Tuesday, January 28, 2014

23 Mobile Things - Thing 4 - Keeping Up

I must confess that I have been in mourning ever since my beloved Google Reader was permanently discontinued. I have a love/hate relationship with Google.  Although I use many Google products (Blogger, Drive, Images, Search, etc.) I cringe when one of my favorite sites gets bought and/or discontinued by Google (iGoogle, Google Reader, Picnik, etc.)  I must confess that my heart has been somewhat hardened and I am now wary about getting too attached to a single web tool.

As a replacement for Google Reader, I have been using Feedly, which I have added to my igHome page, a replacement for iGoogle.

My igHome Page
My Feedly Home Page
You might wonder what all of this has to do with Thing 4 about keeping up. Well, because of my past disappointments, I have been searching for suitable replacements for sites that Google has abandoned.  Although I am using Feedly and igHome to help me keep up, neither is as good as Google Reader or iGoogle.  Thus, I was really eager to learn about Flipboard and Zite.

My first impression was pretty good.  As I watched the Grammy Awards, I was furiously adding things to my flipboard.  But, when I started to really use the app, it wasn't very intuitive.  I watched the video for iPhones and tried to follow along with the photo guides posted on the Thing 4 Flipboard page.

The first problem I encountered was that the app on my iPhone does not have a search bar on the Flipboard home page.  I have to tap the red ribbon to find a search bar.

Next, I tried to add the website Free Technology for Teachers to Flipboard.  My initial search was frustrating and I didn't find the website.  I tried to type in the actual URL into the search box and still no results.

1st Search Results for Free Tech 4 Teachers

As I tried to learn more about Flipboard, I became confused by the difference between Magazines and Subscriptions.  I still do not understand how Flipboard determines which is which. I clicked on the red ribbon to find My Flipboard.

My Flipboard

Another irritant was clicking on one of my magazines.  I chose to open my Photography magazine since I knew I had flipped several items into it.  My experience did not match the 23 Mobile Things instructions.  Rather than getting a home page with options to choose from, I have to flip through each individual site/article.  I find this a little tedious.

23 Things
Opening my Photography Magazine

Next on the agenda was to try out the Discover feature of Flipboard.  Again, my results varied from the 23 Mobile Things results.  Please know that I am not complaining about the creators of 23 Mobile Things.  I realize that they could not possibly instruct for everyone's varied devices.  I am most frustrated because I wish my iPhone would perform more like the device 23 Mobile Things was using to create the instructions.

23 Things Discover located on My Flipboard
My Discover located 1st Screen after Red Ribbon

After reading further about Flipboard in Thing 4, I learned how to add specific blogs and successfully added Free Technology for Teachers, which I had failed to do earlier, and several other blogs to My Flipboard.  Unfortunately, I was not successful in finding my blog, The Adventures of SZSRocks, no matter how I tried searching for it (URL, RSS, name).

I consider myself pretty tech-savvy, but Flipboard did not seem user-friendly to me.  It may be that the current polar-vortex has addled my brain, but I am not sure if this will replace Feedly for me.

I enjoyed setting up Zite and thought it was easier than Flipboard.  However, after searching for Teen Reads and trying to select Reading, my iPhone completely locked up and after my somewhat frustrating experience with Flipboard, I am choosing to not continue exploring Zite at this time.

So, my search for acceptable replacements for my beloved Google Reader and iGoogle will continue.

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