Notes for “There’s an App for That!”

Following is a recap of our December 16th program “There’s an App for That! Mobile Gadget Show & Tell”:

Christine Pearson from Maricopa County Library District noted that smartphones are so much easier to use than the previous generation of phones. For example, Razr phones were marketed as “the” phone to have for Internet access. However, iPhones, Blackberries, Evos, Androids and more make using the Internet a responsive and fun experience by the use of downloadable applications, or Apps.

All kinds of apps are available. Some are free. Some are fee-based starting around 99 cents and up. You just have to go to your phone’s app store and search by topic. Examples include:
• dog breed reference app
• Disney World app featuring ride wait times, where to meet your favorite character and more.
• Flixster- share movie reviews and ratings
• Moviefone- get showtimes, ratings and reviews
• bank deposits- snap a photo of your check and use an app to “deposit” it
• Awesome Note- sticky notes and a to-do list
• Simplenote- keeps notes, lists, ideas and share with your coworkers
• ColorNote- same concept as above
• NY Times- top 6 headlines
• IMDB- look up movie trivia on the go
• Bluefire Reader- to read OverDrive eBooks on an iPad

Vinny Alascia from the Arizona State Library pointed out that many people don’t realize that 4G service is not yet available in the Phoenix area even though you can purchase the devices. Check your carrier’s website for types of coverage. Article mentioned: Do You Really Need a 4G Phone Right Now?

Melodie Moore from Phoenix Public Library reported that a session at the Internet Librarian Conference this past October discussed mobile websites versus mobile apps. The trend is toward apps, and libraries need to be aware for the purpose of providing good customer service.

Tammy Allgood from Arizona State University (ASU) Libraries discussed the development of their mobile website. They initially wanted an app, and started using Phonegap, an open source development framework to build one. They realized they would not meet their goal to have an app by the end of summer, hence the project to create their mobile website—m.lib.asu.edu.

ASU built in an interesting feature that shows the number of pc’s available at a given library. It requires software on all of their pc’s. Other than that, it was easy to include on the mobile site. Many of their electronic resources have mobile apps (you need to be authenticated for access). The interface for their Innovative Interfaces catalog was expensive. Instead, they found open source code that worked with it. They use Drupal to manage content across multiple ASU library sites. They also use WURFL to detect what type of mobile device is being used. ASU Libraries intend to piggyback off of ASU’s app once it’s available. It will direct to their mobile site until the library app is ready.

Tammy believes Drupal far outweighs other web content management systems because it is easy to use. Joomla was mentioned as another possibility, but the audience agreed Drupal is the best. Tammy recommends setting up your own site on Drupal Gardens to learn more.

The audience went on to discuss apps and security. Generally, best practice is to be aware of the settings and terms of service for each app on your phone.

Finally, if you don’t have a smartphone but want to experience some apps, try using the Chrome web browser. Their web store has downloadable extensions (apps) you can use even if you don’t have a smartphone. One example is an extension for WeatherBug.

The next MCLC TechTalk program will be held Thursday January 27, 2011 at the Carnegie Center. The presentation will be about Screenr, an online learning resource that can be used across many educational spectrums.

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~ by mclcaz on December 28, 2010.

One Response to “Notes for “There’s an App for That!””

  1. Thanks for the recap! Great notes!

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