Monday, June 7, 2010

Bike Trip Technology Roadmap

So let's talk bike trip technology.

You may recall that on the other Big Bike Trip, Jason and I had a decent amount of technology: camera, camcorder, cell phones, even a solar battery charger. During that bike trip, we also theorized about bike touring "ultra-luxury" items, my favorite of which was a laptop computer. This would have enabled us to post on the blog, download photos, and communicate by email - a real convenience.

So this time, we are bringing a laptop. There are lots of good reasons for taking the laptop, but the primary one is to store data. This time around, we have several cameras plus an HD camcorder that records to SD cards (8GB per hour). I can easily imagine the photos/video from the trip being 100GB total, and SD cards are too expensive to buy 100GB worth (note that the video requires at least a Class 4 SD card due to high data rates).

But, once we have a laptop (and an external hard drive to backup the laptop, since these are pretty cheap and small), suddenly lots of options open up. Firstly, I can use my GPS to take tracks while we ride, then use the laptop to sync the photos and tracks to easily geo-tag all of the pictures as I download them (this sounds complicated, but is not). So we will have geo-tagged pictures.

Secondly, we can of course use the laptop to connect to the internet through Wi-Fi hotspots or through Rob's phone (which will work as a USB Internet bridge). Now things really get spicy. We can use the internet to put up blog posts and to upload the geo-tagged pictures. The Picasa tools for geo-tagged pictures allow people to not only see our photos, but to keep track of our progress on google maps, since we can display our pictures on a map rather than in an album if we want.

And, since my laptop already has Sony Vegas video editing software installed, plus all the videos and pictures stored, we can edit short videos right on the laptop and upload them to vimeo (and then link them to the blog). Also, Twitter messages can be posted by text message (from cell phones), so we will be able to do frequent short updates.

To make it easier for the viewing audience, I have centralized everything on the blog. The Twitter feed now gets ported directly to a sidebar on the right side (you should be able to see it now). The Picasa album posts the 9 most recent pictures to the top of the blog (right now there are some placeholder pictures). Also, for the lazy Facebook crowd, I have set blog posts (but nothing else) to upload directly to Facebook (If you are reading this on Facebook, know that the full bike trip info-blast is only available on the blog).

1 comment:

Gene Burrer said...

Dear Friends - Perhaps you may recall the three of us seeing and chatting with you at Mifflin, Ohio (the ice cream and sandwich carryout) Have wondered about you most every day. Glad to hear you have made it back home to Pittsburgh, Pa. Would you please acknowledge my comments at Sincerely - Gene Burrer, Jan Tinkham and Jean McCullough.