Saturday 30 April 2016

Oh! Sew Online

All stitched up

There are endless sites for pursuing hobbies online. If sewing is your hobby here are a few tips that may help you refine your searches, and save and organise those found sites.

This presentation was prepared for the 30th April 2016 meeting of the Australian Sewing Guild local neighbourhood group the Guilded Lilies of Tewantin/Noosa. Meetings are held on the last Saturday of the month from 9 am - 3 pm. We share our sewing skills and knowledge and enjoy sewing in the company of friends. 

To my sewing colleagues: to view the slide show again, click/tap on the right facing arrow. To view full screen, click/tap on the 4 arrow expand symbol or on a mobile device just double tap. Enjoy!

Zero in on the good things

Z is for Zinio and zzzss

A-Z Challenge – Apps in April

This is the last post in the A to Z challenge for 2016 where over 1300 bloggers have posted each day in April. Zero in on these posts for some excellent reading.

Today I have the last two apps in my Apps in April series, both from the same company.

Zinio for Libraries

This is the app to get if your library loans emagazines through Zinio.

1.. Locate Zinio on your library’s website.
2. Sign up with your library membership details through the library site.
3. Browse and choose magazines of interest. Each library will have a different collection.
4. Download the Zinio for Libraries app for iOS or Android and sign in with the password you created on your library site.
5. Refresh the library and the magazines you chose are ready to be downloaded to your device. Enjoy!


This is the app to get if you wish to pay a subscription for a magazine which is not available through your library’s site. For example my library does not have Inside History but it is available for subscription through Zinio.

Sign up to Zinio with your own details, not those of your library membership to browse thousands of magazines available through paid subscription. Some magazines offer a free download as a trial before you need to pay. Over 5000 magazines available. App for iOS and Android.

Now it’s time for me to get some zzz..sss after a tiring month of keeping up the daily posts. I do hope you’ve found at least one, new to you app.

This post first appeared on

Friday 29 April 2016

Yes for your interests

Y is for YouTube

A-Z Challenge – Apps in April


Yes we all know YouTube but do we get the best from it on our mobile devices? Were you aware there are four separate mobile apps relating to YouTube?
Use a free Google account to log in to YouTube. With an account you can subscribe to channels and get notifications of new videos matching your interests. If you are a video creator, upload to your own channel to share with others.

The basic YouTube app
  • Search within the app for an interest
  • Choose a video
  • View the videos by the creator by tapping their user name if you like what they offer subscribe.
  • Subscribe to your favourite channels Notifications of their latest uploads will appear under the folder icon.
  • Build a playlist
  • Add to Watch later
  • Share via Google+.. Twitter, Facebook, email, message or copy link. Depending on your device and the apps you have installed there may be a much wider variety of options available.

YouTube Capture

CaptureYTAvailable for iOS only
Start recording instantly
* Stitch together an unlimited number of clips as you build your story
* Trim and rearrange clips right from your phone
* Add a soundtrack from music collection or YouTube’s audio library
* Touch up videos with colour correction and stabilization
* Upload to YouTube and share on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter - all in one step
Help for YouTube Capture


YouTube Creator Studio

YT creator
iOS and Android
A YouTube dashboard for those with their own channel.

Manage your channel, view analytics by numbers, viewers, audience.

Filter and respond to comments. Manage playlists.


YouTube Kids

if you have little ones using your mobile device this is the app for them. Divided into 4 simple categories Shows, Music, Learning and Explore the app features big buttons and easy scrolling.
Parental controls are included so timing and content may be modified. Search can also be disabled.
Available for iOS and Android. No app is perfect but this provides some control over children’s screen viewing.

next up Z - Zero in on the good things

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Thursday 28 April 2016

Extra, extras

X is for XE currency converter and some eXtras

A-Z Challenge – Apps in April

XE currency converter

Essential for travellers this currency rate converter stores the last known rates so is useful even when internet access is not available.

Put your home currency at the top and then add the currencies of the countries you will be travelling through below. Provides quick and easy conversions.
Available for iOS and Android.



Is your device memory getting full? Try some of these tips.

