Blogger’s Choice: How Often Do You Upgrade?

By Brenda Bethman

If you’re an Apple lover (or even not), you might have noticed that they had a little event today at which they unveiled a new “iPad Air” and an iPad Mini retina. Prior to the event, I had sworn that nothing would tempt me to upgrade as I just purchased my iPad Mini last December and it sill works just fine (a little laggy on iOS 7, but otherwise fine).

Of course, I said the same thing prior to the event in September, when the new iPhones were announced, but nonetheless found myself getting up in the middle of the night to order a new iPhone 5S. Normally, I upgrade every two years, but in this case, I was able to sell my old phone for enough to cover the new one — and I had such horrible battery problems with the 5 that I wanted to get on the S-upgrade cycle. I’m glad I did it, but don’t see myself doing an upgrade after only one year again.

Nonetheless, the lure of the retina iPad Mini is strong considering that I use it almost exclusively for reading. The state of my bank account, however, says that I will probably end up waiting for a while on this one.

What about you? How often do you upgrade your technology?

Blogger’s Choice: How Often Do You Upgrade?

Highlight an App: GoodNotes

by Niki Messmore

There are plenty of things that I do not believe in – shoes (prisons for your feet!), Miley Cyrus’ ability to twerk, and wasting printer paper. Fortunately, I have a solution for the latter – my beloved iPad.

Allowing me to download articles for easy perusal, my iPad has been a savior throughout my time as a grad student. However, some of the platforms for reading PDFs can limiting. Thanks to my friend Anna, I’ve discovered my new favorite app for PDFs: GoodNotes.

GoodNotes app allows the user to download PDFs, make handwritten notes, and highlight key information. I love the ability to write in the margins (using different pen sizes and colors) and highlight when I’m researching – all without needing to kill trees (and print credits!) by printing off articles. Not to mention, it is fun to doodle all over the page (especially when I get frustrated by long articles) only to click the ‘reset’ button and have it revert to its shiny new state.

Worried that your handwritten notes will look rubbish? Goodnotes’ pen function flows easily across the screen. Even if that does not work, there is also an ‘insert text box’ option.

There’s even an ‘insert image’ function! Imagine: You have 200 pages of articles to read. You are weary. But! There is hope in the form of fun graphics. You can insert images of student affairs grumpy cat or the cast members of SuperWhoLock to the end of different pages in order to reward yourself for a job well done!

Additionally, the navigation tools are easy to use, allowing you to bookmark and flip through the pages easily.

The only downside? The initial download is free but only allows one PDF. In order to process more, the user is required to purchase the app for $5.99….which, for a grad student, is a little painful to spend.

Eh. I’m the kind of person who attends all the campus events with free food in order to reduce my spending, but surprisingly I love this app enough to make the commitment. It simplifies my crazy #sagrad life and for that I am grateful.

Do you enjoy using GoodNotes? Got any tips on other similar apps? Let me know your thoughts in the comments or via Twitter at @NikiMessmore.

Highlight an App: GoodNotes

App Highlight: Nostalgio

By Jennifer Keegin

In the last two weeks or so, my co-worker got a new iPhone 4S and my mom got a new iPad. Between the two of them, apps have become a frequent topic. After deciding it was time for me to revisit my own apps on my iPad, I came across a new app that was just what I was searching for. An app that allows me to create collages or frames within my Instagram photos.

Have you seen these images like this one on Instagram?

It was killing me. How did they do that? How did they get three pictures on one slide? The answer is Nostalgio. You can take pictures while using the app or use photos from your albums. Its available FOR FREE on iPad and iPhone.

Here’s some info from their site:

Nostalgio helps you arrange your photos into a beautiful photo collage and share it with your friends via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram.

Featured by Apple in the Photo & Video Essentials and Staff Favorites!


