Are you a Civil War history buff? Me neither! But that shouldn’t stop you from grabbing The Civil War Today iPad app from the iTunes App Store. As you may have heard, April 12, 2011 was the 150 year anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War in the United States. To honor the Civil War’s sesquicentennial, The History Channel, and A&E Network, in conjunction with Bottle Rocket Apps, have launched an amazing iPad app that takes you back to the days when the United States was deeply divided between the North and South.
The app has daily installments for four years, until the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, April 26, 2015. Upon opening the app, you see an image of a newspaper as it would have appeared 150 years ago. You also see the photo of the day, the casualty count, battle maps and a day in the life of major historic figures.
If you miss a day, you can either go back via the calendar or search for keywords. You can also save favorites to savor later.
The default background image is of a battle camp, but you can change the background to other historic images instead.
You can read the Quote of the Day to see what was being said at the time. I’m already looking forward to November 19, 2013, the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address by President Lincoln.
To make the app even more fun, the developers have included a Civil War trivia game. You can also share parts of the app with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.
A unique aspect of the app that I haven’t found in any other app is the ability to control how much data is retained in memory. In settings, you can change the default from 5 GB of memory to higher or lower. The higher the number, the more quickly the information contained in the app will load, but the less space will be available on your iPad for other apps. The lower the number, the longer it will take you to access the information, but will leave you more room on your app. You should adjust this setting based upon the space on your iPad (16, 32 or 64 GB) and how much empty space you have on your iPad.
The price of this app is $7.99, which is a high price only in app stores. In any other place, this would be considered inexpensive: two gallons of gas, three cups of Starbucks coffee, or a couple of Happy Meals at McDonald’s.
Need further convincing? Check out the reviews in the iTunes App Store. Out of 53 ratings for the current edition of the app, 41 are five star ratings.
You can also enable Push Notifications (see, Apps: To Push Or Not To Push?) with the app. While this is a fun feature, be careful when you use it. I have Push Notifications enabled and got a scare the other day when I received a pop up notice that federal troops were headed to Manassas, Virginia. It took me a second to realize it was a notice from 150 years ago. But it gave me a better appreciation for the horror that those living through the Civil War must have felt!
If your child is studying the US Civil War and you have an iPad, then this app will make history come alive. If you are an American citizen and have an iPad, then this is a must-have app. For anyone else, this app is merely highly recommended.
Have you tried Civil War Today? Are you learning more about history through the app? Let us know in the Comments section below!
This article is part of The Wonder of Tech All Star series to satisfy your tech cravings while Carolyn is on vacation. This article is an update of an article that was originally published on The Wonder of Tech on April 26, 2011. You can access the article here if you would like to read the comments on the original version. You can leave comments below and Carolyn will respond after she returns from her vacation on August 20.