What’s Coming With Judie on Spring Break Article


By now, most of you have heard that Julie’s and my families are going to
Scotland for Spring Break. While Julie and I intend to do a full write-up on our
experiences after we get back, I thought it would be fun to let you all in on
what I plan on bringing, before I actually get packed.

The biggest consideration I am making in regard to the gear I chose to bring,
is that it has to be versatile and multifunctional. I am packing as light as
possible, and I don’t want to bring along any piece of gear that isn’t
absolutely necessary. In fact, instead of traveling with my monster sized
Halliburton that usually accompanies me everywhere, I am going to do something
unprecedented. I am going to try to fit everything I need for a week in Scotland
inside the Swiss Army

rolling bag
I was given at M�bius.
Anything that doesn’t fit in there is going in the corner of my husband’s large
rolling bag that he has promised he’ll save for me. Of course, I’ll also have my
gear bag with me for all of the gadget stuff I’ll need each day.

So why am I traveling in a manner so completely out of character?
After hearing from helpful Gadgeteer readers about the small size of most
European cabs’ trunks, and since the apartment we’ll be staying in has a washer
and dryer (convenient!) – I am going to seriously pursue the art of traveling
. Can I do it? That remains to be seen – I still have some time before
I actually start packing, but for now – that is the plan.

So here is a peek in my gear bag. If you can think of anything that I may
have missed, particularly in the software area – speak up now! I would hate to
get over there and wish that I had remembered to add something while I still


I am actually going to be bringing both my
Palm Tungsten | T as well as my
HP iPAQ 5455. Now before anyone starts
throwing my words back at me about how I said I was traveling light – let me
explain myself…

My reasoning is that the TT will be my daily PDA, loaded with all of the
essential programs that I will need. To complement the TT, and to make up for
the fact that I will not be bringing my

Fujitsu Lifebook
(mini-moi), I am bringing a
Stowaway XT keyboard. I figure that this
should be sufficient for all of the detailed notes that I’ll want to take for
the article Julie and I will be writing about our trip.

My iPAQ, on the other hand, will be my media-horse. Julie is bringing her new
Sony camera that uses Memory Sticks. I am bringing a
Canon Powershot
which uses Compact Flash cards and my husband will be carrying a

Olympus C-700
which uses Smart Media. So right there, you can see that we
will have three different types of memory cards that need to be emptied every so
often. I have a 5GB
that will be perfect for holding all of these picture files as we
collect them. Using my trusty
Whitney iPAQ PC BaqPaq,
I can insert a 4-in-1 media
or a CF Reader, move the files to my almost emptied iPAQ (which I did
in preparation for this trip), and then I can remove the reader and insert the
DataPak to transfer over all of the files. As an added bonus, if we happen to be
in any 802.11b enabled areas, I will be able to access the web and check my
e-mail. Perfect!

My cameras, two PDAs, memory cards, their
readers, as well as my wallet and a few other personal items will easily fit in
my Louis Vuitton Nil, which is what I use as a gearbag.

Other Gear

I will also be bringing AA
NEXcell batteries and their
charger to use with the Olympus, as well as all of the necessary chargers for
the two PDAs and the Canon.


The plane ride from Dallas to London Gatwick looks like it will be very
long. Even though much of the flight will be taken up with talking, watching
movies, and sleeping – I would be lost without a few necessary programs on my
Palm. Here are the ones that made the cut…

Time Wasters

PalmReader Pro
No PDA of mine is ever complete without PalmReader Pro. I usually have
quite a few books loaded on my memory card, and I have even more in anticipation
of this trip. I sure am looking forward to devouring them on the plane rides!


Astraware Games
I have a freshly installed protector on my TT just because of these titles –

If you ever want to see what separates a premium protector such as the
WriteSHIELD, or the
Brando Plus from the other,
lesser protectors, then all you have to do is play thirty minutes worth of
Text Twist.
Afterward, take a good look at the damage you will have done to any other
ordinary protector – or heaven forbid – your screen, if you didn’t use a
protector. Here are my current Astraware favorites…

Text Twist
is a game where the object is to see
how many words you can create from the five letters provided. As long as you
can get at least one five letter word, you will be able to advance to the
next level. This game is completely addictive, as I mentioned recently in my
gear diary.

is another word puzzle that is hard to
put down. In this game, you have to link at least three letters together to
form words. Certain letters will be worth more than others, and you have to
use "burning letters before they reach the bottom and set the library on
fire." This game is almost as addictive as Text Twist, and even though the
graphics are way better – for whatever reason I am stuck on the former.

is a different type of game than the
previous two. In this one, you have an aquarium with fish that you need to
feed. As they grow, they start to drop coins, which you can bank to buy more
fish or different items that will make your life easier. You also need the
money to buy enough "eggs" to advance to the next level. Don’t be fooled
into thinking this is some goofy take on the portable pets that were so
popular years ago…this is a whole different experience. You have to be
quick to tap on the screen – feeding fish, catching coins, and killing



Once again, don’t say I didn’t warn you if you play any of these games
without a screen protector in place!



