A brief history of our iPhone app

It's only been two weeks since the Skeptical Science iPhone app was released. Nevertheless, the Guardian asked me to write an article on how the climate sceptic iPhone app came about and how its been received. This got me thinking about how software websites usually document all the latest software developments/builds/releases. So this blog post is to serve as a more comprehensive, more technical (and probably more boring) version of the Guardian article. I'll also included some of the more interesting comments on the app. As new builds are released, they'll be added to this blog post until a major new release comes along to warrant a new post.

Feb 10: Version 1.0 of the Skeptical Science iPhone app is released on iTunes by Shine Technologies.

Feb 13: Version 1.0.1 is released - the main update is that it works on older versions of the iPhone operating system (firmware 3.0).

Feb 14: Climate Realists post a warning against the app:

WARNING! There is an iphone app trying to put down what we have to say under the heading of "Skeptical Science". We need as many of you as possible to promote that this iphone app is yet another attempt to discredit "Climate Realists". We can only hope the general public can see through this as a cheap trick to prop up the FAILED SCIENCE OF MAN MADE CLIMATE CHANGE. Climate Realists need another iphone app that shows our side of the argument as it is, rather then what a supporter AGW thinks it is! Please send this message to all known friendly sites that support our side.

Feb 17: The UK Guardian review the app and list it in their Top 10 green iPhone apps. This leads to a surge of blog posts and tweets about the app. Just to nitpick, they inaccurately refer to me as a 'solar physicist' presumably because I mention studying solar physics at university. This leads to numerous blogs similarly labelling me a solar physicist.

Feb 17: The UK Telegraph post a less-than-glowing review (but thanks for the link, fellahs):

"It’s unlikely to convince Telegraph readers who, if the recent Climategate debate – led by our own James Delingate – is anything to go by, are climate change deniers to a man. We also know that iPhone owners are all Lefties. Still, perhaps you could use it to keep track of what the enemy is up to. It is free, after all."

Feb 18: Version 1.0.2 is released with a tweak to the 'Send to' feature and a bug fix that avoids problems on initial load of the application in rare cases.

Feb 19: Real Climate blog about the app. Finally making direct contact with an RC author, I take the opportunity to ask them to change their wiki attribution from 'John Cross' to 'John Cook'. Phew, that's been bugging me for ages!

Feb 22: My favourite review of the app so far is posted by WWF Canada. Ranking us alongside Tetris is a big call though:

"Miracle in your pocket
Finally. I’ve found it: My newest favourite iPhone application (next to UrbanSpoon and Tetris that is). It’s called “Skeptical Science” and it’s the pocket-sized-miracle that you always wish you had during a climate change conversation gone awry."

If there is a feature you'd like to see in future versions, be sure to post a comment either here, in the original thread or email me direct. Similarly, if you'd like to see the app on a different platform, you greatly increase your chances if you let us know. Think squeaky wheel, people. And don't forget to post a review on iTunes :-)

Posted by John Cook on Wednesday, 24 February, 2010

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