Abby’s Apps: Duolingo

Several months ago, my husband walked into our dining room where I was looking at my phone and heard an unfamiliar voice saying something unintelligible.

“What is that?” he asked.

“Portuguese.”

“Why?”

“Um, I got a new app. I want to learn Portuguese.”

Since then, I have switched to Spanish because I want to improve my conversational skills for my job.
 

Language-Learning App for Smartphones | Abby's Apps


Title:
Duolingo

Cost: Free for iOS and Android

What It Does: Enjoyable and engaging language learning activities for over Users select a language skill and then have the option to quiz out or to learn each lesson of the skill separately.


Language-Learning App for Smartphones | Abby's Apps
Language-Learning App for Smartphones | Abby's Apps


Language-Learning App for Smartphones | Abby's AppsLanguage-Learning App for Smartphones | Abby's Apps

What I Like: This is one of the few language learning apps I have used and enjoyed. First, it is convenient because it is always on my phone. Second, I like that one of the activities tests my pronunciation. Third, Duolingo keeps track of how long it has been since I reviewed a topic and shows a meter as a graphic representation of the strength of the skill. The goal is to keep all the meters topped off!

Language-Learning App for Smartphones | Abby's Apps
Language-Learning App for Smartphones | Abby's Apps


Language-Learning App for Smartphones | Abby's Apps
Language-Learning App for Smartphones | Abby's Apps

What I Dislike: Nothing, this is one of my favorite apps!
 

Disclaimer: I don’t own or have any vested interest in this or any other apps nor am I responsible for how you or anyone else choose to use them. Do your own research and make wise decisions!

Reviews of iOS Apps | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com #31Days

This is a part of my 31 Days series, Abby’s Apps, linked up here.

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Abby’s Apps: Quizlet

Quizlet App Review | StairStories.com

Title: Quizlet

Cost: Free for iOS and Android and on the website

What It Does: The app allows users to create free electronic flashcards or use shared ones to learn information. The cards can be made and used and ever printed via the website. With the mobile app, users can access all the same card sets for review or playing a matching game. The app also makes the cards available for offline use. Students can use the sets like traditional flashcards, looking at one side and guessing the answer before they check themselves, or they can play one of the two games or simply look at the list of terms.

Online Games With Flash Cards
Scatter is a matching game where the learner clicks and drags the two parts of each card together to clear them from the screen. In Space Race, definition cards move across the screen and the player must type the correct term before it reaches the other side.

What I Like: Since school started in August, I have been using Quizlet to make flashcards for the high school students I work with. So far, I have made sets for vocabulary learning and learning how to combine root words with suffixes. As an added bonus, they can use my flashcards (along with any they create) online or on their smart phones.

 
What I Dislike: I do not like creating card sets on the mobile app, but will sometimes make a correction to a set. I prefer an actual keyboard for lots of typing, so I create sets on my desktop. On the mobile app, I would like there to be another game in addition to matching and trying to beat my previous time.

 
Disclaimer: I don’t own or have any vested interest in this or any other apps nor am I responsible for how you or anyone else choose to use them. Do your own research and make wise decisions!

Reviews of iOS Apps | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com #31Days


This is a part of my 31 Days series, Abby’s Apps, linked up here.

 

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Abby’s Apps: Translator

I work as an English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher Assistant at a high school, so the next group of apps I will share are the ones I use when working with high school students and sometimes recommend to them.
 

Use Google Translate as a Dictionary, Not a Translator

Title: Google Translate

Cost: Free for iOS and Android, also free on the web

What It Does: Translates between eighty different languages. Users can enter words by typing, writing with the draw feature, or speaking via the microphone. Output can be read or heard with the listen feature. Sentences elicit an approximate translation while single words or very short phrases return a list of potential synonyms in the target language.

What I Like: In my experience, this and most electronic translators have limited success in translating sentences or phrases. Be that as it may, I rely heavily on Google Translate as an English-Spanish (and Spanish-English) dictionary. I work often with several Limited-English Proficiency (LEP) students who need to have their homework or a teacher’s instructions clarified in Spanish. I speak Spanish at a conversational level and sometimes cannot remember the correct translation – or even an approximation – for a concept I need to explain.

Use Google Translate as a Dictionary, Not a TranslatorUse Google Translate as a Dictionary, Not a Translator

What I Dislike: It would be nice if Google would embrace the whole dictionary or thesaurus aspect and include usage information (more like a true dictionary entry) when the input is a single word or short phrase.
 

Disclaimer: I don’t own or have any vested interest in this or any other apps nor am I responsible for how you or anyone else choose to use them. Do your own research and make wise decisions!
Reviews of iOS Apps | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com #31Days

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Abby’s Apps: Postagram

This is the last in my set of favorite photo apps, so it seemed fitting to wrap up with one of my favorite ways to use edited photos. Sometimes I print them at Walgreens, too! 
 
How to Send Postcards from Your Phone | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com

 

Title: Postagram

 

Cost: Free for iOS and Android

 

What It Does: Allows users to make their own photos into shiny, photo-quality postcards and mail them to friends or family. The postcard can be kept as-is or the recipient can punch out the photo (with note on the back) to save alone.

