Author Topic: Tablets/IPad or laptops  (Read 5288 times)

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Offline officerdare

Tablets/IPad or laptops
« on: October 01, 2012, 11:09:50 pm »
Any suggestions on what type would work best to send out updates, photo's, blog etc on a cross country trip?
Saepius Exertus, Semper Fidelis, Frater Infinitas, Fortitudine Vincimus
Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever, By Endurance We Conquer

Offline K v f

Re: Tablets/IPad or laptops
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2012, 03:36:21 am »
On my cross country tour across the trans am I used an iPad 1
The difference between this and the later versions is you canot get a signal through service, only service from wifi. There were days I went without being able to connect to the internet but I found this a good thing at times. I know the days I was able to connect I stayed up way too late checking out things that were really not too important, and missing out on some good early morning hours of riding. You can pick one up off eBay or Craigslist for around two hundred bucks. It uses a very light charger and is lightweight and durable. Not to say any other tablet wouldn't work just as well, but I would say bringing a laptop with you would be a very heavy pice of equipment you could do without.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tablets/IPad or laptops
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2012, 07:22:40 am »
Any suggestions on what type would work best to send out updates, photo's, blog etc on a cross country trip?
My suggestion would be to consider leaving the computer home.  Use a smart phone, public library computers, and any other computers where you stay (hosts,motels if any).
« Last Edit: October 02, 2012, 10:17:51 am by staehpj1 »

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Tablets/IPad or laptops
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2012, 07:46:10 am »
A netbook with a decent keyboard or the keyboard accessory for the iPad would be useful if you plan to do much blogging or personal correspondence. Otherwise, a phone would be my choice.

Truth be told, this gadget freak, GPS nut, tech geek ... whatever ... did the Pacific Coast Route and the Northern Tier in 1999 with none of the above; just a prepaid phone card. Navigation by ACA maps and a keychain compass worked fine. I had a great low-tech vacation from a high-tech, high-pressure job.

Fred

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Tablets/IPad or laptops
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2012, 11:43:19 am »
If you're going to keep a journal (and I recommend it, if only to keep your memories alive and in order), I'd suggest either a notebook with a pen or a netbook.

I prefer to record my observations, etc., daily, at the end of the day.  I'd already forgotten stuff when I tried to collect 2-3 days at once.  Thus, for me at least, relying on public computers that might be spaced several days apart is a non-starter.

A notebook, one with paper pages and a pen or pencil, is always available.  It's a decent choice, unless you plan to blog.  The disadvantage is having to re-write everything to post it.  OTOH, you're not limited in what you write, either by reasonable page limits, or by privacy and/or decency.

I prefer something with a decent keyboard, as Fred suggests.  A long email on my smartphone is two sentences, and epic novel is three.  On the other hand, I can fill up 2-3 pages from a good day on the road.  If you're comfortable with a tablet device, that might work for you, but a netbook can be a good solution.  (Beware, some netbook keyboards are dreadful, especially for people whose fingers are not skinny!)  The netbook also saves half the weight of a bigger notebook computer.  A netbook can save the weight of several chargers, although you may have to be in a motel overnight to get things charged.

One final though is that, if you're carrying a camera, you can back everything up onto the netbook.  I did roughly monthly dumps to USB thumb drives and sent them home as backups, which worked well -- my camera and netbook both made it home just fine.  :)


Offline staehpj1

Re: Tablets/IPad or laptops
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2012, 12:15:14 pm »
I prefer to record my observations, etc., daily, at the end of the day.  I'd already forgotten stuff when I tried to collect 2-3 days at once.
That is true, but I find that if I type a few sentences every day on my phone I have enough to jog my memory when I want to flesh out the journal later.

I advise keeping it light and simple.  I'd recommend taking a net book at the very most.

BTW, anyone ever try roll up or fold-able USB keyboards that weigh under 8 ounces and supposedly work with many smart phones?

Offline Pat

Re: Tablets/IPad or laptops
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2012, 12:38:08 pm »
I guess it depends on your needs.  When we went, we decided we needed a phone for voice comm and texting.  We used our Garmin annd ACA maps as well as road maps for navigation.  The camera has better performance than the iphone.  And I used the Kindle Fire for text blotting, net surfing, NETFLIX, etc.

