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Technology and the Trail

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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Technology and the Trail

Postby Hetchy » Thu Apr 09, 2009 7:57 pm

So I finally break down, bust out that magnum sized crowbar, pry open my cobweb covered sports wallet, and bought me a wirless device for the trail. I spent all day learning how to use the infernal thing. Loaded all the contact information into it. Got everything running smothly and coordinated with all the email/rss/gpsdires#@!@ whatever! :retard:
I was up till 1AM last night.. finally I have it all done, so I go to bed.
This morning it does not work. Not because of something I did or did not do.
Somebody cut the fiberoptic cable downtown! :crybaby:
Now, why did I buy this thing? :-k To keep me "safe" out there. :-k
I am thinking I will just take a couple of carrier pigeons along on the PCT.. Hey how about those Eurasian Pigeons below? Can you spare a few? I wonder how much they can carry cause I wanna send my ice axe home after Tuolumne.:D
You can make more money, but you can't make more time.



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Re: Technology and the Trail

Postby rlown » Fri Apr 10, 2009 10:04 am

Just curious,

What did you get and besides "safety", how did the salesman sell you on it? I'm kinda assuming this is for those points where you get some sort of signal, and not as an emergency locator.

Russ
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Re: Technology and the Trail

Postby Hetchy » Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:45 pm

Actually I was kidding about the safety part. I bought it online from Amazon. It is only intended as a compliment to a written journal. I might or might not get a signal most places. It is my "luxury" item. I figure I will turn it on a couple of times a day kinda like a GPS, if it gets a signal I can send messages to my support "network" (Boxmailer).
The dang thing even can even give me weather info, fire info, trail info, etc. assuming I can get a signal.
I am absolutely not relying on it for navigation or safety.
My safety is my brain. My navigation comes from a map and compass.
The rest is a luxury.
For all I know the blasted thing will be silent from the time I leave the border all the way to Canada.
You bring up a good subject Rlown. :-k
I have heard some people mention they were carrying all the maps electronically.. alone!
The idea of relying solely on a printed circuit and a battery for route finding to me seems a bit cavalier. But then again it isn't like it is Antarctica.
But HYOH (Hike Your Own Hike) they say so more power to them.
I will carry my paper maps they can carry their electrons, no skin off my nose. :D
You can make more money, but you can't make more time.
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Re: Technology and the Trail

Postby rlown » Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:23 pm

yeah,

I generally carry a map and the GPS. If I REALLY know the area, the GPS might get left back. I like the GPS programmed with strategic waypoints for off-trail work (after doing much research at home) so we are more efficient in our movements towards a goal. Not too far to the left, nor right. I don't like wasted energy.

I was also curious how you're recharging whatever it is you bought? hard to journal your trip in something that is dead. Also, cut that string off your animal cracker cookie box.. It's weighing you down!! :evil:

Russ
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Re: Technology and the Trail

Postby Hetchy » Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:08 pm

That was Evil Russ! I am going nuts right now trying to rid my pack of every extra ounce! My base weight is 11.5 lbs and it seems to be stuck there.
I even trimmed my ridge rest down to body size.. then chucked it out of the pack.. then slept without it in the front yard.. now it is back in!
The other thru's say they lost a lot of weight and due to that, they needed the padding. Well I have never used a pad.. but then again I ain't never hiked 2654 miles!
As to the Peek email device, it has a wall charger. Previous hikers of the PCT claim they had no problems charging cameras,phones,etc at resupply points. Restaurants and stores allowed them to "plug in" while they patronized the establishment. There are even some public restrooms that have wall outlets they say.
The whole gadget and it's wall charger weighs 4.5 ounces. A full charge has lasted 2 days of continuous use...UH, as you can imagine I can text a lot! I plan to turn it on a bit each day and put it in sleep mode while I hike. It will recieve emails while it's asleep setting off the audible alarm. I will then stop and wake it up, check for signal and send out a message and turn it off completely. From my usage so far I estimate I could stretch a charge for 6 or 7 days. But I have not had it very long so I really am guessing. :retard:
If the thing peters out early.. I just continue to write in my paper journal until I hit town and either charge up and send or use the internet availiable there.
It is kinda funny that when I first attempted the PCT in 1991 we did not have this internet and cell phones were not widely used. Back then the only way to tell the story was to keep a written journal. Now that we have all this communication it would seem strange not to post that journal. I will attempt to do so using this Peek gadget and also from my written journal during town stops where internet is availiable. (I think I am repeating myself! I am kinda freaking out.. sorry :D )
It sure would be fun to harass those High Sierra Topix People from some far flung corner of the trail as well! :unibrow:

