True Legends LogoName: True Legends
Price: Free
Platform: iOS

True Legends is a very interesting and, fortunately, free app that I can best describe as a combination of a short story and an animated short. The app first asks users whether they would like to use the app in Hebrew or English. Once you have made a language selection, you are presented with an opening screen that looks very much like the front cover of a book with credits for the writer (Alex Epstein) and the illustrator (Tsach Weinberg).

At this point, the app also demonstrates the swiping motion that is required to advance through the story. Rather than turning pages, users swipe as if zooming in to trigger motion and animations throughout the story. Sometimes these animations are, in fact, zooming in to see details, but they also include movement and scenery changes. While there is only one path through the story, this does add an interactive quality to the app and makes for an impressive user experience. The soft and meditative music that plays throughout also adds an immersive quality to the app.

True Legends Screenshot

The story, and therefore the app, are quite brief, but the beauty of the artwork and the haunting and fable-like nature of the story makes up for that, at least for me. In the end, I think this app is an interesting example of how the app format can allow artists to change the way that they present stories and artwork and it is an example of the types of innovations that we will hopefully see more of in the future. Especially given the fact that it is free, I think this is a great app to load on library iPads for demonstration purposes or to show to those who are disappointed that ebooks are so frequently simply text presented on an electronic device.

Have a suggestion for App of the Week? Let us know. And find more great Apps in the YALSA Blog's App of the Week Archive.

Space Station Research Explorer App LogoName: Space Station Research Explorer
Cost: Free
Platform: iOS and Android

Space enthusiasts rejoice! At the beginning of last month NASA released a new (and free!) app that brings users aboard the International Space Station (ISS) with a particular focus on all of the research that is conducted aboard it. The app is divided into five sections: Experiments, Facilities, Benefits, Media, and Links. Read More →

Title: Nuzzel
Cost:: Free
Platform: iOS 7 or later

nuzzel logo creatureNuzzel is a great way to aggregate specific aspects of a Twitter or Facebook feed. The app pulls together posts from your feed(s) that include links and creates a stream of just those posts. The stream includes posts from those you follow, friends of those you follow, and news you might have missed. It also will keep track of articles that you have recently read within the app - when you've clicked on a link in a post from a friend or a friend of a friend.

Settings in the app allow you to sort posts within a particular period of time - say just the past 24 hours - and to display the posts by most popular - say Tweeted five times by those you follow on Twitter - or by most recently posted/Tweeted.
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Title: Duet Display
Platform: iOS 7 and All Macs (Windows is in the works)
Cost: 14.99

duet display logoI don't know about you, but I often like to work in a dual screen environment. One in which I can be looking at a document to refer to on one screen and look at or work on a related document on another screen. I'm also a fan of dual display environments in which I can easily interact with both screens and in which the two screens actually talk with each other. I haven't been able to do that between my MAC and iPad or iPhone, that is until Duet Display launched. Now with the app on all of my devices - laptop, iPad, and iPhone - I can work between screens easily.

To get started with Duet Display you have to download the app to all of your devices. (You don't have to pay for the app each time, purchase it once and it's downloadable across devices.) Once installed open up the app on the two screens you want to work with - a laptop and iPad for example. Plug the iDevice into the MAC USB port - using the same cable used for charging your iDevice, voilå your iDevice is reading your MAC computer screen.
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Throughout the year, YALSA's App of the Week bloggers review what's new and interesting in the app world for teens and the library staff that work with them. In this end of the year App of the Week post, we look at the top four apps that stood out to bloggers in 2014.

Canva
A favorite of YALSA Blogger Jen Scott Willis

canva logoGraphic design is a tricky business, and one that many of us don't realize is part of our job description until we're faced with a blank document and a list of almost-but-not-quite-right font choices. ' Canva, a free, web-based application' that lets you easily produce' professional-looking' designs, made this part' of the' job much easier for me when it debuted over a year ago. ' Now, with the introduction of the iPad app, the possibilities are both endless and mobile.
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Name: Steller
Cost:  Free
Platform: iOS

Steller

Digital storytelling apps have a tendency to be cumbersome and not so conducive to telling stories on the go.  Not so with Steller, which lives up to its name by letting users combine text, photos, and video to create stories with the ease of an Instagram or Twitter post.

