12 Reads of Christmas: Apps

There are so many apps available that it is difficult to know where to start.
Here are some recommended ones that are worth looking at:

Star Chart – aim your phone at the night sky
and learn more about the universe, space and planets.

Star chart

Memrise – learn a new language – explore new words and phrases and learn how to speak, read and write in a whole host of languages.
Duolingo – a great fun app for language learning


CamScanner – this app is great for scanning documents on the go into clear & sharp images/PDFs, to email, fax, print or save to cloud.  Just take a photo of the page you need and this app will convert it to a searchable file you can edit.


Moment Diary – plan to keep a diary next year? This app is a useful way to collate creative thoughts and ideas.

Moment Diary

There’s lots more apps out there.
Check these websites for more ideas.






12 Apps of Christmas: Quizlet

Today’s app is Quizlet, a fun online learning tool that helps you quizletstudy on the go. With Quizlet you can create flashcards and quizzes, or use ones made by other users. You can also access it in your browser at https://quizlet.com

It’s available on iOS and Android. To download, go to:

Android: Quizlet

iOS: Quizlet

12 Apps of Christmas: Alarmy

Today’s app is Alarmy  (Sleep If U Can) – alarm.

alarmyIf you’re struggling to get up in time to get to lectures or exams,
then this might be the app for you.

Alarmy (Sleep If U Can) is the innovative solution for those who just can’t seem to get up on time, even with an alarm clock. This app has been cleverly designed to force you to get out of bed. You set it up by registering a photo of an area or room in your house. Then once the alarm is set, the ONLY way to make it stop ringing is to get out of bed and go take a photo of the registered area.

To get the app search for Alarmy in the app store, or follow the links below:

Android: Alarmy

iOS: Alarmy

How to keep up to date with HWU Information Services – communication and contacts

There are a variety of ways that students and staff can keep up to date with what is happening in Information Services. ‘Information Services supports research, learning, teaching and administrative activities by providing Library, Information and Learning Technology services to Heriot-Watt students and staff around the world’.

The best place to find out anything about IT and libraries in the university is to visit our webpages HWU Information Services

Here you will find information about all the services we offer and deliver at all our campuses. The system status page will flag up any problems with systems.  The webpages also give details about how to contact us – by email, telephone and in person.

If you have an IT issue then contact the IT Helpdesk ithelp@hw.ac.uk +44 (0) 131 451 4045

  • Library enquiries can also be submitted via IThelp.

If you are at our Edinburgh Campus, the library is open 24/7 and is staffed by library staff at these times  

We also operate a quick contact alert service in the library for students to let staff know about any issues. It is based on on email, iMessaging and text messaging.

  • Email: Tell-IS@hw.ac.uk
  • iMessage: tellhwuIS@icloud.com
  • Text: Text TELL and then your message to  07950081076

We use social media to communicate updates and useful information.  It is also a good platform for students and staff to let us know about issues or to make suggestions for improvements.

Blog posts on InformS give regular updates on all aspects of our services – recent posts have included posts on online journals and databases, IT security advice, passwords, reserving books, training and events.

Our twitter news feed HWU_IS gives news and updates as they happen so is a great communication channel to follow to find out what’s happening. An example of this is our updates on occcupancy of the library and other study spaces so students know the best place to go to find a study space.  Any emergency situations or if other systems are down, this information will be posted on twitter.

Our facebook page gives regular updates and also has posts about interesting and useful resources and events.  Things that are happening within the library and university or around Edinburgh, recommendations for reading and accessing online and opportunities for feedback.

Advent Apps 12 Sunrise calendar

Sunrise is a free calendar app made for Google Calendar, iCloud and Exchange

A great design and works offline so can work anywhere


Advent Apps 11 Flipboard

Flipboard is a social media aggregation magazine-format mobile app which collects news content from social media and websites.
There are lots of different categories including News, Shopping, Sport, Travel, and Style.

It’s available for iPhone, Android and Windows


Advent Apps 10: Pinterest

Pinterest is like a social network of stuff, a place to “pin” things that interest you on themed boards.
You can use it to ‘pin’ images from the web that you want to share of places, food, furniture, collectables etc.
It easily integrates with your browser for fast pinning, and you can view the pins of others for added inspiration.

It’s available for iOS, Android and Windows devices



Advent Apps 9: Weather

Check out the weather with the Yahoo Weather App.
The app combines stunning photos with accurate and detailed forecasts.
Add your favourite locations.  Interactive radar, satellite, heat and wind maps plus sunrise / sunset times.

Winner of Apple Design Award 2013




Advent Apps 8: Check out someone elses suggestions…

Everything from lecture capture, revision, exam prep and planners to student safety, wake up calls, responsible drinking and fitness…


See Most Helpful Apps for Students on Top Universities


Digital footprints in the sand…

Most of us spend a lot of time networking – digitally – with family, friends and colleagues.  But are you aware that wherever you tread, you are leaving your footprint, for others to find and follow?  This digital footprint can be used to your advantage – or it can come back to haunt you (as often reported in the news with celebrities and politicians).

Having a well respected digital footprint can be a very good thing – so let’s have a quick look at it and see how you can try to ensure it works for you and not against you.

What is it?

Everything anyone can findabout you on the Internet – in blog posts, Facebook, discussion boards, photos etc


How can you find out what’s out there?

Search for yourself using a search engine e.g. Google.

Better still, set up an alert using Google Alerts https://www.google.co.uk/alerts# ) so that you get updates when anything new is posted about you, or existing information is updated.

Make the most of your footprint

One of the first things many prospective employers or sponsors do is check your digital footprint (they use Google too….) – so work on building a good one.

Make worthwhile contributions to blogs and discussion boards, write your own blog(s) about things you are researching, studying or interested in. Join a professional networking site e.g. LinkedIn to increase the visibility of your CV and achievements to prospective employers.

Update your footprint regularly.

Be aware of your footprint

Manage your contributions to social networking sites carefully – once it’s out there it stays there.

If you don’t want to share your online information with everyone make sure you understand how the privacy settings on the site affect what is posted and set them accordingly.

Consider setting up 2 online identities – a professional one and a personal one – and use a nickname for your personal one.

Minimise the amount of private information you make publicly available – the more someone knows about you the easier it is for them to pretend to be you.

Monitor what others are posting and writing about you – and be careful who you trust (online and offline) – you might not be the only person posting on your behalf!

And finally…

Online social networking often feels a lot safer and more secure than it really is because you usually use it from an environment you are comfortable in – at home, in the cafe, in the library, on the train.

Keep your wits about you – and just as you wouldn’t speak to a stranger in the street and tell them your home address or the pin number of your bank account – don’t reveal anything online that you aren’t prepared to make public.

University related policies

All Information Governance and IT policies can be viewed at


See also

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