Thursday, August 23, 2012

Electronic serendipity and the Nexus 7 tablet

Like anyone, I guess, there are times when I get overwhelmed and weary of the digiverse: I get gadget gaga, web weary, and doc-demented. Often it just seems like it's all a bit much and it feels like time to escape to analogue space and the world of nuts and bolts for a good long stretch.

Of course, it only takes a day or so and I'm ready to get back. For all kinds of reasons.

Among the reasons is the wonderful serendipity that seems never far away from the interfaces among the internet, everyday purposes and routines, and the digital tools I use as a matter of course.

Today brought a case in point. I'm still waiting for the keyboard and case for my Google Nexus 7 tablet to arrive, but meanwhile a couple of micro usb adapters had arrived that allow for plugging regular usb devices into the micro port on the Nexus. I had got this for exploring using a mouse for the time when the keyboard arrives, and it works fine.

Being pretty much ignorant of the Nexus architecture I tried plugging a usb stick in, but to no avail. The file app didn't help. So I figured "ok, no go. No loading media from a stick".

When I first got the Nexus, Michele sent me a message about the Reddit Nexus forum and I took a look. Lots of people saying lots of things of interest, but many of those folk are programmers whose topics I but dimly understand. But I filed it away.

Here comes the serendipity. Today, while idling away a bit of time I thought "I wonder what they are talking about on the Reddit Nexus forum. For some reason unknown to me -- although almost certainly linked to my regular states of befuddlement -- rather than going direct to the forum I just keyed "Reddit Nexus" into google search.

Of course, you can guess what happened.

Right. The first hit on the search was for a thread on a usb media importer. I clicked on the page with no idea of what might be there and started reading about the Nexus not being root based. And before I could sneeze I found I had hit on a discussion of a brand new app that did exactly what I had been trying to do a couple of days ago. It would, allegedly, make it possible to save or stream media from a thumb drive. And for $1.99.

I went to the site that the thread pertained to and found the developer had a free app there for photos, and recommended trying the free app to see if it would run on the device.

It did.

So I downloaded the media importer app. It didn't run the first file type I tried, but it did run the next one. In no time at all I was streaming the movie Australia from a 16 gig stick.

That is precisely the kind of app functionality you need for a device that has no SD slot but does have Bluetooth and micro usb capacity.

I bought the 16 gig version of the Nexus to allow me some space for downloading media files from the computer, but this app means that for anyone who wants the Nexus for the kinds of uses I put it to they will be fine with the 8 gig version.

That is a LOT of wonderment for $199. This tablet just keeps getting better and better.

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