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    cjvitek's Avatar
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    Default Review: EleMints

    EleMints is a handy periodic reference table that you can have directly on your iPhone. It is a colorful, full featured chart that includes more information than you could possibly need about each element. Well, more information than I could need as a biology professor - I suppose a chemistry professor might say otherwise!

    When you start the app, you are presented with a view of the periodic table of elements. This can be viewed in either landscape or portrait mode. Within that view, you can tap on any element to get a pop-up view of the element name as well as the group it belongs in. Tapping on the pop-up icon, you are taken to a screen that contains HUGE amounts of information about the element - electronegativity, atomic weight, protons, electrons, and more. You can even tap on any of the headings to get a brief (one or two sentences) description of what that property means. Tapping on the electron shell diagram will give you a representation of the electron orbitals for each element (although in truth, I am still figuring that one out. I am not a chemist, but the electron shell diagrams don't match what I know...or thought I knew!). I am not sure if that is a glitch in the app, or I just don't know as much as I thought I did. From the properties information, you can also go to the wikipedia entry or the wikielements entry for more information.

    Back on the main screen, you can also choose a graphs option. In the graphs option, you can chosoe a various property (such as electronegativity) and it will be plotted for each element. This is a great way to compare the elements to each other for any given traits. You can also choose a table view which will just list the various elements and the attribute in which you are interested.

    The program seems to have a few bugs. After typing the above information I tried downloading it a second time to look at the electron shell diagrams. Suddenly, it seemed to work - carbon had four valence electrons! But then it started messing up again when I switched between elements. Either I don't know how to use it, or it there is a glitch. In addition, sometimes when loading the app, some data would not load (like the color scheme, or some data in the properties aspect of the element).

    Pros: Lots of information, good visual presentation of data

    Cons: Some glitches seem to exist in the app

    All in all, the information this app provides is great. But given some of the glitches (and if anyone can figure out what I am doing wrong, let me know!!), it seems like it is not a completely finished product. If you just want a reference tool, this would be great, but for more detailed work I would wait to see if there are any updates. There is a free version of the app so you can try it first. The app is on sale right now ($.99 instead of $4.99) until Friday, so if you want it, pick it up now. Given the glitches, I can only rate the app three and a half out of five stars. If someone shows me that these aren't mistakes, and I am just not the chemist I thought I was, than I can increase the rating.

    Rating scale:

    * = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
    ** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
    *** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
    **** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
    ***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.

    Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.

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