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berninbush
06-20-2007, 15:20
http://www.helio.com/page?p=devices_ocean_static&

I don't own one of these, but I want one!!! For everyday, not just hiking.

If it lives up to the hype, it combines all the following devices into one 5.61 oz package:

- cell phone
- 2 megapixel camera
- full internet and email access
- GPS
- video mp3 player

Pretty cool. But I guess usefulness to thru-hikers would depend on how good their coverage is on the Appalachian Trail. I have no idea.

fiddlehead
06-20-2007, 23:32
wow, that is pretty amazing. I was just writing up something for the guy who was looking for a new camera and said that the new cell phones have decent cameras anymore as well as music, internet access, guitar tuners, metronomes, and even phones built in. but GPS's too? where will it end?
I wonder if this thing would work in Thailand?

berninbush
06-20-2007, 23:36
Not sure about that. Helio is the service provider as well as the manufacturer of the devices, and I don't know if they have international contracts. You could probably write the company and ask.

They claim that, at least in metropolitan areas, their internet service is high-speed. In less developed areas, I think you can still get 'net but it's slower.

BrianLe
06-21-2007, 20:04
I was looking at just exactly this sort of thing, and have been wrestling with a lot of issues lately (getting it fully setup for this use). I ended up getting the ETEN Glofiish M700,
http://www.etencorp.com/products/Communication/M700.php

My ETEN isn't 3G, but I'm not focused on fast internet, if/when I want data the EDGE network should be fine for me. It doesn't have as much internal RAM as the Helio, but it accepts a 2 GB microSD card, and I'm finding that almost everything can work off of that. I'm not sure what kind of GPS specs the Helio has; mine has a nice SiRF star III GPS, and Pocket Topo! software works fine on it. And I thought my 2.8" screen was small, the helio has a 2.4" screen ... trade-offs, trade-offs.

Lots of work to get one of these really setup for backcountry use; I'm taking it on a 6-day trip next week where I'll see how well the Solio solar charger keeps it running. The weakest point on most of these is the camera; if you don't need a current-technology GPS, the Nokia N95 is supposed to have a good one. I'm just going to learn to make do, I hope.

No problems with the (windows media) MP3 playing ability. Microsoft Reader isn't included these days, so I downloaded the Mobipocket reader, which works fine. Unfortunately my device doesn't have all the DRM stuff required to run audible.com software; not sure what I'll do about audio books, I'm currently thinking about real-time conversion via the free Audacity software, and/or doing without.

In terms of coverage: I rarely use a cell phone in real life, so I set this up on a "pay as you go plan". It's a GSM phone so my choices were Cingular or T-Mobile, and the latter shows a better coverage map IMO. But the catch turned out to be that Cingular actually has a *different* (lessor) coverage map for their pay-as-you-go customers. So when I start on my PCT attempt next year I guess I'll switch to the shortest contract they'll give me, and toss in data service for the shortest time I can get that.


Brian Lewis

BrianLe
06-21-2007, 20:07
Whoops, I meant to say I went with Cingular (aka AT&T) service, not T-Mobile.

Passionphish
06-21-2007, 20:27
I gotta tell you, This thread REALLY has my attention. Both the Helio and the Eten M700 have had my attention. I'm really thinking of going with an all in one. If for no other reason than the weight savings!! I hope more people will respond with opinions and experience!

berninbush
06-21-2007, 22:54
not sure what I'll do about audio books, I'm currently thinking about real-time conversion via the free Audacity software, and/or doing without.


I mentioned on another thread the website www.librivox.org (http://www.librivox.org), which has hundreds of public-domain mp3 audiobooks for free download. :) I'm a volunteer reader there (just started doing that recently) and they have a lot to choose from.

Cell phone and data are more important to me than the camera and GPS, for everyday use. I'm not going to rush out and buy a Helio because I don't *need* it, but it's nice to dream. ;) Another up-and-coming thing is, of course, the iPhone. The main difference I see between it and the Helio is that the Helio has a physical pop-out keyboard while the iPhone is all touch screen.

