When this blog goes live, I’ll be on my way from Chicago, IL, to Raleigh, North Carolina, for Science Online 2013. (Okay I lied, we moved the blog live early…soon I’ll be on my way from Chicago to Raleigh.)
Last year was my first experience with Science Online, the unconference that brings together scientists, science writers, journalists, teachers, and students of science from the far reaches of cyberspace for face-to-face conversations about science communications, science, statistics and all sorts of topics.
How do you prepare for an unconference that sucks up bandwidth like a group of nine-year-olds devour Halloween candy? You bring lots of electronic gadgets and their chargers. You scope out your hotel room for electric sockets, immediately upon entering. You also bring your watercolor pencils or markers for any “science scribing” you may be doing, because Science Online is a tech conference that blends science with art beautifully, and Perrin Ireland will be back leading a sketch noting workshop and capturing many of the sessions as a “science scribe”. Her workshop was one of my favorites last year, and sketch noting is something that I have applied several times over to my work at Promega.
You bring comfortable shoes and clothes, because this is a meeting where you put ideas to work, and conversations require energy.
The Promega iPad App has recently been updated to include a new interactive feature called Quick Protocols. These protocols offer scientists the a choice of over 70 protocols for use in interactive format at the lab bench. Using this feature, you can run protocols, add notes, and activate timers as needed. You can also add commonly accessed protocols to a Favorites list, view a time-stamped protocol you’ve completed, e-mail a completed protocol with notes or send it to a dropbox account.
The goal of providing protocols for iPad is to make it easy to access and use a variety of protocols at the lab bench, and to enable users to annotate, share and save protocols for future use.
For the past five months, I have been the outside observer to the conception, gestation and birth of a scientific app for the iPad®, the new Interactive Cell Signaling Pathways Tool that is now part 6 of the Promega iPad® App.
I have an old calculator. So old that people laugh when they see it and then politely change the subject. Now I hide it like a guilty secret if I am using it and I see someone coming. I keep it in my desk drawer and only sneak it out to do quick simple arithmetic that I am too lazy to do by hand. Despite the shame, I will probably keep it forever. I cannot abandon it just because it is now old and extremely unfashionable. It was useful! It served me well throughout my undergraduate and graduate studies when I actually used the vast array of statistical functions it offers. I also used it a lot in the lab to do the many routine, small calculations required from day to day. Continue reading “Calculators from the Ark to the iPhone”