CILDC: Mobile Apps & Mobile Web Development

Six speakers in 45 minutes! Here are some highlights…

MIT App Inventor and jQuery:

MIT App Inventor – a web-based Android app development tool. Store your code at the site, can test what you’re building by using the site. Has a designer that lets you add components, modules, etc.

Has an AppToMarket that uploads your app to the Android app stores (some registration and a small payment is required for that).

jQuery: mobile framework that’s completely web-based. Basically a cross-browser javascript library that could be pretty handy for web design, including mobile design. Also check jquerymobile.com – a mobile framework. Sweet.

Next up: what’s a mobile framework? Gave an example of mobile design and redesign… they used jquerymobi

CILDC Day One: Mobile and Augmented Reality

So I’m at Computers in Libraries 2012 in Washington DC – always a great conference! Make sure to check out presentations online, and follow the #cildc hashtag on twitter… Here’s a couple of notes from a session … more to come later!

***********

I walked in late to this session, but what I heard was great.

Jeff Wisniewski was talking about mobile stuff, and said this:

mobile first is different than mobile-friendly! Then gave examples of how some people are redesigning websites with tablets and smartphone functionality in mind.

Good stuff…

Next up – Cindy Hart, talking about augmented reality and library resources for enhanced digital storytelling…

they used http://tagwhat.com/ to help them create stories. Looks like a cool tool to check out!

Twitter Apps for the iPhone

I have been using Twitter’s iPhone app for iPhone tweeting … but since their recent update, the app hasn’t worked well for me. I just tested it – it took 5-6 seconds to open, then when I clicked on Connect, it took about 1 minute to actually show me any tweet replies. Every page of the app has been irritating that way.

So a couple nights ago, I asked some Twitter peeps what their favorite iPhone Twitter apps were … and received some great responses, including:

  • Tweetbot – this is the one I settled on for now. Why? The layout works for me, and Tweetbot does one thing I’ve wanted for awhile – have the main screen default to a list (see the accompanying screenshot) instead of the full timeline. I rarely follow the timeline feed. Instead, I created a shorter list of people I want to follow (ok – actually a few different lists), then follow that list. Makes twitter much easier to handle.
  • Echofon – I have used this early on. It’s still a really nice Twitter app.
  • Hootsuite for iPhone – I have this, but haven’t used it much. As far as I can tell, there is no Push setting. So, to see new Twitter replies using Hootsuite, you would need to open up Hootsuite and refresh to see if you received anything new (rather than just letting the Twitter app handle this via a Push). Not useful to me!
  • Osfoora – heard of it, never used it.
  • Twitter – the app made by Twitter that I just complained about…
  • Seesmic – never used the iPhone app.
  • Tweetdeck – I have it, but it’s been pretty buggy for me so I rarely use the iPhone version.
  • Tweetings – never heard of it.
  • … and the Twitter app for android, with a smiley face attached. I’m sure it’s dandy for all you Android users :-)

Is your Twitter app working for you? If not, try out one of these, and share what you like/don’t like about them!

Photojojo Lenses on an iPhone

I recently purchased some iPhone photo/video lenses from Photojojo, and wanted to show you what they do to iPhone video.

I bought the 3 lens bundle, which includes a wide angle/macro lens, a telephoto lens, and a fisheye lens. They actually work pretty well. Watch my video to see the three lenses in action (along with my trusty iMicrophone).

Do you use your smart phone to take videos or photos? Check the lenses out.

New Podcasting Host for Us

dude listening to mp3sMy library has been podcasting for awhile, and we have been using blip.tv as our mp3 podcast hosting service. That has worked great … until now.

Blip.tv is a really cool video service. They have always focused on original web shows (think Epic Fu or Ask a Ninja), but historically they were also really friendly towards random, “share the stuff in your head” videobloggers and audio-only podcasters. So they were a great free alternative for a podcast hosting service.

Lately, Blip seems to be narrowing their focus to original web shows. Nothing wrong with that – businesses grow and change. But how does that affect us? Well – for me, though I have quite a few videos uploaded to Blip, you can’t find them in blip’s search engine anymore. They’re still hosted, and you can get to them on my videoblog – just not through Blip’s search engine.

And my library’s audio-only podcast? Blip is turning off the ability to upload all audio-only formats (that includes our mp3 files) starting December 13.

Bummer for us.

For my videos, no sweat – that’s easy. I’ll still upload them to Youtube (I’m already there anyway).

But finding a new podcast hosting service isn’t nearly as easy. For the most part, podcast hosting services actually cost money these days. Here are some of the more popular choices these days:

The big three – these are considered professional podcast hosting and distribution platforms:

  • Libsyn – plans start at $5 a month
  • podbean – they start out free, but add in monthly charges for added features and more storage space
  • blubrry – plans start at $12 a month

Free alternatives (your mileage will definitely vary with these):

A couple other alternatives:

  • hipcast – plans start at $4.95 a month
  • talkshoe – free, but it’s really more a live call-in show service that can be recorded and archived.

We ended up choosing Libsyn. Rob Walch, VP of Podcaster Relations at Wizzard Media (they own Libsyn) and host of the Podcast411 podcast, has spoken at two of the three Podcamp Topeka unconferences my library has hosted, and really knows his stuff. So we figured why not try them out?

So for now, we went with Libsyn’s $20 a month plan. It includes advanced statistics, a smartphone app, and more monthly storage. Since we plan on expanding our mobile multimedia offerings (i.e.., more audio and video stuff), paying for those features made a lot of sense to us. It’s still relatively cheap (compared to other stuff we buy or subscribe to, $240 a year is definitely cheap), and we get a dedicated podcasting platform and some really great statistics. Nothing wrong with that!

So – fingers crossed!

photo by skippyjon