Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Thing 19 Hobbies

MyGarden: The plant overview lists plants alphabetically--without categorizing them. The search function, to some extent, overcomes this problem. I searched the term "green beans" and found three subheadings on the bottom of the page: Info, Tasks, and Pictures. I tapped on Info and nothing happened. I tapped on Tasks and nothing happened. I tapped on Pictures and found one out of focus picture of green beans. Now gardening is a passion of mine, so I wasn't ready to abandon this app yet, though on first impression it's unimpressive. I tried "tomato" and received slightly better information. The problem is--take tasks, for example--the information is so generic and not tied to a specific growing zone that it is virtually useless. I did like the feature that allows you to ask questions or share information with other gardeners, but overall, that's not a compelling reason for this app. Finally, when I tried to register, I received an internal error warning--twice! For these reasons, I give it a thumbs down--and not a green thumb either. I will keep looking for gardening apps and suggest alternatives if I find any.

Sibley eGuide to Birds of North America LITE: I liked the menu organization--the taxonomic and alphabetic index, the Smart Search, and the inclusion of My Location. After exploring this app for several minutes, I came to these conclusions: (1) It's a good beginner's tool for science classes at almost any level; (2) the inclusion of a map, bird labels, text, and bird calls reminded me of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in that it's very comprehensive in scope (for the birds included); and using the My Location feature, which limits searches to just your own state, is an efficient way to search for birds that you might find in your own back yard. Although it doesn't supply all the birds you're likely to spot, such as blue jays, chickadees, and cardinals for central Minnesota, it's a fun app and might possibly motivate you to buy the more expensive version. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about birds.

Spotify: Free music. What could be better than that? I was able to find Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven." 'Nuff said. I think I'll be using this app for mood music in the media center. Despite the commercials, I'm glad they make this app available free of cost. To take on the challenge, I've made a playlist of Led Zeppelin's music. For now that will be my private list for my "office" hours. I'll have to think about how to create a library list that students will like but that won't offend administrators or parents. That may take some time.

Without a doubt, this is one of my favorite apps. I'm glad that you included it.

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