Category Archives: Tech Tips

Can you tell me where your Horror section is?

Multiple times a day I receive a question similar to this. If it isn’t about horror it might be about short stories or historical romance or thrillers. I would love to say to our customers “it is just right here, follow me”, however unlike book stores we do not have a section devoted specifically to horror or these other subgenres for many reasons. This is of course not to say that you can’t search for books that are horror novels, you just may have to go about it in a different way. First, you can ask our fabulous library staff who would be more than happy to find books that will scare the pants off you, or, you can browse our online catalogue at the library, on the bus or in the comfort of your own home (as long as it is not haunted).

From our online catalogue you have the power to search for these subgenres that aren’t always on display at the library, and I will show you just how to do so.

I recently finished the excellent horror novel Kill Creek by Scott Thomas. This novel was of a “haunted house” variety and I am interested in books that take place in haunted houses, or books in where a haunted house is an important aspect of the novel. How do I find more books that have haunted houses? Well there are a few ways to find them in our catalogue. One way would be to go into the record of the novel Kill Creek. From that record we see the following information: Title, Author (you can select the author’s name to find more books written by them), Publication Information and finally Subject Term. Beside and underneath “Subject Term” we have the following: Authors – Fiction. Haunted houses – Fiction. Halloween – Fiction.

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What is so wonderful about this feature is that the books that fall under these subjects are grouped together by these subject terms. If you select “Haunted houses – Fiction.” you will be taken to a list of books that have been given this subject term.

Now this list is by no means exhaustive. Some older books don’t have these detailed records and sometimes only “Genre” is listed, but it is certainly a start. Following this, you can also look under “Genre” and go to the listing of “Horror fiction.” and find all sorts of different books under the genre horror fiction, for a much broader search result. Or, simply search “horror fiction” in the general search bar, you will get over 1800 items but you can narrow them down using the limiters on the left-hand as is shown in figure 2 below, especially if you wanted further subgenres of horror like vampires, occultism etc. Your choices are endless, but it helps seeing what subject terms we use in our catalogue to be able to find exactly what you are looking for.

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General search bar

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Fig. 2

 

Finally, if you really enjoyed a particular book and would like further suggestions of read-alikes, look no further than the book’s record page. Scroll down to the bottom and where the tab says “Novelist Content” simply click on it and voilà, there will be read-alike titles, authors, reviews, etc. Just like having your very own librarian at your fingertips! If you haven’t checked out NoveList, a database we subscribe to and you have free with your library card, do so! There are tons of reading suggestions that will help you find exactly what you are looking for, and with links to our catalogue it makes it easy to find and place a hold on your book.

killcreek3

Of course with anything like this, don’t hesitate to ask staff at your local library, we love to help!

-Aileen

eMedia @ Winnipeg Public Library: your guide to 24/7 entertainment!

As many of you already know, you have 24/7 access to our eLibrary anywhere in the world with your library card. You can access eBooks, eAudiobooks, movies, music, magazines and more. For 2018, we’re changing things up! Effective January 2 here’s what you will have access to:

eBooks
Downloadable eBooks will continue to be available through OverDrive and new for 2018 – RBdigital. Streaming eBooks are also available from McGraw Hill, Tumblebooks, Bookflix and more.

eAudiobooks
eAudiobooks will continue to be available through OverDrive and new for 2018 –
RBdigital. We will no longer be offering eAudiobooks through Hoopla.

eMovies and TV
Downloadable and streaming movies and TV shows will continue to be available
through Hoopla. Now we’re also offering streaming videos through
OverDrive. Later this month you will have access to our Kanopy subscription. Kanopy offers thousands of documentary film festival movies and feature films especially prized by cinephiles, including the top 50 Criterion Collection titles.

eMusic
Streaming full-length music albums are available through Hoopla. For those with more classical/folk/world/jazz tastes, listen in to our Naxos Music Library.

eMagazines
We offer more than 150 full-colour cover-to-cover issues of your favourite weekly and monthly magazines like US Weekly, National Geographic, Canadian Living, In Touch Weekly, The Economist, Martha Stewart Living and more through both RBdigital (formerly called Zinio), Flipster, and PressReader.

— Barbara

When I want an audiobook, I get it from the library.

