Friday, July 13, 2012

Allen County Research Trip, Moving to the Techy Side?

The research trip this week to Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the report continues:

So, even though my research results were not over the top, not breaking down any brick walls, not even putting a dent in any wooden walls, I had a great time, and the few tidbits I did find were wonderful.  I saw friends and blogger, Becky Wiseman of Kinexxions, dropped by.  Becky and I had not seen each other since May of 2011 in Salt Lake City and it was certainly good to catch up just a little.

And, there was the techy part of my experience.  I have serious love/hate relationships with all things techy.  I embrace them and I rant at them.

Most of my readers may remember that I chatted some last year about the Android tablet.  Man does my techy research and he was pretty sure that the Android was the way to go.  I was not so sure, I wanted the iPad.  He assured me the apps were coming, that it would do all I wanted, and then some.  Pricing was right, it did things he thought were important, had hardware goodies he approved of.  I wanted the iPad.  We purchased the Android.

Then, I waited for apps that I wanted, of course, my highest item on my wish list was a really good app to use with my family history data base.  There are apps, but, none of them made me over the top happy.  Over the next 10 months or so I used the Android for travel, maps in the truck connected to the net (most of the time) via the air card.  I tried several of the genie apps, I downloaded the Kindle reader and free books.  I still wanted the iPad.

The genie apps just did not thrill me.  I love multimedia in my data base.  I have well over 8,000 items, photos, documents, word processing files, sound bites, videos, all attached to my data base.  I wanted them (or most of them) on my Android.  Trouble was, the apps were not allowing me access to all of my multimedia.  Some apps allowed one photo per person.  SIGH.  I was ok with maybe not being able to access the really large word processing files, but, I was NOT happy with only being able to see one image per person.  That just left me flat.

(A bit of back story, at this time my main data base was RootsMagic.  I had been using if for years, I loved it. However, for several years I have been disappointed in a couple of issues with RM.  One was the word processor, and the other was it did not appear that RM was actively engaged with any app writers.  At least that is what it looked from where I was sitting on the fence.  Legacy, however, did have an app that it seemed to work very well on the iPad and on some Androids.  See that is another thing with the Androids, one app may work on one, but the developers cannot guarantee it will work on ALL Androids.  Yep, I wanted that iPad.

After MANY months of deep contemplation I switched my entire data base to Legacy Family Tree.  One huge factor in my change was that Families app that works with Legacy.  I am still slightly uncomfortable working in Legacy, there are a couple of small issues that I do not care for, however, I am learning, adjusting, determined to stay with it till I do feel comfortable using it.)

And, in April, we purchased the iPad.  The new one, version 3, which they call the New iPad. With 1 gig of Verizon connectivity every month.  (Man inherited the Android which he loves - - WIN!)

I am in love!  I put the non-glare screen protection on it before I ever left the store.  It works remarkably well, even in the truck in full sun.  I put Families on it, which works so well with Legacy it makes a gal's heart go pitter patter.  I have added a few other apps, including Adobe Reader.  I have the Kindle reader on it, the books all transferred just fine.  I can be online with it anywhere, any time as long as I have a cell tower that delivers.  The mapping works so much better with the built in connectivity.

And, this research trip I decided to see how much I could use the iPad and if I could do without the laptop.

How did I do??  As with many things, mixed.

Having Families meant I was able to look at my data base, anywhere, even in the stacks of the library, yes, I did that!  WIN

I made my to do list a PDF file, learned how to transfer it to the iPad, and loved having it there where I could look at it in the stacks of the library, and yes, I did that too!  WIN.

I realized that I did not like not being able to make notes on my to do list, you cannot write on a PDF document, and so, that is a NO WIN.  Contemplating sending my to do list to Evernote instead.  Or, maybe do BOTH.  Why both, well, have to say that PDF format of the to do list looked fab, and was very easy to study and read.  If it is in Evernote as well, I can make corrections or notes in Evernote as well.  Why not both??

Because I have connectivity via Verizon I was able to check my email, Facebook, Google Plus and surf the Allen County Public Library catalog, while, standing in the stacks, or sitting at my research table.  WIN.

I did some lookups for a friend, quick and easy lookups if you have access to the books in the library.   And, here is where I started thinking out of the box, err, iPad.  I decided to try using the camera on the iPad to take photos of the results I was finding for her.  I stood in the stacks and took photos.   WIN.

