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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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Old 6 Sep 2006
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Thumbs up Toshiba Laptops

For motorcycle travel my experience has been that Toshiba Laptops...Rock!

Ours has seen over 50,000 miles of travel in all conditions, been dropped, had coke spilled in it..it's beat up, but never fails.

Just my 2 cents

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Old 11 Sep 2006
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Laptop & Motorcycle Trips

I am planing a trip next May runnning through next September 2007. The trip will either be the western US or Canada. I have been researching laptops because I will need to be connected because of the business I own and I expect to have a web page that will keep up with my travel - that is the plan anyway and you know how the best layed plans of mice and men oft go wrong.
I have found two companies that specialize in rugged laptops. They both maybe out of the price targets that some have posted here. The one company is GETAC (www.getac.com) and they only specialize in "rugged" laptops for the military and "hostile" environments. I found this company because a rider with the Iron Butt Ass. used one of their Tablet PCs on his BMW. You can read a brief discription in a resent issue of Motorcycle Consumer News. The other company is Panasonic. I saw their laptops for motorcycle police officers at a resent convention. That is all I know about Panasonic.
I will keep this forum posted on my research and purchase of a laptop. Sometime in the next week I will be sending emails to both Getac and Panasonic.

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Old 11 Sep 2006
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Will be curious about your laptop purchase...

Thanks for the post.

I will be curious

A. What is the cost differential between a "rugged" laptop and a conventional one.


B. What conditions are you using it in?

My aforementioned Toshiba is in the shop right now, for a repair unrelated to motorcyling, and have been traveling with an older IBM think pad that I got as a refurb for a backup. I don't say this to be contentious in any way, just a matter of curiousity for ALL on this thread actually; unless you are going on Safari why all the fuss? A decent laptop inside a good case in a solid M/C trunk or saddlebag has always worked for me. If you are riding on the street in countries with good roads, etc. the environment just doesn't seem that hostile.

But my experience may not be typical.

Please keep us posted!


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Old 15 Sep 2006
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I've travelled almost every day for three years with my laptop (Compaq Presario) in the top-case of my bike. Around ~8.000 km/year with the laptop. Normally only on good roads. I have had no problems with it. I carry the laptop in a commercial bag with some kind of foam in the back side. This seems enough ...

About photgraphic cameras, I have had some problems with a reflex camerathat I carried for 8.000 km in my tank bag (this august in Turkey). A couple of small screws on one of my lenses got loose, I suppose because of vibration. I had to periodically re-screw them. Next time I will use a custom made foam protection for the camera/lenses.
Another lens had some oil drops in the inside of the glass. I think the oil leaked from the diaphragm because of vibration or excessive heat. I have heard that excessive heat can also cause some fungus to grow inside your lenses. Protecting equipment/film from heat can be more difficult if travelling under the sun in warm countries.
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Old 18 Sep 2006
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Do you need to protect PDAs from vibration?

Hi there,
I was looking at them today and they use SD memory sticks. Being different to a conventional hard drive, will they be a better option?
I'm thinking just lump it in a camera case.
The Road To Rio - Locokiwi
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Old 6 Oct 2006
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Carrying CD's

Originally Posted by kevinrbeech
If you use a laptop remember to take all of the program CD's as well as a rescue CD, there's nothing worse than a corrupt file when you've got all the gear.
May work in a 4x4, but carrying CD's on a bike - the vibration trashes them. Anyone on a bike had success carrying CD's?
Chiang Mai, Thailand
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Old 1 Jan 2008
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HardDrives in vehicles ....

As mentioned earlier ... harddrives, when spinning, WILL break if shocked!
So here's an idea:
An alternative would be to replace the HD with solid state memory, such as flash-cards. For only a few euro you can buy adapters (like ths one) to modify your laptop (or pc).
If loking for a laptop, Asus Eee PC is small, wighs 0.89kg, builtin camera & mic for logging, usb for your gps(-logger)/camera/printer/scanner/usb-rocket-launcher... and has flash mem. instead of a HD... al in all seems like a good candidate for 'this sort of thing' ...
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Old 1 Jan 2008
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why not just leave the cd's at home, buy a few USB drives and copy all the drivers/apps to it. 2GB versions go for about 15 euro...
maybe just take the rescue cd ... or put even that on a bootable usb drive ... remember to test it out ...

Originally Posted by quastdog View Post
May work in a 4x4, but carrying CD's on a bike - the vibration trashes them. Anyone on a bike had success carrying CD's?
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Old 1 Jan 2008
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Much chat about the Asus and other options over on



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Old 3 Jan 2008
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I've been travelling around Africa (website Home as you ask) a year now with my old Apple G4 iBook, and haven't had any problems - touch wood. I knew when starting it was an indulgence, but it is really robust, and now I can't imagine being without it.
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Old 3 Jan 2008
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Smile Thank you very much wheelie

That said it all, I was 'going' to post a question about all the issues mentioned... plus the 'Sat Phone'... and, nice but no... but I've been answered. I salute you sir

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Old 14 Jan 2008
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I am currently on the road with the following gadgets:

1. Asus EEE pc.
Weighs less than 2pnpd (920gram) does not have a harddisk that can break, is very rugged, has everything except a drive for cd, dvd.
At a price of only 400$ this is simply an amazing gadget and you can afford to loose it too. No problems going off road with it yet.
Another plus is that the charger is quite compact and has a long cable.
Everyone I meet inquire about it and where to get one!

