aSmart HUD – iPhone App of the Week

August 17, 2010

aSmart HUD – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone and iPad Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will work on the iPod touch or the iPad, some will be iPad only apps.

This week’s App is aSmart HUD

aSmartHUD is simple and clear vehicle digital dashboard.

£0.59

This App provides a simple heads up display that gives you an indication of your speed, direction and position.

It is designed so that you can “reflect” it onto your windscreen so you can pretend your car is a fighter jet!

A bit of fun really.

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London Mini A-Z – iPhone App of the Week

March 23, 2010

London Mini A-Z – iPhone App of the Week


This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will also work on the iPod touch.

This week’s App is London Mini A-Z

This map is a digital rendition of the famous “London A-Z Mini Atlas” and covers an area from West Hendon in the North West to Grove Park in the South East. Add this application to your iPhone or iPod Touch and you will have instant access to all 352 pages of the London Mini A-Z printed map.

Covering 141 Square Miles (367 Square Kilometers) and with more than 32,000 streets and additional places of interest. This map is drawn by real cartographers with the detailed care and human touch of emphasis and colour that A-Z are famous for. Internet maps are OK but you really can’t beat the genuine article.

With the maps installed on your device there is never any need for an internet connection enabling you to access the map anywhere and at anytime.

£5.99

If you are as old as me you may recall buying maps rather than using Sat Nav or Maps on your iPhone.

One of the things I use to buy a lot were A to Z books of various places I went to as either the provided maps were useless or I was. More often then not I would forget them the next time I was in the city and would buy a second (or even third copy). You would think I could just pop into the newsagents and flick through the A to Z and

This app is bascially a virtual recreation of those A to Z books. With the advantage that as it is on your iPhone it will be lighter and easier to carry. You can locate yourself using the phone’s built in GPS which is helpful; and you can use multi-touch to zoom in and out as well.

So why not use the built-in maps function? Well that App as good as it is, does depend on having a good internet connection. You would think in central London that this wouldn’t be a problem and most times it isn’t a problem however of course when you do in fact need it for real, is when the 3G network will let you down.

So for the iPod touch, the App starts to make even more sense with its dependency on WiFi and no 3G.

Now this is a useful app if you travel to lots of different places in London and want to ensure that the maps are on the device. If you only visit the big smoke now and again, I suspect the built in Maps app will be more than sufficient.


AudioBoo – iPhone App of the Week

February 16, 2010

AudioBoo – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will also work on the iPod touch.

This week’s App is AudioBoo.

Audioboo is an application for recording and sharing your voice with the world. This free version allows you to create audio up to 5 minutes in length and post that to your own account on the web. You can add titles, tags, geolocation info and a photo to the recording before you upload it and we’ll save all that with the file. The audio can then be shared with your followers or via Facebook, Twitter & more social networks by managing your account at http://audioboo.fm.

In addition, you can also listen to featured, followed, popular, recent and nearby boos in the app and view photo & location details if attached.

All audio is converted to an mp3. You don’t need to create an account to start recording but it’ll certainly help you keep track of your boos in the future.

Free

This has been one fun app to use on the iPhone. So what is Audioboo? Well it’s a service I first saw demonstrated at the All Together Now event at Channel 4.

To put it simply it is an App on your iPhone that allows you to record an audio recording, add your location, a picture, tags and upload the lot to a website.

This has some real  potential for learning activities. As you have an account on the website (not essential but recommended) your recordings are kept together and also have an RSS feed as well, which people can subscribe to via iTunes or other podcasting applications.

For example, imagine that your Travel and Tourism students are out on a field trip, they can record an image of each tourist destination, they can record a description,  add relevant tags, the iPhone adds GPS coordinates, and the lot is uploaded to the web. Back at college they can create a media rich presentation using the recordings and images and create a map using the geo-data.

It also acts as a simple mp3 recorder, and these mp3 files are then available to download from the Audioboo website.

I have mainly used Audioboo to show people what Audioboo can do. I hope to in 2010 use Audioboo to do a regular short podcast.

I do like Audioboo, it is such a simple concept, but executed really nicely and has the potential to be a very effective tool for learning.


TomTom UK & Ireland – iPhone App of the Week

February 2, 2010

TomTom UK & Ireland – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will also work on the iPod touch.

This week’s App is TomTom UK & Ireland.

Cost £49.99

So you need to know where to go?

You need to know how long it will take?

You need to be able to find an alternative route just in case?

