Review: StudyBlue, the ultimate studying and revising tool.

studyblue-logo

Today, I’m reviewing a service, a web app, which I love and started using almost a month ago now.

This service is outstanding, it’s simple, fast and most important of all it’s easy to use Smile. I’ve discovered StudyBlue a month ago. Unfortunately, when I discovered it, my vacation has just started but that didn’t stop me from using it Winking smile.

I spent more than 21 days organizing my important notes and lessons which I’ll need for my senior year and it worked like a charm. I prepared almost everything, all in few easy steps. You can upload PDFs, DOCs, PowerPoint slides and much more. You can copy from those documents and paste the text into a new note or a flashcard for an easy way to create new class notes from within StudyBlue.

I’ve also used Flashcards which are basically written notes to revise important rules quickly (I use the word rules because I’ve prepared them for English and Mathematic rules Open-mouthed smile).

The StudyBlue website uses Flash, but it’s not buggy at all! It’s so fast and almost instantaneous. With that being said, you can use the website on any smartphone with a Flash capability. They have also apps for iPhone, Android and soon iPad too which give you an easy to use revision tool with offline capability. I haven’t been able to try out the mobile experience for some reasons all though my phone supports Flash! (I have a Nokia 5800 XpressMusic just in-case Smile).

Five days ago, they announced a new feature called folders. It helps organize notes, flashcards and so on. A new cool feature Red heart. Along with the new feature, they improved the interface and now it works better even on slower internet connections; I tried it Winking smile.

I’ve got the new update today so I didn’t have it the time I did the video review (in a minute), because of that I’ll describe it briefly here along with some screenshots.

The interface has changed to an even better one, it’s now more organized and now you see folders instead of just subjects:

Capture

You can create a folder within your backpack and it’s going to be the subject you’re studying or you can click on a subject and create folders to organize your notes into chapters and so one. To create a new folder do this:

Capture2 Click on the new folder icon at the bottom of the list of contents.

Capture3Name your folder then click save.

image

Once the folder is created, drag a note or a flashcard into that folder and that’s it! (the screenshot above).

Capture5

You’ll get this confirmation at the top of the screen when you’re done Smile.

In the other hand, lucky me, I was contacted by Jennifer, the Student Relations Intern for StudyBlue, after I followed StudyBlue on Twitter. She offered to help me along with StudyBlue in case I had issues and answer questions if I had some. I was (and still) honored by her contact, you don’t get contacted by amazing people working at such amazing companies all the time!

After using StudyBlue for almost 20 days, I contacted her back with some questions and she answered them happily Smile.

Here is the conversation:

  • Me: How did the idea of StudyBlue first start?
  • Jennifer: StudyBlue was started by University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate Christopher Klundt after deciding digitally inclined college students could use an online platform to study together. He is still with us as Head of Development!
  • Me: Is it targeting students in college, high school or all of them?
  • Jennifer: StudyBlue is for all students! We’ve been getting a lot of requests from non-students lately, so we’re working on making the sign-up process even better as I write this.
  • Me: Any ideas if you’re going to target international Students/Teachers by supporting more languages in both interface and entries? My Maths teacher would love to use it except that he doesn’t know English, so support for French or Arabic and international languages in general is going to help a lot of students and teachers use StudyBlue.
  • Jennifer: Although we are an American company, we recognize our growing base of international students. We’re continually reaching out to more students and working to make the experience the best it can be. We’d love your input on what is most critical to “localize” for you!

– On that, I’d love to see, when I sign up or log in, that it detected my country and language. Also, it could automatically pull up schools in my area so I could pick one up Smile.

  • Me: Now to the apps and the availability, I’ve seen that’s available for both the iPhone and Android phones, are there any plans on creating one for the iPad? I’m one of those who are completely eager to see how it works on it 😀 How about other mobile platforms such as Windows Phone 7?
  • Jennifer: A special iPad app is on the way, but for now, the iPhone app is compatible with the iPad. As far as other mobile platforms, the iPhone and Android are the two biggest platforms that our students are asking for. If students start to demand for apps on other mobile platforms we will expand to meet their needs.
  • Me: Since I couldn’t sign in nor try the mobile experience :(, I was wondering, do you support Offline access? whether it’s in the browser or the apps.
  • Jennifer: Yes, the mobile app does work offline so that you can study whenever and wherever you want! It basically pulls in your most recently studied materials for you to review on the go!
  • Me: There are Flashcards in StudyBlue which help us revise and I love them! My question is, are there any ideas on dropping the support for Flash and use HTML5 instead?
  • Jennifer: Currently, we try to use Flash only where needed.

This is basically my summary about the service, but here’s is the link on how they explain the service.

And of course, if a picture is worth a thousand words, I wonder what a video’s worth? Winking smile

Here’s the video review covering the basics of the service, how it works and so on.

