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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Time to Enjoy - ipod review

This review was originally posted at Amateur Traveler

Time to Enjoy App review by Melanie Fagan
Are you looking for something fun to do? The Time to Enjoy app claims to be able to help. You can set it to identify your current location or choose your city. It uses your calendar to help you find things to do when you are available.
I was intrigued by the concept. I often find out about things I could have attended on my lunch hour after the fact, so I thought this might be helpful. Not to mention I was heading out of town for a few days over the 4th of July holiday and could use some help finding out about events while on vacation.
I first took the app for a spin while at work in downtown Chicago. As you might imagine there were a number of events listed regardless of the time of day I chose. Being able to reduce the search radius down to as little as a 200 foot walk is a great feature in a big city. Well, maybe 200 feet is a bit small; it never seems to find anything that close. But when I expanded the search it listed a few options. Searches can be filtered by categories or just check them all to find everything listed. Under the settings you can also indicate whether you attend certain types of events “Never, Sometimes or Often.” Categories include crafts, festivals, food, kids, music, etc.
A great example of the helpful type of information is movie times. If there’s a movie theater nearby, it includes show times closest to the time I searched. Some of the event listings are helpful. One event that came up on my list I selected and I got a decent description of  the event, the times, an address and a link to purchase tickets. There is also a link to Google the event which gave more information. In other instances, there was a web site I could also go to for more information. The Google feature does seem to be hit or miss. Sometimes when I Googled an event I would get search results that were relevant other times I needed to tweak the search terms and resubmit, and other times it just wasn’t helpful at all.
Unfortunately there are a number of negatives regarding actual search results. A number of events that have come up during my searches were not actually going on at the time listed. In some instances tickets were available at that time but the event was months off. While this information might be helpful it seems to go against the “spirit” of the app. One of the days I searched it listed a venue for which there was no event scheduled. And a few events were just listed with incorrect dates.
I only had any real luck testing the app results in Chicago. There were a few events listed when I tried from my home in the south suburbs but further information proved tricky to get at best. Most of the listings were movie times. I think I was most disappointed by the app when I was on vacation. I realize that Springfield, IL isn’t a big city but there were plenty of events going on that were elsewhere on the internet. Repeated searches only turned up movie show times, and not even a listing for the drive-in!
Overall the app is a great concept and is a well written piece of software. The problem seems to be in its information source(s.) In the end it’s a free app that has the potential to be a valuable tool, and judging by some of the reviews in the iTunes store, may very well be in other areas of the US or the world.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The whole index!

I'm a little behind in posting this but Ancestry has announced that the whole 1940 census has been indexed. Why Illinois had the honor of being one of the last states indexed I don't know. But finally I can attach all those 1940 pages! I've made it through the Kampfert/Scheifelbien family and will move on to the Bills next! So far everyone is right where I expect them to be. Which is nice, but isn't part of genealogy the excitement of surprises? :-)