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We’re super happy to share that we have another eAudiobook service for you – RBdigital! So now you can get eAudiobooks from Overdrive, hoopla, and RBdigital with your library card!

Here’s what you need to know about RBdigital:

  • It’s awesome.
  • There are currently close to 350 audiobooks to borrow from it. The entire Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon is in that collection! No more Droughtlander as fans wait for Season 3 to start. (Yes, this is a survival tool too.) Plus, there are many other great books by authors like Miriam Toews, Anne Perry, Richard Wagamese, Janette Oke, Ian Rankin, Stuart Woods,  Jojo Moyes, and more.
  • You can borrow 10 items at a time.
  • You can borrow each item for 1-21 days.
  • No holds! The audiobooks available from RBdigital are available all of the time.
  • No late fees! Audiobooks will return automatically when the borrowing period is up.
  • Renewing a book is easy. Some audiobooks can be long (and wonderful), so don’t feel like you need to rush.
  • You can listen to the audiobooks on your mobile device and computer. And it’s easy to get set up. Read on to learn more about how to do that.
  • It’s awesome. Did you see what I did there?

 

We’ve created some step-by-step documents to get you on your way. If you’re using a mobile device, check out this guide: RBdigital app for mobile devices. If you’ll be listening to the audiobooks on your computer, check this one out: RBdigital on your Computer. And (as always) if you have any questions at all, Ask Us!

So exciting!

Reegan (an audio-bibliophile)

 

“Secret” Things the Library Can Do for You: Part 2, Totally Online Stuff

HERE IT IS. The long-awaited second installment of things you never knew about the library. Today we’ll be talking about some of the techy secrets – the things the library offers 24/7 through our website.

Woman with laptop looking shocked.

I know. I’m excited, too.

 

A lot of times when I have to tell someone there’s a waiting list for a book they want they seem so disheartened. “But don’t give up!” I say, “there are audiobook versions! And eBook versions! And eAudiobook versions!” Often they end up with the book they want, just not how they expected.

(I know it can be daunting to get set up with a new format, but remember, you can always ask us for help.)

So here’s a super quick run down of the online and downloadable info and entertainment you can get through us, in case it helps you find something fun, interesting, or informative. It can all be found through our website as shown below, or through our eMedia Guide.

screenshot

I drew the red arrows myself.

 

Warning: A lot of these services have nonsense names, so it’s easy to get confused. But you’ll get used to it!

 

More than 5000 eAudiobooks!

I’ve just recently become reacquainted with the joy of being read to. It’s a fabulous way to squeeze more reading into your life, since you can do it bussing or driving, or while doing housework, cooking, or gardening. We offer two ways to find thousands of electronic audiobooks – through OverDrive and Hoopla (more about both below).

 

TV and movies! And music!

hooplaHoopla also offers free streaming of movies, TV shows, and popular music. No holds, wait lists or fines. Hoopla! A different music service, called Naxos Music Library has tons of classical, folk, world and jazz music.

 

Magazines!

zinDownload full-colour, complete issues of magazines, like US Weekly, National Geographic, Mental Floss, Newsweek, Cosmo and more straight to your tablet with Zinio for Libraries. And then they’re yours to keep forever!

 

eBooks, so many ways!

We are a library, after all, and books are a big part of what we do. Some of our eBooks can be read right in your web browser (no apps to download or set up). This is offered through: Overdrive,  McGraw Hill, Tumble Books, and Bookflix.

McGraw Hill eBooks offers eBooks in lots of subjects like business, computing, nursing, languages and sciences chemistry, mathematics, psychology, accounting and computing.

tumblebooklogoTumble Book Cloud and Tumble Book Cloud Junior have eBooks, read-alongs, classic works of literature and audiobooks for EAL audiences, high-schoolers, and elementary school kids. Read-alongs are especially great for those still struggling with reading, or for EAL students. There are never any waiting lists for these.

Tumble Book Library is also great for kids as they are animated, talking children’s picture books adapted from print books, but made interactive with quizzes, puzzles and memory games.

