New tools and new tools

Nice article, if the link works…

New Tools for Today’s Investigative Journalist

I may have chopped off a few characters at the end or the address while fumbling with another “new tool” — not one mentioned in the article. My new $90 (refurb) Pandigital Android tablet is mostly for reading, not for any high-tech news-data crunching, but it’s proving useful. Newspaper websites’ mobile editions are actually readable at the breakfast table.

Panpad (my nickname for it) doesn’t use the latest version of Android or the standard Android Market for software installation, so I can’t do my usual bookmarking yet with a Delicious.com app or send the link to myself with a Gmail app. I can copy app installers from my Droid phone via SD card, but phone-specific apps, voice-input or gps won’t work on this more modest wifi-only device, and some of the apps are meant for a newer version of Android or a faster processor.

But it’s easy enough to launch Gmail or Delicious.com in the browser for now, but I do miss the delicious-bookmarking shortcut.

The Pandigital 7-inch is no iPad in screen quality or speed either, but (unlike an iPad) it does let me tap in words with my right hand’s long guitar-player fingernails the way I did on my old Palm Pilots, and it does have the SD card slot to share mp3s and documents with my phone or Macs. It has no camera or voice recognition, but it does fit a jacket pocket on at least one of my jackets. It works with my Verizon mifi hotspot or campus wifi. And being able to tap/type right-handed is important right now while I recover from an RSI injury to my phone-flicking left thumb.

(Perhaps it’s a hidden virtue that the Panpad isn’t able to play Angry Birds.)

As for saving links “in the cloud,” while the only Delicious app I have here needs an update (new owners, new widgets), this WordPress app does work as an Android extension on the browser’s “share” button. As a result, maybe you’ll see more blog-posting here related to interesting shareable Web content, like the article linked above.

Note: Apologies if I haven’t caught all the glitches in this tap-typing — the keyboard shortcuts sometimes turn “an” to “Android, give me “for” for “do,” and change “to” to “or” while my eyes are focused on the screen keyboard. I’m also trying to make sure I’m not typing a string or l’s for backspaces, “v’s” for spaces or random “a’s” for uppercase, when I mean to hit the keys below those letters. But it’s still easier on the eyes than my 1/3-the-size Droid phone screen.

mild-mannered reporter who fell deeper into computers and the Web during three trips through graduate school in the 1980s and 1990s, then began teaching journalism, media studies and Web production, most recently as a faculty member at Radford University.

Posted in Blogging, communication, Reporting, Tablets & eBook Readers, usability, WordPress

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