Preparing for Science Online 2013: Can You Ever Truly Be Ready?

This is the site of one of the most amazing science-related conferences ever held.
This is the site of one of the most amazing science-related conferences ever held.
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.

And, this year you get your children to help you practice moving Gangnam Style. Ack! Continue reading “Preparing for Science Online 2013: Can You Ever Truly Be Ready?”

Introducing Quick Protocols for iPad

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.

Here is a quick overview of how it all works: Continue reading “Introducing Quick Protocols for iPad”

Finding out About Science eBooks and Apps

Finding the best science apps is a challengeWith half a million Apps (and counting) on the App Store, I was already a bit overwhelmed trying to find and keep up with science Apps. And then came eBooks and iBooks. The availability of so many options for publishing content in various interactive formats is great for authors, but how is a consumer to keep up? How can we be sure we haven’t missed something good?

With the arrival of iBooks Author software, it is easier than ever for just about anybody to create an eBook, or an App, or something between the two. I might even finally write my memoirs myself. But how can the best books get noticed among such a crowd? Is there a masterpiece out there in cyberspace that has simply got lost? And how does someone like me find out about the latest and greatest eBooks and Apps without devoting endless hours to the task?

One answer is to let others do the work for you. I like to read reviews and benefit from the wisdom and experience of others before risking a purchase. In the area of science eBooks and Apps, I have found Download the Universe to be an entertaining, helpful and extremely readable source of information on the latest eBook offerings. Continue reading “Finding out About Science eBooks and Apps”

The Making of a Science App — Or — Things Your Professors Never Told You Scientists Do

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.

This all-new interactive cell signaling pathways module (iPad only) has been added to the Promega App. It allows readers to explore two pathways: MAPK/ERK and PI3K/mTOR. Aside from the coolness factor, the app gives users links to online resources, peer-reviewed literature and available products to aid in cell signaling research.

You see, my cube neighbor and fellow blogger, Michele, is one of the driving forces behind this App. Continue reading “The Making of a Science App — Or — Things Your Professors Never Told You Scientists Do”

Calculators from the Ark to the iPhone

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”

Favorite Life Science iPhone™ Apps

A billion App downloads, thousands of Apps–it can be hard to navigate the many options out there. Among the many choices there are a growing number of Apps for scientists. I think that the App Store needs a Science category to make them easier to find; most of the science Apps are currently scattered throughout the Reference, Education and Medical categories. Here are a few of my favorites, excluding the Promega App (due to my obvious bias). Continue reading “Favorite Life Science iPhone™ Apps”