IT Services's blog posts tagged with 'apps'

Apps: When they're good (at uni, when you need organising) and when they're not (at festivals, when you don't)



Today I’ve been thinking about music festivals… how could I not?  The day before yesterday the radio was talking about people already making their way down to Glastonbury, and the music doesn’t even start until tomorrow.  So Glastonbury now starts 96 hours before it starts, apparently.  Anyway, I digress.

I used to be one of them, you know.  I went to several Glastonburys consecutively, the last being in 2005.  It seems like it’s changed a little … and it had already started when I last went, what with phone charging tents appearing.  Most people back then were appalled.
No battery?  Who cares.  No signal anyway.
No battery? Who cares. No signal anyway.

“What is this nonsense?!” we said.
"What do you need a phone for HERE?” we said.
“What a waste of time, queuing in a phone tent,” we said.
"There's not even any phone signal here down on Worthy Farm," we said.    

Glastonbury was about entering an exclusive territory - a bubble of an alternative reality with a group of amazing buddies around you and no need, frankly, to communicate with anyone else outside of the bubble because they just weren’t exciting enough to be involved.

Ahhh… how things have changed.  Phones seem integral to the festival experience - smartphones, that is.  Because now, of course, there’s an app for that. (TM iPhone 2004 yes yes yes).  There’s an app that allows you to not only see the programme of the festival, but see which bands your friends are going to see (so you know who really is the coolest, or who to not invite next year because they went to see Kanye and not Pharrell and well, who would do THAT?!).  There’s also a map function so people know where you’re camped (and you can find your way back to it at 3 am when your senses are, let’s say, dulled.



To keep this up all weekend, there’s not just a phone-charging tent.   You can register for a power service which keeps you going by basically swapping a dead power pack for an alive one when you need it.  If you forgot to register, you can charge your phone at one of billions of charge points in a tent… which has had DJs drafted in to make it a party tent.  Now even charging your phone is part of the fun.

 ANYWAY.  I digress.  Again.  Well, sort of.  The point is… everything: there’s an app for that.   

I was in an IT meeting yesterday when we were talking about the Sussex Mobile app which, I have to say it, is a pretty awesome tool for students.  Back when I was a student at Sussex (even before that last Glastonbury), we had to really search our our useful info, and it took quite a bit of effort to know where we had to be when - and you had to go to quite a length to double check everything.  Now, it’s all there.  In this thing that we carry around with us, everywhere.  Your timetable is there, your library account info is there, upcoming deadlines are there, you can find out where there are spare study rooms to go get some work done in peace, and there’s a campus map that can show you where they are.

sussexmob-web US logo 

I’m just sorry that we don’t have a charging point with DJs throwing a party - only if we were to accurately translate the analogy, it would probably be a room full of professors giving lectures which doesn’t have quite the same vibe.  (Oh, and loads of lecture theatres have power points now anyway so … )


If there isn’t a handy app for that, something that helps us be where we need to be exactly when we need to be there, something that makes our lives at that minute just *that* much more easy, well, we think why not?  And someone else more inventive is already making it.  Is it OK then, that I think the Sussex Mobile app is awesome and useful and organisey-brilliance, but the Glastonbury app is well… superfluous to need?  Leave the phones at home, get your tent up and leave the timetabling to term time!!!


(And while I've got you here, download the Sussex Mobile app from the Play Store or the App Store.)


Ten Top Apps for Students ... part 1



Adjusting to life at uni can be difficult, and even if you've been here for a while now you might find your organisational skills still need some tweaking. Thankfully, as with most other problems these days, there's an app to make it all seem much easier. Get some of these on your mobile device and you'll be well equipped for the rest of your academic journey.

    • Sussexmobile
      Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 12.04.19
      The first app any Sussex student should be downloading is the Sussexmobile App. I wish it was pronounced mobeeel, like the BatMobile, but it's not - unless you lot decide it is, of course. This app is incredibly helpful for helping you navigate through university. It gives you access to a "lite" version of your inbox, so you can read and reply to messages, and compose new mail. The functionality is significantly reduced but it'll do until you can get back to your regular inbox. As well as the email, you can see your timetable, information about assessments, look at your library account and your printing account, find vacant study spaces and cluster computers as well as loads more.

Play Store     App Store

    • LinkedIn
      Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 12.17.01

      It turns out I've become something of a LinkedIn advocate; if you feel like you don't know enough about what LinkedIn is or what LinkedIn does, have a read of my previous post on it. University days are a perfect time to carefully craft and maintain a top notch LinkedIn profile and it will get you more focused on your post-university career path early on. Work on that cv whilst ploughing through your studies to increase your employability at the end of it.

Play Store       App Store

    • Evernote
      Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 12.17.25When it comes to organising your study notes, your thoughts, ideas, work plans, Evernote is pretty much the leader. It's available for nearly every device under the sun and utilised to the full on a laptop PC or MacBook, even the basic version can become every student's best friend. There are two levels of paid access that offer some really jazzy features such as turning your notes straight into a presentation for those most nervewracking seminars, or annotating PDFs. In the basic version, you can create a notebook for all your modules, you can make sub-notebooks as appropriate and then you can easily cross-reference by using what they call tags to tie together common themes. To use it is to love it (if you're a nerd for organisation).

Play Store      App Store

    • Sonocent
      Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 12.18.32
      Now Sonocent is an Android-only app, but we'll get to an iOS equivalent in a moment. Sonocent is a completely excellent voice recorder, absolutely ideal for recording lectures and seminars. It's a bit less passive than others, however. As the lecture progresses, you can type notes directly into the app, you can take photos which attach to the file at the time point it's taken, and you can mark certain bits of the recording as important as it's happening. You can pause the recording and restart without it breaking the file up... it's an all-round good lecture-recording egg. It's also free which is rather brilliant, because its iOS equivalent isn't; SoundNote is excellent too, with similar features and it costs £3.99.

Play Store      App Store

    • RefMe
      Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 12.18.05Back when I was an undergraduate, bibliographies took *forever* to compile, if you didn't do them as you went. It can really break your flow to keep going back to the referencing too, and we all know how evasive and fleeting flow can be. RefMe is a free app, available for both Androids and iPhones/iPads (coming soon for Windows phones, apparently). You can use your phone to zap a barcode or enter an ISBN number or a journal title and it will generate your bibliography (in your chosen style) and then export it for Word or Evernote documents. Literally a life saver, if you measure your life in terms of minutes that tick by doing tedious tasks. All right, it's a time saver, but it will save so much time you might get a bit more life away from the desk.

                                          Play Store       App Store



Visit the IT Services blog for Part Two of this article