Archive for Mobile



Have you ridden the new Blazer Express?  UAB has really upped the game for campus transportation with new buses and routes.  The buses and shiny and new and beautifully branded for UAB but best thing about the new system in my opinion is the app they are using to communicate.  TransLoc is an app and website that many transportation systems use to track their routes and buses.  Once downloaded, in the app, you can choose to view stops or routes and get real time information on where your bus is and when you can expect it at your stop.

UAB map on the web

UAB map on the web


UAB map on my mobile

UAB map on my mobile

UAB routes on my mobile

UAB routes on my mobile

The system is free, easy to use and updates on the fly.  If you need to move around campus on a rainy cool morning like today, I recommend you use Blazer Express and TransLoc!

P.S.  I’ll talk about TransLoc Rider in an upcoming post.


3G Watchdog

watchdogMost people have no idea how much data they use monthly on their cellphone until they get a dreaded overage message. I’m still on the unlimited data plan with Verizon, but  soon it will be time to stop clinging to the past.  To help me with my transition, I’ve been using an app called 3g Watchdog.


The app has helped me track how much data I’m actually using. You can set your quota limits and billing dates;  for example, set a limit of 2G per month starting on the 18th and you can get a notification when you are at 75% of the quota. You can view daily, weekly or monthly usage and see how much time you have left before your monthly plan resets.

The icon in your notification bar will advise you of your status from a glance by changing from green to yellow to red. It will also send you notifications when you are getting close to your limit and it can even be set to auto disable your mobile data to prevent overage. 3G Watchdog Pro gives you many advanced features like exporting a CSV file of your usage, viewing your usage by application or even restricting apps. I’ve found that the basic functions of the free version are enough to give me a good handle on what I’m using. This app is only available on Google Play but other similar applications Onavo Count and My Data Manager are available on Itunes.

OverDrive Media Console

Read and listen to eBooks & audiobooks from your library on the go or at home with OverDrive Media Console. The app is available for every major desktop and mobile platform, including Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phones and tablets, Kindle, NOOK, Windows 8 PC and tablet, Blackberry and Windows Phone.

This is a great product that enables you to literally have a library at your fingertips.It’s a great product that works across multiple platforms. I of course am a Windows and Windows Phone 8 user and the app is free!

Download eBooks and audiobooks from your library directly to your Windows Phone! OverDrive Media Console gives you on-the-go access to eBooks and audiobooks from your public, school, or college library. More than 18,000 libraries worldwide offer best-selling and classic titles via OverDrive, so use the ‘Get Books’ feature in the app to find a library near you.
Digital titles from your library are borrowed just like print material. Once you find your library using ‘Get Books,’ you can browse your library’s digital collection website in the app, check out a title with a valid library card, and download the title directly to your Windows Phone.

Once you open the app you can search for a library by name, city or zip code. tech


After which you select your member library and browse their collection and check out theebook of your choice. The title automatically expires in the app at the end of the lending period, so there’s never a late fee. There’s even a handy countdown clock built into the app so you know how long you have to read or listen before the title expires.

Some of the neat features included but aren’t limited to:

Change font size, margin, contrast and more to suit your style
Bookmark your favorite passages for repeat reading and listening
The built-in dictionary makes word lookup a breeze
Let your friends know what you’re reading on Facebook.

All and all a pretty handy tool for those avid readers out there that want a convenient way to take their favorite readings wherever they go.



So long Google Reader, I hardly knew you

I consider myself an average consumer of technology, so there are only a few moments in my life where I found myself truly wowed by the next new thing, moments when I realized that I was doing it all wrong, moments when technology answered questions that I didn’t even know I had.  One of the most significant moments was looking down at the Nokia flip-phone in my hand after seeing Apple’s 2007 pro-mo for the first generation iPhone.  And most recently, discovering FeedlyLogo

I had to use Google Reader for a class in 2010, and I just didn’t get it.  It felt like another email I had to check.  When the class ended, so did my patience with Google Reader.  But when, earlier this year, Google announced that they were quitting with Google Reader, I figured I ought to do something with the feeds that I already subscribed to, feeds that I wished I read more often.  My husband mentioned Feedly, and said that all I had to do was click a button and everything would move over, I thought it was worth a shot.browser


The verdict: Switching over could not have been easier! and I love Feedly!! It is the answer to everything I disliked about Googleexample article Reader.  I went from signing in to Google Reader every once in a while, to opening Feedly everyday. I never feel like I have to check Feedly; I feel like it’s always waiting for me.  It’s there at my convenience, right beside my Google search bar. There are no more files and folders! Anything I’m interested in is clearly and invitingly displayed, all I need to do is scroll/browse through, like a magazine.  I don’t have to stumble across new blogs and news feeds to find something new–I can search within Feedly and add & organize new feeds in a matter of nanoseconds.  In fact, when I made the switch over to Feedly, I added at least 10 new blogs within minutes of loading the app to my phone.  I love it when something works so well I don’t even have to think about it.

