Blogging on a bike

phone-sign-2As noted in earlier posts, the main purpose of this blog will be to keep a record of a cross-country bicycle journey for my wife, three sons, other relatives and friends.
The question was how best to do it. Laptop? Blackberry, iPhone?
I’ve been following online the journey of a cyclist who is near the end of a transcontinental trip from San Diego to Charleston. I e-mailed him to find out how he was doing his postings. He replied that he was using a Blackberry Curve and typing with his thumbs to send regular e-mails to his wife. She then cleaned up the typos and posted the e-mails on his journal.
Laborious thumb-typing would probably eat up most of my downtime, and I doubt that my wife would have the time to decipher my typo-filled missives and post them on a blog. So I figured I’d need a small laptop with a real keyboard.
I already have a small laptop, a Dell Inspiron 700m, but the weight of the battery prohibits its use on a self-contained trip.
So I bought a Dell Inspiron Mini 9, an ultra-portable “netbook” with a nine-inch screen and a pretty good keyboard. It weighs only 2.2 pounds and will fit nicely into one of my panniers. It has a 16-gig, solid-state hard drive (like a built-in thumb drive) that should endure the jostling on the road better than a more capacious, mechanical drive. I also have a separate 16-gig thumb drive for additional storage.
The Mini 9 has a built-in webcam and microphone, so that I can use Skype to talk to my wife in Fort Worth and sons in Taipei, Denver and New York. And with my webcam and theirs, we can see each other.
The only problem is that I will have to rely on finding wi-fi hotspots, which are fairly common in populated areas, but might be as rare as waterspouts in the desert Southwest. I figure I can write journal entries during any downtime, and wait to send them until I find a wi-fi hotspot.



Filed under Blogging on the road

6 responses to “Blogging on a bike

  1. Ben P.

    How about cooking? What kind of stoves will your group be using? Will you each have your own cook gear? Or, will the group each carry bits and pieces of the group cook set?

    • Ben,
      As I understand the cooking situation, we will set up a rotation among the 14 or so riders, with two riders responsible for grocery shopping, cooking and cleanup each day for breakfast and dinner. That means each pair will have cooking duty about once a week. The only personal kitchen gear that we each have to carry is a cup, bowl and utensils, such as a “spork.” The main cooking gear, such as pots, ladles, stoves, etc., is provided by Adventure Cycling Association. It will be divided among the riders, so that each rider will have to carry bits and pieces of the group cook set.

  2. Ben P.

    Remember to take photos too.

  3. Ben P.

    Check this link out Dad. There is some interesting stuff on it.

  4. Kathy Vetter

    Hi Jim:

    I’m thinking about blogging and stuff from RTR. It’s only a week so I don’t really need to file from the road, but I’d love to keep my blog entries up. Did you pay like only $300 or so for that computer? I kind of like that idea.

    Good luck!

    • Kathy,
      Thanks for the good wishes. I paid $431 and change for my Dell Inspiron Mini 9, including sales tax and shipping. I bought it on the basis of periodic messages I receive from Dell on hot deals. It’s the best price I’ve seen so far for that particularly configuration. I upgraded to the best webcam and to the 16-gig solid state hard drive. You can get a bigger mechanical drive on the Dell, Acer and other makers of netbooks. But I chose the solid state drive because I thought it would hold up better on the road. I also have a 16-gig thumb drive that I bought in Taiwan for $27 for backup storage. That should be sufficient. I chose a Dell netbook because I’m used to Dell products. But Acer, HP and other companies make good netbooks. In fact, Cnet, a Web site for tech weenies, gives the HP the best reviews. I didn’t know you had a blog. What is it?

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