Setting Up a Tablet for Fun and Disaster Preparedness


When you imagine the archetypal The Walking Dead or Hurricane Katrina type disaster scenario, creatures of comfort like us may find the thought of our electronic gadgets and gizmos being rendered useless utterly terrifying.

Hardware and software used to send, store, and receive information (“IT” or Information Technology) is even more valuable than it was before in a disaster scenario.

If the power goes out for an extended period of time, we will not be able to access “Cloud” (buzzword for “stuff online”) services such as this blog, Google Docs, and DropBox but we can still readily retrieve the information we need to survive if we plan ahead.

While information and knowledge are not a substitute for skill (gained from a routine of sound practice), our time is limited and has to be balanced with other commitments so having readily deployable knowledge can make things easier.

Getting Started

First purchase a tablet computer. Tablet computers are lightweight, can have a large screen, decent battery life, and can be “hardened” against the elements and other accidental damage.

I am assuming that you have a Microsoft Windows, Mac, or Linux laptop already.

“What kind of tablet should I get?”

I prefer a 10 inch screen since it is conducive to book reading.

I personally prefer the Android 4.x operating system over Apple’s iOS simply because it is more flexible. Now having said that, the only Android tablet that I currently recommend are the Samsung Galaxy series tablets. There are a number of “budget” tablets out there, but I have not tested them or put them to as much extensive use as I have with the Galaxy series.

“What accessories do I need?”

  • Crank powered AND solar powered Charger with a USB Port
  • Otterbox Defender or other impact and water resistant case is an absolute necessity to protect the device.

“What information should I keep on the device?”

  • Legally-owned PDFs of survival manuals
    • Be sure that your PDFs can be searchable by text in iBooks
    • You can do this by purchasing Adobe Acrobat and selecting the OCR text options
    • Survival Apps from the App Stores
      • A Flashlight App (but not as a substitute for an actual flashlight!)
      • Theodolite or a similar program for measurements
      • A color identifier
      • Medical Apps
      • GPS Apps
      • Camera and Video Apps
      • Motion Detector Apps
      • You are only limited by your imagination in terms of what apps you can get.
      • Pictures or copies of identification papers and/or property records
        • Be mindful that it is illegal to photocopy or scan any sort of US military ID or CAC.
      • Legally-owned Audiobooks
      • Legally-owned Cartoons for the kids (little ones and big ones!)
      • Legally-owned Music
      • Legally-owned movies and videos.

“How do I put stuff on my device?”

  • Connect the tablet via USB to the laptop.
  • Drag and Drop files onto the device

“What other things do I have to keep in mind?”

  • With the Android tablet, be sure to get the biggest microSDHC card that it will support.
    • The Galaxy Tab 3 series and later models will support 64GB storage cards.
  • Keep your tablet software up to date!
  • EMP Shielded bags are available however you can’t see the screen…
  • During a situation in which there is no internet access, be sure to turn on “Airplane mode” to maximize the battery life.

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Firearms Instructor in the DC Metro Area

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