Monthly Archives: May 2013

Ten Top Travel Apps

May 1, 2013

Liz Weiman’s fall “Automize!” class gives us the lowdown on the best apps and gadgets for home, health, travel, finances, and productivity so we can simplify our lives. Here she offers us a list of 10 Top Travel apps for smartphones and tablets:

Have flight and airport information at your fingertips and manage your airline info. GateGuru gives real-time flight status, gate and delay notifications, weather updates, airport layout (food, shops),
rental car info, and more. (IOS, Android)


2. Google Translate 

Translate words and phrases between more than 60 languages.
You can also speak your phrases and hear the translations.
You can also access your translation history even when you
are offline. (IOS, Android)


3. Tripit



Great app for keeping track of travel itineraries. You just forward confirmation emails, or have it done automatically, for flights, hotels, rental cars, and more, and Tripit organizes it all with all your details and confirmation numbers. (IOS, Android)

4. Wordlens


Amazing app that uses the built-in camera to translate text from printed media, such as a road sign or a restaurant menu, and convert them to English. Translations are displayed on the original backgrounds. So far the app supports Spanish, Italian and French. See it to believe it! (IOS, Android)


5. AroundMe

Quickly find out information about shops, coffeehouses, museums, banks, theaters  and more that are around you, no matter where you are. Provides you with a map and shows you the distance from each location. It’s a great way to get your bearings, and to find a cup of coffee or dinner off the beaten path when you need it! (IOS, Android)


6. Google Maps


This maps program gives you accurate and easy maps with built-in Google local search, voice guided navigation, public transit directions, Street View and more. You can search for addresses.
(IOS, Android)


7. Trip Advisor

Traveler reviews, photos, maps, videos, and more make this app a great resource. You can find great deals, compare airfares, find hotels, locate restaurants, add your own reviews. (IOS, Android)




8. Dropbox

Get free, passworded cloud storage for files and photos with an easy account setup process online. You can set up folders, and use it to store all of your photos and videos without maxing out your smartphone or your tablet. You can select to share your photos with others just by adding their email address, which allows access to whatever folder you designate. It syncs across all your devices so you can access your files from phone, tablet, computer. It has so many uses that people are now using it as a verb, to say they have “dropboxed” this file and that file. (IOS, Android)

9. Pocket (formerly called Read it Later)

You don’t have to be online to read interesting articles, watch videos, or review web pages. Simply install pocket, and you can mark any media you want to view offline by tapping the “Save to Pocket” button that is installed when you use this app. It automatically syncs across your devices, so you can read or view formerly online content in places without Internet, such in flight, or remote areas. It’s called the DVR for the Web. (IOS, Android)

Note: Instapaper is another app that is a competitor to Pocket.

10. Evernote

Passworded app that gets you organized by scanning your notes on the fly, making the text of any receipt or notes/paper searchable, allows you to create to do lists and voice reminders. Syncs across all your devices, allows you to share any documents, and so much more.   It was on the NY Times Top 10 Must-Have Apps. It is often associated with productivity but its unique features lend themselves also to travel in terms of securing and accessing important travel documents, scanning receipts, keepsakes, and more. (IOS, Android)

There are so many other worthy apps and they will be covered in detail in the Liz Weiman’s upcoming class  Automize! Managing our Homes, Health, and Finances Using Apps & Gadgets.

A little Lagniappe! Even though we said 10 Travel apps, Liz gave us a few more. Be sure to check out Instagram (easy program that improves your pictures on the fly) and Trip Journal (documents vacation experiences to share with friends and family, and shows your travel routes if you wish to). SeatGuru helps you find seats on the aircraft, Flightboard gives you a live flight arrival/departure information from airports around the world, with information on aircraft type, delays, and other notifications. 

Are there any travel apps you couldn’t live without? Add your comments and let us know!



Sculpture Mania! French Sculpture in the 19th and 20th Centuries

May 23, 2013

Of all of the visual arts branches, sculpture was probably the most noticeable in the daily lives of the French people in the late 19th and early 20 centuries.   Paris was a city moving rapidly into the modern age and the most significant sculptors of the time were commissioned to create works for both public spaces and private collections.   In her upcoming class, Anna Tahinci takes us on a journey back to that time, where we will meet the preeminent sculptors and learn how they related to their culture, as well as to each other.  We recently visited with Dr. Tahinci to find out more.

WIH Reporter: What is significant for us to know about French sculpture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries?

Tahinci: The sculptors of the time were all extremely engaged in the cultures of their time.  At this time, there was a so-called “sculptural mania”.  Cities and states, as well as private collectors, were significant in commissioning sculptures.  There was sculpture everywhere – in the streets, in public spaces, and in museums.  It was a display of the best that French culture had to offer.

WIH Reporter: How did a sculptor get started during that period?

Tahinci: Most of these artists started working under a master.  Then, they would learn and they would go on to create their own workshops and become masters.  We’ll be examining the relationships between masters and students.  Rodin is the best example of that.

 WIH Reporter: What sculpture collections will you be focusing on?

Tahinci: We’ll have a special focus on the museums in Paris with significant sculpture collections.

WIH Reporter: Will you cover the relationships between the sculptors, such as Rodin and Camille Claudel, along with how they fit in with the other arts during that time?

