Saturday, May 9, 2009

Why I am so behind on blog updates

Though I do have some legitimate excuses (lots of travel, jet lag, a cold), one of the main reasons I haven't caught up on our travel posts on the blog is because we got a new computer when we stopped in Satellite Beach.

Just before we left Ecuador, we helped a fellow cruiser out who was in desperate straits... no charts and his navigation PC had crashed. He was in a hurry to make the trip from Ecuador to Panama, and couldn't get a computer in Ecuador for a reasonable price. So we sold him our old Dell 1000, stuffed with all our navigation software, for $250. And then we turned around and bought this new Eee PC for only $379. So I have spent all my spare time in the last few days trying to get all my stuff moved over to the new computer. (I am only about halfway there!)

The model I got is the ASUS Eee PC 1000HE 10-Inch Netbook. It is small, great for traveling, but not too small to be usable as a laptop. It has built-in microphone and speakers, AND a webcam. So great/easy for doing Skype on the road. AND it has an 8 hour battery, for those long bus/airplane rides, and a really solid case, necessary for the abuse that my laptops take.

It doesn't come with a CD/DVD, so you have to buy that extra. I bought a Samsung from Amazon for about $$65 that will run totally off the USB, without having to plug it into external power.

I also bought a copy of Microsoft Streets and Trips 2009 and a cute little USB GPS. Though Streets and Trips has a version that comes with a GPS, I chose to get an alternative GPS because the reviews on its receiver were much better than the MSoft one.

We've been having fun playing with it. I was amazed that the GPS actually receives a good signal inside our hotel room (my Garmin eTrex would never do that).

We will move the used Dell D400 that I bought last year to be our 'primary navigation computer'. It uses much less power than the older Dell with the Pentium 4 processor that we sold (that was part of our motivation for selling it). And this new Eee PC will be configured as a full backup for our navigation computer, in case we need it, as well as be our primary 'road trip' computer.

My very nice (but heavy, and also rusting) 17" HP laptop that I bought in 2006 is still working, but the LCD screen is dead. The cost to get a replacement screen was a whopping $400, so we opted to buy a new computer instead! It is now in deep storage aboard as a last ditch backup, usable only with an external monitor.

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