1. hbquikcomjamesl's Avatar
    As I mentioned when introducing myself, I'm a programmer by trade, and a collector of antiquated hardware by inclination. I'm looking for a small, inexpensive tablet that I'll likely be able to use indefinitely. At the moment, the 8G Nexus 7 looks rather appealing.

    I'm very specifically not looking for a smart phone; I prefer having a cell phone that does little more than my landline phone does, on a voice-only plan. And I'm very specifically not looking to replace my 486 DOS-only notebook; the software I use on it runs beautifully. I read real books, not e-books. I don't download recorded music or video; I buy it on media.

    But I do a good deal of traveling, taking two vacations a year (sometimes three), and therein lies the need: I find that while more and more hotels have free WiFi for guests, fewer and fewer have free internet carrels. Library internet carrels, though usually free, frequently not even requiring one to apply for a library card, are also usually overcrowded. And while the carrels at Kinko's aren't usually overcrowded, they are usually expensive.

    I'd like to be able to give up my dependency on internet carrels, without having to replace either the notebook or the cell phone. But some issues surfaced when I tried one at a local Staples, issues on which Google Play tech support was profoundly unhelpful.

    I had no trouble accessing my ISP's web-mail interface on the floor-sample at Staples. And given that it's a Google-branded device, I have little doubt of its fitness to access my work email (which is on GMail), or my personal GMail account. But I also frequent a number of boards, and when I went to the two I on which I currently spend the most time, they didn't even render. I need to know whether that was something related to it being a floor-sample, with the boards blocked by some firewall in the store's WiFi server, or whether it's an inherent problem with the Nexus 7. The boards in question are

    Fountain Pen Network
    The Fountain Pen Network

    and Cake Central
    Cake Central - The world's largest online cake decorating community.

    I also follow a number of comic strips online, mostly through ArcaMax, and I'd like to know anything any Nexus 7 users can tell me about the unit's fitness for accessing comic strip sites. And the other main thing I'd want to do is check my credit union for the day's check (and debit chit) clearings.

    And if the Nexus 7 isn't for me, what is?
    09-13-2012 01:19 AM
  2. MrSmith317's Avatar
    This is probably more of a "free internet" problem than anything. Most free wifi out there will let you hit mostly textual sites and block most if not all downloads(or just severely cripple the speed). Imagine 50 people downloading a 30 MB game from their hotspot, it would cause the whole thing to lag(for probably less than 10 minutes). The impact whether real or virtual would mean less people would be able to effectively use their complimentary service and may find a better overall experience elsewhere.

    On the tablet issue, I like the Galaxy Tab 2. It's 7" and $50 more and has more packed in it as far as I'm concerned. The IR blaster sold me.

    Oh and I love computers and tech in general but I seriously hope you're joking about the 486 laptop.
    09-13-2012 09:59 AM
  3. hbquikcomjamesl's Avatar
    No, I'm not joking. It's a beat-up Compaq Contura, bought used. It may have both of its lid hinges MacGyvered, and it may have a chain on the side to keep the lid from opening too far, but it still works beautifully. And my iMac really is a "bionic desk lamp" G4; I also have a Performa 5215.

    It runs PC-DOS 2000. The main applications I use on it are WordPerfect 4.1+, Quattro SE, and Xerox Ventura Publisher, DOS/GEM edition. On the latter, when Corel bought the whole Ventura Software operation off of Xerox, they sent me an "offer" of an "upgrade" to the latest WinDoze version. I told them what they could do with it, and told them (quoting an old tobacco company slogan) that I'd "rather fight than switch."

    At any rate, the Google Play support technician made some comment about flash content being the cause of the problem, which is preposterous, given that with the possible exception of ads, boards don't have flash content (and if they did, I'd notice it, given that my iMac at home has FlashBlock on its Firefox). Neither would I expect large-download-blocking to be an issue, since the largest downloads on most boards (including the ones I mentioned) are generally just photographs whose posters neglected to scale them before uploading.
    09-13-2012 12:48 PM
  4. MrSmith317's Avatar
    I was just citing large download blocking as an example of ways that open wifi hotspots typically lock down their access. But I've accessed so many sites from my phone on 4G that I would say with almost 100% certainty that it was the network you were on rather than the device.
    09-13-2012 01:03 PM
  5. jean15paul's Avatar
    Huh? I'm no expert, but I'm surprised that you had problems getting boards to render on the Nexus 7. Except for flash, it's browser is plenty capable (and you could always sideload flash if you wanted to). I would think the Nexus 7 would work well for your needs. If internet access is really the only thing that you need to do, you could also consider a netbook or a chromebook, although I'm not sure how prices compare to tablets.
    09-13-2012 02:15 PM
  6. hbquikcomjamesl's Avatar
    This afternoon, I found a live floor sample Nexus 7 at a local Office Depot. This time, when I tried to connect to Fountain Pen Network and Cake Central, I had no trouble (and actually signed on and posted to FPN). Likewise, I had no trouble at all bringing up today's Beetle Bailey strip on ArcaMax.

