On-the-go, iPhone-tapping Sonoma State University students can now carry the university in their hands.
The Sonoma State Mobile iPhone app, developed by a former student who found a spare 250 to 300 hours to do it, launched this week to rave reviews.
"I'm very impressed, it's very professional," said Bryan Bell.
The senior uses the app to contact professors without doing all that so-yesterday stuff like "sitting down at a computer" or yester-decade stuff like consulting a syllabus.
Tap the headphone icon to tune in KSUN, the campus radio station. Hit the image of a phone (an old-fashioned, circular-dial version) to access campus resources from police to health services. Lost in SSU's 269 acres? Tap the map to get directions to your philosophy class.
The brains behind the free app, 2005 Montgomery High School graduate Jeff Neong, developed it because, well, it didn't exist.
"I though it was weird that SSU didn't have a dedicated student resource app," said Neong, 24, who built Sonoma State Mobile between the fall 2010 and spring 2011 semesters and graduated in June.
<NO1><NO>He created it in the freewheeling, ad-hoc manner typical of the flourishing wild west of app development, working around university administrators to get the information that the app delivers.
Rather than get permission and help from departments to access their databases, he built a server that searches the SSU website and "scrapes" it for exactly what app-users need.
"If I had started out asking for access, it wouldn't have gone anywhere," Neong said. "There's too many parties involved. I would have to ask someone, they would have to ask someone else, then it would have to go up the chain, then it would have to be signed in triplicate."