Middle-aged tech for a middle-aged man

This week I entered the Tablet Age, as my wife generously purchased one for me. What a difference this week has made!

As anyone who knows me will attest, I am not a fan of the cult whose temple lies at 1 Infinite Loop, so this was a choice between Windows7, Android, and WebOs. I went with Android, and can now boast ownership of a slick, metallic device with a 10 inch 1280×800 display, and 32gb of expandable onboard storage. Pleased, I most definitely am.

Until this week, portable computing was a toss-up between my smart phone, and my enormous, 9lb, ‘desktop replacement’ [a laptop with built-in 5.1 surround speakers and a 19” screen]. It really was a rather comic disparity of being too small for the job, or much too large. Now for about 1/9th of the weight, I can get all of the functionality with incalculably greater ease and practicality.

No suitcase required.

As I have mentioned in the past, while I have quickly grown to appreciate the smaller footprint an RPG collection in pdf leaves in my apartment, I have not been all that fond of the experience of reading them. Those days are over. The screen is much easier on the eyes than any of my multiple desktop monitors, and the interface and size is very natural. As I really have no practical choice when it comes to RPG purchases other than digital, and as the industry seems to have whole-heartedly embraced pdf over…  what?  I think the only option for me was to obtain a device which could mitigate or resolve the issues I had been having with pdf. Mission accomplished.

Expanding Outward

So, now that I have this thing, what else can I do with it? I prefer rolling real dice, but I have already begun to evaluate the different dice rolling apps available. I have nothing too exciting to report yet. For my eclectic and wayward interests, I am looking for an app which allows totals and die pools of mixed dice, has an option for setting the values on exploding and imploding dice, keeps a log of results, and allows profiles to be saved for specific, oft-needed combinations. I have found some that approach this, but so far nothing that does all of these.

Screen size is also a factor… hopefully more designers will remember that a much wider variety of screen sizes exist suddenly, and go back to rework their products to reflect that.

On the game management front, I have been looking into different options for note-taking, and am looking forward to combining synched written and audio notes in my next session, to maximize detail while minimizing time needed to get the important details down after or during a session. There are several options for this as well, and I will report my experiences with them when I have some experiences to report.

Although the tablet has excellent sound, I do not think I will be using it for audio support during play – except in very specific circumstances. Over the last two years, I have been moving further from the habit of using music and sound effects to bolster scenes. I still like to use props, video and audio to help concepts take root, and compress setting references into more digestible and memorable hunks, but I typically find the use of music during a game to serve more as distraction or an invitation for digression than as a real aid…. usually. For my purposes, showing off my setting trailers and other information aids will be much easier with this device; that is for certain.

To get used to the Android OS, and enjoy the tablet I have made the usual rush on the usual sites to download the prerequisite usual deluge of apps, widgets, books, and whatnot.

For entertainment, I picked up the Black Campbell’s latest work; a novelization of the Perseus myth that promises to revitalize that old favorite. I also snagged a wide variety of classics like the Phantom of the Opera, the novels of the Three Musketeers, Lovecraft, and Howard, with a smattering of Wells, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and of course, a raft of new items from Drivethru RPG. I shall be busy reminding myself how to read with soon to be classics like Brass & Steel, and Unhallowed Metropolis Revised, while trying not to let these new items interfere with referencing of Ubiquity’s heavy hitters, and of course… A Time of War.

Is there anybody out there?

If there are others out there who are late getting aboard the ‘tablet in gaming’ train, and are standing uncomfortably looking for a seat in the Android car, I would like to hear from you. You will be seeing how I intend to use mine in clips and reports on this site for the next little while, but as I will probably be reinventing the wheel you have already carved out for yourself, I hope you will consider sharing some idea-wealth.

How are you using specialty and generic apps to facilitate greater ease behind and in front of the screen? Have you found a great new use for Dropbox or Evernote? Are you incorporating timers and spreadsheets to tighten your game? How are you doing what you are doing?

Enquiring minds want to know~
4 Responses to “Middle-aged tech for a middle-aged man”
  1. Ken Vinson says:

    Hey there. I’m Ken from the Brass & Steel team. Thanks for picking up the book. We’d love to hear your comments, criticism, and/or praise for Brass & Steel once you’ve had a chance to read the book. You can find our forum link from our main page at http://www.pameangames.com. Thanks again for the shout-out.

    • Runeslinger says:

      Thanks for dropping by~
      I will be taking a closer look at Brass & Steel in a post or two in week or two, once
      my Mechwarriors stop picking on their hapless Lyran oppressors…

  2. I find that I still don’t like to read longer PDFs on my tablet. In addition to that, while they’re a great reference tool while I’m preparing for a game, at the game itself they’re too slow when it comes to looking things up in a PDF. Plus, looking things up during the game itself is something I’m trying to get away from.

    The most use the tablet gets at the table is looking at the campaign wiki. I can quickly look up what happened last session. I can look at the pages for villages the party is going to and skim the list of NPCs they have encountered there the last time. That works well.

    • Runeslinger says:

      I don’t mind reading them on the tablet – especially in portrait – and have found it miles beyond the experience of reading them on my desktop. I do, however, feel the same about using pdf readers on the device to search for material or even use the tables of contents. As most of my gaming needs are for Mechwarrior these days, I have a constant need to reference charts and obscure information.

      I have also had some real issues with newer pdf options causing slowness or forced close results, which rather defeated my primary purpose of getting the thing. I have found some solutions, though, and will be posting some clips in a few days.

      As a player I have been using it to flip back and forth between my character spreadsheet, my text/audio log of events, and whatever tables I might need (spell casting modifiers for Desolation). I hope to use it for the campaign wiki as it starts to grow – we are only three sessions in to the campaign at this point.

      Thanks for sharing~

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