La Fin!

StudyBlue is completely free. However there’s a paid version which gets you a couple more features. Unfortunately, I can’t get the StudyBlue+ version because we don’t support credit cards or internet payments in my country. Although I don’t really need the paid version as the free one is more than enough for me, I would get it just to support them and show some love Red rose.

So that’s it for this time’s review, I hope I covered everything, but if I missed anything, let me know in the comments.

I wish you the best of luck StudyBlue and thank you for making me wish I had school instead of the vacation!! Open-mouthed smile

Randa

Advertisements

Grooveshark: Music Streaming Wherever You Go!

Music streaming services are the most popular services of nowadays to listen to our longtime favorite songs or the new hits of the week.

There are a lot of services, from Rdio to Mog to Spotify to Grooveshark which I’ll be reviewing in this article. Since all the above services are restricted to certain areas and Grooveshark has been available worldwide, I’ve had the great opportunity to try it for over a year now and experience what music streaming is really like.

Grooveshark lets people upload their own music on their (Grooveshark’s) servers so they, along with other users, can listen to it via the web, their mobile phones or using the desktop app. It’s available for free but for the ad-free web app, the desktop app, Last.fm scrobbling and the mobile app along with the offline mode you have to either be a Grooveshark Anywhere member or a plus subscriber to remove only the ads and be able to use the premium theme Smile.

To not wright a long blog post explaining Grooveshark from A to Z, I decided to do a video review Open-mouthed smile (now that I fixed my 5 months microphone issue Nerd smile) which I haven’t done for so long. However, I’m warning you, this video is so long, I apologize for that, but it’s only because I explained it very well!!!

P.S: I missed a thing Embarrassed smile, visualizations, video mode and power hour, but you can get to them thru clicking on songs above the queue. They’ll let you show a visualization while the song is playing and you can choose from 5 different ones and you can also make full screen Smile. Video mode will show you a bunch of videos that match the current song you’re playing so you can watch its video.

Power Hour “A power hour is an American Collegiate tradition that involves a lot of adult beverages. Power Hour Mode accommodates people who’d like to participate in Power Hours by playing every song in your playlist or queue for 60s or 1 minute, creating a convenient signal for “It’s Time To Drink!”

So this is pretty much it. I would love to review the app on my phone but I don’t have a camera to record it nor an app to actually film what’s going on on my screen, I found someone who did that but I never found the app, so If you happen to know one, please share it with us, I have a Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Winking smile.

If I missed anything, you have a feedback or you just want to tell me to stop saying “mmm…, well…” (I’m still trying, I swear! lol) you’re welcome Smile.

The Review:

The Desktop Application:

The Mobile App:

 Scr000056Scr000057Scr000058Scr000059Scr000060Scr000061Scr000062Scr000063Scr000064Scr000065Scr000066Scr000067

Thank you for watching!

See you soon,

Randa

3 apps I can’t live without

There are many apps that I can’t have a mobile phone without having them installed on it, but since the Ovi Blog Article asked to choose only 3 of them, I can only pick 3 :).

So, I’m going to start with my portal to the internet:

Opera Mobile:

A great web browser, the reason why I love, even when I use the built in browser of my phone a lot, is because It has multiple tabs, I love tabs and I love it because it gives me that option. I recommend this app if you’re an internet addict :D.

My music crush:

Grooveshark:

Well, I LOVE IT!!! I wasn’t able to know how awesome it is to have streaming to your phone through the internet and still have the choice to make it offline until I got Grooveshark Everywhere. Grooveshark is a streaming service which you can use on both the web, for free, and on a mobile device as well as using it through a desktop app when paying a small fee. Unfortunately, in my dear country >_< we can’t pay for other services so I didn’t know how great it was until I got a free month of Grooveshark Everywhere. The Grooveshark app let’s you enjoy all the sweetness that you enjoy on the web in addition to the offline ability. This app is always running on my phone even if I have to close every other app ❤ (A special review of the service and the app is coming this week ;)). You can add me and see my songs here.

My photo world:

Molome:

Although I’m kind of new to this app, I’m so loving it. It’s similar to Instagram for the iPhone but it’s for Symbian^1 and ^3 I believe :).

It has cool effects that you can use and you can share your photos with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. It’s still pretty buggy, and I mean really buggy but hey! It works sometimes! =) You can find me here or search for ranousha ^_^.

So these are my top 3 favorite apps, I still have others but mainly, these are the essentials.

Good luck to everyone in the competition and keep watching for this week’s review :D.

Randa

My interview with Ovi!

So, yeah, I got interviewed by Surya from the Ovi Blog. The interview was posted today here Open-mouthed smile.