Delete apps not used in the last year. If you have previously purchased them, they will be kept in the store on your account and can always be restored again if needed. Remember to transfer any documents or files from these apps to your computer before you delete.

Move photos off your device. Use a Wi-Fi transfer app such as Simple Transfer Pro for iOS or Wi-Fi File Transfer for Android to drag and drop from your device to your computer.

Do you have apps that are space hoggers? Some of the Twitter clients and Google+ can store outdated data no longer needed. Simply delete the app then re-install to free up some space.

Next up Y - Yes for your interests

Wednesday 27 April 2016

Words of wonder

W is for Word Swag and WolframAlpha

A-Z Challenge – Apps in April

Word Swag

An early favourite that has been on my iPad since its launch. Word Swag is a typography and graphic design tool. Choose from own pictures or the thousands of free background pictures from Pixabay. There are textures and a wide range of text designs and filters. Each text design has at least 5 alternate options to provide a wide range of choices. “Turns words into designer text”

Recent additions include gold foil text and expansion to 48 designer styles.

Word Swag is available for both iOS and Android and is the last image and text app listed in the A-Z challenge.

2016-04-25 15.51.57
2016-04-25 16.01.04
2016-04-25 16.09.22


If you have not heard of WolframAlpha visit the website to view the power of this computational knowledge engine. Wolfram Alpha presents answers not links to websites. Dates and times, words and linguistics, engineering, places and geography, advanced mathematical computations, musical notation, food and nutrition are just a few of the areas to explore.

Want to know an age at death? Enter birthdate to death date e.g 15 April 1909 to 29 September 2003. Want to know a code, a comparison of sizes or places or populations, this app will entertain and inform you accurately drawing from the knowledge stored in thousands of databases.

This app and all the more specialised apps from WolframAlpha are listed on the products page.

Next up X – eXtra, extras!

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Vocal variations

V is for Voice in a variety of apps

A-Z Challenge – Apps in April


Speech recognition

Devices and apps with built-in speech recognition software enable transcription of voice to text. This is often an underused function available in a wide range of apps. Speech recognition software works best when words are enunciated clearly. If at first one’s voice is not recognised, slow down speech and practise using speech recognition in a quiet environment.

On iOS anytime the keyboard is activated look for the microphone symbol, located next to the Space bar. Tap the microphone to begin speaking and watch your words transformed into text.
On Android the microphone symbol is located at the top of the keyboard. This is a boon for those who have difficulty using keyboards accurately or need to quickly take a note on a phone.

Speech recognition is available in browsers like Safari and Chrome, calendars, email and note apps. Some apps covered in this A-Z series that have speech recognition are: Adobe Slate, Chrome, Google Docs, Gmail, Google maps, Google Keep and Notegraphy. Depending on your device and the latest software update of your system and your apps, look for the microphone and test to see if your favourite app can use speech recognition.

Voice recording

Voice recording is a quick way to capture thoughts, music, sounds and interviews. Apps with voice recording incorporate a playback mode. Some apps covered in this A-Z series that incorporate voice recording software are: Adobe Voice, Book Creator, Evernote, Explain Everything, and Hangouts.

A dedicated voice recorder app is useful and both the App store and Google play have a wide range of choices. On my iPad I currently have AudioNote and on my Android phone, SmartVoice. Now that Evernote incorporates voice recordings I am more likely to use that for spoken memos and one of the voice recording apps for longer interviews for family history purposes.

Text to spoken word

Many mobile devices incorporate the option for having text on screen read aloud.

On Android head to Settings> Accessibility>TalkBack and switch to On. Follow the onscreen instructions. If you wish to change the speed of the text read, go to Settings> Language and input> Text-to-speech output.
On iOS go to Settings> General> Accessibility to switch on VoiceOver.

Have you been making the most of the voice capabilities of your mobile device?

Next up W - Words of wonder

This post first appeared on

Monday 25 April 2016

Update and upgrade

U is for Update and upgrade

A-Z Challenge – Apps in April


Time to rest from loading apps and check that all are up to date. Visit the App Store or Google Play to keep your apps up to date in order to benefit from ongoing improvements. Some developers update their apps regularly to take advantage of new software or to rid their apps of bugs. One is well advised to keep up to date to get the best performance from apps.

