The iLab – A new Drosophila app !

Hey guys,

At first, I want to apologize for the long absence. I’ve been busy and lazy, the worst combination of all. But I had to share this little discovery I made a few weeks ago, a new app for Drosophilists ! (drum rolls …..)

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It is made by Genesee Sceintific, the FlyStuff.com division in particular. Weirdly, when it comes to the fly room, I’m a bit old-fashioned. I like scribbling crosses on pieces of papers, looking phenotypes up in these good old heavy fly books.

Nevertheless, this app has a undeniable advantage. I basically consist of pictures, description of the most current mutants and species. Comes in handy if you quickly need to check up what a Bar eye or a Curly wing looks like. (Ok, nobody would look up a curly wing) There are also quick links to FlyBase.

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Now, the best at last … There is little nerdy addition: A virtual fly pad. You can train your fly sorting skills, and even enter the competition with other geeks drosophilists by sharing your scores online. Ok, past the few minutes of excitement, it gets a bit boring, and has nothing to do with the real-life fly pad experience.

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An other excellent point is that the app is free, and soon available for the android users too. So guys, go to the App Store and download it, it’s definitely worth it !

The iLab generation – Fast Counter

Time for a new app recommendation today ! A while ago, it was suggested to me in a comment on this very blog, and when I saw the description in the iTunes Store, I was immediately enthusiast. It’s called the Fast Counter.

It’s basically the app that does the annoying job of colonies on petri dishes. Look at that :

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I had time to try it out a bit , by taking a classic LB plate with bacteria after transformation (about 200) and tried to count. You can set the threshold, and the color of the background; and once this is done, it is pretty effective. It does capture -LIVE- your colony number (is it the future already, right ?), but you can also take a snapshot, and count “manually” by tapping on them.

My point is, if you need a good estimate, and not a super-super-precise count (which is generally not required anyway), you should definitely try it out.

Also, the company developing that tool also made some other apps, if you like all nerdy apps for the lab like me, check it out on their website ! It’s called Shazino. 

On the way to Paperless-land / Episode 1 – Evernote

In parallel to my research project, I have more “geeky” project going on: achieving paperless-ness. I am not the most organized person, and accumulate stacks of papers with doodles, administrative stuff, research papers, train tickets, reimbursement files, etc … And I will not mention how tidy this still looks compared to other desks I saw in research labs in the past.

I took a resolution during my first year of PhD that until the end I would completely switch to a digital and organized system. To do so, I use some iPhone/iPad apps which are absolutely essential for that. The most important one is Evernote.

I take all my meeting/seminars/conference notes in it. It is synchronized with my other devices, computers (home and lab), and saved on the cloud. I am able to effortlessly organize it, and do in-text search if I look for a particular thing. If I’m having a “I-don’t-feel-like-taking-notes” day, I record the talk.

This App saved me so many random unreadable notes and doodles spread in different lab books already. And I can actually find back things that I know to have written down somewhere and at some point.

It’s free also, so try it out, people 🙂