23 April 2014

Electronic Gadgets Part 2

The story so far: I want to reduce the number of electronic gadgets I carry around with me on genealogy research trips. Instead of carrying a mobile phone, a PDA, a digital camera and an MP3 player, I’d like to carry something that combines at least 2 or 3 of these functions.

Well, I’ve got a new phone. It’s a Nokia E65 that I’ve bought as part of my new contract with Vodafone. I use Vodafone because it gives me reception in my house, which is down in a valley which other networks don’t reach. It has PDA functions, an MP3 player, and a digital camera. It’s my favourite toy!

The phone has enough PDA functions to make me happy, many of which I am still learning about. I can download my calendar appointments, to-do list and notes from MS Outlook, update them when they’re done and upload them back to my laptop. Of course, I can’t get Gedstar Pro to work on it, but I will be looking at creating reports in my family history software, The Master Genealogist (TMG) or creating HTML pages using Second Site to download to my phone, so that I have the relevant facts and dates with me if I need them.

The MP3 player has already proved itself useful on the train. The phone came with a 256MB microSD card, onto which I downloaded some music and some podcasts. I listened to a very interesting lecture about Oliver Cromwell from The National Archives on the way home from the city on the train. I bought I bigger card, 2GB, on eBay so that I can get more music and podcasts on there without having to replace them too often.

The camera is useless for real genealogy work; there would be no point trying to use it to photograph documents out at the State Records Reading Room in Western Sydney. It says it can manage 2 megapixels but it is only good for happy snaps of family and friends. It is very good at that, though! They just can’t be enlarged to full-screen size on the laptop without looking very grainy. So the real digital camera will be accompanying me on research trips. There were very expensive phones with 5 megapixel cameras, and I test-drove one that I think had a 3.2 megapixels on a brochure in the shop and it was unreadable.

So that’s a maximum of two gadgets I have to carry – the phone and the camera. Not bad. Plus I have the added convenience of having music and podcasts, and my calendar and other information, with me all the time even if I haven’t thought I would need the PDA or the MP3 player, because I always carry my phone.

I’m very happy with my new phone! I just need to get my family tree on it now. Stay tuned!

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