Since nobody's actually published the HHGTTG, yet
November 5, 2010 8:27 AM   Subscribe

What reference documents do you find useful to have on your electronic reader (kindle, iPhone, etc)?

I've got an iPhone, but I assume this question works for any kind of electronic reader that can store pdf and other common document types. I'm a network engineer by trade, so I've got copies of command references for several different products that I use frequently stored on my phone. I've also got some crochet patterns stored on it. What else -- tech-specific or general reference or otherwise useful -- should I keep on my phone? Assume I'm willing to dedicate up to 2 Gig of storage for this. related question about formatting/transferring web content onto a smartphone previously on the green
posted by rmd1023 to Technology (18 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Wolfram|Alpha—Computational Knowledge Engine
My favorite app ever...
posted by Studiogeek at 8:32 AM on November 5, 2010

Response by poster: Is it something that will work offline? I'm specifically thinking of things that I can have around without relying on data access.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:47 AM on November 5, 2010

I love Simplenote which basically seamlessly integrates a notepad on your dashboard with a notepad on your iphone.

Also - Instapaper which allows you to save articles (on your desktop browser) to read later (on your iphone). I take the subway and use this often.

Also, (obviously?) dropbox.

2nding Wolfram Alpha.
posted by Siena at 8:49 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

That is the only negative for Wolfram - it requires an internet connection.
posted by Siena at 8:50 AM on November 5, 2010

Best answer: If you are a car person, having a digital copy of your vehicle(s) shop manual is invaluable.
posted by _DB_ at 9:09 AM on November 5, 2010

Best answer: I would probably want:
- Some form of encyclopaedia (probably Wikipedia nowadays)
- A dictionary and thesaurus
- Any foreign language dictionary I needed
- Subway/metro/bus map (even if it's just a PDF that's been added as a favourite and therefore downloaded in Dropbox)
posted by djgh at 10:09 AM on November 5, 2010

Best answer: The CIA World Factbook will give you detailed information (population, economy, government, etc.) about every country. It comes in HTML format with optional PDF reference maps. If you're on the iPhone, you'll probably need something like the GoodReader app to read it on.
posted by upplepop at 10:11 AM on November 5, 2010

Actually, it looks like there are actual apps for the CIA World Factbook that you can install on the iPhone.
posted by upplepop at 10:13 AM on November 5, 2010

Best answer: Since you've got crochet patterns covered: a yarn stash inventory's a handy thing to have with you (if you use Ravelry, it has a convenient export feature).

Bus and train schedules are great if you do public transit.
posted by asperity at 10:15 AM on November 5, 2010

Best answer: On my Kindle...spanish/english dictionary. Complete works of Shakespeare. Poetry canon.
posted by conifer at 10:54 AM on November 5, 2010

Best answer: I keep manuals for my tents so camping trips don't devolve into tent setup arguments, and a few other manuals for things I use out and about but seldom enough that I need a refresher.

I also keep pdf maps of all of the Texas state parks.

And my neighborhood historic district publishes a directory in pdf format that I loaded. I don't want every neighbor's contact info in my phone contacts, but more than once I've looked someone up in the pdf directory (which also includes occupations and kids' names).

Beyond that I have what you have -- language references, cheatsheets, etc.

I use Goodreader to keep it all organized into folders.
posted by bwanabetty at 11:09 AM on November 5, 2010

You can actually download a complete copy of Wikipedia for your iPhone or iPod Touch. The app, Encyclopedia, costs $8.99 and takes up ~2-3GB of space, IIRC. The app-maker, Steam Heavy Industries, makes a lot of other downloadable references too -- mainly foreign language versions of Wikipedia and slices of it pertaining to specific topics (music, literature, geography, physics, etc.)
posted by Rhaomi at 11:38 AM on November 5, 2010

Best answer: To elaborate on asperity's suggestion, I also have a Google doc with all my knitting needles & crochet hooks so if I happen upon a pattern while out and about that I just have to start NOW, I can see if I've already got the required needles.
posted by smirkette at 11:51 AM on November 5, 2010

Best answer: I don't have a portable electronic reader, but if I did, I'd want something like the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics and a table of conversions and definitions for all commonly used units of measurement.
posted by scose at 2:26 PM on November 5, 2010

Best answer: Along smirkette's line, I keep a google doc with all my albums in it because I have bought doubles in the past. It's not a PDF, but I'd convert it if I thought I were going somewhere I'd need it and wouldn't have access.

Since I'm about to change up my insurance policies (buying a house at the same time my auto policy is up) I'm probably going to put PDFs of my insurance cards on the iPhone.

My unusual thing to keep is the PDF for my local karaoke bar's music selections, so I don't have to hog the giant book while we're at the bar and we can plan a few songs to sing before we go. Offline access is important when you're in a karaoke league.
posted by immlass at 3:16 PM on November 5, 2010

Best answer: I keep copies of maps (screenshots from google maps) of the cities I find myself in most often.
posted by lollusc at 6:43 PM on November 5, 2010

Also, I just discovered GMapCatcher, so now I keep offline downloads of google maps for the cities I might need. Woot! (There might be something similar for non-linux devices too.)
posted by lollusc at 1:26 AM on November 7, 2010

Best answer: I have Where There is No Doctor/Dentist on my Kindle for the oh-so-frequent times I'm in places where there is no Doctor or Dentist.
posted by pollex at 5:16 AM on January 4, 2011

« Older What the heck was Pumpkin Creek?   |   How do you stay fashionably warm in winter? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.