Here is what a photo of a page looked like, this one happened to be for some of my own research, and I have digitally edited it some for presentation here.  I cropped some of the page away, I re-sized the dpi and width and I changed from color to gray scale.  Note the book was old, the binding weak and it was quite easy to get the book and pages to lay flat.  I am perfectly happy with this image.

And, then, I had a small revelation.  I could email her those pages.  Right there, from the iPad, while in the stacks!  She was getting the emailed graphic of her lookup results before I could walk back to my seat in the library.  DOUBLE WIN!

I loved walking around the library with the iPad with my family tree on it (with ALL those multimedia events), with my to do lists, taking photos of pages out of books and emailing them to my friend while still in the stacks.  I loved being able to surf the library catalog while standing in the stacks, cause I was connected to the net.

I enjoyed taking photos of some of the images I was grabbing for myself.  That said, it is not easy for me to get a photo that is square, that needs a bit of practice.  Truthfully, if I cannot figure that out, I am not sure that in the long run it is a viable option for capturing quality images.  It is going to come down to how important is the image??  Data from a book, as long as I can read it, it does not make a lot of difference if it is square or not.  Images of photos??  That is another thing, and one I will be revisiting as I process the images I captured this trip.

For example, here is an image, I am not real happy with this, see the curve in the page.  Note:  this is a new book, stiff binding, I had other books lying under each side, trying to "get the curve out" and keep the book open.  Image was edited some, believe it was mostly auto correct and a bit of saturation increase.  If I had scanned this image with my little Cannon LiDE 210 I would have scanned one page at a time and would not have this curvature issue.

Now, I will be the first to tell you that I have not examined all the possibilities of using the iPad, in life or in research.  I am still learning, investigating.  I know several bloggers/researchers that have used their tablet for research trips or conferences and that is ALL they have used.  I am not to that point yet.  I am still using my lap top for my main work horse.  Will I ever get to that point, where I can go on a 2 day (or longer) research trip without my lap top??  Not sure.

If I cannot get images to please me, I may continue to tote along my little scanner, it does wonderful work.  That would mean I need the lap top.  I know there are files on my lap top that I will never transfer to the iPad, and I just know that there will be files on the lap top that I need when I only have the iPad in the middle of a research trip, that is Genie-Murphy at work.

So, Carol and the New iPad are moving to the techy side of onsite research, one step at a time.  Grade so far, ohhhh, A-, I was very happy with what I managed to do and learn during these 2 days of research.

* P.S.  Dear Legacy, it would be so super if you would add a count of the multimedia events to the "General Information" screen.  Maybe count my to do items, events, maybe even number of citations.  Ya, I know, I am looking at the Properties report from RootsMagic.  Really helps you keep track of your work ethic, I so miss that in Legacy.

** Disclaimer, you know the routine, Facebook, Google Plus, Evernote, Adobe Reader, Verizon, Families, Kindle, RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, Canon, Android, iPad and all other mentions of web sites or products are put here without any financial considerations back to Reflections.  I use the services, sometimes successfully, others, well, not so successfully.  Sometimes I speak highly of them, other times, well, I rant!


Amanda (the librarian) said...

Eeek - "trying to get the curve out" makes this librarian cringe! Many libraries have a scanner you can use. :)

Linda Jenkins-Wensel said...

Very good and informational

Carol said...

Amanda, I hear your cringe.

I am ALWAYS mindful of not damaging the bindings or books!

Some libraries do in fact have scanners. Good ones too!

Amanda (the librarian) said...

I figured you were, Carol - just wanted to get the word out to ask about scanners before breaking a (book) spine!

Great post - lots of useful info!

Carol said...

Thanks Amanda. That is the trouble with posts, even tho I am usually over the top verbose (as I was here), there are just so many facets and I just seem to always miss one or two, even tho I practice them in my "real" life! LOL

I so love that my readers help me out and point out what I have neglected to mention!

Thank you!

Lynne Carothers said...

You can fix the curvature of the photos in PSE using "Fix Keystone Distortion". I used it once on a project to great satisfaction. You know more about Photoshop than I do but thought, just maybe, you hadn't tried this one.

Randy said...

What's not to love about Legacy?

Linda McCauley said...

Evernote is a good solution to your research notes issue. I thought about using the documents Droid app that lets you use Word and Excel docs but went with typing everything into Evernote when I'm working from the tablet. I keep my To Do List in Legacy so once I'm back to the laptop, I can cut & paste my results from Evernote into Legacy.