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Old 05-14-06, 09:59 PM   #1
mac
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bring Laptop on tour - any recommendations?

I'd like to step out my front door and do the Adventure Cycling Pacific Coast tour, and then other tours in the future. However, I just cannot be away from my PC more than a couple of days, let alone a few weeks! So I'd like to bring a laptop with me. Has anyone else toured with a laptop? Any recommendations? How does the jarring of the road affect the laptop? I was thinking of a Dell w/ 17" display and getting dial-up, HSDPA, and wireless. Must... not... go... without... Internet... access....
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Old 05-14-06, 10:51 PM   #2
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I use an HP IPAQ with WiFi when touring, for email, basic internet browsing, etc. It is bombproof since it has no hard drive, but the screen of course is tiny, and text input very slow.

If I were to go longer and work I would probably bring my old Sony Vaio, with 12" display, which has endured many motorcycle trips and adventures but not on the bicycle. If it got trashed or stolen, no big deal, and it works suprisingly well for internet use with a Lynksys WiFi card.

On edit:

Then again, maybe I wouldn't. I think Cycco has a better idea! (see below)

Last edited by mtnroads; 05-16-06 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 05-14-06, 11:13 PM   #3
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I use a Fujitsu P1120, but that was just disconinued. 9hrs battery life and an all important PCMCIA slot, its much smaller than a sheet of paper and less than 1in thick.
With that slot i use a VZW nationalaccess card.
I wrap it in a fleece or towel.
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Old 05-16-06, 08:46 AM   #4
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You can do it! Leave the laptop at home! You can take these things that are made of ground up trees that are called 'Books' that tell all kinds of stories about all kinds of stuff. They tell stories about outer space and monsters or about crimes or spies or even...gulp...romance - Ewww! And by reading them you can even run, like, movies in your head.

And for writing, there is this other stuff that is made of ground up trees called 'paper'. It's really cool. You use a thing called a 'pen' or even a 'pencil' that transfers chemicals to the paper and makes stuff called 'writing'. It really, really retro and wickedly cool! And the best part is that none of this 'writing' or 'book' stuff requires batteries!

And the very, very best part is that if you drop your book or pen, you won't break it. And they are all - books, paper, pen, pencil - really, really cheap!
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Old 05-16-06, 10:18 AM   #5
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i think my recommendation would be....don't.
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Old 05-16-06, 10:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyccommute
You can do it! Leave the laptop at home! You can take these things that are made of ground up trees that are called 'Books' that tell all kinds of stories about all kinds of stuff. They tell stories about outer space and monsters or about crimes or spies or even...gulp...romance - Ewww! And by reading them you can even run, like, movies in your head.

And for writing, there is this other stuff that is made of ground up trees called 'paper'. It's really cool. You use a thing called a 'pen' or even a 'pencil' that transfers chemicals to the paper and makes stuff called 'writing'. It really, really retro and wickedly cool! And the best part is that none of this 'writing' or 'book' stuff requires batteries!

And the very, very best part is that if you drop your book or pen, you won't break it. And they are all - books, paper, pen, pencil - really, really cheap!
I couldn't have said it better myself.
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Old 05-16-06, 01:14 PM   #7
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Bring your MP3's on Data CD's.
Do the email thang in town libraries.
Leave the screen at home.

Too much weight what with charger and xtra batt. Lousy screen views in daylight. Breakable and stealable.
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Old 05-16-06, 02:14 PM   #8
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If you have to, get one of those super light laptops with wifi. Otherwise, it's overkill and it'll weigh you down. I brought mine, and it really wasn't worth the hassle.

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Old 05-16-06, 03:43 PM   #9
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If you don't have a ruggedized laptop, don't take it. Laptops are very fragile things. Minor drops can wreck the hard drive, any kind of spill(or rain) can fry the motherboard. It's not worth the risk.
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Old 05-16-06, 06:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnroads
I use an HP IPAQ with WiFi when touring, for email, basic internet browsing, etc. It is bombproof since it has no hard drive, but the screen of course is tiny, and text input very slow.

If I were to go longer and work I would probably bring my old Sony Vaio, with 12" display, which has endured many motorcycle trips and adventures but not on the bicycle. If it got trashed or stolen, no big deal, and it works suprisingly well for internet use with a Lynksys WiFi card.

On edit:

Then again, maybe I wouldn't. I think Cycco has a better idea! (see below)
Which IPAQ are you using? Like it? I'm thinking when the price comes down.............
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Old 05-16-06, 07:29 PM   #11
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Check out Durabooks by Twinhead . This will be my 'office on the go.'

