Friday, April 29, 2011

The Technology I Love (And, Sometimes Hate!), the 105th Carnival of Genealogy

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

I have an ongoing love/hate relationship with my technology.  Some of my current toys include, in no particular order:

1.)  The SONY!!! Cybershot DSC-HX1.  Purchased just a little over a year ago, I have taken (GULP) over 17,000 photos since then.  Blame it on THE Trip!  Blame it on my love affair with the challenge and thrill of the capture of the photo, the capture of history, flora, fauna, parts of my life and parts of lives of others.  Blame it on the creative outlet when I review, and send the photos to Adobe Photoshop to play with.  It is my form of digital scrap booking.  Blame it on addiction.  I use it to record large documents that are difficult to scan with my current equipment, to photograph heirlooms.  I have used it to photograph pages out of genie books.  I have told this story on myself a few times, I will leave home without my purse, but rarely with out Sony.  The few times that I have, yes, I have regretted it.

2.)  iPod Touch.  I was totally enamored with the touch when I got it about 16 months ago.  I found a genie program to upload my data base too, GedView, it was affordable, pretty easy to use and I still grab the iPod now and then to have a look at it when we are away from the computers, usually out with friends and family.  I don't use the touch as much as I did, Man uses it more.  Once the iPad hit the market I wanted the larger format, the small screen of the iPod Touch became disappointing for me.  That said, there is this grocery shopping list app that is so wonderful, the Touch is the best size possible for this. (Hey, we all have to eat, right??)

3.)  Computer:  HP Pavilion tx2510us Entertainment Notebook PC.  The Baby HP.  The Baby is a tablet, which has a touch screen that rotates, and folds down.  It holds my photos, my research, I surf with it, I carry it to libraries and research facilities.  I can use it easily in Big Butt when we travel, it has the ability to do GPS type programs, I use Microsoft Streets and Trips, and off we go.  I use it with a wireless mouse, an external keyboard and a LG telie/monitor while sitting at my desk at home or in Tana.

4.)  Cannon scanner, CanoScan LiDE30. Portable, have had it for years, have toted it to many libraries to scan books (ASK at your repository before you scan!)  Lightweight, but can hold very large books.  There is nothing like a scanned photo out of a book over the quality you will get when you use a photocopier.  No comparison.  Have scanned any number of documents and photos with it for my data base.

5.)  Cannon portable printer, just replaced, my old one died.  NOT cheap to replace!  New model iP100, virtually the same machine as I had prior.  Small, lightweight, portable, prints photo paper of all sizes, standard size and legal size paper, envelopes, it will do it all.  When my old one died last month Man and I looked at  LOT of other printers, even purchased two others, which went back to the store.  We finally located this model, and ordered online.  I really love my little printer.

Kitchen office at the stick built, photo taken in July 2010.
On far left, the scanner, then working our way to the right,
Baby HP, monitor, and the old printer, the new one looks
almost the same.  Note that for some reason I was not

 using my external keyboard, hmmmm??  
6.)  Cell phone, the Smart one, the one that is smarter than I!  HTC connected via Sprint.  Very talented phone, it can take a black photo and email it and post it to Facebook, even tho I have yet to figure out how to post a photo to Facebook when I want to!  LOL  Has a camera and ability to keep me online when I am away from the computer.  I can grab email and web sites while at the grocery store or on top of Silly Mountain while hiking!  If I have a cell tower nearby, I am online!

7.)  Air card, ok, I don't know the specifics on this, our current service comes from a company called Millinicom, the card is just a bit larger than a USB or thumb drive. (We had used a Sprint card until we got to Las Cruces New Mexico when Sprint just could not keep up.)  We use it with a router and we can have computers, iPods, and more online with it.  Course, we have to be within a decent distance of cell towers, and when we travel, well, sometimes connectivity IS an issue. But, air card = untethered = perfect for our RVing lifestyle.  Many campgrounds do offer Wifi these days, and most are notorious for even worse connectivity issues than we have.  We will use campground Wifi if we must, but remember that by doing so we are at a greater risk for hackers and all that nasty trouble.  We cannot do, for example, banking on an unsecured network at a campground.  Man has the router and air card secured.

8.)  Motorola Xoom.  Recently purchased, Man determined that it was a better machine for us (me) than the iPad or iPad2.  Purchased the Wifi version, it picks up hot spots and the air card flawlessly, and flips between the two easily as well.  I can use it in Big Butt with the air card in Tana (on and running all the time we travel).  Email, web pages, and Google Maps, and basically they can all be open at the same time, just like my computer.  It is Google strong, Google books download and function wonderfully, and connecting to the computer is not required for the download process to work.  With a Kindle app I can also access Kindle books, with the note that the screen does not look like a Kindle, much harsher, but, I am getting used to it and have no trouble reading, 'cept in bright light (that said it is so small and lightweight I can easy move it OUT of the bright light, eh?).  Again, the Kindle books download via the Wifi connection, no tethers to the Baby HP required.

