What’s Coming With Julie on Spring Break Article

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A Spring Break vacation to Scotland! Wow! I knew I’d eventually visit Europe,
but I didn’t know it would happen this soon. With less than 48hrs before my
plane takes off from Indianapolis International Airport to meet up with Judie
and her family in Dallas (yeah, yeah, I know I’m going in the opposite direction
that I need to be going…) I’m getting antsy that I might forget to pack
something important. Actually, I haven’t even started packing yet! Can you say
"procrastination"? ;o) I always thought that people took vacations to escape
stress, but sometimes just the act of preparing for the vacation can be enough
to send a person over the edge! Ok, I may be exaggerating just a touch… ;o)

The goal of this trip is to pack light. To take only what is truly necessary.
I’m cool with that as I usually tend to take only the bare essentials. But this
time, neither Judie or myself are taking our Fujitsu laptops. We both decided to
forego the extra bulk since we didn’t intend to update the site while we’d be
gone. This is a VACATION after all! And since we are going on the vacation
together, we didn’t need a way to stay in touch. Of course we’ll probably have
surfing withdraw and will have to find an internet cafe at least once during the

Since I knew that this was going to be a sight seeing trip, mucho picture taking
was a priority. After my trip to Sedona
last fall, I learned to really appreciate tiny digital cameras. I
took a Canon Powershot s110 that did an excellent job image-wise and
battery-wise. Unfortunately, I traded it off not long after coming back from
that trip. My only other digital camera (Nikon Coolpix 990) just seemed too
bulky for this trip as I knew it wouldn’t fit comfortably in a pocket. So, I
began searching for an extremely tiny digicam with at least 2 mega pixels. In
the end, I narrowed my choices down to the Minolta Dimage Xi and the Sony
DSC-U20. I happened to luck out and get a great deal on the Sony via eBay.
Although this camera doesn’t have a zoom, it does take good pictures and is tiny
enough to fit an almost any pocket which is what I was looking for. I’m anxious
to see how well it does on batteries (2 AAA’s).

In order to offload images from the Sony after filling a Memory Stick, I plan to
bring my iPAQ 3800 with Seidio Dual
CF sleeve and CF 4-in-1 adapter from Semson’s
& Co
. Using this combination, I can copy images from a memory stick to
Compact flash or the internal SD slot in the iPAQ. Judie is bringing her iPAQ
with 5gb Datapak drive, so if I run out of storage, I can save even more
pictures to that.

Besides the iPAQ, I’ll be bringing my Tungsten T to use as my info and
entertainment device. As my main PDA, it has all my important information
already on it. Like Judie, I’m bringing a keyboard so that I can write notes
about the trip. I’m bringing the Pocketop
Wireless keyboard. I’ve had one for awhile now, but haven’t had a chance to
really put it through its paces. This trip will help with that.

This trip will also be a little different since we have to take the power
differences into consideration. We won’t be able to just plug our AC adapters
and battery chargers into the wall like we’re used to. To combat this problem. I
purchased a 2000W voltage converter with plug adapters from
Packinglight.com. 2000watts sounds
like overkill, but hey, we have to be able to use our hair dryer too! ;o)

I’m also bringing a variety of Seidio adapters and cables so that we can
charge our iPAQs and Tungsten T’s while on the plane. Also to prepare for the 3
LONG flights on Friday, I’m installing some software on my Tungsten that should
be both useful and fun.

As a long time computer user, you would think that I have practiced good backup
habits for my PDAs… Actually I am the queen of forgetfulness. If there is a
task that I need to remember to do, you might as well forget it. Even if I set
an alarm for it on my PDA, I’ll just tell myself that I’ll do it ‘in a little
bit’ and never will. But, I know how I am, and I accept it ;o) Even though I
have the memory of a gnat (just ask Judie…), I still know that backups are
important. So, I found the perfect backup program for my Tungsten. BackupMan
from Bits n Bolts. It has a simple
interface that is easy to use and understand. I also really like the schedule
feature. It is super simple to setup and after doing so, you don’t have to
fiddle with it again. I always have a couple backups should I ever need to
restore my device.

Palm Reader with several books is
also a must. I don’t seem to get time to read like I wish I could, so this trip
might help make up for that!

I’m also thinking of reloading Avantgo
with a bunch of content before I leave.

Like Judie, I’m also taking Currency from
Peter Easton. Just wish it would also
tell me what the different coins converted to as well. :o)

Besides bringing a magazine or two, reading books and watching a movie, I knew
I’d need something else to occupy my mind during the whole day of flights. I
couldn’t go anywhere without Pocket Tunes from
Norm Soft, Inc. I’ll be loading up a
256mb SD card full of MP3s just for the trip. And fresh from eBay, I have a pair
of Bang & Olufsen A8 earphones that
are sound great, are really comfortable and look cool as heck.

A great game that I’ve recently become hooked on is also accompanying me.
Triclops from I/SComplete is a wacky
combination of Tetris, Hmaki, and… ummmm, I dunno. It’s just different, easy
to learn, and fun! Check it out, but don’t blame me once you become hooked!

No long trip would be complete without
! It’s fun playing against the computer, or passing it to your
friends to see who can come up with the obscure words.

I also can’t leave out my all time fave
Vexed. This is a simple yet
brain bending puzzle game that will drive you nuts!


If you have some suggestions for some other fun puzzle style games that are I
should definitely take along, let me know!

Well, there you have it. A few gadgets and a few games and we’re on our way to a
week of new sights and adventures! Oh boy, I still need to pack! Hmmmm…. the
flight doesn’t leave till 11:30am Friday. I guess I can do it Friday morning ;o)

Stay tuned for full trip article once we return!

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33 thoughts on “What’s Coming With Julie on Spring Break Article”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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)

  5. 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:

  6. 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.

  7. 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


  8. 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

  9. 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)

  10. 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…)

  11. 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

  12. 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)

  13. Judie,
    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!

  14. Jay,

    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)

  15. 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.

  16. 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.


  17. Nadir,

    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)

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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!!! 😀

  21. 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.

  22. 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. 😀

  23. 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 😎

  24. 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?

  25. 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.

  26. sixty-four,

    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! 😎

  27. 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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