Personal Note on Tablets: Trying to keep pace with new Computer Technology

Time is passing and like everyone, I'm trying to keep pace with the ever changing field of computer technology. Nowadays, my trusty desktop computer sits quietly in an out of the way corner of my house functioning primarily as a backup system and LAN server – providing access to shared files and my printer.

My laptop computer is now the workhorse for my 'home' office – I work out of my house for a small but rapidly growing online news media company, i.e. Open Health News (OHN) and the associated COSI 'Open' Tchnology & Solutions web site.

I recently acquired a Samsung Galaxy tablet computer for myself that I picked up at COSTCO on a whim. I had long been envying others who were walking around with their Apple iPads, but I was just to cheap to hand over the  $600 or so to get something I wasn't sure I would really use.

As an aside, six months earlier I bought a Kindle Fire for Christmas and was pleasantly surprised at the many things it was capable of doing beside being used to read eBooks. However, over time I found I was only using it when I was travelling. The rest of the time it sits on the book case next to my keys waiting to go out.  The simple truth is that the Kindle is just too small for me to use as an every day alternative to my laptop computer.

But I digress. I bought the Samsung Galaxy tablet computer running the 'open source' Android operating system for about half the price of the Apple iPad.  Things started out slowly as I familiarized myself with the use of the device, but with over 30 some years experience using computers, it was pretty easy to master and use.  However, with each passing day I added more apps and widgets to the device than I ever dreamed of loading onto my trusty old laptop.

I've become a believer.  The tablet computer I bought has now become the second most important device in my computer arsenal.  The laptop still comes first, but I fear it's fast going to be overtaken.  The thing is, I  use the system now for so much more than what I my laptop for – from sitting out at night mapping the night stars, to controlling my TV and every other entertainment device in my house without having to use the 6 remotes, not to mention office software functions, games, checking the news, watching videos, reading books, and doing so much more with the loads of free and open source apps now available.

I've left out all mention of smartphones up to this point. The great thing when I retired and started working for myself out of my house, I got rid of my trusty Blackberry because I don't have to take calls and talk to people or exchange text messages with them anymore if I don't want to – and I don't.  Also, I no longer have to squint to see things on the tiny screen, or delicately try and touch the right hyperlink, or type with my thumbs.  Smartphones are great and probably the device of choice for the younger generations, but with my chosen lifestyle I personally have chosen to remove that device from my computer tool chest.

If you took the time to read this blog, thanks.  Forgive my rambling thoughts, but I felt moved to write something to commemorate my acquisition and acceptance of the tablet computer.  Just as I moved to using online banking 5 years after the crowd, I've finally taken to and embraced my Samsung Galaxy tablet device – running the 'open source' Android operating system.

I just had to get that last minute plug in for 'open source' software.

* Remember to visit the COSI 'Open' Health IT web site and see what's there.  Download and try out some of the many free and open source mobile health (mHealth) apps listed in the Resources Section of Open Health News (OHN).

Peter Groen, Senior Editor, Open Health News (OHN)



3 Month Followup

Still love my Tablet computer and am using it more and more. But, despite the many great things you can do with one, I find my Laptop computer is still the device of choice as the workhorse for typical office functions. I thought the tablet might replace it, but not so - not yet.