A homemade iPhone application at the Georgia Institute of Technology has gained a following — and won its student creators some fans.
The application, called GT Login, is essentially a cellphone-friendly interface to several existing Web-based campus services. With a few taps, users can read their campus e-mail, see which laundry machines are available, or check when the next shuttle bus will arrive using their iPhone or iPod Touch. The application is free, but it requires a Georgia Tech account to access the services.
Adrian Smith, a senior at the university majoring in computer engineering, made the application for fun — because he wanted to learn how to program applications for the iPhone. He has now teamed up with some fellow students to form a company to build other iPhone applications, and he says he spends between two and 10 hours each week tweaking the functionality and adding features to GT Login. More than 1,000 people each week use the application, according to Mr. Smith.
One fan of the service is Brian Mathews, who works in the library at the university (his title is “user-experience librarian”). He e-mailed Mr. Smith and suggested that they add a feature that would let students see which computers in the library were available and which were occupied. The library has such a service on its Web site, so the programmers simply needed to integrate it into their iPhone application — which they quickly did.
“I really like that it came from students rather than us doing it,” said Mr. Mathews. “It has more of an underground kind of vibe to it.” —Jeffrey R. Young