Touring - Palm Piloting on Tour
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03-04-05, 05:55 PM
The last trip I did to Europe I took along a Palm Pilot and a small folding keyboard for making notes. Unfortunately that Pilot crashed and burned while I was still over there. It was the third one I had and thankfully the company refunded my money. I kept the keyboard and the flash card. Now I'm planning my next tour and want to try it again.
My favourite computer store has 'refurbished' Palms at incredible prices and I'm tempted to try again. Has anyone toured with a Palm? Which model and what features do you use? Do I need a colour screen? Can I get away with batteries rather than a recharger? Have you had any trouble with yours?
03-04-05, 06:31 PM
Treo 650 (or 600 on fire sale). You'll have a phone AND a pilot. However, you will need access to AC to charge it...
Nah. I can't read my own handwriting. Plus with one that uses Windows CE, I can easily write a program to upload all data to a website if I happen to stumble upon an Internet connection.
03-04-05, 11:07 PM
I can't read my own handwriting. Are you a physician? :D
Quite the opposite, when it comes to my own wallet :D
03-06-05, 12:17 AM
Have you considered a pocketmail device instead? I used mine on the last couple of tours to send an email to my online journal with my log entries. Doing so required a phone call to a toll free number. Works from pay phones in North America anyway. I know that there are numbers you can call from other countries.
I wrote a page up about it as well:
Just a thought....
03-09-05, 06:54 AM
I'm a bit confused about this PocketMail device.
What I want is a very compact machine to help me keep a log during my bike trips. The Palm Pilot also allows me to download and view websites, maps etc and provides a larger screen for viewing my digital images. I'm a kind of pragmatic person so I want something I find easy to use and useful.
The PocketMail info doesn't describe how I can write a log, or an email, or if I can save it in a useful format such as .txt or .doc. Also do I have to pay for that phone service?
I'm also really interested in this. I am considering Pocketmail, but the Palm might be better for websites because of the .txt ability and therefore the ability to upload manually written html. I also like the fold-up keyboard for the Palm.
Costwise, the Palm plus keyboard seems to be a reasonably proposition long-term. Added to that is website hosting which wouldn't be much of AUD$11 a month for me. The Pocketmail rental seems a bit higher for less capability.
So bring it one everyone. Tell us more...
03-09-05, 09:21 AM
this is tough, i would also like a palm coz i never bother to type what i wrote when i´m back home (i have trouble reading my own handwriting and besides, i´m just too lazy to read through all that pages), and yet i don´t want to further ccomplicate my tour by using another delicate electronical device. am just wondering, even though it might sound stupid, are there any durable/simple/battery friendly palms?
03-09-05, 09:52 AM
I use the Sharp Zaurus SL-C3000. It's abit pricey but does everything I want.
Zaurus SL-C3000 review (http://www.bargainpda.com/default.asp?newsID=2379&review=Zaurus+SL%2DC3000)
There is also the sl-6000 that was being sold on Amazon a few months for about $400. I don't know if they still do.
Zaurus User Group (www.zaurususergroup.org) has more info on the Zaurus.
There are also instructions on make homemade battery packs for the zaurus on the ZUG forums.
03-09-05, 12:43 PM
Sorry about the delay responding, it's been a crazy couple of days!
The Pocket mail device is mainly focused on giving you the ability to send and receive emails via a phone including a phone booth. It actually has a phone coupler on the back similar to the old fashioned modems that were in use back in the 70's and early 80's. Once you find a phone you simply pop open the coupler and place it up against a phone to upload and download your messages.
The phone calls themselves are usually made to a toll free number (at least in North America) so you don't incur any extra cost there.
You do have to subscribe to the pocket mail service which isn't too bad price wise. I believe they have three, six and twelve month plans. I generally subscribe to the 12 month plan since it works out to be cheaper in the long run for me.
When touring I usually setup an online journal at Crazyguyonabike. At Crazyguyonabike you can send an email to your journal to update your tour report rather then have to use a web based form. This means that I can easily update my online journal while touring without needing to watch for internet cafes. public libraries or a wifi hot zone. Pocketmail device is relatively lighter then a notebook and is powered by standard AA batteries. You can save your emails on the device until you want to delete them.
I expect that if your personal web site has php capabilities you might be able to write your own email handler to do something similar for your own site as well.
Once you get home if you needed a word doc or some other format then you could just simply copy the info out of your email.
You can create new emails or read downloaded ones while away from the phone line. The display has a button to turn on backlighting so that you can easily take care of email while in your tent or hammock. Personally I tended to create my journal entry emails while my dinner was cooking.
Also includes an alarm, address book and a bunch of other features. The latest version of the PocketMail device costs $149.00 Canadian/$99.00 US (prices from their web site) and apparently has better support for cell phones. I have ordered this version and I will test these abilities.