BrianLe
06-22-2007, 13:51
"I mentioned on another thread the website www.librivox.org (http://www.librivox.org/) ..."

Yup, in my research on this I ran into librivox, sort of the spoken equivalent of Gutenberg. I like this volunteer-based model. My wife, in fact, volunteers to read for a different group, one that produces content from copyrighted material on special devices available only to sight-impaired people.

The catch, of course, with Gutenberg and librivox is how old all the content is --- copyrights last an awfully long time (seems like I read that Micky Mouse just got an extension). There's some good stuff there, but, frankly, most of it isn't as interesting to the modern reader.

The problem with audacity (free audio mixing software) is that the MP3 result is much larger as what I get from audible.com, limiting how much I can carry without taking several 2 GB cards, plus it takes some work to transmogrify it.

It's just really really hard to optimize everything when you're getting an all-in-one device, you inevitably have to compromise somewhere. The big issue is just even knowing what compromises you're making (!); it hadn't occurred to me that audible.com content wouldn't just work on any pocket pc formatted device.

I just ran into a weird gotcha yesterday that I haven't read anywhere else: I don't like the ETEN-supplied earphones, they don't feel like they'll stay secure in my ears when I walk. So yesterday I paid an alarming amount at my local radio shack for a light set of ear ... set/piece/buds/phones/something-like-that that have a 2.5 mm connector (normal audio has 3.5 mm, phones tend to have 2.5 mm). And I bought a 3.5 - to -2.5 adapter to try out other options I already own.

Using the new headphones or any of several pairs of headphones I had at home with the adapter, I only hear mono --- sound only comes out of one side. Using the earpieces originally supplied with the M700, I get stereo. I don't understand what's going on here (if anyone else does, please let me know!). Not a huge deal maybe, but ... there seem to be a number of things like that to figure out before the device is really ready for a thru-hiker. One challenge is just optimizing the space on a 2 GB microSD card, so I won't have to swap them too often. I was able to put all of the PCT maps in pocket Topo format on there in 700 MB, but until I actually did the work to do that, I couldn't very well plan other uses of the space.

To be fair, I think that most of the issues I've encountered aren't ETEN's fault --- from my limited experience it seems like a good device, and I expect I'll innovate and adapt my way around whatever problems there are.



Brian Lewis

berninbush
06-22-2007, 14:13
The catch, of course, with Gutenberg and librivox is how old all the content is --- copyrights last an awfully long time (seems like I read that Micky Mouse just got an extension). There's some good stuff there, but, frankly, most of it isn't as interesting to the modern reader.


Ha ha, that depends on the reader!! I love classical literature. In the U.S., pretty much anything published before 1923 is public domain. This includes stuff like Girl of the Limberlost, many of the Anne of Green Gables books, Treasure Island, Tom Sawyer, Sherlock Holmes, John Buchan, and lots more. I'm sure I could find six months' worth of stuff to listen to on Librivox, and more is being added every day.

If you only enjoy stuff written during your lifetime, you'll just have to pay more. ;-)

Have you tried calling ETEN to ask about the headphone issue?

The Weasel
06-22-2007, 14:30
Despite using an all-in-one on a day to day basis, I remain amazed that there is a serious discussion among hikers about how to have internet access in the wild. It wasn't long ago - it seems - that there were raging debates about how - not whether, but how - to get cell phone users to stop using their phones. Now I have to worry about thumb-buttoning internet screens in the shelter? Why bother going hiking? Why not stay home and play with your phone and computer?

The Weasel

berninbush
06-22-2007, 14:45
Well, I personally never claimed to be a thru-hiker. I'm squarely in the "weekend warrior" category and don't expect that to change anytime soon. I'm interested in the day-to-day applications of this stuff, for myself. But I posted here because I know a lot of long-distance hikers *do* want to stay at least in occasional contact with the outside world (and take pictures of their trip, and listen to mp3's, and find their way with GPS...), and are looking for a lightweight way to do so.

I've never slept in an AT shelter, but I would think it would be far easier to ignore someone quietly typing on their handheld device than someone talking on a cell phone. Perhaps this device will help make peace between the introverts and the homesick extraverts.

