The World with Apps

When we were still amazed by how PC could make our lives such simple fifteen years ago,  we could never imagine using software on our phones anytime and anywhere. The technology is developing so fast, before we knew it, smartphones, tablets have become many people’s first choice for surfing the internet, shopping online, paying their bills, watching videos and more. And all these are rely on various apps.

We all knew app is short for application, in fact, we have started using them on PC years ago, such as a calculator, a voice recorder, etc. But they seem to were not used by people too frequently, because people need to use them with quicker access and easier operation.  And that’s why people need apps on their phones with touch screens, not only saving their time, but way more mobility and efficiency.

I am personally a big lover to technology, and I have to admit that using apps has become a big part of my life. I think apps can do things common like recording sound or calculation but also new things like analyzing the music info or navigation. A desire of making my own app is growing  along with using more apps. Since I always want to make a simple game with a unique concept like Doodle Jump.

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I have gained some professional skills in game design in my Bachelor degree, what I really don’t know is how to compress them in formats that can be ran on system like Android or iOS, So I searched through the internet and I found couple results for making a game app.

  • How to Create a Gaming App is a introduction of how to start making a game app from early stage preparation to the publishing and marketing.
  • How to Build An App: 36 Great Tutorials is thorough tutorials about making an app in professional methods, so professional skills like program coding and graphic design might be required.
  • Mag+ provides a platform for us to make a magazine app without coding skills, you can download tools from its website and additional software like Adobe Indesign might be required.

At the end, here is a video that released from Apple, which explained how

Each iOS app offers remarkable, and often delightful possibilities. But the most powerful iOS apps ever are ones that change people’s lives in ways they never imagined.

Enjoy!

 

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Ebooks

I believe most of us are familiar with ebooks, it became a alternative choice to paper books nowadays. So, what is an ebook?

An ebook is an electronic book, one you read digitally on devices called ebook readers. However, almost any electronic device that features a controllable viewing screen, including computers, tablets, many mobile phones, and all smartphones can also be used to read ebooks.

So, why would you want an ebook? As you discover this new industry with your surfing over the Internet, you will discover ePublishers and ebook stores gradually growing in numbers. Also thousands upon thousands of authors write books yearly. Of those, only a small percentage has the good fortune of being accepted by a publisher. This is not because they don’t make the grade, but because of the vast numbers. So, many talented authors chose to take their books to open internet, market and sell books themselves. Some of the books have printed equivalent, but some of them not, of those, there are sure many outstanding books are well worth the read.

People hold different opinions about ebooks, some think ebooks are good because they save paper; eReaders are light weight and they are capable of containing multiple books, or simply, they are cheaper than paper books. But the others prefer paper books because they more feel like book in hands while reading. I personally love both as long as the content can be correctly delivered to me, to me what more important is the content.

Sometimes I get very frustrated when reading a long essay in PDF format, it is a good idea to convert it to an ebook and I could read it on my iPad. I found Jutoh(Download) is a good software that helps me do the job easily; it is not completely free that you have to pay for some of the advanced functions, but the free demo version works well enough for me.

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Jutoh could divide your work into chapters, and you could also create content for your work. Jutoh supports exporting in many popular formats such as Epub, Mobipocket, HTML, etc. And it is available for all of the computer operation systems.

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Ebooks definitely made reading easier and more portable, but keep in mind that long time reading on devices like iPad is harmful for eyes, so having some proper rests during reading is always a good habit.

RSS Feed: twXplorer

Whilst searching RSS feeds I found a post by Steve Buttry about twXplorer, a new Twitter research tool launched by the Knight Lab.

What twXplorer does is analyze the results of a Twitter search and give you not just the tweets from a search but also patterns in those tweets: the terms, hashtags and links that show up most often in your search. And each of those terms, hashtags and links is hyperlinked, so you can click on it to filter just those tweets from your original search. You can also use it to search within a Twitter list.

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So I personally tried twXplorer and I’m very pleased and amazed, it is simple to use by just signing in my Twitter account on twXplorer’s page, because it is a web built-in tool so I don’t have to download and install anything. The interface design is also simple and clean, I entered several terms in the search box, and picked English in the language section. It immediately shows results in four different ways.