 

Although the app is free, the postcards cost $0.99 each or users can purchase credits to use for a discount. There are occasionally promotional offers where I have been able to send free cards in exchange for having the name of an advertiser somewhere on the card. The ads never get in the way of the photo, though.

 

How to Send Postcards from Your Phone | Abby's Apps at StairStories.comHow to Send Postcards from Your Phone | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com

 


What I Like: 
I use the app to send thoughtful notes and photos whenever I think of it, even without having any notecards handy. One set of my grandparents does nothing with computers (they barely use their VCR), so my sister and I like to use Postagram to send them little daily glimpses into our lives. They especially like any photos of their dear great-grandson, Eli! I also used the app to send sweet notes to Brian while we were dating long-distance.

 

How to Send Postcards from Your Phone | Abby's Apps at StairStories.comHow to Send Postcards from Your Phone | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com
 

 

What I Dislike: Nothing, this is an excellent app for sending postcards from my phone!
 

 

Disclaimer: I don’t own or have any vested interest in this or any other apps nor am I responsible for how you or anyone else choose to use them. Do your own research and make wise decisions!

 

Reviews of iOS Apps | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com #31Days

 

This is a part of my 31 Days series, Abby’s Apps, linked up here.

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Abby’s Apps: PhotoSync

Syncing Photos with Photo Sync | Abby's Apps at StairStories.comTitle: PhotoSync

Cost: $2.99 for iOS; free for Android, Mac, and Windows

What It Does: This app is a little more of a utility than some of the other photo apps I have shared so far. Its purpose is to let users transfer photos between devices. Both electronic devices must have the app open on the same wifi network and then can transfer photos both ways. It will also let users send or receive photos via Flickr, Dropbox, Google+, Facebook,  SmugMug, WebDAV, Zenfolio, Box, 500px, OneDrive, Google Drive, and more.

Syncing Photos with Photo Sync | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com
Syncing Photos with Photo Sync | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com

Syncing Photos with Photo Sync | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com

Syncing Photos with Photo Sync | Abby's Apps at StairStories.comSyncing Photos with Photo Sync | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com

What I Like: I appreciate being able to control which photos are synced between my computer and phone directly without having to email them or to use Dropbox as a go-between.

What I Dislike: I have no complaints about the app or its operation. I would like to know why, in researching this post, I discovered that they charge iOS users $2.99 when it is free for other users!

 
Disclaimer: I don’t own or have any vested interest in this or any other apps nor am I responsible for how you or anyone else choose to use them. Do your own research and make wise decisions!

Reviews of iOS Apps | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com #31Days

This is a part of my 31 Days series, Abby’s Apps, linked up here.

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Abby’s Apps: PicCollage

If you have been following my 31 Days series, Abby’s Apps, you may have noticed my posting later than usual this weekend. I have been needing a bit of a break and the challenge starts to feel a bit like a chore at this point – at least for me. I still have lots of ideas and like my topic but the daily posting requires regular time and attention. If you are doing 31 Days, how are you feeling at this point? Do you have any rejuvenating tips?

Although this is the second collage app I have shared, I use both often as I make a lot of collages. I tend to make collages when I want to share a lot of photos without a deluge of my life in my friends’ feeds or when my photos look a bit grainy.
 

Comparison of Collage Apps | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com

Title: PicCollage

Cost: Free for iOS and Android

What It Does: Makes portrait or square photo collages in various formats.

What I Like: I use PicCollage for rectangular collages and I like the option to delete a photo and leave that window blank if I want to put text or one of their many “stickers” in the space. There are lots of options for free sticker packs, so I periodically scroll through and download the ones that look fun. In addition, I like being able to choose which part of a photo appears in the window (a feature missing from Diptic). Finally, the freestyle option is nice when I want to overlap or strategically place certain photos and the pre-made frames just don’t cut it.

Comparison of Collage Apps | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com

Comparison of Collage Apps | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com

Comparison of Collage Apps | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com

What I Dislike: First of all, I want an option to adjust the frames when a photo will not quite fit as I want. Second, I would like more free font options as the current ones are very limited. I usually work around this challenge by collaging with PicCollage, saving the picture, and then importing to Over to add text. (They do keep adding options, just not ones I love.) Third, I would like the developers to remove the mandatory watermark in the lower right corner but it is their prerogative since it is their app.

Have you used PicCollage? What do you think of it? If you have a different go-to collage app, tell me about it in the comments!
 

Disclaimer: I don’t own or have any vested interest in this or any other apps nor am I responsible for how you or anyone else choose to use them. Do your own research and make wise decisions!

