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Thread: Gadgety technology advice, please!

  1. #1
    crazykittensmile

    Default Gadgety technology advice, please!

    So, in a few months I am going travelling and am going to be living in a remote Indian mountain-village for several months where I'm not sure that I will have any internet or access to an internet cafe - the nearest town is several hours away. It's also unlikely that I am going to have access to any English bookshops or English language television and it will not be safe for me to go outside at night, so outside of my working hours and daylight I foresee that it is likely I am going to have large expanses of time in which I may have little to do.

    So, as a solution to my predicted boredom I would like to write. I will bring a diary to write up the details of my trip and keep a kind of scrapbook, but I would also like to write emails and maybe some fiction and things. I don't want to be carrying hundreds of notebooks around with me, what I would really prefer is to have some electronic word processer I can use to write with - like a kindle but with writing instead of reading. So, does anybody know if these exist?? If so, would it be compatible with a computer so that when I get to the internet cafe I can plug it in (like a hardrive) and upload it to a computer so I don't waste time in an internet cafe when I get out of the village?

    If these don't exist I guess my alternative is a baby laptop, but they all seem to be quite expensive and also valuable, so probably not great for travelling with - I will be taking overnight sleeper trains and stuff when I travel around. Does anyone have any good solutions?

    And now, onto question two: Can anybody recommend me an mp3 player? I used to love iPods, but one broke and the other got stolen and I don't think I can afford to buy another. Is there a type of mp3 player which is similar to an ipod in being able to choose between songs, albums and playlists etc but which is much less expensive? Ideally I would like one compatible with itunes, but that is not a must. I have 50GB of music I would like to fit on.

    Thank you thank you thank you to anybody who can help me out here - I have not very technologically minded and so choosing stuff like this is rather alien to me. But basically, I am on a budget as I don't have much money and also don't want anything which would be too missed if it were to get stolen or otherwise go missing whilst I am travelling.

    Thanks again to anyone who can offer me any suggestions

  2. #2

    Default

    I'd suggest an iPad or or a Xoon for the tablet, I believe both have the ability to download an app for writing with a stylus, or using the onscreen keyboard. it'd be a bit expensive but the tablets would cover all your needs.

  3. #3

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by babyjess View Post
    So, does anybody know if these exist?? If so, would it be compatible with a computer so that when I get to the internet cafe I can plug it in (like a hardrive) and upload it to a computer so I don't waste time in an internet cafe when I get out of the village?
    Yep, a tablet or netbook would work solve that. That said, I don't know whether an internet cafe would allow you to plug in your own device? If they don't, both solutions will have wi-fi so you might be able to connect that way. If you can plug devices in, you'll need one that works as a USB drive - so iPad won't work without iTunes etc... Any Android tablet should do that. Any netbook will allow you to use a USB stick on it to transfer files.



    Quote Originally Posted by babyjess View Post
    And now, onto question two: Can anybody recommend me an mp3 player? I used to love iPods, but one broke and the other got stolen and I don't think I can afford to buy another. Is there a type of mp3 player which is similar to an ipod in being able to choose between songs, albums and playlists etc but which is much less expensive? Ideally I would like one compatible with itunes, but that is not a must. I have 50GB of music I would like to fit on.
    I am not aware of any mp3 players that work with iTunes other than an iPod. Also, any songs you have bought from iTunes will only work with an iPod.

    If you have a lot of mp3 files, you will be able to use any normal mp3 player, just not through iTunes for transferring files. I know Creative make good players with a large capacity.



    Quote Originally Posted by babyjess View Post
    But basically, I am on a budget as I don't have much money and also don't want anything which would be too missed if it were to get stolen or otherwise go missing whilst I am travelling.
    The problem here is what you are looking for is fairly pricey. I think a low powered netbook is between 180 - 500. An Android tablet is about 300 (I think). You could get both of them for free from Carphone Warehouse or somewhere, but you'd be paying a fair bit a month for it.

    I have an old eeePC - one of the first netbooks, and it serves me well for taking lecture notes etc. It also has a keyboard, which the tablet won't.

    As for mp3 cost, to get the 50GB on is going to mean you will be looking at 100 or so for a basic player.

    Based on those prices, would you like me to find some links for good products?

    *hug*

  4. #4

    Default

    First of all, this trip sounds absolutely amazing Really hope you enjoy yourself.

