Have you found your free gift from Apple yet?

During the Apple keynote two weeks ago, music icons U2 performed some of their music from their new album, Songs of Innocence, as a part of the show.  It was also announced that Apple would be giving the entire album away for free to every iTunes user. Think about how many potential users that is; pretty cool, right?

What hadn’t exactly been explained was the fact that this album would actually be automatically pushed to your iTunes account through the cloud by Apple, without you having to do a thing (if you have automatic downloads turned on). If you haven’t checked out the contents of your iTunes music library in a little while, go into your device, open the app, and check the Albums tab for “Songs of Innocence”.  Surprise!

While it’s nothing new that Apple can push things to your devices (software updates for example), there’s been a fair amount of backlash over this little gift, so much so that Apple has actually released a tool for removing the album from your iTunes. This is what the page looks like!

 

U2removeIf you’d like to see this album removed from your account, you can access the removal tool here. You have until October 13th to go and get it for free again via iTunes if you have a change of heart, otherwise you’ll have to purchase it.

Speaking of automatic downloads, have you updated your mobile device to the latest version of the operating software? iOS 8 is available for download! Be sure to backup your device in iTunes first, just in case the install doesn’t go so smoothly. If you need any help updating your device to the latest OS, feel free to stop by the library!

 

Poll time! What are your thoughts on the free album?

Why are smartphones getting bigger?

iphone6

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, from http://www.apple.com/iphone-6/

Last week we told you about Apple’s unveiling of their two brand new iPhones, the 4.7″ iPhone 6 and the 5.5″ iPhone 6 Plus. The iPhone 6 Plus is even bigger than the 5.1″ Samsung Galaxy S5. So why on earth on smartphones getting so BIG?

A recent story on NPR shed some light on this phenomenon. Apparently studies are repeatedly showing that people are using their smartphones less and less as phones, that is, we’re not talking on our phones but using them as handheld computers. And we want the ability to multitask. Another fascinating reason that we Americans likely take for granted: people in other countries, such as in Asia, don’t have home internet and Wifi, which has become ubiquitous in so much of this country. According to this NPR story, people in Korea rely on their mobile phones as their main source of internet connectivity. Larger phones also lend themselves better to entering in characters in Asian languages.

It’s hard to believe there was a time when we thought our phones would keep getting smaller and smaller, and we laughed at people holding “bricks” up to their ears to talk. Looks like we are all doing less talking on the phone and finding new ways to become more productive and mobile at the same time. A bigger smartphone lets us do just that.

Wearable Technology Preview

Smart devices are really here to stay. This week, Apple announced their newest phones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, increasing their line of available smartphones. Interesting to note is the fact that Apple has chosen to go bigger with these new phones, which looks to be something of a recent trend in phone creation; ever seen a Samsung Galaxy Note? Between Google, Apple, and other innovators working to develop more robust software and functional design, we can definitely expect to continue to see exciting changes made to how we communicate with one another. Along the same lines, now that smartphones are a staple part of our lives, wearable technology is also becoming quite the hot market. Plenty of companies have already explored ways to bring some intimacy to how we interact with our devices, with a lot of that being driven by a personal need to monitor health and wellness. It’s looking like the latest must-have wearable devices these days are aiming to serve that purpose, plus some that have been traditionally left to your smartphone to manage. They’re called “Smartwatches” and you can read up a bit on some of the popular ones below!

 

 

moto360Motorola Moto 360

Quick Facts:

  • Released September 5th 2014
  • Displays timely notifications depending on where you are
  • Built in pedometer and heart rate monitor
  • Receive app notifications from Facebook, Pinterest, and more
  • Choose from six different preloaded watch faces
  • Wireless charging
  • Check out more!

 

Apple Watchapplewatch

Quick Facts:

  • Coming Early 2015
  • 3 styles to choose from – the normal watch, the Sport, and the Edition – with different watch bands to match with them
  • Answer calls, texts, and messages from your wrist, or send them via Bluetooth to your iPhone.
  • Includes many features of a fitness/activity tracker with the Activity App and Workout App
  • Lots of customizations for the watch face
  • Check out more!

 

samsunggearliveSamsung Gear Live

Quick Facts:

  • Released June 25, 2014
  • Receive notifications from your phone and apps
  • Monitor heart rate with built in monitor
  • Display is always on, adjusting color and style
  • Choice of black or wine colored wrist straps
  • Check out more!

 

lgGwatchLG G Watch

Quick Facts:

  • Released June 2014
  • Use any standard 22mm watch strap as the strap
  • Always-on display
  • Can be used with any Smartphone using Android 4.3 and up
  • LG G Watch R announced for October 2014
  • Check out more!

 

There’s a lot of potential for these Smartwatches but could you ever see yourself purchasing one? We’d love to know!

Writing Guide: Avoiding plagiarism when writing

A library patron asked this question that we thought would be useful to share:

“Are there any tools for students to use in order to detect how original their papers are?”

The answer? Yes! A quick Google search will bring up a few options students can utilize to detect plagiarism.

Plagiarism can be quickly defined as an act of fraud that involves a person stealing another person’s work, and then trying to pass it off as their own. A good and simple way to avoid this while writing is to cite your sources correctly. So far we have one blog post on correct citation formats; look out for more!

Below are a few websites that may be of use to you the next time you’re writing a paper.

  • WriteCheck will check a single paper for plagiarism and grammar  for $7.95, and will give you 3 resubmissions of that document. They have two other plans that are reasonably priced that will let you submit more papers.
  • iThenticate will check a manuscript for $50 (must be 25,000 words and under). This would be useful if you were doing heavy-duty research.
  • PaperRater is a free site, all you have to do is copy and paste your document into the website. A premium version of the site will check for plagiarism and proofread your paper.
  • PlagScan is also a free site, and there is a max of 1,000 words that can be checked at a time.

Though two of the tools above require you to pay for their services, overall, you will likely receive a better and more thorough analysis of your paper through those than through the free sites as they probably have greater access to other documents to check against.

Professors and instructors will also often have written course assignments submitted through Turnitin.com, something you may notice in your courses in Canvas. Turnitin.com access is typically restricted to use by educators, however, so any of the other tools mentioned above will be your best bet.

Another great resource to check out is Plagiarism.org. The website contains excellent information on how to properly cite sources, paraphrase passages, quote material, and more. The UCF Writing Center also has a useful guide on plagiarism and misuse of sources in a handy PDF you can view.