Trip Tech

What worked, what didn’t.

I took (for me) a fairly minimal amount of gadgets on this trip. Some I used, some I didn’t. Most did what they were supposed to, some did not.

Recap of my gear:

  • Sony a6000. Lenses: 18-55mm; 55-210mm; Canon 10-22mm with Sony lens adaptor. The Canon lens is a DSLR format and weighs more than the camera. Even with three lenses, the combination of the A6000 and the lenses weighs less than my Canon 40D.
  • SD memory cards. I bought a 64gig SD card before I left, but even with 850 photos (jpg format in high resolution) and a few videos, it didn’t come close to be full. (6gig of photos taken in jpg large file size) The 32gig card that came with the camera would have been fine, but I always carry more memory than I need in the event of a card failure.
  • Canon S100
  • HooToo wireless router/battery
  • Anker rechargeable batteries
  • Kingston Wi-Drive (64 gig). I ended up not using this. Just didn’t have the time. Amazon seems to only have the 32 gig version.
  • Bose QC 20i headphones. Really nice on the plane and cuts out a huge amount of the noise from so many people on a 77.
  • Nexus 7 (2013) 7″ tablet
  • 2015 iPad Air2
  • Cables, chargers, plug adapters, extra camera batteries for both cameras. The Sony A6000 doesn’t come with a wall charger. It’s USB, which seems a bit ridiculous since not everyone will be carrying a computer to charge it, so I bought a Vivitar charger.
  • Monster Power to go power strip. I didn’t need the version that has USB ports, because I have the Anker, and I needed more ports than the Monster strip provided.
  • Anker 40W, 5 port USB charging hub. With so many devices able to charge with USB, the power strip USB ports alone wouldn’t have been enough. The power strip worked fine on the European electrical system with the plug adaptor. As long as your devices can handle 220, the power strip seemed fine, and at times it was full, in addition to hanging the Anker off of it with five devices plugged int it!
  • Chromecast- I find that most hotels have their HDMI ports locked down/inaccessible. Even if I can physically plug one into an HDMI port, there seems to be no way to get to it with the TV menu or the remote. Tried it a couple of times, but was never successful.
  • My Samsung Note3 phone. Extra battery for the phone.

    Travel apps

  • MetrO
  • Rail Planner
  • Trip Advisor
  • Lounge Buddy. Great app for determining if there are any lounges to which you have access through airline or credit card loyalty programs, hours of opening, location, etc.
  • Google translate (be sure to download any offline language packs before you go)
  • Word Lens (Meh). Google Translate has more functionality.
  • Google Hangouts. Not really a travel app, but in combination with Google Voice, it meant I could make outgoing calls to the US as if I were in the US, because my Google Voice is a US number, so I never went through my carrier’s voice network, just the data network. I received a few calls on Google Voice while traveling. The callers were surprised when I told them where I was! Since I have free data (3G) from my carrier (T-Mobile) and use Google Voice for outgoing calls, my data bill for two weeks was zero!

    Too much stuff, still.

    Prior to the trip, I had hoped to connect my camera’s SD card, though an SD card reader and using Nexus Media importer and USB to Go cable, to my Nexus 7 tablet, then using FTP to back up the files our server. This worked when I tested it before we left, but didn’t when I tried to do the same while traveling. I received an error message from the app saying something about the format of the SD card. I think when I tested the upload at home, it was before I formatted the card in the camera, but when I tried this on the road (and it didn’t work), it may have been an issue created after I formatted the SD card in the camera. The card reads fine in my laptop, so I’m not sure what the problem is.

    I had no problem using FTP on my phone to backup the photos to my server and upload them to Flickr.

    The blog as a tool worked fine. Rather than my prior process of pushing out long emails, I can simply push out links to the blog and or post to G+. We all get way too much email, and at least using the blog, if you’re interested, you can go back to prior posts without having to dig through your email. However, what was not ideal (though it worked), was doing this on a phone. While I always have my cellphone with me, editing the post on the blog and Flickr and uploading pictures from my phone was less than ideal due to the small form factor and (in the case of cellular), slow 3G speeds. I’m thinking about buying a 4G hotspot and then buying a local sim card. I tried renting one a few years ago, but the supplier had issues with the coverage working (though I asked and was reaffirmed before I left) and had few drop-off points. I was able to connect 1 day out of the 10 I rented the device. YMMV, but mine wasn’t very good.

    Plex worked fine,at the hotels except for the time when the power went out at the house. Since I didn’t have a UPS on my Mac Mini, it shutdown. So I asked someone to go restart everything. The lack of a UPS is a problem that will be fixed soon, though, because the server was on a UPS and stayed up as long as the power outage (had to be less than 15 minutes). Plex didn’t work on the airplane though. Just too much bandwidth being shoved through the airline’s meager Internet connection. Worth a try.

    Anything I left and needed?
    I could not find my Gorilla pod tripod before I left. I still need to find it. I struggled long and hard to decide whether to take a monopod. While it would have been nice for the evening/night shots, the bulk of the time it would have been just another thing to carry.

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