Tech Savvy: A-Z of Apps Series – Yesterday & beyond (5/7)

We’re tantalisingly close to the end of our A-Z of Apps series.  Reaching the end of something inevitably makes people more inclined to look back.  So that’s what we are doing with the letter Y.  Looking back to yesterday and beyond to see what apps are available to discover more about our history and the world around us.

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Google Arts & Culture app is a great way to get to know the arts & culture from around the world.  Available on Android and iOS platforms for FREE it is split into many different categories.  You can choose from Natural History, Cultural Heritage, Hidden Histories, Fashion in Focus Surprising Facts and more. There are places to visit, interactive videos and visual delights collated from institutions, galleries and repositories all over the world.  Use the ‘Virtual Explorer’ to get 360° view on selected pieces, artists and their works. Are you interested in Millinery?  Then have a look through the article about the German Hat Museum which gives you all there is to know about the museum, it’s collection and the part of the world it’s from.  There’s also a fun way to learn more by using the ‘Search with your Selfie’ function. This gives you the opportunity to find out what artwork most looks like you.



Today in History is an app which tells you ‘Yesterday’s news today!’.  It’s available on iOS and Android platforms for FREE but with the option of in-app purchases to enhance your experience.  Ever wondered what was so special about today?  This app goes through history to give you the insignificant and the sometimes very significant events that occurred on each day of the year. You never know what might crop up and pique your interest in learning more about the event or person described. The app is split into five different areas; Headlines, Events, Births, Deaths and Holidays.  There is also the date selector so you can flip forward or backwards through the year to see what events shaped dates that are significant to you. Like today 5th July it is the anniversary of the formation of the Salvation Army in 1865 in the East End of London, England and on this day in 1811 Venezuela declared independence from Spain.

Today in History app


Wikipedia is synonymous with information. So it stands to reason that it forms part of this list. There is a wealth of information about the past collated from resources all over the world contained within this app on literally every subject and in almost every language.  They have an ‘On this day’ functionality where you can browse through the events that shaped this day through history.  Have a look through the places around you to see what historical events have occurred near you or to read more about the history and heritage from your town, local area or city.  Be adventurous and click on the random article to learn more about anything from the Wikipedia database.  Easy to navigate and read this is a good resource for anyone looking to learn more history.

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Civilisations AR has just been released by the BBC to coincide with their new series on BBC2 which will highlight over 5000 pieces from over 31 countries. This app gives you the opportunity to get up close and personal with a virtual collection of select treasures held in cultural centres all around the UK.  A FREE app available on Android and iOS devices. This app uses Augmented Reality technology so it will require a newer device to function properly.  This is a new collaboration by all these cultural centres with the BBC to use this new technology that will give greater access to these treasures for people all over the world.  The creators are looking for feedback on this venture and are keen for people to leave their rating and review after using the app.

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SLSA Walks is an app created by the State Library of South Australia that gives the user maps, stories and information about historic elements of Adelaide to be used during a self-guided tour.  There are eight walks to choose from that will showcase different parts of the city and it’s important buildings & statues. The time for each walk is clearly shown with a map for reference. You can download each walk using WiFi before you set out saving you data costs on your mobile device.  It is available for FREE for Android and iOS devices.

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So there’s just a few apps that we like for history buffs and interested newbies alike.  Are there any apps on history or heritage that you find useful or interesting?  Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.





Tech Savvy: A-Z of Apps Series – X marks the spot

Long gone are the days when you didn’t have navigational instructions at your fingertips, always update and ready to go.  You needed to make sure you took your map book with you on every drive in case you took a wrong turn.  Made sure to check the timetable at the bus stop or train station so you knew when you needed to be there to catch the bus or train.  Nowadays almost every device has some kind of geo-location functionality, which means almost everything can tell you where something is. We’re focusing on smartphone & tablet apps with our Tech Savvy A-Z of apps so here is a list below of apps that can tell you where to find things, how to get there and what’s around you.