• Lots of collage templates
• Great variety of frames
• Customizable borders
• Live Camera mode in all frames
• Most popular photo filters: Cross-Process, Black&White and Sepia. You can use them individually on a single photo!
• Pick a layout for your collage
• Choose photos from albums or take new ones
• Use camera simultaneously in all frames to take pictures of the same object and enjoy fun results!
• Tap Random button and let the app create a collage for you
• Rotate and resize your photos
• Save and share your collages in different sizes
• Save and share your images across multiple social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram

Experiment – we’ve done everything to ensure the perfect result!

It takes a little bit to get used to how you place the photos, and you might have to try a couple of different templates to find the configuration you like best (which means you’ll have to start over again with the selection of pictures) BUT – its worth it. If you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you missed a few collections of pics of my little one who is quite the character. She has a very expressive face, and being able to show a few different faces she’s made on one shot is the best.

This app allows you to create the shots you want first, then you can either save it to your device and be done or you can share it.

You will have to connect all your accounts which as always takes a little time to set up.

Again, being able to put these collages into Instagram was the best-and so yes-if you start listing out the steps for creating these shots for Instagram specifically, I’m talking about:
1. Taking pictures.
2. Turning the photos into a collage of sorts via Nostalgio and then
3. Putting them into Instagram and then
4. Editing it and THEN
5. Sharing them.

If you don’t mind all the steps and using multiple apps and screens – then check it out. (It’s easier if you’re just saving them or sharing via Facebook etc.).


App Highlight: Nostalgio

Weekly App Highlight :: Evernote on iPad

by Jennifer Keegin

Here’s the funny thing about Evernote for me. I was asked to present at ACUI’s Annual Conference doing a quick tech demo type session during the Vendor Expo a couple of years ago and I chose Evernote. I didn’t actually use it – I used OneNote at the time but knew they were similar, etc. I learned a ton about Evernote and the session came out great. Fast forward two years – and I LOVE using Evernote – but I have to say it’s because I love using it with the iPad.

We purchased two iPads for our Campus Activities area. We had intentions of using them for quick demos for student groups (where to access info, how to get things done), Student Voice assessment applications, Scanfob/Attendance Record purposes etc. and we do use it for all those things. But I adore the iPad for meetings. Light, easy to carry, silent typing AND Evernote as an app.

Okay, so what’s the big deal? For me – it’s the idea that everything syncs from iPad to iPhone to desktop seamlessly AND I can grab my info from anywhere. Yes, there’s a shared drive at work and yes, I put anything super important on the shared drive. I’m talking about meeting notes, scribbles to myself that I don’t need shared with everyone – but I do need shared between mobile devices and the desktop.

A feature that I’ve used many times as well with this app is the record button. I can record meetings if I’m concerned I’m going to miss something. Big plus.

The Evernote team is always adding new features as well. They have a new guy on staff that is focusing on using Evernote to help you lose that weight that you promised on January 1. There’s a new function (Evernote Hello) for iPhone that allows you to make a directory/phone book of sorts with your contacts, which you could access on your iPad.

So here’s a video highlighting everything about iPads and Evernote.

Have fun and if you have questions or favorite ways you use Evernote – share it below!

Weekly App Highlight :: Evernote on iPad

What I didn’t know about the iPad.

By Jennifer Keegin

I am an owner of an iPad. Okay, really it’s the University’s. I bought it for work. It’s still for my use, and I’m totally jazzed about it. But as I went to purchase my shiny new white iPad with a mere 16GB of memory with Verizon wireless and 3G – I realized there was a lot I didn’t know about the iPad and that I had a lot to learn. This isn’t just a big ‘ole iPhone.

For starters there are the data plans. I didn’t really think that part through when I rolled up into Best Buy with my business credit card. I just knew I wanted a white one and it was cheaper to get the 16GB. My iPhone has 32G and that’s just crazy. My phone doesn’t need that much memory. Overkill. It would be nice to have more memory on the iPad, but again, this was for work and I did have to stay in a budget.