BookFLIX does something pretty unique, in that it pairs classic storybooks with related non-fiction books, so kids can learn new things in the context of their favourite stories.

frodWe also subscribe to two downloadable eBook services – Overdrive and Freading – so that you can download books to your mobile device (smart phone, tablet, or eReader) and take them wherever you go. Overdrive is great for popular, newer titles. Using it is very similar to print books, though, in that the library pays per copy of each book, so you might find yourself on the waiting list for something in demand. Freading is great for when you want to find an ebook right away as they offer unlimited use of the books we purchase from them.

Did you already know any of these secrets??

 

Happy reading (and watching, and listening)!

– Erica

February is Album Writing Month!

mouse-sheetmusic_640Back in 2004, 4 friends decided to see if they could write 14 songs during the month of February. The challenge, inspired by the National Novel Writing Month challenge, was intended to overcome the tendency many people have of being over-critical of their own work by forcing themselves to push out new music. The next year, they opened up the challenge to other people online, and 25 people participated. Last year, over 1000 people from around the world wrote over 10,000 songs as part of the February is Album Writing Month challenge.

If you’ve been thinking you’d like to write some songs, FAWM is a great opportunity to do it together with a supportive global community at your side. Some people focus on lyrics, some record and share fully-developed demo recordings, and many do something in between. There are experienced and extremely talented musicians, and there are people who are putting their first lyrics to paper who have never picked up an instrument before. Some people don’t write or record any music at all; they just listen to the cool free music and provide encouragement. All are welcome.

songwritingfordummiescoverIf you’re new to songwriting, a book like Songwriting for Dummies by Jim Peterik  might be a good starting point. If you’ve written a song or two before, books like Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison or Melody in songwriting by Jack Perricone might help you improve your skills and give you a few more ideas for your next tune. Or maybe some of these titles  will suit you. Don’t forget to grab a rhyming dictionary too!

You can view videos about songwriting and music theory through the lyndaLibrary service, available through our website – especially helpful if you’re more of a visual learner, and it’s great to be able to hear the results immediately.

One of my favourite parts of the FAWM challenge is listening to the new songs posted by participants. If you’d like to do this, but recording yourself singing or playing an instrument seems daunting, there is help to be had! The Library is offering a Basic Home Recording workshop on Saturday, January 23rd at the Millennium Library. The program has just filled up as of this writing, but you can call 204-986-6450 to get on the waiting list in case there are any cancellations.

guerrillahomerecordingcoverThere are plenty of books on home recording available at the library too, but Guerrilla Home Recording by Karl Coryat stands out as an excellent example with great practical advice for those of us recording on a budget. If you want to take your finished audio recording to the next level, then check out Mastering Audio by Bob Katz; it’s widely regarded as possibly the best book available on the subject.

lyndaLibrary  has resources for recording and music production, too. There’s a course called Audio Recording Techniques, a great introduction to the free recording program Audacity, videos covering mixing and mastering, and more.

There are still a couple of weeks to prepare for this year’s challenge, so if you’re inclined, sharpen those pencils, tune those guitars, and get those creative gears turning. I’ll be there, and I hope to see you there too!

Dennis

kitty-guitarcase_640

Who is lynda?

Who is Lynda? Lynda Susan Weinman and her husband are the founders of lynda.

Official-company-logo-for-lynda.com_400x400px

What is lynda? lynda (always lowercase) is a popular web site with high-quality video courses on a number of subjects including:

(note that all the links above will require you to sign in with your library card and PIN. If you’d like, you can test drive lynda without needing to login)

lyndaPhotography

Many of these subject areas are information technology based, but not all. You can learn to take better pictures, how to design a logo, or how to find a job. There’s courses that are right for you, whether you are terrified of touching a computer or are already highly skilled in your field.

lyndaLogo

You might be able to tell, but I love lynda. You might be wondering, though, why I seem so determined to get you to use it. No, I don’t own stock in the company. For some time, the Winnipeg Public Library has been looking for a learning portal for its customers. Then during our Inspiring Ideas campaign, you told us how much you would like ways to improve your skills for interest and career advancement. Well, last month the Winnipeg Public Library made lynda available for all Winnipeg Public Library cardholders!

One of the things I love about lynda is I can watch the courses anywhere. I watch them on the bus to and from work on my phone. I cast them to the TV while I’m rocking our baby to sleep (I think she likes them too). I can watch a small segment of a course at my workstation when I need to quickly learn how to fix a problem I’ve having with a program or web page.