I’m still shocked in a good way, I’m so honored and probably this is only the start Winking smile. I have to dream big and put an aim in front of my eyes so I can work hard to achieve it.

Anyways, it was an amazing experience filled with fun, I loved it! I actually wrote the interview while I was revising for the exams and by the time I finished it, I was done with them. Love multitasking!

So, thank you so much for Surya and the Ovi team for giving me this chance and communicating with me like they knew me forever, may God bless you allRed heart. I wish you all the luck and I can’t wait to see what’s new Smile.

Read the Ovi Blog and follow them on Twitter too.

Best Regard.

Nokia Reader

Hello there!

Sorry for not blogging much, I’ve been so busy at school with exams as usual Confused smile. Also, I’ve been busy with the guest interview that Ovi Blog. did with me Open-mouthed smile, I’ve been so honored to be asked to do one. I’m still happy. You can read it next week on the Ovi Blog Red heart.

If you haven’t noticed, I also updated my blogs look and feel. I made this decision late at night after noticing that I haven’t updated it in so long, also, after seeing that the previous one had so much pink in it! Disappointed smile

Anyways, let’s get to the point! Nerd smile

So Nokia released a new application on the Beta labs website called Nokia Reader. What this app let’s you do, is it let’s you add your favorite RSS feed and it’ll fetch the feeds right into the app. It’s so simple, easy and very basic. It also has notifications and a widget for your phone, if it supports this option of course. They released it for s^1 lately, so I decided to give it a try as I usually do with beta applications from Nokia Beta Labs Smile.

My experience:

The installation was so smooth and it took only 2minutes or lessSmile.

After the installation is done, you lunch the app (named “Reader”) >>

Scr000009 Scr000010

After you sign in with your Nokia/Ovi account, the app will connect to the internet, then it’ll show you news from pre-set RSS feeds, which you later customize.

At the top, you can see three section; Reader, My feeds and Directory. Reader tab is the current one which is in the screenshot above, which shows you new articles from your selected or/and added RSS feeds Smile. The My Feeds tab shows you your subscribed feeds. From this tab, you can manually add feeds for sites not available in the directory. The Directory tab, shows you pre-set categories of feeds you might want to subscribe to. (See the next screenshots)

Scr000011Scr000012

When you click on a category, feeds from that category show up, from there, you can click on a feed either to subscribe or unsubscribe. You can also see feeds you’re already subscribed to a particular feed by seeing that “Right” mark on the right.

Scr000013Scr000014

Going back to the Reader tab, you can click on an article to expand it and read some of it. To read the hole article, you have to click on “Read More” which will take you outside the app to the article’s web page using you browser.

Scr000015Scr000016Scr000017

By clicking on Options at the bottom left, you can choose to change the theme or go to offline mode, which is nice Smile.

Scr000018Scr000019

What I would love to see in upcoming updates to this app:

  • – Google Reader support! I saw at their Beta Labs page that some users already requested that and I agree with them! It would be nice to sync to Google Reader or even just import our feeds from there, we don’t have to re-write our favorite feeds URLs many times!! Especially if you have hundreds of feeds like me.
  • – I would love to see the full article opens within the app, native support, instead or opening the browser to read it. This might kill the ram of the phone if it’s like mine!

Final words:

I love this app! It’s simple, very basic and easy to use, which I adore Open-mouthed smile. It needs to be improved more, but hey, it’s still in Beta, that’s why they need our feedback. If you have a supported Nokia device, then give it a try, you won’t regret it!

Stay tuned for more reviews to come!

Blog updates!

Hello guys!

It has been soooo long since I wrote my last blog post, sorry for that Disappointed smile!

I’ve been so busy studying this year, I’ve never ever stayed so long without blogging, damn it!

I’m writing this post today explaining the major reason why I can’t blog (yet) and review stuff like I’m used too. While I have a bunch of news and stuff to review, I can’t, mainly because my 1st headsets broke and I got one and the microphone on the new ones don’t work!! Steaming mad

I found out that the problem is coming from my beloved PC >_<” and I couldn’t find a way to fix it, so, please, If you can help, leave a comment or reply in Twitter or FacebookSmile. Thanks in advance Open-mouthed smile.

Also, I wanted to say thank you for those who bought a Penzu Pro account using my link, in addition to getting 20% off, I got one year for free!!! This morning it became two years!!! It looks like people are really enjoying it as much as I am Red heart.

If you want a 20% off a Penzu Pro account you can leave a comment or contact me anywhere and I’ll send you another link, or, just stay tuned as I’ll be posting another one sometime soon Winking smile. Please check penzu.com to know more about this amazing journal utility Smile. I’m a big fan.

A new blog post is coming this week, so stay tuned Winking smile and I’ll keep you posted Smile.

Thank you so much guys for your support,

Randa