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Mocavo

Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, November 8, 2013

Genealogy Technology Tips --

For a time, I was actively writing tech tips for FamilySearch.org's Blog. They still offer TechTips but only in the Blog Archive. Some of the articles are recently dated but may have been written some time ago. I guess I got out of the swing of writing regularly about tech issues and so upon reflection, I have decided to jump back into that particular area from time to time. I thought I might try calling the posts "Genealogy Technology Tipology" but even I couldn't hack that one, so I just left it a Technology Tips.

This past week or so has been a major week of upgrades and new products. I was recently in a BestBuy store and took a look at all the tablet computer offerings. Hmm. Here is probably a partial list of the just the different brands:

  • Apple
  • Samsung
  • Microsoft
  • Sony
  • Amazon
  • Google
  • Lenovo
  • nabi
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Insignia
  • Kurlo
  • Asus
  • LG
  • Hipstreet
  • Double Power
  • LeapFrog
  • Oregon Scientific
  • Lexibook
  • Zeki
  • Azpen
  • Visual Land
  • D2
  • Trio
  • Idolian

I probably missed a couple but you get the idea. On the BestBuy.com website it lists about 874 models of tablets in this impressively long list of manufacturers. I you have read much of my blog in the past, you know I am a strong Apple fan, so my choices were extremely limited. But in any event, I ended up buying an Apple iPad Air with special deal from Target. They gave me a $200 trade-in for my old original iPad.

So what is my tip? Unless I were looking for a cheap tablet for my grandchildren to use and break in a week, I would certainly stay with one of the big manufacturers. I have to be honest, I have never heard of many of these companies and I am not sure what I would be getting by buying a sub-$100 tablet. If you go online and look up a few of these unknown companies, you will soon find plastic devices with low resolution screens, no memory to speak of and an old Android Operating System. In many cases, you get exactly what you pay for.

On the other hand, even with my overwhelming prejudice for Apple products, I was impressed with some of the other devices. All of the main top ten manufacturers have extremely compelling products. Most of the reviews would list one or more of the following manufacturer's tablets in the top ten:

  • Samsung
  • Amazon
  • Microsoft
  • Asus
  • Apple
  • Google

If I weren't already saturated with devices, I would have to admit I really liked the Amazon Kindle Fire HD as a device, but not the operating system.

What this boils down to is how you are going to use the tablet? When I got the Apple iPad Air, I seriously considered getting a keyboard and substituting that device for most (if not all) of my present laptops uses. That was a real consideration and I spent a couple of days staring at accessories and trying to make up my mind. Then I realized that I use the laptop for production typing and I use dozens of programs that have not yet been seriously ported over to the tablet format. In addition, most of the genealogy programs have, in essence, read-only programs on the tablets. Although tablets are now as powerful as most desktop computers, I have yet to see Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop in the full versions running on a tablet. I will seriously consider substituting a tablet when that happens.

One development in the software industry that is going to make my life even more interesting than it is now, is the movement to Cloud-based software. Adobe.com is the prime example. They have discontinued shipping their software in boxes. You either subscribe to the Creative Cloud or you don't buy their products. They are only sold in "rental" versions that are downloaded from the Creative Cloud and you pay a monthly connection fee to use all of the programs. This is a pretty good deal if you are using more than one of their rather pricey programs, but seems pretty expensive for just one or two.

Well, now that I am back in the mode of writing about technology, I guess I had better start defining my terms and giving out some basic information.

4 comments:

  1. When writing your new Tech-Tip series, do give some consideration to what is and is not usable by those who do not have the latest stuff already, such as high-speed internet connections. Think about the people in Nauvoo, for instance.

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    1. Right. Good point. Well taken. But we can all dream.

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  2. You're not an Apple fan but it sounds like you need a laptop/tablet hybrid with Windows 8.1 & the new Intel chips (Haswell or BayTrail) like a Surface Pro 2 (high end) or Asus Transformer Book T-100 (starts at $350). Asus is even coming out with a hybrid that runs Android in tablet mode, Windows 8.1 when you attach the keyboard, and "desktop" mode by attaching just the keyboard to an external monitor (it has a processsor in both the keyboard and the tablet). In other words, 3 devices in 1 with access to both a productivity OS and an consumption OS with a large catalog of apps. Interesting tech on the horizon.

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    Replies
    1. Hmm. A computerized Swiss Army Knife. I learned a long time ago that compound tools seldom do as good a job as the individually designed tools. Just a thought.

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