Users build their stories page by page, choosing the type (text, photo, or video) and layout before tweaking things like colors and fonts.  Design choices are limited, but result in a modern, professional-looking story that, once published, uses the parallax effect in iOS to produce an impressive 3D page-turning experience.

Publishing your story adds it to Steller's home page, where other users can like, comment, and follow your profile.  The stories can also be embedded into blogs or websites, emailed, or posted to Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter.

So far, stories posted to Steller run the gamut from travelogues and fashion lookbooks to illustrated recipes and even short works of fiction, but the potential uses for libraries and teens are exciting:  book reviews, booklists, school projects, and portfolios would all be at home here.  Or, you could turn all the photos you take this holiday season into beautiful stories to share with your family and friends.

Have a suggestion for App of the Week? Let us know. And find more great Apps in the YALSA Blog's App of the Week Archive.

Fragment LogoName: Fragment
Cost: $1.99
Platform: iOS and Android

My previous App of the Week post discussed Matter, an app for creating otherworldly images. This time, I took a look at Fragment, another app from the same company, Pixite. As with Matter, this is an app that is aimed at making your pictures look beautiful and yet alien. You can import any image from your device and make it into a magical view through a prism that looks professionally done and completely transforms your original picture.

When you first open Fragment, you are given the option to start creating your first fragmented image or to view the "Inspiration" gallery to see how others have used the app. I found the images in the gallery to be particularly useful in seeing how the app could be used since some of the possibilities would not have immediately occurred to me without these examples. When you decide to "fragment" an image, you will have the option to import any image stored on your device, take a new photo with your device, or use one of the "Community Photos," which have been contributed by other users for free use by anyone. Once you have selected an image, you can start adding effects to it. First, you will need to decide the aspect ratio you wish to use for the image. You can then move on to adding effects. When you purchase the basic app for $1.99, you have access to the two classics volumes, though there are four additional collections that you can purchase if you want to try additional effects after you have given it a try. Each of the two collections included in the basic version of the app includes over twenty different options for shapes or styles of fragments and each of those can be resized, aligned at different angles, and shifted on the image for an almost limitless number of combinations. In addition, the app allows you to change the underlying image by altering the light level, contrast, blur levels, and saturation of the image. You can test out as many variations as you like before making your final selection for each of the settings.

Once you are happy with your image, you can save it, share it via Instagram, share it via text message, Twitter, or email, send it to one of the other image apps on your device with two taps, or "refragment" it, which will take you back to the editing features. If you have other apps by Pixite on your device, Fragment also makes it easy to move your image from one app to the other for further editing if you want to add multiple effects to a single image. Whether you have used any of Pixite's other apps or not, Fragment is an intuitive app that allows you to make fun and very unusual looking images that will really stand apart from the average online picture. If you enjoy taking, editing, and sharing images, it is worth checking out.

Have a suggestion for App of the Week? Let us know. And find more great Apps in the YALSA Blog's App of the Week Archive.

Name: Brushstroke
Cost: 2.99
Platform: iOS 7 or later

code organa logoBrushstroke is a seemingly simple app that turns a photo into a painting. You might think to yourself, so what? But really, it's a pretty powerful tool that gives teens, teachers, and librarians the chance to use a variety of effects on their photos and is a great way to start discussions on painting techniques, styles, how visual messages change as a result of visual choices, and even artists and art movements.

The way it works is that a user selects a photo from an iPad or iPhone camera roll or takes a photo from within the app. The next step is to crop the image if need be. After that, and I admit it took me a minute to figure out how to get from the crop screen to the painting screen - it's the > on the top right (as you can see in the images below) - the image is rendered as a painting. In the photos below you'll see the original version of the photo I painted on the left and the painted version on the right. Read More →

Name:'  Canva
Cost:'  Free

Platform:'  iPad

Canva app icon

Graphic design is a tricky business, and one that many of us don't realize is part of our job description until we're faced with a blank document and a list of almost-but-not-quite-right font choices. '  Canva, a free, web-based application' that lets you easily produce' professional-looking' designs, made this part' of the' job much easier for me when it debuted over a year ago. ' Now, with the introduction of the iPad app, the possibilities are both endless and mobile.

Read More →