Posts Tagged ‘Iphone’

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?

Saxophone practice- story of an embed

June 6, 2010

Today I wanted to share with you a typical weekend sound from my home. My husband plays a baritone saxophone for a big band and, as he doesn’t get much time to practice during the week, he practices on weekends. (Be kind when listening. He is just practicing and the “barra” is not a normally solo instrument.) Any way this post is about to turn into a ‘How to” because it wasn’t that easy straightforward. I like to document these infrequent tasks so I can remind myself how to do it next time as much as anything.

I had recorded the audio using the default “Voice memo” app on my phone. There are only 2 ways to “share” from that app – MMS or email so I emailed it to myself. That gave me an .m4a file on my lappy. Next step was to work out how to get it into a blog post.

First discovery was that I couldn’t just upload to the site. I am using the free hosted wordpress.com so I saw the message below when I selected “add audio”.

My first puzzled thought was that there was no audio formats listed as allowed file types. I didn’t actually notice and read the finer type below that tells me I need a paid space upgrade to upload audio file type but did go off to read the help files which told me exactly the same thing. (There are lessons there for us writing manuals or web sites. People don’t read below the first couple of sentences. )

So one possibility was to pay for an upgrade. Another was to look for another site that hosts audio files. I had already signed up to Audioboo on my iPhone so they were the first site I thought of but hadn’t played with the site much. They do allow uploads but not m4a files.

So, solutions so far:

  • pay for the space upgrade.
  • record the playing with the Audioboo app in the first place.
  • convert the file to mp3 and host it on Audioboo. This is pretty easy with iTunes.

    Then I could use the audio code found on these directions to link to the file. (I found the right link in the Audioboo embed code). This is what I have done below. This “audio” code only works with mp3 files.
  • host the file elsewhere. We could be hosting it on our space with our ISP and my husband did FTP it there to test this solution. It worked and I could probably link to it there. Or I could have used someplace such as Mediafire. But I would have only been able to link to it not embed it unless I had done the conversion to mp3.
  • Use Posterous. Posterous allows posting by email and converts the m4a to mp3 on the fly. It worked but I can only link to the post not the file (I think- perhaps Posterous gurus could comment).

There are probably many other solutions. Perhaps readers can suggest some?

Anyway, finally, here is “Saxophone practice”:

How to: Tasks with notifications for iPhone

July 3, 2009

As much as I love my iPhone it has been as backwards step for me from my Palm Treo for certain productivity functions.

Top of the list was a todo or task management system that synced with Outlook and gave me an alarm when something was due.

Today I have that functionality but it isn’t perfect. As with most iPhone work arounds it involves third party web services.

I decided on the Toodledo app some time ago. It has a lot of functionality, was getting good reviews and has a third (fourth ?) party application that syncs with Outlook. Today Toodledoo updated their iPhone app so it uses the new iPhone 3.0 push notifications.

So my system involves:

Once you have these things in place follow these instructions. The key things are to allow notifications on the phone when asked on startup and sync THEN go to the web site Reminders/Alarms page and select the iPhone as your reminder location.

I took some time to get this to work.

My problems were:

  • I was creating a task with a reminder on the phone and not realizing that it the app only auto syncs on startup not exit.
  • The task has to exist on the website.
  • When I was getting to the point that I was about to give up I checked my account settings ON THE WEBSITE and realized that the time was set for 2 hours ahead of what it should have been. Once I fixed that my next test worked fine.

The other thing to know are that Toodledo has two service levels- free and pro. With the free account, such as I have, you only get one notification choice, i.e. iPhone or email or SMS, and one choice of alarm time- one hour before the due time. Don’t rely on the exact time – they state that its actually 1 hour +/- 5 minutes.

The other not ideal thing is that I choose to manually sync with Outlook. My Outlook file is vast and any auto syncing (including Google Calendar sync) was slowing it further. Between that and that fact that the iPhone app only syncs on startup I have to remember to consciously sync everything.

I would be interested to hear of other iPhone users experiences setting up tasks with Outlook sync and notifications.

Dinner with librarian bloggers

September 17, 2008

Had a lovely dinner tonight with flexnib and her M, sirexkat, and exploded library who was visiting Perth for a conference.

Exploded library with iPhone. We were comparing notes.

Sirexkat and Flexnib

Sirexkat was taking a movie of us discussing three questions about librarianship today

We talked librarys and gadgets and blogging of course.

The great news is that I get to do it all again in November with free range librarian. I hope that I will not be a TOTAL fan girl and will talk sensibly.

This is not just about my social life. Its also by way of a part 2 review of my iPhone blogging experience.  I have discovered that, although handy, the WordPress application that I used to do my earlier post is pretty basic. It is fine to do a quick post with a photo or start a draft. It is not immediately obvious to this noob how to add a link especially since the IPhone does not support cut and paste. Apparently they are working on adding comment moderation. And the application is open source so I will expect many further enhancements.