Mags
06-22-2007, 15:11
Why bother going hiking? Why not stay home and play with your phone and computer?

The Weasel


On the various hiking lists I've noticed, there are more and more threads on how to stay connected. I wrote e-mail was writteon cdt-l earlier this year:


> Sign of the times I guess, when one the main questions on
> all the hiking lists are "How do I stay connected to the
> outside world?"
>> No comment good or bad (I did use a Pocketmail myself for
> newspaper articles afterall), but it is an observation.
>> How connected does a hiker want to be?
>> Once every 5-7 days ala Pocketmail? Once a day? More
> often? Do we need web updates and weather forecasts? Or is
> basic ASCII enough?
>> It is addicting to get e-mail. Guilty as charged.
>> I'd check my pocketmail every time I could. Getting those
> little "Somebody loves me" sounds made my day. My Mom, who
> has never used e-mail until this past year, loved how she
> could write me and I'd write back within a few days [1]
>> OTOH, if I could check my e-mail every chance I could,
> would it change the nature of my hike? I suspect yes. I
> also suspect I personally would *not* have the discipline
> to stay away from 24/7 connection. Probably best, for me,
> that I do not go down that route.
>> HYOH and all that. Just an observation that more so than
> even 2 or 3 years ago, how much of an emphasis there is on
> staying connected. Not just on the trail, but in society
> as a whole. Personal locator beacons were touted in a
> local paper as MUST HAVE accessory for every outdoor user.
> I already get odd looks from some people when I say I do
> not take a cell phone when hiking even on local trails.
> And now there are threads about how to stay connected on
> most outdoor lists.
>> Not good. Not bad. But definitely a different focus. A
> focus that means wanting to stay unconnected is becoming
> the aberration and staying connected is the norm for
> outdoor pursuits.
>> A definite sea change in how we view the outdoors as well
> as society as a whole.
>>> Mags
>> [1] She also wrote my youngest brother in Iraq. With one
> son walking the Rockies and another son working in an Air
> Force hospital, e-mail was a god send for her!

We are in a society where *not* being connected at all times is
the abberation. Those who want solitude are the oddballs.

As the years go on and technology makes it even easier to stay
connected 24/7, those who eschew this continuous connection
will be looked upon as even odder than now.

And that perceived need to always be connected is definitely
spilling over into the trails.

fiddlehead
06-22-2007, 21:53
Despite using an all-in-one on a day to day basis, I remain amazed that there is a serious discussion among hikers about how to have internet access in the wild. It wasn't long ago - it seems - that there were raging debates about how - not whether, but how - to get cell phone users to stop using their phones. Now I have to worry about thumb-buttoning internet screens in the shelter? Why bother going hiking? Why not stay home and play with your phone and computer?

The Weasel

Some of us work on the internet. If I can work while doing a thru-hike, do you think i'm going to let YOU stop me?
You complain about people in shelters again. you know fully well the answer to that problem.
Your quote about staying home and playing with your computer struck me that for 17 years, trails were my home. so i guess i am complying.

BrianLe
06-22-2007, 22:03
"Why not stay home and play with your phone and computer?"

Anytime anyone wants to talk about electronic gear on the trail it seems like this sort of false tautology arises, i.e., "bringing electronic gear on the trail means you're always using it and isolating yourself and/or annoying others".

There's a big difference between bringing along a piece of gear for infrequent --- but potentially useful or even important --- use, versus using it all the time or inappropriately.

I too have never slept in an AT shelter; I'm not that fond of rodents. :)
I'm more a PCT hiker where folks don't cluster so much, but regardless, I definitely agree with not annoying people with electronics. Heck, I get annoyed at people herding others around to be in or out of their pictures, and hate it when someone sits near me and starts a loud cell phone conversation. That doesn't mean that I don't think the person should carry their cell phone, they might have an excellent reason to do so. I just think they shouldn't annoy me with it.

