We’re Going on an Adventure

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With the recent release of the second Hobbit film; The Desolation of Smaug, I thought I would check out some of the fan-based extras that were available. On my phone I came across two apps that I thought would be worth downloading, one was free, ‘Middle Earth Index’ and the other cost £0.94, ‘The Lord of the Rings Project’

I was first recommended The LOTR Project which I happily downloaLPded; it looked very neat but I was a bit disappointed with the lack of rustic charm that you would expect from such an app. Other than the map and small tree symbols, it contained no images to show off the fantastic world that Tolkien created. The family trees were large and contained all the information, but they were so big that it took ages to scroll to find the character you were looking for.

I found the timeline impressive, with a lot of the events there would be a small clip from the map to show where it happened, and it contained every event you’d be interested in knowing about, however, unless you already knew the timeline pretty well it could be quite difficult to find certain events. If you’re a true fan this might not be considered a problem, but for those just discovering Middle Earth and can seem like a lengthy and unnecessary process.

One thing this app did have was statistics regarding characters, including life span, sex, age distribution etc. I thought this was a good thing to include and I found it really interesting to see how numbers changed over the years. However I did get a little confused at some of the graphs, not being a ‘maths person’ I struggled to understand what some of them meant.

unnamedAfter doing some research I found another app called ‘Middle Earth Index’. Straight away I was more impressed by it, the first impression is so much better than the previous app; it provides a more visual aspect and gives a better Lord of the Rings vibe. It doesn’t contain as much information as LOTRP but the layout is much easier to navigate. Though it doesn’t include family trees or maps, it does include information on plants, animals, events, languages and tales. It works more like a dictionary or encyclopedia.

So it really depends on what you’re looking for in a Lord of the Rings app, if you’re a fan but don’t want to spend any money then the M.E. Index would work fine for you, however if you want that extra bit of information and don’t care about the appearance, LOTRP might be the one worth downloading.

Though these two aren’t perfect, I think it’s such a good idea to make books more interactive in this way; you could create an app for any book you wanted, they could then be used for study or recreational use depending on the user. I hope to see more like this over the coming years as the Digital Revolution gains momentum.

OTHER LOTR/HOBBIT APPS WORTH HAVING A LOOK AT

Hobbit Translator

Eye of Sauron

Lord of the Rings 3 Sounboard

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Snapchatting the Conversation

mzl.gcsoziyjSocial media has become one of the world’s most utilised aspects of the internet and mobile devices; including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This year has seen the up-rise of the new app ‘Snapchat‘. Instant status updates have proven to not be enough in communicating with others, and even with instagram the public seem dissatisfied with its uses. Snapchat allows consumers to take a photo and immediately send it to anyone on their contacts. The images only stay on screen for a matter of seconds but it provides the public with yet another way of presenting their every thought and action of the day.

Don’t get me wrong I have downloaded and enjoyed the app myself, it’s amusing to see some of the bizarre faces my friends and myself can pull, but it’s a very guilty pleasure. I find myself getting annoyed at the constant use of technology in our lives, I miss having a conversation with someone rather than sending faces to each other; it makes me sound very old fashioned but it’s true. The constant fear society has of being left out keeps us downloading these apps and I know I will succumb to the this temptation along with most others.

This ad for Snapchat highlights the benefits of the app, making messages seem more personal and occasionally cheeky. It aims the product at a fairly young generation, aged 16-25, as they are the ones more interested in the latest developments, especially when it comes to smart phones. However, despite its popularity at the moment I don’t have strong beliefs that it will last much longer. The novelty of the app will ware off and soon it will be known just as a craze of 2013.

