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Posts Tagged ‘apps’

Apps, ideally, are designed to take advantage of a mobile-phone’s interface: touch-screen, small screen real estate, accelerometer, etc. Functions that the web, ultimately, cannot equally provide. The Transportation Security Administration has an app that is both useful and functional for the iPhone.

The “status” list displays all delayed airports in the USA. While I always recommend checking your flight status with your airline and flight number this is a handy option nonetheless.

Tapping into the airport will give you delay information. It’s a great tool for when you’ve volunteered to pick up a friend from the airport and find yourself sitting in the parking lot wondering, “how long is this gonna take.” Moreover, the bottom icon to the right, “Wait Times”, gives a run down of time needed to get through airport gates/security.

What self-respecting TSA app would go without a feature that details carry-on items and travel tips? The typical stuff is provided: how to dress, how to pack liquids and how much, what to expect, what is forbidden, acceptable IDs, traveling with kids, etc. Yet this app goes a step further and offers a search function. As you can see nun-chucks are going to have to go with checked-luggage.

I can easily see myself using this app when traveling to/from home. And being useful for family and friends who often ask about what they can or can’t pack. While most of us won’t use this app everyday or even every few months, the TSA app is a must download, given the information it provides, ease of use, and constantly updated data.

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Federal cell-phone apps and mobile websites are available in greater numbers, check it out here.  I’m not sure if these will stream-line librarian duties but they are worth having available if we are stuck in the stacks or fielding reference away from a computer. However there remains an opening for native programs that provide the most basic of legal needs: codes, regulations, & bills. While the latest mobile phones can navigate many Government web sites there is plenty of room for improvement, making information easier to search and browse on a cell-phone lends itself to enhancing traditional web landscapes. Even for Attorneys, public Government sites prove  cumbersome and confusing.

GPO Access hosts an overwhelmingly large amount of Government data but still looks like a website from the late 1990s/ early 2000s. FDsys is stuck in beta (personally I like it) and it could use an “Instant Message a Librarian” function; or something similar to help users get through the vast links and content available. I still can’t get my head around the discrepancies between these sites: GPO has the 2006 edition of the US Code whilst FDsys offers the 2008? Any law practitioner would be crazy to rely on either of these databases as current law, driving those unable to access books to Westlaw/Lexis. As the Government churns out more web-based and mobile functions it leads me to believe that for every new feature worth praising there are even more limitations worth ruing.

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