So check it out, there’s probably something there for you!

-Mike

Do websites get retirement parties?

oldcatalogue

Our old catalogue interface officially retired this month. After 12 long years of use, the time had come for the old cowboy to head off into the sunset – after all, for a website, 12 years is a long, storied life. The old site had been chugging along just fine, but the software it was running off of was retired by the vendor, leaving no room for new growth or changes, and no way to properly incorporate our new and emerging library collections like OverDrive eBooks and hoopla movies.

newcatalogue

While we were sad to see it go, the thing that surprised us the most was how may of you, our patrons, were surprised/shocked/annoyed/disappointed to see it go. Clearly, many of you had the same affectionate feelings for our virtual library as we know you have for our physical spaces.

Here’s some of the questions we’ve been hearing from you:

Since when do you have a new catalogue?

Since April of last year! Our new catalogue was officially launched on April 22, 2014, after a soft launch and testing period in the first part of that month. We left the old catalogue running to ease the transition, and many of our patrons continued linking to the original page simply because that was the page they had bookmarked for quick access. We couldn’t keep both sites running forever, though, and chose the one-year anniversary as a reasonable date for the old site’s retirement. The old site is now completely blocked to outside use, so if you click on a saved bookmark and get a “this page can’t be accessed” message, you need to delete the bookmark and replace it with one that points to the new site, http://winca.ent.sirsidynix.net

I can’t log in, I’m getting an error message

Problems logging in the first time you try to access your account on the new site? Contact the library, we can fix it right away. An error message popping up the very first time you try to log into your account  means that you had books saved in the “My List” part of your library account that haven’t transitioned smoothly to the new site. To get the problem fixed, send us an email via this form, making sure to include your library card number and PIN (last 4 digits of your phone number) and indicating that you’re stuck with the “First-time catalogue login problem.” We can fix the problem for you in no time flat.

I never added any books to My List, so why would that be the problem?

You may not even remember adding the books to a “My List”, but there’s probably something there – those lists never expire so a book added back in 2008 may be the culprit.

Is there any way to sort my holds? I can’t see how to do that now.

We’ll admit that this one is a bit harder to pick out than other features.  If you have a long holds list and like to be able to sort through them to see what’s coming or suspend groups of titles when you go on vacation, sorting the list by title or status is a useful option. The sort option is the little circle icon next to each column header; click on that icon to sort A-Z, and click it again to reverse the list. sortmyholds

 

Why does “My Account” on new site show me my personal information instead of showing my checkouts or holds?

That’s easy – it’s because you haven’t had a chance to go in and set your personal preferences yet. In the third section of the “Personal Information” tab, you get the option of choosing what view you default to when you log in to your account. If you frequently log in to check your holds and see what’s waiting for you on the pickup shelf, you can tell the page to default to “Holds” view. If you’re more often coming to the site to renew your materials, you might want to tell the page to default to “Checkouts” view. It’s up to you!

catalogue_preferences

For more Q & A and helpful tips: 

Mobile Website changed

Another recent website change! This past week we changed our mobile website (the page that you get to when you visit our library home page, wpl.winnipeg.ca, on a smartphone or small tablet) so that it takes you to the web version of our WPL to Go app, instead of to a basic information page. The benefit to this is that it gives you a quick, mobile-friendly catalogue search on your phone, without having to browse the full-sized page on your small screen or installing the WPL to Go app. You’ll also be able to access all of our upcoming event listings, quickly locate the closest library branch, grab an available eBook from OverDrive or eMagazine from Zinio, and more!

To try it out for yourself, just enter wpl.winnipeg.ca in your phone’s browser.

Enjoy!

-Sophie

New Features in the WPL to Go App

wpltogoapp

We’ve got some new features in our WPL to Go app that we’re sure you’re going to enjoy. If you’ve got the app already installed, the features are live already (no need to install an update, just open your app and explore!)

wpltogoappmainNew Look

The first thing you’ll probably notice is that we’ve updated our app icons… our old icon set was looking a bit dated, so we’ve gone in and done a bit of a makeover. The new look is cleaner and sleeker – we hope you like it! If something’s not where you expect it to be in the app, note that all of the services that you’ve been using the app for – searching for books, checking your library account, contacting the library – are still there; we’ve just rearranged things a bit to make room for some new content.