If you find an app regularly crashes, it may be that it has not been updated to match the latest software. Sometimes deleting an unresponsive app then re-installing it will fix the problem.

It is equally important to upgrade software on your devices. Upgrades enhance performance and will only be installed if your device is able to support the latest version of its operating system. The version currently installed on your device can be viewed in the Settings app.
  • On iOS devices Settings> General> Software Update.
  • On Android Settings> About> System updates.


Mobile devices have a short shelf life with new hardware released regularly by manufacturers, usually in the northern summer. Eventually, your device becomes obsolete and apps no longer function. At the 3 to 4 year mark I would expect to have to upgrade my devices to newer models. One expects that newer devices will have improved processors, more storage space and better overall performance. A needs assessment, price considerations and wide reading of reviews will assist in sensible decision making.

Next up V – Vocal variations

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Sunday 24 April 2016

Tune in and type

T is for TuneInRadio, TED talks and TypeDrawing

A-Z Challenge: Apps in April


Listen to your favourite radio stations from around the world. The free app provides streaming radio from over 100 000 stations. Choose by genre and/or locality.
I live in area where radio reception can be poor for nationwide stations. With this app I can keep up to date with the latest news or have background music playing wherever I am. I do not choose to use subscription services for music.

Pair your device with a Bluetooth speaker to get the best use from this app.
Available for iOS and Android

TED talks

Be inspired by remarkable minds from a wide range of fields; education, medicine, technology, business, music and many other fields of endeavour. Listen to their unique ideas presented in less than twenty-minute video presentations.

Build a playlist of your favourites to watch later or choose from the courageous, funny, informative, or beautiful for inspiration. These talks from some of the world’s great thinkers and achievers provide positive  experiences for all.
Free for iOS and Android.


Import a picture, type some text then use your finger to draw the text onto the picture.
Choose from a wide range of fonts, colours and effects and vary spacing, outline and shadow effects. Set the photo to transparent or remove altogether to be left only with text drawing. Easy typography art or use to create watermarks on your pictures.
Available for iOS and Android

coffee cup
Made in TypeDrawing background picture removed
telephone dial
Made in TypeDrawing photo by crgalvin
Next up U - Update and upgrade

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Saturday 23 April 2016

Snap and substitute

S is for Snapseed, Superimpose and SanDisk

A-Z Challenge: Apps in April



Snapseed has become one of my favourite photo editing tools. It is embedded within the Google family of acquisitions so works well with Google photos and Drive. The promotional description lists the range of features.
Tune image • Enhance details • Crop • Rotate • Transform • Brush • Selective adjust • Healing • Vignette
Filters: • Lens Blur • Glamour glow • Tonal contrast • HDR-scape • Drama • Grunge • Grainy film • Vintage • Retrolux • Noir • Black & white • Frames

Available for iOS, Android and Chrome. The Snapseed channel on Youtube has a  comprehensive list of short videos to help get the best from this app.



Superimpose and juxtapose, blend and mix photos to create a unique image. Insert a background image then add a foreground. Use a wide range of tools and shapes to mask out the unwanted parts of the foreground image. 

Move, scale, resize or rotate as needed, then move it into position on the background image. Areas of the foreground image can be made transparent too.

Adjust the colours and tones of both images to match and then save the blended image. This app has sophisticated editing tools that previously I would have used in a photo editing suite on a desktop computer.

Available for iOS and Android. Go ahead put yourself at the top of that unclimbed mountain! Substitute the dog’s head for the cat’s. Have some fun with this app. 
Check out the video tutorials.


SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive

Simply one of the best investments I made for mobile devices. This app connects my SanDisk wireless flash drive to any of my devices iOS or Android.

It lets me view and transfer files wirelessly between my and my husband’s devices using the local Wi-Fi installed on the USB. This means when travelling we can transfer photos to the flash drive so creating a local back-up without having to rely on hotel or other wi-fi networks to upload our captures to online services.