    I'd probably have you had a look around for second hand/refurbish netbooks instead of new ones. They don't hold their value well so fingers crossed with a little patience you might be able to find one pretty cheaply with a little hunting around.

    I was also going to suggest having a look at a Psion 5MX palmtop but started to have second thoughts about it. By today's standards their specification is old, but they actually sound more like what you'd actually want. They're small, good on batteries, have a word processor built in and they're cheap (there's some on eBay at the moment for around 50). However, you'll need to install some software on the computer that you want to transfer the files across to which is going to be difficult in an Internet cafe (if you're able to connect anything up to the machines at all) and they have relatively low storage capacities which may become an issue if you end up spending a lot of time writing. No wireless network connectivity either. Shame really

  5. #5
    PaddedPuppy

    Default

    Take a look at the Ubisurfer netbook. Its cheap, small and light. It comes with a built in modem too so if you are lucky enough to have a phone signal you can get online anywhere. I got it for 100. Its pretty basic and is not a replacement for a laptop but its good enough for word processing with the included software, can send E-Mails and browse web. Its only 7in screen nice and light weight and is pretty tough (no moving parts so less to break) so you can throw it in a bag and forget about it.

    Other than that you can get an Android powered tablet for about 120

    As for the MP3 player, Can you not just use your phone?

  6. #6

    Default

    Wow - they are a lot cheaper than I initially quoted you BabyJess! Tablet for 80!!

    That said, it's pretty low in specification...

  7. #7
    crazykittensmile

    Default

    Hi guys,

    First, thank you so much for all of your responses! I hope you won't mind me addressing your ideas collectively. First, in relation to those of you who said I should get a tablet - I didn't know what a tablet was (well, rather I thought a tablet was a pill you took when ill) before researching it just now. From what I can see they don't have a keyboard and are basically just a touchscreen? Is that right? If so I don't think that will be very practical - I will be travelling around India at the beginning and end of my trip and as such don't want the screen to be unprotected and crackable! Plus I doubt I would be able to type on a touchscreen, I can't even fathom how that would work? Anyway, I think that will be too fancy for me. (I realised now that when I said 'like a kindle' that does suggest a tablet, but what I meant was 'a gadget just for writing like a kindle is just for reading' rather than a touchscreen thing).

    For those who wondered why I couldn't use my phone as an mp3 player, it's because this is my phone: Nokie 1110 That might give you a better idea of where I am when it comes to the latest technology! I don't need specifications or anything so long as I have MS word. Am I being unrealistic in wanting to find a simple, small and light netbook tpe thing, with MS word and a USB drive, for under 100? It doesn't need to come with the internet as I doubt there will be any where I am staying. I think that is probably what I want, as a little more research onto netbooks seems to suggest that they are pretty much only built for word processing and the internet, so one without the internet (and thus cheaper) might be good.

    I will have a look at the Ubisurfer and the Psion 5mx Palmtop also, although if I need special software that may be difficult, especially in India where the computers I have access to are likely to be old by our standards. I think I may have to give in and just buy a netbook. So, my next question - can I get a netbook with MS word? Presumably I will need MS word, as that is fairly universal, to be able to open any files on an internet cafe computer? The only netbook I have ever used came with linux, and although I liked the penguin game and tetris I didn't really understand how to work it and it had a different version of word.

    As for the Mp3 player, I will have a look at creative software. If it doesn't work with itunes that is okay, I will just have to sort my music out. I basically just want something with a menu as my last non-ipod MP3 player only had play/pause, forward and back buttons so you couldn't choose which songs played, it was all random and that was really annoying!

    Bah, I wish that technology companies didn't keep updating their products so that they get thinner/faster/bigger etc but never actually go down in price!

  8. #8

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by babyjess View Post
    Plus I doubt I would be able to type on a touchscreen, I can't even fathom how that would work?
    In essence, you get a keyboard displayed on screen that you touch to press a key.



    Quote Originally Posted by babyjess View Post
    I don't need specifications or anything so long as I have MS word. Am I being unrealistic in wanting to find a simple, small and light netbook tpe thing, with MS word and a USB drive, for under 100? It doesn't need to come with the internet as I doubt there will be any where I am staying. I think that is probably what I want, as a little more research onto netbooks seems to suggest that they are pretty much only built for word processing and the internet, so one without the internet (and thus cheaper) might be good.
    Any netbook you buy will likely have Windows XP or 7 on it. It will have the ability to access a wireless/wired network by default - you won't be able to buy one without it (plus the components are fairly cheap...

