Sunday, March 20, 2011

Finally Happy With Travel Electronics

It’s taken us awhile, but we’re finally happy with our traveling computing and internet-access needs (at least domestically).

We have a small, 10-inch-screen Acer netbook that weighs about 2-1/2 pounds. We toyed with the idea of an iPad, but we really need a keyboard. (And I’m just not an Apple fan.) Plus, I can buy (and trash or upgrade) three netbooks for the price of an iPad. I need programs to update websites (not just blogs), for photo editing, for serious writing, and other applications.

We do have an iPod Touch, which in my mind is just a mini-me iPad anyway. It’s cute and fun and stores a bunch of music. A few travel apps are interesting and mildly useful. But nothing like a full-on website or search tool.

Finally, we tie them all together with a Verizon MiFi connection. The MiFi has been out for a year or so, but has come down in price (now free, with a Verizon data contract). With it, anywhere we can get a Verizon phone signal (most of the U.S.) we can get online with a device about the size of 4 credit cards stacked together. And the MiFi allows up to 5 devices to connect through it at the same time – it’s a personal, portable WiFi hotspot, and a mini router as well.

We are still happily in the stone age with phones, preferring “just-a-damn-phone-thank-you” over any of the new smartphones. We also have an quad-band GSM cell phone for international travel. Since our international trips are shorter nowadays, we can live with public WiFi hotspots, hotel internet access, and the like.

Of course, our cameras are DSLRs with lenses – I just can’t sacrifice quality for size. Yet.