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Old 10-25-2007, 04:57 PM   #1
gary138 OP
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Laptops while on the road

Laptops while on the road, pros and cons of traveling with a laptop.
I'm planning on venturing south a bit further this coming year ( did Mexico earlier this year ) to south Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and back thru the Yucatan peninsula .
As I research these trips I see a lot of people communicating via the internet. And what I see is how great the people of this list can be and so helpful when a person runs into trouble.
This is my main reason I would consider carrying a laptop, the problem is I don't own one and I get by without one just fine BUT I'm seriously considering buying one for the above reasons.
My questions to those who travel with them is How do you get service?? cafe? , do those cell phone like cards that you stick in the laptop that give you service work out of the country work.
Do these internet cafes have there own PC's and if so are they in English and how do you log on to and use the adventure site??
I know these questions may seem like stupid ones to some but I need to hold my tail between my legs and ask them. Thanks for all the help you can send my way !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
PS. If I do buy a laptop what should I be looking for ?? Keeping in mind I don't want to spend much money incase I run into a bandit. just what I absolutely need. Thanks again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 10-25-2007, 05:16 PM   #2
pickler
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I've been playing with this exact question in an effort to start up a business around it. There's other applications of what comes out of the requirements of taking these types of electronics on the road, (backpacking, generally anything that requires durability and portability), but I currently use a Nokia N800 with an external keyboard for just this purpose. Much smaller than a laptop, so it's easier to pack away and into something that will protect it. No hard drive, so it's more durable.
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Old 11-12-2007, 02:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pickler
I've been playing with this exact question in an effort to start up a business around it. There's other applications of what comes out of the requirements of taking these types of electronics on the road, (backpacking, generally anything that requires durability and portability), but I currently use a Nokia N800 with an external keyboard for just this purpose. Much smaller than a laptop, so it's easier to pack away and into something that will protect it. No hard drive, so it's more durable.
I have the same setup. It rules. Also it runs Linux which is, of course, better than any alternative.
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Old 11-15-2007, 08:20 PM   #4
chasfactor
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Sony TZ series

Hey guys/gals...

Just went for the Sony TZ160. 11.1in screen, sub 3lbs. Very nice but very expensive no doubt. Hope it holds up riding from Argentina/Chile to CALIF.

Ciao!

Chas
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Old 11-16-2007, 01:51 PM   #5
RichBeBe
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I have been playing with an Nokia N800 for a few days now. I am going to be setting up a 100 of them for a car service and I am not that impressed with it. My chief complaint being that it seems to have a hard time playing video and it does not have any kind of EVDO capabilities.
If you could use it to connect to the net view a 3G card when there is no wireless network it would be a much better deal.
My travel compute ris one of two. I use a Dell 700m which is small enough but not small and gets almost 6 hours of battery life or an older G3 iBook when I am worried about it being stolen or broken.
Neither of them are small but they do everything I need.
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:35 AM   #6
señormoto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichBeBe
I have been playing with an Nokia N800 for a few days now. I am going to be setting up a 100 of them for a car service and I am not that impressed with it. My chief complaint being that it seems to have a hard time playing video and it does not have any kind of EVDO capabilities.
If you could use it to connect to the net view a 3G card when there is no wireless network it would be a much better deal.
My travel compute ris one of two. I use a Dell 700m which is small enough but not small and gets almost 6 hours of battery life or an older G3 iBook when I am worried about it being stolen or broken.
Neither of them are small but they do everything I need.
If you have a 3G phone it can connect to the internet with that via bluetooth.
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Old 11-17-2007, 07:58 AM   #7
GSteve
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasfactor
Hey guys/gals...

Just went for the Sony TZ160. 11.1in screen, sub 3lbs. Very nice but very expensive no doubt. Hope it holds up riding from Argentina/Chile to CALIF.

Ciao!

Chas

I have a Sony T250 that has been carried to Prudhoe Bay, Labrador, Nova Scotia, Colorado, Key West, Copper Canyon, etc. via motorcycle and has never missed a beat. I will also be taking it to Chile and Argentina this winter and expect the same result. Good machine and nice to carry form factor.
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Old 10-25-2007, 05:22 PM   #8
snurdle
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Small, no DVD drive.

I have a Dell X1, it works beautifully (windows XP), slips inside my bike jacket inner pocket when walking about in towns.

Connection is mostly via internet cafe, many hotels have free wifi. It's hit and miss. Most internet cafes are familiar with travellers turning up and waving a PC and therefore have a hub configured with an spare ethernet cable, otherwise you are unplugging the desktop and plugging yours in.

Be ready to send photos and emails, compress the pics and write the text in advance as some connections are very slow. I like hotmail it is very robust and saves the outgoing emails.

Um, thats about it.

Don't use vista, it is crap and many times you will need to hand your PC to an 8 year old to input IP addresses. XP is widely known and easy to set up.
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Old 10-25-2007, 07:09 PM   #9
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Go small.

It helps for downloading and editing pics, and for typing notes. There are more wifi locations each day, although the most common connections will still be via Net cafes.

Pack it ontop of you clothes.

Get a 2 prong adapter if your charger in 3 prong.
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Old 10-25-2007, 07:45 PM   #10
daveg
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If you're convinced you need a laptop on the road and aren't planning on doing some heavy duty processing hop onto craigslist or ebay and buy a used: the 12" or smaller versions of Fujitsu Lifebook, Sony Via, or IBM Thinkpad X-whatever.
If you're an apple guy, buy an older 12" G5 based machine. Buy whatever you want and then the first thing you do is max out the RAM on it and it'll seem alot faster.

Feel free to PM me if you're wondering if you're getting a good deal.

Personally, come next Nov when I take my very long trip south, I hope to have a new Apple 12" =] . It won't be cheap though.

If you bring a laptop, make sure that you have ethernet wires and maybe a small hub so you can just chain onto another desktop's network connection. You can get tiny 2-4 port hubs for almost free.

Some people I know also like to travel with software that will enable the breaking of "secure WEP" wireless networks incase you can't find anything open.
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Old 10-25-2007, 08:03 PM   #11
Kiko
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I think you will find that cyber cafes are more common than wi fi hotspots in most of Mexico and Central America. I'm no computer geek though, and my luggage capacity is limited, so I tend to use the local resources.

Kiko screwed with this post 03-12-2009 at 07:31 PM
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Old 10-25-2007, 08:39 PM   #12
dtop1
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I carry an HP with a 14" screen traveling through Mexico and Guatemala. In tourist areas there are lots of open WiFi connections and many hotels have WiFi. Otherwise I go to a cybercafe and connect to their network by cable. Having your own computer, if you have the room, is very convenient. I don't worry about bandits stealing my computer south of the US border any more than I do in the US. Just make sure that it's always locked inside a bag or case when you leave your room. Dan
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Old 10-28-2007, 08:13 AM   #13
kevrider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gary138
Do these internet cafes have there own PC's and if so are they in English and how do you log on to and use the adventure site??
the keyboards are slightly different, but not enough to be a problem. especially if you are like me and can't type without looking at the keyboard. you'll log into this or any other site just as you would from any other computer that doesn't have your cookies and bookmarks: tap out the url or use google. i wasn't a forum guy when i was down there and didn't have a digicam, i just sent emails to friends and family. were i headed down now, i'd probably get a card reader so i could transfer jpegs to my ipod and upload them at a later date. i composed the emails from my notes when i sat at the terminal, so it would have been faster had i already had everyhing typed. but the expense of $1/hr at the cafe surely added up to less than any sort of laptop would have set me back.

so, i think a laptop is handy and i'll consider one for the next Big Trip. but i'm not sure it would be worth the bother unless i wanted to get a laptop anyway for other reasons.
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Old 10-28-2007, 02:53 PM   #14
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USB drives are also big enough (in terms of gigs) and fast enough and cheap enough now that you can carry your own copy of firefox or whatever you use, complete with your settings and bookmarks and simply launch it off the usb at an internet cafe....you can have some of your own photo and writing apps as well, maybe an email client...whatever floats your boat. And the whole thing fits in a change pocket or hangs around your neck or whatever.
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Old 10-28-2007, 05:04 PM   #15
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ctrl+alt+2 = @

Saves asking some questions, especially when the keyboard lettering is well worn.
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