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I haven’t quite figured out how to fit my iPad into regular use other than playing a mindless game when I get home from work and am waiting on dinner. But I keep exploring and will figure it out eventually.

I thought I’d share a few of my recent free app finds with you. The first is called Timeline: Art Museum. It is an art history timeline that begins with Giotto (1266 – 1337) and ends with Basquiat (1960 – 1988). Each artist on the timeline gets a little biography and when you tap the bio, a slid show of about five or six paintings comes up, just enough to get a sense of the artist’s work. The timeline has lots of artists I don’t know about so it will be fun to explore.

Ampersands is a totally geeky app for font lovers that focuses on — can you guess? — the ampersand. I love ampersands and how artistic they can be. When you turn the iPad to the horizontal you get the ampersand in the italic version of the font. On the vertical, you get the regular font. It’s fun to flip (swipe?) through.

The most awesomest app I recently discovered is from the New York Public Library and is in their Biblion series. This one is called Frankenstein and the Afterlife of Shelley’s Circle. It is filled with essays, audio clips, photos and probably there is video in there somewhere but I haven’t chanced upon it yet. There are cultural interpretations, interviews, discussion of Frankenstein in the movies and the stage, questions about what makes a monster and of course information about Mary Shelley and her circle and how the story was created to begin with. Plus, you can overlay the published version of the book on top of Mary Shelley’s first draft and compare the changes. How cool is that?

I have two dud apps to report, Cat Fishing and Jitter Bug. These are two games for the cats. One has fish and when the cat touches a fish with its paw it dissolves in bubbles and then reappears. The other is various bugs crawling around on the screen. Neither Waldo nor Dickens gives a flying leap about either of them. I’ve tried to get both cats to play several times. They look at the screen, look at me and then walk away if I have caught them sitting on the rug, or close their eyes and go to sleep if I have caught them stretched out on the sofa. Bookman, however, finds the whole show to be rather entertaining as I try to interest them in it. I don’t know why I am surprised in Dickens’s and Waldo’s lack of interest. They don’t care about those red laser pointer toys either. Their toys of preference are an old robe tie being flipped around, puff balls, tissue paper and a big box. The simple joys.

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