It is a bit smaller than the Baby HP, but, much thinner and easier to cart around.  The cover/case we purchased is all you need to keep it safe and sound, no bags, no briefcases, just pick it up and off ya go.  The battery life is much longer than the Baby HP, with normal use, probably a couple of days. While traveling, when I am accessing Google Maps constantly, it will last a 6 hour drive day and have battery left to spare.  It is GPS enabled, so, I don't have to be connected to the 'net' to have Google Maps to show me where we are.  If I am connected to the Internet, I can even find Man and Big Butt a gas station.

Because of it's size and the fact that it is not tethered to a power cord it is quickly becoming my unit of choice when in Big Butt.  (I can balance it on my knee and shoot photos with Sony all day long!)  It is an Android based machine, and I have not yet found a genie program that will work with it, but, honestly have been a bit busy to do a lot of snooping around either.

There is one little issue, it will freeze up now and then, seems to get it's brains overloaded.  Cold boot time, and soon you are back and running.  We hope this issue will be addressed in future updates from Motorola.   That one issue aside, I am totally in love with the size, portability and functionality of the Xoom.

9.)  External hard drives for back ups.  One very small one, easily kept on the smallest desk, and a MyBook.

That is the hardware I am currently using and/or playing with.  Yes, I love my techy toys, when they work.  But, those who know me well, will agree, that when the techy toys ain't a working, Carol ain't a happy!  Sorta like when, "when Momma ain't happy, no one is happy".  SIGHH.  Even I don't like to be around me when my techy toys malfunction or misbehave.  ICK!

But, when they work, goodness, I do L-O-V-E them!

Written for the 105th Carnival of Genealogy, Favorite Current Technology, over at Jasia's Creative Gene.  The lovely poster is thanks to footnoteMaven.

*Disclaimer, all those copyrighted names, like iPod, etc, they belong to someone else, I have no stock, no financial interest. I do not have ads on my blog so I don't make any $$ off these plugs or mentions of these products.  They make the $$, I buy when I can, I use if I can afford to buy. Bottom line: THEY own the copyrights!



Susan (Nolichucky Roots) said...

Love all the toys/tools but have to admit the Sony is my fav of yours. For myself, my fav is the air card that (so far) allows communication with our boonie living children.

Barbara Poole said...

Carol, All your toys, how do you keep them straight? I never even heard of the Zoom, so thanks for the education. I think you are the techie expert of the bloggers. Your camera is my favorite!

Carol said...

Yes, I have to say that Sony is a favorite of mine too! LOL The Xoom, Barbara is rather new to the market. The toys are easy to keep track of, it is all those power cords and chargers that are a nightmare of a problem. Our solution, tag em, each and every one. If we forget, OOOPs, we are in trouble! LOL

Chuck said...

Isn't it wonderful to have the right tools so you can do the exact thing you really need to do!?!
With all the pics you've taken, it sounds like you you need more external drives...
And I am sure you will get your LDS to do list up to date in plenty of time...

shatteredhaven said...

nice list! :) The xoom looks like it would be a nice device, so cool that you snagged one and you like it. :D

Sherry - Family Tree Writer said...

I sure have loved reading what all techie toys everyone is using!! I have a camera that I love, too, and I was really glad to read the info on the Xoom. I'm thinking of buying something, a Kindle, a Nook, and now maybe an Android. I have both the Kindle and Nook apps on my HTC Droid Incredible, but they are small, and it'd be nice to have them bigger!

hummer said...

I loved reading all about all your toys. Since most of the androids and PAD are out of my reach, I have decided to experiment to see if I can use the Hero's old iPAC personal PC to download POCKET GENEALOGIST on it for going and doing. If I were traveling, I would want to be equipped like you. Love following this great trip you are on. Hugs

Anonymous said...

Awesome info!

I might have to invest in a new camera soon. Your post makes me even more tempted!

Family Curator said...

"Have toys will travel" could be your motto. I am glad to have found you to read about how you put technology through the paces. Especially love your photos! Thanks.

Lisa Wallen Logsdon said...

Well, I'm a little slow in getting to the COG posts but just wanted to say this is a really great post Carol! You have totally caught my interest with the Xoom. Must look into that toy for myself!