Today I’ve started a new project. After working for an app development company for 8 months, hearing every day that the app market has hit critical mass, and that mobile web access has overtaken desktops as the primary means of accessing the internet, it seemed in my best interest to invest in a tablet to keep abreast of the mobile “craze.”
I’ve never paid much attention to the Play Store other than my daily use of Sindre Mehus’ wonderful Subsonic media server app. Projects like music research, databasing, and library management just don’t lend themselves to a mobile environment, much less to an app.
But I took on the project and invested in a Nexus 7 2nd gen (2013) which appeared to have universal acclaim as the best 7″ tablet on the market at present.
With its quad-core Snapdragon processor and the highest resolution of any available tablet (WUXGA 1920×1200) coupled with its affordable price tag, the choice was simple. A certified refurbished model from a licensed distributor was $160. A package of Tech Armor screen shields and a Moko faux leather case/stand with a compact Bluetooth keyboard was only $39 more, so the entire package was $200, tax and shipping-free.
But the question remained – would this mobile device be of any use to a user like myself?
I spent the first evening customizing the tablet. I compiled a beautiful high res album of photographs from the most renowned libraries in the world and installed Wallpaper Changer to cycle through a gallery of bibliophilia and really show off the resolution of the Nexus 7.
Next I ported my browser add-ons and settings to sync from my desktop to my mobile environment, which was surprisingly easier than I anticipated.
Then I arrived at perhaps my most empowering conclusion. To really get the most out of the mobile interface, I needed all of my library resources to be instantly accessible. As I had a fondness for the desktop interface of most of these services, I learned how to save deep-web links to my home screen instead of using apps.
Below is a snapshot of my fourth home screen where I’ve created shortcuts to everything from my most-traveled music subreddits to my audio reference texts which I’ve converted from PDF to reflowable ePubs and synced to my Google Books account.
I was excited to explore my record catalog which I had recently ported from a static database to the cloud on Discogs.com. The interface is clean and customizable in the tablet browser environment. Here is the Art Rock folder of my top 300 LPs in cover-view.
And the same folder in detail view.
And finally, the summary view from the home folder.
The site functions very well with a touch-based tablet interface, and my Subsonic media server was equally easy to use. In addition to the high resolution display, the Nexus 7 is fitted with stereo speakers which perform well in the mobile setting. Better still, I travel with my Sennheiser monitors wherever I go, so I am ready for anything (although I might consider a portable DAC further down the line).
Here is the Subsonic interface, viewing one artist’s folder on the Nexus 7.
And a view of a primary discographic chronology folder.
Or if you prefer to navigate by playlist…
So it would appear that the Nexus 7 is up to the challenge of the majority of my computing tasks. The one remaining challenge would be to draft an entire blog entry on the tablet.
Which I’ve just done.
This increased mobility will let me seize the opportunity to work on my research and blogging wherever I go. I’m looking forward to the productivity.
I’ll leave you with an interesting thought piece.
(Begin at 6m 45s if the video fails to jump to that time.)
This is Zimerman’s Paradox. “Music is not sound.”
In this BBC interview segment, Krystian Zimerman condemns digital recording for its perfection, and claims that it strips away the emotion and character of a composition.
What do you think?