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Google maps – Now just about everyone knows about Google maps and we almost instinctively reach for it whenever we need to find locations or directions for just about anything, in just about anywhere in the world.  It has so many functions that you can use to find locations, business and their details and yourself when you’re lost.



Google Earth – This offering from Google gives an even bigger navigational view of our planet. Start in the stars viewing Earth from far above your head. Fly through 3D cities like London, Tokyo and Rome. Then get amongst the people living there through the Street View option. You can also look through the ‘Knowledge Cards’ on different places for further information about them. Very interesting app that delves into more than just the where of a place.


We’ve mentioned Rome to RioMetroMATE and Moovit in previous posts, but they’re so good and fit well with our navigation theme so here they are again. All three have their own functions; MetroMATE being specifically for the Adelaide public transportation system, Rome2Rio is a very good app for travel planning as it encompasses all modes of transportation for getting from A-B, and Moovit being a good travel companion for keeping up with public transport and navigational options in an unfamiliar city.


Around Me app

AroundMe – Have you ever been driving somewhere or visiting an unfamiliar city and wondered what’s around you right now? When you need something (petrol, coffee, ATM) but not sure which one and don’t want to google every brand name to find the one nearest to your location.  AroundMe is a great app for this.  Once it knows your location you will be given a list of surrounding options for you to choose from.


GateGuru app

GateGuru – So you’ve managed to get organised, to the airport without delay and you’re all checked in and ready for your flight, hours before you need to be. Whilst this is great for the nerves, it would be great to know what is in that airport available to you especially if it is an unfamiliar airport. Gate Guru was made especially for keeping travelers organised, informed and on time.  Created by Trip Advisor it will give you updated information about your scheduled flight as it occurs, amenity information, maps, weather forecasts and helpful airport tips.  Check it out for your next flight.


MAPS me app

Maps.Me – When you go overseas, you’ll want the map but you may not have the data allowance for the app to keep searching for your location while you use it. have a great functionality that means you can download to your device the city/suburb/state map before you get there. This means you can have free maps for the entire world (subject to your device’s storage limits).  Get to your destination and get out exploring without worrying you’re spending your hard-saved cash on data allowances to get your bearings.

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Obviously you will need to have your location services enabled on your device for these apps to function properly.  They do have offline functionality but it will affect how you use the app. This will use your included data if you’re using your mobile data allowance and that will incur extra costs for your mobile provider.  Otherwise these apps will provide so much peace of mind for travelers to confidently navigate new environments with ease.  Happy Travels!

Tech Savvy: A-Z of Apps Series – Weather

‘Have you seen the weather today? Do you know what the weather forecast is?’  Questions we regularly ask one another, but where do we go for that information?  If you have a smartphone or tablet there are a multitude of apps that provide simplified or in-depth information for the weather for you area or the other side of the world.  All at your fingertips and updated at a moments notice.  Are you planning to go on a trip?  Would you like to check the weather for your destination?  This is made so much easier now with these apps.  We can also be far better informed about severe weather and be more prepared for any catastrophic weather events. Below is a list of weather apps that you can download, some free, some paid and some with in-app purchases to get you better informed about your local weather and further afield.  To use all of these apps, you will need to allow the apps to access your location so they can give you accurate weather information for your location.


Lightning Storm

Bureau of Meteorology (BoM)

This is our Australian Government weather authority and as such is usually where all the other weather apps, websites and news reports pull their data from.  They have been collecting weather data for Australia for over 100 years from the Meteorology Act of 1906 which combined all the previous colonies and state weather agencies at that time.  This app brings you Current Conditions; Forecasts; Radar images; Warnings and the ability to set your locations.  It is a FREE app for Android and iOS users with NO in-app purchases.  This app will give you weather information that is specifically geared for Australia’s climate as it is data from Australia’s official weather source, the Bureau of Meteorology.

As most of the weather data comes from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the following apps will differ in how they present the information and ease of use of the app.  The information will usually be the same, but it will depend on which app you find more easy to use and whether the app creators are updating the app and keeping the bugs at bay.