    Dunno what was up before, with the other floor sample.

    Didn't try and connect to my Credit Union; it didn't seem prudent to do so on a tablet that wasn't my own, even if it is a mandatory HTTPS connection.

    After a bit of thumb-typing, and a few missed buttons and links, though, I'm seriously considering picking up a compatible keyboard and mouse, for hotel room use.
    09-16-2012 10:03 PM
  7. djw39's Avatar
    A Chromebook or Lenovo Ideapad S series will suit your needs better than a tablet. After you get those accessories you will realize you are carrying three pieces that don't fit well together, the screen is too small, etc. You will have overspent on a tablet + other stuff because it is the latest trend, when you really just need a simple small reliable and cheap laptop

    Sent from my Nexus S 4G using Tapatalk 2
    09-17-2012 10:43 AM
  8. hezx's Avatar
    A Chromebook or Lenovo Ideapad S series will suit your needs better than a tablet. After you get those accessories you will realize you are carrying three pieces that don't fit well together, the screen is too small, etc. You will have overspent on a tablet + other stuff because it is the latest trend, when you really just need a simple small reliable and cheap laptop

    Sent from my Nexus S 4G using Tapatalk 2
    I agree with him. Yes the tablet is nice, but for your needs a chromebook would work beautifully.

    Take a look at them and see what you think

    Sent from my LG-LS840 using Android Central Forums
    09-17-2012 01:56 PM
  9. hbquikcomjamesl's Avatar
    Thanks, but Chromebooks look too bulky and expensive. And as to IdeaPads, in addition to their being too bulky and expensive, (1) I am as adamant about not replacing my DOS-only notebook as I am about not replacing my simple cellular phone (or changing my cellular service to something other than voice-only), and (2) I refuse to own a WinDoze device of any kind: Gates is one Bill I refuse to pay.

    The 8G Nexus 7 is at the very top of my price range. But it has the advantage that it's compact, it doesn't try to replace something I already have, and (unlike the cheaper tablets) is not an uprated e-reader.
    09-17-2012 04:04 PM
  10. hezx's Avatar
    Okay. Was just a suggestion.

    But if you like the Nexus 7 go ahead. I defiantly won't stop anyone from or you from buying it. It's a very solid device and if you got it to work go ahead and get it.

    Sent from my LG-LS840 using Android Central Forums
    09-17-2012 05:13 PM
  11. hbquikcomjamesl's Avatar
    <shrug> It seems to be the cheapest, most compact device that will do what's needed.
    09-17-2012 08:25 PM
  12. djw39's Avatar
    A man has a rowboat, which he likes. It's nice, for a rowboat. Does everything you could reasonably expect a rowboat to do. But obviously there are some drawbacks to having your only boat be a rowboat. There are occasions when he admittedly would be better off with a motorboat, but he really likes the rowboat, and would prefer not to replace it (or get a second boat).

    There's a really popular jet ski that he sees lots of people using and enjoying, and the advertisements for it make it look great. Now, he doesn't have any need for a jet ski, doesn't like to jet ski, but he thinks if he got this jet ski maybe he could get a couple of planks of wood from the hardware store and nail them to it, and then it would totally work. AND he could still pretend the rowboat was really the only boat he needed.

    Your quest, sir, is quixotic. If you've talked yourself into thinking this is a good idea, go right ahead. But only a grand fool buys a tiny tablet and lugs around a keyboard and mouse with it, squinting at it across a desk. You should either commit to using the Nexus 7 in its intended form, as a handheld tablet, or swallow your pride and get a decent laptop.

    Using Nexus 7 with keyboard: Not on your life | ZDNet
    09-17-2012 08:52 PM
  13. jean15paul's Avatar
    To each his own. I think you should get whatever you want.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Android Central Forums
    09-17-2012 09:25 PM
  14. borg8503's Avatar
    I have a N7. When I need to do a lot of typing, I use a keyboard. Most of my typing is plain text of the email or programming variety. Would I write a book this way? Of course not. But for short stuff it works great. Also consider a stylus. Much faster and easier than fingers.