Leave your card at home

The most anticipated new feature is the app’s ability to store your library card number and display your barcode for scanning at the checkout desk.   That’s right, you can now leave your library card at home (or lost in the back of your wallet, whatever) and just scan your app instead!

To show your barcode at checkout, you need to first save your library card in the app. If you use the app to place holds on items all the time, you’ve probably done this already – just check the “Remember login” box on the My Account sign in page.

wpltogoapplogin   wpltogoappshow   wpltogoappcard

Once you’ve signed in, you’ll now see a line that says “Library Card (#####): show card for scanning.” Tap this and a version of your library card will appear on the screen. You can show this to the staff member at your local library’s checkout desk to access your account, or use it on any of our self-checkout machines (note that you may have to turn your screen brightness up to 100% to get the scan to work).

cool new content

wpltogoappcontentWe’ve also added more library content on the front page of the app, so you can launch all of your favourite WPL services with a tap of your finger. We’ve always included a quick link to our available OverDrive eBooks and eAudiobooks (and that’s still there) but now we’ve also added quick links to our hoopla digital (movies, music and audiobooks) and Zinio eMagazines services, too.

We’ve also added a quick link down at the bottom of the app that takes you to our full library website, for those occasions when you find you need to access a library service that isn’t included in the app (after all, it’s an app, it can’t do everything).

what’s happening at the library this week?

wpltogoappcalInterested in checking out a program at the library? Want to know if there’s any interesting programs at your local branch this week? Or looking for computer classes to help brush up on a skill? Tap on Programs and Events to open the complete list of upcoming library events – and then search the Calendar list for something you’re interested in.

Enter your local branch name in the search box to find events near you, or search for a descriptive word like “story,” “ipad,” “HELP” (yes, we have programs that match that term!)

Try it out!

If you haven’t already downloaded the WPL to Go app, you can do so right now just by going to https://winnipeg.boopsie.bredir.com/ (the page will redirect you to your device’s app store so you can install it right away – it’s free!).

You can also try it live before installing the app by going to http://winnipeg.boopsie.bredir.com/m on your device. You can try this on your computer, too – just go to the page and then shrink your page window down to phone size.

We hope you enjoy it!

-Sophie

Searcher beware

In our internet age, it can seem as though the library is losing its place as a provider of information. I just want to say that can’t be farther from the truth! Sure, you can Google any kind of information, or YouTube many of the DIY videos available out there, or even Wikipedia just about any subject. But unfortunately, much of that information may be erroneous, misleading or biased. It’s not rare to get a message like this from Wikipedia:wiki

Or find joke YouTube channels like this one, which purposefully mispronounces words for no reason at all. And don’t get me started on all the misinformation one can get from a Google search.

The internet can be a great starting point, but I find I end up doing more research than necessary to figure out if that information is accurate.

Of course the library has many books on just about any subject, and the publishers often have better fact checkers than… whoever fact checks on the internet, if anyone does! But that’s not all the library has to offer. We have many online resources that provide accurate information, which anyone can access at home. Let me list a few databases as alternatives.

Instead of Wikipedia, check out Grolier’s Multimedia Encyclopedias and Oxford Reference. Grolier’s has articles for all reading levels, as well as videos and timelines, and Oxford Reference is a helpful resource with articles ranging from mythology, history, dictionaries, law, biographies and so much more.

Our new Chilton’s Auto Repair database is a wonderful alternative to looking up YouTube DIY videos or sifting through pages and pages of online forums.

For those of you looking for proper English pronunciation, make sure you get the right one and look at Pronunciation Power. This wonderful database helps those who want to improve their English pronunciation hear the different sounds of English and includes recordings of a wide range of words.

Getting proper medical information on the internet can be very tricky, so make sure to reference our new online database: Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties. CPS is the standard for drug monographs and will have all the information you need.

Online reviews can be deceiving or contain little explanation for their ratings. Some product reviews are even written as a form of sarcastic entertainment (such as the BIC Cristal for Her Ball Pen). Make sure to get serious, independent reviews for all your next purchases with our subscription to Consumer Report.org.

