Sunday, March 30, 2014

Thing 7. Content Saving & Sharing

I do so enjoy Pinterest - it can be a bit addictive, for both my personal and my professional life. It's really great for planning parties, events, costumes, arts and crafts ideas, and collecting recipes. Here are some of the boards I have on my Pinterest:

I use it to plan theme birthday parties for my children, but also to find excellent ideas for library displays.

One of my Pinterest "tricks" is to copy and paste some of the more salient information directly into the description of my pin.

Problem: I find a really great page to pin, and I pin it on one of my boards. Months later I see the picture and click on the pin to see the info went with it. But the page is no longer available on the Interwebz! 

Solution: Whenever I find a pin with info I really want to be able to see later (like a recipe or directions on how to do something), I copy and paste the most important bits in the pin's description. This usually requires some editing, since there is a 500-character limit on descriptions. But the result is that I can easily see the info I need without necessarily having to go to an outside webpage or a webpage that might no longer be accessible. 

Example: I take information from a page that looks like this:

And transform it into a pin that looks like this:

Pretty neat, huh?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Thing 6. Creating & Editing Docs

I decided to try Quickoffice mostly because I already use Google Drive pretty extensively. The idea of integrating this into something I already do was pretty attractive.

I created a PowerPoint-like presentation.

Some parts were easy enough to navigate.

Very basic slides with just text are easy to do. I also like that you can add notes to each slide.

However, when the presentation is in "display" you can't see your notes. I didn't try saving as a PDF and printing, but I'm assuming the notes would show up under each slide if I tried that.

There were lots of frustrating aspects: I tried adding various shapes and flowcharts, to see what that would look like.

Often it wasn't obvious how to edit the flowchart (other than adding simple text or re-shaping), and if I didn't like what I had added I couldn't figure out how to delete it without just hitting "undo" several times.

I did like that I could add pictures from my iPhone pretty easily by clicking the thingy that looks like a butterfly...

...then choosing "Images"...

...then "Camera Roll"...

...then it was pretty easy  to drag the image where I wanted it. However, it was hard to change the text around and I didn't find a text-wrap option.

I personally would probably not use this app much to create documents, since I think it's way easier to do on a desktop or laptop. HOWEVER, I have access to multiple desktops and laptops in my home and at work. Many people don't have that option because a smart phone or tablet might be the only computer to which they have regular access. A recent Pew Research Report finds that
"34% of cell internet users go online mostly using their phones, and not using some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer."

That's a pretty large group of people who may find apps like Quickoffice invaluable to doing schoolwork or creating work projects!

Thus, I consider Quickoffice and other document creation and editing apps to be worthy.

Thing 5. Notetaking


There were some things I loved about this app and some things I found annoying with the set-up.

I had a difficult time getting an account set-up the first time I logged on. This surprised me, since I tried signing in with Facebook, then Twitter, then email, and finally Google+ (Google eventually worked).

Once I had everything installed and set-up, I tried adding checklist in the "home improvement" style notebook.

I liked the checkmark function, and I liked that I have the option of continuing to display checked items, deleting them, or hiding them.

What I'll most likely use this app for, however, is keeping track of interesting webpages, blog posts, pictures, etc. that people I follow post on Twitter, recipes I find online, and possibly books (haven't decided yet if it's easier to use this or to just use Goodreads, as I've been doing).

I found a link to a booklist tweeted by School Library Journal that I was interested in looking at later:

In order to use Springpad to save it for me I needed to open the link in Safari first.

Since this was the first time I tried this, I needed to install the Safari Web Clipper so that I could seamlessly save from my Safari browser without having to copy and paste links into the Springpad app.

It was pretty easy to install the Safari Web Clipper. There were step-by-step instructions and even a brief GIF showing the actions needed to complete the process.

The instructions had me save the clipper as a bookmark.

Once the clipper was installed, I was able to go back to the webpage with the booklist that interested me, tap the "bookmarks" icon, and choose the "Springpad Clipper", which opened it in the app for me and allowed me to add it to an existing notebook or create a new one.

The only annoying first-time hiccup that happened here was that I had to log into Springpad AGAIN in order for it to work. However, since I had logged in with Google+, Springpad hadn't created a username and password for me yet.

As the instructions at the bottom of the previous screenshot say, I had to go to a desktop and log in through a web browser in order to set up my name and password.

Once that set-up was complete, I was able to save the booklist in a new notebook I titled "Work Tweets".

I LOVE the fact that I can view things I've saved to Springpad and add stuff on the web by logging in at I often switch between looking at stuff on my phone and looking at stuff on a desktop, so this integration of both points of access is awesome.

Look how happy it made me!