home Culture Free app of the Week: TED

Free app of the Week: TED



I’ll say this first and foremost, if you’re looking for anything to do with the Seth Macfarlane movie out today, you’ve come to the wrong place. This app is all about ideas, not talking teddy bears – sorry to disappoint, movie fans! However, since you’re here, you may as well give this a read.


Since its inception in 1984, TED has been dedicated to the sharing of ideas, more specifically, ‘Ideas worth Sharing’.  From its humble roots as a cross discipline conference which amalgamated the 3 separate spheres of Technology, Entertainment, and Design, the program snowballed into so much more; today, a plethora of conferences, translation projects, even a TED Prize make up this institution of free, global education.

Screen shot of the TED Talk 'Popular' menu

As well as all of this, in 2007, TED launched a website, and on it, they hosted a selection of there best ‘talks’.  The talks have been recorded predominantly at TED events and conferences, and are in essence, presentations and demonstrations given by respected authorities in various fields of science, the arts, and many other areas. The talks have to be delivered in 18 minutes or less, and can be about almost anything – as long as there is an idea in there that, in some way, can change the world. From Quantum Locking and the Levitating of Superconductors, to Evolutionary Explanations for Religion, to what 404 errors mean when a webpage can’t find what your looking for, and what all of these things mean to us, and how we can use them to better the world. It’s all in one place, with comprehensive (for the most part) jargon free, and instant knowledge.


TED has taken lessons out of the classroom, and truly democratised education; while costs for university are soaring, this free application is a revolution in the way we can think about thinking. And now, with the advent of their mobile phone app, all this knowledge, all their worthwhile ideas,  are now available anywhere.


The app its self is available on both Android Market and the Apple Store for free, and is relatively small in size, so downloads quickly. It is super easy to use; all you need to do is install, allow it to connect to the internet, and then choose which video you want to watch; if you liked it, the app suggests what to watch next. The videos play in full screen with excellent picture and sound quality, and the app rotates the picture depending on the orientation of your phone which is nice. However, you are unable to exit the full screen mode while watching a video, which can be a little annoying if you want to check a text message mid-video, to do this, you have to stop the video and exit the app. Be aware though, unless you have unlimited data usage, or a wifi connection, the high quality video will eat up your data, and could end up costing you a pretty penny.


The app has some great features too; you can share the video whilst you’re watching it with any, and all of your social networks. The app also enables you to download the videos and watch them back later. This is useful if you want to watch them when you’re out and about, as you can download the video using your home wifi, instead of using up all your data. There is also a ‘My Talks’ section, where you can bookmark your favourites. If you’re on the go, you can stream the soundtrack to the talks separate from the video, and listen though your headphones.


This app most certainly warrants a full 5 out of 5. Make sure you’re charger is nearby, as the fun, engaging ways the talks are delivered will keep you coming back for more.



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