Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Equipment, Travel > Communications

Communications Connecting - internet cafes, laptops, Palm devices, cell phones - how to connect, use, which one, and Bike to Bike and passenger intercoms.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

Like Tree1Likes

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #31  
Old 18 Mar 2011
Wheelie's Avatar
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oslo, Norway
Posts: 457
Its been a while since I wrote my article on electronics on the road - and so much new stuff is happening on this front that a post every six months is really needed to be on track.

Its not often that I would reccomend going dirt cheap, but in terms of a travelling computer, with the changes in technology, quality and prices, this is exactly what I reccomend. I would actually reccomend a small portable netbook, type Asus Eee with a screen of plus minus 10 inches. They are more robust and capable than most people think. As many don't have the typical spinning hard drives or DVD player/burner, they have no moving parts, and are therefore less prone to break. Also, many netbook models have battery time of plus minus ten hours, which is very convenient when travelling. Even though the netbooks are extremely light and portable, the keyboard is close to full size and quite comfortable. You get very quickly used to the small screen, and the small compromise should not pose a problem for most.

I've got so many lap tops lying arround I've lost track how many I've gotn (Dell, IBM, Lenovo, Fujitsu, Asus, HP, Whitev\box hommemade, and more). Still, my tiny asus Eee is by far my all time favourite and the one I use 95% of the time (in fact, I'm using it right now even though I have a much larger, brand new, and much more expensive and capeable lying only two meeters away). I've used it for all types of office apps, uploading and downloading files, ftp, and even constructing entire websites on it, listening to music and watching movies in dvd quality (HD quality is a no-go), I've connected it to projectors for businesspresentations, carried out video chats accross the globe with the built in webcam, and much more. The only things I've not used it for is editing media (video/photo) and gaming - something I would not do while traveling anyways.

As for video editing, allmost all video these days is captured in HD. You will have a difficult time to edit this on any current laptop (there are a few haulable out there, but no portable, that can edit HD video). As for photo editing, I'm sure the basics could easilly be done on a Netbook. Still though, get as much memory as you can.

If reliability is absolutely cruicial, and massive ammounts of storage space is less so, then a Netbook with an SSD (Solide State Drive instead of a standard type harddrive that spins) ought to be conscidered. These have no moving parts and are less prone to breaking, and also improve the speed of the computer a bit. But, in terms of the ammount storage you get for your money, you get very little. Fortunately though, the costs are coming down every month and disk capacity is getting bigger. Personally I've not opted for the SSD as I've found a much betterway to secure my data - which I will explain in the following:

If you really want to secure both your data and your ability to "compute" while on the road, you should get yourself a smartphone in addition to your computer - these can do allmost everything your computer can, and they also serve as a great backup device for your files. In addition to using the phone to backup your files, you can even use it to write emails, browse the internet, write and read both documents and spreadsheets, watch movies, the list goes on and on. By now most people should be familiar with these types of phones, so I'm not going to go into detail of their capabilities. If you allready don't own one - then you rellay should get one regardless of what you conscider your needs to be - you don't know until you've tried...

With a phone as a backup device, if your computer is lost or broken, it will be inconvenient still, but atleast your files are backed up and you can access them on the phone or transfer to another computer. Personally I use an iPhone 4g with 32 GB of storage, which is more storage than i need on a trip. Unless you plan to capture a lot of HD quality video, there will no longer be a need for DVD/bluray burners to back up your files. But if you do plan to capture a lot of HD video, I would reccomend getting an external USB Blueray burner so that you can burn copies and ship a copy home and keep a second copy with you... alternatively a bunch of flash mememory sticks (it all depends on how much video you will capture). Economy set aside, the flash memory sticks is a better storage option than a portable burner and disks.

Since my first post in this thread, there are many new options to secure files and software. And there is one in particular that I can highly reccomed, the service is Dropbox. It comes as a free version with limited storage, or a paid version with unlimited storage. You might as well pay the few dollars a month that it will cost you to have a fully fledged service as once you implement it, you will quickly find that you will want to backup just about all your digital files on it.

Dropbox is a service that allows you to store your files in the "cloud". Basically you can mirror all your computers, and even your iPhone on it. This means that you at all time will have the same folders and same files on all your computers, and your files will be available both offline and online. You can access your file from any computer on any internetbrowser, or through your regular file hierarchy on any computer where you have installed the Dropbox client (like you are used to accessing your files). You can even access your file on your phone if need be, or upload files to your computers from your phone.

Every time you get an internetconnection you wil auto sync your local files on your computer/phone with all your other computers with the client installed, as well as having acopy stored on the internet in your secure Drop Box account. If your computer gets stolen, lost or broken, your files are secure if you have passwrod protected your computer. If this should happen you can access your account from another computer and disconnect the computer that was stolen, and even delete the files on it.

Dropbox also give you a public folder, i.e. for photos so that all who knows the address can access them. The public folder is also a convenient way to host photos that you want to publish on horizonsunlimited or other forums. And, with the drop box you can very easy share files or entire folders with other people who have a Dropbox account, easier than sending an email with an attachment. It is just like working in an offoce where many people share the same folders on a server.

With Dropbox you have a copy stored locally so that you can accesss them while offline, and you can choose under which conditions your computer is to sync (i.e. when idle, all the time, or when you tell it to do it).

Personally I use my dropbox on all my computers, and my wife and I share an account so we have access to eachother's files. And, on my iPhone 4 I've set it up so that the phone only stores the last 5gb of the last accessed files - this so I don't have to take up too much space on my phone and s that I don't have to download the most used files every time I need them - and remember, 5GB is a lot of files. The rest of the files on Dropbox is still available on my iPhone, but I will need to be online to access them. The only files I don't store in my Dropbox are movies and tv-series that can readily be replaced - I never watch a movie twice anyways.

In other words, a cheap computer paired with an iPhone or android based phone, plus Dropbox, is really the way to go if you can't live without computing capabilities or your files. If your computer is lost or broken you can still access your files from an internet cafe or your phone until you have replaced the computer with another dirt cheap one. Also, if you make copies of your software, then if your computer is stolen, it is not the end of the world. Remember though, your files will be useless if you don't have the right software to access them. Even though there are free software out there to handle most your needs quite adequately, chances are that your prefferred software is expensive, and that you will want it back. I won't discuss how you backup software here as it is a chapter in its own - I reccomend you talk to a fourteen year old computer geek - he will know the latest best means to do it. All I can say that it is a bit of a hazzle if you've never done it before, and sometimnes right down problematic. Personally though, I don't backup anything that can be replaced for money or found legally free on the internet, including software - I only backup my personal stuff.

For mail I use g-mail as I prefer it over Outlook for many reasons that I won't go into. Many documents and spreadsheets I also store/make in google docs as you can access them anywhere and allows for two people to collaborate in the same instant, something which can't be done on the microsoft alternatives.

In short, you can probably buy three or four Eee computers for the price of a good "rugged" computer, and paired up with Dropbox and an iPhone, you will be far more secure. You can take steps to secure yourself even further, but I'll leave it at this.

Last edited by Wheelie; 19 Mar 2011 at 12:24. Reason: Improved structure - same content
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 24 Mar 2011
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: wirral mersyside uk
Posts: 105
Charging On Bike

Woow ,all my nagging questions answered in one thread.EXCEPT ONE. May be the most basic question of all.
When charging net book or lap top off ciggy charger on bike, do you have to upgrade the battery or altenator for more output.
My smart phone charges ,no problem but I ve been told that the net book will need more power to charge . I intend to charge up whilst riding and maybe the last hour of the days ride disconnect to fully recharge bike battery
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 15 Apr 2011
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 11
I just took an EEEpc from canada to argentina and I swear by it. Small durable and cheap, so no big deal. It was in my tank bag (wolfman expedition) and didnt mind at all going down at 100kmh in peru...

Hostels have wifi everywhere but not always good pcs.

Netbook. Seriously.
__________________
Latest blog: My Motorcycle Lift
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 17 Jun 2011
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 24
Buy a small laptop 12 inch or smaller, that way it will fit in your tankbag.
ive bought a lenovo x200t, 2 generations old and plenty fast enough!

pro: it has an internal stand alone gps module, so you can always use it as backup map/gps
__________________
NordKapp Rally 2011
Iceland 2012
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 18 Jun 2012
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2
Bravo, great post. Thanks for all the information.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


 
 
 

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!


HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 18:44.