Augmented Reality Apps


Yelp’s Monocle feature showing what’s available on the Downtown Mall.

For the confused or uninitiated, augmented reality is when an app adds a virtual layer of content on top of real life visuals or maps or otherwise uses your location to provide information. If you’ve played or heard about PokémonGO then you are familiar with the concept. Interested in trying non-Pokémon versions of AR? Download one of these free apps:

For Fun
Ingress (available on iOS and Android) – Before they rolled out Pokemon, creator Niantic had Ingress. Become an operative and fight an alien invasion by finding information in your surroundings in this game.
Geocaching (available on iOS and Android) – Now your phone can help you with this fun, real-world treasure hunt.
Parallel Kingdom (available on iOS and Android) – This is a location-based fantasy role playing game full of dungeons, battles, and kingdoms.
Zombies, Run! (available on iOS and Android) – Missions to save remaining humans from a zombie outbreak allow you to rack up supplies while doing your daily walk or run. Bonus interval training occurs when you get chased by (and have to outrun) zombies.

For Travel
Field Trip (available on iOS and Android) – Traveling in a new city can be made easier and more interesting with this app that suggests items of interest in your surroundings.
Google Translate (available on iOS and Android) – This app provides real-time translation of foreign signs and other information. View the sign using the phone camera and the translation will show up on your screen.
Yelp  (available on iOS and Android) – Use the Map feature in this app to see what’s surrounding you, or open the Monocle feature to use the camera to get restaurant information and reviews overlaid on your street view.

“Difficulties are inevitable.”

16181775Brown Baggers met to discuss The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion on July 21. The novel was universally hailed as delightful by all members. Although not easy for everyone to get into at first, the book is a quick read that kept readers laughing. While, as some readers thought, it may be an extreme account of a man with Aspberger’s Syndrome, most readers found main character Don’s positivity about being “wired differently” heartwarming. The fact that he also has a successful career and hobbies, and relatable struggles to find a romantic partner provided hope for those who know children with similar characteristics. Don was, in addition to being quite entertaining, a very sympathetic character. Readers were rooting for him. Even when they suspected the ending, they wanted it to turn out as predicted just to see him succeed.


As the author hoped, the characteristics that make Don different didn’t overwhelm the characters or become the focus of the story. Instead it was just a love story told by a unique character – one who has the ability and feels it necessary to calculate a person’s BMI in a blink. His journey to find a partner also brought him to quite a few moral conundrums leading him to be less judgmental at the same time behaving in a less regimented way and having a broader understanding of other’s sometimes questionable behavior.


The cinematic speed and dialog were obvious to most readers. This may not be surprising since it was originally a screenplay that author Simsion adapted into a novel. And thankfully it’s in production as a movie because many readers could picture it as one.


More Info
Author interview with the Australian Writers’ Centre
Author’s  TEDx talk


Brown Baggers Mentions 
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson – a similarly sweet, though challenged, love story
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon – featuring an autistic teen as a protagonist
Dan Brown – similar in pacing and intrigue, although completely different in topic and much less sentiment


Next month’s meeting will be on Thursday, August 18. We’ll be reading The Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Make A Website

There are plenty of free website builders available online. Here are just a few that are well-reviewed and offer a variety of styles and features to get you started.

jimdoJimdo – Page creation on Jimdo is drag and drop. Once you choose your theme you can easily add your photos and features. There is even a mobile app available on iOS and Android. This service is especially recommended for small businesses, due to good e-commerce interface.

weeblyWeebly – This service is highly recommended for ease of use. There are over 100 layouts to choose from and a more structured version of drag and drop layout than some of the others. Your website can be customized at the code-level, if desired. Mobile apps available on iOS and Android make it possible to do on-the-go editing. Weebly also has a good e-commerce interface, so this is recommended for business owners as well.

wixWix – Wix is one of the simplest creators. Drag and drop and don’t worry after that. It has good selection of themes but once you choose one you can’t change it. It is recommended for artists and photographers that want to showcase their work. Wix is best if you need a website quickly, perhaps even in minutes.

2000px-wordpress_blue_logo-svgWordPress – You’ll get a lot more control over layout and theme with WordPress, and thanks to the tens of thousands of plugins you can customize many aspects of your page. There is an extensive help community which may come in handy as this service also has the steepest learning curve.