Category Archives: App of the Week

App of the Week – Adobe Slate

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

logoslateWould you like to create a powerful visual for an assignment or presentation, but don’t have a lot of time or design skills? Adobe Slate is a new “visual storytelling” app that creates polished, easily shareable magazine-esque websites. You can create beautiful presentations, newsletters, reports, and more on your iPad in a matter of minutes–no design expertise needed. This is one of those apps where you simply have to jump in and play around; the app intuitively guides you through your new creation.

Here’s a quick story I created about USMA Library in less than 10 minutes (click on the image below to view story):

USMA Library

Most Helpful Features:

  • Very easy to use – you immediately choose a title, subtitle, theme, and main photo, and then add to your story as needed. The story continues vertically until you scroll to the end.
  • Creates beautiful visuals; currently, you can choose between 11 distinct themes.
  • Themes are meant to translate to any device, so you don’t have to worry about formatting for desktop vs. iPad.
  • Pulling photos in for your presentation is easy – use photos from your iPad or Dropbox, take a photo, or you can choose “Find a Photo” and search through Creative Commons-licensed photos.
  • You can choose to make your Slate public, or keep it private (only people you share the link with can view it)
  • You can automatically share your Slate with Facebook, Twitter, email, or iMessage, or you can share the link created immediately after uploading.

Downsides:

  • The choice of only 11 themes and staying within that theme may feel limiting, but the sacrifice of choice is what speeds along the process (and keeps the story visually consistent).
  • There is no undo/redo feature, which is a little unusual.
  • Video is not supported at this time.
  • You can’t host the story on your own site – the link will always point to Adobe’s pages. The embed code will display your headline and opening image.
  • You can’t remove the “Made with Adobe Slate” branding at the bottom of your story.

Bottom Line:

Adobe Slate is a free, easy-to-use app that allows you to create visually stunning, professional-looking stories for any purpose you can think of. As always, if you try it out, feel free to let us know what you think!

Further Reading:

Adobe Slate review: Adobe Slate for iPad makes telling stories with photos much easier

Hands-on: Adobe Slate takes another stab at “visual stories”

Adobe’s Slate Is A Visual Storytelling App For The iPad

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Lauren D. Hall, Circulation Librarian

App of the Week – Skitch

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

logoSince Evernote consistently delivers helpful apps that help us work smarter, we decided to try out Skitch, an Evernote-owned annotation tool with the tagline: “Snap. Mark up. Send.” It really is that easy. It could be called Snapchat for productivity, except that you (and/or your recipient) get to keep the photo.

Skitch allows you to annotate/draw on/mark-up any website, photo, map, or PDF of your choosing. You can also draw and annotate an idea from scratch. Skitch aims to facilitate visual communication (marking up a photo or map to highlight points for others), but it also allows you to simply make better use of your own notes. Need to study for anatomy? Just use the text and arrows to label a photo you snapped from your textbook. Want to screencap or scan your notes and highlight them for use on your iPad? The possibilities are endless.

USMASite

Most Helpful Features:

  • Simple, easy-to-use interface.
  • Each document choice (photo, maps, etc.) provides the same mark-up tools – you can add text, colorful arrows, shapes, stamps, and even emoticons. You can even use the pixelation feature to blur out information you don’t want to share (or distract others with).
  • Allows you to export your items to Evernote, email, Facebook, Twitter, and many other compatible apps.
  • You can configure your settings to automatically upload shared photos to your Camera Roll.

Downsides:

One of the more helpful features of the app–PDF mark-up–is only provided as a one-time in-app purchase of $1.99. However, if you read a lot of PDFs on your iPad and plan to take notes on them, it will be worth it to pay for this feature. It costs less than your morning coffee, and will save your printing allowance (and the environment).

EmailSkitch

Bottom Line:

Skitch is a simple mark-up tool that allows you to visually communicate with others quickly and easily. As always, if you try it out, please feel free to let us know what you think!

