Cynthia Shenette) Let's just say I'm not exactly a cutting edge kind of gal, though I do like to think I was cutting edge once back in 2008. It's not that I don't love all the shiny new techie stuff. I do, but at this point in my life I feel like I've got so many plates already spinning, I don't really have the time to fully invest in many of the popular gizmos and gadgets on the market. I'm perfectly happy with a few favorites--a basic laptop, a laser printer, a scanner, my Kindle, and my iPhone 3G. Oh, how I love my iPhone. My heart beats faster just thinking about it. I've had the same one for the last two and a half years (Like I said, I was cutting edge in 2008.) and don't want to contemplate life without it. Okay, so maybe I exaggerate a wee bit, but last summer when a good friend was in the market for a new phone I told her she just HAD to get an iPhone. I said, "Once you get an iPhone you'll never go back."
Why Is It So Special?
Let me just say, that I like the iPhone because it works for me. I think that's pretty important for any technology. Sometimes newer is better, but sometimes newer is just...ah...well...newer. That said, I would love to upgrade to a newer iPhone at some point, but frankly this one still works just fine so for now I'll make due with what I've got. The iPhone, at least mine, is durable within reason. I've dropped it on more that one occasion, most recently on the pavement in my driveway. I don't recommend dropping it on a regular basis, but accidents, no matter how careful we are, happen to the best of us.
What features do I use all the time? I use it to check my e-mail. The notepad is great for writing down a few quick notes, library call numbers, tombstone inscriptions, or database search strategies when I think of them for use at a later time. Oh yeah, it's great for writing down your grocery list too! I'm not a big texter, but did you know some library OPACs (online public access catalogs) allow you to send yourself book call numbers as text messages? Now how cool is that! The camera is great in a pinch for taking photos of tombstones or historic sites or your cute kid if you have one or two or three. You can then upload your photos to post via your facebook app. The iPod is great for listening to podcasts, walking/museum tours, or to your hopelessly dated recordings of Petula Clark singing Downtown or Meatloaf singing Bat Out of Hell.
I love the GPS for finding and navigating in and around cemeteries. I've noticed that the GPS picks up named city streets within cemeteries pretty well. It also picks up smaller, even dirt, roads leading to remote cemeteries. Last year when I was out looking for the Riverside Cemetery in Barre, MA the GPS was great. Riverside Cemetery is now adjacent or part of land taken by the state of Massachusetts for the Barre Dam. The GPS helped to get me back on track when I thought I was hopelessly lost. Three weeks ago it helped me to find my way to NERGS when I got lost in Springfield, MA and ended up at the Basketball Hall of Fame instead of the conference hotel. I've also used the GPS walking feature to figure out where I was when I was lost in San Francisco. Don't ask...
What apps do I use on a regular basis? I use the app for World Cat on occasion. I've downloaded a voice recorder app which I use for singing, but you could use for voice memos or recording interviews. I've also recently downloaded a scanner/PDF app which I use for scanning library items too fragile to photocopy. I love the Kindle app, which opens right to where you left off with your book in your regular Kindle.
Then there is Safari, the iPhone's web browser. I don't know what I'd do without it. Have you gone to a park, playground, or museum recently and seen all the parents of small children sitting on what I refer to as the Bored Parent Bench? Last summer when we were in California and my son went to the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley nine (Did I mention nine?) times, I sat on the BPB and caught up with my blog reading while my son played. I can log into my blog and post comments. I can even access some databases in a pinch if I have to. I read the local paper online when we travel and review the Legacy obits as well.
I'm sure there's more that can be done with the iPhone. I doubt I've scratched the surface. I haven't even mentioned any specific genealogy or history apps. If you have any great uses for your iPhone feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post. Oh, and there's one more thing you can do with your iPhone. You can even make phone calls...
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