Using Leio app for research

There re many a times when I know I read something somewhere but forget where I had read it. Searching through all the books or articles that I think it might be consumes a lot of time and energy, that is, until I found the app, Leio.

While Leio is not designed for research but reading, the quote function is quite useful for research purposes. For this reason, some of the one has to work around certain things (search for a book once you move onto another one), or ignore certain features (don’t use the reading timer feature). Being able to find related research quotes across several sources has not been easier now that I can do this through Leio.

These are the steps I use Leio:

  1. scan the ISBN barcode
  2. scan the quote
  3. enter page number
  4. search the quotes and notes

Now this means I will have source quotes from books with pages in a kind of database. Searching keywords then means I no longer have to work by notes from a particular book, but from relevant quotes across several sources. No other app can do this without becoming over-bloated with data.

Relevant links twitter; iTunes.

Periscope as a teaching tool

What is Periscope?
Periscope is a live broadcast service that combines the best of video and instant messaging. The “scoper” or presenter broadcasts live while the viewers instant message the scoper and other viewers. It is like Skype except only only one person is on screen. And It is like a instant messaging chatroom while everyone is watching the same thing or person. It is also like everyone can now have their own live television channel with a Twitter feed on screen (so you can see why Twitter purchased it).

What is different about Periscope?
Periscope’s format is different in three ways to similar services or what had been attempted before. Firstly, open skype-style chatrooms (which Skype did try once and failed dismally) would make it impossible to tell who is talking and who the main speaker is. It would be (or was) like a cacophony of yelling voices at a cocktail party with no one as host. Secondly, live video allows scopers to interact immediately with viewers and other viewers as well, which video blogging on YouTube does not. This is done without distraction to the scoper by separating video and instant messaging between scoper and viewer. Lastly, Everything is instant. Video blogging is instant. Interaction with viewers is instant. Viewer reactions are instant. Gratification for both scoper and viewer are instant. And once you have your gratification you can move on and do other things. It is truly taking the best of all worlds of Skype, YouTube, chat and vlogging.

What is the potential of Periscope for teaching?
Given its instant nature, scoper/viewer interactiveness and visualness it has great potential as a teaching tool. I could do a live class where other students can join in and ask questions. There is no waiting between question and feedback. And as I said earlier it is like having one’s own television channel with a live twitter feed going at once. The videos then can be saved and even uploaded by you to YouTube or others to katch.me.

The new LibraryThing iOS app review

App Name: LibraryThing
Related Website: http://www.librarything.com
Version reviewed: 1.0.1
Price: Free

Release Date: 19 October 2015

Introduction
LibraryThing this year is celebrating its 10th anniversary as an online service. It is a book cataloging service for creating database of your books as well as connecting you to other people with similar reading interests. This is its first iOS app for its cataloging service (it has produced other apps not related to its original function).

As of writing it has nearly 2 million members whom have cataloged over 100 million books.

Design
The app has a three-tab layout, a Home, Your Catalog and Add to Catalog tabs. The Home tab brings up five icons, a Your Catalog, Add to Catalog, Cover Explorer, News and Account icon. The Your Catalog and Add to Catalog icons lead to the other two tabs. So essentially there are three new functions in this tab.

The Cover Explorer brings up a list of groupings of covers related to your books. The groups include Amazon Covers, Low and High Quality Members Covers. The News icon brings up a list of news about LibraryThing ordered by date. The Account icon brings up information about the login, settings for your choice of cover upload size and app version information.

The Your Catalog tab gives you a list of collections you can tap to view. This can either be a list or cover view. In the cover view you can further tap the cover to view the book details.

The Add to Catalog tab shows you your recently added books and allows you to add books by input search or camera barcode scan.

Usability (Simplicity)
The app is highly usable in that the three tab layout is easy to understand although the repeat of Your Catalog and Add to Catalog icons in the Home tab is redundant. I am guessing they were included because of the lack of content in this tab. Inclusion however does not harm its usability.

Usability (Usefulness)
Rather than being a book catalog viewer only the app can act as an input device. This was not available as an option for smartphones until now so it is welcome and perhaps long overdue. The ability to scan barcodes make this app highly usable.

Conclusion
Ten years ago when LibraryThing first came into being smartphones were almost non-existent. The website had not been designed with smartphone technology in mind. The timing therefore meant that sites which came into existence later had a head start to smartphone applicability (BookBuddy was ahead of its time with barcode scanning). This had meant that until now only desktop input was possible. With the bulk input disabled sometime after its launch this had meant that inputting books was a difficult and tedious task. With this new app LibraryThing may just have rejuvenated itself as a player in this day and age of smartphone dominance.

Pros

  • Simple easy-to-navigate design
  • barcode scan enabled

Cons

  • No groups and talk access
  • No iPad version available

(Rating: 4 out of 5)

Classroom productivity with Voice Memo

Apple’s preloaded Voice Memo has now become a more useable app for the classroom. The user interface is cleaner now with navigation easier. Trimming and deleting parts of the recording is simplified and saving files with appropriate titles streamlined. The app also allows upload to Dropbox which means easy sharing and archiving. AirDrop again means sharing with others with iOS hardware is one click away. 

The screen also rotates so that the iPhone can be held with the mic facing up to work like a dictaphone

Another feature that is useful is recording with the screen locked meaning you can record students without distraction to them while they perform tasks for you. 

How many apps have I downloaded?

Apple reports that iOS apps downloaded from the App Store have now totalled 100 billion. Considering that 1 billion devices have been sold that is on average 100 apps per device. And considering that there are 1.5 million unique apps on the Store that is an average of 66,667 downloads per app.  

Personally, I have downloaded at least a thousand apps on two owned devices. So I guess I am downloading five times more than the average person. Yikes.