mobile appFeedly is really lovely in its design and function.  The ratio of images to text is just right.  It’s not busy, it’s not flashy, it’s just really clean and attractive.  Everything I want to read is in one place.  My news categories are organized in alphabetical order, so my cooking, writing, and window shopping blogs are side by side with my library, teaching, and healthcare-related blogs.  Every time I open the app, I feel like I’m discovering something serendipitously (even though I know that I’m not; after all, I’m the one responsible for the content).

My favorite way to spend my lunch break is browsing through my Feedly either on my desktop or my iPhone.  I love the yin-yang balance of seeing all my news feeds at once, yet in their respective categories.  I’ll read something fun about finding great fried chicken in New York City, the next section will feature a story about a bookless public library in Texas, and the next section will feature world news from my NPR feed.

Feedly just made Feedly Pro available.  It’s a $5.00 a month charge, andfeedly pro ad I’ll have to wait to see if I think it’s worth paying for.  It will come with a handy search feature, which free Feedly lacks.  Other features include one-click sync with Evernote and One-click Pocket, and premium customer support.  The fact that Feedly wants users to start paying for a better platform makes me wonder if ads are on the way…in that case, I probably would pay $5.00/month to keep my Feedly looking the way I want it to.

There’s plenty of debate in the Tech World about the “death of the RSS feedSome say that Google+ is Google’s answer to its own problem.  Others argue that Twitter was always the answer, with news in real time.  I can’t really provide insight to the on-going debate, all I know is that I find Feedly incredibly refreshing and I love that I have control over how I want to use it–something I feel is lacking in my social network life.  I’d rather keep my news stories separated from friend’s new haircut update.

Feedly works for me.  If you found something else to replace your Google Reader, we want to hear about it at Lister Hill.  Leave us a comment!!


Graphite Lite App.

A while back I wrote about picking up sketching again and now I am seldom without my sketchbook and pencil. I never really considered sketching electronically until I started watching tutorials by Sycra Yasin.

Yasin made such neat sketches and made sketching electronically look so easy I thought I’d give it a try.

After reading about the different apps in the App Store I settled on Graphite Lite because it looked to be the best for regular plain ole sketching. I didn’t want stamps, architecture tools, or paints. Graphite also had good reviews for their pencil and charcoal tools.

I downloaded the free version to check it out and liked it so much I went ahead and spent the 2.99 for the full version.

For tools you get charcoal and pencil as well as a regular hard pencil eraser and a kneaded eraser. This version also includes a blending tool.  For all of these tools you can set the color and size (width) of the mark and the pressure.

The app also includes undo, redo, and zoom — zoom is really handy for working on small areas like eyes.

What I really like though is you can import a photo and trace it. This is really useful for practicing hard shapes like puppy noses. You can also save your work and email it or share through social media channels.

The interface is really easy to use and help is conveniently provided in the area with the icons for the pencil, charcoal, etc. Actually drawing, however, took a little getting used to. I tried using my finger first and that didn’t work out very well. Then I tried a regular old free stylus that came in the mail. Both my finger and stylus were too wide to get the precision needed to use the pencil very well. Using the charcoal worked better. Overall, this is fun and easy to use app but if you are serious about doing drawing electronically you will want to invest in stylus designed for artist.

So how did I do? Below is a picture of my dog, Ellie, and a quick sketch I did of her. I was using the charcoal tool mostly.

ellie elliesketch








This won’t replace my paper and pencil though!



If you’re anything like me with a hectic schedule, you’re constantly trying to find a way to keep organized and manage your physical, mental and creative space. You may use it to collaborate with team members on projects and track the stages of said project. I have good news for you; with Trello you can do just that and more.

If you’ve ever had to manage any sort of project or just try to accomplish all your personal to-do items, you know how hard it is to figure out how to track everything in a simple way, find a balanced way to prioritize all the things you have to do, and actually get them done.

Trello is awesome way to make this easier. It takes two basic steps:

First, sort your personal to-do’s into three spaces: physical, mental, and creative.

Second, use Trello.

What exactly is Trello you ask?

Trello is a free web application that you can use to track pretty much anything you want. Just go to and register/log in using your email address.

So give Trello by first:

Sorting your personal to-do items (3 spaces) physical, mental & creative.