  • Up to 500 recent tweets containing the terms I entered.
  • In tweets that include my search terms, a bar graph showing the most popular other words that appear.
  • The most popular hashtags included in tweets containing my search terms
  • The most popular links in tweets containing my search terms.

It’s a great tool for refining searches and drilling down to find the most useful results.

TwXplorer helps users understand what people are talking about on Twitter, most importantly, it refines users’ search through a “drill-down” approach to avoid scrolling through a very long and undifferentiated list of tweets.

Search Engine Comparison (Google, DuckDuckGo, Instagrok)

Nowadays, when we mention the word ‘search engine’, I believe ‘Google’ is first one that pops up in most people’s mind. It is so important even it has become a verb that represents the behavior of searching information online: ‘What is the time in Berlin?’ ‘Just Google it.’

But today I am going to introduce two new search engines which serving quite different purposes with Google: DuckDuckGo and Instagrok. For comparing the differences, let’s search ‘iPhone 5s’ in three search engines, the reason I chose ‘iPhone 5s’ as an example because it is a product name and also a general term with less directional purposes, we will see what kind of purposive results that three search engines will lead us to.

Google

Firstly I searched ‘iPhone 5s’ in Google, the result page opens up very quickly and indicates Google found about 518,000,000 results in 0.27 seconds. But I definitely will not need all these results so let’s see what contents that Google brought out to us in the first page. Because I am using Google Australia, the initial results are some ads of iPhone 5s from different Australian telecom carriers, the next couple pages are ads and introductions from official Apple websites. The following contents include the smaller retailers’ ads, the reviews, the news, and the price comparisons. I will say these results are mostly commercial; even I did not type ‘price’ or ‘buy’ words along with ‘iPhone 5s’. So in this scenario, if I am buying a new iPhone and want to know where the good place to buy is, I prefer to use Google because it gives overall purchasing information but less technical results. I give Google 3/5.

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DuckDuckGo (DDG)

In DuckDuckGo’s result page, the first result is official Apple website; it also has the little ‘official’ icon next to it, which I think is very helpful for users not go onto some unreliable or false websites. Another significant difference compares to Google that I found is DDG refined each result’s title, it gave each title some key words of what this webpage is about, instead of the lengthy and jumbled title in Google. In the first page results, it dose have some commercials but they are way less than Google’s, it also includes results about iPhone apps, repairs, accessories, and operation system. In general, these results are more practical and functional than Google, which I believe are more often searched by users. I give DDG 5/5.

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Instagrok

After a few seconds loading, Instagrok’s result page really can’t make me accustomed to. Compares to Google and DDG’s traditional layout, its flash based website takes longer loading time than the other two, and its mind map form of site map is new and original but really hard to look at. Beside, after I typed in iPhone 5s, Instagrok automatically changed the results to iPhone 5 for some reasons, which I really can’t understand. It also has a side banner that includes different types of sources and some quizzes but the quantity is very limited. I think it is a very good concept that Instagrok divides results into different aspects in a form of mind map, which I think is good for academic research, because it could help users point out some key points to talk about, but its interface really needs to be worked out further to become more users friendly. I give Instagrok 2/5.

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My Experience With Google Alerts

This is my first time using Google Alerts, and I think it is a good way to timely get needful updates in Email. It is especially useful for users who want keeping current on a competitor or industry. I personally have set up three alerts which are about PS4, RMIT, and iPhone, by the time I received the alerts next day, I was surprise by how the information has been sorted out clearly in order of importance and time. I like how it allows users to make more specific search terms by multiple words. One thing that I wish it to be improved is it could have more frequency options of alerts for users to select, rather than only sending daily and weekly. I think Google Alerts makes its users have the initiative to only get information they interest, so then they won’t waste their time on unnecessary messages compares to traditional mediums like newspaper and TV.

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Self-reflection on the Experience of Skype

I have been using Skype for 3 years, and it is always my first choice for making long distance calls to my families and friends oversea, I was impressed by the call quality even with the poor network. Now I am a paying user for me to get cheaper direct calls with telephones/mobile phones. which I found out it is very convenient by doing it just on my smart phone, and another thing that I found out is that Skype has the best video quality on video chat compares to other VoIP or instant message softwares like QQ, Wechat, etc. The experience of communicating with classmates by Skype was definitely pleasant: clear and fluent. I think Skype in the VoIP market dominance is unshakable by now.