Sunday, July 16, 2006

Vacation Tech

Vacation Tech

In case you were wondering, the Q1 held up extremely well. It travels better than any laptop I’ve ever owned. No, I didn’t take it whale watching, but I could have, and no one would have had a clue. The extended battery pack gave me more than enough juice to go cross country. We flew Orlando to Dallas, Dallas to Seattle and I was using it the whole time. I landed with 20% battery on the extended and a full charge on the internal battery. I’ve also barely use the external keyboard. When you’re sitting in a lounge chair watching Alaska go by, writing is definitely preferred to typing.

I actually got very few comments on the Q1. I don’t know if it looks so much like a DVD player that people assume that’s what it is or if it was so alien to the old folks on the cruise that they didn’t ask.

Our ship touted their “cashless society” in which you pay for everything with your room key. It may have been cashless, but it sure wasn’t paperless! We got a receipt for everything. It quickly got annoying. Then we were stuck with a multi-page preliminary bill to go through on the last night. The ship was only 3 years old so it seems like they could have integrated the billing into the TV like many hotels do. That would allow us to review each day’s charges at the end of the day, when they were fresh in our mind. I know much of the crew is made up of low paid Filipinos and Indonesians, presumably making it harder to deploy handheld devices but do I really need a receipt for every $1.75 Coke I drink? Surely there is a better way.

Also, how about some vending machines tied to my keycard?! I used a Visa vending machine in Seattle and it worked great. If the ship really wants to make a fortune, they should find a way to let the local merchants, that they already have relationship with, accept the room key to buy stuff on shore.

We actually have a carry on bag we call the media bag. It has our portable DVD player, DVD’s, headphones, walkie talkies and Dara’s Nikon digital SLR camera. It doesn’t have the Q1, iPods, Gameboys or cell phones. Yes, we carry a lot of chargers. Fortunately, the iPods and cell phones will charge from the Q1’s USB ports, reducing the number of bricks we have to carry.

The one thing I realize that I’m really missing in a partially connected environment is an offline blog reader. I’ve not had any luck finding one that integrates with Bloglines to deep my online, offline and mobile items in sync. Yes, a cruise is a fairly unique environment, but I can think of some other times when I have limited connectivity and I just want to grab the latest RSS entries and go.

Yes, I know this is along rambling post but sometimes it helps to do a brain dump.

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