Friday, July 19, 2013

IPAD in the usbackroads??

usbackroads product--IPAD

This posting focuses on the IPAD however, if you do not have a tablet the Android and other tablets do the same thing the IPAD does in many cases.  Sometimes, just not as easy or as well.

The IPAD a usbackroads product??  Really??

As Apple itself says "Designed in California"....with the unstated line of built in China.  Be forewarned this device is designed to be connected to the internet.  Which is really surprising since our experience with broadband access in California was so dismal.  However, in Wenatchee with our standard fiber service of 100mbps provided by the local public utility the IPAD is a joy to use.  On the road, in California, it was to use when possible.  However, it is still a handy device for backroads.

The typical stuff that a tablet is used for was covered in the previous postings.  It is great for magazines, adequate for books, and fair for storing of product manuals.

It is great for podcasts and watching video's or movies.  In my case, I subscribed to MLB.COM which has all the radio broadcasts for major league baseball and one TV game a day.  It is great for watching baseball if you can find a fast enough broadband connection!

Skype.  I loaded Skype on the IPAD and can use it to make phone calls.  If it had a headset it would be even better.  If you have hobbies, the camera can be used to show people how to tie a fly, set up a telescope, or anything else in the world.

Camera.  The IPAD has a camera that takes pretty good pictures.  And it is always there for use.  The pictures on this blog posting were ALL taken with the IPAD.  I wonder if anybody makes an underwater case for the IPAD?

All this stuff is fine, but how can you use the IPAD on usbackroads.  Well, you can put a GPS program on it and get rid of your GPS.  We kept our GPS, but it is an option if you do not want to carry lots of stuff.

Field guides.  Astronomy guides, bird guides, guides to tracks and scats, spiders, wildflowers, and a thousand other guides for the natural world.  All of them will fit on your IPAD or tablet.  They are easier and quicker to use than printed field guides.  In fact, the era of printed field guides is pretty much over.  This is a great savings in weight and you can have all your guides with you instead of just picking and choosing the few you think you will need.

Maps.  I have a collection of paper maps that fills several large boxes.  I think, Foresters collect maps like old ladies collect spoons and other knick-knacks.   You can store all those maps on your IPAD.  I use it for trips we will be taking.  A screen snapshot of google maps gives you all the detail you need in a large scale map.  Works well on the bicycle with limited storage space.

The one advantage I had as a professional Forester was access to air photographs.  I do admit to spending time in the Forest Service air photo file cabinets planning hikes and fishing trips.  There is a lot of information you can gleam from a photograph taken from 10,000 feet.

These days there is Google earth where government photos are placed on-line for everybody to use.  Wait, these photo's should be limited to professional's for security reasons!!!   But now every Tom, Dick and Harry has access.

Call up Google Earth on a tablet and take a screen snapshot.  So if you want to explore the Mayan ruins in Coba you can do the initial exploration on your tablet.  This works even better for hiking above alpine areas or scoping out fishing lakes.  Next trip, try doing it with Google Earth before you leave you home base.

There is/was talk of the tablet or IPAD replacing a PC.  Not really, if you are inputting data or information like working on a blog  you really want a PC.  The tablet does not function well as a device for inputting lots of keystrokes.

Reading, analyzing or viewing already created data is where the tablet or IPAD works best.

For being connected on backroads my recommendations is a good smartphone with hotspot capability and a good antenna.  A tablet for displaying all that stuff you usually carry with you like maps, photos, magazines, and other stuff.  And a laptop for data input and manipulation.

When Job's introduced the tablet is was widely predicted to be his first failure (doesn't LISA count??).  Why would anybody want a IPAD??  He knew that you would want one, before you knew you wanted one!

An IPAD or Android tablet?  Maybe a Windows tablet??  I won't make a specific recommendation, except if you have an IPHONE you already know how to run and use an IPAD.  But a tablet is in your future, probably sooner than later.  JUST BE SURE YOU USE IT AS A USBACKROADS DEVICE.

Get those field guides, maps and photos on it.


Carol K said...

Good summary. I don't have an iPhone or an iPad, but I do have a Motorola Razr smartphone and I like that I only need cell service to use it, not wifi, and that it can provide mifi when we are camping and don't have internet.

Vladimir Steblina said...

I wanted an IPAD with a cell connection. However, I don't use it all that much. Susie prefers to use her IPHONE. We have an amplifier for that IPAD is hardly ever used unless we are camped in one place and have cell service.

We have used the IPHONE in the amplifier and turned on its hotspot and then used the IPAD while in motion. That works better than 4G on the IPAD.

In many ways the cell service on the IPAD is a waste of $30/month, but with the pre-paid service I have only activated for one month so far.

New smartphones coming this fall. Within a couple of years there should be lightweight, flexible tablets that will be really handy for backroads use!