Rugged and reasonably priced vs Panasonic toughbook..

I'll be hauling a BOB Yak trailer. All other gear is light weight, but I'll probably need to work while on tour.

Tim
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Old 05-16-06, 07:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogerinchrist
Which IPAQ are you using? Like it? I'm thinking when the price comes down.............
I bought the HP hx2415 about a year ago. I like it. Solid unit with great screen, wifi/buetooth, and rugged design. This is the business-oriented model, not consumer, and has no camera or anything like that. It is great for usual PDA functions - calendar, contacts, notes, MS apps, and email. The wi-fi works ok but is slow compared to a laptop. The text entry is painfully slow and I should really get a portable keyboard for when I travel with it. Otherwise it is mainly used as a PDA and to ensure that I always have a way to check email when the laptop is not with me. Battery life is exceptional, btw, over 8 hrs with wi-fi in use. They go for around $300 now I think.
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Old 05-16-06, 08:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnroads
I bought the HP hx2415 about a year ago. I like it. Solid unit with great screen, wifi/buetooth, and rugged design. This is the business-oriented model, not consumer, and has no camera or anything like that. It is great for usual PDA functions - calendar, contacts, notes, MS apps, and email. The wi-fi works ok but is slow compared to a laptop. The text entry is painfully slow and I should really get a portable keyboard for when I travel with it. Otherwise it is mainly used as a PDA and to ensure that I always have a way to check email when the laptop is not with me. Battery life is exceptional, btw, over 8 hrs with wi-fi in use. They go for around $300 now I think.
THANKS!
I'm shooting for more of an all-in-one model, with portable keyboard maditory!
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Old 05-16-06, 08:53 PM   #14
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I'll advise you to leave the laptop at home. I just "fried" the modular bay harddrive on my laptop by moving it away from the table where I usually work on it at home, because my cat all of a sudden decided to start lying down to nap on the keyboards. I moved the laptop around for two days, and that resulted in a crashed harddisk. I was told by Dell that the movements killed my harddrive.

My point is that laptops are much more delicate than I realised. I think taking them in a pannier or trailer and bounding up and down on a bike tour would not be good for your harddrive.

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Old 05-16-06, 09:03 PM   #15
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I haven't bike-toured in many years, but on all of my (well our, me and my wife) trips I took my ipaq. But I also have a full sized folding keyboard for it, so text entry was every bit as good as a laptop. Surfing is tedious, as the small screen and mini IE isn't as good. But most trips I had minimal internet access anyhow as they were outside the US. Also equipped with a 5GB mini HDD I used my ipaq for MP3, audio books, ebooks, and movies while travelling. I am such a geek.

Now I have a Verizon 6700. Best of both worlds.

If I were to take a full sized laptop. I would take one of these:
http://store.shopfujitsu.com/fpc/Eco...do?series=P15D

My dad has one and it is amazing. Super small and light, but extremely usable. With the extended battery he gets at least 6 hours battery life. I am still trying to figure out how I can filter my laptop down the food chain and get myself one.

-D
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Old 05-16-06, 10:04 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LUCAS
I'll advise you to leave the laptop at home. I just "fried" the modular bay harddrive on my laptop by moving it away from the table where I usually work on it at home, because my cat all of a sudden decided to start lying down to nap on the keyboards. I moved the laptop around for two days, and that resulted in a crashed harddisk. I was told by Dell that the movements killed my harddrive.
I have a 6 yr old Dell Latitude I bring everywhere with me and toss it around with out much concern, still works like a charm. Moving the laptop around for a few days shouldn't cause a harddrive to fail, but I don't know anything about modular bay drives.
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Old 05-17-06, 02:29 AM   #17
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I have a 6 yr old Dell Latitude I bring everywhere with me and toss it around with out much concern, still works like a charm. Moving the laptop around for a few days shouldn't cause a harddrive to fail, but I don't know anything about modular bay drives.
As a matter of fact, my laptop is a Dell Latitude C800. The primary harddrive in the computer works fine. The problem is with the secondary harddrive in my modular bay. I also use the modular bay for a second battery at times.

I was specifically told by a Dell technician that the problem resulted from moving around the computer. He has seen this kind of problem many times, he said.

