Officially released Oct. 4, the iStanford App from Terriblyclever Design purports to be “Stanford University in the palm of your hand.” How accurate is that? Read on to find out…
The app is a wonderful, and works just as advertised. While it is not perfect, the creators also say they have some exciting new improvements in the works. Here is a rundown of the four sections of the app:
The directory is an easy-to-use and intuitive iPhone-optimized version of StanfordWho. It is particularly useful if you have an iPhone and you want to make calls or email Stanford community members as you can do it directly from the app’s links.
The courses section lists courses by department, though it was not clear to me when and and how frequently the lists updates. Other third-party course sites like StanfordCourses, say when the list was last refreshed. However, it is in this section that the Terriblyclever folks have some cool plans, including the ability to add and drop classes, view course and grade history and even work with your Stanford financial data such as University balance, past statements, etc.
The athletics portion is perhaps the least impressive, only because of its nature as the least interactive. What they have created is a gorgeous and simply-designed version of the GoStanford page, which is distracting and honestly a big hassle. However, one huge plus for the athletics section is the jab at USC: the button to see scores in the bottom left of the screen reads 24-23, the score by which we took down the then second-ranked Trojans last year in the Coliseum (see here and read here).
Finally, the maps section brings to the iPhone what all Stanford students (with iPhones, that is) have wanted for a long time: an easily searchable version of the Stanford campus map. You can search by dragging the map across the screen, zooming like usual but you can also search names or allow the device to locate you on the map, particularly useful for when you’re way for out there and have no idea where you are.
Overall, this app truly is a delight and will be appreciated by Stanford students, faculty and staff alike. It is simple-to-use, robust with features, and with the care the developers put into this first iteration, I bet the future versions will provide great additional features as well.
The makers– Joe Bernstein, Ben Cunningham, Felipe Pimentel and Aaron Wasserman– are lead by junior Kayvon Beykpour, according to The Stanford Daily. The fact that it is five undergraduates taking the lead on this makes me think two things: (1) why could Stanford IT not have created something like this? I’m surprised that Residential Computing or another division within Stanford did not beat these guys to the punch. (2) I’m very impressed with my classmates. Not only for their technical ability in creating the app itself but that they have devoted clearly many hours to this app and they are not charging a penny for it. I’m sure they are hoping to drive user adoption and know that making us pay would not encourage it, but at the same time, for doing work which others would be paid for, these guys have not even elected to implement an ad-based revenue system.
Get the app here (opens iTunes). iStanford is free, compatible with iPhone and iPod Touch, requires iPhone 2.1 firmware
One final note: sorry for the watermark running through all the screenshots. I was only able to get them off my device onto my PC by using third-party software, and they only provide watermark-free image work with the pay version– so take it up with Copytrans!