Carryon computing

I have an ongoing project to explore options to "travel light", be it by air, road or foot.

Various walking treks have been documented, with experiments carrying light-weight gear, such as these in 2016:
Trek #3:
Trek #4:

This year, 2017, I will be airborne, traveling within Australia and internationally.

The requirement this time is to carry enough computing gear to be able to continue with my Quirky Linux project, apart from normal Internet access.
I will be staying at places that do not have a room safe, so will need to think about security of my gear while away from my room. At times, I might even be in shared rooms.

I own an Asus E200HA baby laptop, and have Quirky Linux installed on it, sharing the internal 32GB solid state drive with Windows 10. Getting Quirky to work reasonably well on this computer has been a saga -- do a search for "E200HA" on my blog.

A Pacsafe Travelsafe 5L security bag is just right, takes my laptop, with room for a few more things, such as camera. I got together everything that I thought I would need, then split them into four categories: laptop+security bag, computer bag, power bag, and miscellaneous bag.
This is what it all looks like:

The all-up weight is 3.3kg. Hmmm, if I want that to be in my carryon bag, which has a limit of 7kg, that leaves 3.7kg including weight of bag.

Looking inside each bag. By the way, those bags are from Kathmandu, Packngo "SX" size. This is what is in the computer bag:
Wi-fi router, USB mouse, bluetooth mouse, bluetooth keyboard, bluetooth speaker, Raspberry Pi3. The striped bag has SD-cards and USB Flash sticks. What got missed out of that photo, but is included, is a 1TB USB3 hard drive. This lot weighs 909gm:

All three bluetooth devices are USB-rechargeable.

Ok, throwing in a photo of the 1TB USB drive. This will work with the laptop and the Pi3, though in the latter case a very beefy power supply is required. Here is the drive:

Powering all of the devices is a problem. Partly because I will be traveling internationally, so will need to plug into various power sockets. Here is a photo of what I put together, weighing 699gm:

There are three different power adaptors in that photo. At the bottom is the charger for my phone, though strictly not required, as the one above has multiple outputs, 1A and 2.1A and international adaptors. On the left is the adaptor for the laptop.

Also included in the bag is a small immersion rod, for boiling up water for cups of tea or coffee, or just to sterilise water when it is a bit dodgy.
There is also a double-adaptor and a couple of extra socket adaptors.

The miscellaneous bag has my camera, torch, and ear-piece. Both the camera and torch are USB-reachargeable. Weight is 280gm:

Not all items listed above are essential, but I do want some leaway to experiment with the gear while traveling. Now thinking beyond, to definitely non-essential, but maybe good-to-have items. My luxury extras bag is 783gm:

It contains a 5V 6A power supply for the Pi3, so as to be able to run the 1TB drive off the Pi3. Also, a USB optical drive, for creating live-CD Quirkies.

For the carryon bag, that extra "luxuries" bag is not going to make it. If I do have some check-in luggage, then yes, it can come.

Anyway, lots of fun getting this gear together!
Posted on 15 Jan 2017, 21:31 - Categories: Light

2016 hike number 4

This is a report on another overnighter:

Primarily, the purpose was to play with the AlpineQuest GPS trail app and Canon Powershot G9 X camera.

In this web page, I have experimented with CSS media-queries, to try and get the text to be readable on desktop as well as phone in both landscape and portrait orientation.

The CSS is embedded in the web page, so you can use the browser's view-source feature, if it has that, to see how I implemented the queries.
Posted on 12 Oct 2016, 5:59 - Categories: Light

Offline GPS tracking with phone

I will be taking off soon on another hike. On the last walk, I lost the track a couple of times, so I need GPS tracking for hiking further afield.

These days, a dedicated GPS device is not needed, a smartphone will do. Or so I am lead to believe -- I am a complete newby in this area.

I read reports in some bush walking forums, and came up with a short list of GPS apps for Android.

Then I narrowed it down to one, AlpineQuest. Firstly, I tried the free Lite version, really loved it, so paid US$9.99 for the Full version.
Note, I first uninstalled the Lite version, then installed the Full version.

I got it from the Google Play Store:

My main interest is the Bibbulmun Track, and lots of maps are available. Apparently, these are automatically cached locally, for off-line use. I will soon be testing that, as the walk that I intend taking very soon will be mostly where there is no mobile signal.

Here is the website for AlpineQuest:

I have just done a quick test print. Showing the Bibbulmun Track running East from Mundaring Weir:

The green square on the right is the Perth Hills Discovery Centre.

There are many different maps that can be chosen, and they can be overlaid, with variable opacity. In the photo, I have chosen highlighted hills overlay. Another choice would be contours.

Of course, once I am there, my location will be shown as well.
Posted on 5 Oct 2016, 0:14 - Categories: Light

Considering Canon PowerShot G9 X camera

For years I have been taking less-than-adequate photos. I take photos on my hiking excursions and various equipment setups.

Next year I will be traveling internationally and to the Eastern States of Australia, and I plan to write a travelogue, with lots of photos.

I have owned a couple of digital cameras, very cheap ones. The main complaint that I had with them was poor indoor shots, in particular hunting during auto-focus -- those cameras did not offer the alternative of manual focus.

I gave away my last camera, and for the last couple of years have been using my phone. Which is very mediocre for indoor shots.

So, what is out there, that ticks all the boxes? I want highly portable (pocketable), very large CMOS sensor, optional manual focus, USB-recharging. Still shots, not so concerned about video performance.

The problem is, I have found "just the right" camera, but it is not cheap. It is the Canon PowerShot G9 X, and costs between AU$500 -- AU$700.

What I really like is the touchscreen. Having become familiar with using the camera on my phone, I love being able to just touch somewhere on the screen to set focus at that point -- which the Canon G9X also supports.


For such a tiny camera, it has a very large CMOS sensor, 1 inch, which is 15.85x13.2mm. Information on sensor sizes:

Don't know if I will actually buy it though, currently just "window shopping".
Posted on 28 Sep 2016, 19:35 - Categories: Light

Bluetooth keyboard and mouse

The saga continues. I have a collection of bluetooth keyboards and mice.

I have an interest in using them with my phone, see this post in May 2015:

Now for the 2016 attempt! The Logitech T630 touch mouse is OK, but there is no operating system, apart from Windows, that can use its special touch features, such as pinching.

What I really want is a "normal" mouse, with roll-wheel, USB-rechargeable Bluetooth. This is what I have just bought:

One of my cheap Bluetooth keyboards just died, without hardly any use. The one I like best, and still working, is the HB-2000, see link at top, however, construction is sub-professional.

So, having another go. I have just bought this, USB-rechargeable folding keyboard, made by Audiosonic:

It looks really well made, and comes with a neat little stand to hold your phone at an angle -- too small for tablets probably.

I haven't actually used these yet. This is the latest to be tested in my on-going "traveling light" series.
Posted on 3 Sep 2016, 17:45 - Categories: Light

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