There is No App for That









By: Tony DePrato | Follow me on Twitter @tdeprato

“Read every line item until you get it.” ~Michael Burry 

During the last four weeks I have been reading literature, academic studies, and news articles on finance. I have studied graphs, looked through numerous sets of data, watched Youtube videos, and read two full books on asset allocation.  I am doing this research in my free-time, because I want to make a new investment. I want to fully understand how to manage the investment, and the longterm risks involved. There is No App for This. This is work, and it will only get more complicated as I get more involved.

Adding to my research, I watched a few fiction and non-fiction movies about the 2008 economic crisis. Studying humanity’s failures on a grand scale is always enlightening. Through my reading, and viewing, of this event I learned that Dr. Michael Burry discovered the market problems by reading 1000s of individual mortgages. He instructed his staff to read 1000s of records as well and to interpret the data. There is No App for This. This is work, and it only gets more complicated as it develops.

The systems and tools that allow a few people to manage tens of thousands of data points, to connect the community, to inform families, and to track what is happening formatively are not trivial systems. These systems have Apps that allow for a few conveniences, but all the power and value is in the strategic and creative development of these systems by the schools that use them, not the companies that own them.

Read the Rest Here @ The International Educator

If This, Then That: Link Apps Together to Double Your Productivity!

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I recently discovered the amazing website: If this, then that 

What does it do?

  • link apps together to automatically work together
  • saves you time!

How does it work?

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Create a recipe, or choose from combinations that have already been created for you.

You can create connections between apps/products that you love to make them work more efficiently for you – if this… then that happens (aka you are making conditional statements)

Their about page explains this in more detail ( – I love that the URL is wtf instead of about 🙂

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Pre-made recipes are categorized for you and include all kinds of cool websites, news channels, media, etc…

Clicking on existing recipes allows you to quickly connect them:

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They continue adding more apps all the time. Most are useful, some are interesting…

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Kendra Perkins

Episode 111 – Wrong!


Tony, Tim, Omar and Patrick discuss Tony’s post about how everyone is Ed Tech has it wrong, 12 tools you need to survive and why the FBI really needs a teacher’s help. Check out the talking points below.

As always please subscribe to us on iTunes, follow us on Podomatic or subscribe to us on your favorite podcasting app.

Tony’s Post – Quotes and Comments in Ed.Tech- Everyone Has It Wrong
a. Link:
b. Are apps really that bad Tony? Are there any exceptions?
c. Do you think apps with a singular purpose stifle innovation?
d. Thoughts from everyone

The Twelve Tools You Need For Survival in One Graphic by Melanie Pinola of LifeHacker
a. Link:
b. Infographic created by EmergencyEssentials
c. Should schools teach have this type of class?
d. What other classes would you add? Shop, Home Economics, etc.

The FBI teaches teens about extremism with a game that defies logic by Chris Vleazco of Engadget
a. Link:
b. Play the game:
c. What has the FBI done wrong?
d. Better ways?

You can always download the file HERE!

Apps…Apps…I now need Apps.

I went on springbreak.  I had a great time. I destroyed, I mean completely destroyed my phone. I was in Krakow, Poland. It was cold. The ground was frozen. I had my gloves on. I tried to extract my phone from my pocket, a routine move, and my grip slipped. The next thing I knew, my phone was facedown on frozen cobblestone.

I was on vacation, it was annoying, but I had a backup phone, and a laptop.

Upon arriving back at home, I went phone shopping. I had a massive amount of airmiles, and they were enough to give me a huge discount on a new HTC android phone.

The fun shortly began. Moving contacts. Cleaning and moving data. Somethings were easier to have people send to me, than for me to try and recover, so I had to send some emails.

A few years ago, I would have been done. However, in today’s world of apps, I was far from done. I began installing things. After the first hour, I was certain I was done.

The next day, I started using my phone more and more. Every hour, for about 5 hours, I kept adding apps. Not new ones, ones I always use. I had forgotten that I used so many apps to do things.

Even for travel planning I use a core group of apps instead of my laptop. I do not generally buy things on my phone, I prefer my laptop for the purchase. This is my own paranoia, but I prefer to do research on my phone.

I thought critically about this. I realized the main reason for using the apps, was that the research was more focused. Apps are generally focused on achieving specific goals with software. They are fullscreen, and there are few screen distractions. Most of the apps I used, are part of services I am subscribed to, so their are no ads.

What this experience has taught me, relating to educational technology, is that next year we are going to have a streamlined and informative app resource connected to all the information people use the first month of school.

I want to make sure that at every level, apps for iOS and Android are vetted, sorted by category, and easy for people to link and install.

Apps have always been managed informally. We tell people to search for this or that. However, there are many options out in app-land. Some great, some good, some barely functional.

Also, if anyone destroys their phone, they will have a one-stop-shop for finding the educational apps we recommend. As I found, it is easy to forget how many apps one uses day-to-day.

Advice : Always travel with a cheap Nokia Candybar phone. They keep their charge for 2 weeks, and seem to work on any telecom service. Thank you Nokia – why didn’t you just use Android? MISTAKE! Cause I know your hardware would have bounced-off that frozen surface and kept on going.


Podcast episode 54 – The digital fetus has arrived! – January 31, 2013

20130131_184931Gaze upon the digital fetus in all its glory! This is just a prototype, so if you are eager to get your own t-shirt you’ll have to wait a little while. Anyway, we have another awesome show and even though Omar was sick he was there toughing it out like a good educator. Check out the agenda below and remember you can find us on iTunes and Podomatic.