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This is an Australian made app that has information supplied by Weatherzone based on data from the Bureau of Meteorology.  It is one of the most popular Australian apps for weather.  It does have basic features with ads, but you have the option to upgrade using in-app purchase to get more features and remove the ads at a PRO level.  This would be handy if you were working with the weather; farmer, fisherman, etc. This app has amazing photography, matching the current forecast, that is submitted by users and is regularly changed over with new images. Forecasts include current temperature, ‘Feels Like’ temperature, rain since 9am, Wind speed and direction, Pressure and Humidity.  Choose your notification settings, check out radar and satellite images and look through observation history.  A really good app for Australian conditions.


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Yahoo! Weather

A great, simple interface gives you the basics for your local weather.  It combines the forecast with Flickr photographs that are of the same weather conditions in your location.  Forecast for the week and an hour by hour for your day; rain amounts and percentages of likely rain in the forecast, wind distance and strength; radar, maps and satellite images; with sun and moon times all included. It’s so easy to use and visually appealing which is no surprise that the iOS version of this app was awarded a design award during 2013


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The Weather Channel

The American Weather Channel has an app which is very popular the world over and is the ‘world’s most downloaded weather app’. You’ve got so many bells and whistles included in this app, it’s very comprehensive.  Available for FREE on iOS, Android and Windows devices in various formats (smartphone, tablet, smartwatch and smart TV), you’ve got it ready to use on any device. You will get the normal daily forecasts as well as hourly forecasts for the forthcoming fortnight. The app has latest weather news available as it happens for severe weather events, sunset times, tides, phases of the moon and air quality information (for specific locations only).  There are ads in this app and they can be removed using in-app purchasing. A good app especially if you live in or are going to visit the US.


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There are also weather apps that are included as part of the operating system with the smartphone or tablet you own.  These will likely take their data from the local authority (BoM – Australia) and display the information very simply.  If this is all you want then you’ve really no need to keep looking, but if you’d like more then have a look through the above list and see what you think.


What’s Your Dewey? 305.26 Ageing: or, as Dewey likes to call it, People in Late Adulthood!

A brief walk through the local Ageing & Disability Expo where our library had a stall, reminded me that the concept of ageing is ever changing and notions of what it is to be an ‘older person’ or ‘senior citizen’ are not what they once were. As our population ages and the number of people claiming senior status increases, so do our perceptions of what it is to be old, change. Like the many and varied stalls showcasing the different services aimed at seniors, you can find books on ageing shelved in the psychological, medical, spiritual, financial, fitness and biographical shelves, making the topic a grand tour of Dewey. Personally, the titles I find interesting are those that explore the concept of ageing through the collective experiences of those who’ve gone before… people in their late adulthood!

In the book In praise of ageing by Patricia Edgar, Edgar introduces her topic by asking: ‘Why do some people live an active and rewarding life while others die early or live miserably?’ Rather than focusing on the assumed ‘burden of the ageing’, (which she explores in Part One – The gift of age), Edgar begins to tackle this conundrum by interviewing eight people who have lived beyond their 80s (Part Two: The elders). They include teacher, biochemist and artist Muriel Crabtree (aged 102), and Jim Brierley, octogenarian skydiver. Through these stories, Edgar demonstrates that ageing brings with it opportunities to reshape our thinking and our lives by reaffirming what we care about and staying motivated to remain creative and connected to the world. Look inside here:

The importance of maintaining a sense of humour can not be over-emphasized by many and 1,000 unforgettable senior moments : of which we could remember only 254 by Tom…uh…Friedman is just one book that highlights the lighter side of age-related gaffes, from the ridiculous to the ridiculously worrying. Examples include: The team of astrophysicists who believed they had discovered proof of alien life–only to discover the signals were coming from the lunchroom microwave; the bank robber who wrote a holdup note on a cheque stub that had his name and address printed on it; and the president who left the nuclear launch codes in a suit at the dry cleaners. 1,000 Unforgettable Senior Moments is entertaining, witty and very accessible.
You can sample it here: 1001 unforgettable senior moments

Over 60 : living life to the full edited by Joy Noble and David Bennett is another book filled with examples of what is increasingly called ‘positive ageing’. The book is a compilation of 25 essays written by Baby Boomers as they approach their 60s and 70s; individuals who have the freedom to pursue their life passions and are changing the nature of retirement. While travelling and volunteering feature in many essays, there are also examples of grand-parenting, late career changes, creative pursuits and learning; embracing new technology to be both independent and connected.


