Andrew Eynon’s Library Blog

A blog about librarianship in Further Education

Archive for the ‘Mobile technologies’ Category

Mobile technologies

WHELF HE in FE Collaboration event

Posted by andrewey on June 30, 2009

At today’s Collaboration event at University of Wales, Newport there was a very informative double presentation from University of Bath.

The first presentation looked at the University’s use of social space in it’s recent redesign. This included the use of informal seating and furniture coupled with a relaxation of rules on eating and drinking (I liked the definition of their permissible eating policy = ‘sucky sweets’).

There were educational features incorporated in the redesign such as provision of movable whiteboards to encourage group work.

Furthermore the library has been promoting reader development through an ‘around the world in 80 books’ initiative where international students have recommended fiction titles which reflect their homelands for other students to read.

The second presentation looked at the library potential of QR codes. These are barcodes which can store information to provide links between physical and virtual resources.

Apparently this technology is already widely used in the Far East. The barcodes are read by mobile phone cameras which incorporate this technology. The software can also be down loaded to your phone if it is not already provided.

The QR code, once read, could contain a URL or digital information such as the catalogue record of a book you have just scanned (both uses were included in a JISC project undertaken by the University).

You should be able to see the QR codes for book stock on the University’s OPAC.

For more details see University of Bath blog

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Mobile social networking apps on the ipod Touch

Posted by andrewey on June 13, 2009

Following on from my last post, I’m continuing with the theme of mobile Web 2.0 apps on the iPhone & iPod Touch with a look at some social networking apps.

Firstly there is the free Facebook app which gives you access to confirming friend notifications, viewing your wall and updates from friends. There is no access to groups unfortunately or other Facebook apps but I’ve found it useful for updating my account particularly as I’m not a heavy Facebook user.

Interestingly this is one of the few apps which requires you to login each time you open it. I still think the extra effort of logging in outweighs the security issue with other apps where you are automatically logged in – if you were to lose or misplace your iPod.

The sheer number of Twitter apps for the iPhone shows not just the popularity of Twitter but also the suitability and convenience of tweeting on a mobile device.

Okay Twitter is microblogging rather than technically a social networking site but I presume many users see it as a social networking tool.

I’ve tried two free Twitter apps. TwitterFon is a simple but effective Twitter app – it allows you to view updates from friends, search for tags and free text and you can view other Twitter profiles and who Twitter(er)s are following and who their followers are.

Twitterrific is another free Twitter app. It has a much more professional feel, in terms of the quality of appearance of the screens but I find it not so intuitive – I have thus far not been able to see other Twitters’ followers and followings for example. However the search facility is more impressive and you can setup access to multiple Twitter accounts.

I suspect the higher graphics quality over TwitterFon means it uses up battery power quicker but it is the simplicity of the latter which I prefer.

There is a very interesting looking ‘3D’ Twitter app you can buy but I’ve not had a play with that yet.

Follow my Twitter feed here

Posted in Mobile technologies | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Mobile Web 2.0 applications on the iphone and ipod Touch

Posted by andrewey on June 10, 2009

This is a short review of some, mainly free, Web 2.0 apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

I’ve been using these apps on an iPod Touch so the functionality will be different/less than an iphone and require wifi Internet access.

WordPress – a very useful free app for updating your WordPress blog. There is great functionality with the facility to write and edit posts/pages and to moderate comments. You can also write posts offline (I’m writing this on a train) and upload later. In addition, you can add categories (online only) and tags(even offline).

The only real weakness is that without a working knowledge of HTML the only text editing is the facility to insert weblinks, although you can also insert photos.

‘Free RSS Reader’ – this app also has a ‘Pro’ version but the free version offers the facility to manually enter feeds or to sync feeds from a Google Reader or Newsgator account. Posts can be viewed within the app or through the Safari browser. I’ve found this app sufficient without the need to upgrade to the Pro version.

I should mention Safari itself which is the iPhone web browser and offers access to both mobile and standard web pages. This is a huge advantage over most mobile phone’s Internet access. Despite the limitations of the screen size the magnification features are excellent and other than some image files (presumably Flash) the reproduction of web pages is very good.

Particularly good is the access to Quicktime videos, including BBC iplayer and YouTube (which has it’s own iPhone app which comes as standard). Another very useful feature is that it enables access to web based PDF files.

Even bookmarking sites can be updated on the move. I did try Delicious Free but you can only view your links and tags. This app is very new (only released the end of May 2009) so presumably will be improved upon in future updates.

Consequently I switched to Yummy, the only app in this review which is not free, costing the princely sum of £1.19.

Yummy’s big advantage is that you can add as well as view Delicious links and most importantly you can import web addresses from Safari – a real advantage given the lack of copy and paste on the iPhone/iPod Touch.

Posted in Mobile technologies | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »