Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Discover the ZEISS Digital Nature Hub

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Collins Field Guide on PocketPC

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 2 votes, 4.50 average.
Old Monday 22nd August 2005, 07:35   #1
hollis_f
Registered User
 
hollis_f's Avatar

 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sussex
Posts: 1,583
Collins Field Guide on PocketPC

For a few years I've dreamed of having a field guide on my PocketPC. I have a few sound files, but that's about it. At least, it was until Saturday - when I went to the WildSounds stand at BirdFair. There I saw a big display of what I thought was the Collins Field Guide. But why were there a load of people gathered around. As I got closer I noticed the 'e' in 'eGuide' and my heart lept.

The program is now available from their online store for £89.95. It comes delivered on a 256MB SD card and automatically installs itself when you insert the card. All of the data is stored on the card, which means it uses very little of the PPC's internal memory.

There are entries for over 750 British and European birds, with audio for 450 of them (with more promised as a free upgrade). Each entry includes a large picture, giving ID features for adults, juveniles and regional variations (where appropriate). In addition there is the sound file (if it's one of the 450), a distribution map and a few pages of text info.

There is also a Log feature, where you can detail sightings with Species, Location, Date and Comments.

So far I've only had an hour, or so, to play with it. But it seems to be pretty stable and runs fast enough (on my 3-year-old iPAQ 2210) to be useful in the field. I'd love to see it running on a newer PPC with a 640x480 screen (rather than my puny 320x240).

I'll try to post some screenshots later in the week.
hollis_f is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2007 2008 2009 2010 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Monday 22nd August 2005, 08:12   #2
Geoff Brown
Registered User
 
Geoff Brown's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Near Boston, Lincolnshire
Posts: 1,242
I was also impressed, shame it doesn't work on the Palm system as I have an "ancient" Handspring Treo
__________________
Geoff Brown
Geoff Brown is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Monday 22nd August 2005, 10:24   #3
hornet
Registered User
 
hornet's Avatar

 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Warwickshire
Posts: 423
Sounds fantastic. That's exactly why I steered clear of the stand - I don't think I would have been able to resist!

I'll be interested to hear how it stands up to use in the field - one thing that occurs to me is that although I have a very modern ppc, the screen isn't great in bright sunshine. And the acid test of course is whether they have managed to squeeze in all the details you need to make an ID in the field.

Have fun and I look forward to hearing your reports back.
__________________
Visit The Hornet's Nest for updates on birding in and around mid-Warwickshire: www.thehornetsnest.blogspot.com

And if you've ever enoyed birding in The Gambia, you might be interested in our Gambian nursery school and healthcare charity, The African Oyster Trust - www.africanoystertrust.co.uk
hornet is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2004 2005 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Monday 22nd August 2005, 18:35   #4
PWG
Registered User
 
PWG's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: London
Posts: 325
I took the plunge and, despite a few niggly problems which dissappeared when I registered, it is as good as the book but a lot lighter. The text and illustrations are the same and on mine the pictures are the same size as the book, you scroll around the screen which you do by touching the screen and moving the stylus. The bird log is useful for quick notes although I spent a lot of time looking down at the screen rather than at the birds which could be a problem until you get use to using it.

A few useful additions would have been to be able to select a bird from the log and get the detail screen, and a search only searchs the text in the current list. The listings are a little unhelpful and will take time to get use to. Apart from that it helped me get a few idents quickly confirmed with the ability to listen to the calls as well. Personally I think it was worth it.
__________________
Paul.

PWG is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2004 2005 2006 2007 2010 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Monday 22nd August 2005, 19:11   #5
John Fleet
287 and counting!!
 
John Fleet's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Whitley Bay, Northumberland, U.K.
Posts: 619
Blog Entries: 7
Now I know why it was a good decision not to go to BirdFair!!

Any Northumbrian birders taken the plunge and willing to demo the package?

And do we know who is selling it?

Thanks

John Fleet
John Fleet is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 22nd August 2005, 20:22   #6
Quacker
Registered User
 
Quacker's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Gateshead, County Durham
Posts: 1,165
Groan! - another gadget, after managing to avoid purchasing a pocket PC for so long!
__________________
The older I get, the better I was!
Quacker is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 22nd August 2005, 20:39   #7
Robert L Jarvis
Robert L Jarvis
 
Robert L Jarvis's Avatar

 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Burnley, Lancashire
Posts: 6,710
So if the program is £89.95, how much would a suitable pocket pc be?
Robert L Jarvis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 23rd August 2005, 07:21   #8
hollis_f
Registered User
 
hollis_f's Avatar

 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sussex
Posts: 1,583
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert L Jarvis
So if the program is £89.95, how much would a suitable pocket pc be?
For just over £200 you can get a Dell Axim X30 312MHz jobby that should run it OK. For £315 you can get a Dell Axim X50v 624MHz machine that will be faster and has a 640x480 screen (as opposed to the 320x240 screen of the cheaper models).

Other models with the big screen to look at are: iPAQ hx4700 (£400) and Loox 720 (£380).

For me it was a real bargain as I use my PPC a lot (it tells me what I'm supposed to be doing, when I'm supposed to be doing it, how to contact the people I'm supposed to do it with and how to get there - using GPS and route planner). I also use it to keep up with my email when away from home. I also got a very good deal on the Collins and Sasol (Birds of Southern Africa) pair - because they could just copy the programs to my own memory card.
hollis_f is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2007 2008 2009 2010 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Tuesday 23rd August 2005, 15:10   #9
Kevin Groocock
Registered User
 
Kevin Groocock's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Bempton, East Riding
Posts: 8,186
Hi All

Just ordered one from www.wildsounds.co.uk @GBP 89.95 and free postage.
It sounds great but proof will be on how user friendly it will be, says he who still can't get his head (or PDA) around the Wildlife Lister Software! Intend to use it on a Dell X50 axim PDA. Will advise further when I have received and had time to play.

Hippo
Kevin Groocock is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 25th August 2005, 15:03   #10
Ambrose
Registered User
 
Ambrose's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Northants UK
Posts: 8
I am using Collins eGuide on a 320 x 240 pixel PPC. I like it! (Lest my following comments give the wrong impression).
My PPC crashed a couple of times and that was after I'd registered - I couldn't say for sure that it was anything to do with the eGuide - but it seems OK now.
Yes, some of the picture text is a bit difficult to read, you need to shade the screen on bright days, and the PPC is less tolerant of getting wet than a book (so I keep mine in an AquaPac pouch - an appropriately manicured fingernail is not essential but it helps), but these slight niggles are more to do with PPC technology rather than the eGuide.
I found some of the listings a bit perverse - for example - Fieldfare appears on the main list but you need to select Thrush if you want to see Redwing or Mistle Thrush, and, to see Red Throated Diver you have to select Loon.
This might not seem odd to some people but it did to me.
I would be interested to know the effect of using a 640 x 480 pixel PPC?
Also, I wonder how long it will be before eGuides are available for wildflowers, moths and butterflies, fungi, etc.
If fast enough and cheap enough Internet connection to PDAs happens first probably never (as a SD card anyhow). The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy is just around the corner!
Ambrose is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 27th August 2005, 18:42   #11
PWG
Registered User
 
PWG's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: London
Posts: 325
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrose
I would be interested to know the effect of using a 640 x 480 pixel PPC?
It would depend on the format the pictures are in. If they are bitmapped then 640 x 480 would make them half the size on the screen compared to a 320 x 240 screen of the same physical dimensions. Not a lot of use for field work I would have thought. On my 320 x 240 the pics are the same size as the book, but a fraction of the weight and with all the other kit I carry that is a major bonus :)
__________________
Paul.

PWG is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2004 2005 2006 2007 2010 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Sunday 28th August 2005, 12:50   #12
Kevin
Registered User (not drugs)
 
Kevin's Avatar

 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Sutton, Surrey
Posts: 148
I checked out the wildsounds website, but I was disappointed at how little information there is about the product. Not even screenshots.

However, pdasolutions do have a bit more info (although still disappointing, with a very primative-looking webpage). I have ordered a Collins eGuide on the basis of the extra info they provide
__________________
Kevin

Always an amateur, always learning, never an expert
Kevin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 28th August 2005, 14:45   #13
POP
Registered Member
 
POP's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: uk
Posts: 1,580
Used the Eguide out birding on Saturday,bit fiddly at first and sound recording, tendency to be tinny.Overall though a good bit of kit,downside is the glare factor with PPCs when using out of doors. I think along with Internet and Email this will be a useful addition on occasions when out birding.My PPC is a IPAQ 2210.

POP
POP is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 28th August 2005, 14:51   #14
Kevin
Registered User (not drugs)
 
Kevin's Avatar

 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Sutton, Surrey
Posts: 148
Hi Pop

When you say the sound is a bit 'tinny' - is that from the built-in speaker or did you use headphones?

Saturday (today) is very sunny, so I would expect the glare to be at its worst. I suspect that once it clouds over - particularly during the winter months, this won't be a problem?
__________________
Kevin

Always an amateur, always learning, never an expert
Kevin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 28th August 2005, 15:06   #15
themexican
Registered User

 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: dolgellau
Posts: 191
Here's a link if it helps anyone ? http://www.wildsounds.co.uk/
themexican is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 28th August 2005, 18:28   #16
POP
Registered Member
 
POP's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: uk
Posts: 1,580
Hello Kevin I found that both were slightly "tinny",the glare problem can be overcome by shading the screen with your hand as an example.If you have a PPC then I think the EBook ia a definte advantage and is worth having.
POP
POP is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 30th August 2005, 10:51   #17
Ambrose
Registered User
 
Ambrose's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Northants UK
Posts: 8
Further to my previous post re eGuide...
My winge about the index is very minor and would probably only be an initial problem to beginners (at birding, not PPCing).
I have noticed though that the colour rendition does not match the book and I don't know how the PPC colour could be adjusted to get a better match. When I checked I found different colour renditions between the 'coffee table' sized book and the 'pocket' sized book. I know that colours vary in the wild from bird to bird of the same species. I wonder what criteria are used to choose the colours published in guides.
Ambrose is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 1st September 2005, 21:09   #18
Kevin
Registered User (not drugs)
 
Kevin's Avatar

 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Sutton, Surrey
Posts: 148
My software arrived today and my first reactions are positive.

