Just how many devises do we need to accomplish our research? How many can you afford? How many do you really need? Are you going to use them? The image today is of the genealogist in pjs and bedroom slippers finding their ancestors on Internet at two in the morning. My extremely large monitor is home based. My printer and scanner are home based. Fortunately there are more computing devises that I can use once I'm off on a genealogy journey.
Laptops today come in a variety of sizes and weights. A friend showed me her new laptop which is so thin I think it is anorexic. It is as light as my iPad. While it takes up more room than the iPad, it can comfortably be carried anywhere she is doing research. Laptops can be used to take notes at conferences, in libraries, courthouses and even in cemeteries. You can use Internet if there is a WIFI connection available. An even smaller version of the laptop is the netbook. This cute computer turns up more and more in libraries, such as the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. It's easy to tote and use, even with its smaller keyboard.
Any of these portable devises can be carried in a computer bag on wheels or in a computer case that you carry. At this point the researcher needs to evaluate the weight and ease of portability. There is another option ... the tablet. These small computers remind me of the slates children used in school many years ago. There's no chalk though. With your fingertips the world can be accessed.
Tablets of various varieties such as the iPad, Galaxy, Kindle, Lifebook and more are available at a wide variety of prices and styles. Applications, also known as software, can be added to a tablet, usually for a reasonable price, through online sites such as the Android market and iTunes. This makes the tablet very appealing for the genealogist. Not only can they access Internet, e-mail, read books and add genealogy files, but they can sync between computing devises.
As the owner of an iPad 2, I have my files synced on iCloud http://www.apple.com/icloud/. It's easy to put information on one computer and have it show up on the other computers you are using. There is no need to enter information again and again. I also use Dropbox https://www.dropbox.com/ which allows me to sync specific files, photos or documents between my computers, as well as share with other people who have a Dropbox account. One of the applications I use the most is Evernote http://www.evernote.com/. When making preparations for a research trip, I attached the research to-do list, along with maps, directions and photographs to a note in Evernote which then syncs to my iPad. This is what I call "Grab and Go Genealogy." I don't have to print it out and I know it's there for me when I arrive at my destination. If I make notes on Evernote on my iPad, they will sync to my other computers that have Evernote installed on them.
You can streamline your tablet. There are security locks available for the tablet. This is a much needed items if you are researching in libraries. I also have devises that allow me to insert a camera memory chip into the iPad and see all the photos I have taken. It also accommodates the chip from my hand-held scanner. Another is a flash drive that allows me to transfer documents from reader-printers that accommodate a flash drive. The keyboard on tablets is much larger than on the iPhone, iPod Touch or Blackberry. Another item to purchase is a small, portable keyboard that can be used on the tablet via Bluetooth.
The best part of using a tablet is they are light. You can put them in a carrying bag or purse. With all the files synced, including your genealogy records, they are a win-win item for the genealogist on the go.