Further Reading:

Review: Skitch lets you visually highlight images to help your point

Staff Picks: Sketch a little here and there with Skitch

Skitch is a multi-purpose editing tool for doodling on any document

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Lauren D. Hall, Circulation Librarian

App of the Week – Lingua.ly

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

maxresdefaultWhile learning a new language, you can never have too many resources at your disposal. If you’ve started using an app like Duolingo to get familiar with another language’s vocabulary, you’ll be looking for ways to test your new skills in the real world. The Lingua.ly app provides an immersive language experience by allowing you to read online articles–generally recent headline news–in the language of your choice, on a topic of your choice.

While it may be helpful to have a little vocabulary knowledge of the language you’re trying to read in, the app still works well for beginners because it lets you “select” every word you don’t understand. The app then translates the word and pronounces it for you. It also remembers all the words you select, and these become your ongoing vocabulary words. You can practice these words at any time, or keep reading through articles – the app adapts the articles it shows you to what you’re learning!

GermanSports

Most Helpful Features:

  • Completely free – and it’s also ad free.
  • No set lessons, so essentially, you’re deciding what you learn by choosing specific articles to read.
  • The app only suggests articles for you that are on your level (which it guesses based on your vocabulary and quizzes).
  • You can learn multiple languages at a time.
  • It tracks your progress with points earned and words learned.
  • It encourages short intervals of learning by letting you choose how many words you want to review at a time.
  • Lingua.ly began as a browser extension in Google Chrome, so if you’d like an additional dimension to your learning, add it to save vocabulary from websites and turn them into automatic flashcards.

Downsides:

  • The app doesn’t teach you the grammar behind the sentences – it just immerses you in the language experience.
  • Can have trouble with idiomatic phrases, and may translate very literally.
  • Sometimes, there are no articles available for the language and topic you want at the time (example – Arabic + science articles), but I just try a different combination and find other interesting things to read.
  • Only 10 languages are supported on the iOS app right now, but more will be supported soon. More languages are already supported on the web and Android versions. FrenchTravel

Bottom Line:

Lingua.ly provides a fun, enriching language-learning experience by guiding you through current world happenings in the language of your choice. It is an excellent tool to add to your language acquisition arsenal. As always, if you try it out, feel free to let us know what you think!

Further Reading:

Lingua.ly, Which Turns The Internet Into A Language Learning Tool, Launches Its First App

EdTech Startup Lingua.ly Raises $1M for its Immersive Language Platform

Finally, a Language Learning App That Works

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Lauren D. Hall, Circulation Librarian

App of the Week – HabitRPG

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

Have you evelogor wished real life was more like a video game, where you could get rewards for completing everyday tasks? Would earning experience points or leveling up your character for doing your research or finishing a paper motivate you to get started earlier or work a little harder? If so, HabitRPG might be just be your alternative to a more traditional to-do list.

HabitRPG is based on a role-playing game, where one creates a character and undertakes a quest, faces obstacles, gains experience, and levels-up along the way. You sign up for an account either through the website or app (you can use email or a Facebook login); Habit RPG then allows you to design your character and immediately start adding and completing tasks. While getting set-up is fairly straightforward, the game aspect is in-depth enough to truly be considered an RPG, so you may want to check out the site FAQ and the rest of the HabitRPG wiki for all of your quest and character possibilities (as well as how to level up and avoid death!).

On the surface, though, it’s a fairly straightforward concept. There are 4 categories of action: Habits, Dailies, To-Dos, and Rewards. You add good habits that you want to maintain, but you can also include bad habits that you want to break. Checking off Dailies and To-dos offer instant gratification in the form of gold, and the more gold you have, the better rewards you can “buy.”

Most Helpful Features:

  • Unlike some other RPG apps and websites, this one is totally free.
  • The interface is reminiscent of Minecraft and Legend of Zelda, which gives it more of a game feel than simply a habit/task app.
  • In addition to being rewarded for your good habits, you are penalized for your lack of action (or continuing bad habits), from gradually losing health to the death of your character – so you can’t afford to ignore your tasks!
  • Allows you to rank your habits as Easy, Medium, or Difficult, and you can make daily tasks recurring.
  • Keeps a chart of your progress for each habit.
  • Rewards can be anything you want — there are several in-game tools you can earn, or you can give yourself an hour of Netflix time.
  • On the website, you can join a guild (some of them have thousands of other players), join challenges and compete against other players to win gems, and create a party of friends to go on a quest with.
  • If you want to get really into the game and also keep yourself on track, you can download a Google Chrome browser extension for the website version that will actually hurt your character if you waste time on specific websites (such as Facebook or Reddit – you can choose the worst offenders).