2. Garmin Vista HCX.
Very usefull gps in a compact design and at a good price too. I chose it over all their other models because it has: Light weight, long battery life, can use standart AA rechargable batteries, has slot for memory card, is affordable to loose, is small enough to put in your pocket while sightseeing on foot in a big city (very cool IMHO)
I have a RAM mount which is simply fantastic. I have done nasty nasty offroad with it and it takes it.
8 AA rechargable batteries + charger that can be used with wall plug or cigar lighter.
Comes with a USB cable which can also power it and you can therefore have it permanently powered from the bike. Never needed to do it yet though as one set of batteries last more than a full day.
Note that the "H" in "HCX" stands for "high something" which practically means that the gps can catch the signal inside a building or in a dense forest. This is amazing and as a former owner of a non "H" unit I would never ever buy a Non "H" unit again. No matter how cheap it is on ebay or whatever. The "H" rocks and my GPS is way more effective than Garmins gps 60 units or other more expensive models. (you can of course get a 60 with H, but just make sure you do!)

3. Olympus SW790 Camera with 2 batteries. Camera is waterproof to 10ft (3 meters) and it really is. I wash it under the tap when it is too dirty. It is also shock resistant.
Doesnt take as nice pictures as canon fx, but it is the most convenient camera I have had. I always carry it in my pocket and I never have to worry about rain, or sitting on it etc...

4. Petzl Tikka plus torch with headstrap. Compact and fab. I use rechargable batteries and have 2 sets (6 pcs)

5. Thingy that has a cable with a male cigar plug and a box with 2 USB and 2 female cigar plugs.

6. Cellphone with USB charger. Meaning than you can only charge by USB. I can charge it either from the bike or from the laptop. USB chargeunit is much smaller than standart wall charger.

7. Creative ZEN Vision:M (use whatever you fancy) I only have the USB cable with me to save on weight as the wall charger is heavy. Can charge same way as cellphone.
I use this for music on my laptop too since the ASUS doenst have room enough for my MP3 collection. But the speakers are decent and it does nicely as a stereo. Another plus is that I get my ZEN recharges at the same time from the USB.

8. Power inverter for charging the laptop on the road. Never used it, but maybe convenient when I get to bolivia.

I wouldent know how to list them as I find everything very convenient and it is a daily joy to have on the road. The inverter and the cellphone is the least used item i have, but I would bring them all the same.

I have some cds with me in a fake leather carrying case (the cheap ones with plastic folders for the cds) Light, cheap and works like a charm. Dont put underneath your toolset though (-:
Peter Kongsbak
South East Asia, USA, Central and South America and Scandinavia.

Last edited by peter-denmark; 14 Jan 2008 at 20:53.
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Old 27 Jul 2008
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PC on the go

Yes the Toughbooks (used by US miltary amongst others) are good , i fact the original ones were even smaller than current models. Worth a look.

However I noted today a new product called EEE pc., from company ASUS.

It is a "simple PC" aimed at children . Its not Windows (uses Linux) but for email, notes and photograph storage and sending its 100% OK according to the reviews I've seen. PC Pro: Product Reviews: Asus Eee PC 900

It comes loaded with all software and get this, weighs 2lbs and measures 9X7 inches. Its a solid state drive so none of the hard drive issues to worry about and you can just use USB sticks for extra storage. Sounds like a great system for travellers!

I'm not off anywhere myself (although I have an idea for a round USA Trip based on a 1942 travelogue!) but If I was I think I would be checking this out . Google "ASUS EEE PC"
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Old 28 Jul 2008
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Disagree on the satphone being at the bottom of a list. This depends on where you are. I can think of many places without wifi and internet cafes and cell phones, most of which are travelled by the likes of HUBB types looking for the road/trail untravelled. Check where you are going to see if there will be 100% mobile coverage before finding out there isn't.

If you have a crash in the middle of no-where (ie no cell phone) and have a bone sticking out your leg, well I would certainly pay $400 to get myself out of that situation. As this is the cost of renting a sat phone for a few months, I've taken one in the past. It would suck to know that all around me were electrical signals yet I was too cheap to take the technology on the trip to use them.

And I would call my parents first, then someone with medical advice, then my insurance company.

There seems to be this bravado of not taking GPS and Satphones on travels, which for me makes no sense if they are readily available and cheap. You don't have to use them, but just having them in case is surely a sound idea. My 2 cents.
http://bigben.to/ London to....? The big bike annual rally.
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Old 9 Jan 2010
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Travel Computer-Solid State Drive

I'm no computer expert but I've done a fair bit of traveling. Laptops, notebooks, netbooks: get a Solid State Drive or SSD to replace your Hard drive or HDD. Here is the difference, a hard drive, which most computers come with have spinning parts that are prone to breakage when subject to jolts, falls, spills etc... But a SSD has zero moving parts and it is very difficult to break, its the same kind of processor in you cell phone, or IPod, just larger, faster and a bit more expensive. Granted, they are more expensive for the same amount of memory (32GB SSD=250-400GB HDD) but how many of us travel with 400GB of Metallica songs? My own 2 cents, best of luck.
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