What is a Smartphone?
Basically, a Smartphone is a handheld personal computer, a digital camera, a video player, a portable music player, and a mobile phone.
Why would anyone want a contraption like that?
Well, if you enjoy doing the following, then perhaps you would NOT like a Smartphone:
- Going to a cemetery with your digital camera and taking photos of tombstones & then going home, getting distracted by ‘life’ and then 2 weeks later finally getting around to downloading said photos so then you can upload them to FindAGrave.com.
- Driving by a small neglected cemetery on the way to somewhere else & thinking you must start carrying your digital camera everywhere you go so you can stop to “walk the tombstones”.
- And you’re wondering why you didn’t check the forecast before leaving home because you might have time to “walk the tombstones” on the way back from wherever you’re going to today.
- Being behind the very nice lady with a big stack of books who’s digging for change in her purse at the only copier in the library that you haven’t broken. [Oops, I mean the only copier that isn’t possessed. Yes, it happens. Just check out Amy Coffin's We Tree Genealogy Blog post from today.]
- Going home, turning on your computer, waiting for it to boot up; checking, responding to, and deleting email; finally checking your favorite social media flavor [mine’s Twitter]; and realizing if you had been on [insert favorite social media flavor] earlier you would’ve known about the 'can’t miss' webinar that’s been going on already for 30 minutes by [insert name of your favorite genealogist].
- Wishing you hadn’t left your calendar at home because that’s where you wrote down the name of so-n-so’s husband’s 2nd great grandparent and now you’re at the library for, well, nothing. And, wow, if you had brought your laptop you could boot it up and email so-n-so to get the name again.
- Sitting in the waiting area of the car wash watching a [insert whatever t.v. show is mind-numbing to you] on the t.v. with the sound off wishing you could be listening to a genealogy podcast on your iPod but you left it on the charger on the kitchen counter at home.
- Booting up the ol' desktop, because you realized that you have a little spare time to surf eBay for family heirlooms.
- Sitting at the library wishing you had remembered to pack your laptop charger so you could look up your 3rd great-grandfather’s 4th wife’s first husband’s name.
- Getting into your car after photographing tombstones at an unfamiliar cemetery in an unfamiliar town wishing you knew of a place where you could get a quick bite to eat.
- Driving around aimlessly because you forgot the directions to the [insert archives, library, cemetery, courthouse, etc.] at home on the kitchen table where you had been looking them over while eating breakfast.
But? If you don’t enjoy any of the above situations and if you are ready to become more efficient in your research - both doing it and sharing it - then stick around. A Smartphone can help in these situations and so many more. [Lots more.]
Apps Are the Secret
The reason the Smartphone has so much functionality to it is because of what’s called a 3rd party Application that can run on it, also called an ‘App’. The developers of these Apps are quite clever and have created so many nifty tools that can be applied to genealogical and family history research. [Some of those developers didn’t even know they were helping us genealogists out.]
There are several types of Smartphones and they all run on operating systems that allow it to run its applications. Apple's iPhone runs on the iOS, Blackberry runs on the Blackberry Operating System, and there are various brands that run on Google's Android Operating System. I’m not going to get into the differences between them because that’s not the point of this post. The point is to convince you that a Smartphone can be very helpful to in your research, and dare I say, life. [How am I doing?] Hopefully, I've interested you enough to come back next week for the 1st app spotlight.
Additionally in deciding on a Smartphone, a big consideration should be which one has the apps that you’d like to use. And that’s the point of this series. I'll be presenting a new app each week, explaining how to use it, and how it can be applied to doing and/or sharing your research. I'll also let you know what operating systems it is available for.
Already have a Smartphone, but you haven’t ventured past email and Facebook? Tell me which App you’d like me to spotlight in this series. Or do you have some research difficulties that you think an App can help you with, but you don’t know how to use it?
Let me know. Comments are always welcome and strongly encouraged. [Really.]
Also, if you are a Smartphone user who has a favorite app that you use in your research, and you'd like to guest post for this series, contact me. [Especially if you have an Android-based Smartphone. Mine is an iPhone.]