Which laptop to take on bicycle trip

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Hello all. My MacBook recently died on me, and rather than pay the
excessive repair charges from Apple, I'm opting to buy a PC instead.
I'm also about to embark on a Summer long bicycle trip to the Grand
Canyon so my computer needs are about to change immensely.

First what I'll be needing it for;

1) connect to free wifi
2) surf the web
3) check email
4) download pics from my SD card digicam

That's really all I *have* to be able to do. It would be nice if I
could also connect my MiniDV camcorder to it with firewire to download
some video and share it with friends, but I know how painful that
process can be without a really fast computer.

The first concern is of course weight. Ultra lights look good in this
area. I can live without the large screen, but I'd still like
something that would be usable in daylight. The second thing is
battery life. I plan to camp a lot and don't care to baby sit charging
batteries. If the battery life isn't long, I'd at least like the
batteries to be cheap and light enough to carry several spares. I'm
also concerned with durability. On a bike this computer will have a
hard short life, so I don't want a very large investment riding around
in my panniers. A used machine that's a year or two old would be
ideal. Finally I want to run Ubuntu on it, so assurance that there are
drivers for all the strange little do-dads that PC laptops have like
card readers and webcams, would be a plus.

Anyone know what kind of machines I should be looking at?

Re: Which laptop to take on bicycle trip

Pilgrim wrote:
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Suggest you ask this question in a group more suited to summer-long
bicycle trips while carrying tons of delicate/expensive technology.

I tried hauling a laptop around town on a motorcycle.  I found it
extremely tedious.  If I wasn't worried about breaking it, I was
worried about someone stealing it.

Get yourself a handfull of SD cards.  When you fill up the first half,
mail them home where someone can pull off the pictures and return them
to you general delivery on your route.

It's tedious, but you can surf the web and get email off a small
PDA or WiFi-enabled cellphone.

Leave the technology at home and pretend you're on a bicycle trip ;-)
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Re: Which laptop to take on bicycle trip

mike wrote:
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I need laptop usage when I go into town by bike. My solution was to pick
up cheap old one from ebay and keep my good machine at home.
  I got one with a separate DVD drive etc, which I don't need when I'm
out. The machine was cheap enough to not be too much of a loss if it
broke or got stolen. In fact, I once left it in a cafe and it was
returned to me (they remembered me and according to one person, probably
took pity on me for using such a cheap old laptop). Except for loosing
the data of course. For that, I would sugest frequent saving to a USB
memory key.

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I've tried a couple of these. Tedious indeed if you have to write more
than a few words.

I haven't tried using a clip-on keyboard nor one with speach recognition
software though.

Personally, I am looking forward for UMPCs.

Re: Which laptop to take on bicycle trip

Salvador Freemanson wrote:
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The big problem with this though is the battery. Old batteries don't
hold their charge long enough. So go for a model for which a new battery
is not too expensive.

Re: Which laptop to take on bicycle trip

I'd get something really cheap that barely meets your minimum needs.
The risk of damage on this kind of a trip is very high.

Pilgrim wrote:
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Re: Which laptop to take on bicycle trip

Pilgrim wrote:
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Check out the Fujitsu Stylistic LT (Celeron 500 or PIII 600 models would
be better than the original LT with its 233 PII).  They have 8-inch
touch screens (look for transflective for daylight visibility if that is
a need), 6x9x1 form factor.

Also get the porfolio case that holds the IR keyboard such that the unit
sets up like a traditional clamshell laptop when u want to use real keys
instead of depending on the handwriting recognition or onscreen keyboard
(make sure those are installed and working!).  The portfolio case folds
up into a very compact size and is fairly rugged.  Keep in mind though
that it has a number of ventilation openings for the hotter running 500
and 600 models, so have a good waterproof/dustproof plastic wrapper for

The 500/600 have 1 Type II cardbus PC Card (PCMCIA) slot with an
adjacent CF slot (think u can get a CF-to-SD adapter?), and USB 1.1
port, so you could use a compact SD reader (I have one about size of
thumbdrive with a snap-on cover that lets you slide a SD card into it,
which then plugs into a USB port like a thumbdrive - about $8-10 at

The standard Fujitsu IR keyboard made for these units is about 75-80%
the size of a "standard" keyboard, so not the greatest for typing a
thesis (unless you have very small hands), but good enough for the email

They are going on ebay for around $200-400 depending, and you should be
able to get one with 256MB RAM and Win2K for that kind of money (make
sure the touchscreen and handwriting drivers are installed - hard to
find and install in my experience, and none for XP I think).


Re: Which laptop to take on bicycle trip

rocxspam wrote:
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Oops - missed the Ubuntu part.  In fact I have a dual-boot setup on my
C-500 with Ubuntu 6.10 as my preferred option.  The only issue is that
so far I have not figured out how to activate the touch screen driver in
the xorg.conf setup.  The power management is also harder to set up  vs
the Win2K setup - another item I have not got right yet (been neglecting
it for a while now...).


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