February 16, 2006

Writing Woes
Prickly Bay, Grenada

Nothing makes me happier than the thought of sharing my experiences abroad, but the choice to cut almost all technology out of my backpack is hurting my ability to write for the site effectively.

The only real electronics that I've got in my backpack right now are my digital camera, a CD player (bulky traditional type that also plays MP3's on CD), and a nice external speaker unit to plug it into (or other peoples iPOD's). That's it—no laptop or fancy gadgets. For me, deliberately removing a lot of these elements from my pack was a way of separating my old life and my new one (abroad), as well as keeping the weight down from my already 40 pound backpack.

Currently, I'm writing many of my entries on Travelvice out longhand on paper, and then retyping them when I get to an Internet cafe—a laborious process, since I tend to write paragraphs that need to be revised several times. Coupled with that, trips to the cafe involve the uploading and captioning of photos, replying to e-mails and comments, and other typical Internet stuff. At over $1 USD for every 10 minutes at the computer here in Grenada, the cost of all this really adds up fast.

So I've decided that instead of writing less to the site, or something crazy like that, I'd bring a little bit more technology into my lifestyle (and hopefully with it, a better way to better utilize my time spent communicating with readers). But I could use some help…

Right now, I'm thinking of a cheap PDA and keyboard combination that will let me type up entries and put them on an external memory card (that I can use with a card reader). SD memory would be preferred, as that's what my camera takes.

Other important factors:

  • Cost
  • Durability
  • Battery life/charging method
  • Size (including adapters I might have to carry)
  • Screen clarity/backlight
  • Flexibility to install useful applications (suggestions?)

My dad has been kind enough to research, and recommends the Palm Tungsten E2 with a Universal Wireless Keyboard, but I'd love to hear any suggestions you might have! I'm hoping to get this in hand within a few weeks.

Comments:

Grenada

Craig | travelvice.com

February 17th, 2006

I've run out of time before I could write up some interesting events from this week, but I'll try to have it up there within the next few days.

Teaser:
I went into the jungle on Valentine's Day with six locals and three Swedish girls (photos in the gallery); we've now got a couple from Italy onboard the Odessa, headed for Carriacou tomorrow; and I'll be getting off the Odessa in St. Vincent in about a week!

Andy HoboTraveler.com

February 17th, 2006

Craig, buy a laptop, you will never be happy until you can actually do as you wish. If not, just blog, not edited…

If you want to travel forever as this vice is suppose to be, then you will need to learn how to make money, or for sure you will run out of money and go home.

Or just type what you think, No Editing of the world.

tbone

February 17th, 2006

It's all about the Newton! Nothing beats the handwriting recognition, and no one will steal it because it's so old! Hook up a SD/PCMCIA adapter to use your current memory or instead plug in an Ethernet card or make it Bluetooth enabled. Honestly, I'd wait until the iPod evolves into more of a PDF with a keyboard and combine your MP3 payer/PDA in one.

Erik

February 18th, 2006

I agree with Andy. Buy a laptop. You'll spend money on a cheap palm-device and not be completely satisfied.

Averatec (averatec.com) has a 10.6" wide format screen, and it weighs only 3.6 pounds. 10.47" x 7.97" x 1.16" (front) 1.36" (back).

Not sure if you're wanting to spend $1200 at this point. But you'll be able to do more. Mooch off free wi-fi when you find it. Advertise the site more, get more hits and hopefully make a few bucks of google ads or something.

I assume you've got eletric outlet adapters, and laptop power supplies already work on 240V 50Hz. So you'd be set for years with such a notebook computer.

frank

February 19th, 2006

I third the motion by Eric and Andy to get a laptop. Not so sure about the Averatec advice, if you'll be outside the USA. The most common point of failure (other than moving parts like the CD drive) is the battery–how do you get a replacement Averatec battery while in Thailand, let's say? Anyway, $1200 is quite pricey. My recommendation: get the cheapest HP/Compaq model possible, even if it bumps the weight by 2 pounds. Much easier, I would think, to find replacement HP parts than Averatec. Also, by buying cheap, when the computer breaks or is stolen (one of these is bound to happen, eventually) you won't feel so bad about having to buy another. Follow this rule with all electronics–buy cheap so you won't feel bad about replacing. And make sure you take regular backups so breakdown or loss of the computer isn't a problem. And use ZoneAlarm for security, the competetion isn't nearly as good.

Now about that 40 lbs of junk you are carrying. That is crazy! I carry about 13 lbs of gear when I go hiking in Europe (backpacking up into the mountains and camping there), and that includes my pack, a shelter suitable for the mountains, a sleeping quilt and pad suitable for freezing cold, clothes suitable for freezing rain or snow, etc. I'm on the road for months at a time, just like you, so I face the same problems of repairs and whatnot. You are carrying WAY too much junk. Check my website for some ideas on equipment. Mind you, I DON'T carry a computer when I'm traveling, but then I'm only out for 6 months at a time.

Grenada

Craig | travelvice.com

February 20th, 2006

All,
Thanks for your thoughts, I really appreciate them!

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