My Favorite Apps

AppsWhich apps have I been using enough that I want them on my main iPhone screen? Here’s a rundown (right now, I have two more screens of apps that I don’t use nearly as much, but are pretty handy once in awhile … like a flashlight or the calculator app):

  • Messages – default text messaging app.
  • Calendar – self-explanatory, and used a lot!
  • Clock – I set lots of alarms to remind myself to do stuff (like picking up a child from dance practice). I also use the alarm clock feature when I’m traveling.
  • Camera – self-explanatory. Does video too.
  • Evernote – I use this for random note-taking, jotting down quick ideas, that type of thing. I also keep some lists here (ie., lists of books I want to read)
  • RTM (Remember the Milk) – It’s a to-do list that works well with the Getting Things Done method.
  • reQall – Very cool app that I just discovered. It’s replacing the Jott service I’ve been using, and doing a nice job of it, too. Basically, you can record a 30-second voice memo, and it turns it into text and emails that text to you. You can do a lot more with it … that’s for another post
  • Photography – These are all different cameras, photograph editors, or effects that I’ve been playing with:

    • CameraBag – has some neat filters, like 1962 (looks like an old photo, Fisheye, etc.
    • Darkroom Pro – alternate camera I was playing with, until …
    • Camera+ – I discovered this one! They were kicked out of the iTunes app store for awhile – not sure if they’re back yet. But it’s a great camera app – better than the default one, plus it has some great filters built-in. The only reason I haven’t replaced it with the default app is video (as in, it takes none).
    • CameraPlus – not sure why I still have this here … must play with it again, then probably delete.
    • PS Express – as in Adobe Photoshop Express. Great little app with some handy editing features.
    • Flickr – a flickr browser.
    • TiltShiftGen – makes those funky tiltshift “miniature” style photos. It’s fun!
    • Photos – default iPhone photo browser.
    • Qik Video Pro – this one’s been a disappointment. I bought it because it has some fun video filters (like black & white, frost, etc.). But guess what? It doesn’t do the 16X9 HD video that my iPhone 4 can do (even though the iTunes app store description says “works with iPhone 4!”). So that’s no fun! Otherwise … the app posts live video to Qik, and sends to other places like Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.
  • Bibles – a couple different Bibles I use:
    • AcroBible – the NIV version. A classic.
    • Bible (YouVersion) – I use the Bible part of this app, primarily … but it’s really more of a social network with a Bible in it. You can friend people, see any notes they create, set up virtual Bible studies, hook your calendar up with a variety of Bible reading plans, etc. The app comes from lifechurch.tv – a church that makes apps and social networks!
  • TWC – as in The Weather Channel. Hey – I live in Tornado Alley!
  • Wikipanion – a Wikipedia app. I bet I use this app almost every day…
  • Reeder – a Google Reader app. Also used almost every day.
  • Location Stuff – I’ve been experimenting with location-based services, so…
    • Foursquare – you can be the mayor…
    • Gowalla – another cool tool.
    • Brightkite – a third service I play with.
    • Loopt – the first location-based service on the iPhone.
    • check.in – web-based app that lets you checkin to multiple places at once. Right now, I have it hooked into Foursquare, Gowalla, and Brightkite. It’s very beta, so doesn’t always work.
    • Mayorama – lets you see how many checkins you need to be mayor (Foursquare only). Sorta fun playing with this… 31 more checkins until I’m mayor of Lake Shawnee!
    • Whrrl – another location service.
  • Shazam – cool music service. If I hear a song, I can hold it up, press “Tag Now” and find out who it is, and most of the time, it works great. Unfortunately, I’m often listening to weird college radio or a christian station … neither of which are mainstream. So I sometimes get an “unrecognized” out of it.
  • Facebook – self explanatory.
  • Twitter – self explanatory.
  • And of course, my phone/mail/safari/ipod apps that show on every page.

So, that’s what I’m using. What do you have on YOUR smartphone’s main app page? What can’t you live without?

Foursquare and Libraries – Anything There?

Library entry in foursquareFoursquare is a location-based game. From Foursquare’s website: “We’re all about helping you find new ways to explore the city. We’ll help you meet up with your friends and let you earn points and unlock badges for discovering new places, doing new things and meeting new people.”

Basically, Foursquare works like last.fm or librarything, but instead of sharing music you’ve listened to or books you’ve read, you’re sharing places you’re visiting, and aggregating that list out to your friends.

To play, install an app on your phone, via an iPhone or Android app (a Blackberry one is in the works). You can also use the mobile version of their website for other phones that have web access. Then go visit places … like a coffee shop, a restaurant … basically wherever it is that you go. Once there, “check in” with the app. Checking in gives you points and badges. If you visit a place more than anyone else, you become the “mayor” of that place (until your title is swiped by someone else).

Friend people, and see your points tallied with everyone on your friends list. In the process, you can also create to-do lists and tips at each place you visit, and suggest things for your friends to try or do. Every time you do something, it can be shared with your Twitter and Facebook friends.

wifi tag in foursquareSo … how does this relate to libraries again?