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Old 05-17-06, 04:55 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mac
I'd like to step out my front door and do the Adventure Cycling Pacific Coast tour, and then other tours in the future. However, I just cannot be away from my PC more than a couple of days, let alone a few weeks! So I'd like to bring a laptop with me. Has anyone else toured with a laptop? Any recommendations? How does the jarring of the road affect the laptop? I was thinking of a Dell w/ 17" display and getting dial-up, HSDPA, and wireless. Must... not... go... without... Internet... access....
Took a Laptop around Australia on our 23 month, 19,000 km ride, powered it from a solar panel, ran our communications and website from it and it was fine - just take some basic precautions with it. I made a bubble wrap cover for it and and stored it in the Bob trailer. No problems at all. Have just bought a Fujitsu Lifebook (with Wi-fi etc) for the next ride because it is smaller and lighter. Just do it and be glad you did. If you do take one, look at it like money in your pocket as you enter a casino - you could lose it and your prepared to do so if you do.
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------------------------------------------
...years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
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Old 05-17-06, 08:21 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LUCAS
As a matter of fact, my laptop is a Dell Latitude C800. The primary harddrive in the computer works fine. The problem is with the secondary harddrive in my modular bay. I also use the modular bay for a second battery at times.

I was specifically told by a Dell technician that the problem resulted from moving around the computer. He has seen this kind of problem many times, he said.

Regards,
Modular HDs are not shock protected like a good laptop's internal HD. They also tend to use lower end HD's. Modern laptop HDs can take a lot of stress. That said, i don't recommend dropping them on teh floor.
If money weren't an issue though, I'd get the lighest panasonic toughbook or equivelent. Use can be a godo option with those. Otherwise, the mini lifebook's are very good and tend to be cheap or smaller.
Also, I have a no questions asked LCD replacement plan, which is a nice.
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Old 05-17-06, 11:41 AM   #20
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My suggestion would be a palm sized computer with wi-fi like a blackberry just because of space concerns. Failing that, the largest notebook I would get would be a 12.1" There are many in this category that have fall-sensing hard drives and carbon fiber chassis. I'd bulk up on the batteries, extra batteries and power adapters though. If you're careful, maybe the whole setup would be just under 6-7lbs?

I dunno, I would just setup the home computer with RDP or VNC service and remote in from an internet cafe if you need something. You can even link your local storage sources to your home computer via the internet ... xfer camera files directly to your home PC from wherever you are. Keep your journal notes on paper and transcribe them to an online site like livejournal, xanga or myspace instead of a laptop. Email is accessible anywhere and if you were really hungry for 24/7 communication, you can even leave your instant messenger client on at home and check it via the remote connection. I would hope your leaving work behind too, but even if you're not, you'll be able to copy files back and forth this way too...
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Old 05-17-06, 04:07 PM   #21
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Hi Im in the middle of touring myself... Ive been carrying my sony vaio TX and It's been great! It is a full computer that weights 1.5 kilos... battery is awesome 7+ hours... the big downside was the price but I think it has come down a little now. Highly reccomended!
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Old 05-17-06, 05:53 PM   #22
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I would advise you leaving it at home. I never would have dreamed of bringing one, but I am a touring guide and a grad student at the same time, so I had to on one tour.

We will just say that tour was also the last life of my HP Omnibook.

However, I do bring my cameras with in a Pelican 1150 Lockable case and my cell phone in a Pelican 1060 Micro. Both are waterproof and have pressure release systems. They are designed originally to hold guns and other ballistics for cops. And I now hear they make one in laptop size.
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Old 05-17-06, 11:45 PM   #23
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I commuted with an IBM Thinkpad for a year. After about six months, vibration from the road caused some internal contacts to come loose, so it had to be sent in for repairs.

17" Dell is going to be stupidly heavy. Internet cafes or paper would be easier.
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Old 05-18-06, 12:24 AM   #24
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Why not just use internet cafes along the way?
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Old 06-13-06, 03:53 PM   #25
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You might want to try the new Sony VAIO UX180P ---> a new ultraminiature little laptop that weighs roughly one pound, has a slide-out thumb keyboard, a touch sensitive screen (for stylus input/browsing), and built-in EDGE networking.... plus wifi, bluetooth, usb, all the other standard laptop gobbledegook. Could be just the thing for uploading photos, checking the 'net, sending emails, etc. on the go. It's a fully-featured "laptop" (hardware and software-wise), just packaged in a form factor that's more miniature tablet and/or PDA. (like a larger OQO).

I think it's due out either in late June, or late July.

Just... never mind that it costs $1800.

http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTE...ters_UX_Series
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