Trello’s three main building blocks are cards, lists, and boards. Cards are things you’re working on, lists are collections of cards, and boards are collections of lists. You can put all kinds of things on the back of cards: comments, color-coded labels, checklists, file attachments, due dates, voting, and more.

One of the greatest things about this flexible (easy to use) is that you can access it on pretty much any device you choose including your pc, laptop, tablet or even smart phone. It also works with


Sorting your personal to-do items (3 spaces) physical, mental & creative.

Other than the 3 categories mentioned above there is also a “to-do list” as well as a “doing/waiting list” and finally the “done list”. Keep in mind you have the flexibility to edit or rename or add or delete any list as you see fit. Each item may be dragged and dropped appropriately. A great tool to use and also an alternative to the ever so popular Evernote!

If I Had Glass…

So Google Glass is here! As you can imagine, there is a lot of buzz and excitement surrounding this product too! So what is Google Glass? Instead of you reading about it, let me just show you Google’s promotional video:

Wow… looks like a cool device huh? But what can it do?

After reading over the specs, it’s easy to see using this device to take photos or videos. Glass also supports voice recognition, so that makes texting and composing e-mail messages a breeze. It can make phone calls and use GPS on your tethered phone for turn-by-turn directions via Google Maps. And of course it will integrate with other Google services like Google Hangouts.

As a gadget geek, I think the device is innovative and cutting edge. But… I have no desire to own one plus I really don’t think I would ever wear Google Glass at work or after hours. It bears no resemblance to Navin Johnson’s Opti Grab but it does make me think of it because I’m sure most people will not look this cool using Google Glass.

Glass Pic

Image Credit: Google

Instead of focusing on how Glass would impact my sense of fashion, let’s take a look at the potential ways Google Glass (and other wearable computers) can impact the healthcare setting:

Retrieve Evidence-Based Information – I know… we librarians are so predictable but this application of Glass addresses a critical need in the clinician workforce. Studies have shown that the typical physician has about 10 questions per day, of which about one half go unanswered. Using Glass, we could have a voice-activated assistant to search PubMed’s Clinical Queries or use PICO searching to answer patient-related questions.

Provide Access to the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) – Using the wireless capabilities of Glass, “key” information from the EMR about your patient like vitals, labs, etc. can be easily displayed when you get ready to see your next patient.

Link History & Physical Examination Data to the EMR – Glass could act as a real-time medical history-taking tool that would record and upload clinician/patient interactions into the EMR.

Prevent Diagnostic Errors – Preventing diagnostic errors would also be a natural use Glass. Glass could provide access to differential diagnosis tools in real time to aid clinicians in the diagnostic process. Let’s take this a step further, Glass could snap a picture of a skin lesion and then use a database to find a match to assist with your diagnosis. Or, Glass could use visual recognition apps to identify and quantify other visible symptoms.

Prevent Medication ErrorsMedication errors lead to increased ER and hospital visits; Glass could use a visual search app to quickly identify medications during a patient medication review and determine any potential interactions or conflicting prescriptions.

Consult with Colleagues – Glass uses the Google apps so using Google+ Hangouts to consult with an expert clinician is just a voice command away. Send pictures or video to your colleague for a more comprehensive consultation.

Streamline Clinician Case Load – Glass could increase efficiency in your daily workflow by alerting you of your next appointment and providing a summary of key points in the patient’s record. See this video demo of this idea.

Translate for Non-English Speaking Patients – Glass could also “live translate” your interactions with non-English speaking patients.

These are just a few ideas and I have read several more scenarios on different blog posts like How Google Glass could revolutionize medicine. Companies, such as Augmedix and Pharmaforward, have already popped up to begin developing Google Glass apps that will enhance healthcare. This is a trend that will continue for the short term until better more human-friendly technology is developed. Who knows??? Maybe we are just a few short years away from implanted computers and contact lens displays.

I am impressed with Google’s foray into the wearable computer market but don’t think for a minute that I wouldn’t make fun of you for wearing Google Glass after I express my fascination of the device. And if it is not enough for me to make fun of you, take a look at Tech Blogger Randall Meeks’ Review here.

Tech Tools for Dog Owners

On May 1, Hand-in-Paws is bringing their therapy dogs to Lister Hill Library to provide stress relief to student studying for finals. In this post, dog owners will find some fun and useful technology tools to keep yourself and your dog safe, happy, and healthy.

* Tagg is a GPS pet pet tracker that attaches to your dog’s collar.  It allows you to track your dog’s location and activity level from your smartphone or computer. The apps are free, but the tracker and service are not, of course. If your dog gets out, Tagg will send you both an email and a text so you can go get him. It even includes directions to his current location. You can generate charts of your dog’s minute-by-minute activity level, too.


