Gadgets and Gear for Genealogy

Gadgets and Gear for Genealogy

If all goes as planned I will be taking a trip and there will be research. Since my last trip my toys have changed.

My new phone is an old smartphone. It’s a Nokia E71, their version of a Blackberry. It has a camera and internet, some apps but it is an older phone. It has built in free GPS. It has built in tethering [which I have not tried]. The best part: unlimited talk, text, internet – everything – is $45 a month, no contract. So I can stand in a cemetery, take pictures and send them on by text message or email as a backup. It has a micro SD card which means I could fill one and swap it out too. 

I have an iPod Touch, before the camera was added, which has copies of my genealogy database and some files. See FamViewer and GEDViewer for a discussion of the database programs. I have since added Families which works with Legacy genealogy software only. I switched to Legacy last winter but that’s a story for later.

In the spring I added an iPad2. An iPad is an iPod Touch with a much larger screen. [I am told Apple hates that remark.] I love my iPod Touch so a larger would make it perfect, right? Well, yes and no. I find my iPad2 to be just a bit too big to be comfortable. That is my only complaint though. It has a front facing camera and a rear facing camera. Certainly the database is easier to read on the larger screen. The digital genealogy books I carry are also easier to read. I did not buy the version with the built in cell internet service. It was more expensive and I didn’t want to commit to a contract. It soon became clear I’d love the iPad2 and even the iPod Touch better if they had internet service.

Thus the latest addition to my genealogy toolbox is a Virgin Mobile hotspot. It is a small device, easily fits into a pocket, and up to five devices can connect wirelessly to the internet through it. If you buy your device at a certain very very large retailer [and only then] you can also buy from them 1GB of service for $19.99. It’s good for 30 days. You can renew or not, as needed, or you can sign up to automatically add a new GB every 30 days. 

Finally, in addition to standard backups to a separate removal drive and backups to the cloud I started backing up to an additional removal drive. About once a month I take the drive to the safety deposit box, which is built to withstand a category 4 hurricane, deposit it and bring the old home to fill.

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