Data Plans: If you go to the Apple website, you could go through the whole purchase process without seeing anything at all about data plans. You have to choose either an AT&T model or a Verizon model and I think that’s where I got mixed up. You can buy the unit, but then once you get the thing home – you have to connect to the provider of choice and then pick your plan. They actually made me pick a plan in the store – just to get home to see that I had to do it all over again on the iPad. I have no idea why I had to go through the whole process in the store – they don’t set up the tablet with a connection. It indicated on the receipt what I picked – but again, I had to truly register it at home. So picking the actual data plan – I just went with Verizon because everything through the University is AT&T and I have been interested in how well the Verizon service is around here.

So I found the data plan structure to be very hard to understand. Apparently I’m not the only one. The way the salesperson at Best Buy explained it to me was that Verizon was more expensive, but had better coverage in NY. Who knows. But again – something to think about.

Applications: I didn’t know that iPhone applications are different from iPad applications. Silly me. I just assumed if I had an application I liked on the iPhone, it would just transfer over to the iPad. No such luck.

Some applications like Facebook don’t even have an official iPad app. How did I not know this? I learned the hard way. Synced up the iPad with my work computer that also syncs with my iPhone. Had all these lovely applications that ended up looking like this photo.

So make sure you find iPad apps to replace the iPhone ones that you love so much.

  • Here’s another thing I didn’t know. There is at least one application that is only available on iPad that is so cool…it alone, to me, makes owning an iPad worth it. It’s called Flipboard. Thank you to Ed Cabellon for the tip.
  • Also, I believe that Google Earth was created with a large touch screen in mind. Moving and shifting and squeezing the world between your fingertips – amazing!
  • The applications all look different on the iPad too. I kinda like some of it, some of it is a little annoying. For instance, Twitter is layered with sliding panels that overlay on top of one another.

Usually picking and adding apps can be one of the most fun parts of owning the iPod Touch, the iPhone, or the iPad – so enjoy!

Summary: I have already learned a great deal about my purchase and I’m still learning new tricks, new apps and new ways of using my iPad everyday to enhance what I do. Hopefully I’ll be able to do another installment of this post when I have more to share. For now, I’d love to know if anyone else can share “Things I Wish I Knew” about their iPad.

What I didn’t know about the iPad.

Linkage Love

By Brenda Bethman


This week’s Linkage Love has no rhyme or reason — just a list of random things that I found interesting in my RSS feeds over the last week or so. Enjoy!

That’s it for this week! Have you read something interesting lately? Share your links in the comments.


Linkage Love

My Favorite Tech Toys

By Brenda Bethman

I am pretty sure that Kristen (who put together our blogging scheduled for the next few months) assigned this prompt to me just so that I would once again be forced to publicly admit that she was right:

[blackbirdpie url=”!/brendabethman/status/17988167260966913″%5D

Yes, folks, my current favorite tech toy for work is the 13 inch MacBook Air I was able to purchase for the Women’s Center back in November. While I had hoped to use my iPad to go paperless at meetings, I find taking notes on it somewhat cumbersome. Instead, I now bring the MacBook Air to the meetings that I used to bring my MacBook Pro to (e.g., meetings in which it is acceptable to have a laptop with you). It’s a lot lighter to carry around and turns on faster. It is in fact so light that I don’t mind dragging it around campus a lot, which is nice when I find myself with an hour between meetings and want to get some work done. Before we bought it, I scoffed a bit as I could not figure out why I would need an MBA when I already had a laptop and an iPad. Now that I’ve been using it, though, I love it — and only wish I could figure out a way to justify a personal purchase so that I wouldn’t have to share with the other staff in my office.

For play, my iPad is my favorite tech toy. Never far out of reach, it’s great when I want to catch up on blog reading, look up a recipe, find the answer to the “who IS that actress in X movie” question, etc., etc., but don’t want to be chained to my desk/laptop. I also use it for reading — it’s great for books I want to read but don’t necessarily want taking up shelf space. So far I’ve worked my way through the Stieg Larrson Millenium Series, most of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, and quite a few by Raymond Chandler. I highly recommend using Amazon’s Kindle app over iBooks, as they have a bigger selection and you can sync your items across all your devices.

What about you? What’s your favorite tech toy?

[Photo Credit: Flickr user CA RO, Creative Commons license]

My Favorite Tech Toys