Wednesday, 11 June 2008

The Technology

I've received several requests for a description of how I'm managing to update this blog whilst on tour with the bike.

The key piece of technology I'm carrying is of course a mobile phone. It's a Nokia E65, which is quite small and light and which offers internet connectivity via either GPRS or 3G. On this tour only the slower GPRS has been available. My phone uses the Vodafone network.

The phone allows me to browse the web, read my personal email using an installed gmail client and read my work email using its rather poor IMAP client (though not when on holiday!). It also runs the surprisingly good Google Maps application (which I used successfully to search for a guest house in Northwich).

However the E65 only has a standard phone keypad which makes text entry painfully slow if you're doing anything more than composing a text message. Also the web browser is small and limited.

So for updating this blog I'm also carrying a Nokia N810 "Internet Tablet". This is a small computer about twice the size of a mobile phone with a tiny qwerty keyboard. This runs an operating system called Maemo Linux.

The N810 also has a GPS receiver installed. I'm using this in conjunction with an excellent little program called Maemo Mapper which displays my current location on map tiles cownloaded from Google Maps or Open Street Map.

Whilst the maps on the N810 are too small to be suitable for route planning we have found them a very useful complement to the OS Routemaster 1:250000 paper maps that I have also been carrying, especially when looking for the correct road out of a busy town.

I've been recording a GPS track of this ride, which I might publish after I've cleaned the data up.

As for the photos: I'm also carrying a Canon Digital Ixus 860IS digital camera. This uses a SD memory card. On this ride I'm actually using a mini-SD memory card with a SD adaptor. This allows me to insert the mini-SD card into the N810 to upload photos to this blog.

1 comment:

  1. I had a couple of days away on a business trip and came back to find you'd progressed from the Severn to Fort William. Awesome! I'm also impressed at your kit (and mastery of it). Do take some time to stop and smell the flowers in Scotland. The gorse was fab when I was there two weeks ago.