HabitWeb

Downsides:

Unfortunately, the app itself does not contain the full game capacity of the web version of HabitRPG, but when you’re logged into your account, the app and the site work together. You are able to edit your character, control all of the basic habits and tasks, maintain inventory, and chat socially with others in the app. If you are looking for an app-only experience and don’t want to deal with the website, the app works fine as a stand-alone resource, and is still fun and addictive.

Bottom Line:

HabitRPG helps you establish good habits and set goals while literally leveling up in life. If you enjoy gaming and need some extra motivation, give it a try. As always, if you check it out, feel free to let us know what you think!

Further Reading:

HabitRPG Makes Improving Yourself Actually Addictive

Life Is A Game: Level Up Life and HabitRPG

HabitRPG Turns Better Behavior into a Game of Survival

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Lauren D. Hall, Circulation Librarian

App of the Week – 30/30

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

30-30logopngTask management is a crucial part of being a student, and good time management will benefit you throughout life. These skills do not always come naturally, though – so there’s an app for that.

In fact, there are many task management apps out there, and many utilize the Pomodoro Technique of tackling work in blocks while taking short breaks in between. 30/30 is an established Pomodoro-esque timer app that allows you to create a daily timed task list. The name implies you’ll work in a 30 minute block and take a 30 minute break, but the app offers much more flexibility. You simply add new tasks (using gesture controls like dragging your fingers apart vertically), choose a time frame for them, and put them in order. The app will let you know when time is up on one task, and automatically starts the next in line. You can add or subtract time as necessary, easily move tasks around, or pause a task when you’re interrupted.

SOSHpaper

30/30 seems to work best when you need to accomplish a task (or several) and use it to keep you on track and focused. For example, while working on an assignment, you can schedule 30 minutes of writing, a 10 minute break, 30 more minutes of writing, 20 minutes of Netflix, a 6 minute coffee run, 30 more minutes of writing, and so on.

This app can also help you figure out how you work – do you need 20 minutes of writing with a 20 minutes break? Is a task taking longer than you anticipated, forcing you to schedule more blocks? Is it helpful to work on another assignment for 30 minutes and come back to your paper with fresh eyes? 30/30 can teach you how to use your time more efficiently.

SampleTaskList

Most helpful features:

  • Attractive, easy-to-use interface.
  • Instructions for using the app are built into the format as a sample task list, so you can try and test out all of the features before starting your own list.
  • Uses gesture controls (swiping right to delete, tapping with two fingers, etc.) that are easy to learn.
  • You can schedule tasks from a few seconds up to 9 hours each (though that would slightly defeat the purpose of the app!).
  • You can turn on reminder notifications for when you leave the app, but want to stay on track.
  • It doesn’t force you to assign a task to a time of day, so you can start and stop tasks as your time allows, or rearrange the order of tasks with a swipe of the finger.

Downsides:

It may take you a few minutes to figure out the gesture controls, but after that the app is easy to navigate. Overall, I found the app incredibly helpful.

Bottom Line:

30/30 is an easy-to-use task management resource that can help you work smarter and avoid the procrastination trap. As always, if you try it out, feel free to let us know what you think!

Further Reading:

Schedule your day with free task manager 30/30

30/30 is a Productivity App for the Procrastinator in All of Us

30/30: A Timer with a Sleek Design

Review: 30/30 Simple Task Manager for iPad

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Lauren D. Hall, Circulation Librarian

App of the Week – F1000 Faculty of 1000

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

F1000 (2)Ever hear of F1000? No, not the open-wheel class of Formula 1 car racing Formula 1000, but Faculty 1000, the literature discovery service highlighting the best research articles in biology and medicine.

