Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Electronic Equipment Consolidation--Too Many Devices!?

Slowly I keep plugging along, buying the electronics I need at the moment, but now that I'm doing more traveling on Amtrak with my folding bike, and more bicycle camping, maybe it's time to consolidate my devices.

Here are the devices I have at this time:
  • Kindle eReader
  • Canon movie/still camera
  • Tracfone (buy minutes of phone time)
  • HP mini computer
  • Verizon MiFi wireless 
  • Garmin Edge Touring GPS
And, of course, all these come with cords and chargers.

All these devices fit my needs.
  • I enjoy the Kindle's E Ink screen for its ease of reading.
  • My Canon FS10 suit me well with its video/still photo capabilities. I like the lens clarity.
  • The Tracfone is minimal. I mainly use it for check-in's with the family.
  • A mini-computer fits a pannier easily and is fairly small.
  • The MiFi allows me access to the internet while on the go.
  • The Garmin accepts my custom routes, is good for through-town guidance in strange cities, and provides directions to stores and points of interest.
I believe I can consolidate this to 3 items:
  • an Apple iPhone
  • a Galaxy 7" screen tablet.
  • retro pencil and paper journal
On the upside, this is quite a reduction of weight and equipment. I could even minimize more and just go with the iPhone. (By the way, the brand specificity is because my wife has an iPhone; otherwise, I could also go with Android, which my son uses.) Just an iPhone would be quite a bit of minimizing. However, on Amtrak, I think I'd enjoy movies more on the 7" pad, and reading eBooks on that size screen would be a basically book-sized screen. The pencil-and-paper journal? I could use the touch-screen pad or phone approach, but I think I'd be faster with a pencil. Showing my age, I suppose.

On the downside, there will be a loss of capabilities. Generally speaking, each of the devices can fit my specific needs just a touch better--bigger screen, more options, a little faster. I do not think, though, that the "touch better" warrants all the clutter and weight. I might add the video camera to the mix if I had a specific project in mind and wanted an external microphone. I might find that not necessary, though, as I explore and learn the possibilities of the new devices. The main downside, of course, is the monthly fee for the phone. My Tracfone costs me about $7 a month for the minutes I buy. For the MiFi, though, I usually spend $60 four times a year.

I'm also realizing that people who own smartphones really don't put them in the "optional" category. The smartphone is placed in the "necessary utilities" category--an information necessity. Water, electricity, and information. The main reason I bought the Tracfone was for emergencies, but that little hand-held device can be a lot more.

The website crazyguyonabike.com reveals quite a range of possibilities. Right now I'm mostly focused on keeping weight down. I'm not on a world expedition, and my panniers are not my permanent home.

Any suggestions or experiences to relate? I'm still in the speculating stage.

Copyright 2015 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved

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