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Communications Connecting - internet cafes, laptops, Palm devices, cell phones - how to connect, use, which one, and Bike to Bike and passenger intercoms.
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  #31  
Old 15 Aug 2007
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If it were me...

Ted, I really wouldn't bother with a lap top for South America. Here in North America, its been a right pain to get internet so I bit the bullet and bought one. The internet cafes in South and Central America and Mexico are fine for most stuff you'll need. You'll be lugging around an additional 6lbs or so plus chargers etc carrying a lap top and its also something you'll be worrying about for the duration of the trip.

Just take a couple of large memory cards (2gb) for your camera and get them burned to CDs fairly regularly, keep one and send a copy home. If it gets home ok, you can bin your copy.

As for mp3s, my old 20gb Iriver has worked just fine for the whole trip and haven't felt the need to add more music to it. I got some decent moulded earphones to use while I'm riding, expensive at 140quid but worth it.

I play guitar too, so a travel guitar would have been a nice thing to have but again, its something that you'll have to carry on your bike and hope someone doesn't nick it. I bought a nice little handmade Charanga in Bolivia and carried it for a few months from La Paz up to San Diego then sent it home before it got wrecked. I know how to play guitar so it was fun to learn something in a different tuning!

I started off carrying more than I needed and gradually I sent stuff home (including a PDA and mini keyboard) until I was left with the minimum. You basically want to take as little as possible, so you want to get everything you need in 2 lockable metal panniers and one top box OR a waterproof bag (Ortlieb etc) for your clothes etc on the back seat and Pac-Safe that to the bike. I used adjustable Rok-Straps to hold the Ortlieb to the bike and I keep them on the bike all the time.

And just one more thing...Get that flight booked!!
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Last edited by MikeS; 15 Aug 2007 at 22:06.
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  #32  
Old 16 Aug 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
I started off carrying more than I needed and gradually I sent stuff home (including a PDA and mini keyboard) until I was left with the minimum. You basically want to take as little as possible, so you want to get everything you need in 2 lockable metal panniers and one top box OR a waterproof bag (Ortlieb etc) for your clothes etc on the back seat and Pac-Safe that to the bike. I used adjustable Rok-Straps to hold the Ortlieb to the bike and I keep them on the bike all the time.
Great comments about Lap tops and traveling light. Besides the PDA what stuff have you jettisoned overboard along the way?

I'm fighting to trim down baggage too (in more ways than one). We reviewed Rok-Straps but the boss got hold of all of our testers and gave them to his kids...who promptly lost them.

How are they working out? I've heard superlatives on them...are they really that good over bungees?

How many liters is your Ortlieb? Holding up well? Do they make any with separate compartments or zipper pouches? I like to stay organized and different pockets help in this regard.

Thanks Mike,

Patrick
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  #33  
Old 16 Aug 2007
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Quote:
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I started off carrying more than I needed and gradually I sent stuff home (including a PDA and mini keyboard) until I was left with the minimum.
The PDA is my MP3 player .. and carries my manuals (bike, camera, phone etc) and ebooks and maps and .. you get the idea. The pda is smaller and lighter than the books .. that is the pda and key board and eye plugs are smaller and lighter than the books etc. The significant savings are in not taking cotton clothing .. then cooking gear .. one pot does all. Tent and sleeping bag are the largest items ..


I like my external access points simple - a single zipper is best ... too many zippers leads to idle fingers playing with them .. one zipper = one small lock .. or a key ring to slow the fingers..
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  #34  
Old 16 Aug 2007
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The main reason I sent the PDA back was that the bloody thing never held its charge so whenever I wanted to use it, it was dead. I've no doubt a newer one would be a lot more reliable and useful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Warner View Post
The PDA is my MP3 player .. and carries my manuals (bike, camera, phone etc) and ebooks and maps and .. you get the idea. The pda is smaller and lighter than the books ...
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  #35  
Old 16 Aug 2007
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"Lorraine - you're making me feel bad :-( I can't go cutting the essential connection to the world.... I can't go a day without going online for most of it!"

I've written about 100 posts in the past 5 weeks. Just because I CAN. And I needed some escapism. I leave tomorrow, finally. And though I'm feeling the panic of, Yikes, what will i DO without logging on???? I do know from past experience that once gone, I'm gone. And I don't give it a second thought.

As to all the female overlanders... well, perhaps there's more of us out there than you realize. They're perhaps just in far removed places being rather private with their machines. ;-)
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  #36  
Old 17 Aug 2007
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Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
The main reason I sent the PDA back was that the bloody thing never held its charge so whenever I wanted to use it, it was dead. I've no doubt a newer one would be a lot more reliable and useful.
Everything I have charges off the bike (saves adaptors, transformers). The PDA (when the bike is running) is running Oziexplorer with the GPS to show whatever raster map I have of that area.. and so it is charging off the bike most days.

Flat batteries I get with the phone and camera .. bit of a pain if I'm a mile or two from the bike.
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  #37  
Old 17 Aug 2007
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Originally Posted by lorraine View Post
....And though I'm feeling the panic of, Yikes, what will i DO without logging on???? I do know from past experience that once gone, I'm gone. And I don't give it a second thought. ......
It can be addictive.
I think it's phases you go through.
The contact is nice, but when you're away, in the wild, you're enjoying something else and don't feel a need for it.
I'm a Net whore myself, but truly love when I'm off on some travels/mission/track, etc and it's not there.
Kinda like on the teat and off the teat...if that makes sense.
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  #38  
Old 18 Aug 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post

I'm fighting to trim down baggage too (in more ways than one). We reviewed Rok-Straps but the boss got hold of all of our testers and gave them to his kids...who promptly lost them.

How are they working out? I've heard superlatives on them...are they really that good over bungees?

