Did you know that the iPad or iPhone you got for the holidays can be used for more than just making telephone calls, cracking walnuts, and propping doors open? Through apps, mobile devices can become useful productivity tools, or mesmerizing distractions from daily life, or both.
If you are mystified by your magic black box, Princeton Public Library staff members Janet Hauge and Erica Bess will share their picks for the best free apps for organizing, traveling, cooking, productivity, and more at a Princeton Mac Users Group meeting Tuesday, January 14, at 7:30 p.m. at the Princeton Theological Seminary. For more information, call 609-375-8479, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit pmug-nj.org. A Q&A session will begin at 6:30 p.m. before the general meeting in Stuart 4 at the seminary.
Bess, who often teaches classes on information technology at the library, says there are many free apps she uses on her own phone on a regular basis. They are all also available on Android phones.
MyFitnessPal, a calorie tracking app. You can manually enter food, and recipes or scan packages to see how much you are eating. It also tracks exercise, so you know how many sit ups you will you have to do to burn off those four Taco Bell Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos you ate for lunch. (You will have to do sit-ups for 75 minutes, according to the calculator.)
Adobe Photoshop Express lets you edit photos without the need to download them onto a computer. The tools are not as powerful as the full desktop version of Photoshop, but you can rotate, straighten, and adjust the colors of your selfies.
UrbanSpoon is a good app for finding places to eat. It also has a slot machine feature to randomly pick a nearby restaurant if you are tired of eating at Taco Bell all the time.
Shazam is may be the most magical of all apps. If you hear a song on the radio, but don’t know what it’s called or who sings it, turn on the Shazam app for a few seconds and it will listen to the song and tell you what it is, and also give you links to YouTube videos, concert tickets, and other related information.
Findmyphone can come in handy if you lose your phone. After you install this app, you can use your account from another device to find its current address and GPS coordinates.
The library also offers its own suite of free apps for patrons, including programs that allow readers to check out e-books or audiobooks and read magazines.
Bess, the library’s department head of adult services, has been with Princeton Public Library since 2011. Bess is also active in the planning of technology instruction, collection management, and programming at the library. Prior to joining PPL, she was head of adult programming at the Darien, Connecticut, Library.
Bess earned an master’s of library science from Rutgers University in 2007 and is currently an “emerging leader” with the New Jersey Library Association.
Janet Hauge, technology initiatives librarian at Princeton Public Library, has worked in New Jersey libraries since 2007. Prior to that she worked in technology education. She currently coordinates the library’s Technology Training Center programs and does outreach to organizations with technology needs.
As a member of the adult services department, she provides reference and readers advisory service at the public service desks, by chat, phone, and librarian by appointment. For the past six years, Hauge has been teaching Intro to Computers and the Internet to beginning computer users. She earned her MLIS from Rutgers University in 2007. If you miss this class, you’re not out of luck. “We teach classes on apps all the time if people are interested,” Bess says.