MobileGenealogy.com – November, 2008

You may have noticed a lot of activity here over the past two weeks. It’s been a few years since MobileGenealogy.com was updated. Some things occurred, both job and personal-related, and I was unable to maintain the site. That’s all in the past, and I’m bringing this site back, as you can see. I’ve kept it online, and there has been some traffic, plus some comments from people asking questions, etc., so we’ll build on that. As I said below, it may seem like it favors a certain platform, but that’s just until we have the whole site updated which will take another week or so.

As far as the look of the site, I’m working on making it load faster and making it “lighter” so that it’s easier to browse from some of the web browsers available on PDAs and smartphones. I’m also making it easier to navigate. I’m exploring having a style setup for lower resolution browsers while maintaining a style for larger resolutions.

Forums are a new addition to MobileGenealogy.com, and not much else needs to be said. They will cover the topics discussed on the site. If you have comments, this would be the best place to post them, as well as requests for help, comparisons, etc.

The Focus
There was a pretty narrow focus in the past, mainly on PDAs (and certain smartphones) and genealogy software for said devices.
The focus is not changing, it is still going to be genealogy and mobile devices. What’s different is that the mobile field has changed drastically in a few areas: “Netbooks”, iPhones, genealogy podcasts, and the overall drop in price for many PDAs and smartphones, making them available to quite a few more people.

Netbooks: For some people, a PDA or smartphone is simply not going to do for a variety of reasons. Some people need something that either has a higher resolution or perhaps they need to magnify the text. Others want to take their full-size Windows or Mac OS X or Linux genealogy software with them. Others may want the storage capacity for photos, PDFs, etc., that a netbook can offer (since you can easily go up to 500GB on some). Since most genealogy software is dependent upon user input rather than performance/speed of the system, a lot of the Windows, OS X, and Linux genealogy applications will run well on certain netbooks. As far as software, we’ll take a look at some genealogy and genealogy-related applications that are perhaps better suited to the smaller displays of netbooks. We’ll also take a look at some netbooks that are better suited for being carried around on research trips or perhaps for doing presentations.

iPhones: With the current crop of iPhones, we are seeing a huge change in how smartphones are viewed. Many iPhone owners may not even realize they own what we would normally call a smartphone. iPhones bring quite a bit to the area of mobile genealogy, the numerous applications, GPS, mapping, more “realistic” web browsing (at better speeds), etc. Then there’s genealogy software for the iPhone – we’ve already seen three genealogy applications released in the past four months, and because of Apple’s AppStore, the exposure is a lot higher than we saw with PDAs/smartphones and genealogy software in the past.

Google Android: While we haven’t yet seen any genealogy software for Google’s Android platform, I expect that will change over time. The Android-based smartphones have plenty of things to offer genealogists – mapping, note-taking, web browsing, etc., even if genealogy software is not yet available.

Genealogy-related podcasts have exploded. The growth of these podcasts has been phenomenal. I remember when it was pretty limited, to the point where The Genealogy Guys were practically the only consistent podcast around. Now we have a few dozen.

Note-taking/file storage and other helpful online software. This area of software has also taken off, from all of the online applications that can be used across multiple platforms to applications like Evernote.

Some things have not changed. We are still going to cover geenalogy applications available for Palm and Windows Mobile users. Things got weird with Palm selling phones that run Windows Mobile, etc., but these applications are still chugging along.

This site will be platform independent. It may currently seem like we favor a specific area, but that’s not the case. Over the next few weeks, once everything is updated (all of the older pages, etc.), you’ll find anything and everything covered here. One thing we don’t want is somebody coming in here and trashing this or that platform or applications because they happen to favor another. Discussions and criticims are more than welcome, “fanboy” type of stuff is not.

If you have any questions or comments, please use the forums first and foremost. You can contact me through normal means, but you might get much better answers from more people through the forums.


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