Sunday, June 15, 2014

Thing 23 of 23 Things

Evaluate 23 Mobile Things:

These are my final thoughts about this 23 Mobile Things program. I apologize that I am very tired, and haven't left myself much time at the end.

I really liked that we got started by getting to know our devices. Some things that I learned, such as how to take a screen shot has helped my life immensely.

An example is that I can make a screen shot of a Google Map page, and then I will have it with me in the car when I don't have wifi.

I wish I had been able to review other people's blogs. I did receive some comments from someone(s), and quite frankly, having the sense that someone was occasionally reading my blog gave me the energy I needed to complete these Things on time.

I hope to go back and read some others, especially the apps that I really liked. That will be fun.

I pulled together some notes I had made earlier:

Flip-something pushes me ten news stories, every day, and there are sometimes ones that I want to follow up with. I may download app again.

Pinterest- drop that app ASAP. I don't like it.

Drop SnapChat too, but keep it in mind. Could be useful some day.

I have found utility in putting other items ( for example the program for an educational weekend trip ) into Box.

That's it, thanks for organizing and managing these 23 Mobile Things, and all of us.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod.

Thing 22 of 23 Things

Discovering Apps:

I decided to use the online version of Quixey to look for apps.

And the subject of my app search today is an app to help me appreciate the World Cup Soccer Tournament currently underway in Brazil.

I performed the search, and had quite a few hits, but I wasn't able to determine very easily whether the apps would work with my slightly older iOS 6 operating system.

Also, maybe because it's early in the tournament, the site seemed a little unstable and shut down on me a couple of times.

But I was able to review some good app candidates, and add some to my short list.

Then I took the advice listed at the end of Thing 22 - perform an Internet search. In this case, since the apps that I want are so current and topical, I found that there are quite a few articles and reviews published only in the past week.

I scanned a few articles, made a list of about five candidates, and checked them out in the App Store. Only two were good in iOS 6, and I chose the more popular one, FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil.

App seems pretty decent. It's not obvious if I'll be able to see game highlights, but everything else I want in this type of app seems to be here, and it seems pretty stable.

Good enough for me, as I move from my blogging obsession to a bit of a soccer obsession.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod.

Thing 21 of 23 Things

Free for All:

This time, it seems, I get to choose the app. And a few things came to mind.

First is to mention some apps that I am planning to add, once I make sure that I have the space.

Wikipedia, which was last on the list of Thing 18 - Education. I really do start each workday by reviewing the Entry of the Day. Would like to have it one click away, and I'd like to see if there are any other features.

I received an email that SPCO has a website where you can access all their recordings (and check the SPCO schedule, buy tickets, and probably make a donation, too). I'll check into that.

I also heard about a really cool app for stargazing. Your device knows when you hold it above your head, and it will display the stars you'll see behind the device, in labeled form. And if you hold it facing the ground, it will show you the stars visible from the other side of the earth. I don't know the name of this app, and maybe I should wait for an iPad for full effect. But cool, yes ( and maybe not free....).

But if I look more closely at your question, I was asked to:
write a blog post telling us about an app you love and why you love it. Make a good case for its awesomeness and we may just include a link to your blog post here.

I feel like I'm cherry picking here, but when I look at all my apps, and exclude those that were delivered with my iPod (the alarm, timer, music player, audio recorder - basically the ones that aren't deletable), there are a handful, let's say two, that are amazing.

And the first, the most amazing is Google Maps. First, let me remind you that I have an iPod. No phone attached.

I can open up Google Maps, when at home, on wifi, and I can type in an address that I want to go to (yes, like everyone). Before I leave the house/wifi, I click on the arrow to start the navigation. Then I get in the car and drive towards my destination.

My open Google Map map will show my progress as a little blue dot - without wifi!! I can navigate all the way to my destination, always able to see where I am on the map (but it won't create more map if I drive elsewhere). I have heard that Google Map does this using cell phone tower signals. The first time I saw this, I had to pull over to the side of the road. A cell phone app for free!

Google is so ubiquitous that this hardly seems surprising anymore. But Google Maps is an amazing app.

My other amazing app, like my old paper and pen (or quill and ink, if you prefer) is my blogging app, BlogPress. It's fun, amazing, and I have lots of fun with it when I travel.

Do I use these at work? Well, no, but I think that's OK.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod.

Thing 20 of 23 Things


Well, I have a couple of games on my mobile device, but none are listed here. I play the trusted standby Solitaire ( and even paid the big bucks to get rid of the ads).

My second game is called Flight Control (was free, now $1, according to my son). It's a game where you manage an airport by drawing a flight path in front of a landing plane to indicate how it should land.

In the game, There are three runways or landing pads, and three types of aircraft, each of which lands at a different speed. The game requires you to plan ahead and manage many planes at the same time. Fun and easy, until the jumbo jets arrive! This game was recommended to me by my fifteen-year-old son as a game which runs at my speed!

For this Thing, I will investigate the drawing game app. I'm imagining something like Pictionary, but I am up for anything. It's called DrawQuest, and when I clicked on the link, I could go directly to the App Store. Then it told me:

Maybe a licensing issue, or copyright conflict - and when I used the search within the App Store, the title just couldn't be found. Maybe there was a similar problem with the other apps I could't find?

Word games don't appeal to me today, and Candy Crush seems oddly toxic. I decided to download the new version of Flight Control ($1). When I was searching for other drawing games, flight simulator came up, maybe because you 'draw' the flight path you want the planes to follow.

