An iPhone™ App for Scientists

Up until now, my relationship with the mobile phone has been an uneasy one. I have had one for years but used it only in cases of dire emergency. The only point in having one (I thought) was to be able to call for help if I was stranded on the side of the road, or to inform the police if a mad axe-man happened to be chasing me down the street. In the face of advancing technology, I steadfastly refused to text, even although all around me others had adopted it as a routine part of their lives. It wasn’t so much that I was against the idea; I now realize that I had just never possessed the right mobile device.

And I have had many. I had one that held a charge for weeks unless you happened to need to make a phone call, in which case it instantly ran out of juice. I had another where all the keys were identified by symbols that made it impossible to place a call while actually trying to do so, but remarkably easy to place one by accident. I recently had one that claimed to have voice recognition, and was indeed able to recognize all voices except mine. My last one claimed the same feature, but unfortunately required a decibel level that qualified as a breach of the peace.

But that is all history. Now I have an iPhone.

I have gone from phone-hell to phone-heaven. I can make a call by touching “call” and end it with “end call” (who would have thought of that?). I have texted with ease. I can listen to music, check my email, write notes, tell the time, and catch a podcast all in the time it would have taken me to accidentally call the police on my hieroglyphics phone. But best of all are the Apps. I have Google Earth, I will never get lost again. I can keep up with BBC news, check facebook, research information, and more. I can assuage my “not exercising” guilt by downloading strength training programs (which I plan to start tomorrow), and I can even do some work. It’s like a personal assistant and entertainment system rolled into one sleek, pocket-sized package.

promegaAnd now there is a Promega App. The Protocols and Applications Guide has been reformatted for the iPhone. This guide has long been a popular feature on the Promega Web Site and the App accesses the same information, reformatted for an easy read on the small screen. The guide contains background information, protocol overviews, technical illustrations, example data and links to further reading. There are also movies illustrating how technologies and products work, and outlining basic principles in molecular and cell biology. The guide is updated periodically as new technologies are developed. It’s a simple App containing a great deal of information for scientists. Check it out on the iPhone™ App Store if you have an iPhone, and if you don’t, you can access the same information on the web at:

iPhone is a trademark of Apple, Inc.

Isobel is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and of Aston University in Birmingham, U.K. She is a technical writer and editor, and is also manager of the Scientific Communications group at Promega. She enjoys writing about issues in science and communication.

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