This past Sunday, I sat looking at my wall clock as I was eating breakfast and wondered why I woke up so early. It was only when I scanned news headlines online that I remembered I had “gained” an hour in my day with the time change for daylight savings. It is remarkable that so many devices we surround ourselves with in this modern age do work for us that we don’t even usually notice. My radio-controlled wall clock changes time automatically, as does my computer’s clock, to account for daylight savings time. Ironically, as I read on Sunday morning, a programming bug in iPhones caused headaches this year, as users who relied upon their devices for alarm clocks or time keeping soon found out that these clocks botched the time change. Regardless of small glitches like these with surprisingly far-reaching effects, there are many instances where relying on technology devices for everyday things can be convenient, helpful, and even fun. In the July/August issue of Tech Tips we highlighted some valuable and fun tools (called applications, or “apps”) for use on Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch devices. That issue included app recommendations from faculty and staff. Since then, we surveyed the student body, and received more than two dozen additional recommendations (the complete list is on the next page). I do not own an iPhone or iPad, but I carry my iPod Touch with me often, especially when traveling, and aside from being a music player like other iPods, it also serves as a quick reference (maps, calculator, dictionary, foreign words translator), a portable photo album, access for Internet and my multiple e-mail inboxes, a budget tracker, an e-book reader, a workout log, and a source of many hours of procrastination with games such as Set, Scrabble, and more. It is handy and small and I am always looking for new ways to use it, sometimes with ill effect, such as when I used the “handy level” app to hang a wall shelf in my apartment and it turned out anything but level. I am quite sure this was my own failing rather than that of technology, but perhaps it was a good lesson for me to learn that new technologies are not always good substitutes or better than old ones. Happily, I found my real level in my toolbox and no harm was done.
NAME YOUR FAVORITE APP, AND WHY….?
“[The] C-SPAN app … allows you to listen to C-SPAN 1, 2, and 3, as well as C-SPAN radio, wherever you are. If you’re a political junkie, it’s a great way to stay on top of the latest floor speeches and press conferences.”
– Josh Figueira
“Overall [ToDo, by Appigo] is one of the apps I use the most on my iPhone, and while it is simple to use, it is also an enormously helpful tool to have as a law student.”
Whether you own one of Apple’s hand-held devices or are just interested in knowing what kind of applications can be used on them, NDLS student have many suggestions for you! Of the many suggestions, the Netflix movie app (through which you can stream anything on your “play instantly” queue to watch on your device) received multiple mentions from students as well as being popular with faculty and staff. Many of the apps recommended were for entertainment (or procrastination) including multiple mentions of both “Angry Birds” (a game one student explained was “a great way to procrastinate,” while another noted that it was “better to hurl [angry birds] at unsuspecting pigs then to bang my own head against the wall”) and a music app called “Shazam” that will identify any song being played, “even in loud places.” Of course, not everything was fun and games. Several student shared favorite financial tools, including Chase bank’s app, and that of mint.com. Several useful travel related apps were mentioned, including “Around Me,” which finds “nearest banks, bars, coffee shops, gas stations, hotels, hospitals, movie theaters, restaurants, and more” by utilizing the iPhone’s GPS, and “TripIt,” which “allows you to keep detailed information about your travels” in one convenient place. The free app iBooks “is what convinced me to buy an iPad” wrote 3L Starr Rayford, since it provides “millions of books at your fingertips.” She noted that the iPad screen’s “backlight can be adjusted so reading is enjoyable in any setting and thousands of books, particularly classics, are free.” 2L Cooper Gallimore recommended the app “Law Stack,” because it “includes the full, updated, and searchable text of the Constitution of the US, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, Federal Rules of Evidence, Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, and Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure,” which “keeps me from having to carry around different volumes of rules as I move from class to class, plus is a much quicker way to look up a rule.” Many thanks to these and all the participants in our survey, and happy app-downloading!
- Beth Given