Finally, the database of databases, EBSCOhost, includes 8 databases that you can search at the same time. From academic articles to newspaper and magazine articles regarding all kinds of subjects, this resource will help you with almost any school or university project. It will even help you find that article you read a few years ago in Maclean’s…

And of course, if ever you need help navigating these databases, never hesitate to call your local library or visit the information desk there. We will gladly help you!

Rémi

Library apps on your Tablet – more than just eBooks!

You’ve got devices, we’ve got apps!

ipad_hero_20100305-300x191

This fall, the Library is offering a new series of tech workshops designed to expand the range of “things we show you how to do” on your devices. We’ve focused on eBooks (and to some extent, eAudiobooks) in the past, but we’ve never covered the whole RANGE of options. This is partially because some of our services are newer than others – our eMagazines service has only been on offer since January, and our streaming movies and music service only since April.

The other major reason that the range has been limited is that to explain all the services on all of the various tablets that people bring in takes a lot of time and can be confusing (brain/information overload!). To deal with this, for our fall series we’re splitting the sessions by device type – iPads in one class, Android tablets in another – so that no one is presented with information that doesn’t apply to their device and everyone can follow along, step-by-step.

The drawback to this arrangement is that to cover the range of tablets available, we need to have more sessions, and our resources are limited. To start off, we’ll be offering sessions for iPad and Android only, but Windows 8 devices will be offered as an option in the near future. If you’re interested in having the Windows 8 session at a branch near you, please contact the branch directly and let them know!

A listing of when & where these sessions will take place can be found in the September/October issue of @ the Library (coming to a branch near you next week). Subscribe to our email newsletter to get it delivered the first day it’s available!

Because some people prefer the “Do-It-Yourself” method, here’s a rundown of the library services you can get on your device with links to our “visual guides” for setup and installation:

OverDrive Media Console App: for eBooks and eAudiobooks

Search your app store for the keyword: Overdrive

OverDrive is our most popular eBooks platform! To download books from OverDrive, you need to install the OverDrive Media Console app, even if you already have an app like iBooks or Kobo for your purchased eBooks. Library eBooks have “time-lock” software attached to them that controls the lending/returning of the books (the “library” part of the deal!), and you need an app that knows how to handle the library code. Luckily the OMC app is free and easy to use – just follow the steps in our visual guides:

OverDriveiPad

Guide to OverDrive for your iPad

OverDriveAndroid

Guide to OverDrive for your Android Tablet

OverDriveWin8

Guide to OverDrive  for Windows 8 tablets

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hoopla app: For streaming and downloading Movies, Music and Audiobooks

Search your app store for the keyword: Hoopla

Hoopla is the newest download service offered by WPL, but it’s quickly becoming one of our favourites! Hoopla allows you to stream movies, TV, music and audiobooks on any computer, and if you’ve got an iPad or Android tablet, you can download your items and save them for offline use (like road trips, plane rides or days at the cottage!). You can check out 10 items per month, per card.

hooplaiPad

Guide to Hoopla for iPad

hooplaandroid

Guide to Hoopla for Android

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zinio app: for downloading and reading eMagazines

Search your app store for the keyword: Zinio

Zinio eMagazines are great because they never expire! Once you’ve checked out an issue, you keep it for as long as you like. The only complication is that the account setup process can seem a bit confusing. If you read through our Zinio Account Setup Guide, though, you should be able to figure it out pretty quickly. Once you’ve got your accounts ready, download the Zinio app and start checking magazines out! Note that even though the eMagazines don’t need to be “returned” to the library like our eBooks do, you still need to use this specific library app to download the files. The eMagazines are in a proprietary file format that can only be opened in the Zinio app, so other apps like Newsstand can’t open them.

zinioiPad
Guide to the Zinio App for iPad
ZinioAndroid

Guide to the Zinio App for Android

ZinioWin8

Guide to the Zinio app for Windows 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

WPL to GO: the Library’s OWN App!

Search your app store for the keyword: Winnipeg

Last but not least, we have our own app – one that gives you quick access to the library catalogue, shows you holds you have available and when your items are due, all in a touch-friendly environment. For more details and links, head to our demo page where you can try the app live before you download it!

Enjoy!

-Sophie