Files such as video, photos and documents stored on the flash drive can be viewed locally on any computer or device connected via the device’s  Wi-Fi.

Available for iOS and Android.

Next up T - Tune in and type

Thursday 21 April 2016

Read and remember

R is for Readability, Readly and Remembering Them

A-Z Challenge – Apps in April


Readability clears the clutter from web pages and lets you save them to read later. Inbuilt are font variations and sizes along with day or night viewing.
Build a list to read later. Articles can be shared with others.
Readability is similar to both Pocket and Instapaper. I suggest you try them all to find the one that suits you.
Available for iOS and Android. I like the Chrome extension as I can send articles to my Kindle.



Readly provides access to more than 1500 popular magazine titles. I do not usually recommend apps that involve subscriptions but if you are a magazine reader this one is worth taking for a free trial run. Choose your favourite genres and create a profile. A subscription can be shared with the family on up to five individual devices so each reader creates a profile for the magazines they like to read. Some of my favourites are the sewing, computing and travel magazines.
Magazines can be downloaded for offline reading. Visit the website to view the categories available or simply download the app for iOS or Android to have a look.


Remembering Them

On the 25th April each year, Anzac Day, Australia and New Zealand commemorate their wartime dead and all those who have served. This app has a comprehensive coverage of Australia’s wartime sites with concise histories about each site.
It covers Memorials, War Graves, Defence sites and Museums as well as honour rolls, RSL clubs along with customs, traditions and history.
The app is available for both iOS and Android.

Next up S – Snap and substitute

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Wednesday 20 April 2016

Quick response

Q is for QR codes and Queensland

A-Z challenge – Apps in April

QR codes

Quick Response codes are two-dimensional barcodes made up of a series of dots against a white background. They were originally invented in 1994 for tracking components in the car industry but have become popular in a wide range of situations. They can be used to direct a user to a website, a video, a map location, plain text, a telephone number, an email address and many other varieties of information.


This app turns your mobile device into a QR and barcode reader. It uses the camera to scan the printed codes you find in magazines to access more information about a story on the internet whether that be video, text or music.

Scan the barcode on the back of the book to be directed to a website about the book, or a product barcode to find comparative prices from a range of shopping outlets near you. It is quick and reliable.

i-nigma is available for iOS and Android.
Scan this code with i-nigma or your favourite QR code scanner to find out about another excellent app.



Outback Queensland Traveller’s Guide

This excellent app is a 116 page illustrated magazine providing in-depth detail about all the major towns in outback Queensland - Charleville, Cunnamulla, Quilpie, Roma, Birdsville, Barcaldine, Longreach, Winton, Charters Towers, Cloncurry, Hughenden and Mount Isa, as well as tiny towns with populations as low as 20 people.

It covers town information, festivals, visitor information centres, history and culture, national parks and a services directory along with a wealth of travellers tips. 
This one is worth downloading even if you never make it to outback Queensland. Available for iOS and Android.

This is Queensland


Designed by Tourism Queensland the app suggests places to go and things to see incorporating detailed local maps. 
Using location based services it suggests nearby  venues and attractions. It helps visitors locate the nearest Information Centres and provides tips from local experts.
Available for iOS and Android.

Here’s another QR code leading you to an interesting list of bloggers participating in the A-Z challenge 2016. There are many places on the web where QR codes can be generated. This colourful one was made at QR stuff.

Next up R – Read and remember

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Poses and pins in the pocket

P is for Plenty

A-Z challenge – Apps in April

The problem is where to start with P.  A plethora of P apps have populated my iPad and phone so I cannot possibly pretend to present a proper peep at Periscope, Pages, PDF forms, Paper, Photospector, Photomapo or Phonto. Presently I’ve settled on these three peas out of the pod - Photofunia, Pixlr and Pocket. I’ll finish with a brief reference to Pinterest.


Add some fun to those selfies and portraits. Put yourself on a billboard, create a fake breaking news TV screen, view yourself on a rainy night poster reflecting in the city lights. Put a friend on a wanted poster or hang your picture in a gallery. These are just a few of the fun effects found in Photofunia.