I have one more thing to say: YEEHAA! I am going on the Pacific Crest Trail!!!! OMG!
You can make more money, but you can't make more time.
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Re: Technology and the Trail

Postby frediver » Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:35 am

Don't want to be a fly in the ointment but isn't this device dependent on
a cell signal? Any PDA phone should offer the same capabilities plus voice
at the same or lower price when you factor in the price of the new PEEK
device and PEEK service.
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Re: Technology and the Trail

Postby rlown » Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:39 pm

Hetchy wrote:As to the Peek email device, it has a wall charger. Previous hikers of the PCT claim they had no problems charging cameras,phones,etc at resupply points. Restaurants and stores allowed them to "plug in" while they patronized the establishment. There are even some public restrooms that have wall outlets they say.


How much does all that money you're carrying for Restaurants and stores weigh? :-k
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Hetchy Logic (Yea.. Right.)

Postby Hetchy » Mon Apr 13, 2009 3:44 pm

Frediver:
The Blackberry is $300 + $ 79/month sevice fee or free plus $79/month +2 yr contract+startup fees. There are additional fees if you go over the minute and data limits.

The Peek device was $60. The Service is $20/month Flat rate with no contract.

Flat rate means I have no limit to how many emails I send or recieve and if I stop paying, thats it. No hassle, no extra charges. To reactivate I just send an email to Peek and it's back on.

My logic is that I might or might not get a signal with either device since they both depend on cell signals. Why pay more for voice and the contract and risk losing or destroying an expensive phone when I can buy a cheap device like the peek.
I can, in fact, mail the peek home or toss it in the garbage at any point and when the month is up.. no big deal. No disconnect charge ($250 for cell phone), no hassle (Peek requires no cancellation) and I am not stuck paying $79/month for a phone I might no longer have.
Did I mention my propensity to destroy electronics with water? It is a phenomenon beyond description but if a mosquito spits it will undoubtedly end up in the microcicuitry of my fancy electronic gadget.. Thats my story anyways.
The other reason I did not get a BlackBerry is that I just like to go the opposite direction of everyone else for no other reason than I am a butt. I understand why you are miffed though and you are not the first to ask me, "Why not a cell phone?"
The deeper reason, kidding aside (If that is possible for me) is that the written(texted) word to me carries a quality that speech, with all it's nuances and intonations, can overpower.
To me restricting the ability for speech on a long hike allows my thoughts to develope like an image on photographic paper. If exposed to light too soon the image can be obscured or lost all together.
On my previous trips I have almost no human contact for 10 days. Sure I talk to myself at times, but the lack of other peoples thoughts imposing on my perception has brought me revelations far beyond words. The choice of the PEEK device is an attempt to maintain mental continuity but still allow me minimal communication. If you met me in real life you would most likely be surprised.. I don't talk much. Somehow when I write (type) things open up like a flood gate inside and I have to work hard to attenuate my words.(As you can tell from this already too long Post :) )

Rlown: I am taking my debit card, which by the way has resisted all efforts to weigh on my kitchen scale! Yes, I tried.
Some towns have ATM's to aquire cash for food items in places that don't take cards.
I am also carrying some personal checks, though I don't really know why.. they might make great TP if the need arises.
All pocket change will be spent on trail snacks before leaving the town and what ever pennies leftover are destined for that little dish next to the cash register.
I have heard the story about the lady who upon finding all that tofu she brought was inedible, traded sex for food on the PCT. If I am really desperate and out of cash Maybe I will get lucky and find a Lady hiker with a lot of food and strike a deal.
Yea.. Right.

Cheers Y'all! I blast off on the PCT Friday at dawn. I will reach the Sierra at Kennedy Meadows on June 6th. I will be thinking about all of you. If you see some skinny knucklehead early season in the Sierra.. feed him! It might be me! :D
You can make more money, but you can't make more time.
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Re: Technology and the Trail

Postby maverick » Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:36 pm

Hey Hetchy
Good luck, be safe, and have tons of fun!!
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Re: Technology and the Trail

Postby Shawn » Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:42 pm

Yeah - best of luck on the PCT Hetchy. We'll be thinking of you too. Who knows, maybe we'll get your tweets or peeks or whatever. Be safe and have a blast!!!
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Re: Technology and the Trail

Postby frediver » Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:54 am

LOL It sounds like I hit a nerve, sorry.
PDA cell phones are not that expensive.
I am not a fan of Blackberry.
If you need help finding a decent deal send me a PM when you get back.
Have fun, take lots of pictures.
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