Monday, January 23, 2012

Preliminary Notes on the Tablet

I've recently acquired an Arnova tablet, purchased via  It part of a package deal.  You get the tablet for an extremely low price, but with a contract to pay a monthly fee to subscribe to the Philadelphia papers on it.  Check out the details at

Tablets require hand / eye coordination so it has taken me little longer than usual to get the hang of things, and it has capabilities that I haven't used.  For instance, the specs say you can watch movies on it but I haven't tried that yet.  In fact I've done very little other than read the paper on it.  My morning commute routine now includes downloading the paper on to the tablet before I leave the house and then reading it on the train.  Reading the physical paper on the train has always been beyond my abilities -- too much folding and unfolding and refolding, so I have been reading the paper when I get home in the evening. 

I check as part of my "get ready for work" routine but that only has a few stories on it.  I get some of the highlights there and then read the rest on the tablet.  I get a digital copy of the paper as well, delivered to my email but it just isn't feasible for my old eyes to read it on a computer screen.  I use the Philly app.  I can select the section of the paper I want to read and the stories appear in a menu.  I can pull up the first one, read it, and then just scroll through with a wave of one finger.  Pictures come through, though I can't always seem them well, usually due to the angle I hold the tablet. 

The tablet uses wireless so I don't have constant Internet access, but once the paper is downloaded I can read it wherever whenever.  There aren't updates, however, so you still need to check during the day, or subscribe to the paper's twitter feed, to get the latest news. 

I had thought about making the tablet my newstand, perhaps trying to read the New Yorker, which also gives me a digital subscription, but it requires an Internet connection to read online -- no download, and the layout is hard for me to read. Perhaps there are options but if so I've missed them; perhaps it just needs more investigation.  You can also get book readers on the tablet and download books.  I haven't done that yet either.

The tablet has become so much a part of my routine that even on the weekends I am more likely to sit down with it than to trot down the driveway and retrieve the paper.  I do miss the ads a little, and not all of the comics I like to read are included, but overall I'm getting more and more comfortable with the tablet.  Mr. J asked when I got the tablet if I was ready to cancel our print subscription.  I wasn't, but next time he asks the answer may be different. 

My only real problem with the tablet, other than the occasional bug that requires a restart, is that it has messed up my train reading routine.  I used to reserve train time for magazines and haven't reworked that yet, so I'm weeks behind on the New Yorker.  That's a time management problem, though, and not the paper's problem.

If you've been thinking about getting one of these I would recommend giving it a try, or considering it as a gift for the newsy and nerdy.   You can get Android aps for the tablet so there are a lot of other things you can do with it.  It comes loaded with a few other services / features but I haven't really used those either.  Read more at

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