Carli Spina is an Emerging Technologies and Research Librarian. She also writes for YALSA’s The Hub blog, where she is on the Advisory Board, and for the Lolly’s Classroom blog hosted by The Horn Book. Follow her on Twitter to continue the conversation: @CarliSpina.

App of the Week: The Nightjar

Nightjar LogoTitle: The Nightjar
Cost: $4.99
Platform: iOS

The Nightjar is a game unlike any other I have ever played. It is set on a spaceship that has experienced a catastrophic failure and is slowly drifting into a black hole. Alone on the ship in the pitch black, you (known as “The Passenger”) must try to navigate through this darkened environment on the basis of nothing more than the sounds around you. You are guided by two voices, one is the voice of the ship’s computer and the other is the voice of a man who says he is part of the team on the way to rescue you. But, who should you trust? And, how long will you be alone? Continue reading

App of the Week: MixBit

MixBit LogoName: MixBit

Cost: Free

Platform: iOS (with Android coming soon)

Last week the creators of YouTube launched their latest project, MixBit. This new app, which is available for free for iOS and has an Android version on the way by the end of September, is focused on helping people to create, remix and share videos. At first, it might seem a bit like Vine, Cinemagram or the new Instagram video feature, but it offers some features that set it apart, such as the ability to record up to an hour worth of video and to combine multiple videos that you have created in the app, uploaded from your device or remixed from other MixBit users. As of now, some of this editing functionality is limited to the web-based version of the tool. For example, you can save content from other users and add it to your own projects only by finding it and selecting it on the web-based version of MixBit and you can currently only access the embed code for videos on the website as well. Continue reading

App of the Week: Everlapse

Everlapse LogoTitle: Everlapse
Cost: Free
Platform: iOS

Just released last week, Everlapse is a fun new way to create photo slideshows on your own or with your friends. With the app, you can combine multiple photos into a fast-paced clip where each image is displayed for only a couple of seconds. This functionality lends itself perfectly to stop-motion animation projects as well as time-lapse “videos” of specific locations. It can also be a fun way to share your photos from a single event or activity all at once. Finished clips can be shared on Twitter or Facebook or via text or email. You can also get the link for your clip so that you can link directly to it elsewhere on the web.

Everlapse Even if this were Everlapse’s only functionality, it would be a fun photo app, but the most interesting and entertaining aspect of this tool is the way that you can collaborate with friends or strangers on your clips. Once you have shared a clip, any of your followers will be able to not only view your clip, but also to add their own images to it with a simple click of the plus sign.

Maybe you want to combine all of your friends’ photos from a party or send around a clip that collects the books everyone is currently reading, the possibilities are endless for creating what Everlapse refers to as “current status games.” This feature is open to any Everlapse user, but, if you want, you can set your clips to require your approval of any new images that are added. This app is a lot of fun to play around with and makes photo sharing even more exciting. Check out the gallery of featured clips for inspiration or just jump right in and start creating your own!

For more app recommendations visit the YALSA’ App of the Week Archive. If you have an app you think we should review,’ let us know!

App of the Week: Google Field Trip

FieldTripTitle: Google Field Trip
Cost: Free
Platform: iOS and Android (this review is based on the iOS version)

Originally released for Android devices last year, Google Field Trip is designed to help you find fun things to do, no matter where you may be. With the tagline “It’s your world, explore it,” the app takes advantage of the geolocation features on your smartphone to push notifications to you each time you are near a point of interest. This could be a location where a historical event took place, a museum or even a business such as a local restaurant. The content comes from a host of outside sources, from Zagat’s to Atlas Obscura to TimeOut, which means that you will find a very diverse array of points of interest included.

GoogleFieldTrip1GoogleFieldTrip3GoogleFieldTrip2

 

Users have the ability to control the frequency with which they receive notifications by selecting one of three available settings: Explore, Feeling Lucky and Off (see the screenshot above at the right to see how this works). The app lets you mark attractions as favorites to easily find them later and it can even read information about the location to you if it has detected that you are driving or that you have a headset connected to your smartphone. To work, the app requires that you be logged in and that you enable location information on your device; but if you are willing to do so, it is a fun way to uncover things to do at home or when you travel. And, for the first time ever, this summer Google Field Trips is offering users free admission to 13 museums around the country. So if you live near one of them or will be traveling to those cities, now is a great time to check this app out!

For more app recommendations visit the YALSA App of the Week Archive. If you have an app you think we should review, let us know!

App of the Week: Duolingo

Duolingo LogoTitle: Duolingo
Cost: Free
Platform: iOS and Android (this review is based on the iOS app)

Learning a new language is an activity that many people are interested in but which can prove to be a daunting undertaking. There are many apps that aim to teach languages, but it can be difficult to find particularly good apps that aren’t expensive. One option is Mango Languages, but this is only available to those whose library subscribes to the service. For everyone else, Duolingo is a great option.

Duolingo ScreenshotDuolingo offers lessons in German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and English. To test multiple language skills, lessons include a mix of reading, writing, translating, listening, and speaking exercises and gamify the entire language learning process to make it more fun. Give correct answers and you are rewarded with points, but if you make a mistake you will lose a heart; lose four hearts and you’ll have to start the lesson over again. As you complete lessons, you not only unlock additional content, but you also earn skill points. If you have already studied a language, you can also test out of the early lessons to advance to those that will actually challenge you. You can also challenge yourself by racing against a clock or by competing against friends that you connect with through the app.

Duolingo has offered a free app for iPhones since last November and their free’ Android app was recently released. In addition, Duolingo also offers a browser-based application for non-mobile devices and your progress will sync across all of your devices, so no matter where you are you can pick up where you last left off. If you want to practice a language you already know to keep up your skills or if you want to pick up a new language from scratch, Duolingo is a great resource!

For more app recommendations, check out the’ YALSA App of the Week Archive. If you have an app you think we should review,’ let us know!

YALSA App of the Week: Cinemagram

Cinemagram LogoTitle: Cinemagram
Cost: Free
Platforms: iOS, Android (this review refers to the iOS version)

For those who love to make short videos or gifs on their phone, Cinemagram is a great option. In many ways, it is similar to Vine, an app that exploded onto the scene a few months ago. As in Vine, users of Cinemagram create short (in this case 4 second) looping videos. And, as in Vine, Cinemagram is focused on sharing these videos online, with options to share finished videos via Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or email. To add to the social aspect of the app, you can also connect with friends from Facebook, Twitter or from your phone’s contact list or search through videos or users to find other people to follow.
Continue reading

YALSA App of the Week: Solve the Outbreak

Solve the Outbreak LogoTitle: Solve the Outbreak
Platform: iPad with iOS 5.1 or above
Cost: Free

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a new iPad app that lets you take a stab at solving the types of outbreaks that the CDC’s “disease detectives” must respond to at a moment’s notice. Right now, there are three outbreaks to choose from with more planned for the future. In each, you are presented with the same sort of data and information that would be collected in a realworld outbreak. Using these clues, you must decide what actions to take to limit the spread of the disease and to determine what caused the outbreak in the first place. Each correct choice that you make earns you points and allows you to advance from a Trainee to a Disease Detective along the way. Continue reading