App of the Week: Wallpapers2

wallpapers2

Title:’ ‘ Wallpapers 2

Cost:’ Free

Platform:’ iOS 7.0 or later

Wallpapers 2 (which, as recentlly as last week, was known as’ ScreenMotion iOS7)‘ is a teen-recommended solution to a teen-voiced conundrum. Why don’t you have the ability to “zoom out” when you set a picture as your iPhone wallpaper? Too much can get lost, cropped out by that process.

ScreenMotion lock screen preview

Wallpapers 2 lock screen preview

As one student told another about the free app with a range of art optimized for iOS7 devices, I downloaded it as well. There are hundreds (at the least) of very attractive HD pictures, ranging from pets and nature to cityscapes and abstract digital images. I didn’t see any that weren’t “school appropriate,” though the advertising is a little bit spicier. Continue reading

App of the Week: Oscars

Title: Oscars
Cost: Free
Platform: iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. iPad version requires iOS 4.2 or higher

home screen of Oscars appTeens interested in movies and the Oscars can gear up for the annual event (this year on February 26) with the Oscars app. The key to the app is the Backstage Pass feature that will be available the night of the Oscars. But, before that content is available there are still aspects of the app that are worthwhile as movie lovers of all ages prepare for the red carpet evening. These include:

  • A Twitter feed that includes posts with the #oscars hashtag. While the Oscars are still three weeks away, that doesn’t mean people aren’t tweeting about them. The feed is a good one stop shop for keeping up on Tweets about hosts, Oscar related events, and more.
  • My Picks, a section of the app where users can make their predictions of winners. Use of My Picks requires logging in with a Facebook username and password. However, the picks are not available to others unless the user turns on the Play with Friends component which makes picks visible to Facebook friends. There is also a countdown clock in the My Picks section which tells users how long until the ballot choices are locked in. A good idea in case a teen wants to change a choice along the way. Continue reading

App of the Week: Gift Giving Special

Note: This is a repost from November 30, 2011. Now that the holidays are over and teens have new devices, and maybe gift certificates for apps in hand, those looking for just the right apps for those devices will find lots of possibilities in this gift-giving special.

In this special edition of YALSA’s App of the Week, our app reviewers bring you their selections (listed in alphabetical order) of apps that make great gifts for teens. If YALSA Blog readers have ideas of great apps to give to teens during the holiday season, feel free to add them to the comments on this post.

Title: Biophilia
Cost: Free initial download, $9.99 to download all song apps.
Platform: iPhone, iPad, iPod (requires iOS 4.1 or later)

Biophilia app iconBjork’s latest offering is part album, part exploration of music theory, and part audiovisual playground. Every part of this app is meticulously designed. From the font you see throughout, which was created especially for Bjork, to the sound and motion in the menu screen. Put on your headphones, and arrive in a galaxy of nine stars, one for each track. When you navigate to each song star, you have options to watch an animation, follow along with the score, read a narrative about the inspiration for the song or a musical analysis, and to play. In this case, play does not mean simply to listen to the song, but offers an option to explore an interactive piece, to play with the song, rather than just to play it. The music itself is as sensual and strange as Bjork’s other albums; the songs are conceptually connected by a love of nature and feeling of interconnectedness (hence Biophilia). Continue reading

App of the Week: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Interactive eBook

Title:‘  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Interactive eBook

Platform: iPhone (3GS, 4, or 4S), iPod touch (3rd & 4th generations), iPad (iOS 4.0 and later)

Cost: $4.99

Released in time for Halloween 2011, this interactive eBook brings to life the Regency-era undead of Seth Grahame-Smith’s cult-classic novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.’  The app includes’  400 “brain eating pages” of text, graphics, interactive features, music, and animation.

PadWorx Digital Media and Quirk Productions have successfully produced a game-like reading experience that will appeal to teens.’  The promotional video illustrates how the text comes to life as the reader taps through the pages.

Atmospheric music and sound effects will further draw the reader into the story, and the interactive features are a true example of the media’s potential.’  Dripping blood, brain splatter, and feasting undead–all excellently rendered! Moreover, the developers corrected a minor lag between page turns with version 1.0.1. Continue reading

App of the Week: Fruit Ninja

Title: Fruit Ninja
Platform: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch (also available in a slightly different format for Android)
Cost: .99

Say you’re a hungry ninja with a hankering for fruit salad, but it’s just not as satisfying if you don’t make it yourself, with your sword. ‘ Fruit Ninja is a fast paced action game that gets you slicing up fruit with a satisfying squelch. ‘ Slide your finger across the screen in a sword’s swipe to slice ‘ fruit, but make sure you don’t slice any bombs.

