Vacation Tech Redux

I last cruised about 20 years ago, well before widespread mobile phone and email usage. Though, I was still quite surprised to see many teens talking and texting on their cells all day, every day. And I suspect their parents will also be surprised when the roaming fees hit. And speaking of fees, I found Royal Caribbean’s Internet rates pretty reasonable – maxing out at 55 cents a minute. I prepaid $38 for 90 minutes of usage (~$0.42/min). Which was more than enough time to delete junkmail and keep an eye on Techmeme in the Internet Cafe with ocean view or via WiFi on my iPhone. (The iPhone doesn’t currently allow you to simultaneously disable GPRS/EDGE while enabling WiFi. Though it looks like I could prevent roaming, I played it safe by popping the SIM once we set sail.)

On the pool deck, I saw a woman reading a Kindle… and wondered if she’d also be comfortable bringing it to the beaches of Mexico. (A common topic this week?) However, between dips in the sea, I did notice a sunbather near us listening to a Sirius Stiletto. I wonder if she had satellite reception, or was strictly playing recorded content? Underwater, I encountered two separate snorkelers with digital (?) cameras in clear plastic enclosures. Overall, I was pleased with my choice of paperback book technology (3x) – didn’t matter if they got wet, sandy, or were stolen from my beach chair while submerged.

Post-vacation: At home yesterday, I tried out Animoto for the first time (more on that later) using photos culled from my small digical cam, iPhone, and a disposable waterproof Kodak. Here’s the abreviated 30 second clip. (Unfortunately, about half of the pics I shot with the disposable camera were lost – a good reminder why I left film behind years ago. Though I was pleased that Ritz could “develop” the pics only onto CD and for just $10 in an hour.)

And as of this AM, to increase my efficiency as I ramp back up, I’ve removed about 20% of feed subscriptions from Google Reader – any site providing only abstracts is history. Most of those publications are quite good, but time is valuable and the important news will land elsewhere.

6 thoughts on “Vacation Tech Redux”

  1. Other tech observations…

    Our cabin has an 8 or 10 inch tube television. With the cost of fuel these days, I wondered why they haven’t migrated to LCD. But given the amount of staterooms and the probably limited usage, it’s probably more economical to not swap them out yet since it’s a sunk cost.

    Missing cabin tech: alarm clock

  2. Glad to hear you had a good vacation (or actually, I guess you didn’t really say…).

    Re. Animoto I tried it and while it was kinda cool I probably won’t bother with it again. There were minor things, like the image sizes on the “sort” page are too small, making it difficult to guarantee they are all right side up. But the killer was that when I was all done, and downloaded the video, I played it on my HDTV via Apple TV and it just looked AWFUL. I’m sure it would have looked okay if I’d kept it postage-stamp size on a laptop. But seems to me the point is to create something you can show others, which to me means on a TV (or DVD or …). Likely the bit rate is just too low to justify bothering with this again for me.

  3. Yah, it was a nice and relaxing getaway. Not sure I’m entirely sold on the cruise concept though – I probably would have preferred flying directly to a resort somewhere and parking myself for the duration.

  4. Dave, I’m looking forward to watching your full Animoto video – good choice of song… I was waiting for your picture with Captain Meryl Stubbing.

    Glenn, as of last week Animoto now offers DVD quality videos that should look great on your Apple TV. They are a bit more expensive though – at least I think they are. I haven’t really looked into the pricing.


  5. I have one a little more than double in length, but figured folks wouldn’t be too interested in it. (Here it is on YouTube.) Not to mention we didn’t take very many pictures on this trip since it was mostly about chilling out.

    The pricing for DVD quality is kinda silly. $3 to make the initial video and another $5 for the higher quality. How about we split the different – charge me a flat $4 and give me 640×480 or even a little higher.

    Anyway, when I find some time I’ll pull my thoughts together into a blog post.

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