Aging : an apprenticeship  edited by Nan Narboe looks at ageing from the perspective of 54 contributors including Judy Blume, Andrew McCarthy, Gloria Steinem, Ursula Le Guin and William Maxwell. Contributors draw from their own experiences as they navigate each decade of their late adulthood  from Nearing 50 up to The 90s and Beyond. Divided into decades, each essay lists the author’s birth year along with his or her subjective age (the age they feel or think). There are many thought-provoking approaches to ageing contained in these pages. Here are just two:  ‘There is no universal guidebook on aging… We have to learn about old age on the job’, (Jan Slepian, born in 1921); and Narboe who states: ‘I think aging tends to refine who the person is… an intellectual becomes more so, a sensualist becomes more so, an adventurer becomes more so.”
Read more about the book here:

Aging starts in your mind : you’re only as old as you feel  by Notker Wolf, with Leo G. Linder ; translated by Gerlinde Buchinger-Schmid is a lighthearted, anecdotal approach to life as an ageing adult. While Wolf acknowledges that ‘The body is counting years, and it’s an incorruptible chronicler’ he also states: ‘The body and soul experience time differently… the soul measures itself by a different standard… it doesn’t grow old; it’s timeless’. Wolf encourages readers to focus on the ‘state of our soul- a soul which is resolutely vibrant, cheerful, and full of zest for life.’ Translated from German, this autobiographical book covers many ageing related topics in 22 chapters. You can preview it here: Aging starts in your mind

Staying active, connected and with a positive approach to getting older is a message that resounds in many of the interviews and stories included in the books just viewed. There are an abundance of ways people in their late adulthood can benefit from the diverse activities and support systems available to them in the community, as demonstrated at the Expo. This includes support to enter the modern world of technology with the Be Connected program being offered through the library.  An Australia wide initiative to empower all Australians to thrive in a digital world, it provides online learning resources and in-person support, so you can develop your digital skills and confidence. To find out more, contact the library on 8522 0123 and let staff know you want to Be Connected to make the most of your late adulthood… (and while you’re there, check out the shelves at 305.26).



How Does That Work? Tech Savvy Club

We are asked fairly regularly here at the library; ‘What opportunities do you have for people to learn more about their smartphones & tablet devices?’  We have two answers for you; the Tech Savvy 1on1 Digital Help sessions and our new Tech Savvy Club sessions.  The 1on1 Digital Help sessions are for people who are interested in answering specific questions or solving issues with their devices and the new Tech Savvy Club sessions are for those customers who have a basic understanding of their devices but would like to develop these digital skills further.  We provide the opportunity for our keen older community members to socialise with other people in a relaxed, community learning environment whilst they develop their digital skills.  A small, social catch up once a month on a Tuesday morning between 10:30-11:30, with other like-minded people, to chat about technology and learn tips & tricks together, facilitated by an experienced staff member.

CONFIRMED TS Logo multiple screens REVERSE 2We run five sessions from the beginning of the year (February – June) and these are repeated at the end of the year (August – December), so if you’d like to get a refresher on a particular topic, you have the opportunity!  Our sessions cover topics such as; mobile communication methods (SMS, email & phone); photos & videos (storage, selfies and more); digital basics (WiFi, Bluetooth, familiarisation with the device); apps & downloads (free, paid & in-app purchases) and showing the wonderful world of the digital library with our library apps and subscriptions.

LCS Marketing Photos - Tech Savvy 3These are participant-led, non-structured sessions, so not all topics will be covered each session.  Session participants will be provided with printed digital literacy resource materials.

Participants will need a Library membership and their App Store login details. Places are limited and bookings are required, so if you’re interested, call (08) 8522 0123 or visit to check availability and book in.

We hope to see you soon!