I always like to play the slots when I go to Vegas – not that I am any good
at them, of course! I also like to play Black Jack and video poker – but once
again, I get squeamish when real money is involved. I have never understood
Craps, so I don’t even play…but I have given Roulette a go and come away with
a little bit of money in my pocket.  Here is a way that I can play all five
popular Vegas games without losing my life’s savings! The graphics are very well
done, and the game play is exciting!



While the games will be great ways to waste my down time, I also have a few
travel essentials loaded on my Palm.

Botzam Backup

Since I will be away from my laptop, and the ability to hot-sync my data – or
recover my data and applications should disaster strike, it was imperative that
I find a way to backup my Tungsten’s contents. Botzam Backup allows me to do
that, and manages to do a few tricks with the backup files in the process. You
can schedule regular backups, you can securely encrypt your backup, and you can
selectively have your files compressed!

Travel Tracker

I have everything I need to know about my trip loaded in TravelTracker…now
if next week will just hurry up and get here!



Since I would not even presume to do a Dollar to Pound transaction without a
calculator, it should be even easier to do with this program. The buttons are
big enough that I can tap the screen with my finger, and the exchange rates can
be programmed in as needed. I may look like a tourist, but at least I won’t look


I just realized that we have exactly seven more days before we leave for
Scotland! Not only do I need to go practice my packing, I also need to make sure
that I have everything that I am going to need ready for the trip. I am sure
that there must be many more programs that would make the flight and time we are
in the UK even better; do any of you have any suggestions?

Posted in: Articles
{ 33 comments… add one }
  • Judie February 28, 2003, 12:15 am

    Post your comments on What’s Coming With Us on Spring Break, here.



    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

  • EllenBeeman February 28, 2003, 1:39 am

    AA battery adapter for PDA: I would never get on an international flight without one of these and a fistful of AAs! I have the one by Data Nation, though I’ve heard it’s not too hard to make one yourself if you’re handy with a solderer.

    Airline headset adapter: Depending on which airline you’re flying, you’ll want this $5 adapter (Radio Shack) so you can use your own headphones with the airline audio. I can’t remember which airlines don’t have an 1/8″ jack, though, other than Continental.

    Vindigo: They have London, though not Edinburgh.

    Very envious of the 5 gig PC Card… I need something like that in CF for my Ipaq and Canon CF digital camera! I’d also suggest bringing a sync cable, just so you can transmit photos back home if you can borrow someone’s desktop, so they’re not only on that PC Card. We had one sad instance with a trip where a laptop hard drive died and took many digital photos with it.

    Hope you have a great time!

    Ellen Beeman

  • johnm February 28, 2003, 1:50 am

    a) more waterproof and cold proofing gear
    b) an air ticket to southern Spain or other warmer climbs, use when you realize a) wasn’t a joke!
    c) watch UK electricity: it differs in volts, amps and cycles (i believe). i found i fried several appliances over there i.e. get a high quality adapter which will take all this into account. i think UK elec is more powerful than n.american elec. while i might use it for charging devices, while turned off, i’d be concerned about using anything live on the uk grid
    d) go to southern England: the flowers will be coming out and its way nicer 🙂 e.g.
    http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/traveltrade/themeguide_guide.cfm?theme_id=17&x=40&y=8 (properties related to tv shows)
    http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/traveltrade/searchresults.cfm?advanced=1&searchtext=&county_id=&theme_id=16&collection_id=&period_id=&x=162&y=20 (properties related to famous people)
    e) warning: London is very expensive, the rest of the country is just expensive

    an Englishman living in Canada

  • Judie February 28, 2003, 4:07 am

    Ellen – that was a great suggestion about the sync cable! The AA Adapter is a great idea, too…wonder if I can get one before I go? Good to hear from you, by the way! :0)

    John – I am afraid that we may have overestimated when we thought we would get to London and possibly Paris. We have become a little more realistic. This means we will most likely be staying only in Scotland and northern England. Yes, it will be cold and nasty, but we will manage. Winter/Spring in Scotland is still worth the trip!