Dang, this sounds sort of like a twisted NRA line, "electronics don't annoy people, people annoy people". :sun


To berninbush: Yup, I didn't mean to suggest that old literature is inherently bad (! quite the contrary). If I dig enough I can likely find some good stuff I haven't read; most of what you referenced I have already read, however. Just practically speaking, going through Gutenberg or librivox feels like an exercise in separating the wheat from a lot of chaff. Fortunately it's not an either/or, I can and do get content both ways!


Brian Lewis

BrianLe
06-22-2007, 22:04
"Why not stay home and play with your phone and computer?"

Anytime anyone wants to talk about electronic gear on the trail it seems like this sort of false tautology arises, i.e., "bringing electronic gear on the trail means you're always using it and isolating yourself and/or annoying others".

There's a big difference between bringing along a piece of gear for infrequent --- but potentially useful or even important --- use, versus using it all the time or inappropriately.

I too have never slept in an AT shelter; I'm not that fond of rodents. :)
I'm more a PCT hiker where folks don't cluster so much, but regardless, I definitely agree with not annoying people with electronics. Heck, I get annoyed at people herding others around to be in or out of their pictures, and hate it when someone sits near me and starts a loud cell phone conversation. That doesn't mean that I don't think the person should carry their cell phone, they might have an excellent reason to do so. I just think they shouldn't annoy me with it.

Dang, this sounds sort of like a twisted NRA line, "electronics don't annoy people, people annoy people". :sun


To berninbush: Yup, I didn't mean to suggest that old literature is inherently bad (! quite the contrary). If I dig enough I can likely find some good stuff I haven't read; most of what you referenced I have already read, however. Just practically speaking, going through Gutenberg or librivox feels like an exercise in separating the wheat from a lot of chaff. Fortunately it's not an either/or, I can and do get content both ways !


Brian Lewis

berninbush
06-23-2007, 00:17
To berninbush: Yup, I didn't mean to suggest that old literature is inherently bad (! quite the contrary). If I dig enough I can likely find some good stuff I haven't read; most of what you referenced I have already read, however.
Brian Lewis

Ah, my apologies, I see what you mean. I'm perhaps somewhat peculiar in that I actually often prefer re-reading to reading something new.This is especially true with audio books; I'm a visual learner, so it's easier for me to follow a familiar story line on audio. But there's plenty on Librivox that does not interest me, so I know what you mean about separating it out!

insure ants
06-24-2007, 14:44
Despite using an all-in-one on a day to day basis, I remain amazed that there is a serious discussion among hikers about how to have internet access in the wild. It wasn't long ago - it seems - that there were raging debates about how - not whether, but how - to get cell phone users to stop using their phones. Now I have to worry about thumb-buttoning internet screens in the shelter? Why bother going hiking? Why not stay home and play with your phone and computer?

The Weasel

The National Park Service has announced the goal of equipping all new backcountry shelters built within National Parks with fiber optic internet access.

tiny turtle
06-26-2007, 09:04
As far as carrying cell phones with me when I hike, I used to be strongly against it. I didn't like the fact that I was connected in any way to the outside world when I was trying to get away from it! In fact, I usually lose track of my cell for days at a time in real life, unlike most people my age, haha.

Then one day whilst on a day hike in New Jersey, I had a VERY CLOSE CALL with a giant rattlesnake. I didn't get bitten, but if I HAD, I was about 7 miles from any road, and that sort of scared me. From then on I decided to carry mine with me, but OFF. Nothing says you have to keep it on! The way I see it, we have all this crazy high-tech light-weight gear now that people 40 years ago would only have dreamed of, and I'm not just talking technology and communication devices! The way I see it, if you take advantage of "new fangled" hiking gear of any sort, then carrying a cell when going solo as a safety percaution or even to just let your family know you're alive once in a whilte is not so terrible. I definitely agree that cell phone users on the trail should be very discreet when taking advantage of this technology, however, as it is most certainly annoying to other hikers. As far as internet devices, I would much rather see someone typing away on a device minding their own business than hearing a one-sided conversation.

Anyway, just my view on things. Times change, what can you do?

Uncle Silly
06-26-2007, 19:24
The problem with audacity (free audio mixing software) is that the MP3 result is much larger as what I get from audible.com, limiting how much I can carry without taking several 2 GB cards, plus it takes some work to transmogrify it.

