My favorite iPad apps. What are yours?

The other day, I was writing about the new New Media Consortium 2012 Horizon Report, and I briefly spoke about mobile apps I use. In this post, I would like to share the iPad apps that I basically could not live without. A little melodramatic, still, they are really useful apps.

Apps for getting things done

Evernote Evernote Evernote is a great application for saving everything. I have written quite a lot about Evernote in the past, and it still remains one of my essential applications. I have Evernote loaded on all my computers, my iPad, and my smartphone. I use it to save notes, images, and ideas related to anything and everything in my life. I have recently started to use it in conjunction with the Getting Things Done  (GTD) system, and it is working out great.
EgretList EgretList – Egretlist is closely integrated with Evernote, and basically takes my GTD system in Evernote, and turns it into a checklist or to do list where I can check things off.
Dropbox Dropbox – I use Dropbox to store everything I want to work on away from my primary computer, whatever that happens to be. It is a great convenience to be able to access files from all my computers, iPad, and smartphone. Dropbox is useful to collaborate with multiple teammates.

Reading Apps

Kindle Kindle – My favorite ebook application is Kindle. I currently have 40 books loaded on my Kindle and I have read or I am currently in the process of reading them all. I have become a more active reader because of the convenience of having a stack of books always at my fingertips.
Google Books Google Books – Because not all books are available through the Kindle app, I have also downloaded books to the Google Book app. I prefer the Kindle app because of the highlighting and note taking features. Still, I am able to get books I want to read.
Google Search Google Search – I use this application to read my Google+ account and for Google Reader. When I am away from my computer, I use this program to stay abreast of new findings in the world. Each program allows me to forward to my email or send a post to Twitter.
Flipboard Flipboard – Flipboard is my favorite way to read the posts I get from Twitter. Flipboard presents the information as a newspaper. The Twitter posts are expanded so that you can read part of an attached article, and you can see included pictures. You can set up Flipboard pages based on hashtags, search queries, Twitter lists, or your entire Twitter stream.
Hootsuite Hootsuite– If I just want to look at my Twitter streams and queries, then Hootsuite is my tool of choice. With Hootsuite, I can follow all of my Twitter accounts as well as set up unique queries and lists.
iBooks iBooks – If I need to have a PDF accessible anytime and anywhere, then I throw it into iBooks. I have placed the entire Civil Air Patrol regulation library into iBooks; it makes for a very quick reference.
Zite Zite – Zite is very similar to Flipboard, and it is the newest application I have added in this category.  With Zite, you can sign up for a number of attractive categories such as Arts and Culture or Social Media. Another great tool to glean new information from the Internet.

Other Useful or Fun Apps

AppStart AppStart – AppStart is a great program, especially for iPad newbies. AppStart recommends great iPad applications based on your needs. If I need to make recommendations to others based on unique needs, I first crosscheck my recommendations with AppStart. AppStart makes recommendations from the first ten apps to download to apps for sports, reading, music, email, and countless other topics.
Skype Skype – Since I use Skype as my phone in the office and home, I might as well have all my contacts available to me while on the road. I have Skype loaded on all my computers, my iPad, and my smartphone. Skype provides the added convenience of being able to hold an impromptu conference call.
Hotels Hotels – While on the road, I use this app to reserve rooms. So far, I have not been disappointed in what it has found for me.
Weatherbug Weatherbug – This app keeps me informed about the weather. The weather radar feature lets me determine the intensity and duration of a storm. I have all the areas of Wyoming plugged into it so I can see what trouble I will be getting into.
TripIt TripIt – I use this app to see where my friends are traveling as well as find people I know in places I am going. I am always looking for company for a meal.
Ancestory Ancestory – This is a great little application that ties into Ancestory.com. I use it to track and work on my family tree. It is nice to sit down with a relative and be able to show them the tree as well as add to it.
WoW Armory WoW Armory – This application allows me to check up on updates from my World of Warcraft Guild. I can check on various achievements, events, and messages without having to leave the game or while I am out on the road. I used it when working as a guild officer for Azeroth Training Society.

Well, these are the apps I use, what apps do you recommend and why?

3 ways to use RSS feeds to keep your knowledge fresh

Reading the News on an IpadEarlier today, I was reading an article by Eric Stoller called Using RSS to Feed My Brain. He pointed out that he subscribes to 400 different RSS feeds to help stay current on issues.

RSS feeds are great because they deliver content to you, instead of you checking on each of your favorite sites. If a site regularly puts out new articles, there is a great chance they have an RSS feed. You simply need to look for an RSS icon  and subscribe to it with a RSS reader.

While I do not have 400 different feeds, I do have a number that I like to follow. Like Eric, I use RSS feeds to follow a number of different interests from game theory to informal learning. I even have feeds to keep track of interesting posts on my martial art. I also subscribe to a number of journal articles on various topics. Using the University of Wyoming’s Library databases, I am able to set up search queries and have new journal articles automatically appear in my RSS feeds.

Regardless of the topics you are following, you need an easy way to follow the discussions. Here are the three ways I track my RSS feeds:

Google Reader

Like Eric, I also use Google Reader to keep track of my RSS feeds. While it does not necessarily matter which reader you use, using a reader makes following RSS feeds much easier. I used to use Netvibes to track my feeds, but have recently moved my feeds to Google Reader. It is matter of what is comfortable for you. Right now, Google Reader is my RSS reader of choice.

Paper.li

I have also been pulling my RSS feeds into Paper.li, which creates a “newspaper” from the feeds. This newspaper is then emailed to me daily. I really like the look and feel of the resulting product. However, if your RSS feeds are not really prolific, you could be disappointed in the final product. Paper.li will also allow you to build a newspaper from up to ten different feeds to include Twitter, Facebook, RSS, and Google+.

Flipboard

I really love to use Flipboard to review the daily Tweets. I have now started to use Flipboard to follow my RSS feeds that I have collected through Google Reader. The results are amazing. Flipboard is an application for the iPad and iPhone. Each story is expanded to provide more detail. There is a capability to forward an article by email or Tweet.

Well, these are my three methods for stay abreast of the news through RSS feeds. Do you have a strategy that works for you? I would love to hear about it. Leave a comment below.

How I use Flipboard, Twitter, and Diigo to advance my professional development

Last night, I was reflecting on how I find new tools, ideas, and methods to help me and my Cooperative Extension colleagues. As I thought about it, one process seemed to jump out, I would like to share it.

The most predominate method I use to gather new ideas is using Flipboard. Flipboard is an iPad application that allows you to view Twitter, Facebook, and other feeds in a friendlier format. Each tweet for example expands to show images and parts of the article it is linked to; this expanded view has a tendency to grab my interest more than the 140 character tweet. If I think the article is beneficial to my professional development, I will used the application’s e-mail feature to send it to myself. I also have the ability to share it with others by retweeting it. I have noticed one downside using Flipboard, I do not retweet as often as I do with Tweetdeck.

First thing in the morning as I am reviewing my e-mail, I take a closer look at the items I sent to myself. If I believe they will be useful and worthy of saving, I will bookmark them with Diigo. If the link is relevant for a friend, I will typically forward it to them.

At the end of the month, I put together a newsletter for the Wyoming’s Cooperative Extension called Geeks and Speaks. This newsletter is a collection of useful resources, methods, and ideas that I gleaned throughout the month. I build the newsletter based on the gems I find and save in Diigo.

While I still review my Twitter feeds in Tweetdeck, I have found Flipboard to be more useful for me. Check it out, I think you will also enjoy it.