Posts tagged ‘technology’

Smartphones on the Farm: Part II Review of Samsung’s Omnia i910

Part I:

Smartphones on the Farm: Part I Review of Samsung’s Omnia i910

Part II:

Part I review of the Samsung Omnia i910 covered a few ‘nuts and bolts’ of this smartphone/PDA and how it fits into an agricultural operation.  For Part II, I will focus exclusively on reviewing the 5.0 megapixel camera that is integrated in the Omnia i910.  As a benchmark, I will compare the Omnia i910 5.0 megapixel camera to my Nikon Coolpix S50 7.2 megapixel camera.  I am focusing this post exclusively on the camera feature because MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) messaging with pictures can be a great way to convey information. On to the comparisons!

Nikon Coolpix s50: Tillering wheat taken 03/21/09. This is the standard that I’ll compare to the cameraphone.

 

Samsung Omnia i910 cameraphone: Tillering wheat taken 03/21/09 (same plant as shown in image above).

 

Closer look . . . 

 

 Nikon Coolpix S50: Closeup of normal wheat yellowing and necrosis.

 

Samsung Omnia i910 camperaphone: Closeup of normal wheat yellowing and necrosis.

 

Conclusions: As much as I hoped a camerphone could supplant the need for a separate camera, you can see from the above photos that the technology (at least with the Omnia i910) is not quite there yet.  However, I was surprised that the closeup photos of the wheat were similar.  I can see the utility of taking a picture of an insect or an unusual leaf spot with a high quality cameraphone and instantly sending it via MMS to a pathologist or entomologist for quick ID.  

 

Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for writing this review. I reserve the right to modify this review at any time. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of The Ohio State University, Ohio State University Extension or of any other individual university employee. This review is provided for educational purposes only and not an endorsement of any product mentioned.

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March 24, 2009 at 7:30 am 1 comment

Smartphones on the Farm: Part I Review of Samsung’s Omnia i910

Do smartphones/PDAs such as this one have a place on the farm? Absolutely.  The number of farmers I know that carry a Blackberry, or similar device, are growing.  As such, I thought I would review my Samsung Omnia i910 (Verizon) and specifically focus on agricultural application.

 

Out of the box the fist thing that you’ll notice is that the device is clearly not ‘ruggedized’.  This could be a problem on the farm, but I’ll come back to that later.  My Swiss Army Knife measures 3 1/2″ x 7/8″ wide x 5/8″ deep.  The i910 is not quite as thick as the pocketknife.  

This phone is loaded with gadgets, starting with Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional which gives you threaded text messaging among other features.  I won’t go through all the features on this phone, rather, I’ll focus on those that have some applicability to agricultural applications.  

 

Communications:  The screenshot above shows the start screen.  At the top you see call log, SMS, and email.  Text messages and your email can both be handled seamlessly with smartphones, and no, you do not have to create a separate email account.  I have linked the Omnia i910 phone with my master gmail account and I can view and reply to email from anywhere I can get a cell signal.  I can see where this would be a HUGE advantage for time-strapped farmers during those critical farming periods when 12+ hour days are the norm.

 

Information: The above screenshot from my phone is from the March 16, 2009 CORN Newsletter.  I have not editied or modified this crystal-clear screenshot in any way.  This is where a full-screen smartphone has an advantage over a small-screen flip phone.  The i910 uses Opera Mobile 9.5 as the web browser which is different from Internet Explorer or Firefox, but does a great job bringing the internet to the mobile screen.

 

Weather Analysis: Farmers rely on numerous sources for weather, but many times have to rely on their own experiences and skills for weather assessment.  Imagine the scenario: trying to get the last 10 acres of that long and narrow 80 acre corn field planted; you’ve just filled the boxes and the front is coming in, but where exactly is it? Do you stop, or chance it and get started on that last 10 acres? Now, pull up your full-screen smartphone and get a better idea of where that front may be headed. Better information = better decision making.

 

Phone and Device Protection: Ultimately, we need the smartphone to be  . . . well, it needs to be an actual phone.  The keys work well with my small/medium hands. The buttons are responsive and I do not often hit keys that I do not intend to hit.  The i910 does not have a hardpad keyboard, the keyboard is integrated into the touchpad screen.  This leads to the issue of protection and protecting that screen from repeated use as well as rattling around in your pocket.  There are numerous aftermarket cases and plastic ‘skins’ that are available and I highly recommend you purchase an aftermarket product to protect your Omnia i910 if you are using it on the farm.  

 

Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for writing this review. I reserve the right to modify this review at any time. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of The Ohio State University, Ohio State University Extension or of any other individual university employee. This review is provided for educational purposes only and not an endorsement of any product mentioned.

March 23, 2009 at 7:30 am 2 comments

Make Your Cellphone Your Personal Assistant with Jott

Jott Logo

Oftentimes I find that I don’t have a piece of paper or pencil handy to take a note, but I always have my cellphone. With the free Jott service, there’s no need for taking paper notes anymore. Let me explain.

Jott is a free voice to text service. After you sign up with Jott, leaving yourself a text message sent to your email is as easy as dialing the Jott 1-866 number from your cellphone and speaking the message. You can also send messages to your seed rep, herbicide dealer, etc. etc. Here’s how it works:

  1. You dial the Jott 1-866 number.
  2. A voice asks “Who do you want to Jott?”
  3. You reply “me” or anyone else that you have pre-entered in your contact list through Jott
  4. You speak your message
  5. A message shows up in your email inbox within a few minutes with the text message that you just spoke.
  6. You can also tell Jott to send a reminder to your cellphone

It really doesn’t get much easier than Jott. I use it 10 to 30 times a week, depending how busy I am. Try it, I think you’ll like it!

EDIT 3/10/2009: I no longer use Jott; I have switched to reQall (http://www.reqall.com/).  Jott started charging to see messages, wheras reQall is completely free.  Also, I am no longer using these services 10-30 times a week.  I typically use reQall about once or twice a week at most.

July 20, 2008 at 3:37 pm

Useful Technology for the Farm

In this post I will summarize some technology that can help on your farm. This is not an endorsement, rather an educational update on technology products.

Off-Site Computer Backup
This isn’t an option, in my opinion. If you have a computer and are running your farm records through your computer then you need to consider not only backing up your data but getting your data ‘off-site’. Here are some options:

1. Burn a CD weekly/monthly of your critical files and physically remove the CD from your office. Maybe drop it off at a relative’s place.
Cost: <$1 for the cost of a CD

2. Load your files onto an external portable hard drive and physically remove the hard drive from your office weekly/monthly. Google portable hard drives for more information.
Cost: depends on size, but 20-60GB should be less than $70.

Automatic, fee-based, online backup services may be a better way to go if you forget to manually backup. These programs automatically backup your computer per a schedule you set. Visit mozy.com sugarsync.com, or carbonite.com for details.
Cost: $5/month and up, depending on your storage needs.

Computer Antivirus
Viruses can be destructive, or at the very least they can be annoying. If you are not running antivirus protection on your computer, I suggest doing so now. The two freeware antivirus programs that appear to work well are avast (avast.com) and AVG (http://free.avg.com/). Check them out.

July 18, 2008 at 9:00 am 3 comments


Notice

This blog is no longer being maintained. Information on this blog may still be relevant, but for the latest agronomic information and farm management information please visit http://corn.osu.edu and http://ohioagmanager.osu.edu, respectively.

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