FYI, MP3 encoders have a wide variety of options. Very likely you were encoding to a much higher sound quality than you need. Also, these files tend to be in stereo by default, and you'll get smaller files by mixing down to mono.

Try to encode to mono/32kbps (or lower) and see if that gets you acceptable sound quality. Those files tend to be pretty small.

BrianLe
06-27-2007, 13:32
"Try to encode to mono/32kbps (or lower) and see if that gets you acceptable sound quality. Those files tend to be pretty small."

Thanks, Uncle Silly. In fact I did quite a bit of that. Mono didn't seem to make any difference, surprisingly. There was a direct and linear correlation between kbps and file size, however. 48 kbps was fine; maybe I should try 32.

Even at 32, the file size would still be bigger than whatever compression system audible.com is using --- they offer four different alternatives of compression vs. file size, 1 being smallest files, 4 being best sound quality minimal (no?) compression. Their format 3 is quite good IMO, and smaller than I could get with mp3.

.wma gives smaller file sizes, 32 kbps with .wma would perhaps drop me to a two-to-one ratio (??) versus a likely better sound quality with audible.com. Close enough, at least unless and until they are able to support my device!

BrianLe
06-27-2007, 13:50
"As far as carrying cell phones with me when I hike, I used to be strongly against it."

I've never been a fan for using a phone for other than necessary communications, but it can make a huge difference on that. Yesterday I found there was more and likely too much snow at upper elevations to continue on a 6-day loop trip I started the day before. It was very helpful on my way out to call my wife and let her know the change of plans. Had I continued, there was one known point on the way where I could get cell reception, possibly to make that an abort point, i.e., call to ask her to come and pick me up.

From using the device now on a "real trip", if only a two-day hike, I have to say that I liked it quite a bit. It's the best GPS I've ever owned, that SiRF Star III technology isn't just hype, I hike under lots of tree cover a lot and often can't lock on with my previous GPS. Every time I tried I got a lock with my Glofiish M700; under more dense canopy it just seemed to take longer, but it always got there. The pocket topo software is nice too --- buggy as heck and limited in various ways, but the core of what it does it does very well; it's nice to see exactly where I am on the on-screen map.

The display doesn't show up as clearly as I would like on a sunny day, but you can always use your body to shadow it, and that's enough for basic stuff. I just looked at pictures I took on the trip; the camera doesn't do super well at handling the contrast between snow and non-snow, but on the whole it's better than I had feared for a "cell phone camera".

The power useage is a little tricky; you don't really turn the device "off", you just power it down. If you have the phone part active, it periodically blinks and I guess keeps looking to stay connected to cell towers. If your GPS software is loaded and using the GPS, another little light blinks and it tries to stay locked on to satellites. So turning that stuff off after each time I use any of that functionality is important. With that all done correctly, power seemed to last pretty well.

Even for just a 2-day trip, I used this functionality:
- cell phone
- gps
- camera
- voice recorder

Had it been a longer trip --- and if I thought I had sufficient battery power --- I would likely use MP3, perhaps an ebook in the evening ...
I'm still sold on the all-in-one approach, at least for those willing to pony up the $$ required, accept some limitations in the camera, and deal with somewhat of a learning curve to get everything working well.



Brian Lewis

Footslogger
06-27-2007, 14:06
If GPS wasn't of interest, how do you think this LG phone (at $140.00) would compare with the Helio ??

http://us.lge.com/products/model/detail/mobile%20phones_select%20by%20carrier_verizon_ENV_ _null.jhtml

Pretty sure my next phone will be an all-in-one too and have had my eye on this one. Dimensions are Dimensions - 4.6 in x 2.1 in x 0.8 in - Weight 4.6 oz

'Slogger

BrianLe
06-27-2007, 22:50
I don't know the Helio either (I have the ETEN ~phone), and I wouldn't consider such a device without a GPS --- the GPS is actually one of the nicest features on my device.

That said, it looks like about the same camera mine has --- which is okay, but don't expect too much. "Digital zoom" in my opinion means "no zoom". I can "digitally zoom" my photos later using software on my PC if I choose.