That made for several challenges.  First, charging was a constant consideration for the Garmin (daily) and the ipphone and Kindle, based ln usage maybe every two or three days.  The camera was good for weeks.  Second, fusing pictures and text for the blog, requiring hotel or library computers (when they would permit external USB connection).  As another consideration, many tablets are not USB hosts, so direct hookup of cameras isn't workable.   Third, keyboards made for Santa's elves (I am using the Kindle at the moment until my new hard drive shows up from HP.  Typing is as much of a pain as I remember).  And lastly, there was soeme extra weight that the Weight Nazis would fret over, but made little differencento us.

Thanks,   Pat



Next year, I may try a netbook.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Tablets/IPad or laptops
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2012, 12:54:44 pm »
I think there could be an argument for a 7" tablet computer. 

I took an iPhone on this summer's tour across New York, and it got a lot of use because I seemed to get off route a lot.  Doing serious navigation and not taking on an iPhone is a test of my patience.  While I don't think I could have made room for a netbook, I could make room for a 7" tablet.  Using the iPhone as a local hot spot, I could have done some serious navigating and not taking.
Danno

Offline dfege

Re: Tablets/IPad or laptops
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2012, 05:25:34 pm »
For the first time in 2011 I took a tablet with me on a three week tour of British Columbia.  I have done two to seven week tours before.  I found the access to the net completely changed the trip for me, and not for the better.  It made me realize that the reason I toured is to NOT be connected to the rest of the world. It took a long time to write a log and upload pictures.  I was on a daily search for wifi.  Access to maps and upcoming lodging possibilities were helpfuw, but nothing that couldn't have been provided by hard copy maps and talking to locals.  I would suggest that you consdier not taking any tablet or IPad.  If you need to check in with friends, find a library every third or fourth day and send a quick messsage so your loved ones know you're safe.

Offline veloepic

Re: Tablets/IPad or laptops
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2012, 10:50:24 pm »
On my last trip (off-road in the Swiss Alps), I was carying a small Dell Mini Laptop. I found it to be very useful to keep our daily blog (Word document, not on-line) and copy the pics from our two cameras and sort them out. Did not care if wi-fi was available or not.
Dan

Offline nlsteve

Re: Tablets/IPad or laptops
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2012, 10:44:06 pm »
I hope the OP doesn't mind me supplementing his question with this one --

What about using the voice recording feature on a smartphone as the place to take notes for the journal? Type 'em up or write them up when a hotel or library computer presents itself, or wait til you get home to listen to your voice notes. Seems like with a mini camera and a smartphone, you might be covered.

Anybody out there tried this method? 

Steve

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tablets/IPad or laptops
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2012, 07:23:57 am »
I hope the OP doesn't mind me supplementing his question with this one --

What about using the voice recording feature on a smartphone as the place to take notes for the journal? Type 'em up or write them up when a hotel or library computer presents itself, or wait til you get home to listen to your voice notes. Seems like with a mini camera and a smartphone, you might be covered.

Anybody out there tried this method? 

Steve

I haven't, but it sounds like a great idea.  I may try it next time.

Another possibility is using voice recognition software on the phone to a save text file.  I have found that the voice recognition is getting pretty good these days.  The resulting text is going to need a lot of cleaning up later, but it might work well enough.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tablets/IPad or laptops
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2012, 07:27:08 am »
Pat's mention of the kindle reminded me of another thing...  I have found that on tour I prefer to do my reading in the form of audio books.  My phone is a great audio book player.

Lucky13

  • Guest
Re: Tablets/IPad or laptops
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2012, 08:52:34 am »
I've posted an article over at CrazyGuyonaBike - covering the use of the iPad as a touring device.

Here's a link:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/ipad

The iPad has come a long way since it first appeared - especially in terms of uploading images, posting to journals and generally acting as a full-fledged computer.

Offline geroldn

Re: Tablets/IPad or laptops
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2012, 03:09:09 pm »
The last major tour I did was solo in Denmark, Norway, the Shetland Islands, and northern Scotland in 1989. Bike and ferryboat as needed. I was living in Germany at the time and aside from a couple post cards home, I was gone from the world and by myself until I met up with my girlfriend for the last week in Scotland.  I used a Canon AE-1 for photos.  Laptops and  cell phones didn't exist.  I plan to get back into touring next summer. Now I'm married and have a 14 year old son; neither one is interested in bike touring (different woman, northern Scotland was too big a test for that girlfriend  ;D) .  I guess I have to think about how connected I want to stay...