App of the Week: FridgePoems by Color Monkey

Title: FridgePoems by Color Monkey
Platform: iOS
Cost: Free (for basic vocabulary set)

It’s National Poetry Month, and there’s no easier way to promote the creation of verse poetry than setting up a public access tablet with this fun app.


When you launch the app, you get a “working” space with a handful of words, but you can zoom out to see more. Dragging the word boxes with your fingertips allows you to reorder things to create your verse.

Writers are not strictly limited to the words on screen. You can draw for new words or invest in themed WordPacks ($1 each for hipster tragic, redneck, hip hop, etc. or $3 for all of them). The provision of verb endings and plurals can add some variety as well.
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App of the Week: Storehouse

storehouse logoTitle: Storehouse
Cost: Free
Platform: iOS

Storify is one of my favorite tools on the web – the app is a little glitchy – for taking content (images, videos, Tweets, etc.) and putting them together into a story. Storehouse takes a similar approach and gives users the chance to combine text with images and video in order to create a tale about a topic of interest.

For teens the Storehouse app is a great way for them to take those images and videos that they take on a device that’s in their pocket or under their arm, and turn them into something that helps to tell about their lives, places they’ve been, events they’ve participated in, and so on. It’s a great tool for giving teens the chance to go beyond the image to the story behind the image.

The app is pretty simple to use. The first step is to tap on the + icon on the top right. That opens up the screen for adding images and videos that are either stored in your iPad photo library or in Dropbox or on Instagram. (Teens will have to connect your Dropbox and Instagram accounts to Storehouse if they are going to import photos from those services.)
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App of the Week: Path on

Path on LogoTitle: Path on
Cost: $1.99
Platform: iOS

If you like to take pictures with your iOS device or know teens who do, you will definitely want to check out Path on. At first glance it may just seem like another photo captioning tool, but what sets Path on apart from other apps that allow you to add text to your images is that it gives you complete control over where you place your text. From a simple caption at the bottom of a page to a curved caption that follows the mountain at the back of your picture to a complicated pattern of words that fit into the spaces around your subject, this app makes it easy to achieve impressive text effects.

When you first open the Path on app, you have the option to tour their gallery on Instagram, or start creating your own images using those already saved on your device or by taking a new picture. Selected images can then be cropped and, as a nice added feature, the app even includes automatic tools to crop an image to fit the standard size on Instagram or for Facebook cover images or profile images as well as most of the standard image sizes you would find in photography. After the image is cropped, you can select how you would like the text to appear on the image. The app includes automatic options to write text in a square, circle, spiral or standard paragraph format and you can also unlock an automatic heart shape by liking the app on Facebook. But, what really sets this app apart is the option to instead draw your own path onto your image. To do this, you simply select the draw option and then trace the desired path or paths on your image. You can have non-continuous paths and the app will ensure that the text follows the exact order in which you drew each line, giving you an impressive amount of control over the entire process. For more detailed paths, you can also zoom in and out on the image. There are also options to undo your most recent drawing or to clear the entire image. All of these tools make it fairly simple to create a complicated path for your text very quickly.

Once you have selected a path or drawn the desired path for your text on the image, you can type your text and then edit it to make sure it exactly matches your vision. Text can be typed in any of hundreds of fonts or, if you would prefer, you can even opt to mix up to five different fonts on a single image. You also have control over the color of the text, the size, the letter spacing, the shadows and can easily change the layout of the text with the tap of a button. You can also edit the image itself with the built in cropping tool, images filters and other effects. Once you are happy with your creation, you can save it to your device, email it to anyone or share it on Instagram, Facebook, Flickr or Twitter all from within the app. Path on is a very fun option for image captioning and is well worth checking out if you frequently create and share images on your iPhone.

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: 123D Sculpt

123d sculpt iconTitle: 123D Sculpt
Platform: iOS, iPad
Cost: Free with paid upgrades




Ever want to try 3D modeling? Ever think about how much 3D modeling could be like playing with clay?  I did not equate the two things until I tried this app. 123D Sculpt gives you base shapes to start with and allows you to manipulate them with various tools, add color and texture, and share them in through photos or videos.

App developer, Autodesk, offers a video demo of the app, tips, and a gallery of people’s projects on the 123D Sculpt website. They also offer a lineup of other apps to experiment more with 3D modeling, some of which you can try on the site.

