IOS 562: Head Back to School With These iOS Apps!

Beep boop - this is a robot. A new show has been posted to TWiT…

What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!

It was great to see a Micah’s discussion of the Wolfram Alpha app. Stephen’s “Adventures of a Computational Warrior” (discussed on Episode 425 of Triangulation that @RosemaryOrchard mentioned on this episode) is entirely based on articles from his blog. Stephen runs his company from ~1000 miles away from its Champaign, IL headquarters; many employees were working at home long before the pandemic (see this worldwide map). Stephen and Steve Jobs were long-time friends; the original NExT computer came bundled with Wolfram Mathematica – an interactive engine for authoring/computing/displaying all sorts of beautiful visualizations. Jobs even suggested the name “mathematica” for the product.

Micah didn’t mention the Wolfram Player for iOS . This is a tool for playing with tiny apps authored in Mathematica (the player is also available for Macs). The format for an app is as a “CDF”, which stands for Computational Document Format. I believe the company intended CDF documents to be as ubiquitous as PDF files are today; that has never quite panned out. There is a whole library of these published apps, and enthusiasts can even roll their own apps in the Wolfram Mathematica software freely available for the Raspberry PI. Mathematica is also available for the Mac, but that’s the company’s bread-and-butter product – it costs several hundred dollars. OTOH, most Universities have a site license for the product; students or staff of a school can usually get a license on a year-by-year basis. Carpe liberum software.

As noted in his blog article, Stepen really believes in mobile computing. He’ll go for walks with an iPad or Macbook Air strapped to his body:

Stephen is no spring chicken; I hope his computational ramblings are all on smooth paths. :grinning:

Mathematica is a great tool to introduce to a science-minded high schooler. Stephen is highly interested in education; he holds several [free] summer sessions for students annually. The Wolfram Player is a good starting place to help see what’s possible.