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iPhone app version 1.1 - now with search, image viewer and Twitter!

Posted on 9 March 2010 by John Cook

Version 1.1 of the Skeptical Science iPhone app has just been released (download for free from http://itunes.com/apps/skepticalscience). Shine Technologies have been very busy, adding a number of new features. I'm fairly new to this whole software release business but if this is what you get moving from 1.0 to 1.1, I can't wait to see what happens in version 2.0. Here are some of the new features on offer:

Tweet skeptic arguments directly to Twitter

When you're looking at a skeptic argument, there is now a Twitter logo in the top left corner (the look of this page has also been improved, now featuring the penguin background). If you want to let others know about what you've just read in the app, you can tweet directly from your iPhone. Just press the Twitter logo to be taken to a Twitter page. The Twitter message automatically includes a link to the relevant page on the Skeptical Science website:

   

Search feature

The opening screen shows the top 3 skeptic categories (not happening, not us, not bad). Now there's also a search button. This takes you to a search form where you can search directly for any topic:

    Skeptical Science iPhone app: search for skeptic arguments

Image Viewer

One limitation of the iPhone is that the many graphs and figures are shrunk down and displayed very small. Often, it's hard to make out specific details. However, now if you press any graph, it opens in an Image Viewer. Here, you can rotate and expand the image to get a closer look. This is one of my favourite new features - I'm still in that iPhone honeymoon period where I think it's cool that you can enlarge the screen by dragging two fingers apart.

Skeptical Science iPhone app: image viewer

Auto-Tweet when reporting an argument

Another new addition is an Auto-Tweet feature. If you go to My Reports, you'll notice an Auto-Tweet toggle at the bottom of the screen. If you turn Auto-Tweet on (default is off), then whenever you report hearing a skeptic argument, it automatically sends a tweet to your Twitter account. I'm interested in hearing what you think of this new feature.

Other iPhone app news

Android App being developed! We have received many requests for an Android version of the app. I'm pleased to announce that Shine Technologies have begun development of a Skeptical Science Android app. There is no release date yet but I will let everyone know as soon as I do.

Mobile version of website: For those who don't use an iPhone or Android phone, I'm also working on a mobile version of the website. This will be a fairly simple set-up - probably just the list of skeptic arguments in a simplified, single column design.

Sneak preview of iPhone reporting results: Version 1.1 still doesn't display any results from the Report feature (apart from your own reports). However, if you're interested in seeing which arguments people have been reporting from the iPhone, you can get a sneak preview of the iPhone results via the iPhone results page.

Chicago Tribune article: There have been a few recent media articles about Skeptical Science and the iPhone app. Chicago Tribune interviewed me and ran an article Sorting through the conflicting claims on global warming that includes a few quotes. Unfortunately they inaccurately refer to me as a physicist - it seems there's still some "solar physicist" hangover from the Guardian article. They've also published Questions and answers on climate change that is definitely worth a read.

Discovery Channel interview: Kieran Mulvaney at the Discovery Channel is running a series of articles on Climate Myths beginning with Climate Myths and Questions, Part I. They've also published an interview with me (online text, not video). Before you read the interview, let me lay out a disclaimer - this is one of my first media interviews. It looks like they transcribed my words verbatim which is a good demonstration of how rambling and grammatically incorrect the spoken word is (well, at least mine). For the record, the very first media interview I did (for an Australian radio station) was even more of a rambling, stuttering affair so at least I'm improving. :-)

If anyone has any questions or requests regarding the Skeptical Science app, please either email me or post a comment here. If you're keen to see a new feature in the app, your best chance is to post a comment and have others also start nagging for it. I suspect all the nagging from Android users was a factor in Shine Tech starting on an Android app.

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Comments

Comments 1 to 6:

  1. Great to hear about an Android app!
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  2. "I suspect all the nagging from Android users was a factor in Shine Tech starting on an Android app." Nagging? What nagging? Do we nag? I don't think so. So... um, any word on an Android release date yet? :]
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  3. From the Discovery interview, I found this to be a gem of particular clarity: We can have the most confidence in scientific results when we have multiple lines of measurement showing the same thing. With global warming, there are multiple lines of evidence that all point to humans being the main contributor. For starters, we know exactly how much carbon dioxide is being added to the air. We can double-check that by measuring carbon isotopes in the atmosphere. We can triple-check that by measuring the amount of oxygen in the air to see if the amount of oxygen is falling in line with the fossil fuel burning. So we know we’re causing the rise in CO2. Now the next step is: What are the effects of all the CO2 in the air? And we can measure that by satellites that measure how much radiation is escaping from Earth out into space. And what they are observing is that there is less radiation escaping at the very wavelengths that greenhouse gases absorb energy. So that’s the human fingerprint, that CO2 is trapping heat. Another confirmation of this is that surface measurements also measure the amount of radiation that is coming back down from the atmosphere, and they find the same thing: That there is more radiation coming back down at the very wavelengths that greenhouse gases trap heat. So there are multiple lines of evidence that CO2 is trapping heat. In this interview John refers to the trap of minutiae, how easy it is to get lost scrutinizing iota. Plot and scenery in this drama are dominated by bulky, confirmed physical effects, poor fodder for argument, so folks who reject basic physics are left to make the little objections they have seem as big as possible. The range of those small objections is itself narrow, so we hear variants of various quibbles endlessly repeated. At the end of the day if nothing else it's boring to hear this stuff spinning endlessly like a prayer wheel on a windy day.
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    Response: You know, I read that excerpt from the Discovery interview and think "man, I say the word 'and' a lot!" But then I've always been a glass-half-empty kind of person :-)
  4. Good work Shine on producing an Android version! Looking forward to it.
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  5. Phantastic app!!! Just one little thing that should be changed is the format of the bit.ly links. Instead of starting with "www.bit.ly" they should start with "http://bit.ly" instead. That way Twitter will format them into a hyperlink. Right now the links are not clickable in Twitter, which is a bit of a nuisance, especially since we all want for as many people as possible to easily download the app.
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  6. What a great idea and a great app. Deniers like to use ridiculous oversimplifications (like - "it snowed today so global warming isn't real"), but the real world isn't so simple. This app presents real facts, and gives detailed explanations, so you are informed. Every denier should have to read through this app, which debunks every one of their unsubstantiated arguments. It has helped me in many situations when I didn't have quick internet access to use search on mp3 or any other SE. The information is kept up-to-date and is easy to read and understand for most people. I like how both sides are presented... what the skeptics claim and what the science actually says. Nice work! Too much of the American public is pretty ignorant of science and this app helps with the task of hopefully educating the masses!
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