This edition of Travel Tech is probably most notable for what I didn’t manage to acquire prior to my Thanksgiving journey.
I was slow to act on picking up a refurbished Kindle for a low $150 to make my upcoming transatlantic flights a bit more palatable. By the time I got around to pulling the trigger, the deal was gone. At which point I thought a HP Mini could function as a Kindle and also come in handy for cranking out a few short blog posts while on vacation. But the model I wanted, containing Broadcom’s Crystal HD video card, wasn’t available through the partner HP EPP store. I was somewhat on the fence anyway, assuming more powerful netbooks will be available early next year and didn’t look too hard for a replacement model. And I’m bummed we’ve yet to see an iPhone Bluetooth (or tethered, even) keyboard accessory… which would probably allow me to skip the whole netbook meme entirely. Lastly, on a recent trip, I made the command decision to unload my old, grimy and frayed Shure EC2s. Which I’ve yet to replace. (Any suggestions in the $75 – $125 range?) So I’ll be making do with a decent pair of Griffin Tunebuds which also house an iPhone mic.
Speaking of that iPhone 3GS, it will play a prominent tech role on our travels. I picked up a Mophie Juicepack Air ($80) yesterday, which doubles battery capacity… and phone size… and weight. But I’m hoping it’ll enable me to watch video, listen to music, and read Kindle “books” throughout the flights. (Expect a full report when I return.) I also intend to use my iPhone, via sporadic WiFi connectivity, to spam my Twitter followers with random vacation snapshots, probably food-related. Of course, I’ll be able to keep up with email and perhaps Google Reader news items. But what I’m most looking forward to, unlike my overseas travels last year, is the ability to conveniently and economically make Skype phone calls back to the US.
Lastly, my ancient pocketable Panasonic Lumix digital still camera is at least temporarily being replaced by the Sony Cybershot DSC-WX1 ($350). Which Sony provided to me for use in an upcoming blogger ‘sweep panorama’ photo contest. (More on that after the trip.) In addition to shooting panoramas (sample above), I’ll be taking traditional 10mpx pics under a variety of lighting conditions and may attempt capturing some 720p video. Of course, none of that would be possible without purchasing Sony’s MemoryStick media — I probably overpaid for an 8GB card ($60) at Best Buy, being pressed for time. But the card does offer high(er) read/write speeds and comes bundled with a small USB card reader to offload photos once I’m home.