’s very screen-friendly.

As far as looking at multiple timelines, it’s easy for users to switch quickly between lists as your main timeline. You will also find it easy to go between different accounts.  It takes approximately two taps on your iPad screen to go between your accounts. Whether you have two accounts or manage a departmental or association account, the anxiety of accidentally tweeting personal information from a corporate account is lessened.

If you’re using your iPad/iPhone, the use of smartgestures makes it easy for users to reply, DM, and see the conversation of multiple replies to your tweets. You are also able to customize your own smartgestures with this app.

I’ve found Tweetbot to be one of my favorite apps for Twitter. For me, the layout was the main draw to this app. I think it is very user-friendly and allows you to see more than the regular Twitter for iPad/iPhone allows you to see. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

App Review: Tweetbot for iPad/iPod

Highlight of an app: My Fitness Pal

by Colleen Riggle

It took my child turning one to finally give me the push to lose those lingering baby pounds.  I often hear many women complain about them days, months, or even years after giving birth.  Not that I am super concerned with my weight, but it was more so wanting to expand my wardrobe a bit more.  Materialistic? Perhaps, but it’s more realistic with the cooler Fall temps approaching.

Being an athlete I’ve always keep a good idea of what my daily caloric intake, fat and protein looks like and used various apps in the past.  However, for the past 35 days I have successfully logged every meal, snack, and cardio/strength workout.  For me that’s pretty impressive.

My Fitness Pal has been awesome for a couple reason.  It’s an app that is web based as well, so when I’m at work I can log my snacks and foods quickly without having to use my phone.  But if I’m on the go, sitting in traffic (carpooling, of course) I can log in my dinner or send some motivation to my “friends”.  Additionally, you’re able to either keep your food diary public or private.  My friends and I have public food diaries, so we able to get fresh, new ideas of meals or snacks.  We’re also able to give advice where someone might be struggling.  Or you can see just how many Starbucks I’ve had in the last week!

Lastly, what I love about My Fitness Pal is the barcode scanner! It’s awesome.  At dinner time, I just run around zapping the barcodes, which add to my “recent” foods, as well as my meal history!   Once in a while it’s a little wonky where it pulled up something totally random from what I was eating!

Whether you’re watching your intake, on a “diet” or just looking for a cool new app My Fitness Pal gets 5 stars from me!

Highlight of an app: My Fitness Pal

Highlight an App: Spotcycle

By Anitra Cottledge

I’m going to let all of you in on a tiny secret: I really underutilize apps on my iPhone. I only use a few apps with any regularity: Facebook, TweetDeck, Evernote, Wikipedia, Snaptell and Goodreads.

As a result, I had to really think about what app to highlight for this post. In the end, I decided to focus on an app that I recently started using: Spotcycle.

I am not a champion bicyclist. In fact, until a couple of weekends ago, I hadn’t been on a bike in years. I definitely don’t own one anymore. However, in my attempt to become more active, I decided to draw on the resources in my area. You may have heard that Minneapolis is the #1 bike city in the nation. It’s true; I’ve seen more people on bikes here than I’ve seen anywhere else. People bike to and from work, use bikes as their primary mode of transportation (even in the winter!), and at the University of Minnesota, employees can even earn wellness points for biking.

It’s kind of like a big deal.

Now, thanks to Nice Ride MN, Twin Cities residents and visitors can rent bikes for varying amounts of time. And best of all, there’s Spotcycle to help sometime (or oftentimes) riders:

  • search for bike docks and bike stations (it even lets riders see how many bikes are available at each station!),
  • keep track of the timing of their rentals, and
  • bookmark and share bike routes (haven’t used this feature yet, but plan to in the future as a I do more biking).

The major downside – which isn’t a fault of the app, but rather a systemic issue – is that these bike-sharing programs aren’t available in every city. The Spotcycle website has a listing of participating programs, but if you live in a city whose program isn’t linked up with Spotcycle, your options are only to either get your local program added to the app, or to use a different app altogether.

So far, Spotcycle is working really well for me, as a basic app with pretty stripped-down features. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but I don’t need that, at least not until I become a more advanced bike rider.

Highlight an App: Spotcycle

Highlight An App: Kindle

by Kathryn Magura

I had a hard time trying to figure out what app to highlight for this post. We’ve already covered Instagram and I probably shouldn’t tell you how terrible I am at Draw Something, so I thought I’d go the more practical route: Kindle!

Kindle App

That’s right, there is a Kindle app! Why would you want a Kindle app? Well, if you’re like me, you have a Kindle (I have Kindle Fire) but don’t always have my Kindle with me. I also have an iPhone and iPad for work. In order to not become a complete tech cliche, I’m not going to keep all three of those devices on me all the time. What am I to do then?

Well, I’ve recently discovered that the Kindle application uses cloud technology to bookmark the location of where you left off the last time you were using a Kindle device or app. What does this mean? Well, it means I can read my book on my Kindle Fire by the pool on the weekend, on my iPhone while walking around campus (I don’t really recommend reading while walking, but you get the idea), and on my iPad during my lunch break. Perfect solution for someone who loves to read!

Highlight An App: Kindle