    They are pretty much a low power computer - think a top of the range PC from 7 years ago in a small case really!

    As for software, most will come with Windows on it, but they won't typically have Word on them. That said, as you are a student you can get Office for 37 with the licence for two computers from Software4Students - I did that and they are perfectly legit.

    However, if you buy a netbook, you won't have a CD drive, so you'd have to get an external USB cd drive, or use the download function offered by Software4Students to download it to the netbook.

    The problem is, you won't be able to get a netbook new for under 100...

    As a general idea, a bottom of the range netbook is about 150 - emachines Win 7 - Amazon - that will do what you want (after buying and installing Office on it).

    As for the mp3 player, most come with up to 16GB of storage as they've all abandoned a physical hard drive... A good non-iPod is :Creative 8GB - Amazon - I have never had a problem with Creative stuff at all!

    If you want to get things cheaper, you will need to look to ebay - I expect you can find an older mp3 with more storage there, and probably a netbook for 100 or so.

    That said, I have an old 30gb Creative back home that should do what you want, but I'll only be home start of July. If you won't leave for India by then, PM me and we can maybe sort out a deal...

  9. #9
    crazykittensmile

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by eeyore View Post
    In essence, you get a keyboard displayed on screen that you touch to press a key.



    Any netbook you buy will likely have Windows XP or 7 on it. It will have the ability to access a wireless/wired network by default - you won't be able to buy one without it (plus the components are fairly cheap...

    They are pretty much a low power computer - think a top of the range PC from 7 years ago in a small case really!

    As for software, most will come with Windows on it, but they won't typically have Word on them. That said, as you are a student you can get Office for 37 with the licence for two computers from Software4Students - I did that and they are perfectly legit.

    However, if you buy a netbook, you won't have a CD drive, so you'd have to get an external USB cd drive, or use the download function offered by Software4Students to download it to the netbook.

    The problem is, you won't be able to get a netbook new for under 100...

    As a general idea, a bottom of the range netbook is about 150 - emachines Win 7 - Amazon - that will do what you want (after buying and installing Office on it).

    As for the mp3 player, most come with up to 16GB of storage as they've all abandoned a physical hard drive... A good non-iPod is :Creative 8GB - Amazon - I have never had a problem with Creative stuff at all!

    If you want to get things cheaper, you will need to look to ebay - I expect you can find an older mp3 with more storage there, and probably a netbook for 100 or so.

    That said, I have an old 30gb Creative back home that should do what you want, but I'll only be home start of July. If you won't leave for India by then, PM me and we can maybe sort out a deal...
    Thank you for sharing your hardware knowledge with me! I think I am going go for buying a second hand netbook from ebay, I don't want to spend a lot on something where there is such a high risk of it being stolen, broken or lost whilst I am on my travels and I don't really need it to last longer than 6 months or so with moderate use so it seems silly to buy new.

    I will have a look at the creative - ideally I would want more than 16GB but I could probably cope with 16GB, it would just mean not having access to every song I might ever want (that I own) on hand, but that would probably be okay. 30GB would be even better - I don't leave for India until September so I will have a look at Creatives online and let you know if I think it is what I am looking for.

    Thanks again for all your help everybody who has posted on the thread And if anyone has any advice for buying a second hand netbook then I probably need it!

  10. #10

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by babyjess View Post
    I don't leave for India until September so I will have a look at Creatives online and let you know if I think it is what I am looking for.
    This is the player I *think* I have at home - if my parents haven't cleaned the house out since I was last home! Creative Zen Vision M

    As for netbooks - this is the sort of thing you want to be looking for on eBay - Acer Aspire One - eBay - obviously it's a little pricey as it's buy it now - you should be able to get a bit of a better deal through auctions.

    One thing I would warn you about buying second hand computers though is that even if they say it has been restored to factory settings, it is quite possible that a malicious seller would install some spy software to watch for credit card details. This is worst case, but not unthinkable. Also, same applies to anyone selling it with software preinstalled; you can't trust it 100% any more... And don't forget if you buy a netbook you won't have the CD drive so need to be clever about installing Word etc.

    *hugs*

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