    Thanks for all the ideas and comments, please keep them coming!

    Judie :0)

  • johnm February 28, 2003, 4:36 am

    There’s no helping some people….

    oh well try:

    watch the electricity and

    and for a balanced look at Scotland (from the English 🙂 ) try Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Tim the Enchanter sketch for a go at the Scots and Swamp castle for a go at the northern English). Available on DVD for airplane watching. And as text and wav files:

  • Judie February 28, 2003, 4:44 am

    Julie and I both bought electric converters – so we are ready! :0)

  • Mike Pendray February 28, 2003, 6:53 am

    Judie, Welcome to this side of the Pond!

    Are you planning to bring any software to help you with the language translation?

    Glad to see you got the electricity supply sorted.

    Last week would have been a great week, no rain, bright skies, but very COLD, at least in Liverpool. The Highlands can be VERY beautiful given blue skies.

  • Laurence February 28, 2003, 7:27 am

    Ladies you are loaded for bear

    Any additional power supply for the long plane ride, and your scott vest ?

    I still rember lugging around my 26 pound compaq
    and people were in awwww of that 16 yrs ago

    I wish you a safe and fun trip


  • carphead February 28, 2003, 8:26 am

    if we happen to be in any 802.11b enabled areas

    Snigger!!!! That really gave me a good laugh! :rolleyes:

    Here’s one of the current lists

    If your get to East Anglia let me know and I’ll lend you my Wifi access!!!

    BTW You don’t need a power convertor just a socket converter 99% of new equipment comes with autosensing PSU’s. What about a phone must have a MOBILE!! GSM all the way baby!:D

  • Judie February 28, 2003, 1:56 pm

    You know what? I forgot to mention the PHONE! HA! Since I don’t use a GSM (I live in BFE, remember?), we are going to RENT a GSM phone from this comapany, Rent-a-Phone.

    It’s $30 for the week, $2 a minute for calls out – but we get $20 worth of calls for free, and all incoming calls in Scotland are free. I shouldn’t need to call anyone – but if anyone from home wants to get us, it will be easy.

    Judie :0)

  • eichin February 28, 2003, 3:49 pm

    hmm, no GPS or map software? (granted, you’ll be in the civilized world, but it can still be convenient to have maps of everywhere you’d even think of visiting, maybe on an extra SD card…)

  • JohnKes February 28, 2003, 5:48 pm

    How many hours is the flight to London? If you need AA/AAA battery packs for PDAs:

    Have a great trip! 😀

  • EllenBeeman February 28, 2003, 10:04 pm

    Judie, would you like my GSM-to-PPC CF modem? It is slow (9600 baud) but it works just fine, and my cable is for a Nokia 5100/6100 phone. I can Fedex it to you if you want it, along with my Data-Nation AA battery adapter.

    And…wow!… Tmobile Wifi is in England! <swoon> I have one of their prepaid accounts, and they are GREAT! (Well, rather expensive… but great! <g>)

    Ellen Beeman

  • Judie February 28, 2003, 10:12 pm

    Ellen, you sweetie! :0) I think Julie and I are going to just duck into an internet cafe to check the site and do our e-mail, but thank you for the offer!

    Also, I found a Seidio iPAQ to 9V adapter in my “box of stuff,” so I am good to go, there. I think they are sending one for Julie’s and my TTs, so we look to be in all around good shape, gear-wise.

    Thanks again!
    Judie :0)

  • jay_gadget February 28, 2003, 11:13 pm

    I wouldn’t travel on any long trips without my DVD Laptop. Why? Playing favorite DVD movies while in transit kept my two young children occupied and happy during our vacation to the UK and France last year. Pack a bunch of DVD’s in a cd wallet to avoid the “Are we there yet?” infinite loop. We pack light, we carry everything in backpacks, but the extra weight of the laptop is worth it. Have fun!

  • Judie February 28, 2003, 11:30 pm


    We are flying British Air, and if I understand correctly they will be showing movies with screens on the seatbacks in front of us.

    As long as my daughter (13) has her CD player and a pile of Goosebumps books – she’ll be set. If she were younger, I would definitely be packing for her entertainment, though.

    Judie :0)

  • nadir March 1, 2003, 10:35 am

    You are bringing 2 PDA but no GPS or maps in any of them? When I went to NY I would have been lost if I did not have GPS with maps. But then again I used vintigo. Perhaps a bluetooth GPS like EMTAC ? you can use both with the Palm and HP.:)

    Or no Travel guide for Scotland ?

    Have a nice trip.

  • Judie March 1, 2003, 2:00 pm


    My husband has a copy of Fodors that he will be packing. 😉

    Judie :0)

  • nadir March 2, 2003, 9:15 am

    Hi Judie,

    I never had the guts not to take the laptop with me. Since you are doing it now, we really like hear all about not having a laptop when you came back from your trip.


  • Judie March 2, 2003, 4:18 pm


    I am nervous about not bringing my laptop. 😉 I will definitely be writing about how it was to be without it, in the article.

    Judie :0)

  • freecia March 4, 2003, 10:27 pm

    While this isn’t eletronic, it protects your electronics: Ziplock Bags. I can’t begin to tell you how useful ziplock bags are. If it rains you’ll be mighty happy knowing that your gadgets won’t get wet. Also, if you want to take photos in the rain, a camera inside a ziplock bag keeps it dry. (Can’t vouch for what it does to the picture. Maybe open up the mouth of the bag and make sure the bag doesn’t show in the picture). Stick in receipts to avoid them floating around, guidemaps, etc.

    I see you avoid extra weight by using e-books but your daughter is bringing old-fashioned paper. If you’re really going to try to pack light, think about bringing books that can be left behind. (I always try to do this but never can. I usually come back with more books 😉 )
    You might want to include the mirror hack.
    OHH! Shockwave. I know my clie supports this and I don’t remember if the TT does but I’m pretty sure pocket PC does. Grab some shockwave games and maps.
    Make sure you have the contact info + confirmation # for your car rental, lodging, attractions (incl. hours), food, and etc. If they have a map grab it with isilo.

    As to the phone, I recommend getting a pre-paid phone there instead of renting. I was in ireland and bought a pre-paid sieman’s phone from vodafone. It was about $100 and included $40 call credit. But the best thing about this is that you’re in a country where you A) can understand the language so using the phone and it’s email isn’t a problem B)GSM is king and they have all sorts of neat gadgets. My vodafone Ireland would read my email msgs in a pleasant woman’s voice when people sent mail to a vodafone email account. Also, I could email a voice message to friends back in the states. Plus it is a really really neat souvenier.

    As already mentioned, batteries. Never can have enough of those spare batteries.

  • Sneezer March 5, 2003, 10:17 pm

    Have fun. My wife and I just got back from London two weeks ago. Cold, but no rain. Overall a pleasant trip, except for the broken Central line, no stops at Baker St., intermittent Waterloo and City line problems, and the same on District and Circle.

    BA is pretty similar to American, which we flew. Had a choice of 4 or 5 movies to watch during the flight that repeated several times, so not too bad. Most were new releases that I had not yet seen. You will appreciate warm clothes for sure. Have a good trip.

  • Merlion March 6, 2003, 11:48 am

    For a smaller soln to using both a Memory Stick & a CF card on an iPaq, you can use Pitech’s Dual Memory Stick-CompactFlash Adapter. It’s very thin (much thinner than the std iPaq CF sleeve or Seidio’s Dual CF sleeve), & available at CompUSA. George Mosquera did a georgeous mod for it as well. It doesn’t have an extra bty, which would add bulk but would still not give enough juice to last an intercontinental flight of continuous usage.

    You might be interested in Boxwave’s miniSync. It’s a very tiny USB charge-sync cable that is also retractable into a tiny casing. Remember to close your jaw after you’ve seen it! 😉

    iGo’s Juice is also a very versatile soln for travel coz it’s a universal all-in-one power adapter for charging notebooks, mobile phones, & PDAs at the wall power outlet, in the plane or automobile. It has a worldwide auto-sensing capability, & with an optional charging cable, it can charge your PDA/phone at the same time as your notebook. eCost used to sell it below a $100 with free shipping .. don’t know whether that’s still the case. You’ll only need to carry one power adapter instead of one for each equipment.

    Have fun (& that includes testing out gadgets ;)) Gadgeteers!!! 😀

  • Julie March 6, 2003, 12:42 pm


    Thanks for your comments! I had actually contacted PiTech quite a while ago to see if they would let me review their sleeve. They never responded back to me, so I decided to use what I already had. 🙂

    As for the minisync, we’ve already reviewed it:

  • Merlion March 6, 2003, 12:43 pm

    Thought I’d throw this in as well. 😉

    For storage, I think $111 (=$103 + $8 Shipping) isn’t too much to pay for a very fast Iomega 1GB Microdrive. It’s available new at Half.com & it includes a PCMCIA adapter & a clamshell case.

    Recently, Sandisk’s 1GB CF was available as low as $139.99 after rebate price (rebate not avail. anymore but watch out for new deals :)). Sandisk’s CFs are rather slow but a price around that range is very affordable. eCost is selling their GVP 1GB CF for $199 (after rebate price). [eCost’s GVP CFs are supposed to be quality CFs made by reputable companies that carry a 5yr warrantee. You will receive a CF made & branded by any of a number of reputable CF mfrs; there’s no ‘GVP’ branding.] Several pple & I have ordered that & the GVP CF turned out to be Viking’s 1GB CF. That is a very fast card rated faster than most if not all other 12X or 16X CF cards! And the Viking card is selling for close to $400! What a deal! 🙂

    Just for photos, IMO, a 1GB CF would be more than enough for a couple-wks’ vacation. For Judie, since you have a digicam with a CF storage, it makes even more sense. I’m not sure whether your S330 takes in Microdrives, if not you’d have to go for a Type-I CF card. I’m using my 1GB Viking CF with my Canon S230, which uses only Type-I CF cards.

  • Merlion March 6, 2003, 12:47 pm

    Originally posted by Julie
    As for the minisync, we’ve already reviewed it:

    Oops! 😮
    When I clicked on the link, I realized I’ve read it here! :rolleyes: 😀

  • Julie March 6, 2003, 1:52 pm

    Hahaha! No problem 😀

  • plainsong March 6, 2003, 2:11 pm

    If you’re still open to new program ideas, one for Pocketpc and Palm is Worldmate. It’s a world-time, international weather (updates from weather.com), currency converter, measurement converter, international calling codes, and even some dress sizes program. Both Palm and Pocketpc versions have a conduit, and it even supports OsX for a change.. although you can also update it with a gsm phone. I use this on a daily basis and even though it’s graphics could use some work, it’s a great utility.

    Only true Gadgeteers would take 2 PDAs each. 😉 I’d switch the Ipaq for an Ipod and the B&O a8s for etymotic 4ps (have the er6, wish I had the 4p) as the most ideal for me. 😀

  • Masterchief March 7, 2003, 3:25 am

    The way to get around taking the Laptop along is to have a SD card filled to the top with games. Just turn the game sound off when everyone starts to fall asleep hehehe 😎

  • sixty-four March 8, 2003, 4:55 pm

    I noticed that you have the default clip-on cover on your TT. What happened to the aluminum hard case you were using?

    The reason I’m asking is that I’m still trying to decide on the TT. If I were to get one, I would want to carry it “naked” to reduce weight and bulk but I’m concerned that a separate cover and the slider will make whipping this out while on the go more of a hassle than a convenience.

    How useful is the TT when using the supplied cover?

  • Capt Kanga March 11, 2003, 5:44 pm

    Just curious of your choice of BackupMan for the TT. I checked it out and also Botzam backup, but ultimately had to get Botzam given that BackupMan doesnt encrypt the backup files.
    At least, to me, the security of the backup is important given the large amount of info I carry. And yes, I do use SplashID, but I still have a lot of contacts with note info in them that could make a pretty good profile if someone cared.
    I also use Teallock which means that scheduled backups are not going to work.
    I emailed BitsnBolts (sic) and they said that while encryption was planned in future releases it wasnt in the timetable yet. Backupman does look nicer than Botzam though.

  • Masterchief March 11, 2003, 8:11 pm


    The cover on the Tungsten T does not increase it bulk by much at all. It is very form fitting. Also, its made of plastic and won’t give you that much extra weight to carry around. You’ll still be able to carry it in your pocket. As a matter of fact, I have a m130 and a leather Hi-Pro case and carry that in my pocket everywhere. Doesn’t bother me at all. Hope this helps! 😎

  • Julie March 16, 2003, 3:09 am

    Originally posted by sixty-four
    [B]I noticed that you have the default clip-on cover on your TT. What happened to the aluminum hard case you were using?

    Judie uses the Proporta, but I decided to just take the plastic cover with me while on vacation. I thought it would be easier to use for reading ebooks and listening to mp3s on the plane without having to open a case to see the screen.

    How useful is the TT when using the supplied cover? [/B]

    It’s just fine, although not as protective as a regular case.


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