Then the TomTom App could be the perfect app for you…

Okay this is one of the most expensive Apps in the iTunes Store and if you already have a TomTom or GPS then you certainly won’t want to buy this. However if you are looking to get a SatNav then getting one for your iPhone is certainly a real possibility.

Now to use this in the car you either need to get a car charger or the TomTom iPhone Car Kit. Now this adds another expense to the cost.

This is not a cheap SatNav, you can get much cheaper standalone SatNav devices from other places. However if you prefer to carry only one device (or not too many devices) then having a SatNav on your iPhone can make a lot of sense. The TomTom App also works as a pedestrian SatNav (ie when walking around).

The iPhone already has the GPS chip, however in order to make best use of the TomTom App then you really need the 3GS model with the digital compass. You can use the TomTom App on the 3G model however when you are in urban areas with lots of turns it doesn’t really work as you would like it to.

So why not just use the Maps App that comes with the iPhone? Well though the App can use the GPS chip, and can be used for directions, it doesn’t have turn by turn directions that the TomTom can. Though the main reason you don’t want to be using the Maps App is that the maps are not held locally and need to be downloaded from a server. This is fine if you have a good fast 3G connection, less so if you are in a rural area. The Maps App also only works properly when you are connected to a phone network. I found that out when I was in New Zealand recently. I had turned on Airplane Mode on the iPhone and was using the wifi and when using the Maps App the iPhone decided that I was in Kobe Airport in Japan, even though I was in Auckland. When I switched the phone mode on, it then found me accurately in Auckland. It should be said of course that the TomTom would not work in New Zealand either as I only have the UK & Ireland version. Though the TomTom New Zealand App is available.

GPS and location services offer many possibilities for learning, though a SatNav App may not be as useful as other Apps which make use of the GPS chip in the iPhone.

The key question about the TomTom is, does it get you to where you need to by the time you need to, then yes it does. Is it value for money, no it’s not the cheapest option and for a lot of people a dedicated SatNav is probably a better option. Does it offer much for learners? No not really.


Sony Camcorder with GPS

April 3, 2009

hdr-tg5vI am really starting to see some of the real educational possibilities of GPS and location based learning. One of the key features of using images in location based learning is the ability to add geo-data the images and video taken by a camera.

Sony have announced a new HD Camcorder with GPS capabilities.

Perfect for travelers, this camcorder features a built-in GPS receiver that automatically adjusts your camcorder’s clock to the proper time zone and lets you view your current location on the LCD map display, as well as “tag” your shooting locations. You can view your tagged videos and pictures via the Map Index function or after you’ve downloaded them to your PC.

As with any HD camera, the technical specifications are pretty good.

Capture all the action on your next trip with this ultra-portable, titanium-bodied Handycam® camcorder. It features Full HD 1920 x 1080 video recording, 4MP still shots.

Sony have also moved to solid state media as well.

Record to 16GB embedded flash memory or choose instead to record to removable Memory Stick PRO Duo™ media

Overall an interesting camera, but does GPS add the value for what is still an expensive camera.


GO!Explore for the PSP

March 6, 2009

Back in October 2007 I blogged about GPS on the PSP.

The Playstation Portable (PSP) is as you may guess from the name usually used for playing games. However it has other tricks up its sleeve including so I read the possibility of GPS.

Today GO!Explore for the PSP arrived in my office. As well as a car cradle and charger, GO!Explore for the PSP consists of an UMD disk with maps and software and a GPS antenna which screws into the USB port on the top.

I have not had a chance to try out the GPS as I couldn’t be bothered to go out in the cold, so will probably have a go tomorrow. The software works well, but would (according to the software) work better from a memory stick. The 3D graphics are a nice touch and will be interesting to see how much of the UK is in 3D (I have expectations it is only London).

You can’t use the camera and GPS at the same time, but with limited ports on the PSP that was to be expected.

I am not sure if it is a cost effective solution, especially as some satnavs can now play audio and video files. However if you already have PSPs, then adding GPS via GO!Explore I think is a serious option to consider.

As I said in 2007, the ability to use GPS on your PSP opens up a range of learning scenarios involving maps, GPS and images.

GO!Explore for the PSP


Where am I?

March 2, 2009

On Friday the 27th February I gave a few online presentations (conferences) for the MoLeNET programme.

One was on GPS and location based learning.

Presentation on on GPS and location based learning using mobile devices, it covered some of the GPS devices out there and how location based learning can be used.