Faculty of 1000, or F1000, can help you F1000 logo animalthrough the daunting process of digesting scientific literature. If you’re feeling stuck on how to evaluate literature, why not let the Faculty make some recommendations for you on the best articles? The articles in F1000 are read and rated by the top senior scientists and their associates, leading experts in all areas of biology and medicine. Articles are rated on a scale from 1 – 5 (5 being the highest rating), with short explanations for their selections. It covers 40 disciplines from 3,500+ journals.

screenshot1

Think of F1000 like an Amazon review for journal articles. You can “try it” (read the review) before you read the entire article. Reviews provide classification tags, such as “new finding,” “good for teaching,” “controversial” or “technical advance,” etc. Read the review and then make your own critical analysis. You can also expand to the abstract for more detailed information and get related articles.

F1000 iPad article screenshot (2)

Articles are recommended based on their individual merit, rather than by association with a particular journal’s image or impact factor.

Most helpful features:

  • Discover the best research articles in your field of interest
  • Easily find related articles
  • Browse Faculty Member profiles by area of interest or by name
  • Read additional articles recommendations from faculty profile page

F1000 iPad Faculty screenshot
Downsides:

  • First-time users are required to register before using
  • App does not offer a link to full-text article. Functionality is better at the website, where linking to the USMA Library collection is possible.
  • Still developing as an iPad app

Bottom line:

Faculty recommendations to the most important articles on a subject might be a good starting point at your understanding of a topic. It saves you time digging for a good article, since the articles are recommended by highly regarded faculty in their field. After reading their reviews, you can make your own critical analysis for your paper. Use the app to help you zero in on a topic, then copy and paste the DOI (the permanent article ID number) into the USMA Library Scout search box to get the full-text article. In this reviewer’s opinion the app has a way to go, but it is worth checking out. And those interested in further research may use the parent tool, Faculty of 1000, in the Library’s database list.

As always, if you give F1000 a try, feel free to let us know what you think!

Further Reading: Reviews on Faculty of 1000 (not on the iPad app)

Stoneham, I. CardioPulse Articles A twenty-first-century approach to post-publication peer review. European Heart Journal (2013) 34(8):549-556

Vardell E, Swogger S. F1000Prime: A Faculty of 1000 Tool. Medical Reference Services Quarterly [serial online]. January 2014; 33(1):75-84

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Manja Yirka, Continuing Resources Librarian

App of the Week – TED

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

TedLogoTED, an ongoing conference series dedicated to “ideas worth sharing,” has been around since 1984. Many of these short talks (typically 18 minutes or less) have been available online since 2006. TED talks started by covering Technology, Entertainment, and Design, but they have since expanded to cover any topic imaginable.

Most Useful Features:

  • Access to over 1000 Ted Talks.
  • Can download and save videos for later.
  • Ever-changing list of featured videos.
  • Sort by Most Recent and Most Popular.
  • Filter by six categories: Technology, Entertainment, Design, Business, Science, Global Issues
  • Subtitles in over 90 languages.
  • Surprise Me search lets you make playlists based on eight topics (Courageous, Funny, Persuasive, Ingenious, Jaw-Dropping, Beautiful, Fascinating, and Informative) and length of time (from 5-60 minutes).
  • Use Discover to find videos on many different topics or browse the featured playlists on a wide variety of topics.
  • Clean, easy to use interface.
  • Can share videos.

IMG_0003

 

IMG_0007Downsides:

  • Sorting and Filtering only available on the Featured tab
  • Can’t comment on videos in the app, but you can go to the TED website to comment.
  • Videos are not date-stamped on the main page (you have to click on it to find out when it was made)

Bottom Line:

If you like TED Talks, this is a perfect companion app that will let you access them from anywhere at any time.

Further Reading:

The TED Talks App Brings Tons of Video Lectures to iOS (Review)

TED (Review)

TED Talks for iPhone and iPad (Review)

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed G.J. Corey Harmon, Circulation Librarian

App of the Week – Google Translate

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

Are you lGoogleLogoearning a foreign language, or traveling abroad in the near future? You may be using Duolingo or another resource to assist with language learning, but chances are you’ll still find yourself in a situation where you need quick, real-time language translation.

