Wow! This is the way to go! Coursera.org offers more than 100 free courses from universities such as Cal Tech, UC Berkeley, Rice, John Hopkins, U.of Illinois, and 11 others. The number of students is approaching a million. Bill Gates’ favorite online learning site, KhanAcademy, has hundreds more college courses, many on technical subjects, and they too are all free. Is this a trend? Is it the future? We certainly hope so. Considering the cost of attending a major university these days, there has to be an alternative. Sending a student to four years at one of the biggies like Princeton, Harvard, U. of Chicago, etc., costs around a quarter of a million dollars. Have two kids? That’s half a [...]
Fifty million people downloaded Draw Something before we got there, but Joy is now hooked. You get three suggestions on what to draw. Even the free version lets you draw in color on your Android or iPhone/iPad screen. An email or Facebook partner plays back a mini video watching your pen strokes and tries to guess from the scrambled letters below. Then they draw something and you guess. You can also save your mini masterpiece, which Joy wishes she had for her brilliant rendition of “Slam Dunk.” Her friend Emily did a great tow truck and peacock. As of last month, there were six billion drawings being done on this game, at the rate of 3,000 a second. It’s also owned by Zynga.
Bubble Safari is a free Facebook game from Zynga, the company that makes Draw Something, Farmville and Words With Friends. Bubble Safari is nearly identical to PopCap’s “Zuma’s Revenge,” but the monkey who shoots the bubbles is cuter and the music is jazzy. Find it at Zynga.com.
Rama Food tours for the iPhone/iPod Touch cost 99 cents to $2, and there are a few free ones. Rama authors are experts in their field and don’t gush about gushy things. We tried the 99 cent Thai tour and found where to get a cab and how to tell the driver where to go.
At the restaurant Nan Soi, Rama suggested that we not look behind us, as organ meats used to tint broth are frequently piled up on tables. (Good tip.) Maps and history lessons are included, but no audio. We learned that Prince Monghut of Thailand was the model for Yul Brynner’s character in “The King and I.” (The movie used to be banned in Thailand, by the way, because it shows the heir to the throne dancing.) All info and maps can be viewed offline.
There are more than 400,000 Android apps. What’s a body to do? Fortunately, there’s an app for finding apps.
The app is Appreciate, and it’s for Android phones and tablets. Appreciate makes recommendations as it gets to know what you like. Or, if you want, you can tap various categories, such as New Games, New Apps, Local info, Guys, Girls, Kids and Trending.
If it thinks an app is a good match for you, it says so. (Have we reached the point where apps think?) A tiny arrow points to a cartoon of a woman if more women like that app, or a cartoon of a man if men like the app. The cartoons are so similar we couldn’t tell the difference. The only clue is the lady cartoon has a hair bun. (Is this sexist? Isn’t everything?) “Appreciate” has been downloaded over 100,000 times.
Wolfenstein.Bethsoft.com offers a web-based version of the famous shoot-em-up, “Castle Wolfenstein.” It’s free. Joy was put off by the retro look of its low-res graphics, but it brought back memories for Bob. Castle Wolfenstein was the first video game to provide a 3D view of the action