Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Technology Tuesday

Last week I bought the coolest little genea-gadget you can imagine. This little palmful of technology is the best thing since sliced bread. It's not inexpensive but I think it's well worth the money. I'm talking about the HTC Touch Diamond (cell phone) that I mentioned in my last Technology Tuesday post. Just look at what I can do with this little 2" x 4" x .5" gizmo.

I can check all of my email accounts (Google, Yahoo!, picture mail, and pop3) in one place :-) Since the device has a touch screen, all I have to do is swipe the screen to glide to the next email message. Of course I can send messages too. It has a touch screen keyboard and with the Windows Mobile 6.1 operating system I can also use the stylus it comes with and the character recognition setting to simply write out my email. I can use the Sprint data network to connect or I can connect using WiFi. I was able to check email on my previous phone too but it wasn't as easy to read or as quick to download. And it was downright klugy to use too.

It has an MP3 player so I can listen to my audio recordings, music, or podcasts. It comes with headphones that plug in but you can use Bluetooth headphones or listen on the speaker too. I guess I don't have to carry my iPod around with me any more :-) -->

I can take pictures with it. And I'm talking good pictures! This baby has a 3.2 megapixel camera with an impressive number of settings. Next time I'm off to the cemetery I won't need to grab my point-and-shoot camera. My new phone will get the job done and I can upload or email the photos to myself or a relative if I want. The images are very nice. Do you recognize Auntie Josie's religious medal that I mentioned in my previous post? I took that photo with this phone. Check out how crisp and clear the image is, even close up!

Of course I can connect to the internet. Look, here's my Google feed reader with all my favorite bloggers' articles right in the palm of my hand. Text looks too small? No problem. All I have to do is rub my finger around the edge of the little round button at the bottom and the text magically gets bigger :-) (That comes in handy early in the morning when my eyes aren't open all the way yet.) This model comes with both the Opera and the Windows Explorer browsers in it. -->

Oh look! Here's facebook. Yep, you can access facebook in a mobile format if you so choose. I must admit, I haven't played around with this much yet. One of these days when I have some free time... LOL!

If I just want to surf the net I can do that too. Pages can be displayed in their entirety (portrait or landscape) or all in one column. I can zoom in to see images or read text better :-) -->

Here's a zoom in to the article text.

Remember that YouTube video I found about my maternal grandmother's ancestral village, Wojnicz? Well I can watch it any time I want now. There's a direct link to YouTube from the browser launch page. The video looks amazingly good! And with the speaker I don't even have to plug in headphones to listen while I watch. :-)

Everyone wants to check the weather before they go traipsing through the cemetery don't they? Here it is, complete with animated lightning bolts. I wonder if it shows a funnel cloud when there's a tornado warning? I guess I'll just have to wait until next spring to see that. We don't get many tornadoes in Michigan at this time of the year.

Here it is! This is the primary reason I wanted a phone with the Windows Mobile operating system. I'm replacing my Windows Mobile PDA which has seen better days and wants desperately to move on to PDA heaven. I use Pocket Genealogist 3 software to keep my entire genealogy database with me at all times. I can use a native Legacy file in it :-) Now I don't have to carry my PDA with me anymore. That makes three devices I can leave at home now. Oh, and here's the cool factor. I don't even have to tap an icon to launch the software. All I have to do is say, "open Pocket Genealogist 3", and voila! I'm in business!

And here's another great aspect of this phone. It comes with the Microsoft mobile suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint). So I can write letters, keep track of my genealogy expenses (or my Christmas wish list ;-), or view the presentation from the last genealogy conference.

This just might be my favorite feature of all. I have turn-by-turn GPS navigation on this little wunderkind :-) Now is that cool or what? I used the GPS last Saturday to navigate to my newly found cousin's home, an hours drive away. That makes 4 devices I used to carry in my purse that I can now leave at home... my camera, my iPod, my PDA, and my GPS. You know what that means don't ya? Time to go shopping for a smaller purse!

I did mention that this device is a phone didn't I? With so much other technology packed in this little 2x4 package it's easy to forget that you can make national or international calls on it. So I could call my cousin in Poland to ask about the family history if I wanted to. Or I could send him an email, photograph or video, check his web site or facebook page, write down his story in Word then post it to my blog, watch a YouTube video about his hometown, and enter all of the relevant family history information he shares with me in Pocket Genealogist which will then transfer it all to Legacy on my desktop computer when I next sync it. Whew!

The only drawback I've experienced so far with this mighty genea-gadget is the battery life. It could be better. But a replacement battery is only about $20 and a separate battery charger can be had for <$15. I don't mind carrying a spare battery around with me. I do that already for my digital camera. It's worth it to have all this technology in my purse and palm!

I give it ***** stars!

Oh, and I got my scanner back from the service center yesterday :-) Unfortunately it came back with a problem it didn't have when I sent it in (distorted images). It goes back to the shop tomorrow :-(