I figure it’s about time for a triumphant return. With Kentucky in reasonably clear site of an NCAA title, my spirits are invigorated and I’m ready to take on the slings and arrows of the blogosphere. I’ll be posting here about organic chemistry, life, women, whatever. And yes (in case you were wondering…), Wednesday Night Problems will be making a comeback in the near future.
So what’s the deal with ACS Mobile?! It’s an app that allows you to read papers from ACS Pubs on the go. Cool—for a guy who spends essentially zero time at work reading non-essential papers, it’s nice to have that option, I thought. Gee whiz, I thought, maybe they’ve built a whole new mobile publication interface. That’d be—what the deuce?!?! $2.99 at the App Store?! That’s right ladies and gents, ACS Mobile is going to cost you three times as Running Log, infinity times as much as Facebook and Pandora combined, and three times as much as renting Cube from That’s Rentertainment. Screw it; I’d rather watch a dude get chopped in half three times—paying for it each time—than pay three bucks to read journal articles on my iPod Touch. Sorry ACS.
…at least, that was my reaction two days ago. Slowly, over the past couple of days, guilt has been eating away at me. The ACS always has a way of pulling me back. Kind of like hipster chicks—it’s just so hard to let them go. They’re just…so damn cool. Finally, in a moment of weakness, I caved and bought the app today. I’ll try to keep the remainder of this review, in contrast to the first half of it, at least marginally more objective.
Positives: The interface is really nice. It’s not exactly new, but it’s nice. You won’t find yourself zooming with frustration on abstracts very often (full text is a different story). The text is HUGE, and resolution on the figures is superb. You can select what journal ASAPs you want to see, and filter content to look only at results from a specific journal. You can also save articles, because “JESUS CHRIST WHAT WOULD I DO IF I LOST THAT PAPER ON YET ANOTHER ENANTIOSELECTIVE DIELS-ALDER REACTION?!” Abstracts load quickly, but I found navigating the articles (which appear in PDF form) to be a little laggy. Great for blazing through abstacts, though. Landscape mode is a nice touch.
Negatives: Price is going to be your biggest minus with this thing. The verdict’s still out for me in terms of paying for itself in usefulness. You also can’t set time limits on what it displays, as far as I can tell. I realize $2.99 isn’t exactly filet mignon, but for what you get, it’s almost easier—almost—to just use ACS Pubs’s website. The full-text interface needs to improve, but this isn’t all ACS’s fault—navigating PDFs has never been fun on the iPhone.
Overall: If you’re a grad student who feels like you need to read more papers but you don’t have time, spring for it. If you already feel inundated with literature during the bulk of your work day (I feel like this might be a common sentiment among readers…comment and let me know?), then skip it.