There are three game modes available: Regular, where if you miss three fruits or hit any bombs, it’s game over, Arcade: where you have 60 seconds to slice as many fruits as you can, get bonuses like fruit frenzy or freeze, and have bombs that deduct points rather than end your game, and Zen mode: 90 seconds, no bombs, nothing but fruit. ‘ Sensei Ninja keeps track of your achievements and provides Jeopardy-worthy ‘ fruit trivia between rounds. (The watermelon is cousins with’  cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash.)

Fruit Ninja links up with social gaming network OpenFeint , which allows you to’  invite friends from Facebook and Twitter, ‘ keep track of scores, and challenge the high scorers.

Recommended by teens for everybody. This game has some of my regulars saying:

“It’s fantastic and fruit is delicious!”

“It has good graphics, no visible pixels, especially when the fruit splits. And it’s addictive.”

It’s apps like these that make me want to get a couple of iPod Touches just for gaming at my library. But while I’m figuring out how to do that, go download Fruit Ninja and start slicing and dicing!

App of the Week: Splice

Title: Splice
Platform: iPhone running iOS 4
Cost: Free or $1.99 Pro Version

Splice main screenWhen I first bought my iPhone, one of the things I was really looking forward to using was the iMovie app. But, once I got my iPhone I didn’t really use that app that much. It didn’t do what I hoped it would. But now, there’s Splice, an iPhone app that makes it possible to edit and enhance movies, and slideshows, on an iPhone. While the editing and enhancing isn’t always a snap with Splice, it is pretty easy. And, the features included with the software are pretty varied.

The first step in using Splice is to have video and/or photos on your phone that you want to edit together in some way. Or, even if you just have one movie on the phone, you can edit it with Splice, add music, sound effects, narration, titles, transitions, and more. But, let me get back to those first steps. Continue reading

28 Days of Teens & Tech #2: It’s An App World

In October YALSA launched the weekly blog column, App of the Week. The idea behind the column is that there are a lot of apps available to teens and to the librarians that serve them, and getting the word out about what’s available and what’s worth spending time with is something the YB (YALSA Blog) should provide.

Yet, at the same time that YALSA launched the new YB column, I started to recognize that not everyone realizes or accepts that we do now live in an app world. Over the past few months I’ve had several conversations with librarians serving teens and have heard things like, “I don’t get why apps are something I should pay attention to. Not all the teens I serve have devices that can run apps. And, I don’t have a device that runs apps. So, what’s the big deal?” (Of course I’m paraphrasing.) Continue reading

App of the Week: iDrakula

Name: iDrakula
Platform: iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch (requires iOS 4)
Cost: Free preview (first five days) and $1.99 to finish the story

I’m kind of obsessed with Dracula and I rather enjoy my iPhone, so when I heard that Bekka Black had written a modern retelling of Dracula that I could read on my phone, I had to have it. ‘ Like Stoker’s original version, the story is told in correspondence, in this case, through texts, emails, voice mail, and browser history.’  Check out these cute YouTube promotional bits.

Here’s the title page and contents:

Continue reading

App of the Week – Pulse

Welcome to YALSA”s new weekly feature App of the Week. Every Wednesday a YALSA blogger will review an app of interest to librarians and/or the teens with whom they work. If you have an idea for an app that should be reviewed, feel free to send it to YALSA’s Blog Manager, mk Eagle.

Name: Pulse
Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android
Cost: iPhone – 99’¢, iPad/Android – $1.99

Pulse is a news reader for the iPad and smartphones that turns browsing and reading feeds into a visual experience. Continue reading

Iphone

Apple recently reached over 10K apps in the Iphone catalog. I’ve been reading about the iPhone and development of smart phones over the past year. Intrigued and also captivated by the ever increasing shiny.

While I have a smart phone, Its not an iPhone. I’ve really not seen many teens with an iPhone or iPod touch. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough though.

All this development for smart phones has me wondering how many libraries are truly prepared for this new trend. Many report that Android will give iPhone a run for its money. I’ve found a few libraries have dabbled in mobile website development, but not many.

My question is this: What services does you library offer via mobile phone? Do you allow people to text with a librarian, or IM using a service that works on peoples phones?

Is you website mobile friendly? Take w3C mobile OK test

Do you have a Apple App? (Recently I read about this site that creates an app for small businesses. Is this something suitable for libraries?)

Read report by Admob

Find out more about mobile usability