Electronics on the Trail

My 8 oz. Pocketmail device is history.
Instead, I be taking a Verizon MiFi transmitter, weighing in at 5 oz (including the charger) and the 4 oz. iPod Touch, which should allow me the most independence in posting online reports. The MiFi 2200 device is about the size of eight stacked credit cards and weighs just over 2 ounces, so it’s ultra-portable.

Mi-Fi device
I have been using the setup for three months now, successfully posting from remote locations that only requires on receiving a signal from Verizon. I had to pay $100 for the unit, but received two $50 credit card rebates, so the cost of the Mi-Fi was $0. I have been pleased so far. The device generates an adequate receiving radius, and can connect up to 5 devices at a time. It downloads web pages even quicker than my DSL set up at home. The monthly charge is a flat $59, or $2 a day for 5 Gigs a month of connect time, which I have yet to exceed. On my job, I need internet access at numerous locations. It is a deducible business expense for my company.
The 8 Gig iPod Touch is superb, and was purchased refurbished at a discount for $169 from the Apple store.
iPod Touch
One skill that I’ve had to develop is entering data via the on-screen keyboard, so I’ve become an adequate typist using my two thumbs.

One reason I upgraded my Touch was to have the voice recording option. People have heard about the App store, which has thousands of free or low cost add on programs for both the iPhone and the iPod Touch. A surprisingly functional App that I find very useful on the trail is Dragon Dictation. To dictate on the iPod Touch you just launch the app, press the record button, and start talking. After recording your message, you can edit the resulting text before you send it off for others to read. Dictation at the present time is limited to a 20 second interval, which wokrs out to a small paragraph. Once the text has been created from speech, I have been able to email it, or clipboard the result into my Facebook, Trailjournal, WordPress, or Twitter posts . I find the application particularly useful in combination with my Twitter feed http://twitter.com/tjamrog , which is a rapid means of posting that is actually limited to just 140 characters.

I expect will be some shaky fingers pointed at me, accusing me of degrading the wilderness experience by resorting to these electronic devices. I enjoy writing and continue to do so as much as I can, which also could be done on paper, but why not “write” on a small piece of plastic that can also magically flow my thoughts and words into the minds and hearts of my family and friends, so that they can share in the ride? I’m loving the unexpected gifts that are created as the story unfolds.

2 thoughts on “Electronics on the Trail

  1. Clarkie

    GO TOM GO!!! You are definitely finding jewels along your path, combining the best of the new technology (wifi, ipod, digital cam, etc) with the best of the old (walking), savoring them, and then sharing them with us. What’s not fantastic ’bout that?
    Glad to see on the trail journal that Tiki-mon makes the cut inspite of being “over weight” at 5.4 oz!


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