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Minnesota, United States

Friday, February 28, 2014

23 Mobile Things: Thing 5- Note taking

I don't always have my mobile phone on me, so I'm not sure that the note taking apps mentioned in this thing would be all that useful to me.  On my computer, I typically use Google Docs to make lists of things to do, goals to accomplish, books to read, etc.  And I use Google Calendar to set reminders.  Those programs work well for me already, so I don't see much need to download a note taking app like Springpad or Remember the Milk.  Also I just use the old fashioned paper and pencil method alot.

I did try to download Bamboo Paper though because it resembles an actual notebook and it has a whilteboard like feature where you can draw pictures, add color, and highlight.  I was disappointed to find that my device was not compatible.  I have an old Samsung Galaxy S phone.

I was also curious about Dragon Dictation because I wanted to try out a speech to text app but since its for Apple Products only, I wasn't able to download it. I found something similar, Dragon Mobile Assistant which works for Android devices.  I was able to download this app and try it out.

Dragon Mobile Assistant does many things and is surprisingly accurate.  You can ask for directions to get somewhere and it pulls the map right up.  You can ask it to email, text, or phone someone in your address book.  You can ask it for the weather, ask it to play a You Tube video, or a song by your favorite artist on Pandora.  Plus you can ask it to search the Internet for just about anything you choose.  Occasionally, it will confuse words that sound alike but are spelled different, but usually the speech to text conversion is very accurate.

23 Mobile Things: Addendum-- CardStar

CardStar is a mobile app that allows you consolidate the barcodes on your membership and reward cards on your mobile device so that you don't have to bring the cards with you when you shop.

I downloaded the app and I found it really easy to use.  You can search for a company or if your company is not listed you can select "Other" and then name it whatever you like.

You can manually type in the barcode or scan it in.  I tried scanning in barcodes from several of my cards:  Panera bread, Rainbow Foods, Famous Footwear, Superamerica, and Walgreens.  Except for Walgreens, I was able to successfully scan in the barcode.  I'm guessing Walgreens did not work because the barcode on there did not resemble a standard barcode.

Once you enter or scan in a barcode, you can then click on that card for more information about that company.  You can find deals, access their website, find nearby locations on a map, or contact customer service.

I heard someone say that it can also be used for library cards.  I was able to scan in my library card barcode.  I tried scanning it on the self-checkout machine at Hennepin County Library and it did not work for me.  At least I have a way of storing the barcode number though.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

23 Mobile Things: Thing 4: Keeping Up

For this thing I downloaded the Flipboard app to my android phone.  Flipboard is a way to create what looks like a personalized magazine with content from topics that interest you.  I used it to access content from my Facebook account and my favorite news feeds and websites.  Its a great way to gather your favorite content all in one place.

I'm also an avid user of Feedly, an RSS feed reader on the PC.  I was delighted to find that there is a Feedly app for the Android.  I found this app slick and easy to use.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

23 Mobile Things, Thing 3: Utilities

For this thing, I downloaded three apps: Red Laser Barcode & QR Scanner, Google Goggles, and Wi-Fi Finder.

Of the three apps, I liked Red Laser the best.  It works by scanning a barcode or QR code.  Once the barcode or QR code is scanned, it brings up online and local store locations for the item and the cost.  With the local store locations, you can pull up a Google map to locate the stores.  You can also find related products and product reviews.  The app also allows you to create lists, share your scan results, and scan and store your loyalty cards.  There is also a QR code creator built into the app.  This is an app I think I will be using frequently, to compare prices of a given product and to read product reviews.

Google Goggles works by taking a picture of an image or a barcode/QR code.  It tries to recognize the image and if it does, it displays search results.   Barcodes worked well but I did not have as much luck with other images.  I tried taking pictures of various images such as pieces of artwork, food, shoes, product labels, and other everyday objects.  The app was able to recognize the correct brand of shoes and the product label search results were accurate.  For the other things, it did not generate any search results.  I thought it would be able to recognize a well known piece of artwork but it did not.  Recently I had a patron ask me to find the name of a piece of artwork, which was a lesser known one by Picasso.  We had no luck using a Google Image search.  I was hoping that maybe Google Goggles would be able to recognize it but probably not.

Wi-Fi Finder locates wi-fi locations near you and tells you which ones have free wi-fi.  It's easy to use and you can also use it to find wi-fi locations for any city.  This would be particularly useful for those who are travelling.

23 Mobile Things, Thing 2: Mobile Device Tips

Right now the only mobile device I own is a Samsung Galaxy S phone, an older model, so I ended up having to search on YouTube to find videos of tips applicable to my device.  Two useful videos I found were 10 Essential Galaxy S Tips: Part 1 and 10 Essential Galaxy S Tips: Part 2.

Some of the useful tips I learned included the following:

*To access task manager, hold down the Home button.  This brings up your recently used programs.  You can click on one of these programs to return right where you left off.

*A quick way to uninstall programs is to click on the Home button, then click on the Task Manager button, then click on Downloaded.  Your programs will be listed and there is an Uninstall button next to each program.

*Swiping is an easy way to make a quick call or text message.  In your Contacts page, swipe left on the name to send a text and swipe right to make a phone call.

*The calculator also performs functions typically seen on scientific calculators.  To access these functions, once you're in the calculator, turn the phone sideways, and the extra function buttons will appear.

*In the music player when playing a track, you can lock the phone and the track will still play.  You can also get any of your music tracks as a ringtone.

*To add a wireless or bluetooth shortcut to the home page, hold your finger down on the screen.  Then press Shortcuts, then Settings, then Wi-Fi settings or Bluetooth settings.  The shortcut will now appear on the main page.

*To copy data between the phone and the computer, go to Settings, then Applications, then Development, then select Turn on USB Debugging.  I wasn't clear though if this allows transfer of data from the phone to the computer, from the computer to the phone, or both.

*The layout of the home page can be changed by simply clicking on the Menu button and then clicking on Edit.

*It's easy to quickly reject incoming calls.  When the call comes in, swipe the Reject Call button up to get options of text messages to send to the caller.  Examples include "I'm driving" or "I'm at a meeting." You can also create your own message.

*With web links, hold down on the link to access options such as opening link in a new window, bookmarking the link, saving the link, share the link, or copy the link.

*Your phone contacts list can be shortened to include only those with phone numbers.  This is useful for those who sync their contacts with Facebook friends.  To do this, click on Contacts, then Menu, then Display Options, and check the box "Only Contacts with Phone."

So those were several of the useful tips and shortcuts I learned from those videos.