Patrick
Rok-Straps wouldn't leave home without them. I tried a lot of other straps and such, and now only carry Rok-Straps - 4 sets to strap the stuff on.

I was carrying an extra set of tires for a bit - new Pirelli MD-21s to put on in Bolivia, then carried the Scorpions that still had life in them a bit after that - they were rubbing on, wearing the Rok-Straps too much - got rid of the still useful tires in Sucre!
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  #39  
Old 18 Aug 2007
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BTW- according to the current issue of MacWorld Magazine... "Garmin claims that it will have a client out by the end of the year (for the Mac)." See complete article on the Mac and GPS at Macworld: Secrets: GPS for the Mac
18 months ago Garmin published a press release that they were going to make their software Mac compatible by 2007.
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  #40  
Old 18 Aug 2007
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Solid-state HD?

For those that are concerned with a laptop being too 'fragile' for the road, take a look at the newer solid-state hard drives hitting the market. They are still pretty expensive compared to standard drives, but prices are coming down quickly. Outfitting a new Dell laptop with this kind of drive costs about US$400 more, but I imagine they will be much cheaper in a year or so...

They have no moving parts, thus getting rid of the most vulnerable part of a laptop. The hard drive are made of fast flash memory, similar to the popular USB memory sticks.

Here is a link to Dell's info about them:
Home & Home Office: 32 GB Solid State Hard Drive, 1.8MM for Dell Latitude D420/430 Notebook - Customer Install

I haven't personally used one, so I can't speak for firsthand performance, but when I replace my current laptop, I will look seriously at this type of drive, since I travel so much.
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  #41  
Old 19 Aug 2007
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I've decided not to take a laptop on the Central & South American trip I'm planning. The availablity of Internet Cafes and the worry of having another expensive piece of equipment along make the decision easy. In my perfect world, an Internet Cafe will appear just before the skies open up and the rain starts falling . I'll have a great cup of coffee while I catch up on email, add to blog and check weather and news on the web. The storm will pass, the sun will be shining and I'll be back on the road; worry free, and glad I saw this discussion on the HUBB. Thanks for all the insightful comments.
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  #42  
Old 19 Aug 2007
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Yeah I've pretty much decided the same thing - unless I get my hands on this http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...ghlight=laptop

then I'll take it. Other than that... nope I'm going to be 'free' - blame Lorraine.

m

Quote:
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I've decided not to take a laptop on the Central & South American trip I'm planning. The availablity of Internet Cafes and the worry of having another expensive piece of equipment along make the decision easy. In my perfect world, an Internet Cafe will appear just before the skies open up and the rain starts falling . I'll have a great cup of coffee while I catch up on email, add to blog and check weather and news on the web. The storm will pass, the sun will be shining and I'll be back on the road; worry free, and glad I saw this discussion on the HUBB. Thanks for all the insightful comments.
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  #43  
Old 27 Aug 2007
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Well, this has been an interesting read. I can agree with quite a number of points including to be free and not take one, but also to take one but try not to get hooked, if I can not get any hookeder

I like the idea of those solid state drives, but I have over 56G of music. I would also like to use my lappie as a movie player as well. So, that means taking a few of these as each movie is ripped to at least 750M. But, to listen while riding using an MP3 player is great and they seem to mostly use Nodoze as the OS, so I would need to partition a drive specifically for expee.

Then there is my GPS, which also uses expee, I would like to convert my Garmin tracks onto GoogleEarth as a running theme, it just adds that visual dimension to a blog that can be missing so often. As long as I do not become tied to it I should be fine.

Photos, of course are essential, well to me anyway. I like to take them at max size and will most likely burn and send home as previously suggested. But, I also use a program called Polyview which converts the photos to a decent image size automatically(whatever you set it too, like 600x800 and 100kb), which is great for posting to blogs, also they are nice to have on hand, in case someone actually wants to look at my 'slides' Also, my camera is only uploadable to windoze.

I am doing a short lap of Oz next year in March as a precurser to my RTW, so that will be decision day as to whether I will be laptop free or burdened.

Until then, the more info I can soak up from forums like this the better

Cheers
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  #44  
Old 31 Aug 2007
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I'm bringing the lappy! A new macbook 13". I really want to build material for a book, as well as photo editing. I can go through a 2GB card in about 2-3 hours of decent shooting, so I'd need to bring a HECK of a lot of card to make it the next i-cafe...

No movies, some bike manuals, etc. Integrates with the GPS (Parallels and Garmin Mapsource. grrrrrr...)

It's not an entertainment device, but it does have Spanish and Russian language lessons on it!

I'm packing it in a neoprene slip cover, and then it sits in a waterproof bag on top of an inch or so of spare "Pelican" foam, usually on top of some other padding-type stuff. All inside an alu pannier.

I like to think I've really done my home work with respect to packing. At any rate I have lots of space for chargers, etc.

I'll let you know if and when it fails.

Mitch
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  #45  
Old 1 Sep 2007
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Whats the need mate

Ted Mate,

I am doing the same as in south america for a year starting Dec/Jan. Have spoken long n hard to my brother who is a computer whizz kid in the US. & the answer is you dont need it mate.

All this talk about that we can use it to watch movies, play games etc. Cool but are we really travelling through S Am to play video games in our tent?? Sounds crazy to me that we need that kind stimulation.

Your Ipod, if you have the latest one will hold 60gig of music n photo,for you. A PDA I do reccomend as I use it a lot to remind me when its someone B,day I guess. Got into soo much trouble for forgeting!! Also you can use a PDA with a big enough memory card to write all you blogs and up load it from most internet cafes.

PS. if you need a PDA I have one going spare.

See ya in south America Mate.

Cheers Mojo.
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