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Photo Forum Everything on Travel Photography, from what kind of equipment to how to light a subject, moderated by Stuart (Reggie) Martindale, a pro English photographer
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  #1  
Old 16 Nov 2010
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Laptop or photo stoage when on the road

Has anyone taken a small laptop (10" screen like the Acer with 160GB HD) with them on the road for sorting and storing photos.
Or is a small HD ok for secondary storage.
I generally use a RAW format so the files are relatively big.

I'm just worried that the laptop will fall to bits being strapped onto a dirtbike for a few months.

I prefer offroad riding where possible.

Any suggestions ?

Kim
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  #2  
Old 16 Nov 2010
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Some companies (notably Panasonic) make 'ruggidized' laptops that are designed to cope with dirt, dust, and heavy vibration or shocks. Although these are quite expensive to buy new, a used one (perhaps from eBay) might be the answer for you.

The product line is called "Toughbook". Only problem I can foresee is that they are typically towards the large end of the size range for laptops.

Having said all that - I have carried a regular IBM Thinkpad around in the pannier of my ST1100 for about 10 years, well over 100,000 km, with no problems ever. The ST is, however, not a dirt bike.

Michael
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  #3  
Old 16 Nov 2010
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Have you tried a search? Typing "laptop" in the search box, then "sort by date" if you're feeling fussy will turn up dozens of pages addressing exactly this topic. Similarly "netbook." Or just go to the communications section of the HUBB and scroll away: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/communications/.

Hope that helps.

Mark

(who just had my EEE PC motherboard replaced at no cost despite being woefully out of warranty and having carried the poor thing unpadded on the back of my bike for many tens of thousands of miles)
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  #4  
Old 16 Nov 2010
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I'm typing this on a macbook that was in a side pannier (caribou - pelican) when I wiped out on the Dempster highway in northern Canada in July. The pannier popped off and bounced a bit. Unfortunately my leg didn't fare as well. So long as the laptop is tightly packed in something waterproof with lots of padding, it should survive almost anything. When space is at a premium I carry a small backup drive (Hyperdrive Colorspace UDMA) which is 500gb. You can do limited playback but no processing. It worked well during a month long trip to India last year (sans motorbike but had to travel light). I also usually carry enough 32gb CF cards so I don't have to erase them which ensures at least two copies of my images.
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  #5  
Old 16 Nov 2010
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+1 on the EEE Pc netbooks, cheap, small in size, and light. Took mine from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Buenos Aires, Argentina last winter then around Europe and Morrocco this summer with. Great battery life and powerful enough to do whatever you need/want while on the road. Had mine in a neoprene sleeve and sometimes had it stashed in the tankbag and sometimes in the panniers with no issues.

Have a blast on your trip!
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  #6  
Old 17 Nov 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mx4eva View Post
Or is a small HD ok for secondary storage.
I generally use a RAW format so the files are relatively big.
Kim
I went for this option, 250GB ext HDD 2.5" so as to reduce space and not carry and possibly destroy an expensive laptop. This was good but I ran out of space and it still left me open to what happens if the HDD fails as I only had one BIG backup and I was using PC's in internet cafes to backup from my camera SD cards to the HDD.

But let me however restate what I think are the main problems:

Dust, Vibration (will what you are carrying survive a crash?), Humidity, Security, Safeguarding Data, Geographical redundancy, Viruses (when using other Internet Cafe PC's to backup data), Space (arguably the most important consideration), Price.

There are many solutions, even Canon has an external harddisk with SD Card adaptor to backup SD cards but it costs the price of a Netbook at around US$400.

I have friends that just regularly burn CD or DVD's and send them home. (this provided the geographical redundancy, incase all your gear goes in a fire or gets stolen/destroyed).

Personally I like the Idea of having a laptop but the cost and extra gear needed to charge it would cost too much space. Maybe if we didn't take a tent...
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Old 18 Nov 2010
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normal laptops

packed in soft luggage ... usually mounted behind the rider, are all you need.

I had a meet up in Mirny in an out of the way corner of Northern Siberia with Josef Pichler, KTMs sponsored adventure rider. Myself, my co rider Sherri Jo and Josef, all flopped out laptops.

Sherri Jo had a garden variety Macbook
I had a 12 inch eee netbook
Josef had a 12 inch Vaio netbook

All just normal garden variety laptops. All made it across Siberia and Mongolia to / from Europe.

Its my second year in a row travelling with a standard eee netbook. No solid state stuff .... just regular spinning hard drive. Josef and Sherri Jo also had regular hard drives.

There's a lot of paranoia about computers ... thinking you need solid state drives. Or thinking you need a very expensive and insanely heavy toughbook.

As far as I am concerned, its a load of old cobblers. Just take a normal netbook, pack it in soft luggage, mounted behind the rider.
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Old 18 Nov 2010
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Get a new MacBookAir, with Solid State Disk inside. No moving parts, excellent Light 11.5 " perfect travel companion.

Adventurous greetings,
Coen
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Old 18 Nov 2010
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When going to internet cafes etc. It is a good idea to move the r/w tag to read only. that way your cameras sdhc wont get any unwanted 'extras' added to it.
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Old 18 Nov 2010
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EEEPC's are the way to go. I carried mine from Japan to Spain no worries. survived desert heat and freezing cold in Finland. My back up 500g hard drive did not fare well for no known reason, so I glad that I didn't delete the photos from my laptop after transferring them to the back up.

Simon
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  #11  
Old 18 Nov 2010
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Take a Netbook + 2.5" HD

I wouldn't travel without a netbook ever again. Great thing to have on the road. I usually store it vertically in the pannier, the backup HD in the other one. I find SSDs of sufficient size still too expensive and I expect the netbook HD to have a reduced life due to vibrations, not to speak of an accident. Therefore regular backups on the external HD are essential.
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Old 19 Nov 2010
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With the availibility of internet cafes and photo storage dumps, I imagine it would be easy enough to just install a few mobile apps on a thumb drive with a SD card reader embedded.

If you are building updating a website and editing photos on the road this may not be the best method...
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Old 19 Nov 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HillbillyWV View Post
With the availibility of internet cafes and photo storage dumps, I imagine it would be easy enough to just install a few mobile apps on a thumb drive with a SD card reader embedded.
Using mobile apps and internet cafes greatly depends on the upload bandwith of the country you are travelling in, not to mention whether they have internet cafes. In theory uploading to online photo storage dumps (I presume Hillbilly is talking about) can reduce photo resolution to upload. Be careful not to rely entirely on this or any one source for back ups.

Accidents do happen, either with viruses, accidental deletion, corruption, vibration damage or other electronic failures.
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Old 22 Nov 2010
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Uploading your photos in RAW should stop the decrease in quality when using a photo storage site.

No matter the method, always have back ups and multiple copies. Storage devices are cheap and compact, there is no reason use only one method. I think there are SD cards with 32 Gbs of space on the market. 32!
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  #15  
Old 22 Nov 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HillbillyWV View Post
I think there are SD cards with 32 Gbs of space on the market. 32!

They are SDHC cards (with max 32GB capacity). SD cards are the older technology and only allow max 2GB. Check your device is compatible with SDHC first otherwise it could be a waste of money.

Also check the class of SDHC memory card you're device needs. For HD 1080p devices you will need at least a transfer rate of 30Mbps which is a Class 6 SDHC or above.

Keep in mind the camera resolutions when choosing a memory card. The higher the resolution the more space it will take and the less photos you can store on any one memory card.

Amazon has competitive prices for 32GB SDHC cards.
Sandisk 32GB SDHC Memory Card: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories
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