Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Trip tech

This post is merely a laundry list of basic techy stuff I thought of before going on a trip... and how I ended up using it.

I went on my trip wondering how I could keep up with my internet needs. I have an Android smartphone and Android tablet for connectivity, and a Kindle. I didn't want to lug my laptop around - it's heavy, 5 years old and my only "computer". I wasn't keen on taking my smartphone as it barely lasts 1 whole day if I use it as a smartphone. I managed to revive an old brick phone (yay Nokia) with week-long lasting batteries, but couldn't find a charger for it.

Other than having a bigger screen to work with, the tablet I have (a lost-cost no-name model) doesn't offer much advantages over my phone. But the 7 inch screen does make the idea of typing something long-ish or viewing webpages, checking email etc more pleasing. However, it has the same problems as the smartphone - if I use it, I have worry about making sure it's charged. The Kindle lets me have my books (along with a backup of important documents) and lets me not worry about batteries or charging.

I ended up taking all three along on my trip. Along with their charging cables. I also had my Canon 1000D, but took only the 50mm (f/1.8) lens and no camera bag. I was packing for Ryan Air, I needed to make my bag appear as small as I could. I got a 16Gb card for the camera, and also packed in my USB hard disk to let me backup my photos. It turned out to be a lot of gear. I wasn't actually planning on being a travel journalist;  I just wanted to be sure I could access all the stuff I use.

I have already set up a ssh server on my laptop, and I got the tablet and my phone running and able to connect to it. Ah, the joys of terminal emulators, ssh and so on! (Now I also have a UPnP server so I can watch my movies on the tablet while lying on my bed.... laziness is cool, but I digress.) I bought a USB-OTG plug to try and see if I could connect my external hard drive to the tablet, but it didn't work.

In the end, the set up was really cool. Although to transfer pictures from my camera to the hdd, I needed to borrow a laptop. I realized that when it comes to tablets, the low-cost android stuff is a a very bad choice to have to depend on. I was more confident of running things off my phone rather than the tablet. But the tablet made watching movies and browsing easy on the eye. The kindle was my friend during plane/bus travels. From the reviews I see, and the android version I use on my phone, I am extremely tempted to get the Nexus tablets and use it when traveling. I can't stress enough how great it is to read comics/graphic novels on a 7 inch tablet screen (I was re-reading Watchmen).  It's easy to lie on the bed and read stuff, and the screen is big enough to sit in an airport terminal and watch videos on it.

I'm slowly investing in decent gear - backpacks, shoes, sleeping bags, travel suited equipment. It's expensive, but I managed to pack a lot of stuff in a comparatively non-big bag. Next on the list is to make sure I've good winter wear, but since winter is a long time away, I can hold off on it.

Been mostly off blogging and it turns out harder to write when getting back into it. Hope to pick up again, write better and write about less boring stuff.