I particularly like how easy it is to record your sighting from the appropriate bird screen.

One frustration
A good idea is the single display of all the bird families in one large graphical interface. What is supposed to happen is that you use your pointer to select the family you want. However, I found that repeated attempts at tapping were often needed before the appropriate family was detected.

I would certainly want to spend a bit of time practising before I take it out in the field, but I am confident that it will be an 'essential' piece of kit. (yet another one)

I have one of those waistcoats with lots of pockets. I have found it to be a godsend, except it didn't have pockets big enough for the paperback version of my Collins. My PDA (Dell Axim 30 624MHz) simply clips on my belt. Fantastic.

The bird log records species, location and date - essential to help me in future years should I want to re-visit a specific bird. Should that happen, I simply search for the bird and it tells me where I have seen it before - and at what time of year. Magic!

I'll let you know my field experiences in due course
__________________
Kevin

Always an amateur, always learning, never an expert

Last edited by Kevin : Thursday 1st September 2005 at 21:12.
Kevin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 2nd September 2005, 07:52   #19
POP
Registered Member
 
POP's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: uk
Posts: 1,580
I mentioned earlier that the sound quality was a little "tinny",however on Saturday,while out birding I played the sound recording for a Marsh Tit,and pulled out a pair of birds,so obviously they were impressed with the sound!!! I used the guide quite a lot on Saturday and found it very impressive,it is a case the more you "play" around with it,the more user friendly it becomes.One word of caution if you get carried away with it,watch how much power the battery has left.The beauty of the whole setup of the PPC is you have EMail,the internet ability to view digital photos and now a field guide.Toys I just love them.

POP
POP is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 3rd September 2005, 10:41   #20
Dougie
Registered User
 
Dougie's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Lancashire
Posts: 180
Dear Group
I am thinking of purchasing this software, but I have one concern, that is this software is supplied on a SD memory card and therefore this software could be at some point corrupted, or erased by mistake!!! Is there a way of backing this software up, or is there a re-install CD also supplied just incase this ever happens? Just need some reassurances before I part with my £89 hard earned pennies.

Thanks Dougie
Dougie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 3rd September 2005, 11:51   #21
POP
Registered Member
 
POP's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: uk
Posts: 1,580
Dougie no there is no cd,just the software on theSD memory card.If it became corrupted you could possibly send back to WildSounds for new copy.I still think you will find it is worth purchasing.

POP
POP is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 3rd September 2005, 20:26   #22
alancairns
Registered User
 
alancairns's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sechelt, S Coastal BC
Posts: 459
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougie
Dear Group
I am thinking of purchasing this software, but I have one concern, that is this software is supplied on a SD memory card and therefore this software could be at some point corrupted, or erased by mistake!!! Is there a way of backing this software up, or is there a re-install CD also supplied just incase this ever happens? Just need some reassurances before I part with my £89 hard earned pennies.

Thanks Dougie
Why not copy it from the memory card to a CD for backup?

Alan
alancairns is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 4th September 2005, 10:59   #23
Kevin Groocock
Registered User
 
Kevin Groocock's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Bempton, East Riding
Posts: 8,186
Hi All

Just got back from hols and software was waiting. Installed like a dream, so simple. Very user friendly once used to the listings. As previous members have quoted, the sound is a little tinny but sounds better when volume is reduced slightly. Just wondering about the logging system and how much memory is available for storage of data as I can't find this info.

Overall, an excellent toy, sorry useful piece of kit!

Regards

Hippo
Kevin Groocock is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 4th September 2005, 11:04   #24
POP
Registered Member
 
POP's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: uk
Posts: 1,580
Hippo I think if you only use it for special sightings,such as Pectoral Sandpiper White Stork etc and use your normal listing formula for your other sightings,you will have plenty of room.

POP
POP is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 4th September 2005, 11:16   #25
Kevin Groocock
Registered User
 
Kevin Groocock's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Bempton, East Riding
Posts: 8,186
Hi Pop

Yes, I think you are right.

I also have the Wildlife Lister installed, but I cannot seem to get my head around it!! Maybe when time permits and I can master it, then I will perhaps have a robust tool.

Regards

Hippo
Kevin Groocock is online now  
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Field Guide for Shorebirds or Waders - Advice please Pied Kingfisher Bird Identification Q&A 10 Tuesday 5th April 2005 11:00
tís as easy as one, two, bee! New Field Guide to Britain and Irelandís bumblebees Chris Monk Insects, Dragonflies, Arachnids, Beetles & More 5 Sunday 27th March 2005 10:31
Most needed field guide? John Cantelo Books, Magazines, Publications, Video & DVD 23 Thursday 25th November 2004 16:35

{googleads}

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.15500498 seconds with 38 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 21:40.