Reviews of iOS Apps | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com #31Days

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Abby’s Apps: Diptic

Making Collages with Diptic| Abby's Apps at StairStories.com

Title: Diptic
Cost: $0.99 for iOS and Android
What It Does: Makes square photo collages in various formats.
What I Like: Diptic offers a large selection of collage formats. More impressively (to me), it allows me to adjust the borders not only back and forth but also one end of a line at a time. That feature comes in handy when my photos would look best not just stuck in an arbitrary format of squares or rectangles.
Making Collages with Diptic| Abby's Apps at StairStories.comMaking Collages with Diptic| Abby's Apps at StairStories.com

Making Collages with Diptic| Abby's Apps at StairStories.comMaking Collages with Diptic| Abby's Apps at StairStories.com

What I Dislike: I dislike two things about Diptic. First, there is no option to swap photos that have been imported into the app. If I decide the one on the left would be better on the right, I have to tap on each location to import the photo I want to that specific window of the collage. Second, the app seems to center each photo in its window and will not let me move it to center on something off-center. I usually work around this by adjusting the frames as I mentioned above.
Cola has gotten so big but still thinks she's a lapdog!

Cola has gotten so big but still thinks she’s a lapdog!

Disclaimer: I don’t own or have any vested interest in this or any other apps nor am I responsible for how you or anyone else choose to use them. Do your own research and make wise decisions!
Reviews of iOS Apps | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com #31Days
This is a part of my 31 Days series, Abby’s Apps, linked up here.

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Abby’s Apps: Over (With Tutorial)

How to Add Text to Photos with Over | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com

Title: Over

Cost: $1.99 for iOS and Android

What It Does: The highlight of Over is that users can add text and shapes to photos. Over’s editing tools are minimal but convenient for tweaking a photo to make the text features look their best.

 

What I Like: The simplicity and speed of adding text and other features (like the arrows in the demo photos) makes it easy for me to take, tweak, and share photos in a matter of minutes.

 

Tutorial (to show just how easy it is!)

1. Choose a photo (or take one with the in-app camera).

2. Add text or a artwork.

How to Add Text to Photos with Over | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com

How to Add Text to Photos with Over | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Choose Font from the menu and try out various styles.

How to Add Text to Photos with Over | Abby's Apps at StairStories.comHow to Add Text to Photos with Over | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Choose Edit from the menu and then Rotate to tilt the text whichever way you prefer.

How to Add Text to Photos with Over | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com

How to Add Text to Photos with Over | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com

5. Save and share!

 

What I Dislike: The photo editing tools are limited and cannot not do everything I would like, but I use Snapseed for major edits.

Disclaimer: I don’t own or have any vested interest in this or any other apps nor am I responsible for how you or anyone else choose to use them. Do your own research and make wise decisions!

 

Reviews of iOS Apps | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com #31Days

This is a part of my 31 Days series, Abby’s Apps, linked up here.

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Abby’s Apps: Snapseed

2014-10-08 20.43.18

Title: Snapseed

Cost: Free for iOS and Android

What It Does: Users can edit, enhance, and share photos with multiple settings and filters.

What I Like: I enjoy how easy it is to make my photos look nicer than straight out of my iPhone camera.

2014-10-08 19.41.57

Original photo, imported to Snapseed

2014-07-25 17.16.14-1

Used the “Tune Image” tool to set Brightness +28, Saturation +26, Shadows +9.

2014-10-08 19.47.41

Straighten tool to adjust and crop +10.00

Vintage filter - one of many variations

Vintage filter – one of many variations

Drama filter

Drama filter

2014-07-25 17.16.14-5

Center Focus filter

 

What I Dislike: After I have applied changes to my photo, there is no way to undo the last change without completely starting over. I would like there to be an “undo” feature. The way I work around this is to save a version of the photo after each change so that I can go back a version or two as needed.

 

Disclaimer: I don’t own or have any vested interest in this or any other apps nor am I responsible for how you or anyone else choose to use them. Do your own research and make wise decisions!

 

Reviews of iOS Apps | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com #31Days

 

This is a part of my 31 Days series, Abby’s Apps, linked up here.

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Abby’s Apps: AutoStitch

Why You Should Use AutoStitch | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com

 

Title: AutoStitch Panorama

Cost: $1.99 for iOS and Android

What It Does: AutoStitch converts overlapping photos into whole panoramas and allows automatic or manual cropping. I have included step-by-step screenshots of how I stitched together photos of a downpour outside our house.
2014-10-07 20.41.012014-10-07 20.41.452014-10-07 20.42.04

 

 

2014-10-07 20.42.45
What I Like: I usually do not remember to take specific panorama shots and this app lets me piece together my own. I have not tried the in-app camera because the built-in camera is handier. Nevertheless, I have had great success importing photos from other apps and even photos taken on my digital camera during our honeymoon!

Stitched photos from built-in iOS camera

Wyoming – Stitched photos from built-in iOS camera

2013-06-23 14.17.44

St. Thomas – Stitched from digital camera photos

St. Thomas - Stitched from digital camera photos

St. Thomas – Stitched from digital camera photos

What I Dislike: Sometimes the app seems to get confused if photos are added out of order. If I receive a message that one or more could not be stitched, I simply clear out the photos and start over, trying to select them in left to right order.

 

Disclaimer: I don’t own or have any vested interest in this or any other apps nor am I responsible for how you or anyone else choose to use them. Do your own research and make wise decisions!

 

Reviews of iOS Apps | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com #31Days

This is a part of my 31 Days series, Abby’s Apps, linked up here.

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