Spotify App Review

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 I love music and spend a lot of my time listening to various bands and artists, from Einaudi to Mumford and Sons. I enjoy such a wide range that I struggle to keep buying it all, there’s too much and it ends up being very expensive. Spotify ended up being my saviour; I could listen to as much music as I liked at the small price of listening to a few adverts. Because their service has always bee free I’ve been reluctant to pay for the upgrades (Spotify unlimited, Spotify Premium) which come at a monthly cost, but more recently I have been tempted to succumb to their upgraded service. A couple of days ago I gave into temptation and payed £9.99 for the Premium deal and downloaded the app onto my phone.

o-que-há-de-novo-em-spotify-para-ios-android-e-windows-pcSo is it any good? So far, so good. I’ve really been enjoying having my playlists on my phone, it’s easy to navigate and you can even listen whilst offline. Coming up to Christmas it’s definitely going to be useful, with all those parties; we can listen to all the music we like without the ads, which do ruin the dance flow, just by plugging my phone into some speakers. It saves having my laptop out, which is a big relief. It also saves having to take around my phone and iPod everywhere I go, it’s all in one place, which makes me feel a lot safer.

Disadvantages? The cost can be considered quite high, £9.99 per month does add up, if you have it for a full year that’s nearly £120, a little high for an average student. Personally I’ll use it for the Christmas period and any other special occasion, but I’m not bothered by the odd add, I’m happy to stick with the free version. Though if you can afford it I would say it was worth the money as the range of music is fantastic!

However if you have internet access you can now listen to it on your phone for free. It only allows a shuffle service, and you still have ads but it is an alternative to dishing out £10 a month.

You can download it on iTunes or Google Play now

A Beautiful Mess App Review

IMG_6897-e1368574043444After months of waiting patiently, ‘A Beautiful Mess App’ has finally been released on Google Play/Android. Released back in May, on iTunes, it has been a long wait for followers of this blog to get their hands on a non-Apple version of the app. Was it worth the wait?

As a lover of Instagram and ‘A Beautiful Mess’ Blog, I have waited alongside many others to get my hands on this app, purchasing it the day it came out. The blog itself is know for its quirkiness and vintage style, and it appears the app has been created in the same way.

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So what’s good about it?The answer is a lot. You can take any of your photos, using them as a collage or individually, and then add a range of decorations and comments onto them. It takes the Polaroid aspect of instagram and adds a scrapbook feel to the images- providing hand drawn doodles by the creators it gives pictures a personal touch.

Once you’ve chosen your doodle, background, border, you can then change the colour of said decor and make it as small or large as you like. Then it gives you the opportunity to share your picture via instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Creativity and social media combined, what could be better?

6a00d8358081ff69e201901c2572f0970b-800wiAny disadvantages?

Not really. Unlike instagram it does cost a little, but 69p is an easy price to pay for such a lovely app. If I could change anything then it would be to provide a larger range of decoration and colours to use, but this is nothing major.

Also perhaps the link to Facebook could be to a photo album rather than as a status, but this is such a small thing and easily avoidable with instagram.

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Photos edited using A Beautiful Mess App

Below is an image I have created using Instagram and ‘A Beautiful Mess App’

I have used the collage effect, writing and doodle decor. All done in white to create a better contrast with the photograph.

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iPads on the Uprise

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With the development of technology in the world it is often found that society struggles to keep up with ongoing releases of the latest gadgets.

Recently I attended a debate on the use of iPads in schools, where they discussed the pros and cons of such technology being used by children and teenagers. After filling the schools of Thailand it didn’t take long for Apple to reach out to our own institutes. Over the past year they have changed their market from university students to the ones in secondary schools, providing many with their very own iPad.ipad in education 2

Education is one of this country’s primary units in a child’s development but our beloved teachers appear to be being replaced by this new phenomenon.

There appear to be a lot of benefits for this new craze, including making it manageable for children to learn at their own pace. It gives the option for the members of a class to make their own way through a curriculum and provides different apps to aid their progress. It also provides anonymity when asking questions as they can be sent straight to the teacher’s own device, and then they can address the situation. This takes out the humiliation of not knowing an answer and could decrease bullying.

However on the other side of the argument, it could increase cyber bullying, and having the internet at a child’s fingertips could have dangerous consequences. With it already on the up rise it could allow the anonymity to amplify victimisation.

Computers already play a large part of childhood today, with most people having at least one in the family home; owning an iPad would only add to the amount of time spent in front of the screen. We end up having to ask ourselves; is this really what we want our children to inherit?

There are even sites to help teachers with getting to grips with the technology and how best to take advantage of it.