I added the picture of a grandson to the side of a London double decker bus after a visit there much to his parents’ amusement.

Have some fun on iOS, Android or the web.


Pixlr - Photo Editor for Collages, Effects, Overlays, and Filters

An excellent free photo editor that claims to have over 2 million combinations of free effects, overlays, and filters. Auto fix, recolour, add text, frames, stylise and draw on photos. There are hundreds of variations within each of these options. No two pictures need ever look the same. Finish off by adding an overlay to add extra excitement to photos.

Each change can be progressively undone as changes are not added to separate layers.
The Pixlr suite of products are available on iOS, Android and the web.



When you find something you want to read or view but don’t have the time, put it in Pocket. It will sync across phone, tablet and computer so you can save from anywhere and come back to it even when you are offline.
Customise the reading interface to suit you. I often use Pocket to save articles to read later then decide whether to keep them and send them  on to Evernote.

The app is free, you can upgrade for extra space and permanent storage but I find the freemium model is more than adequate for my needs.

Available for iOS, Android and as an extension for web browsers.



I couldn’t finish a post on P without mentioning Pinterest. To view and get the best out of Pinterest one does need a free account. Follow your interests and pin to keep track of them.
Available for iOS and Android

Here’s my Pinterest board on the A-Z of apps in April.

Follow Carmel's board Apps A-Z on Pinterest.

Next up Q – Quick response

Monday 18 April 2016

Over and over

O is for Over and OverDrive

A-Z Challenge: Apps in April


overHere’s another graphic design, creative typography and photo editing app to enhance your text or photos. There are standard and custom fonts with some excellent artwork text. Nudge, size, rotate, fade, add shadows, reposition text and choose colours to blend by using the colour picker. Each element of your design has its own layer so can be edited individually.

Use your own photos or the stunning hi-res photos supplied by Unsplash. This is a paid app with various bundles to enhance your output. Share to social networks or save for local use. Available for iOS and Android. Click/tap on the images to view full size. 6 min video demo.

Made with Over using artwork text
Made in Over using text variations
Photo by crgalvin - text added in Over


OverDrive is an app for borrowing library ebooks and audiobooks and is used by many libraries worldwide. Check to see if your library has this. Each library has its own collection which is available 24/7  via the app. Search for books, place reserves, loan and return. Some libraries also loan streaming video through OverDrive.

Check back on Love a Library for other library apps.
Enjoy an eread today. Available for iOS and Android.

Next up P – Poses and pins in the pocket

Sunday 17 April 2016

Notes on the News

N is for Notegraphy and News

A-Z challenge 2016: Apps in April


Add text to Notegraphy then choose one of more than 40 styles to create an image to share to your social networks or for instant messages. Images are stored in an online gallery which can be public or private and they can be downloaded as .png and saved for local use.

The news image below was created in Notegraphy. I’ve used this app many times for images for blog and Twitter posts. Below I’ve combined a screenshot from a news app and added the text in Notegraphy.

Available for iOS, Android and on the web. View this one-minute introduction. Enjoy creating and sharing.

Here are a few of the styles using the same text. Each style offers 3 variations in colour.



News apps

noteThere are dozens of news apps in the App store and on Google play. Find your local papers and broadcast outlets. I’ve found by customising the Google News app on Android and the inbuilt News app on iOS one can have the major news stories of the day delivered to any device. 

This image shows the local news sources I’ve added to the iOS news app. For more detailed coverage major newspapers operate apps behind a paywall.
Choose from a range of financial news, sports news, technology news, or media conglomerate news apps to keep up to date.

