Post by Anne B Post by Serena Blanchflower
I'm looking for advice or thoughts on tablets - the computer type,
rather than pharmacological advice.
I have an Android tablet. I hate it. it is fiddly and difficult to do
the most basic tasks (save a file somewhere and then find it when you
need it; cut and paste; correct a typo; type anything more than about a
line in length etc etc etc) and it doesn't have menus or anything
sensible to help you find your way around it. Just a whole collection of
I bought it because I saw someone with an app for identifying birds, and
I thought it would be a good idea to carry one tablet with apps for
identifying birds, wild flowers, butterflies etc rather than a small
library in my pocket.
The bird ID app is not too bad, aprt from being a bit mixed up as to
which corvid is which, but the wild flower one is hopeless. I can can
forgive it for not having Diapensia lapponica, which only grows on one
mountain top in Lochaber (yes, I have been there to see it), but how you
can produce an app for identifying wild flowers that doesn't include
Broom, or that returns Yellow Flag Iris when you type in the
characteristics of a Cranesbill, is quite beyond me. Fairy nuff, that's
the fault of the apps, not of Android, but it doesn't make me warm to
the wretched thing.
It's small and light to carry if I am on holiday, and just about copes
with keeping up to date with e-mail, and it was handy when I was
photographing Recumbent Stone Circles, because it supports Dropbox so I
was able to put the RSC Gazetteer into Dropbox (couldn't see any other
way to save the Gazetteer as a document to the tablet's own memory, let
alone find it again) and access it out in the field, but otherwise it's
not a lot of use.
Never again any device without a keyboard, thank you.
I'm on my second Samsung tablet. The first one was a Note and I liked
the idea of using a stylus, but found (as so often) that pen and paper
are actually quicker and finer for sketching out stuff. The next one,
now over three years old and still going strong, I mainly use for news
(I have the Guardian and the Times and the New York Times. News junkie,
me?), Facebook and Twitter, reading but not writing email unless
unavoidable, the weather, image-based apps like Houzz and Instagram,
watching YouTube clips, looking at old photos. It takes surprisingly
good photos too.
But I'd never use it voluntarily for composing anything longer than a
Facebook remark. There's an Office suite on it but I use it for reading
only - if I need to write anything I go and find the solid old laptop.
Ditto editing photos, updating websites, or anything that involves
having more than one window open.
However, we are always looking up things on it (is Chelmsford more
important than Colchester? How old *is* Rory Stewart? Where exactly is
Samarkand?) and there's an app linked to the TiVo recorder that is
invaluable, so much easier to use than the TiVo tv interface, so we can
argue about what to watch after dinner while washing up. I also take it
to meetings where I need to refer to papers which I don't want to print out.
I wouldn't be without it.