Well… here are some ideas for your library or organization on Foursquare:

  1. Add your library as a place, or edit the entry if someone else has already added it. You can enter your street address (Google map is included, phone number, and your library’s Twitter name.
  2. Add tags relevant to the library. For example, I have added the tags library, books, music, movies, and wifi to my library’s Foursquare entry. If you are in the area (Foursquare is a location-based service, so it knows where you are) and search for wifi – guess who’s at the top of the list? Yep – the library.
  3. Add Tips and To Do lists. When you check in to a place, you have the option to add tips of things you can do there, and you can create To-Do lists of things you want to do there. For libraries, both are helpful – it’s a way to broadcast your services to Foursquare players. To Do lists are handy, because you can make the list and other players can add those To Do list items to their lists, too. When they do something on those lists, they gain points. Think of it as a fun way to get people doing stuff at your library! Just think – someone could gain points by getting a library card – how cool is that?
  4. Add your big events. Then, you can have an event check-in with prizes for the first person who checks in, etc.
  5. Shout outs. These are a type of status update, and can be sent to Twitter and Facebook. So do stuff, then shout out that you’ve done them.

Ok – so Foursquare is definitely fadish right now, and is mainly played by Twitter and Facebook users. But it’s also a great way to connect with a very active, involved online mobile community – and pretty much every city and town has that these days.

Here are a couple of other articles on Foursquare:

We’ll see how it goes – if you’re curious, feel free to follow me on Foursquare!

Update – check out my follow-up post, Foursquare and Libraries – Definitely Something There!

CIL2009: Handhelds & Mobile

Ben Smith, Sheryl Bai, someone else…, Aaron Schmidt

First up – Handhelds at UCHC School of Medicine

PDA Program:

  • PDAs supported by the library since 2001
  • Library purchased PDAs for staff
  • Did an in-service class for staff
  • did some student and faculty training, too

Ben:

Current PDA Initiative:

meet with faculty, then test handhelds, create instructions.

Train students so they can be a resource to ther students. Cool.

They hold PDA clinics, help them install apps, etc.

Considerations:

  • which handheld platform?
  • Windows Mobile 2003 or Mobile 5?
  • Smartphones?
  • They’re limited because they’ve developed stuff on Windows Mobile platform, so they have to use those…

Smartphones:

  • two devices in one
  • cheaper
  • you have a phone contract too – have to make sure students understand this
  • screen resolution can be worse on a smartphone (aside – I love my iPhone)
  • not all have touch screen functionality

Handy software utilities:

  • dotPocket
  • DeepFreeze
  • ActiveSync
  • Microsoft Remote Display Control (displays the PDA on a computer screen, hence a live demo during a presentation)
  • My Mobiler
  • Windows Mobile Device Center

Chris Tonjes, Aaron Schmidt

Chris (CIO, DC Public Library)

their iphone app:

three layers – transaction layer, data layer, presentation layer (I think)

Goals:

  • continue horizontal integration of our ILS
  • presents an alternative delivery of online catalog – like most, not happy with their ILS. So this gave them a great excuse to start experimenting
  • first foray into mobile world
  • leverages the power of the iTunes app store – the delivery method of the future
  • model for other projects
  • provides tangible near term ROI and extended library use and awareness
  • leverage! Code and analysis used for …
  • They have a blackberry version too
  • more online catalogs! playing with VuFInd
  • Integration/direct download target for content from our electronic resource providers 9Gale and Overdrive)
  • iPhone 3.0! Ecommerce – fine and other payments from within app!
  • model for near future projects (kindle or other readers)

Showing their release roadmap – they are planning for the future

DCPL iPhone App – fast facts:

  • 2199 downloads so far
  • 85 in the last week placed holds with it
  • works with SirsiDynix enterprise portal search discovery tool
  • plug in web service
  • took about 100 total hours of programming time
  • we can forecast LOE to modify for use with ibistro and elibrary
  • code available for download

DCPL SMS Text Msg – Bill

Reach out to the younger people is a goal

they send notices, announcements

patrons opt-in on website registration page

increase library event participation via same day notifications – great reminder of events.

messages and notices tailored to SMS limitations/requirements (ie., message size & delivery)

Normal txt stuff: small messages, if you have more than one to send, you have to do each as separate messages

Cost to the library = 0

They schedule the txt msgs in the middle of the day – important point. You don’t want them sent at 2am! And you WANT them sent when people can see them, for reminders…

Aaron:

in charge of how this should look and feel.

started making paper prototypes

Even did user testing with paper mock-ups to see if the idea worked

It IS possible to design a BAD iphone app… they wanted to avoid that

There’s a PSD element library for iphones so you can quickly create a photoshop mockup

Giving examples of how it works

Next?

QR codes,barcode reading.

HUGE potential for these mobile devices.

Facebook Catalog App

app on my profileMy way cool web team recently built a Facebook app for our library catalog! If you’re interested in trying it out, simply search for tscpl catalog in Facebook and our app will appear.

Not necessarily a new thing (do an app search in Facebook for library catalog and you’ll find quite a few) … but very useful, nonetheless.

Why haven’t we built an iPhone app like the DC Public Library? Our big goal is to focus on our local community, and build for them. I’m guessing that DCPL has quite a few iPhone users already (or at least potential library users that are also iPhone owners). Topeka? Not so much. I’ve been watching our web stats – last month, we had 63 iphone visits … about .18% of our total web visits. Not enough to design for (yet).

But Facebook use in Topeka? Judging by a quick walkthrough of our building (and peeking at what patrons are doing) – huge.

More Facebook app screenshots:

Enjoy!