Experiment with personalising the news apps built into your device to add local news and your particular interests.
Next up O - Over and over

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Saturday 16 April 2016

Map a museum

M is for Maps and Museums

A-Z Challenge 2016: Apps in April


There is a wide range of map apps in the both the App store and Google Play store. A few of the varieties are:
  • organisation and institutional maps – includes maps of educational institutions and museums
  • navigation maps – includes Google maps, Open maps, Waze and more specific city and town maps
  • tourist maps – individual place maps with tourist highlights includes parks and hiking and other outdoor activity maps
  • transit maps – bus, train, underground/subway, cycle and parking maps
  • sky maps – star trackers, charts and mobile observatories
  • weather maps – weather radar maps from official agencies and a raft of commercial products

Google maps

Some features other than the navigation that I use in the app -

Offline maps – download an area where I expect to be out of reception or network range is poor
Add or fix a place – improve the quality of the online data by editing or adding local information or missing places
Save places – useful for planning ahead for visits to previously unknown locations
Give some places private labels

Some other features of MyMaps are available only through the web version of Google maps but can be viewed through the apps. Sometimes I find it useful to pinch out a map and take a screenshot that I can then annotate and send to others. Download for iOS or Android.



There are several companies that specialise in producing museum guides for the app market. Always visit the website of the museum first to see if they have an official guide. Here are some apps from favourite Australian museums.

Australian Museum- Sydney

This museum is based right in the heart of Sydney and a must visit especially for those with children.  This app focuses on the natural history of Australia and offers a tour and quizzes. It is regularly updated. This is just one of the seven mobile apps produced by the museum. They are all available for both iOS and Android
Check out their Tyrannosaurs, Frogs field guide, Kids Trailblazers and other apps on the website.

Powerhouse Museum- Sydney

The Powerhouse Museum Walking Tours app treats the visitor to central Sydney to a tour through time. It includes:
Exploring old Sydney: Sydney Harbour Bridge
Ultimo: charting 150 years of change
Pyrmont: charting 150 years of change
Exploring old Sydney: George street
Exploring old Sydney: The Rocks
Available for both iOS and Android

Museum Victoria – Melbourne

This walking tour through 3 historic Melbourne precincts is just one of the many apps produced by Museum Victoria.
The walks include:Spotswood Industrial Heritage Walk, Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens Walk and Melbourne's Golden Mile.
There are over 700 images included from the museum’s collections.
Eight field guide apps to Australia’s unique fauna have also been produced by Museum Victoria in conjunction with the other State museums. All of these apps are free and available for both iOs and Android. 

Enjoy exploring these Australian apps from just a few of our museums. Watch out for apps from museums in your local area.
Next up  - N Notes on the News

Thursday 14 April 2016

Love a Library

L is for LibraryThing and other Library apps

A-Z challenge 2016: Apps in April


Keep track of all the books you read and all the books you own, your very own catalogue of books. Add to your list by scanning a barcode on a physical book or enter an ISBN or search for the book by author or title.
Organise your books into collections, rate with stars, add a review, add tags, view recommendations from other readers.
I’ve been a member of LibraryThing since 2006 and find it is an excellent way to keep track of my reading and receive recommendations based on books I’ve enjoyed
This app is currently only available for iOS with the promise of an Android app to come. Visit LibraryThing on the web.

Check with your library to find out which apps they have that provide lending services. My excellent local library provides e-lending through these apps.


Browse, borrow, read or listen to a collection of ebooks and audiobooks. Log in with your library member’s card details to access the library’s own collection. Preview titles, borrow instantly or reserve for later if the title is currently loaned to another user.
Search by title, author or genre. Titles can be renewed or returned at any stage and they automatically expire once the borrowing period is exceeded so no library fines are generated.

BorrowBox is available for iOS and Android Check your library to see if they have it.




From your library site, register on the OneClickDigital site. Once you download the app find your library and enter the details registered previously through your library site. Now you will be able to see a tutorial to get you started. The search will launch your library’s digital collection, some libraries may have both ebooks and audiobooks others may have only audiobooks. Preview titles by description, information and length of audio chapters. Listen to a short excerpt from the book before making your decision.

This is a great app for borrowing audiobooks.Available for iOS and Android.


ePlatform by Wheelers

Wheelers is ebooks only. Browse by category or search for a title or author. Wheelers has a strong Australian and New Zealand collection with my library exhibiting 354 books in the AU, NZ, and South Pacific collection. Wheelers also concentrate on children’s titles so is a good option for those with young family members.
Available for iOS and Android.

Your library may have a different collection of apps including OverDrive. Do check out your favourite library site to find out if there are options for e-borrowing.

Next up M – Map a museum

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