Technology for the trip

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Yes, I’m a hopeless toyaholic.  For a 3+ week trip, clearly I had to bring along a full collection of gadgets.  I tried to mostly use what I’ve got, but i did pick up a few odds and ends.  Here’s what’s in my bag:

Photography

I debated long and hard about which camera to bring.  I love photography and the process.  I like to at least try and take photographs, vs simple snapshots, though most of my stuff is crap of course.  Despite always hoping, the simple truth is the image quality and DOF control that a SLR provides really makes a huge difference in the final product.  Of course, the untaken photograph never looks good, which is why I only brought my little camera along on this trip.  Between horror stories of condensation and the thought of 10lbs+ of equipment in 90 degree heat, I’d probably never take a single picture.To be fair to the LX3, it’s a GREAT camera.  It’s the only little guy I’ve actually enjoyed using so far.  I’ll let you all know how it holds up.

I did need to buy a few accessories – specifically a 52mm tube extension and polarizer plus some more memory.  With all the outdoor photography coming up, I wanted to cut down on that glare.  I picked up some cheapo stuff off ebay, and in a shipping miracle worthy of note, the ebay auction I ordered on Thursday was delivered via USPS on Saturday.

With flash as cheap as it is, I took 4 8GB SD Class 6 cards.  that’s good for 500 pictures per card in RAW+JPG mode.  I’m shooting RAW+JPG so I can post the JPG’s on the road easily, and have the full control of RAW when I get home.

When taking so many photos in so many places, it’s easy to blur it all together.  I’m using my old Wintec WBT-201 GPS datalogger to geotag all my photos.  I turn it on in the morning, offload the log in the evening and charge it up.  Based on the timestamp, the software will automatically tag each photo with the location where it was taken.  Getting the timezone stuff set is a bit tricky, but once that’s done it works great!

Computing & Communication

I bought an Asus EEE 900HA just for this trip.  With 160GB HD, wifi, and all the computing I need and all for <$300, it’s pretty much the perfect traveling device.  It’s insanely small, great battery life, and really useable.  I’ll be backing up all the photos here, as well as using it in case I run out of SD space (which I hope I do).  The first thing I did was install Windows 7.  It took about 4 hours to get all the drivers on and all happy.  the end result is worthwhile – it’s working perfectly.  Win7 is so much better than XP, and it actually works unlike vista.  So far no bugs or problems at all.

An added bonus of the netbook – it’s also an oversized skype phone!  That’s me talking to my parents over there on the right.  OK, you don’t actually have to hold it like this.  I had just dropped some water on the keyboard, and wanted to make sure nothing happened, plus was trying to get as close to the mic as possible.  BTW, video via skype and win7 is awesome.

Entertainment

With a fair bit of downtime this trip, we’ll have lots of time to consume media.  I’ve had my Kindle 1 since they first came out and love it, despite constantly finding the book selection very limited.  I’ve read 50 books on it so far, and it does just disappear into your hand.  Sadly, sharing isn’t a strong suit.  Olivia hasn’t had the chance to read any of these books, since as soon as I finish one, I’m reading the next.

Amazon has a nice feature with the Kindle.  If you’re lucky enough to have two kindles (or more!) linked to the same account, you only need to pay once for the content.  By purchasing a second kindle, Olivia gets instant and free access to all the books I’ve already bought.  Yes, this is one way books kick ebooks ass, but the benefit of having two small kindles was worth it for us.  I now have 15 books to read, Olivia has 60. 

I ripped a bunch of movies from DVD with Handbrake on my mac, and transferred them over to the netbook.  VLC plays them back great, and a 9” screen is great, especially compared with airplane screens. 

Of course, we also have iphones.  Although they’re on, we’re really just using the phone part for emergency.  Mostly they're here for tunes and games.  OK, games. :)

Power & Cables

Amazingly, most of this crap charges via USB.  Only the camera and kindle 1 don’t.  I managed to get away with shockingly little space for all this.  All told, ALL of this stuff is smaller than just my normal 15” MBP and power adapter.  My back is happy.