* An inexpensive option is the PetHub QR coded dog tag. Scanning the tag links to an online profile page about your dog with your contact information and also generates directions to where he is found.  Additional services are available.

* iCam is an iOS tool that lets you watch your dog in real time while you are away.  You can use the app to monitor live streams of video and audio feeds generated from multiple webcams. Now you will know what your dog actually does while you are at work.

*You love to walk your dog, right? Like the fitness app, MapMyRun, MapMyDogwalk uses the GPS on your phone to track and map your walk and save metrics including distance, pace, speed, calories, and more. Save your data online to see maps and your workout history and connect with others. (iOS and Android.)


*Be prepared while you are out and about. The Pet First Aid iOS app (limited features for Android at this time) contains articles, videos and detailed instructions on how to care for your dog or cat in an emergency. Yo can also save information including their vaccinations,  veterinarian contact info, medications, allergies & conditions, and any other notes about your pet’s health.

* Ready to play?  Try the Go Go Dog Pals remote-controlled critters. ($$$) Customization kits will soon be available too. Watch video here.

* My personal favorite tech tool is iRobot’s  Roomba vacuum cleaning robot. ($$$) Depending on the model, you can program Roomba to clean your floors while you are at work, or set it loose when you leave for your walk. It will vacuum up that annoying dog hair and fur from all types of floors so you don’t need to deal with it daily. And it’s fun to watch.

* Coming soon.  Watch for FitBark, the FitBit for dogs. Clip the Fitbark to your dog’s collar, and use the FitBark mobile app, launching on iOS in Spring 2013 (Android is in the works) to see charts and data on your dog’s daily activity and sleep patterns. (See Pat’s post on FitBit here.)

Thanks to the Mashable Blog for several of the ideas in this post. The authors frequently post about our canine friends.

Skyscanner (A Great Tool to Find Cheap Flights and More!)


Looking for a one stop shop for your pending travel needs that will search for the most cost effective airfare? Well you may be interested in checking out Skyscanner. Skyscanner allows users to search millions of routes on over 1000 airlines to find the cheapest flights. There are 2 basic ways to access this tool. One method would be via the web by visiting . Secondly you may download the ap from your smartphone. One thing that I love is the fact that the ap is available on all the major platforms. Including Windowos, Windows 8, Android, Blackberry and IOS. skyscanners_operating_system

As far as is concerned, it compares over 1000 airlines to find you the cheapest airfares. In addition it also compare and finds the cheapest hotels and car rentals for your next trip.

For smartphones there are apparently more than 6 million people are already using the skyscanner app. It is available for Windows, iPhone, iPad and Android. With the windows phone version in particular (which is what I have smile) the app also lets users track prices of selected flights with the Live Tile. You can even pin flights to the start screen and the prices automatically update every hour.

So at this point you may still be asking yourself why you should be using skyscanner? The reasons are simple:

Compare millions of flights from over 1000 airlines around the world in seconds; save money, save time.

Book your flights direct with the airline or travel agent and get the best deals.

It’s independent, simple and finds the cheapest fares in seconds, wherever you want to fly.

Flexible on when you fly? Find the cheapest dates to travel
Flexible on where
you fly? Find the cheapest flights from your local airport
Filter your searches by take off/landing time, airline or price.
Share your flight details with friends, family or colleagues via email, Facebook or Twitter – in one tap
Available in over 28 languages and over 61 currencies
It’s FREE! the search that is not your flight LOL!

Also don’t forget that with the online version of skyscanner you can find great deals on hotels and car rentals as well to make it a truley a 1 stop shop for your travel needs. skyscanner_free


But don’t just take my word for it….download the app and/or visit today!

Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO)

SAWBOThe fact that 70% of cell phone subscribers are in the developing world has not been lost on global health innovators. A case in point is that of the creators of SAWBO, or Scientific Animations Without Borders (, under the auspices of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This project aims to bridge the gap between evidence-based global health interventions and those who need this knowledge the most. Unfortunately, those most in need of these interventions are often unable to access the information or understand it if they can access it due to literacy or language considerations. The SAWBO project team, in collaboration with local health, development and agricultural education agencies around the world, creates brief – about 2 minutes each – animated videos focusing on such local health issues as How to Remove Poison from Cassava Flour or Construction of a Solar Oven Using Simple Materials. These animated educational vignettes are available in multiple languages (using local accents where possible) and available for download to cell phones using Bluetooth technology. This initiative is cost-effective, scalable, and searchable using the affiliated SusDeViKi database available at Much of the work is done by volunteers, but the project receives some funding from the University, private foundations and individuals. For more information, contact the organizers at

The author wishes to thank SAWBO Director, Dr. Barry Pittendrigh, for his input for this blog entry.