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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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January 2013    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 39, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Digital Fish ID

from the January, 2013 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

To identify many of the creatures I saw in Sipadan, I used a digital version of the popular book Reef Fish Identification: Tropical Pacific by Gerald Allen, Roger Steene, Paul Humann and Ned Deloach. This handy tool is available on DVDs or by download from Either option has a few clear advantages over the 500-plus-page book, which is heavy and bulky to pack. The digital versions are duplicates of the book, covering 2,000 species of fish with more than 2,500 high-resolution color photographs. The book retails for $48, and a two-DVD package is $55, while the download costs only $29.95. I downloaded it onto an iPad, but it will work on an iPod Touch, Android device or computer as well

One drawback: The digital versions are not interactive. They act more like an indexable PDF file without the interaction and auto-scaling of, say, a Kindle. You can leaf through the pages using the touch screen (resist the temptation to lick your finger as you flick each page). That can become tedious, so by tapping the bottom of the screen, you can bring up a control bar that lets you search by common or scientific name.

Only a few titles in this series are currently available by download, but more are on the way, according to Blio, the digital publisher. Blio software is currently available for purchase only in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, so complete your download before you leave for a tropical Pacific dive trip.

-- Larry Clinton

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