iPhone meme plus extra Science

June 12, 2010

Jenelle and Kim shared their iPhone home screens with us. And this is mine.

I used to sort my apps by category but then read a tip which said to put the apps that you use every day on your home screen . Doh!- so mostly I use these every day or think that I should. Oz weather gets it’s data from BOM and has great radar maps. I paid for the upgrade. Friendfeed, GReader and the Perth Traffic are Safari bookmarks. The Yammer app is useful as a lot of people in my organisation post first thing in the morning Eastern States time- 2 hours before I get to work.

You call tell that I am a social networking (and Suduko) addict.

However their posts returned me to thinking about an ongoing project. I like to seek out science apps.  These are what I have at the moment:

In looking I have come to a few conclusions.

There is a difference between a app that a working scientist would use and one that just appeals to a science geek. Most of the apps on this screen probably fall into the second category. If you are a science geek have a look at pUniverse and SkyVoyager. They aren’t quite augmented reality as they don’t make use of the camera but do make use of all the location features to help you work out what is in the segment of the sky you are looking at. NASA is doing great work in promoting their science in the provision of apps or data for apps such as 3D Sun. Exoplanet is a nice database mashup app written by a student. I don’t know if the data exists all in one place anywhere besides this app. (And I didn’t know that there were 455 currently recorded exoplanets until I looked at the app)

Some apps  which fall into the first category cost a bit more than the usual so I haven’t actually downloaded them to assess them.

Most of the more common productivity and measurement apps would of course be also of use to the working scientist. Other useful categories include specialized calculators such as ChemiCal, and apps which are basically manuals translated into app form like Promega – hopefully with added interactivity. I have doubt whether an app designed to be of most use in a wet lab eg Promega or ChemiCal, would actually be used in an environment where the iPhone would be vulnerable or there would be a computer anyway. A nice development is the dedicated conference app like SciOnline10 and these aren’t restricted to the science field.

One type of app I can see a working scientist using is the one that helps keep them up to date with the science literature. As with the rest of us, spare time for reading is mostly while commuting, a time in which you are most likely to be using an iPhone. Papers stands out here. I just wish it synced with a PC or somebody would develop a PC equivalent so I can justify buying it. Examples such as the ACS mobile and AIP apps are worth a look. As you can’t access the full text unless you are on a subscribing network it would be nice to see some sort of cloud syncing solution besides emailing the abstracts to yourself. In arXiview you can access to full text and save results to a folder but I don’t see anyway to sync the folders to the cloud or larger machine for the use of the citation when writing your own paper. Martin Fenner has a recent and useful write up of Reference Management software where he also mentions that Nature and Scopus have iPhone apps now. There is also a Pubmed search app that I haven’t yet tried. Another limitation of these apps is that you can search and read but not annotate. You can bookmark in Papers but as I said above I haven’t tried it to see how useful the bookmarking is.

One gripe is that the the lack of advanced search or filter in the  iTunes store makes apps like these hard to find except by recommendation. Does anyone have more nice examples of apps that may appeal to the science geek or working scientist to share with me?


2 Responses to “iPhone meme plus extra Science”

  1. CW Says:

    Can I ask a stupid #lazyweb question?
    How do you get a screenshot of your iPhone?


  2. Sue Says:

    Press the home button and on/off button simultaneously (and briefly) it saves the screen shot to the photo album. Then you can email it or whatever.

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