Apps and Devices
The group briefly discussed Instagram – which KR has seen primarily on Facebook. It is an app for Apple or Android devices that allows a user to take photos that have been altered to look more artsy or old fashioned. They remind KR of polaroid photos.
We talked about other social media applications such as Four Square, Urban Spoon, Around Me, and Yelp. All of these tools help users find restaurants and other locations in the physical world using their mobile devices. Four Square started out as a way for people to “check in” at various locations. KR mentioned that she heard a lot of stories about people having their homes broken into while they were checked in somewhere else. We aren’t sure how true the stories are.
Some of the tools also have websites. DM told us about Yelp and pointed out that there are reviews for all types of products and services to be found there. We had a brief discussion about reviews in general and how most seem to be negative, but the positive reviews are becoming more prevalent as it becomes easier to post a review.
KR mentioned Hulu and other sights that allow streaming media (Netflix is the popular example). Hulu used to allow users to view television shows for free, but MO heard that a fee may be put into place soon.
DM told us about his DVD player that has apps built in to allow access to different news stations and other information. An interesting idea! TVs are starting to have similar features.
KL said the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has begun charging for online access past a certain number of page views. New York Times has a similar subscription model. The group finds this frustrating.
JH hopes to be able to add access to some of the library’s journals onto one of the library iPads. Many of our print subscriptions now come with free online access.
We had an interesting discussion about illegal downloading of content and using sites such as BitTorrent. There are many sites that allow users to collect the ‘bits’ of a movie, software, etc. to download onto their computer. MO mentioned that a user’s ISP keeps track of what sites he/she visits and that it would be hard to illegal download something without someone finding out. The FBI is trying to get a bill to pass that will allow backdoor access to Internet search history without a warrant. DM made an interesting point – this is like librarians telling what books people check out. The potential lack of privacy is very scary. JH mentioned that there are sites that allow streaming of games as well. It is hard to keep track of the legality of using the sites. MO asked the group how we came to the point where we expect to have access to large amounts of entertainment. We seem to expect to be entertained for free!
We briefly discussed our options for online meetings. Google+ offers a service called Hangout that allows people in multiple locations to “hangout” virtually. KR tried to get it working on her computer, but was running into issues with the browser plugins. If it works it could be a useful tool for people with a gmail account.
Skype is the tool most people think of when talking about online conferencing. It is possible to have a conversation with multiple people using Skype, but it requires upgrading to a subscription account.
Facetime seems to be a one-on-one tool for online conversations.
SK asked for help with her older Macbook. She wants to use a new iPod Nano with her Macbook, but the version of iTunes is too old and it can’t be upgraded because the operating system is too old. MO said his wife had the same problem and they were able to upgrade the operating system fairly inexpensively by purchasing a disc online.
SG is also having computer trouble and it may have been hit by lightening. KR suggested checking out New Egg for refurbished computers if people are looking to save some money and don’t care about having the most recent technology.
JH suggested talking to Matthew at Orange Computer for help with computer issues.