Chat, Blogging, and Research Help: The Bad, the Terrible, and the Good.

Mon hours: 7:30 am - 5:00 pm

This morning my plan was to write a blog post about using the Nexus for reference chat (simply put: It isn't easy due to the size of the screen) using the Nexus to compose the post. This would allow me to both touch on chat and attempt to upload images/screenshots I took with the Nexus directly from the Nexus.

Since I am currently typing this on my computer and I'm not posting any screenshots, you can guess how it worked out.

Let's start with chat

Chat doesn't work well on the Nexus. The dimension of the screen is narrower than the iPad, so when the keyboard pops up, the chat box (which is part of the browser) is covered up. You can see it if you are in the portrait mode, but the keyboard is more difficult to use. Also not so good: No notifications. Notifications in tablets are usually tied to apps as opposed to websites, and Springshare doesn't offer a chat app and from what it sounds like, they don't intend to put much effort into developing one.

I have tested chat in the iPad and it works better as long as you allow pop-ups and don't use private browsing. I normally don't allow pop-ups and I use private browsing, so on my personal iPad, once I changed my settings it worked. But like the Nexus: No visual and audio notifications.

Simply put: Chat is not ideal with tablet and the only one it seems to work well at all is the iPad, because the dimensions of the screen allow you to both use the one-screen keyboard and see the full chat window. But because there aren't notifications, the best thing to do would be to only use tablets for chat when you aren't multi-tasking. Several of us have done this while in meetings when we were pulled away from both the reference consult area and our offices. It worked in that type of situation. 

Now on to blogging:

Let me start with this: my major issues with blogging from the Nexus were with Drupal. Blogging platforms like Tumblr, Wordpress, and Blogger are set up to work with tablets and other mobile devices. But this blog is in Drupal and it turns out it doesn't not play will with the mobile platform. It may be easier with an iPad, but I doubt it. 

Problems I had:

Uploading images: I tried uploading them directly from the Nexus Gallery, but the images were too big. I tried to use the image upload directory in Drupal. it worked, but it was extremely clunky and slow. It did allow me to resize images but it wasn't easy. The worst part was when I would upload the image, anything text I had typed would disappear. Talking about typing: The screen on the Nexus is so narrow that the keyboard takes up about half the screen--that alone is a problem--and as you type in Drupal the text box does not move so anything you type disappears under the screen keyboard. You have to stop to manually scroll to your text. Not cool. 

And of course, there were problems with the wireless. I could not get a steady wireless signal in my office, so I moved to the LC area. The WWUWireless was consistent but the secured network was not. This meant anything I typed was lost when the browser would prompt me to re-login to the network. This happened three time. After two hours of frustration, I gave up. 

While neither of these things, chatting or blogging, will be the main use of tablets, I wanted to see how far the use of the Nexus can be pushed. Right now, it doesn't seem to be much farther than basic web browsing. 

Reference/Research Help: The Bright Spot:

So far, outside of using it in meetings, the Nexus is most useful for working with patrons. Just today, in a two-hour span, I used it three different ways with three different students. 

As I was working with one student on a laptop, another student wanted to know if we had a book. I used the Nexus to look up the book in the catalog; we didn't have it, but it was in Summit. I let him use the Nexus to login to his Summit account and request the book.

When the student I was helping needed to move to the reference collection, I used the Nexus to look up a few reference titles. While in the ref collection, I used the Nexus to look up an organization listed in the Encyclopedia of Associations and found their trade journal and some other info that looked useful. 

And then, as we were changing research consult shifts, Rebecca was helping a student, so I used the Nexus to help a waiting student--and this involved another trip to the reference section and some more digging online while there. 

Likes:

  • Using it to work one-on-one, face-to-face with students. This is where it shines and is the most useful. This may jut be one "like," but it's an important one.

Dislikes:

  • Once again: The wireless
  • Blogging in Drupal. Terrible. This can cause some issues with posting screenshots. My guess is that I will have to transfer them to my computer and post them. It's a very clunky workaround. But... in general, blogging in the current set up in Drupal is far from ideal
  • Chatting: Also not good. Much of this has to do with the dimensions of the Nexus screen. 
Tablet Type: