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Computers on tour

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Bigtallfatbloke, 3 Sep 2007.

  1. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Ok I notice some people tour with a pc. I'd be interested in this. What type of PC (laptop I assume) and how do you get the power and the internet connections?? How do you pack it on the bike?
     
  2. friedel

    friedel New Member

    Location:
    On our bikes!
    Our research before we left revealed lots of people who had problems with their laptops from all the bumping on the bike, so we bought a Panasonic from their toughbook series. It wasn't cheap but they are designed to take knocks and vibrations and can be very light as well. We added some further "insulation" with a custom made bag from SF Bags (online if you Google).

    The battery on our CF-W4 model lasts quite a few hours, maybe 4-5?? Certainly if we are only writing journals and editing a few pictures every night, we can make it go a week without recharging.

    If we stay in just one campsite, then we can recharge there. Otherwise, we've started to see power spots in the oddest places! Outside supermarkets, in shopping malls, in parking lots. If we are desperate, we just stop and charge it while we read a book or get groceries for a while. It doesn't come down to that very often though.

    We can access the internet through wifi or with a cable where there are connections but this really varies from country to country. Hungary, for example, had wifi free in almost every campground!! In Italy, there was no free wifi and some internet cafes charged up to 9 euros an hour for access. Outrageous. We mostly don't bother connecting with our computer. Instead we put our journals and photos on a USB stick and just upload everything when we get to an internet cafe.
     
  3. Cunobelin

    Cunobelin Legendary Member

    DEpends what you need it for.

    I use a DEll Axim PDA protected in an "otterbox"

    [​IMG]

    This has all the basic of MS Office as well as web browsing, email and the likes.

    Memory is by compact flash or SD card and is limited only by the size and number of cards.

    I run Memory Map for route planning, and otherwise use the built in packages for other purposes.

    In the UK the number of free access points for wireless connection means that you can access the internet in most places every couple of days.

    I have never felt the need for the bulk and weight of the PC as I can manage with the PDA
     
  4. Cunobelin

    Cunobelin Legendary Member

    The other extreme is Steve Roberts Behemoth who definitely took a computer on tour!
    [​IMG]

    His package was:
    But then again at a suggested $1.2 million dollar price tag for the machine, it is probably won't be within the budget of most tourers
     
  5. twowheelsgood

    twowheelsgood Senior Member

    Location:
    Zurich Switzerland
    What Cunobelin said. Go for a PDA with a large 640*320 display, wireless networkinging and probably a folding keyboard for blogging (bout the same size as a PDA). You can connect either via wireless hotspots or mobile phone if in the middle of nowhere. An external battery pack or solar charger might be useful.

    A proper laptop containing a mechanical harddisk can still suffer on the road and really isn't necessary. Very small, light laptops are stupidly expensive and still clumsy when packed into a suitable protective case.
     
  6. redfox

    redfox New Member

    Location:
    Bourne End, UK
    As an experiment, I did take my Sony VIAO ultra portable with me once. It has excellent battery life and weighs less than a kilo, so I thought it would be good for communicating with my Garmin GPS (PDAs cant do this), sorting each days photos, updating the blog etc.

    I carried the length of Germany and it never came out of its protective sleeve, I just couldn't be arsed at the end of the day and didn't feel like drawing attention toe the fact I had it with me.

    However, ultra-portables needn't be mega expensive I did toy with they idea of this one for less then £500, but remembered Germany and stuck with a pen and paper.
     
  7. Cunobelin

    Cunobelin Legendary Member

    Garmin GPS do communicate fully with PDAs.

    Garmin Serial interface
    CF Card serial interface
    Null Modem

    You may even find your PDA has an accessory Serial lead.


    Sorted!
     
  8. redfox

    redfox New Member

    Location:
    Bourne End, UK
    Sorry, I should have said via USB, which is what I want to use.
     
  9. Cunobelin

    Cunobelin Legendary Member

    In the GPS world USB is a relatively new concept, and many of the simpler ones still use serial.

    Both my Etrex and foretrex use Serial.

    In my experience it was easier and more "future proof" to set up the PC and PDA to use Serial than to find a GPS with USB