Unexpected chuckles

I’m just doing a full test of the latest version of Skelly-Pad, this includes a juvenile skeleton and the ability to upload photos. Testing is one of the less fun parts of any IT project, but very necessary – especially in Apps which are distributed to a wide range of tablets with different versions of software. So always nice when something unexpected but nice happens.

I was randomly typing characters into the App to check that it copes OK with apostrophes and other special characters when I accidentally tapped an emoticon on the iPad keyboard. Wasn’t planning to test that but it turns out to work fine, so my test skeleton is now looks like this;

smily skeleton






Getting Help with Skelly-Pad

The initial feedback from the survey and Skelly-Pad users has been great. Top of the list for new features is the ability to record Juvenile skeleton and dentition, which has been quite tricky but is nearly done. I’m hoping to publish the new version in the next month or two so watch this space.

In the meantime a few people have commented that they’ve had trouble running Skelly-Pad reliably, but unfortunately I don’t have their contact details to work through what the problem is.

If you have any problems with the App, or suggestions for new features, then please email cases@huntlancaster.fogbugz.com and I’ll do my best to sort things out.

Please include as much information as you can about the type of tablet you’re using and the problem you’re having.


Feedback please!

Skell-Pad was built to form the basis of my undergraduate dissertation – so I need some formal feedback to close the loop and provide the research element. The survey I sent out to BABAO before starting work produced some fascinating results, the 60 people who responded record around 7000 skeletons per year between them – which takes a whopping 20,000 hours.

This survey is about how useful Skelly-Pad is and what extra features would make it more useful – all contributions gratefully received- the link is https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PR7K7K5

Thank you

First Bug Fix Available

So, I thought I’d tested the App pretty thoroughly – but then had to upgrade my development environment so it would work on the newest ipads and a sneaky one slipped through. If you’ve tried to enter the number of ribs or phalanges on the original version you’ll find you can’t.

The bug is now fixed but you’ll need to go to the App Store to download the updated version.

Testing times with students

A big thank you to Rebecca Watts at Reading University’s Archaeology department for letting me try out Skelly-Pad on her undergraduate course on skeletal analysis – and also to Alice Mauchline from Agriculture for the loan of the fieldwork iPads for the students to use.

Some great feedback from the students and interesting to see that even the facebook generation don’t always find new Apps easy to use, much stabbing of fingers on screens. One new bug identified and an interesting suggestion to colour the bones in primary colours to represent grading, rather than shades of grey. This is the inventory one of the students did, black is present, white absent, be interested to know if anyone thinks a more colourful approach would work better?


More Apps about Skeletons

Amazing what you find out by talking to people online, I’d previously had a good look round for archaeology related Apps and found a fair few, mainly heritage walks round archaeological sites (see http://digitaldigging.net/archaeology-apps-heritage-apps/ for a good list). Also found a field walking App that seems to have since disappeared and BillionGraves which is aimed at getting people everywhere to record gravestones!

But have just come across Dactyl, which looks like the beginning of a very useful digital library of bones, with and without fractures, pathology and so on. Bit pricey at the moment for the number of bones available, but given time could be very handy. See http://intarch.ac.uk/journal/issue38/5/atkin.html for a review of Dactyl and similar skeleton visualisation tools.

Android Version Live

Its been a bit of a struggle getting the App ready for Android – for the techies among you I’ve used a multi-platform, open source development nevironment called Appcelerator – but there are a lot of minor differences between Apple and Android that have to be worked round. To say nothing of the fact that Android devices come in a huge range of shapes and sizes. I’ve tested the App on Kindle Fire (7 inch screen)  and Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 (8 inch screen) – you can run it on smaller devices but as the graphics won’t scale much smaller you’ll need to use it in landscape mode if you want to draw or annotate the diagrams.

Still, delighted to say that Skelly-Pad is now available on the App Store, Google Play and Amazon