Let your style roar…
Set off for college, the office, or the road with this season’s hippest accessory and protect your mobile tech from taking a hit in style. All about style and function, this fashionable line offers all the features any on-the-go Gadget Girl craves: external pockets to carry the extras; non-slip carry straps; a slim, snug, durable design; and graphics that roar with personality. From $34.95; www.designersleeves.com
This day bag by Tilley Endurables is the perfect city carry-all, yet tough enough for adventure. I prefer the ease of access of this padded, rainproof shoulder bag to that of a backpack. Not to mention the handiness of eleven pockets, inside key-clip, conveniently located pen pockets, Velcro-closed side pockets perfect for a water bottle and cell phone, and waterproof interior pockets that’ll keep important documents dry even in a downpour. It’s spacious enough to carry a bulky zoom lens and conceal an expensive SLR while you dine or in a pub, where you’d rather not rest it on the tabletop or sling it over a chair back, while its school-bag look doesn’t scream camera bag to thieves. It also passes macho-muster with my husband who I’ve finally trained to carry his own stuff (no more, “honey, can you put this in your purse?”).
By now you probably suspect that if I can go ga-ga over a laptop bag, the right suitcase could probably send me over the moon. You wouldn’t be wrong. My husband and I both own this bag and won’t even look at another. Why would we? We’ve watched our Patagonia Freewheeler take a fall from the top of a heap from a makeshift luggage cart on a rustic airstrip in Myanmar, without so much as a torn corner or bent frame. It’s trailed after us over cobbled streets and bounced up railway station steps, been dropped roughly from the rooftops of third-world buses and lashed to camels in the Sahara. And, when it finally did, after a decade of traveling the world, tear slightly along a seam, when we returned it to Patagonia for repair, they sent us a new one - free.
Made from tough ballistic cloth nylon, this water-repellent free-wheeling suitcase sports the same wheels as those found on the best inline skates. The designers at Patagonia seem to have thought of everything a traveler needs: Its duffle-style top compartment collapses snuggly into a hard-sided bottom to slide easily under a ship’s bed or the floor of a hotel closet and a zippered lower compartment keeps your shoes and dirty laundry separate. $350.00; www.patagonia.com
No matter where my travels take me, I gotta have my morning java jolt. Try scoring a take-out cup anywhere outside the coffee crazed U.S. and you’ll understand my affinity for this go-anywhere, leak-proof, shatter-proof, 14-ounce, stainless steel travel mug. And, I’m not the only one to appreciate its appeal. Thanks to its convenient carabiner that lets you hang it from your backpack, purse strap or belt, a slick fingered pickpocket in the Nairobi airport grabbed my morning cuppa. Now, as I grip the rubber padded handle of Nissan travel mug number 2 and sip the caffeine nectar, I imagine a happy thief somewhere in the world enjoying a savory brew, and smile. $23.99; www.thedailymug.com
About Ellen Barone: Consumer travel expert Ellen Barone is the founder and publisher of EllenBarone.com and YourLifeIsATrip.com. Learn more here and connect on Twitter at,Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Hey gadget-girls, a slew of new high-definition camcorders are making it easier than ever to capture (and share) your favorite travel moments. Concierge.com puts the latest high-definition camcorders to the test to see which are best for creating your vacation memories.
Well worth a browse, especially if you’re busy making a list and checking it twice!
Once upon a time my basic needs were simple: food, water, travel… Now, I can’t live without my Verizon BlackBerry 9630? What the heck happened?
24/7 wireless e-mail connectivity, worldwide voice and data coverage, GPS navigation − THAT’S what happened. They don’t call it CrackBerry for nothing.
I used to snicker at the corporate drones tethered by their techy-umbilical cords to bosses and work, while I, the foot-loose freelancer, jetted off to some remote destination with a flippant “catch-you-when-I-get-back” e-mail auto-response and phone message.
That was pre-BlackBerry. Today, you’ll find me right there with the corporate schmucks, checking e-mail and thumbing back responses before the plane has even pulled up to the jetway. I hardly recognize myself.
But just when I’m ready to go cold turkey, I’ll need to Google a hotel phone number, e-mail the airport shuttle with delayed flight details, find my way to an important meeting with audible turn-by-turn directions, or score a dream assignment from the beach in Rio just because I was able to dash off a quick “I’ll do it!” on the BlackBerry, and I’m hooked all over again.
Sound familiar? To keep the scales tipped to technical god-send rather than compulsive addiction, follow these simple Rules to Blackberry By at Forbes.com.
FOR TRAVELERS ON THE GO - BUY A NEW BLACKBERRY SMARTPHONE AND EARN 4,000 AADVANTAGE MILES FROM AMERICAN AIRLINES.
If you can’t do without your BlackBerry(R) smartphone and just have to have those American Airlines AAdvantage(R) miles, then now you can have the best of both worlds. Now, you can earn AAdvantage miles when you purchase and activate a BlackBerry smartphone on any of the nation’s major service providers.
Earn 4,000 AAdvantage miles with activation of a new wireless rate plan.
Earn 4,000 AAdvantage miles when you upgrade your existing rate plan, and upgrade to a new device.
To earn AAdvantage miles, your BlackBerry smartphone must be purchased through this link www.blackberry.com/aa* or by calling 1-877-337-0136.
Fortunately, for the techy traveler there’s no shortage of geek-chic gadgets sure to make communication easier and a whole lot cooler. Bring along one of these snazzy talking translators and never be at a loss for words again.
Lingo Navigator, is a sleek, affordable pocket-sized talking translator that translates and speaks thousands of words and phrases in 12 different languages - English, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Turkish, Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese, Japanese, Spanish and Russian. Other convenient features include currency and metric conversions, games, world time clock with alarm and sightseeing information. $79.95 www.acornonline.com
iParrot Phrase for iPod/ iPhone
For those who’d never leave home without their iPod, iParrot Phrase offers instant multi-language translation software. Designed exclusively for the iPod/iPhone/Apple TV, it’s stocked with over 20 kinds of perfectly pronounced oral language for instant use. Organized into categories such as: Greetings, Transportation, Shopping, and Asking for helping etc., it is easy to find the sentences you need. Organized for instant access and ease, it’s an essential travel tool for the high-tech traveler. Virtual fluency available in Chinese, English, Japanese, Russian, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Arabic, Thai and Vietnamese. Available for download at www.apple.com
Franklin’s Speaking Global Translator contains over 450,000 words and 12,000 phrases, and speaks 115,000 words in recorded human voice. Ideal for communicating on almost any continent with 12 languages and translations to and from Chinese (Mandarin), Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Enter a word in your native language and the translator will speak and show the translation in the language you seek. A voice recording feature allows you to record custom words and phrases appropriate to travel or business needs. Also included, MP3 player, earbuds, games. $229.00 www.franklin.com
About Ellen Barone: Consumer travel expert Ellen Barone is the founder and publisher of EllenBarone.com and YourLifeIsATrip.com. Learn more here and connect on Twitter at,Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Learn the Lingo on your iPod - Join the locals and have fun with Lonely Planet’s World Nomads free language guides that contain around 30 basic phrases that you can download onto your iPod.
Do you think satellite phones are only for bullet-dodging troops in Afghanistan, remote scientific expeditions in Antarctica, or thrill seeking mountaineers calling in from atop Everest? I did. But times are changing fast.
As 250,000 subscribers have already discovered, today, you can dial up outerspace and phone home, text message and even check e-mail from anywhere on the planet at international rates less than the cost of some cell phone services.
At nearly a pound, the 6.2 inches by 2.4 inches by 2.2 inches sat phone may look like a clunky 1980s-era handset, but as I recently discovered, its services are most definitely cutting-edge 21st century: satellite paging, text messaging (SMS), emergency 911 service and Internet access from almost anywhere on the surface of the Earth (including oceans, airways and polar regions). It also includes a menu of travel friendly features that business travelers will especially appreciate, such as caller ID, voice mail, data transmission and digital facsimile.
Feeling übercool and gadget-giddy, I travel-tested Iridium’s 9505A portable satellite phone during a yacht cruise in Mexico’s remote Sea of Cortez. Using the phone was as simple as using a conventional cellular phone, with one exception – the device can only be used outdoors. It must “see” a satellite in order to connect. Multitasking with a margarita in one hand and the sat phone in the other reclined in a comfy lounge chair, was hardly an inconvenience. But, had I been in the arctic deep freeze, you can bet I’d have kept the calls short.
- The Good: Beyond the novelty of calling my parents and overseas friends from the middle of nowhere, having the satellite phone aboard ship enabled one passenger to learn of a life-saving new medical procedure - turning a ‘final voyage’ into a celebration of hope. Perfect for cruising.
- The Bad: Outdoor-only capability might be a bit of a nuisance in cold or rainy climates where an international mobile might be a better alternative.
- The Bottom Line: Small, light and water resistant and designed to travel, the 9505A is the ideal communications option for people who work in or travel to remote locations. Take it with you on your next trip.
Telestial Satellite Phone Service
Telestial satellite phone rental and purchase solutions offer service from industry leading satellite phone providers including Iridium and Globalstar.
For a brief introductory section on each satellite phone describing the highlights: coverage area, rates and popular features visit Telestial: Wireless Solutions for Travelers to find the satellite phone that best suits your needs.
• Water, shock & dust resistant for rugged environments
• Data Capable (use your satellite phone to transmit and receive data with an optional adapter)
• Global SMS
• Headset/Hands-free capability
• Simple GSM style dialing
• Up to 30 hours of standby time/3.2 hours of talk time
• Dimensions: 158L x 62W x 59D mm
• Volume: Under 375cc (22.9 ci)
• Weight:Under 375g (13.2 ounces)
• 3.2 hours Talk Time
• 30 hours Standby Time
• Operating range: -10 to +55 ºC
While high-end hotel butlers aren’t losing any sleep and Clefs d”Or concierges have nothing to fear, several European hotels are harnessing technology to better serve both business and leisure guests and free their staff for more complex personal services. In Rome, Paris and Manchester - to name a few - hotels are providing guests with high-tech gadgets and in-room technology that can multi-task to a fare thee well. These techno-concierges seem able to do just about everything for you except serve tea and draw a bath.
At Rome’s five-star Cavalieri Hilton, guests receive a “city navigator” combining MP3 player and digital camera functions. With two pre loaded audio tours, guests can navigate Rome’s streets and famous sites, snapping pictures along the way, which the hotel’s human concierge can then download onto a disk.
In Paris, the Hilton Arc de Triomphe rents a TAO city PDA in English or French for 10 euros. Featuring a touch screen map fitted with a GPS system, it guides guests through Parisian streets to hundreds of historic sites and artwork masterpieces in the city’s museums. Guests can also map restaurants, bars and shops, minimizing guesswork and maximizing enjoyment every step of the way.
At England’s new City Inn Manchester, guestrooms boast iMacs with high speed internet that also function as TV, radio, DVD and CD player. Customers can load files and save them to a memory stick. After shutting off the computer, Deep Freeze software deletes the new information and assures personal security. In addition to 38 television channels, 23 radio stations and a DVD/CD player, the system plays music via an MP3 player and gives guests access to iTunes, iChat, iPhoto and iMovie. If that isn’t enough stimulation, a built-in iSight video camera allows video conferencing for business travelers - all at no extra charge.
Source: Spring O’Brien
With 10.1 megapixel image resolution, a 12x optical zoom that reaches 420 mm, built-in image stabilization and top class optics, it’s no wonder Leica’s V-Lux 1 caught my eye when I went looking for a high-quality, all-in-one SLR alternative.
No, it’s not pocket-sized, but those compacts don’t boast a sophisticated 35 - 420mm zoom that can handle everything from delicate macro shots, to wide-angle views and super telephoto nature shots. Better yet, you can compose through a full-sized viewfinder and use the swivelling LCD display for unusual or awkward perspectives.
Throw in the convenience of a pop-up flash, 16 custom functions for special shooting situations including video recording, a choice of automatic and manual focus, exposure and white balance settings and its easy to understand its popularity. Add to that, the ability to record RAW images, as well as the usual JPEGs, and I couldn’t resist travel-testing one on a recent adventure yacht cruise.
True to its name, the Leica delivered everything it promised - superior image quality, optimal sensitivity in low light conditions, the built-in convenience of a sharp f/2.8 to f/3.7 image-stabilized zoom, accurate exposures, saturated colors, and well-balanced flash lighting.
In continuous-shooting mode, capturing JPEGs in bright light was reasonably quick, but in low light, or when set to RAW, the time between shots was slow enough to frustrate.
The Bottom Line:
This is a great all-round alternative for photographers who want to combine top-class optics, a powerful zoom and high resolution image quality with a convenient intelligent design. But, if you want faster raw performance, you’ll have to step up to an SLR.
Thinking of buying one? Don’t just take my word for it, be sure to read the user reviews posted at www.bhphotovideo.com. Already have one? Use the Post-a-Comment link below to tell me what you think!
Looking for something smaller? Leica has that covered too! Check back soon for my product review on the compact Leica D-Lux 3, The Little Leica that Can…
Whether you’re busy writing up your own holiday wish list or looking for something fun, yet useful, for your favorite gadget loving traveler, here are a few ideas….
How many times have you groped in your bag or briefcase for the charger, cables or the converter for your electronic gear only to find you didn’t have the one you needed? With its six secure neoprene pockets and industrial strength zipper, our Charger Bag keeps cords and chargers organized and intact. Even better, it folds completely flat when not in use. It’s perfect for traveling or just to keep it all organized in your bag.
Price …… $24.99
Built NY 212.227.2044; www.builtny.com
With AM, FM, and seven international shortwave bands, here’s a pocket-sized travel radio that keeps the world in the palm of your hand. Road worthy extras include a built-in alarm clock, a digital LCD screen, and easy button and dial controls that make it simple to operate. Slips effortlessly in a shirt pocket to keep you connected anywhere. Includes carry case, earphone, and two AA batteries.
Price ……. $29.95
National Geographic 1-888-225-5647; www.shopNG.org
Watch your weight and avoid unexpected overweight luggage fees at the airport with this compact scale that weighs luggage up to 100 lbs (or 44 kg) so you’ll know instantly if your bag exceeds the allowable weight limit. And it couldn’t be easier to use. Just lift your suitcase, wait for the beep, set it back down, and read the weight on the large digital display. Takes two AAA batteries.
Price …… $24.85
Magellan’s 1-800-962-4943; www.magellans.com
Speak the lingo wherever your travels take you. Handheld unit instantly translates and pronounces over 240,000 words and 27,000 phrases in 12 languages at the push of a button. Loaded with useful features: voice/memo recorder, alarm, world/local time, currency and metric converters, talking calculator, 32k phone book, even travel games. Includes 2 AAA batteries and case.
Price …… $199.95
Kaehler World Traveler 1-800-314-2247; www.worldtraveler.com
This three-legged octopus featuring dozens of flexible joints that rotate nearly 360-degrees holds a camera anywhere. Custom-forming around rocks, posts, bike frames, fences, branches, etc., each ball-and-socket joint is ringed by grippy rubber for a non-slip hold. Universal screw mount fits most compact digital cameras. Durable, weatherproof plastic.
Price …… $19.95
Sahalie 1-800458-4438; www.sahalie.com
Don’t get caught on your next trip - Survive Outdoors Longer - pack the S.O.L. Pak.
The new S.O.L. (Survive Outdoors Longer) Survival Pak groups together all of the essential survival components you need to stay alive in the outdoors and signal for rescue help if you happen to take a wrong turn or sustain an injury. All of the gear comes in a waterproof dry bag with a sturdy clip, allowing you to securely attach it to your pack, belt or coat. Ideal for hikers, climbers, cyclists, backcountry skiers, campers, and just about every other kind of outdoor enthusiast. The S.O.L. weighs a meager 5.4 Oz., so it won’t slow you down when you want to travel light and fast. Includes: compass, mini rescue flash signal mirror, slim rescue howler whistle, waterproof and windproof survival matches, waterproof tinder quik, heatsheets survival blanket, survival fishing kit and duct tape.
Price …… $25.00
Add AC and USB power to your car without draining the batteries. Just plug this multi-port power inverter into your cigarette lighter socket, and gain a 110-volt AC outlet on the road. Use it to run your laptop, video camera, or portable CD/DVD, or to recharge batteries while you drive. Dual USB ports power your iPod, Blackberry, PDA, or camera. And the additional cigarette lighter outlet means you’ll still be able to use your radar detector. 115 watts of continuous power gives you plenty of juice. Electronic circuit protection prevents damage due to overloading, short circuit, or over voltage. And it’s so small it easily tucks away into your console, or into your laptop’s carrying bag. Includes automatic overheat/low battery protection.
Price …… $39.95
Herrington 1-800-903-5221; www.herringtoncatalog.com
Planning a round the world venture? This state-of-the-art atomic radio controlled clock is the most precise in the world - it’s accurate within one second every million years - and you never need to worry about setting the time zones. Packed with everything you need in a travel clock: day/month display, backlight temperature; and alarm with five-minute snooze. Takes 2 AAA batteries (not included).
Price …… $49.50
Travelsmith 1-800-950-1600; www.travelsmith.com
With Amazon’s new ebook reader, Kindle, already sold out after only one day on the market, is the writing on the wall that techy travelers are ready to leave the paperbacks at home? For the book loving gadget geek considering going electronic, here are a few of the digital options available.
Sony was one of the first to provide techies with a new way to experience reading. Boasting an impressive 6-inch display that is easy to read even in bright sunshine, the popular ultra portable reader weighs just nine ounces (without cover), is only half an inch thin8 and holds up to 160 eBooks4. And, with its rechargeable battery you can turn up to 7,500 continuous pages on a single charge - enough to read The Da Vinci Code 16 times before recharging is required. With plenty of internal memory and a slot for optional removable memory cards, you can take hundreds of titles, user-selected Web content or other supported documents for reading on the go.
The device connects to a PC for purchasing and downloading electronic books from an online store with 20,000 titles, or digital texts can be uploaded using a memory card. The unit has an integrated music player that is compatible with unencrypted MP3 and AAC formats, and it supports Word documents, Adobe® PDFs, and JPEGs. 7” L x 5” W x 1/2” D.
Price: ………………. $299.95
displays eBooks purchased from the CONNECT eBook online store
displays Adobe® PDFs, plus TXT, RTF, and Microsoft® Word files
plays MP3 and AAC files (protected files not supported)
internal 192MB memory
memory slot holds an SD Memory Card (up to 2GB capacity) and Memory Stick® Duo media (up to 8GB capacity)
Hardware Platform: PC
Operating System: Windows XP/Vista
Display Technology: E Ink
Display Size: 6 inches
Display Color Support: 4-bit (16 gray levels)
Three years ago, the folks at Amazon set out to design and build a convenient, portable reading device with the ability to wirelessly download books, blogs, magazines, and newspapers. The result is Amazon Kindle.
Utilizing a new display technology called electronic paper, Kindle promises a screen that is sharp and natural minus the strain and glare of a computer screen. Kindle is also designed for ambidextrous use so both “lefties” and “righties” can read comfortably at any angle for long periods of time.
One of Kindle’s nicest features is that Amazon made it wireless. No PC and no syncing needed. Using the same 3G network as advanced cell phones, it delivers your content using their own wireless delivery system, Amazon Whispernet. Unlike WiFi, you don’t need a hotspot. Better yet, there are no service plans, yearly contracts, or monthly wireless bills.
With Whispernet, you can be nearly anywhere, think of a book, and get it in one minute. Similarly, your content automatically comes to you, wherever you are. Newspaper subscriptions are delivered wirelessly each morning. Finished your book in the airport? Download the sequel while you board the plane.
With Kindle’s paperback size and expandable memory letting you travel light and the freedom to download what you want, when you want, is it any wonder it’s selling like hotcakes?
Price: ………………. $399.95
Display: 6” diagonal E-Ink® electronic paper display, 600 x 800 pixel resolution at 167 ppi, 4-level gray scale
Size (in inches): 7.5” x 5.3” x 0.7”
Weight: 10.3 ounces
System requirements: None, because it doesn’t require a computer
Differentiating it from other readers, the iLiand not only lets you read anything you like, exchange documents, receive new content and sync with your PC, its pen-like stylus lets you make notes or add comments to your documents. While perhaps not quite as easy as Kindle’s innovative wireless capabilities, the iLiad also has a WiFi connection to automatically download content and updates over the Internet.
The iLiad can hold dozens of books and documents and memory capacity can be increased simply by inserting a Compact Flash or MMC card, just as with digital camera. You can even insert your USB-stick into the iLiad to quickly read content.
Price: ………………. $699.00
Display: Display 8.1-inch (diagonal) Electronic Paper Display; 768 x 1024 pixels resolution, 160 DPI.; 16 levels of grey-scale
Size: 8.5” x 6.1” x 0.63”
Weight: 13.7 ounces
System requirements: PC Intel® 400MHz XScale™ processor; 64 MB RAM
Built-in Wi-Fi® 802.11B/G wireless networking
Looking for a user friendly, versatile, and customizable eBook reader for the PDA or smartphone you already own, or are looking for an excuse to buy? There’s probably a Mobi Reader for it : PalmOs, Windows Mobile, Symbian (Series 60, Series 80, 90, UIQ), Blackberry, Franklin, iLiad (by iRex), BenQ-Siemens, Pepper Pad… And if you have a Symbian smartphone a Franklin an iLiad a BenQ-Siemens or a Pepper Pad.
Good News: There is a good chance that Mobipocket Reader is already preinstalled on your device.
Bad News: Mobipocket does not currently support iPhone, and iPod Touch.
Digital Bookshelves: Where to Find and Download Electronic Books
Project Gutenberg - the first producer of free electronic books offers an online library of more than 17000 free ebooks produced by tens of thousands of volunteers.
Mobipocket - choose from more than 40 thousands titles available : novels, series, dictionaries, professional titles at this Amazon subsidiary.
CyberRead - carries over 40000 from both major and independent publishers.
Ebooks - a leading online source of ebooks, with 102,000 popular, professional and academic ebooks from the world’s leading publishers.
Diesel ebooks - Over 35,000 titles in 50 categories. Don’t miss the free download section.
Go Solar: Go Wherever
Gadget Girl or not, the vote is still out on whether or not one should bring technology on vacation. Nevertheless, once I retired my film cameras and entered the digital age, traveling with electronics became a professional reality.
Under most circumstances, plugging in to charge up isn’t an issue, but whether I have an electrical source to plug my electronics into or not is. Using solar energy to recharge or revitalize my electronic equipment is a great way to keep my gear running no matter where my travels take me.
For technology that travels, check out these cutting-edge solar chargers and power up your next adventure à la Mother Nature.
The PowerMonkey eXplorer kit comes with everything you need to charge most of your mobile devices, including cell phones, iPods, and digital cameras. Charge it up in the wall, or use the Solar Slave (included) to charge with solar rays. This is a VERY handy piece of equipment for backpacking, river trips, backcountry skiing, and travelling.
* Compatible with the majority of standard mobile phones.
*USB connectors power up iPods and accessories, MP3 players, PDAs, smart mobile phones, digital cameras, games, consoles, BlackBerry and Bluetooth headsets and many more digital devices.
* Includes main travel charger for use in 150 countries - 110V to240V
* Water-resistant, rubberized design - a power source for every adventure.
Powerful enough to charge all of your handheld electronic products at home or on the move, anywhere under the sun.
* Provides an emergency power source when away from power outlets.
* Adapter tips allow you to power multiple gadgets with a single charger ( tips for most products included in pack.)
* Works with multiple gadgets, including mobile phones, iPhone™, Bluetooth® headsets, smartphones/PDAs, MP3 players, portable gaming devices, digital cameras, GPS and much more.
* Reusable - use it again and again.
* Compact lightweight design - convenient for travel or emergency use.
The next generation in foldable solar technology, Brunton’s CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide) is the most efficient thin film solar technology available. Maximizing performance while optimizing portability, a Brunton Solaris panel is one of the most compact high output model available, with a design that instinctively converts incident sunlight into an electrical current, even in low-light conditions.
The unit’s multi-section design folds up into a compact footprint that’s just a bit larger than a DVD case, while still delivering an impressive 26 watts of power, more than enough to charge a laptop or digital video camera or power a satellite or cell phone.
Handheld GPS units aren’t just for hardcore explorers anymore. Indulge your inner gadget geek and consider bringing one along on your next adventure. With features like backtracking, waypoints, extended battery life, automatic routing capabilities, color screen, and an electronic compass and altimeter, these easy to use devices can come in handy whether you’re traveling the backcountry or the globe.
Garmin eTrex Venture Cx
Pack more detail into your adventure with the eTrex Venture Cx. This popular handheld navigator has a bright color screen and microSD card slot for expandable memory, and it can route you on roads or off, for wherever your travels take you. And, eTrex is IPX7 waterproof, so it can take an accidental splash or dunk in the water and still continue to perform. With eTrex, your adventure can last and last — up to 32 hours on just 2 AA batteries. While you roam, you can store up to 1,000 waypoints in memory for easy retrieval. Just enter the point you want to go to, and eTrex points you to your destination (no street or terrain maps). To get home, use Garmin’s exclusive TrackBack® feature to reverse your track log and help you navigate back to your starting point. Price $246. www.garmin.com
At a touch, the Brunton Atlas GPS StormWatch feature will predict the next 12-hours’ weather, bring you daily weather trends, and a 36-hour history. Add an altimeter function and the TrueMagnetic direct-access digital compass, and a StraightHome™ feature that allows you to find your way back to camp or the trailhead without satellite aid by just the push of a button, and you have a pocket GPS that truly navigates. Continuous GPS Navigation up to 12hrs; Batteries: 2AA;Two year warranty. Price $399. www.brunton.com
New and Improved SkyCaddie SG4 Golfer's GPS:
For the golfer in the family this new hand-held, water-resistant GPS determines your yardage to the green (and to other targets) on any course you play. Also, choose the right club with confidence, because as you play year round, SkyCaddie measures how far you are hitting each club. Stores 10 courses: use SD memory card slot for additional storage. $349.95; www.sharperimage.com.
On vacation, chances are good that your jazzy new digital camera, or camcorder, will run out of memory long before you run out of photo ops. Carrying several high-capacity memory cards, as I do, is one way to solve the problem.
But, when I’m on the road, especially on assignment, I can easily fill three or four CompactFlash cards a day. Plus, just in case of an electronic hiccup, each evening I backup my images to at least two other media - usually my Macintosh G4 Powerbook and a portable storage device. (currently the Epson P-3000 and Smartdisc FlashTrax XT)
Adding a high capacity portable hard drive to your gear, such as the 40 GB Epson P-3000 or 80 GB P-5000, lets you easily download and transfer your ‘trip of a lifetime’ digital pics where they can be stored, viewed and shared whereever your adventures take you.
Listed below are just a few of the portable storage devices on the market today:
Price: 40 GB P-3000 $499.99; 80GB P-5000 $699.99
Size: 3.5” × 5.9” × 1.3” Weight: Approximately 1 pound.
Display 4-inch color LCD
Media: Supports CompactFlash Type I/Type II and IBM® Microdrive® (3.3 V) Secure Digital and MultiMediaCard™ Memory Stick, ® xD Picture Card, ™ and SmartMedia™ supported with optional, third-party CF™ adapter, sold separately
GIGA Vu Pro by Jobo
Price: 40 GB $469.95: Also available in
Size: 5.7 × 4.2 × 1.5” Weight: 14.8 oz.
Display: 3.7-inch color LCD
Media: CompactFlash (CF) cards (Type I & II)Microdrive. Other media supported through optional card adapters
iPod by Apple.
Price 30 GB $249; 80 GB $349
Size: 4.1” × 2.4” × 0.43” (30GB) or 0.55” (80GB) Weight: 4.8 oz (30GB) or 5.5 (80GB)
Display: 2.5-inch color LCD
Stores data via USB cable.
FlashTrax by Smartdisc.
Price: 40GB $199.99
Size: 5.75 × 3.625 × 1.25 in. Weight: 12.5 oz.
Display: 3.6-inch color LCD flip screen
Media Accepted: CompactFlash (supports several other cards with the appropriate media adapter)
Here's the truth: I'm on the road at least six months of the year. That means for half of each year my 'office' is a 15" Apple G4 Powerbook. Why Apple? It's secure. It's lightweight. It's durable. It finds wireless networks before I can even ask the question. It's a DVD player on long flights. My music and photo libraries are just a click away in user-friendly programs that come with the machine. Its keyboard is backlit and easy to use in low light. Its a built in tape recorder for interviews. It's plug & play. A no brainer. You get the idea. Is the ease and covenience of its operating system worth paying the extra money. You bet.
A year ago, my sister (also a freelance writer) decided it was time to upgrade her computer system. Perhaps it was my visits over the years when I'd arrive with my Apple laptop and effortlessly pick up her home wireless network, share my iTunes favorites with my niece's iPod and whip up professional-quality slideshows in an instant, that led her to the local Apple store. Who knows.
What I do know however, is that after 20 years as a frustrated PC user, she went home with a brand new 23-inch flat screen display and two 15" Apple powerbook G4s - one for my 15-year-old niece and one for her. Here's her e-mail to me the next day: "I love my MAC. It truly is intuitive. Why didn't I switch sooner? Not because you didn't tell me. (And all the other Mac lovers out there)." Never even used a MAC before, and she's off an running like, well, it was easy. Imagine that.
The only drawback? Apples last too long. No need to upgrade for at least 5 years. For a gadget geek, that's killing me. But my budget is loving it.
As a professional travel photographer, keeping my digital SLR camera sensor clean is a must for blemish-free images. On assignment, I use the Arctic Butterfly 724 sensor brush from Visible Dust. Ideal for airplane travel when I cannot carry a can of Dust-Off with me, the Artic Butterfly's spinning bristles 'charge' the brush's bristles with static electricity that literally attract and safely pick up dust particles off the camera's digital sensor. Using the Artic Butterfly 724 to clean my camera sensor is a nightly ritual when I'm on the road, and this particular item is a permanent fixture in my travel camera bag. I never leave home without it.
*Includes a sturdy hard-sided carry case for added protection and class. Requires two AAA batteries (not included).
Armed with Otterbox, an interactive, waterproof, and drop-resistant case, my iPod is ready for any adventure. Available for iPod video, iPod nano 1st gen, iPod nano 2nd Gen, iPod 20GB, 30/40/60GB, mini, and shuffle models, the OtterBox for iPod provides unbeatable protection for my iPod and music collection. Bring on the rain, snow, dirt and dust!
Even better, OtterBox and H20Audio have teamed up to offer waterproof headphones! How fun! What will they think of next?
Strength by OtterBox: Pink Cases to Support the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade
For all the lives impacted every year, Otter Products, LLC. partners with the Avon Foundation to offer limited edition pink cases as a show of support for those fighting, the survivors and those who have lost someone to breast cancer. By purchasing an OtterBox for iPhone or iPod nano Defender™ Series Strength case, OtterBox will donate 10% of the purchase price to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade to support access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer, with a focus on the medically underserved.
For more information visit www.otterbox.com or call 888-695-8820.
The Wait is Over: OtterBox Launches iPhone 3G Protection
Wipe that bead of sweat from your forehead, the anticipation is over! OtterBox releases iPhone 3G protection in the semi-rugged, drop and scratchproof Defender™ Series design. Case available now in black and coming soon in white, black/yellow and pink.
“Our waiting list for iPhone 3G cases has been building for months,” said Curt Richardson, CEO, Otter Products LLC. “OtterBox engineers have worked hard to introduce slim and durable protection for Apple’s hottest new device. Good design takes time and we wanted to guarantee our customers quality.”
As a budget-minded freelancer I was thrilled when Apple introduced their new affordable iPod® shuffle, "the world’s most wearable digital music player", priced at just $79. The adorable iPod shuffle is just half a cubic inch in volume and weighs in at just half an ounce with a built-in clip. Apple’s pioneering shuffle feature lets me enjoy a continuous mix of my favorite songs anywhere I go. iPod shuffle contains one gigabyte of flash memory, holds up to 240 songs and is available in five fashionable colors: blue, pink, green, orange and the original silver. How cool is that!