Waterlogue has turned me into an artiste!

app store imageLike the rest of us with our iPads and iPhones, I’ve loaded, deleted and forgotten many apps in the course of my ownership of said products. When the devices (or should I say vices!) were brand new I went app crazy for all kinds of games, news, productivity and even, dare I say it, educational apps, but alas most of them I just don’t use.  I find I use a dozen on a regular basis, and the rest are probably covered in cobwebs in the my virtual junk drawer.

Because of this I rarely, if ever, go trolling the app store for something new, but the other day I decided to check the ‘top charts’ and see what was shaking and low and behold I found this really great app called Waterlogue.

waterlogue It’s this really cool app that turns photos into watercolor images right before your eyes! Simply beautiful works of art that are magically painted right on your phone. It must be amazing because it actually costs money, and I still downloaded it!! 

It takes about 20 seconds (I know that long! Aren’t we all so jaded?) for the image to change from just a plain photo into a thing of beauty, so you can really see the virtual artist at work.  That’s really half the fun!

There are 13 different applications you can use to create your new image, and I’ve only really just begun experimenting, but as you can see the results are beautiful!

A Library with no books? What will they think of next?

It was only a couple of days ago that I was posting about physical books being added to hotels and today I read about a public library that will have no physical books on it’s non-existent shelves…nada, nil, none!

The Bexar County Library System in Texas, which includes the city of San Antonio, has just  authorized a project to create the first paperless public library system in the United States. That’s right paperless! The BiblioTech project (why didn’t they just call it iLibrary) is to be launched this fall with the opening of their first branch on the south side of San Antonio at a cost of $1.5 million bucks. bookless library

As the picture here shows, the resemblance is quite similar to an Apple store and according to the news release will allow its patrons access to 10,000 titles. The building will also include study and meeting rooms, as well as take home e-readers.

I’m confused on whether this is a total county-wide effort or not. In one article it led me to believe that it was system wide, but in another it said that it would be an enhancement.  Whatever it is, it is certainly unique!

Of course the checking out of e-readers and e-books is nothing new, as my own public library does that, but to have no paper copies of books seems like lunacy. Well at least to me! Besides the fact that not all publishers allow libraries to purchase their e-books, there is the matter of educating the public on reading electronically. It takes a lot more staff to teach someone how to operate technology than it does to just peruse a shelf and pick out something interesting to read. Heck at our library it’s hard to get the public to even use the automatic check out machines, they would rather wait in a long line than learn how to do it themselves. It will be very interesting to continue following this story and to see what the patrons of the Bexar County Library system think about it!

What do you think?

There’s a great little video on the My San Antonio website about the new paperless library if you’d like to take a look.

iPad iNsomnia

I never would have dreamed that I would be one of those people tethered to technology, but that is just what I’ve become. This has been especially true since I left my job a year ago to spend more time with my spouse in Alaska. There are a lot of hours in the day to fill when you aren’t working, only have a small black dog to attend to, and spend a considerably amount of time alone.  But you see I’m not truly alone because I have my books, my Kindle, my iPod and my iPad to keep me company. I seem to always have one of these things either in my hand, close at hand, or in my handbag. See, tethered!

insomnia

I’ve noticed some physical repercussions from my obsession. Eye strain is a big one, then there’s a bit of numbness in my hands if I’ve played a bit too much Angry Birds the day before, but the biggest thing I’ve noticed is insomnia.  At first I didn’t correlate the use of my iPad with my night time alertness, because I thought it was just something us middle-aged people acquired, kind of like wrinkles and aches and pains, but then someone mentioned the fact that the light from an iPad causes sleeplessness.  At first I was doubtful, but I decided to do a little experiment to see if it was true. I simply stopped using my iPad right before I went to bed. I should say it wasn’t simple in the least because I had gotten in the bad habit of shutting off my bedside lamp and either reading or playing games on my iPad before deciding to shut my eyes. But after a few nights with a good old-fashioned book instead of the iPad, I found myself drifting off to sleep effortless. It truly was amazing to find such a quick fix for my wakefulness! The hard part is not picking up that darn iPad right before bed!

Related article:

iPad could cause insomnia, researches say

TED talks and I’m listening

Are you familiar with TED talks? I know I wasn’t aware of them until one of the book podcasts I follow, Books on the Nightstand, mentioned them in connection with something bookish. That made the book nerd inside of me, finally look them up on the internet, and realize how much I was missing out on! TED is an acronym for Technology, Education and Design, and when the first conference was held in 1984 in Silicon Valley, those three areas were the basis for the talks and the conference, but things have changed a lot since then. TED’s scope is broader and more global now and since 2006 when free access to their videos became available online, there have been over 500 million views of these talks!

Quoting from their website, “The two annual TED conferences, in Long Beach/Palm Springs and Edinburgh, Scotland, bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less). “

There really is something for everyone, and what I really appreciate is the time constraint put on the speaker. This forces them to be succinct and grab your attention quickly. Not an easy feat I’m sure, but one that forces them to make every word count.

Recently my daughter made me aware that they have an app. It worked perfectly for my last long flight up to Alaska, because I was able to download half a dozen talks and then watch them on my Ipad with no wifi connection.

One of my favorite book related talks is this one by book jacket designer Chip Kidd,

and one of the most popular talks was by author Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that can’t stop Talking,

But I think my favorite (so far) is this one by Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy,

So, if you ever find yourself surfing the web and have 18 minutes or less to spare, you might just want to visit the TED site and see what they’re talking about!