In my experience I've found many more pay phones or land line phones in remote areas then I have wifi hot zones. I also have a Blackberry device for work. The Blackberry is more convenient for instant messaging when in an area with coverage. The Pocketmail is much better if you aren't going to be near major cities with coverage.
There is a review of the Zaurus 6000L on the Bicycle Touring 101 web site as well.
I hope that helps!
03-19-05, 10:56 PM
what kind of software do you use in your pocketPC ? I want to keep track of cyclometer data in a easier way than with pocketExcel.., and with minimal time of use of battery, to avoid looking for power-plugs to charge...
I'm 24 and have started doing tours on bike 3 years ago, and now I can't stop ;) Last summer, as I was returning home I was already thinking about the next departure...
A friend of mind wanted to do a "big" trip after his graduation, and now we are going together...
I have to say that from all my experiences, travelling alone is the most rewarding... In the other hand there's nothing as doing a journey together to prove and enjoy how good friends are the people with you.
I'l be leaving 23rd of this month from Lisbon to somewhere in Moldova...
Just bought a PDA in 2nd hand and I'm trying to find pocketpc software to take with me and do some mileage logging, blogging and emails... and I'm still looking for solar power options (with few hopes)
If someone knows some information that can help, please share ;)
03-20-05, 06:30 AM
Here's an option I have. I haven't used it for touring . . . yet.
I have used both a Palm V and the newer Tungsten T3 with foldable keyboards on tours.
There's no need for color screen when keeping a diary. A refurbished monochrome Palm will have way better battery life than a new device with fancy color screen. The only reason why I would ever consider taking the T3 for another tour is the fact it has a SD memory card slot, the same my camera has. But I would have to figure out a way to keep the T3 charged without access to AC. I suppose it could be attempted with solar power.
You can hook up many PDAs with a cell phone to upload your diary. If you're transfering just text data, the dial-up costs would probably not be a significant factor. Even if you're not going to actually update a web site from the road, uploading will give you backups of your diary in case your PDA dies. A cell phone will obviously make you even more dependent on power sources.
I am seriously considering pen and paper for my next trip.
I have been considering the taking of a laptop. I don't really know why, well the convenience of a rainyday and a WIFI cafe along the way, so I can update, catch up and all that. In the tech age, I've read of a 'bent rider with an old IBM that he used on his cross country tour, offering interviews and updating articles for local paper. I don't recall if he was using a generator on the bike, but I believe he was pedaling and writing as he went.
I am seriously considering pen and paper for my next trip.
The only trip I've done that I kept a journal religiously was my first back in 1997 across the Nullarbor Plain. It was pen and paper. I have tried again since -- most notably in late 2003 in Europe. I think it's the knowledge that I have to transcribe it all at the finish. And I write with a lot of (real) shorthand which is not a problem within itself except I then write a LOT. My Nullarbor transcript is trapped on the hard drive of an old Acer with a defunct floppy drive... and I have to transcribe it again which I am not enjoying.
For me, keyboard is much, much faster and the options of uploading to a website and doing emails out in the middle of nowhere (or as naisme say, in a cafe on a wet day), capturing the ambience, seems such a good thing.
My needs are simple. A Word-like word processor, a Paint-like picture editor, and something to download from a digitial camera. I can upload to a website just using source code and something like IE as the ftp agent.
Do Palms, for example, offer those facilities?
Rowan, I agree about a keyboard being a lot less hassle than translittering all my handwritten doodles when back home.
Current Palms have word processors and a pic viewer, but as far as editing goes you will have to buy additional software or maybe even find freeware. Palm software typically costs USD20-40 apiece, so no biggie. It will be no Photoshop, of course, but should do for basic editing.
As far as downloading pics to the PDA goes, get a PDA that can share your camera's memory card. That way you may not have to download anything at all, just save your edited pics on the card and upload to website. If you rig the PDA with WiFi, you're all set. If you tour in areas where WiFi is available, you should not be too far away from mains socket either. That should keep all the gizmos running happily.
I thought about the WiFi -part a bit more, and checked the Palm website: WiFi is only available as an accessory card. So, if you have WiFi on a Palm device, you will not have a free card slot for your camera's SD-card. Looks like you will have to download the pictures into the device after all, then plug in the WiFi and upload all your stuff to website.
My wish is to write a program that allows me to write notes on it. In addition to that, it allows me to draw lines on the map to chart my progress, and mark the stops for the night. Perhaps allows me to dot places where some pictures were taken. Then, when an Internet connection is available, all I have to do is click 'Upload', then the updated map, stopover dots, pictures dots and pictures will all be uploaded to a website, with everyone in the world getting the updated information.
Ain't that cool. If only I could afford a PDA.
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