Once I was up and running, I recalled the low key 40's swing-style background music, which is another plus for the game. The promo for the new game mentioned that storm management is now part of the play, but they must have added that to the higher levels of play - which is OK with me.

They've also added the choice for 'rewind', which lets you play an impending accident over again, but it seems to cost points that I don't have (and won't purchase).

This game fine for home, not OK for work, and not terribly addictive. A good standby, with some skill development allowed.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod.

Thing 19 of 23 Things


I read through all the options for this Thing before I went to bed last night, and I was leaning towards one of the ESPN apps. I would really like to have access to game results and maybe highlights, but only for World Cup soccer, which will be going on for the rest of the month.

This morning, the gardening app My Garden was most appealing to me. So I dived in . . . And I noted right away that I like the simple icon (which I guess il like judging a book by its cover).

I started by looking at the list of plants, which I can add to my garden. I was surprised at the simplicity: there was a listing for tomato, and for a specific variety of tomato which is good for slicing: Siletz.

There are 1384 gardens with the Siletz tomato, but I've never heard of it. Where is the Big Boy and the Early Girl - the go-to varietals for Minnesota gardeners? There is no listing for these (and if you have a garden in Minnesota, and don't you start with tomatoes. . . ?).

One answer may lie in the list of top gardeners. There are five people of the first page of gardeners; the first is from Troy NY, the next is from Belgium, two seem like somewhere in Germany, and one is from Dublin.
A very international showing.

But Minnesotans? The search engine seems to lack robustness, but finally I pulled up four other Minnesotans. One had 21 plants, one had 26, two had none. Only one mentioned zone 4, our hardiness zone, which is a critical factor in discussing perennial plants that we can grow (that is, that can survive through our long cold winters).

These observations led me to the question: where are all the 'real' gardeners? The master gardeners must have somewhere to meet electronically over the long northland winters. I don't think they are using this app.

I expect that there's another app out there for gardening that's more popular among locals. I may take the time to look for it- but maybe not until I and my flower beds are tucked away for the long winter.

The ultimatum: not for work, and not for home. But I will ask my tech savvy gardening friends if they use any gardening apps.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Thing 18 of 23 Things


I think that this also happened to me towards the end of my 23 Things on a Stick experience - the selection of Things got both broader, and more fun, making the decisions more difficult (or my list of 'remember this one' is getting longer and longer).

The first one that piqued my interest was the 'Advanced English Dictionary and Thesarus'. Blurb reads:
. . . the WordNet dictionary is organized with an innovative and convenient approach. Nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs are grouped into sets of cognitive synonyms, interlinked by means of conceptual-semantic and lexical relations.
I am so fascinated by what that means!

Bill Nye the Science Guy, and DuoLingo would be fun to poke around with (downloading an interesting app is much greater commitment than clicking on a website, I see).

The 'Eat This, Not That' sounds like a fun game to play at home with my know-it-all family.

The NSF app is one that could be helpful in my work, and the same with the National Archives- Today's Document. Actually, I really should look at the websites for these last two: maybe an email could be set up for a daily push to my work email (suddenly, you can see my ulterior motive: useful and/or interesting information, no matter what the format or delivery method - format/blind).

Then I got to the end of the list of apps for this Thing: Quizlet, a tool that will really help me during the school year, as I am the go-to parent for helping my fifteen-year-old son with studying.

I have been cobbling together power point presentations with photos of minerals, and I was thinking that there had to be a better way. And i see that there really is!

Actually, David has one more final exam this year: A French final exam on Monday.

We've been studying 20 minutes each day, but tomorrow we'll use a slideset on which verbs go with etre or avoir, and those verbs which direct and/or indirect indefinite pronouns. Perfect subject for flash cards (or we can use the cool matching game)!

Addendum - the absolutely last item on the list for this Thing is Wikipedia. I have the Wikipedia link in my reader, but it always takes so long to load. Since I always start out every workday by reading the Featured Articles in Wikipedia, this is most definitely an app I can use at work!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod.

Thing 17 of 23 Things

Connecting to Community:

Oh, decisions, decisions. If I had lots of time, I'd try the Superior Hiking Trail app. I love that trail, and maybe exploring the app would help me fill my dreams until I can go there again.

The app for Minneapolis open spaces would be nice too, and of course I already have the MPR app (but only useful for me when I'm on wifi).

The app that I actually need is Minnesota 511, the MnDOT app, so that I can check the best route before heading to work or home from work - especially on those occasional bad weather/driving days. I already have a link to the MnDOT website on my work computer, so I check that occasionally. I will certainly be able to use this app at home for planning routes, or to help with timing and planning.

I continued to scroll down the list: Minnesota Museums, Explore Minnesota, all good choices. Then I saw it: Minnesota Beer Activists! And it's only for Android!

I don't remember this problem with any other Thing until now - something that was so unique, interesting, and only available on Android. I'll have to make sure my friend Mike, with an Android phone (and a highly developed taste for local beer) has this app. And I'll take a look at the organization's website.

But back to the app that will improve my life? Minnesota511. I loaded it, and it's perfect!

Here's a screen shot that shows my daily commute, from lower left to upper right. I can look at both the traffic and/or the specific incident reports. Very intuitive. My one complaint about this app? It has the ugliest icon of any on my mobile device :

(photo courtesy of skills learned inThing two: tricks and tips)

I can't use this app at work (no wifi for me at work, remember?), but I can recommend it to others. And, I can use it to get to work on time, which will benefit my workplace.

I am about to wrap up this Thing, but I was wondering, are there apps for Mn cycling? Mn bike trails? I know where to look for that, and may get to look for a Thing like that soon. . . .

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod.