Technology Configuration Question

Discussion in 'Suggestions, Comments, Technology Questions, etc.' started by diggerfoot, Apr 8, 2016.

  1. diggerfoot

    diggerfoot Humanity Hiker

    Oct 1, 2011
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    My bundled contract with Comcast/Xfinity is up (yes, I realize that wasn't smart). My transition towards something different will be with my future lifestyle in mind. That lifestyle will involve hiking around the world (I'm near retirement age, an accomplished hiker and my spouse will soon pass away from Alzheimer's). Here are my thoughts towards what I should do; I would like any feedback to steer me towards the best path.

    Photo, audio and video recording
    Work station for office, GIS/GPS, sound, video and photo (I currently use the freebies Open Office, Audacity, Microsoft movie and Photoscape, respectively and am quite satisfied; I used to be a GIS Manager so I can learn to use anything there)
    Play station (for WoW would be ideal, but some of the play apps will do)
    Talk, text and data
    Lightweight and cheap but satisfactory configuration

    Anticipated gear:
    Camera - unless the phone can do one hell of a job. I use photography for slideshows I give on speaking engagements and need great photos. Not $10,000 for digital equipment great, I'm not selling prints, but I'm an experienced photographer that does not want my creativity stymied.

    Convertible computer - I think that's the term. Can serve as both a computer work station and play tablet.

    Mobile broadband device - From what I hear, faster and less expensive than using a phone for a wifi hot spot.

    GPS device - From what I hear, cheaper than using a cell phone as a GPS device.

    Cell phone? - May not be necessary if get GPS elsewhere and the computer/tablet satisfies talk, text and data needs, but redundancy is not a bad thing.

    Really appreciate feedback on this. Thanks in advance!
  2. Fishy

    Fishy Puncher of Throats

    Aug 24, 2011
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    1) Look at the mirror-less camera systems. They're much, much lighter than DSLRs and nearly as capable. Olympus and Sony seem to be performance leaders - I bought into Canon's mirror less system because I have legacy lenses, but honestly, it's not great.

    2) Look into a tablet/convertible with cellular service. Most of them can be added to a plan for $20 or $30 a month as a no-contract flat-fee - I doubt it's less expensive than using a phone as hot spot, but it is certainly easier on the phone's battery. I would avoid the stand-alone hot spot device as it's just one more thing to carry and charge.

    I believe Microsoft sells a Surface Pro with LTE. I know Apple sells an iPad Pro with LTE (I have one), but I'm not sure what the WoW access is like for iPad. But consider the weight of whatever you buy....with the power cord. I did have a Microsoft Surface a few years ago and the cord had a transformer brick that you would not want to carry on a hike.

    Go to an Apple Store, go to a Microsoft Store (Danbury) and ask questions.

    As far as office software, a subscription to Office365 is cheap and I don't think anyone has put together a better office suite yet.

    3) Without question, get yourself a handheld GPS. Look at the Garmin Montana series - expensive, but uses rechargeable batteries or AA batteries (handy, easy to find) and allows you to set up maps, etc., using a program called Base Camp.

    4) You absolutely need to have a cell phone. Not optional. Get a GSM smartphone of whatever brand - that will allow you to buy inexpensive or prepaid SIM cards in most countries other than China or Brazil.

    5) Buy a battery pack. Very inexpensive and may save your bacon if you need to charge a cell phone somewhere.
  3. temery

    temery What?

    Aug 14, 2011
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    I'm not sure how cellular works internationally, but I'm told the costs can be astronomical depending on the carrier.
  4. SubbaBub

    SubbaBub Your stupidity is ruining my country.

    Aug 26, 2011
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    You need a local carrier for international service. Sometimes all you need is a local SIM card if your phone is unlocked. If you add on to your US account you need to be very, very careful or suffer sticker shock on your return. Like $1/Mb shock, that's MEGAbyte.

    I actually swear by a renting a portable hot spot (MIFI) when travelling internationally short term because I don't make many phone based calls and it is a lot less hassle than finding a local service. It is also a ton cheaper than racking up data charges on your US account. Long term travel is a different animal, though but, local is the cheapest.
    Da_Aisijimo_Gou and August_West like this.
  5. Da_Aisijimo_Gou


    Aug 26, 2011
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    As suggested, using US cell services outside the US can be wicked #+@%$ expensive. SubbaBub's comments below are correct for many, not all, countries. Not sure about Brazil, but pre-paid SIM cards and portable MIFI hot spots are readily available at reasonable cost in China (local contacts will help lead you to practical solutions in most countries).
    August_West likes this.