Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Genealogy True Confessions: I take the tablet to bed

It's a few weeks since I took delivery of my Galaxy Tab or  shiny new toy and, as each day goes by, I am becoming  more proficient in its use and familiar with its capabilities.

I have been buoyed by two pieces of news today . Samsung is planning to offer an upgrade to Gingerbread  to owners of the original 7" Galaxy Tab so my bargain buy will be getting an upgraded operating system.  Secondly Ancestry.co.uk have announced on Twitter "For all those waiting for an Ancestry app for Android, we're building it currently and it will launch later this year :)".

Since I last wrote about my Tab I have purchased a $2 prepaid SIM card from Telstra and organised a data only service for the SIM, I spent $150 for 10gig of data that must be used within 12 months. This process required two trips to Telstra shops and a couple of phone calls to Telstra, in one of which I was transferred to four different people before being cut off. There is no way I would recommend the (lack of) customer service from Telstra but, as they appear to have the best network coverage in Australia, I have to use them.

I can now use my Tab to access the internet from anywhere on the Telstra 3G network in Australia. With this facility I can now visit my familysite and genealogy news sources in most places. I gave the connection a good workout in a car trip from Sydney to Newcastle and back last night when I used the Tab to keep track of genealogy news on Twitter, Facebook and Google Reader (I chose to be a passenger). I was also able to monitor my emails and use the browser to provide answers to some of the questions Mr Geniaus asks. He thinks that I know a lot (I don't) but I just know how to find information and the Tab gives me ready access to find answers for him on the road. Although I cannot make phone calls from this device without a phone plan I am able to take incoming calls but I haven't shared the number with anyone as of yet.

I read recently that a large percentage of people sleep with their mobile phones in close proximity to their beds. I have taken to taking the tablet to bed; it spends the night on the bedside table. I use it each morning to check on genealogy news, read emails, look at activity on my blogs and read the Sydney Morning Herald via its Android app.

My keyboarding skills on the tablet have progressed from woeful to barely passable but I am resisting purchase of an external keyboard for the moment. I did, however, purchase a protective case so that when I drop the gadget the damage should be minimal.


I have two-way calendar synching, via Google Calendar Sync, all organised from Outlook on my desktop to Google calendar so I can enter dates on the fly into the tablet calendar app. I have used the simple Alarm Clock app to wake me for those 4:00 am webinars from the US (I have ongoing issues with my clock/radio alarm).

Blogging from the tablet might be a challenge but I will give it a go before I next head off on a trip. I am considering using a Google or Excel spreadsheet as a genealogy research log as I find the research part of The Master Genealogy clunky and I cannot access this from my tablet. Using a spreadsheet will enable me to easily access and sort my data to find what I need. I believe that there is an Android research planner available but I have yet to find it.

Taking and sharing photos from the Galaxy Tab is a breeze. This will be a useful feature when a serendipitous photographic opportunity arises but I would stick to my digital camera for those pictures that I want to record for posterity.

Although I have downloaded a number of other apps I have not fully explored them. There are very few genealogy specific apps for Android available yet but I am not concerned as, even without these, the Galaxy Tab has enormous potential for genealogy research.

As I said in my last post "The uses of this tech toy for genealogy are only limited by one's imagination.".

3 comments:

Elizabeth O'Neal said...

My NOOKColor and iPhone sleep on the table next to my bed. I'll admit that I turn the iPhone sounds off at night because I'm a very light sleeper. But they're both RIGHT THERE... just in case I feel a need.

Geniaus said...

I saw on a study quoted on Twitter that a huge% of people in the US take sleep with their phones beside them. We are not alone.

Caroline Gurney said...

I'm thinking of buying a Galaxy Tab, so was very interested in this post. Thank you for your review. I use the genealogy app "Family Bee" on my Android phone and think it is excellent. I'm looking forward to the Ancestry app for Android, though. I take my Android phone to bed so I can send myself to sleep playing mahjong and can read emails, blogs and newspapers when I wake up.

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