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Interment.net Announces its Mobile Edition

by Steve Paul Johnson, October 5, 2000

Do you have a handheld computer such as the Handspring Visor, the Palm, the Sony Clié, or a Windows CE based device? If you do, then subscribe to our new Mobile Edition. You'll love it!

The Mobile Edition is like a miniature version of our site. It is optimized for viewing on the small screen. Here's what it will give you:

  • The latest news and articles on The Cemetery Column
  • A list of newest cemetery transcriptions on Cemetery Records Online
  • Tips submitted by our visitors
  • News about Interment.net

In the future we will be adding some more features. We're currently lining up some regular columnists to feature their writings for The Cemetery Column, and those too will be on the Mobile Edition.

So, why did we choose to do this? Well, we see the world becoming more and more mobile. It should already be evident with the proliferation of mobile phones. Handheld computers sales are booming. Palm and Handspring just cannot make enough of these devices. Handheld Global Positioning System (GPS) devices are booming too. We're turning into a handheld world.

The United States is actually way behind the times. Countries like Finland, Japan, Taiwan, Germany, are already handheld dependent. In those countries they're like the U.S. equivalent of televisions: you're "strange" if you don't have one. It's just a matter of time before Americans become that mobile.

Another reason we chose to do this is because web-based publishing has a serious disadvantage: it's not portable. Traditional print-based media such as the newspaper and magazine can be read anywhere, anytime. Unfortunately, you can't surf the 'net while having lunch at Taco Bell.

The Mobile Edition is portable. As long as you have your handheld computer, you have our content, and you can browse it anywhere, at anytime. All you have to do is a one time set up, and then it automatically gets downloaded to your device whenever you run a "sync". A "sync" is the act of synchronizing the information in your device with a number of external sources, such as your PC, Outlook, or a website.

To subscribe to our Mobile Channel, you must have the AvantGo client application installed on your handheld computer. AvantGo is like a offline web browser. The Mobile Edition is simply a website optimized for viewing on a handheld platform. AvantGo grabs the pages from the Mobile Edition, and copies them to your handheld. When you are away from the Internet, you can use AvantGo to browse the pages.

AvantGo is a product of AvantGo Inc, and it's free. They distribute the mobile editions of thousands of publishers, and big ones too. USA Today, Wall Street Journal, TV Guide, The Weather Channel, The Sporting News, are but a handfull. You can download movie listings weather forecasts, and restaurant reviews for your area, your daily horoscope, daily almanac, lotto results, sport scores, stock tickers, and news of every category. In my opinion, using AvantGo is half the reason for getting a handheld computer! Now, they have our mobile edition.

In fact, our Mobile Edition is the first genealogical content distributed through AvantGo. There have been other content optimized for the handheld platform, but never distributed through mass means such as AvantGo. As a result, that material went largely unknown and rarely updated. Our agreement with AvantGo requires us to keep our content fresh, and AvantGo will distribute it to their 700,000+ users.

I think this is the wave of the future. I expect other genealogical publishers to follow our lead and create their own mobile editions. And we welcome them. Publishers of entertainment, technology, and political content are already well established on handhelds. If Genealogy is so popular these days, why hasn't there been a similar presence? Is it because most genealogists don't own a handheld? Or is it because most genealogists had no reason to own a handheld?

- Steve Paul Johnson [steve@cleardigitalmedia.com]

Visit our Mobile Edition page to learn how to subscribe.

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