When you open 123D Sculpt, you can choose from a variety of base shapes to start with: a face, a human form, a dog, a cube, a car, an airplane, to name a few. Once you choose a shape, you can manipulate it using various tools.  In the video demo, and in searching images created with 123D Sculpt, it looks easy to change the base shapes into detailed creations. After a bit of experimentation, the learning curve seems steeper. Practice is required to get the “clay” to behave the way you want it to. Continue reading

App of the Week: QuizUp

imagesTitle: Quizup
Cost: Free (with in-app purchases available)
Platform: iOS and Android

Is Quizup the latest app-craze to take over your teen area?  Available initially only for iOS, this addictive trivia game was released for Android platforms just this month.  With over 10 million iOS users already, the game is well on its way to over 1 million Android signups just 10 days after its platform release.  In February, Quizup CEO Thor Fridriksson told Adweek that on average, users spend 30 minutes per day on the app’s trivia challenges.  So take a breath and get ready to plunge headlong into the world of Quizup!

With Quizup, players pit their wits against friends and strangers alike in real-time, intense, timed trivia challenges on hundreds of topics.  With over 220,000 questions, and more added all the time, it is a hard game to get tired of.  To start players sign up either through Facebook or an email address.  If a teen chooses to use their Facebook account (which most of the teens I know do), the app will connect them with Facebook friends that also have the game. (The app will also notify players when Facebook friends sign up.) Privacy issues when using a Facebook account of course abound so library staff should encourage teens to think carefully when choosing this option.  Players teens connect with in the game will see a teen Facebook profile picture and cover photo as well as being able to send messages through the app.
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App of the Week: Cycloramic

Title: Cycloramic
Cost: $1.99
Platform: iOS 6 or later

manga box logoIf you watch Shark Tank you may have seen the Cycloramic app featured and actually funded by the sharks. If you don’t watch Shark Tank you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about. Either way Cycloramic is an interesting app that is sure to be of interest to teens and adults. The idea is to make it easy to take panoramic images. Sure, there are other apps that make it possible to take panoramas, but here’s the difference between those and Cycloramic, the app uses the iPhones features to take the panorama image in a hands-free mode.

The video clip below shows the pitch by the Cycloramic developer on Shark Tank and you can see how the app works.

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App of the Week: Command-C

Title: Command-C
Cost: $3.99 for use on all devices
Platform: iOS and MAC OS 10.8 or later

command c logoHave the teens you work with ever copied something on an iPad or iPhone and wanted to take that thing they’ve copied – text or an image – and paste it into a document on a library or their own MAC computer? Have you ever wanted to do that? If you answered “yes” to either of those questions, then Command-C is an app for you to check out.

In order to use Command-C the app needs to be added to all devices that will be involved. That means I have the app on my iPad, my iPhone, and my laptop. Once the app is installed the devices have to be synched. That means I have to tell my iPad, iPhone, and laptop to talk to each other in the app. It’s a pretty simple and quick process and the on-screen directions are clear and easy to follow.

The video below, produced by the developer, shows how the app works.

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App of the Week: Niko and the Sword of Light

nikoTitle: Niko and the Sword of Light
Cost: Free download (first three chapters), 3.99 for full comic
Platform: iOS, Android, Kindle Fire



This fully animated comic stands on the line between comic book and cartoon. It tells the story of Niko, a young warrior, in an archetypal struggle between good and evil, portrayed in this world as light and dark. Niko has sworn to avenge his people by fighting the dark beasts and ridding the land of evil. Along journey he comes across strange creatures who help and hinder his progress. Continue reading

YALSA App of the Week: Viz

Title: Viz
Cost: $1.99
Platform: iOS 6 or later

Sometimes the simplest apps can be the most powerful. Viz is a very simple app that can be quite powerful as teens, and library staff, collect and visualize data. Teens who are working on projects for school or collecting data about programs, services, etc. for the library, or related to their own personal interests, can use Viz when they want to give others a chance to understand that data through a visual. One of the great things about Viz is that teens can enter data into the app no matter where they are. As they collect data in school, on the street, in a mall, at the library, etc. they can add it to the chart information they are putting together with Viz. It also is a great tool to use to start conversations about analyzing and presenting data.

The screencast below shows how easy it is to use Viz.

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App of the Week: PiciBooth

PiciBoothTitle: PiciBooth
Cost: Free ($1.99 in app upgrade removes ads)
Platform: iOS

With PiciBooth, you can use your phone as an old-fashioned photobooth. When you begin to take a picture with the app, it will start a countdown to a series of four photos. In between each photo, you have a couple of seconds to strike a new pose or reposition. The idea is to create the same style of photography found in photobooths, so after the photos are taken you are asked to choose between a traditional strip display of four photos in a row or a 2×2 square of photos. In the free version of the app, these photos include a small PiciBooth logo; you can pay $1.99 to have this photo removed.

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