When Good Gadgets Go Bad

This month we have replaced our:

  • Toaster
  • Kettle
  • Phone & Answering Machine
  • DVD player
  • Printer (ok, the old one isn’t strictly dead, just inhaling ink)
  • Alarm Clock

And added to our collection:

  • A mini food processor
  • A Wii battery remote charging pad thingie

All I can say is that I’m really glad we have two recycling bins to deal with all that packaging and it’s another good thing that we went really light on the Christmas presents this year *sigh*.

Hopefully they won’t all collectively expire in 12 months time.

We Wants One

Or actually more than one. We loves it.

Of course my first tactical mistake was to view the video showing it off in all it’s glory. Up till the point I saw it in action I had been quite convinced I didn’t really neeeeeeeeeed one. By the time they got to the calendar with the pages that flip over, I was gone. Interestingly, it was the calendar that started us down the whole slippery slope of Apple gizmos. I found I preferred to use iCal over paper and then it just became inconvenient not having that with me when I was out and about and forever having to get back to people. Which lead to getting an iPod Touch. Which lead to getting and iPhone. Which may lead into getting an iPad.

The second MAJOR tactical mistake was having a 10 year old son looking over my shoulder while I watched the iPad informercial. “Oh!” he says, “I could get that instead of a laptop”. Why, so you could my dear son. In fact in the whole “will it kick Kindle’s butt” debate (of course it will, don’t be ridiculous) and the “oh my goodness it’s not really a full tablet” debate have completely overlooked a whole market segment out there. Kids and Education. Our poor iMacs which are *gasp* ten years old sadly now have less capacity than the kid’s iPods, which is a slight technical problem when it comes to syncing. It’s much more realistic for us to consider replacing those computers with iPads than whole works-burger laptops and just having one mother ship to sync them with.

And of course, I can see the wonderful possibilities with the iPad for travel with kids – it’s a DVD player without the hassles of DVD’s, it has games, it has books and wonder of wonders it has ten hour battery life (at least initially). I can see the enormous potential too for a whole new level of interactive board games. For the adult traveller it will be absolutely brilliant for maps, guidebooks and having a full sized key board has to be better than the tiny iPhone one (sorry iPhone, great for notes but not so much for writing).

If you want the full run down, check out Mashable’s post here.

Motorola Talkabout Two-Way Radios Review & Giveaway

Motorola Talkabout Two-Way Radios Review & Giveaway.

Travelling Mamas have a pair of Walkie Talkies up for grabs. We’ve found walkie talkies to be absolutely brilliant when travelling BUT remember you need to get country specific ones. You cannot take walkie talkies internationally, as each continent has separate band widths for public use. You can take them from the UK to Europe but not to the States or Australia for example.

10 gadgets to make summer travel more enjoyable – The Gadling Gear Review | Gadling.com

10 gadgets to make summer travel more enjoyable – The Gadling Gear Review | Gadling.com.

Some great suggestions here. The Tom Bihn bags look awesome – I’ve read other good reviews of his range. Although what I like best about his bags are the washing instructions. Sadly very $$$ once you convert the whole lot to Aussie dollars.

The Tekkon rechargable batteries are a serious consideration for purchase however!

How to create an uber travel itinerary in one easy step – TripIt

Image representing TripIt as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

One of the great things about booking through a travel agent was getting a nicely printed up travel itinerary with all of your transport and accommodation options detailed out. Well now you can create something even groovier – I assure you it makes travel agency print offs look ever so last century.

The one easy step, is that you have to join TripIt. It is completely free to join and very easy to sign up. There is a second step, although it is so easy I figured it didn’t really count as a step. Once you have recieved email confirmations of flights, accommodation and transport bookings, you forward the emails to plans@tripit.com
TA DAH!!! Magic, super glossy itinerary created with almost zero effort on your part!!! How fabulous is that?