Google Translate has been an invaluable tool on the web for years, but its app version allows you to take its translation assistance on the go. Recently, Google’s acquired Word Lens instant translation technology, which provided a powerful upgrade to its real-time translation capabilities.

The app provides several ways to translate. There’s the traditional method of typing the sentence, choosing your to and from languages, and pressing go. You can also handwrite your phrase with your finger instead of typing it, and much like MyScript Calculator, the app will convert the writing to text and translate it.

HiMyNameIs

The coolest features utilize the microphone and camera. Conversation mode allows you to speak in one language, and hear the translation in another. Your phrase–and the translation it gives you–shows up fairly quickly in text, but it can take a few more seconds for the app to speak. If someone is standing there with you, they can reply in their language, and you’ll hear the translation. Thus, it allows for rudimentary conversation – with some pauses and a little waiting. I imagine this technology will continue to be improved upon until it’s more natural.

As for the camera: you can take a photo of something, import it into the app, and translate it that way, which is fine if you don’t need an instant translation. Once you import the photo, you can swipe your finger over the text you’d like to translate. If it misses letters or words, you can add those in before you send the translation.

With the Word Lens upgrade, however, translation is instantaneous. Simply hold the phone up to the sign or menu, and watch it translate the text. It works best for steady surfaces with only a few words; book pages are not ideal, but it can technically work.

French

 

InstantEnglish1Most Helpful Features:

  • No wireless connection needed to perform Word Lens translations – a huge deal when traveling in another country.
  • When viewing an instant translation, you can press “pause” to hold a specific translation (it will flicker and change if you move around too much – see phantom “YOU” in the book photo!). You can also press “scan” to send it out for official Google translation, but you’ll need an internet connection for that.
  • For some of the languages supported in Conversation Mode, you can select a specific dialect, such as “Arabic (Qatar)” or “Mandarin (Hong Kong).”
  • After you’ve typed/drawn/spoken a translation, you will see it on the main page of the app. Like in Gmail, you can “star” it to save it for future use.
  • The current language offerings for instant translation are English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, but Google claims other languages are in the works.

Downsides:

The app definitely has its limits. Sometimes the translation is blatantly wrong (hilariously so), but I find that it’s usually at least in the ballpark.

Further, it offers a literal translation instead of a more nuanced take on a phrase. For example, “Je vois la vie en rose” translates to “I see life in pink,” but that’s not what it means. “I see life in pink,” or “I see life in rosy hues” means something akin to “I see life as beautiful/blissful.” It could be translated as “I see life through rose-colored glasses,” but without the blind or naive optimism of that particular English phrase. So if you’re attempting to have an in-depth conversation with a native speaker of another language, you’ll want to be aware of the app’s limitations, and perhaps find a human translator.

Finally, most of the translations (typing, importing a photo, conversation mode) need to have a Wi-Fi or data connection.

Bottom Line:

Google Translate offers several helpful translation services in one free app. While inaccuracies certainly occur, the app may make traveling abroad a bit easier, and may serve as an asset to foreign language study. As always, if you try it out, feel free to let us know what you think!

Further Reading:

Point and Translate: Google Translate App Update Introduces Word Lens Capability

Google Translate App Gets an Upgrade

Google Translate App Now Converts Spoken Conversations, Text From Photos

Use Google Translate to Transform Foreign Signs Before Your Eyes

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Lauren D. Hall, Circulation Librarian

App of the Week – Duolingo

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

Duolingo_logoIf you are looking for an app that will help you learn a new language, or offer additional practice in one you are already learning, you will want to check out Duolingo.

There are many other language apps out there, such as Rosetta Stone, but most require in-app purchases for the user to get the most out of the app. Duolingo, on the other hand, is completely free. Released in 2012, Duolingo quickly became one of the best free language apps available, and was recognized as the 2013 iPhone App of the Year and one of Google’s Best of the Best in 2013 and 2014.

