MS Surface RT - Good for Family History?

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MS Surface RT - Good for Family History?

#1Postby mdalby » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:35 pm

I am thinking about getting a tablet type solution that would be good for my church functions. My church requirements would include taking notes in meetings, scriptures, family history.

I don't need this tablet for games, apps, movies etc but I might have a couple on there for the grandkids.

Is the MS Surface RT a good solution for my primary requirements?

Thanks in advance.
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Re: MS Surface RT - Good for Family History?

#2Postby killerdeathrobot » Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:07 pm

I use my Surface RT for taking notes in meetings and reading scriptures on, but I haven't tried to do anything with family history on it.
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Re: MS Surface RT - Good for Family History?

#3Postby spencerto » Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:10 pm

I have a Surface RT ( as well as iPad, Android Galaxy Tab, Samsung 700T Windows 8 Tablet, and a Lenovo Thinkpad2) and I like it very much. As for your particular needs, it will work now with some caveats, and probably work better in the future.

1) Taking notes....probably the best device I have for taking notes...maybe a tie with the Thinkpad2 tablet. Microsoft OneNote is a wonderful application and with it connected to SkyDrive, is invaluable.

2) Scriptures....The official Church scripture application isn't available yet. There are a couple of 3rd party applications that are decent, but lack the full catalog of books and connectivity to the lds.org scripture notes app tracking, etc. I find I'm using my phone based scriptures more often these days since it is so fast. (Nokia Lumia 920)

3) Family Search. Family search works just fine on it. I use it to assist a Youth family history class (one of the reasons I carry so many tablets). The Surface is definitely the device that all the Youth fight over. The new Family Tree version of family search, however, doesn't implement touch for the surface yet.

Instead, it seems to implement the ubiquitous, but non-standard Apple proprietary protocol as it does work with iOS and to a lesser extend Android. I'm sure those family search guys are working on getting it implemented. The Surface uses the new web browser touch system that has been recently proposed as a standard to the W3C board and appears to have the support of all the major players, except Apple.

It isn't a deal breaker, however, since you have the trackpad on the touch/type covers that work well to navigate the site. The touch/type covers are great for doing this kind of work because the on-screen keyboard doesn't waste half of the screen space, giving you the full 10.1" of your screen. Doing family history on the Surface RT device is pretty awesome.

4.) You can actually download the church videos from lds.org and save them to a real file system for playback later. This has been very useful with the new Youth Curriculum.

Oh, and it prints. :-)
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Re: MS Surface RT - Good for Family History?

#4Postby jkentner » Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:09 pm

I am assuming you mean the familytree version of family search? We are having to install Firefox on all of our family history center pcs (approx. 25) because IE8 no longer works properly. Now if we had Window 7/8 with IE 9/10 is a different story whether or not will it work. I suspect that IE 10 will not work well, just because the dev team seems to complain a lot about IE and not want to write it to support the browser that has the largest share of users. So to answer you question if it will work on Surface RT (IE10), someone that is a heavy family search user will need to try it and let us know.
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Re: MS Surface RT - Good for Family History?

#5Postby 1cde2 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:06 am

But be aware that it will likely NOT run the usual locally hosted genealogy programs. I don't know about Roots Magic, Legacy, or Family Tree Maker, etc. but Ancestral Quest told me they have not yet developed a WIN 8 or WIN RT version. So you can work Family Search/Family Tree on-line with a Surface machine but it has to be just that--on-line only. Which means you cannot do any link/sync with your own database.
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Re: MS Surface RT - Good for Family History?

#6Postby 1cde2 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:10 am

Also note that the development work for WIN 8/RT versions of Tools and Library does not seem to be an active project. I expect Hymns, manuals, etc may well work as straight eBook or some other types of reader documents if you downloaded them in pdf.
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