SHTF Blog is hi tech!
Yeah, yeah, what place does a computer device have after TSHTF?
It can have a big place if the conditions are right. Let’s assume that the TEOTWAWKI event doesn’t involve an EMP event, rendering most electronics useless dead-weight. All you need is a way to charge it such as a solar panel and you’re all set.
First, it’s a great organizational tool. You can create searchable lists like a spreadsheet or database and put inventory information in it and have easy access to it. Let’s say there’s a TEOTWAWKI event and you’re suddenly cut off for awhile. You’re on your own and you want to know exactly what you have for food, water, and other resources right now.
You can write it all down on a pad of paper (valuable resource) or you can type it directly into your tablet and have a searchable list. “Where did I put the 45 degree angle iron?” You can search through your sheets of paper or you can do a quick search of your spread sheet.
It can serve as an entertainment device for the kids. If you have a few movies downloaded onto it you can keep them entertained while you get other important work done.
You can download books or manuals to store on it. Sure, nothing beats holding a book in your hand and I agree with that, but books take up space and if it’s something you might read only after TSHTF then this might be a great way to save space. If I had to physically store my SHTF library it would take up a warehouse full of space I don’t have.
Tablet vs PC or Laptop
The tablet is basically a small computer that comes in three main flavors right now. Your smartphone could be considered a small tablet, but I find the interface to be too small for serious every day computing like word processing and such. Sure, you can make quick notes and whatnot, but to write a large document on it would require more skill than I have with the small keyboard.
The three basic types of tablets out there run the Macintosh, Android, or Windows operating system.
If you have multiple devices like phones, desktops, laptops, tablets, it’s probably a good idea to get them so that they all talk to each other so they can share data.
So let’s talk specifics. I have extensive experience with two devices, so I’ll give you my impressions of those.
First is the Amazon Kindle Fire, which runs the Android operating system. I have the 7″ and the 8.9″ HD versions. The Kindle is a great book reader that can do a whole lot more. You can download various “aps” (applications) from the internet to do different things. As a consumption device it’s awesome. You can watch movies, check your social media, read emails, Skype, and do all kinds of cool things with it. Where I found it lacking was actually creating things like Word documents, lists, etc. There are a million aps for it, but to actually type on it – even with the little Bluetooth keyboard I bought for it – was a hassle. I just wanted to open it up and be able to type on it and that wasn’t the experience I had with it.
The price for the Kindle can go anywhere from $80 to around $350 and it’s worth the price if you’re on the market for something like this.
But in my quest for a tablet that would allow me to create documents and spreadsheets the same as you would on an actual laptop I decided to branch out and try the Microsoft Surface 2, which is what I’m using to create this post. The Surface 2 was what I was looking for when it came to a device meant for creation instead of consumption. The keyboard is a pleasure to type on compared to the small Kindle keyboard I bought and it comes preloaded with MS Office 2013, which is a killer ap.
There are three main versions of the Surface. The first generation was the Surface RT (Run Time). According to the research I’ve done you’ll probably want to stay away from this one. I bought the Surface 2, which is still RT, but as far as I’m concerned it’s awesome. RT means it’s still considered a tablet operating system, so if you want to get an application for it you have to go to the MS Ap store and get it there. When it first came out there were very few aps written for it and this was one of the drawbacks, but by the time I bought mine I went out and installed a bunch of applications that I found on the store for free. Perfect!
The Surface Pro has the actual Windows OS, so if you want to install software off the ‘net or Cd or whatever you can do it.
The Surface tablets come loaded with Microsoft Windows 8.1, which a lot of people really hate. I have to admit when I first loaded it up I was like, “What the hell is this???” but after taking 20 minutes to actually learn the OS I’ve come to prefer it over Windows 7 and earlier operating systems. It’s fantastic to use when you can swipe it with your fingers, but a bit of a pain when you have to use just the mouse.
My suggestion is that if you do get this on a tablet or PC give it a chance. It’s not like other Windows versions, so get that out of your head right now. The Metro desktop is quite different, but like I said, once I got used to it I like it a lot. Figure out how to manipulate the icons and set your desktop up your way, which will make it a lot more fun to use.
Touch and Type Keyboards
There are two types of keyboards that you can buy with the Surface. The Touch keyboard is basically a flat keyboard and the Type keyboard has small keys on it. I’m old school in that I like the feel of actual keys, so I bought the Type keyboard. For me this is a big part of what makes the device so usable. The keyboard plugs in and works. Period. You don’t have to go to your wifi settings to hook up the bluetooth or any of that. It attaches via powerful magnets and you can actually hold it up by the keyboard and the table won’t come off.
I tried the Touch keyboard and I’m sure with a little practice it would have been easy to use it quickly and accurately, but the Type keyboard gave me better tactile feedback, so that’s what I went with. It does cost a little more, so be aware of that if you decide to go out shopping.
Now for the price. The original Surface RT usually goes for less than $400. The Surface 2 – the one I own – was $449 plus you have to buy the keyboard, which was another $119 or so. The Surface Pro and above go for over $1000. Ouch.
I almost didn’t get it because of the price. After all, I could easily run down to Walmart and pick up an Acer laptop for $259. But I already have a laptop. Even a small laptop starts to be a hassle to carry around, so I opted for the Surface, which goes a little over a pound.
The engineering is excellent and the back of the tablet folds out to create a stand. With the magnetic keyboard attached you nearly have a laptop experience on your lap or desk. It also has a USB 3 port on it, which means you can attach a mouse, extra keyboard, USB thumb drive, or just about anything. A very welcome addition to the computing experience. Another great feature is the battery life, which lasts for about 10 hours. I use my Surface all day at work and then again when I get home after the kids go to bed and I only have to charge it up over night. During the day I might use it as a word processor, or for looking up my workout routine, downloading books (mine has a 32 GB hard drive), listening to music, writing blog posts, taking pictures on it’s rear and front facing camera, etc etc.
Since I bought my Surface 2 I think I’ve opened up my actual laptop four or five times in the past three months.
If you’re looking for a solid tablet that allows great productivity then I would recommend this one.
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