Friday, July 4, 2014

Thing #23: Journey's End

Well it took a last-minute holiday cram session, but I made it through to the last Thing. It was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon - and other hours in months past. The scope of choices vastly broadened my familiarity with some of the most popular apps out there. I'm not sure I want to embrace Twitter or Instagram or Soundcloud to the degree others have. My life is more opaque and I am fine with that. But knowing what they do and look like is worthwhile.

I mentioned the 23 Things to my colleagues - especially thinking of my manager, a newcomer to smart phone connectivity. I'm not aware that any of them gave them a try. As a private special library we may not have many opportunities to integrate apps into our workflow. But I appreciate having the chance to learn myself. I would do it again.

Thing #22: Discovering Apps

As an Android user, I usually pick up ideas for apps from my feed reading and head for Google Play. Of course, there are thousands of choices displayed, with many of dubious quality even when payment is required. I thought Quixey might be a nice complement, but I found it to be too limited in scope. Its browse feature is very skimpy; it took two filters to see Facebook among the choices for social media apps. I might go back to the web site again but didn't waste time downloading the app. I think I will stick with recommendations and occasional peeks at the popularity rankings in Play.

Thing #21: Free-for-All

I have two apps that I use daily on my mobile devices and my desktop, and don't know how I got along
without them: Feedly and Evernote. They are nowhere to be seen in the top downloads on Google Play, but I could not manage my personal or professional data bits without them. I keep current with Feedly and save the best in Evernote. Today I knew I had stored the recipe for chickpea dal in my recipe notebook, and took my tablet/cookbook into the kitchen. They make it too easy to keep too much data, but also help find it when needed.

Thing #20: Games

Since I already spend too much time playing Solitaire and Mahjongg, I was reluctant to add another addiction to the list. Several of my FB friends seem to do nothing but play games but I'm not retired yet, with lots of time for such frivolity. But I decided to surrender to a top pick: Candy Crush Saga. Can over 5 million 5-star reviews be wrong? Did quite well for the first round, until my lives were gone - now I know what jellies are about!

Thing #19: Hobbies

Genealogy is my primary hobby, and I already have the best apps on my phone and tablet. I have heard a lot about Spotify: my 30-something son and 20-something niece are both devotees. I do love listening to many genres of music, but didn't think I needed yet another way to do so. I've got iTunes, Pandora, Play Music, Amazon, MPR, TuneIn. I'm into my own mixes more than following the lists of others.

Spotify appears to be a pretty comprehensive suite: songs and albums of all sorts, related artist suggestions, tour schedules, and bios. I searched out a few of my obscure favorites and was pleased to find them represented. Exploring Spotify will be a great time gobbler, I can tell already.

Thing #18: Education

I'll being heading to San Antonio next week for a librarians' convention, so I opted for the DuoLingo language instruction app. It's simple but useful lessons introduced me to some beginner's Spanish. It would probably be useful to also look for a translation app if I get serious about adding a language. I may try the French lessons - it has been 40 years since I took my last formal class in that.

Thing #17: Connecting with Community

Rather than choose from the selected apps, I searched for anything Minnesota in the Play App Store. Just for something completely different, I installed the Minnesota Wildflowers Lite version, which profiles a couple dozen common flowers seen in the Gopher State. Each item has a nice photo, with basics such as Latin name, habitat, and characteristics of the flower, leaves, and stem. You can save your own notes and create lists. The paid version has hundreds of flowers. This is a fun little app, and I found out about Butter & Eggs and Pipsissewa.