Duolingo

Most Useful Features:

  • Choose from 9 languages: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish, and Swedish with more on the way.
  • The system is gamified, making it slightly addicting and fun to learn.
  • The option to compete with friends.
  • Immediate feedback.
  • The focus on reading and listening.
  • It’s possible to test out of certain sections
  • Choose how much or little you want to learn at a time with different coaching levels ranging from 1xp to 50xp required per day (11xp per lesson).
  • Will send push notifications and email reminders.
  • Also available on their website with additional grammar information
  • Clean and easy to use interface.
  • An independent study shows that 34 hours with Duolingo = 1 University Semester (11 weeks)
  • Completely free. Lingots

Downsides:

  • Limited language choice, and lack of Mandarin, Farsi, or Urdu in the upcoming languages.
  • Speaking is not emphasized or practiced.
  • Lack of natural conversations.
  • Not ideal to prepare to converse on a trip.
  • Only one language allowed at a time in the app (can do more than one at a time on the website).
  • Website version makes it too easy to just see what a word means.

Bottom Line:

If you’re looking to try a language app on a budget, Duolingo is a great choice. While it probably won’t make you fluent, it will definitely get you started on your way to learning a new language. If you want to stay free, but are looking for a more robust list of languages, Mango Languages is an excellent option that is free with an MWR Library account (definitely worth getting, as most posts have a MWR Library) and is available both online and as an app.

As always, if you give Duolingo a try, feel free to let us know what you think!

Further Reading:

Duolingo (Review)

Can you Learn a Language with Just Duolingo? (Review)

Duolingo Review: The Quick, Easy and Free Way to Learn a Language

Duolingo (Review)

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by G.J. Corey Harmon, Circulation Librarian

App of the Week – IF (formerly IFTTT)

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

IFTTT (Android-app-automator-IFTTT-is-dead-long-live-IFpronounced like “gift,” with no “g”) is a well-established, much-loved website and app for those who enjoy simplifying their life with automation. The name is an acronym of “If This, Then That,” which reflects the service it offers: creating “recipes” that link unrelated apps and services together with triggers. Easy examples include, “If I upload a photo to Instagram, then post the photo to Flickr” or “If I receive an attachment in Gmail, upload it to Dropbox.” These recipes are only the tip of the iceberg, of course – IFTTT supports over 100+ services and channels to link together.

However, as of this week, the original IFTTT app has rebranded itself as IF, and launched 3 additional companion apps: Do Note, Do Camera, and Do Button. Do Note is essentially a programmable notepad, Do Camera focuses on automating your photo storage/usage, and the Do Button is a automatic recipe launcher for anything else you can think of. While IF runs in the background of your device, initiating recipes as the triggers come, the Do apps require you to take action to start the recipe. The Verge calls it “creating a remote control for the internet.”

RecipeSuggestions

SelectTrigger

Most Helpful Features:

  • While the customization of recipes is seemingly endless, IFTTT offers lots of suggestions for commonly used/helpful recipes by other users on the Dashboard of the app.
  • Easy, one-time sign-up, and once you’re logged in on one app, the “Do” apps recognize your account when you log in to those too.
  • If you have Hue wireless lighting, you can even make your lights flash or turn purple when you receive an email or a Facebook notification (or any other trigger you can think of).
  • Once you get the hang of the concept, the apps are very simple to use, with extremely user-friendly, readable interfaces.

Downsides:

  • I personally dislike when established apps split themselves into separate apps, and IFTTT now has 4 apps total. However, unlike the Foursquare/Swarm and Facebook/Messenger splits, you’re not forced to use the other apps – they’re just streamlining certain processes for users.
  • As of now, each of these apps only let you start/keep 3 recipes at a time, whereas IF allows unlimited recipes.

Do Photo

Bottom Line:

IF is truly a must TRY app. If you’re still confused about how it all works, this article provides a step-by-step account and recipe creation process. Maybe you feel that adding all of these digital “recipes” will complicate your life more than simplify it, but you won’t know until you create a few! As always, if you try them out, feel free to let us know what you think.

Further Reading:

IFTTT Launches 3 “Do” Apps To Automate Photo Sharing, Tasks, Notes; Rebrands Main App “IF”

IFTTT introduces three new apps to automate the world around you

IFTTT’s New Apps Offer a Button for Triggering Other Apps

15 Clever Recipes to Try with IFTTT’s New Do Apps

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Contents contributed by Lauren D. Hall, Circulation Librarian