Saturday, February 22, 2014

Thing 23: Evaluate 23 Mobile Things

I enjoyed participating in with these 23 Mobile Things because I was exposed to new applications that I hadn't come across to-date.

I think the main thing that could have been improved  was to keep everyone posting and commenting in a shared space.  I am not going to be able to dig through dozens of other blog sites, but would have gladly scanned a lot of the comments within each Thing to see what other people were saying.  I also think it highly unlikely that anyone would really take the time to come to my individual blog and read what I'm writing, so I wasn't nearly as motivated to spend time writing much beyond some basic impressions.


Thing 22: Discovering Apps

Searching for "best of" lists has been my favorite way to cut through the clutter of hundreds of thousands of so-so apps, and I can tailor my search to a specific category or even role if I want to.  "Best apps for theology" took me right to a list of apps that would never show up in the lists for the general population but are very relevant to me.

Thing 21: Free-for-all

The one app I cannot live without is the ESV Bible app.  "Man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4; cf. Luke 4:4)  It is so easy to read and cross-reference to related passages.  And this more recent translation provides an excellent blend of latest scholarship with readability and ease of memorization.

Thing 20: Games

I don't think there's a game I've been interested in that I couldn't find as a mobile app.  Personally, I have enjoyed thinking games that I can play with others - Trivie, Words with Friends, Mancala, Chess.  My kids will play just about anything, which is a huge danger with these apps.  Basically, endless free, mind-numbing entertainment when they should be creating their own play.

Thing 19: Hobbies

ESPN ScoreCenter used to be a great app for the sports fan...it even has college hockey scores!  However, the latest version is so slow to load and update scores that the app is essentially unusable.  I only rely on it for the pop-ups regarding my favorite teams, which come through with no problems.

For the police radio enthusiast, there is 5-0 Radio which allows you to monitor emergency channels all across the world without having to invest in any additional hardware.  Just pick the location you want to hear and it's ready to go.

Thing 18: Education

Duolingo is a decent app on foreign languages and the price is nice, but I'd be curious to know its effectiveness compared to a more rigorous/serious foreign language application.

TED talks are always interesting and entertaining, so this is great for quickly finding ideas worth watching.  I finally learned that TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design through the Wikipedia app.  Wikipedia is clearly changing the way we know what we know - effectively a world of knowledge all in one place with so many cross-links it's only about five clicks to Jesus.

Khan Academy has been great for my children, but for me Coursera is the way to go.  Coursera has thousands of outstanding college courses hosted by the world's leading universities, and they are all led in real-time by professors and TA's.  Videos and readings are all integrated into the Coursera app.  There are even graded assignments and tests that must be finished on-time in order to complete the course successfully.

Thing 17: Connecting to Community

The MPR app is nicely designed, but I don't really need it as I would rather use an app with broader reach that can do many things at once.  So, again, Flipboard to aggregate anything I want to be reading.  And iHeartRadio or TuneIn Radio to aggregate all radio stations.

As far as connecting to what's going on in the community, my favorite app is Crime Map because our city police log every incident with this service so that residents can know exactly when and where and what kind of crime is happening in the community.