August 14, 2007 10:59 AM PDT

Thousands of miles, tons of tech

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Altec Lansing's iM600 iPod speakers: I didn't get to use these as much as I wanted--I listened to most of the 1,000-plus songs I heard in the car--but when I did, I was impressed. They offer great sound in a compact package and a low price. I own a previous version of Altec Lansing's iPod speakers; this new version outshines it by an order of magnitude. Plus, it offers an AM/FM radio and the ability to plug in auxiliary devices like a laptop. My only complaint is that when an iPod is docked with this device, it's nearly impossible to use the click wheel, making it hard to scroll through songs or playlists.

Iridium's 9505A satellite phone: I only used this phone a few times, but when I needed it, it provided a great signal, regardless of where I was. The quality is better than any cell phone, and though it requires an open sky to get a signal, that is something that was easily available in the Southwest, especially in places where the cell didn't have a signal. My only surprise was that Iridium hadn't put out a new model of satellite phone since I went on Road Trip 2006.

Infiniti QX56: This SUV provided by the trip's sponsor was a lot of fun, and it's a good thing since I drove nearly 5,000 miles in it. It was comfortable, powerful and extremely smooth. From a driving perspective, its V8 engine provided all the acceleration I could want, though I was a little surprised at first that its pickup doesn't really kick in until 40 miles an hour, and then not again until 60 mph.

The QX56 has a full passel of technological features. In particular, I used the XM radio, which came in nice and clear. And I also used its GPS car navigator, which seemed very smart, though it often took a couple minutes to tell me which way to go--something that was a problem a couple of times when I was trying to find a short route from point A to point B. But beyond that, the navigator always took me to where I needed to go, and with clear, concise spoken directions.

My only real complaint about this vehicle--and it's not specific to this one, since it's just one in a class of SUVs--is that it is a gas guzzler. On average, it got about 15 or 16 miles a gallon, which meant for some hefty gas bills.

UDG Producer Bag: This gadget bag, which is aimed at DJs, is a multifeatured bag with pockets for all kinds of things. I think, however, that it really is best used by DJs, as those pockets seem best-suited to holding things like CDs and cables. For me, trying to cart around a laptop, a camera, some lenses and lunch, it was kind of a stretch. But that was mostly my own fault for trying to get it to do something it really wasn't designed for.

All in all, the tech I brought with me was great, and most of it did just what it was supposed to do. I regretted not being able to get to several of the devices I brought with me, including a Sony camcorder, a BlackBerry 8800, TomTom One XL and Garmin StreetPilot car navigation systems and a few others. But there's always Road Trip 2008.

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15-16 MPG??
That's really terrible! For a news site that extols all the great advancements in green technology, I'm dissappointed and find it hypocritical that 5,000 miles would be driven in a glacier melting SUV. A big honkin' full-size SUV at that. Looking over your equipment list, I can't imagine you needed anymore room than an Outback would haul for about half the gasoline. I realize this vehicle was provided by the trip's sponsor but that's no excuse. If you couldn't find someone to sponsor a smaller vehicle, then either use your own or call off this little joy ride.
Posted by squished (67 comments )
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15-15 MPG
Dear squished

Sounds more like envy on your part.

First examine how "green" your lifestyle is.
Posted by sneezy--2008 (53 comments )
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LOL @ The Wire
The Shield: only show that matters.
Posted by DavyBoyWonder (41 comments )
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internet card
Hi. I'm sure Verizon gave you the card to use, and I know through conversations w/ others that it works well, however, I'm wondering if you got to talk w/ anyone that uses a Sprint card, and how well they work? Oh, BTW, nice ride !!
Posted by riggarob (11 comments )
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