This LG model isn't a PDA phone, which is a big difference. I can buy all sorts of off-the-shelf software for mine; I don't know what options you have to extend this LG model. The tools include a notepad, which is good; mine has Excel, Word, etc, I put the free Adobe Acrobat reader on it, and so I can keep various documents on there direct from my PC --- and I do.

I'm not sure whether you would be able to install software to allow you to read eBooks --- FWIW.

You're locked into the Verizon system, it looks like, and maybe that's partly why the price is just $140 ? The backpacker question is whether the coverage map is good enough for you, compared to the other carriers.

It's not quite as wide as my phone but the other dimensions are similar --- I don't think you'll find this comfortable to just stick in a pocket, or at least not as comfortable as a more traditional cell phone.

They don't give the screen size; mine is 2.8" diagonally, I would guess this one's a little smaller ?

OTOH, the price is certainly reasonable, it's lightweight, and looks pretty cool too. It's like buying any piece of gear, you have to optimize what's important to you!

Footslogger
06-28-2007, 09:22
I don't know the Helio either (I have the ETEN ~phone), and I wouldn't consider such a device without a GPS --- the GPS is actually one of the nicest features on my device.

That said, it looks like about the same camera mine has --- which is okay, but don't expect too much. "Digital zoom" in my opinion means "no zoom". I can "digitally zoom" my photos later using software on my PC if I choose.

This LG model isn't a PDA phone, which is a big difference. I can buy all sorts of off-the-shelf software for mine; I don't know what options you have to extend this LG model. The tools include a notepad, which is good; mine has Excel, Word, etc, I put the free Adobe Acrobat reader on it, and so I can keep various documents on there direct from my PC --- and I do.

I'm not sure whether you would be able to install software to allow you to read eBooks --- FWIW.

You're locked into the Verizon system, it looks like, and maybe that's partly why the price is just $140 ? The backpacker question is whether the coverage map is good enough for you, compared to the other carriers.

It's not quite as wide as my phone but the other dimensions are similar --- I don't think you'll find this comfortable to just stick in a pocket, or at least not as comfortable as a more traditional cell phone.

They don't give the screen size; mine is 2.8" diagonally, I would guess this one's a little smaller ?

OTOH, the price is certainly reasonable, it's lightweight, and looks pretty cool too. It's like buying any piece of gear, you have to optimize what's important to you!

=============================================

Good feeback ...thanks.

Of everything you said, the PDA feature (or lack thereof) may be the single largest performance trade-off to me. Having Windows-C on the device would be nice but I think I could live without Word and Excel on the phone.

Yes, I am a Verizon slave ...but the good news there is that coverage in general is pretty good. ALL the cell carriers have "holes" in their coverage so that's sort of a "6 of one/half dozen of the other" type issue. I wonder what the Helio coverage ACTUALLY is, rather than what is advertised. At least I know the Verizon limitations.

I'm not making any decisions right away and plan on watching both of these phones. One thing for sure ...if you start using all of the features (of either device) the battery life will become an issue and you will either need a back-up battery or a charger and frequent access to electricity for re-charging.

'Slogger

BrianLe
06-28-2007, 15:37
Of everything you said, the PDA feature (or lack thereof) may be the single largest performance trade-off to me. Having Windows-C on the device would be nice but I think I could live without Word and Excel on the phone.

Having something more akin to a real computer is hard to value; I guess it comes down to any tangible benefits. For example, I've used an RPN (HP) type calculator for years, the calculators they typically include by default are (for me) annoying to use. So I downloaded a freeware RPN calculator and it works great.

I don't think it's important to be able to create excel or word or pdf documents on the device, but it is handy to be able to view them.
For example, I carry a small-print paper copy of minimal first aid details --- this is a personal weak point, I hate blood, etc. But I now can augment it with a pretty complete first aid manual on my device. I can carry recipes there, along with potential shopping list items for when I hit a trail town. I carry the pdf manuals for my M700, my altitude watch, for other gear. I'm going to look for something like an electronic field guide to both flora and fauna including photos ... it's just nice having a lot of that sort of info available.


