My favorite new tool is Canva, a graphic design tool that makes it super easy to create images for social media, flyers for sharing, and cards for printing. You can choose from free or $1.00 templates, photos, or icons to create images or PDF’s that you can download or save in your design stream. Check out some of the images that I have created to publicize our Pet Therapy Study Break, Afternoon Tea, & other messages for Twitter and Facebook posts. One nice feature of Canva is that you can choose the size of your image to fit perfectly into posts on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram as well as headers for social media and email. Canva also offers helpful tutorials on design plus inspiration from cool designers to follow on Instagram. Join the over 2 million members on Canva and start creating your own super designs.
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Almost everyone already loves Gmail but what if you could make it better? InBox transforms your mail from the familiar home screen to a more organized, color-coded interface.
Create this magic on your desktop, tablet or phone by requesting an invite (see below) and downloading the app. I love that I can try it out and still get back to the familiar if needed. In other words, I can use both at the same time.
The big difference besides the cleaner home page is that mail now works more than ever as a to-do list. If you use your inbox in that way, you will love InBox.
Options for handling messages in InBox include:
- Pin–move to the top; stay in front of me; you are important
- Snooze–need to deal with this but not today; go away until I am ready to do something with you
- Done–finished with you, go away
- Bundle–you all go together
Get InBox by sending an email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an invite. Mine came right away, they don’t seem hard to get.
It has taken some time to get comfortable with the new interface. For me the hardest part is seeing that I have a new message, that just does not seem as apparent as I’m used to.
I have played with my bundles to make them more useful (moving messages in or out to “teach” Google which are appropriate) and that has helped.
The hardest part of it for me is the lack of a delete button. I know that it isn’t actually doing anything different, that deleted messages are still THERE but with InBox they seem in the way more.
I don’t know yet if I will stick with InBox but it is worth trying out for sure.
Of course Lifehacker has a great post about using InBox, How InBox by Google works, and How to Use it for More Productive Email.
Try it out. Let me know what you think.
Keep up to date with your scholarly reading with Browzine™, a new way of browsing and reading your favorite journals from many major publishers on your iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire, Android Tablet or Android phone. BrowZine is free. All licensed content is provided via UAB Libraries.
Get started in two EASY steps:
1. Download the free Browzine app for your device.
2. When installed, choose University of Alabama at Birmingham as your university library. Use your Blazer ID/password when prompted.
Why use Browzine?
- to scan the complete tables of contents of scholarly journals and read articles optimized for mobile devices
- to get one-click from journal tables of content to the PDFs of the articles you want to read
- save specific articles for later reference and offline reading
- create a bookshelf of your favorite journals for easy, fast access
- to receive on screen notifications when new issues of your favorite journals are published
- Find journals by searching or browsing a title list, or by using a Browzine bookshelf chosen by subject.
- Annotate or print articles by opening them in your favorite apps like Good Reader or iAnnotate.
Pushbullet is a great, free app designed to allow you to easily move items between your computer and mobile devices.
As promised, it is very easy to get started:
I downloaded the app to my iPhone and iPad and added the Chrome extension to my computer. I logged in with my Gmail account and that was it. I could then use the app on my mobile devices to push items such as photos, files, and links to my computer. I sent a couple of things from home and when I got to work the next morning there was a pop-up on my computer with the information. Computer does need to be on though, when I sent one over the holiday it didn’t go through and I couldn’t easily resend it.
I did the same thing from my computer, using the Pushbullet icon in Chrome and instantly pushed files or links from one to the other.
Now I do have other options for moving things between devices but this is so fast and easy I likely will never use the other options again. As I don’t have an Android phone I don’t have all the options (yet) but still find this FREE app to be a great time saver.
There are also some great IFTTT recipes for Pushbullet.
Apparently this app has been around for a while, I just missed it somehow. If you have been using it and have suggestions on how to make the most of it, let us know in the comments.
When I heard that ZipList was closing down earlier this month, I panicked. As mentioned in my post about ZipList earlier this year, this is one of the top few apps I use on a daily basis. The discontinuation of this app comes at a very bad time of year, so I’ve quickly had to do my research to find a replacement! And since I raved about ZipList and may have even lead some to start using it themselves, I feel the need to direct you all to another shopping list solution!
After reading about and considering a few other shopping list apps (Shopper, GroceryIQ, Grocery Gadget, and others) I have ended up with OurGroceries. (Available for both iOS and Android as well as via most PC web browsers.)
So far, am really liking it. As I confessed in my ZipList post, I am not a grocery shopper. I go only when I must. My role is the list maker; my husband’s role is the store-goer. So the ability to share shopping lists in real time, is key. I like to sneak one or two more items on the list while he’s actually at the store!
In addition to list sharing, other shopping list app features I require include the ability to:
- sign up for an account without linking to Facebook. (This was the deal breaker for Shopper. I did not see a way to share my lists without registering with my Facebook login and like others, I’m still suspicious of “anonymous login.”)
- make lists for multiple stores: Publix, Target, Home Depot, Beth, Bath, & Beyond, etc.
- categorize items by type of product and/or aisle in store
I didn’t find myself using ZipList to search for recipes and then automatically add recipe ingredients to my shopping list, so for those who like the sound of that, OurGroceries is probably not for you. You can store recipe names and ingredients but must manually enter that information. There is no place to store the actual recipe instructions. To me, the recipe part of the app is pretty worthless. I guess just having a list of recipe names might be helpful if you’re at a loss for what to cook and need to skim a list.
Some features OurGroceries doesn’t have (or not yet) that some of the other similar apps have include barcode scanning, price tracking, coupon integration, and photos of products. For now at least, I’m enjoying the simplicity of OurGroceries.
There is a free version of OurGroceries, which includes ads. So far, the ads have not been too much of a nuisance to me. For $4.99 (in-app purchase), though, you can upgrade to OurGroceries+ and go ad-free.
I was very surprised to note that we haven’t ever talked about SurveyMonkey on this blog considering I use this tool pretty much every day. We couldn’t do our jobs at LHL without knowing what you, the users, need from us. We have lots of ways to get that information but SurveyMonkey is at tool we use to both gather the information and keep track of it.
We have had a library SurveyMonkey account since 2006 and have more than 250 surveys. There are several plan options.We started with the Basic (free) plan, moved up to Select pretty quickly and now are Gold customers. While everyone at the library has access to the surveys and results, we haven’t found that to be a problem. Especially since you can group them and view your surveys separately. There is a new Enterprise solution that might be better if you don’t want everyone to have access to everything.
Typically, I create a survey, either from scratch or from an existing survey, though there are lots of templates to edit and use. The templates are both business and non-profit focused and can be edited to fit your needs. We usually create a weblink that we embed on our website or send via email. It is actually very easy to use, though if you are new to creating surveys you might want to plan a bit with the question types to determine how best to ask your question.
We use this tool to solicit information from a target group, for example a survey of faculty on resources or to do a class evaluation. We also have surveys that we’ve created for our staff to use to track information from users or about things that have happened. Data is presented in a variety of ways and can be downloaded and shared.
There are some other tools out there, Google Forms as an example, but I highly recommend SurveyMonkey.