  1. Tony’s post – APPs are for suckers
    1. What’s your favorite useless app
    2. What’s the best app you use?
  2. Is Spradling a bad person?
    1. An excessive example of printing
    2. When should their be an intervention?
  3. Michelle Rhee PBS Frontline Report – watch it here (an hour long)
    1. What should it look like and does it need to be so extreme?
    2. Testing as a means of teacher/school evaluation?
    3. Should technology usage or knowledge be a part of teacher evaluations?
    4. If so should teachers be fired over their inability to use technology
  4. Difficulties using chat on campus for teachers
    1. Why would it be good
    2. Why it has failed
    3. What to do to make it successful
  5. Does Constant Googling Really Make You Stupider?
    1. This debate has been going on for a while
    2. What do you think?
  6. iOS app of the week – World Atlas by National Geographic
    1. Free today bu usually $1.99

As always be sure to subscribe to us on iTunes HERE!

You can find us Podomatic HERE!

You can listen to us below as well.

APPs are for Suckers.

On July 31, 2012, Flurry Blog reported that Apple has paid out $5.5 billion to developers since the launch of the App Store. Obviously the App business is booming and not going anywhere anytime soon.  There are 100,000s of apps that are designed for a device (iPad, iPhone, Nexus, etc). This means the App is using the features of that device to enhance the user experience.  I love that. You love that. All is good.

Unfortunately, there are many 1000s, maybe even 10,000s, of Apps that are useless. They never needed to be pushed into the world from the womb of technology. These apps are ones that mirror static content on websites, or simply convert the website into a mobile format.

Because it is the birthday of one of the founders of IT BABBLE – Sir Omar Ghosn of the Levant Hill Clan and Helsinki Lowlands- I am going to rant a bit on one of his pet peeves~ Useless Apps.

The reason useless Apps exist is because people have useless websites. I know because I have one useless website myself, and I cannot wait to get rid of it this summer. Sometimes we have to keep these things going until the replacement is in place. But because I know it is useless and flawed, I am NOT going to INVEST money into an App for it.

Instead I am going to rebuild it like modern websites should be build with a Responsive Web DesignResponsive web design (often abbreviated to RWD) is an approach to web design in which a site is crafted to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones). ~Wikipedia

Basically the website is smart enough to know what you are connecting with, and it formats it appropriately.

Check this out it is RWD –

Check this out, it is flawed and NOT RWD –

So if your device has a browser, and the website adjusts for your device, then an App is just redundant unless it has other features.  If you want to make an App, make an App that is more than just your website reloaded.

Websites need to be updated and changed with user trends. If you are using a content management system or some type of portal generator, then you should be able to enable it to be responsive.  Many themes will specifically explain that their feature set is responsive. Most of the time a new theme is all it takes to get you 75% of the way to a good responsive design.

So if you are feeling ashamed of your App and your website, take action and update it.

If you build an App, build with purpose. Use features on the device to make the experience better and to allow users to interact with you or your organization in a different way. Do not build an App to avoid updating your online presence.

Recently I spoke to someone who not only had an App made because their website was flawed, but also did not have the App designed for dynamic updates from their website. They have pages of content being fed into the website every week, and the App cannot use any of it, unless it is manually added.

The plan should have been:

  • make the website more friendly to mobile devices
  • look at the limitations of the website on mobile devices after it has been updated
  • make an app to offset those limitations and add additional features
  • keep all data flowing dynamic with someone in the loop as seldom as possible

I hope this helps people save time and money in the future, after they have updated their websites of course.

Happy Birthday Omar, keep on truck’n.

Tony DePrato

iPhone apps of the week – It’s election time!

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The Presidential of Election for the good ol USA is this week and what better way to find out what the issues are and what Romney and Obama have to say about them is to download their respective apps. While they are anything but impartial the apps are pretty similar and do give each candidate’s stances on the issues that are very relevant to the race. As always we are eager to see who wins. In the meantime check out the images below and you can find Obama’s app here and Romney’s app here.

*Note – While IT Babble is neutral in the political race, Omar is voting for Rosanne Barr*

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Podcast Episode 17 – January 19, 2012

This week we rock out another fantastic podcast. Check out our topics below and as always don’t forget to subscribe to us through iTunes. Oh yeah and we hate SOPA just in case you weren’t aware 🙂

1) SOPA we don’t like you.

2) iBooks 2, iBooks Author, iUniversity – Link to coverage on Gizmodo

3) “Students with smartphones study more” PC World – Tony Bradley

4) Mobile Phone app of the week EasyBib – iOS App & Android App

5) Tony’s post “Specifications

6) Patrick’s post about GradeQuick on Mac OSX Lion

7) New Edmodo Guide 3.1 

8) “Internet Access is Not a Human Right” Op-Ed Vinton Cerf

What are you doing this summer?

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​…try adoption​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Taking some time off this summer? Take a week or two to relax and get recoup some of your energy, be sure to reflect and then adopt. Not a child (but if that’s what you plan to do IT Babble wishes you the best of luck), but adopt a little technology to bring into your classroom for the fall. The summer is a perfect time to check out some of those cool programs we’ve been writing about and it gives you a chance to try it out. Read past the break to check out the game plan for the next school year.

Continue reading “What are you doing this summer?”

HootCourse – Twitter for the classroom – THE VIDEO!

What can I say, Omar and I are on a HootCourse kick. This is a quick video about how to get started with HootCourse. Later this week Omar and I are going to duke it out over what we think about HootCourse. If you’re curious, play the video and see what it’s all about.