Yes, I am a Verizon slave ...but the good news there is that coverage in general is pretty good. ALL the cell carriers have "holes" in their coverage so that's sort of a "6 of one/half dozen of the other" type issue. I wonder what the Helio coverage ACTUALLY is, rather than what is advertised. At least I know the Verizon limitations.

I think some carriers might be better than others for the backcountry, depending at least on where you're looking. I did some hasty "research" on this before I picked my service. Partly it's a factor of the phone you get; I got an unlocked GSM phone. In the U.S., GSM is supported only by T-Mobile and Cingular (aka AT&T). My recollection is that the coverage maps I looked at seemed to be better for Verizon and Cingular, at least out west where I live. The coverage maps for the east coast are a lot more dense in general (more coverage) --- a lot more folks crammed together there I guess!

I'm not making any decisions right away and plan on watching both of these phones. One thing for sure ...if you start using all of the features (of either device) the battery life will become an issue and you will either need a back-up battery or a charger and frequent access to electricity for re-charging.

Not making any decisions right away --- typical laptop and desktop computers are relatively "mature" now. But for this sort of device we'll surely see a lot of fairly rapid innovation. I bought mine now knowing it will soon be obsolete. My plan is to thruhike the PCT next year, however, and getting this thing working and learning to use it effectively takes some time, I didn't want to buy a device at the relative last-minute.

Power useage: I opted for a solar charger; not perhaps the optimal choice for someone that lives in the northern part of Washington State, but my fingers are crossed that this will be worth the weight --- at least for the more southerly parts of the PCT. For shorter trips, up to a couple of weeks or so, I'll just carry spare batteries at about 1 oz each.

Wrapped in bubble wrap and with the connection cord and tie-on cord, my solio charger adds 6.5 oz to my load, so I'll only carry it when I expect to be away from recharge options for a fair bit of time. That weight is partly offset by the fact that the Solio includes its own internal battery.



Brian Lewis

Footslogger
06-28-2007, 15:46
[quote=BrianLe;375975]
Not making any decisions right away --- typical laptop and desktop computers are relatively "mature" now. But for this sort of device we'll surely see a lot of fairly rapid innovation. I bought mine now knowing it will soon be obsolete. My plan is to thruhike the PCT next year, however, and getting this thing working and learning to use it effectively takes some time, I didn't want to buy a device at the relative last-minute.

======================================

Well ...now you REALLY have my attention. I'm doing the PCT in 2009 and that is one reason a device like this is of interest to me. Will be anxious to hear about your experience(s).

'Slogger

BrianLe
06-29-2007, 11:53
"Will be anxious to hear about your experience(s)."

So will I ... :o
Yesterday I tried installing a couple of freeware GPS apps, because Pocket Topo (at least on my device) gives incorrect UTM coords and wrong (negative) elevation. One of those apps talks more directly to the SiRF chipset and after trying that, Pocket Topo can't talk to the GPS anymore.
The ETEN website seems designed to keep the user from communicating with their support group in any way ...
Think I'll be resetting this puppy back to "brand new, no user software on it" condition and starting over in hopes that *that* will resolve it.

This is the sort of reason I didn't want to wait until the last minute ...

Some freeware software is pretty cool, though, and supports the logic of getting a true PDA. My "today" screen now shows in one little line both sunrise/set and moonrise/set and the phase of the moon.

'Slogger, apologies in advance if I fail to follow up next year and let you know how this goes --- send me a private message if so (!).



Brian Lewis

Footslogger
06-29-2007, 12:14
[quote=BrianLe;376225]
'Slogger, apologies in advance if I fail to follow up next year and let you know how this goes --- send me a private message if so (!).

==============================

Hey ...no problem. Been doing a lot more reading about the LG VX9900 and at the moment I'm leaning pretty heavily in that direction. By the time I am ready to buy it the prices will have dropped. User reports to date on the device have been mostly positive and I think it will satisfy my needs in terms of journaling/messaging/phone communication. Plus ...when I can't get reception via Verizon I'm no further behind than I am now.

Thanks again. Write when you can ...

'Slogger