Old 05-17-2018, 05:14 PM
zuer-coli zuer-coli is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 193
Pocket Reference

Dopers all; Greetings,

Iím looking for an Android application similar to the well known Thomas Glovers Pocket Reference© The nearly obligatory Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pocket_Ref
Sequoia Publishing: http://www.sequoiapublishing.com/home.html
As best as I can tell, there is no Pocket reference application.

I know there are online calculators for nearly every conversion factor and constant out there, but I want the actual values. ďJust the facts ma'am, just the facts.Ē

I also know that if you do know what you want, you can find these values online, but there doesnít seem to be one central source that provides as many different conversion factors and constants as the Pocket Reference does.

There are many different references/applications that apply to given fields of endeavor, but all of the ones Iíve tried seem both clunky and written for folks suffering from operator head-space error. [I suffer from that disorder more frequently than I desire.]

So, thatís my question: Is there an Android application that gives a reasonable facsimile to the Pocket Reference? Oh yes, lest I forget, an iOS version also.

Thank you for your replies.

Old 05-17-2018, 09:07 PM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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Wikipedia, as well as field-specific and tool-specific webpages and apps, such as Medscape.

I have one of the books you're talking about. I like it. I don't pretend it's up-to-date, or that it's going to be kept up-to-date, or that it's especially close to being useful. For example, I have the second edition, twenty-ninth printing, published June 2001, and it has a reference table for the memory layout of the original IBM PC. June 2001, mind you, and that is what they thought to put in the Computer reference section. That's the kind of thing you end up with when you have non-specialists working on a reference work and they just have absolutely no idea what would be useful for a specific field.

(In this case, the fix is simple: Drop the Computer section entirely. There's no hope for it. Focus on being a slimmed-down CRC manual.)

I also don't know why you think conversion tables are more precise than conversion calculators. How do you think they make the tables? You might as well expect an Android log table, or trig function table, both of which the Pocket Reference has.

(Paging through my copy... this thing has currency conversion rates. There's no way they should have done that. It isn't like the Forex markets didn't exist in 2001. They might as well have printed that day's temperature in select cities.)

It's just not useful anymore, now that you can get information directly from the sources, or directly from reliable sources (NIST, NASA, etc.) instead of having to rely on third parties to compile them, and it's easier to find third-party compilations which are both more in-depth and much better maintained.
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Old 05-18-2018, 07:29 AM
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ftg ftg is offline
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I picked up a freebie 2002 printing at a trade show back then. Put it on my reference shelf.

Checking to see the edition it was was the first time I've opened it since then.

If they came out with an app version they would have to do so many updates, basically at least once a week, that this probably wouldn't work out economically. How many people would be paying not just for the app but for the updates?

After all, while you might have an interest in a section or two, do you want to pay for updates for sections you never use?

The ol' network of tubes, the Interwebs, works just fine.
Old 05-19-2018, 02:50 PM
zuer-coli zuer-coli is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 193
Thank you for your replies.

Your arguments and remarks are all cogent and germane.

I see that it might have been helpful if I had expanded on my rationale.
Although this should be no barrier to self-change, I, like others, have got set in my ways. That is, I like to use books versus the internet.

I should say; I acknowledge not all parts of the Pocket Reference are equally useful, in addition; I lack the experience to utilize parts of the book.

One of the frustrations of the Internet for myself; I know some information about some subject exists. However, I donít know how to find it due to a personal lack of knowledge, that is, I donít know how that thing is called. I frequently hunt around under one search term and then find the information is best approached with a search term I hadn't thought of.

My search for Charles Babbage below is a fair example; I wanted to check the spelling of his name, Charles Babbage by itself brings up a modern person, it wasnít until I added ďdifference engineĒ that I got my desired result. Yes, this also demonstrates some of the limitations of the ďone sourceĒ approach.

When I want a specific constant or conversion factor I know that I can find much of that information in the Pocket Reference, I carry one around most of the time.

That any reference book is inherently out of date has been well known long before the Internet. However the information I have the most interested in is conversion factors and constants, these have not changed significantly. Again, the Pocket Reference has a reasonably large collection of those.

Another factor that pertains to me; Iím a browser, howbeit human, that is; I scan through books and often find the information I want or as it does happen, information that I didnít know I wanted. The Internet is not as well suited IMHO for this casual browsing.

Derleth, respectfully, I did not claim that conversions tables were more accurate, this is demonstrably not the case. You claim, apparently by inference, to have knowledge of my own internal cognition regarding conversion tables versus online calculators. Your statement is erroneous, I am well aware of the limitations of using tables etc.

As for the genesis of conversions etc. you undoubtedly are aware that many of these started as hand calculations. It was just for the reason of the inherent error in such tables that such folk as Charles Babbage designed and saw through the construction of his difference engine.

However, when one is setting up an equation or needs a constant for a spreadsheet itís handy to have a constant or conversion factor readily available.

Sigh, I detect a bit of defensiveness in my writing, I donít intend to offend.

Thank you for your replies, Respectfully, Zuer-coli
Old 05-19-2018, 05:24 PM
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Measure for Measure Measure for Measure is offline
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FWIW zuer-coli, I added the Desk Reference to my wishlist. So the thread was a win for me.

Googling, I found this 2013 article at the American Society of Professional Engineers' website: 9 Android Apps for Engineers. Also includes links to articles on 10 iPad Apps for Engineers, 7 Smartphone Apps for Engineers, and 5 New Applications for Drones.

I doubt whether any will substitute perfectly for the pocket reference, but some might be handy. Personally I've come across many more diverting apps than genuinely useful ones.
Old 05-19-2018, 11:45 PM
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Reply Reply is offline
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What a cool book! I'll have to look for this next time I'm in a bookstore. Thanks!

Don't have an app suggestion, but if you want to a digital version of that book, you can ship a copy to this service and get it digitized into a searchable PDF for about $10:

I know the website looks pretty janky, but I've used them several times before with good results.
Old 05-20-2018, 01:44 AM
guizot guizot is offline
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Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
I have one of the books you're talking about. I like it. I don't pretend it's up-to-date, or that it's going to be kept up-to-date, or that it's especially close to being useful.
I'd like to get a copy myself, but it really makes me wonder if the appeal is more just the idea of the thing, rather than its real-life utility. I'm trying to imagine carrying it in my pocket all day, and then just how many times over the course of that day I'd actually need to reference it.


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