Technology Conundrum

What to do, what to take, that’s the question.  So here’s the deal, five weeks on the road will be a long time, and a lot of the days will be looong days.  So I’ll need some music- I’ve got a 2nd generation iPod which has travelled tens of thousands of kilometres with me already, it’s a bit clunky but fits in the vest pocket.  And no doubt I’ll want to take a picture or two along the way – I’ve got an older digital camera that I could have in a pouch off my belt (inconvenient) or in the saddlebags (a hassle to get quickly).  But what I really want to be able to do during this trip is provide updates to this website – even if there is no-one following me it will allow a daily diary of sorts and that would be cool.  Currently I don’t have anything I can do that with.

Does everything, at a cost...

Now what makes the most sense, at the moment, is an iPhone.  It hits every mark in that: it will provide my music, has a built in camera, has email functionality (WordPress allows post via email) and it has internet capability.  Hell, it even has some GPS tech which could come in handy at a pinch, and the 3GS version has a built in compass.  Oh and it’s a phone too… However, with the exception of the music the other features come at a trade-off.  The camera is limited in functionality, the internet plans for iPhones are pretty horrendous ($$), and typing anything for a length of time might be too fiddly for my liking on the very small touchscreen.  But ignoring that, the iPhone will do all the things I want it to do AND fit in my vest pocket taking up less room that my original iPod.

Laptop compared to a netbook
A laptop compared to a netbook

So what about a netbook?  A netbook is a small 10″ laptop, it won’t play music (while I’m riding), doesn’t have a camera and might not survive being rattled around in my saddlebags (unless I upgrade it to a Solid State Drive (SSD)), but I will be able to type much faster on it. Provided I’m not too exhausted at the end of a day’s riding, I would like to write decent commentary about the trip.  Mind you, how many different ways I can wax lyrical about chasing the white line down a black strip of tarmac for 14,000kms remains to be seen…

Well as I type this out the answer to my conundrum is obviously leaning more in favor of an iPhone.  At the end of the day the cost will be much of a muchness – the iPhone will cost about $800 (plus phone plan) and the netbook will cost around the same price with an SSD (and wireless internet plan).  Thankfully there are still seven months until journey start so I have a little while to make my mind up yet.  Decisions, decisions.

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Hi, my name is Glenn Martin and in October 2010 I’ll be taking part in the Steven Walter Foundation “Ride Around Australia”. All participants are being asked to raise at least $2,500 to donate to the Steven Walter Foundation that goes to research into childhood cancer. I’m currently in my 30s, an IT professional living in Canberra Australia for the past 15 years or so. I’ve ridden motorbikes for 20 years and for the last 10 years my ride has been a ‘99 Yamaha Road Star, a big Japanese 1600cc V-Twin cruiser.