    I read a lot of technical stuff and seldom go back to my laptop to read now. I think you will enjoy the N7. There is some truly useful software available for it as well.

    As a longtime student of technology, I find the experience of a tablet to be very enlightening. The form of the technology does truly effect the functionality.

    Oh, I wrote this all with the stylus, moving it much faster than I could single finger type it on a keyboard.
    09-17-2012 09:39 PM
  15. hbquikcomjamesl's Avatar
    "borg8503": Thanks. That answers another question in the back of my mind: whether or not a stylus works well with a Nexus.

    And of course, I wouldn't be lugging around a bulky, heavy, expensive, built-like-a-tank-to-outlast-the-computer Unicomp keyboard for my N7, any more than I would do so for my notebook (but they sure are wonderful keyboards, well worth the $85-100-each price tag). That defeats the purpose of any portable device. But having a cheap, lightweight, compact, compatible keyboard and mouse (or keyboard-with-trackball) in my suitcase, in case I need to do something keyboard-intensive and/or mouse-intensive, would be nice, and the tablet itself would still fit in a jacket pocket, or a side compartment of my notebook case.

    When I'm on vacation, I typically travel with three cameras: two film SLRs (one with 100-speed film and a 50mm f/1.7, the other with 800-speed film and a 50mm f/1.4), and one digital P/S (a Canon S/50, bought used). I don't own a single zoom lens for the SLRs, but I do carry a 28mm, a 135mm, and a doubler. The SLRs don't have built-in flash, but I carry a flash unit. They are both manual wind, but I carry a winder. I also carry a tiny tripod, and both a 1-foot cable release and an 18-foot pneumatic release.

    I don't usually walk around all day with the full camera bag, but I have the rarely-used items I might need with me, in case I need them. The SLR with the 100-speed film is for situations where there's plenty of light. The SLR with the 800-speed film is for situations where there isn't. And the digital P/S is for situations where it wouldn't be appropriate to be walking around with an SLR or two around my neck, or when I'll be taking pictures someplace where there's mandatory x-ray inspection, or when I'm out of film.

    A digital camera that could even come close to the resolution of 100-speed 35mm film would be very expensive, and as bulky and heavy as a medium format camera, and it still wouldn't be as flexible as my usual three cameras, or do all of their jobs as well as they can.

    Likewise, a netbook might do the same jobs as both my notebook and a tablet, and a smartphone might do the same jobs as both my leash and a tablet (and the digital P/S), and potentially, a tablet-with-keyboard-dock might do the same job as all of them. Just not as well as the individual devices do their jobs.
    09-18-2012 01:39 PM
  16. raggedstone's Avatar
    Re. the film vs digital thing:

    You might find this page interesting: Digital cameras vs. film, part 2

    The shortened version is that a modern DSLR will outperform film in resolution, and will have much lower noise. Although you might still consider them expensive, especially in view of the desirability of a modern computer to work on the images (I don't think the 486 is going to cut it there).
    09-21-2012 10:54 AM
  17. hbquikcomjamesl's Avatar
    A modern DSLR, these days, is as bulky as a smallish medium format camera (and indeed, a good deal bulkier than my antique Zeiss Ikon Nettar folder). And any such DSLR that can even come close to the image quality of 100-speed film (they've been outperforming 200-speed and faster for years) still costs an arm and a leg.

    But that's not important now. At any rate, I picked up my 8G N7 last night, on the way home. Since all Staples locations in the area were out of them, I fell back on Office Depot (not my favorite, for their reprehensible habit of setting up shop right next door [in some cases literally, or very nearly so] to locally-owned full-service stationers, and driving them out of the stationery business).

    Now, I just need to find a hotspot, to get through the set-up process.
    09-26-2012 11:58 AM
  18. jcsugrue's Avatar
    Whoa...slow down there, buddy. Jumping straight to a Nexus 7 sounds like a dangerous leap. Start small, take baby steps. Get an etch-a-sketch, maybe upgrade to a Palm VII after a while if you'd like to access the World Wired Web, then ease yourself into the Android world, maybe with a plush Android collectible or action figure. Then, maybe, you'll be ready to face the Eye of the Tegra, and the thrill of the fight.
    10-27-2012 01:33 PM

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