View Full Version : Pocketmail alternatives?

10-04-2006, 13:51
I know that pocketmail is wildly popular, but I'm looking for an alternative to it for a couple of reasons. I don't need the emailing capability per se, mainly just a way to keep a journal so my hand doesn't cramp up when writing manually and cause me to shorten my entries. So instead of email, are there cheaper products that allow you to type in them, and then you can transfer them to a computer via USB connection?

10-04-2006, 14:33
So instead of email, are there cheaper products that allow you to type in them, and then you can transfer them to a computer via USB connection?

Speaking from experience, pen & paper still works. At least the last time I checked.;) Get yourself a transcriber and go old school. If you can hike the trail, "hand cramps" shouldn't be an issue.

10-04-2006, 15:12
I am interested, too. I handwrite now. I would like to enjoy edit capability, cut 'n paste, with another device, what I cannot do writing by hand. neither can I insert a thought into an earlier written paragraph on a prior page, but with a word processing program of some sort, would be able too.. I seldom write anything anymore, my keyboard, crt, printer, makes it so much simpler, neater, easier...

10-04-2006, 15:13
I need to be able to edit my postings, too, especially for spelling:cool:

10-04-2006, 15:30
If you really want something with a keyboard, look at the PDAs on the market - Palm, HP IPAQ, Dell Axiom, etc and get a foldable keyboard for them. Don't know about battery life though....

10-04-2006, 15:54
Any old Palm OS device will do it. They run on 2xAAA batteries and let you store and edit in memo format without all the fancy and mostly useless features. In summer, the batteries should last about 1 month. If you want a keyboard, look for a Palm Treo 600. They should be dirt cheap used.

10-04-2006, 16:05
Your hands would cramp up more on a mini keyboard I would think. I'd go old school. I have a pocket pc with a foldup keyboard and to be honest, it sucks. It works, but it sucks. Just my two cents...

10-04-2006, 16:41
As an alternative, you could get a device that records your voice, such as a digital camera or an MP3 player, and transcribe later.

10-05-2006, 15:56
Verizon has a cell phone out now that folds open and a mini keyboard is in it. This thing is also a camera. I don't own one, but some thru-hikers from this year (Upload and Stitches) used one all the way and they were practically updating their journal everyday. 3 pieces of gear in one--phone-camera-word processor. I don't know if this was the exact one they used, but it was something like this....expensive too. http://www.mobiletechreview.com/Verizon-XV6700.htm

10-05-2006, 16:17
Yeah my hubby just got one like this - it's a Strobe phone (Alltell), but with our plan, we got it for around $50. I've been experimenting with it and like it for simple e-mails and short journal entries (once you get the hang of it). Even was able to check the weather, saw the radar, etc. And I like the idea it's also a phone and camera in one. But we may get a better camera though for sharper pics.

10-06-2006, 08:11
If you're only interested in writing in your journal and you don't want to spend a lot, then I would look into acquiring an older Palm PDA, or one of the many cheap knock-offs out there. You should be able to use the stylus to "write" and then use menus to cut-and-paste. I'm not sure how much they will weight, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was 6 ounces with batteries. I think I'll stick to pen and paper since you should have these anyway in case you need to leave an emergency note.

10-06-2006, 09:48
A buddy of mine is riding his bike from DC to brazil and this same question popped up. He answered it with an old laptop. Silly, but whatever works right? I would look into the Palm's ./ The keyboard that you can get with it isn't very small at all and it's pretty darn light. It also folds up to 3"X4" X 1" so doesn't take up much space. If you get a new palm, you can also use it as an mp3 player for those lonely trail nights and you can set up e-mail on it where it'll send it for you when you sync it up.

10-06-2006, 10:08

NEO, by alphasmart

full size keyboard word processor.

weighs 2 pounds

not a computer

runs about 700 hours on three AA batteries

it remembers keystrokes. you can edit, thokugh cut and paste is tricky

plugs into any computer with a word processor and uploads what you type

you can then fully edit before emailing.

I kept a journal this way while on the road, and also use it for writing when not near power sources and need something that runs longer the the 1.5 hours I get from my laptop battery

10-06-2006, 10:17
For 249, I'd rather get an old Sony Viao small form factor laptop. It'll have more horsepower, more ability, bigger screen and probabl weigh about the same.

10-06-2006, 14:01
Here is an alternative. You would need a mighty long extension cord though.


The other method would be this really high tech piece of equipment with liquified graphite poured into a hollow wooden shaft. When the graphite hardens it produces a charcol colored text on write paper when rubbed in various patterns.

Stubby pencil is still the way to go for me. True, I really suck at writting on paper myself, but I have found through "jounaling practice" I get a little better at it each time I pick up ye ole stubby pencil. It still amazes me just how dependent I have become in the electronic age. ** See here is a trick I learned.

** I make a simple reference for my transcriber to insert this text where it should have gone to begin with.

Snail Mail works fine and allows for a written record of your journey. Rain drops on a page, blood rubbings, sketches, and many other useful ways to keep a few additional memories. I think you would be surprised when you look back over journals, you and see vividly those days where you are totally whooped and it shows in your writing. Funny how a simple thing like your writting can tell it's own story.

Happy journaling

10-06-2006, 14:07
** I make a simple reference for my transcriber to insert this text where it should have gone to begin with.
...And here I thought the * symbol was for multiplication. Cool.

Johnny Swank
10-09-2006, 17:57
I still use an old Handspring Visor and Stowaway keyboard for 90% of my writing at home, and will be using a Palm Treo 700 / keyboard combination when I paddle the Cape Fear River in a few weeks for email/voice recording/other junk.

I get about 3 weeks out of a set of AA's on the Handspring, FWIW. Those old black and white units are awesome in that respect. (I also get more work done b/c I can't surf the web with it!)

10-09-2006, 19:18

I have Sprint's version of this phone - and I love it!!! It is like having a mini computer with me! I subscribe to a service that allows me to remotely access my home PC from this phone so I can surf the net on my home PC and have all of the functionality without dealing with "phone" versions of websites.

Given the price, however, I would not risk it out on the trail.

10-14-2006, 08:53
i found an older laptop online for like 99 bucks, which would be great if it didn't weigh so much, but as products advance and technology drops in price, it is gonna be a great alternative to dropitmail

10-14-2006, 09:50
For 249, I'd rather get an old Sony Viao small form factor laptop. It'll have more horsepower, more ability, bigger screen and probabl weigh about the same.Weighs about five pounds , two and a half times as much as an Alphasmart. Plus the battery is only good for a couple hours. You'd have to carry a number of half pound batteries AND a charger. You're looking at 7+ pounds vs 2.

If you need a computer with lots of horsepower to do lots of different things in a shelter or in your tent, then you need a computer, and you are stuck with the weight. But if what you need is something to type into for a journal, a computer is an exceptionally bad idea, weight wise.