Tahinci: I will be covering Rodin’s relationship with Camille Claudel. Here is a summary of important points, from an article I had contributed to “Sculpture Review” back in 2000:

“Camille Claudel is often seen as an underestimated genius and as a victim of circumstance. Her tragic life, the relationship she had with Rodin and, after their separation, the thirty unproductive years she spent in a psychiatric hospital, makes it difficult to arrive at a fair judgement of her qualities as a sculptress. In this perspective, it is appropriate to investigate on Camille’s self-image, on how she represented herself in her artistic production, on how she transposed her own experience into symbolic images or personal mythology. The sculptures of Camille Claudel that contain the most obvious autobiographical element were conceived as representations of her mental conceptions, works in which the artist proved her abilities to portray herself as a female figure which acquires the symbolic dimension of love and destiny. Torn between desire and despair, Camille tries to extinguish her own life and happiness and commits suicide in effigy. As in her genuflecting figure of herself at the base of the heroic group of L’Age Mûr, Claudel constantly seems to reach out and try to grasp an unattainable mythology, which she never seems able to obtain.”

WIH Reporter: How did sculptors fit in with the other well-known artists of the time?

Tahinci: Sculptors were an integral part of the artistic, cultural and social life of their time by participating in annual exhibitions and weekly literary Salons. They made a strategic use of all their different networks (artistic, financial, social, political) to promote their careers and obtain both public and private commissions.

Dr. Anna Tahinci, Ph.D takes us on an exciting 4-week journey to learn about French sculpture in the 19th and 20th centuries, starting on June 3rd, 2013, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.







Be the Fashionista You’ve Always Dreamed Of

May 3, 2013

At some point, you’ve probably stood in your closet full of clothes and thought to yourself , “What do I wear?”  Professional clothing stylist, Ruth Chow-Kneese, is here to help!  With some professional guidance, you can learn how to organize, update, and utilize your wardrobe to its full potential.    We spoke with Ruth recently and asked her more about her upcoming class.

WIH Reporter: What is important for us to know about your class?

Ruth Chow-Kneese: Here is where you can get your fashion questions answered quickly.  Most women have unanswered questions about their wardrobe, especially when they are cleaning it out.  Should I keep it?  Is it timeless?  Is it going to come back?  This class will answer a lot of those questions and it will help you build a wardrobe that you will wear and it won’t just be hanging in your closet.


WIH Reporter: What are some mistakes that people make regarding their wardrobes?

Chow-Kneese: If you no longer wear an item, think about whether it can be updated, altered, or restyled.  If you can wear it a different way, you’ll continue to enjoy it.  If it is suit, try breaking it up.  Wear the jacket to dress up some jeans.  If it is a sentimental piece, then perhaps move it to another closet.  Don’t keep it in your main closet so it is taking up valuable real estate.

The layout of your closet is extremely important.  If you can’t see something, you won’t wear it!  It is really important to get as much out visually, including what is folded in your drawers.  Get as much hung up so when you are getting dressed, you can see all of your options.

WIH Reporter: You are inviting us to bring in selected items from our closets to class.  What can we learn?

Chow-Kneese: I want you to bring in anything that you are debating about.  What do I wear it with?  Should I keep it?  Does it fit?  All of those fashion questions that run through your head as you are standing in your closet.  Women today are very busy and have a lot of things to think about.  What you learn in this class will help you put your closet together so you’ll always be ready to go.  It will be one less thing to think about.

In these four weeks, you’ll learn things that some people pay hundreds of dollars to fashion consultants for.  We’ll have a lot of fun and this will be a great way to get your fashion questions answered!

Let us know your fashion thoughts or questions in the comment section below!

This afternoon class (1:00 pm -3:00 pm) begins May 7th and runs for four weeks.


The Mystery and the Majesty: Moses at Mount Sinai

May 8, 2013

The closing chapters of the Book of Exodus contain some of the most dramatic and exciting moments in the Bible. The events culminating in the giving of the Ten Commandments, and the aftermath, are explored in Seymour Rossel’s upcoming class, “The Peak Experience: Moses at Mount Sinai“.  We recently caught up with Seymour to find out more.

WIH Reporter: What is important to know about your class?

Seymour Rossel: The revelation at Mount Sinai , including the giving of the Ten Commandments, is the lynchpin of Western religious thought to this day. Yet, there is much more to it than the Ten Commandments—especially, much that surprises us when we carefully consider it.

The narrative is found in the last chapters of the Book of Exodus, though the laws given in Leviticus also are included as part of the revelation. It is sophisticated account of the direct revelation of God to human beings. 

WIH Reporter
: What things would surprise us to know about this subject?

Seymour Rossel: Three things. First, the Golden Calf incident is nowhere near as simple as it seems. It reflects the conflicts between the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah and has political, as well as religious, implications. Second, there are actually two sets of Ten Commandments, mutually exclusive, and both claiming to be the “original” Ten Commandments. Finally, the “acceptance ritual” administered by Moses reflects some of the most primitive thinking in the entire Bible.

WIH Reporter: What is the biggest misconception that we have about this Bible section?

Seymour Rossel: We generally think that the entire story is contained in the most often repeated parts of the narrative—Moses going up the mountain, the Golden Calf, the breaking of the first set of tablets, the punishment of the guilty sinners, Moses going back up the mountain, and the giving of the second set of tablets. Actually, this is just the tip of the iceberg (or the top of the mountain). In reality, the story is full of twists and turns, every one of them exciting and some of them contradictory.

WIH Reporter: How does this compare with other religions and founders of religions in terms of the peak experience?

Seymour Rossel: I call this the “peak experience” because that is a good pun for the mountain, of course, but also because it is the experience which continued to be developed and embellished through hundreds of years of religious thought. Christians, Muslims, and others have all read this narrative and embellished it in their own ways, and we shall consider these embellishments, too.

WIH Reporter: What exciting things do we have to look forward to learn in this class?

Seymour Rossel: The most exciting thing is rediscovering Mount Sinai—so many of us only know the carefully expurgated children’s version of the story. Here’s a chance to see and discuss the full adult side and judge for ourselves the impact of revelation in religious thought.

This afternoon class (1:00 pm -3:00 pm) begins May 14th and runs for four weeks.