Category Archives: app of the week

TomTom UK & Ireland – iPhone App of the Week

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 U.K. & 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.

Classics – now free

This week I posted a blog entry about the iPhone App, Classics.

For a limited period it is now free.

Classics (iTunes Store link)

Good time to check it out.

Classics – iPhone App of the Week

Classics 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 Classics.

So you can download an e-book reader, Stanza (iTunes Store link) for free on your iPhone, you can then download hundreds of public domain books for free.

So why would you spend £1.79 on an iPhone book App with just 23 books in it, all of which can be downloaded using Stanza for free?

Well that is a good question.

I did in fact purchase Classics before Stanza was available so I could use that as the reason (or excuse). However I would still recommend that you get Classics and the reason is that the design of the App, the interface and user experience really make the most of the iPhone. If you ever need to show off what the iPhone can do, Classics is one App which really does impress people and makes them see that this is a device is more than a phone and a Twitter client, you can use it for reading and also learning.

It has a nice page turning effect, you can bookmark where you get to.

The selection is good, I am guessing that there is at least one book that you haven’t read!

It’s not the only book App in the iTunes Store and certainly it’s relatively expensive at £1.79 compared to other Apps, but it does look nice and does a really neat job of allowing you to use your iPhone to read books. It’s not an e-Book Reader as you can’t install other books, but for what it does, it does it well.

WordPress – iPhone App of the Week

WordPress  iPhone App of the Week


I am hoping that this will be 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 WordPress  (iTunes Store link)

I have written before on this blog about the WordPress App for the iPhone.

Back then I said

The interface is not fantastic, though having looked a little more into it, if you had an iPhone (it has a camera) you can add photos quite easily; from the iPod touch you can only (obviously) use images stored on the device.

I am reasonably impressed with the app and if it allows me to blog more easily and more often then that can only make my blog better (or will it).

In the end I have made use of it, as well as writing full blog entries I have also used it for ideas for blog posts which I can then use as drafts once I get behind a full size computer.

WordPress 2 is a revised version which looks and works better than the previous version. It also now supports password protected self-hosted blogs.

WordPress is blogging software, that you can either use free via WordPress.com (which is where this blog is hosted) or you can go to WordPress.org, download and install the software on your own server.

Once installed you can then post blog entries. One of the features of the software is you can either have a fully open blog or one with a password; a closed blog allows for example a learner and a tutor to reflect and communicate without letting the rest of the group (and the world) in on that conversation. A blog is different (better) than e-mail in that the reflections and conversations can be tagged, allowing both the learner and the tutor to collate and look at a group of blog entries. With e-mail they can get lost in amongst the body of e-mails we now get and many places limit how much e-mail you can store!

Since WordPress.com took advantage of the WPTouch theme, it can be much easier to view a WordPress blog on an iPhone (or other mobile device). You can also install WPTouch on your own WordPress installation if you are self-hosted.

The WordPress App on the iPhone allows you to post blog entries to your blog whilst on the move.

You can write entries, add images and then either publish direct, or save as a draft.

The App also works offline which makes it useful if you have the iPod touch, as you can write offline and then publish once you are in range of a wireless network.

Simple to use for just plain text, you can attach photographs, but can only embed them if you know soem HTML and already have the image somewhere already online! Not the easiest thing to do with an iPhone, though at least now we have copy and paste!

The WordPress App is a free app and WordPress.com can be used for free, so if you like free then this is one way that you can blog without needing to spend any money.

Blogging software is very much a personal thing, some like WordPress, others don’t. If you already and are happy using another service such as Blogger or Typepad then you are probably not going to swap to WordPress. However if you already use WordPress or are new to mobile blogging then the combination of the WordPress blogging software and the WordPress App has made it quick, easy and simple.

Strip Designer – iPhone App of the Week

Strip Designer iPhone App of the Week

I am hoping that this will be 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 Strip Designer.

With Strip Designer you can create your own personal comic strip. Add your own photos, apply simple image filters to increase their impact, and add speech balloons and text-boxes. When you are done, save the resulting image to the iPhone’s photo album and email it to friends and family.

Cost £1.79

Comics can be used in many different ways to enhance and enrich learning activites, as well as other processes in the college. Think of it as just another medium to get a message across to learners.

  • Rather than have a written list of instructions for a particular activity, create a comic that as well as text has images that support the explanation of the instructions.
  • Create a comic of how to find help and support in the Library or Learning Resources Centre.
  • Add captions and speech balloons to a photograph to make a informative poster.

There are various comic creation apps for the iPhone, where Strip Designer is different is that it allows you to create a comic strip. Most of the other applications allow you to add comic touches to a single photograph, Strip Designer allows you to use a series of photographs, comicfy them, add captions, speech balloons and then save it as an image, send via e-mail or send direct to Facebook or Flickr.

The interface is quite complicated with various menus and sub menus.

However it doesn’t take long to see that the reason for this is the variety of effects and adjustments you can make to the images, text, balloons and captions.

This is a finished strip. Click the image to see the full size version.

Overall the app works very well, but as with any comic app, the key is the thought and planning that goes into the comic design process and writing before you even open the app. That is something to consider if you want your learners to create a comic as part of a learning activity.