July 7, 2006 4:03 AM PDT
Postmortem on a gadget-filled Road Trip
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I kept meaning to try the Globalstar phone again, to give it another try, just as I had intended to give the Garmin car navigation system another go, but I was moving too often and working too hard, and in both cases, I never got around to it. The competing gadgets worked too well.
Globalstar spokesman Dean Hirasawa said he was not able to diagnose the problem on the spot and would look into it. I will likely blog the company's answer if and when I get one.
The star of the trip gadgetwise, though, had to be the MacBook Pro that Apple Computer had lent me.
A MacBook surprise
Now, I own a PowerBook G4, so I'm very familiar with Mac OS X and the functionality of Macs in general. But I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the MacBook Pro's battery life, its durability under sometimes extreme conditions--hot and cold temperatures, high altitudes--and the operation of its built-in iSight camera and its remote control.
My only complaints about the MacBook Pro are that it sometimes got very, very hot on its underside, much more so than my PowerBook, and sometimes it seemed unable to handle playing back DVDs with even the smallest smudges. That had never happened to me on my PowerBook.
Another star was my Canon PowerShot G2 camera. This is a camera I've owned for four years, and even now it performs like a champ. That's not to say I wouldn't like a newer and better camera--and in fact, I intend to get one soon enough--but during the course of the trip, I took more than 1,200 pictures using just three batteries and one single 512MB CompactFlash card. The camera never let me down, whether I was on top of a mountain, or holding the PowerShot just an inch above the surface of a stunning Oregon hot spring.
I also had a great time using my new Video iPod. As with the camera, this is my own device and not a loaner, and I have to say I'm ecstatic that I finally got one of these sleek black wonders.
There's really not much to say about it: It played songs flawlessly, and when I had the chance to watch videos--either episodes of " Rocketboom" or of "Inside the Actors Studio," I was always impressed with the video and sound quality.
I had also brought along my Sony PlayStation Portable, but I never got around to using it. At the end of long days of driving, reporting and writing stories and setting up camp, I found myself much more interested in watching episodes of "24" than in playing games.
Anyway, being back in an office and not behind the wheel of a car is an odd thing. I'm now surrounded by desktop computers, flat screen monitors, sophisticated office telephones and things like staplers and refrigerators.
And while it's comforting to have those conveniences close at hand, I still feel an urge to grab my box full of gadgets, hop in my Subaru and get back on the road.
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