A good thing to bear in mind if you have several hundred email addresses *ahem* is to use the same one as the majority of your trip arrangements. If you get conformations sent to a different email address, forward them to the address you signed up with at TripIt and then forward on again to TripIt. Or you can add additional secondary email addresses to your TripIt account (do this BEFORE you forward the emails).

Then there are some cool tricks your wonder itinerary can perform.

  1. You can invite friends and rellies to view or contribute to trips
  2. You can create a little trip badge for your blog – scroll riiiiiiiiiiiiight down to the bottom of this page, no keep going, there – on the right hand side is my little TripIt badge. Cool huh? If you’re really observant, you’ll know it used to be a Dopplr one, but they snooze, they loose.
  3. If you need to, you can edit the details and / or add details manually
  4. It has maps – loads of maps! map of Milan
  5. There are also links right on the itinerary for checking flight status, online check in, and stroke-of-genius seat recommendations which links you to the plane model in Seat Guru.
  6. Check Flight

  7. Also right there in the itinerary are little weather forecasts – you can even choose Fahrenheit or Celsius for the display. weather piccie
  8. You can of course print off or email your itinerary
  9. And Holy Calendar Integration Batman – it actually creates an ical subscription.

But the fun doesn’t stop there! There are several iPhone / iPod touch applications that integrate with TripIt! Yep, more choices than you can shake a stick at!

First up there is a free TripIt app that basically is a bookmark for the web based service. I’m not a big fan of these types of Apps. Probably a hang over from starting out with an iPod touch where you can only access web pages using free wi-fi, which in Australia would be… the comfort of your own home – so you might as well be using your computer anyway.

Secondly is Flight Track Pro. Now this looks very smooth and great, especially if you need little maps with pictures of where your plane is flying.

But the one I really, truly love and hence handed over dosh for, is TravelTracker with TripIt
TravelTracker App

This app imports all of your TripIt data including accommodation and transport. It keeps this data when you are offline (yay). It has links to check flight status. The phone numbers for contacts are directly clickable for those with iphones. It also has a separate weather component and a few travel preparation lists (they are quite basic but a nice touch anyway).
The only thing it is missing is the linking to Google maps for the addresses.

Completely fantastic – all without typing anything in on my iphone and only adding a few extra details on my computer.

11 Essential iPhone Apps for a Road Trip

11 Essential iPhone Apps for a Road Trip. From Mashable.

Our ipods / iphones are key equipment we take on any trips now. I’m finding I rely more and more on my handy dandy iphone while my frustrating-to-program and incredibly-short-on-battery life GPS unit stays on the shelf.

Last week navigating around the Melbourne CBD I used the address book / google maps combo to track where we were and when to hop off trams. I used the map of the tram system to attempt to catch the right trams (note to Yarra trams, all yellow does not make routes easy to follow). I used the built in Safari browser to work out what was on at the Museums and art galleries in the vicinity. And of course I had chat like sms to arrange to meet up with SGM without interrupting his work with 1,000 phone calls.

I’m seriously considering the Road Trip Fun app listed above to add to my collection. I am very over animal / mineral / vegetable which is the current family default. Leonardo has a totally unfair advantage with the “animals” category having watched David Attenbourough ad nauseam. I am never answering “yes, but what KIND of monkey” ever again.

Doing the Happy Chicken Dance


It’s safe to come back, I’m as happy as Chicken Little with a crate of Red BulliWork 09 and iLife 09 arrived!!!!

[amtap amazon:asin=B001AMGSNK]

[amtap amazon:asin=B0014X4O7C]

The first thing I launched was iPhoto 09… holy map-making-photo-software Batman!!! After installing it asked me if I wanted to add locations for my photo library. The next thing I know I’m looking at a map of our corner of Australia with pins in all the places I’ve taken photos with my  iphone. Clicking on the pin showed the photos taken at that location. 

I haven’t even had a chance to look at the new photo books but apparently there are now travel ones that include maps or locations. This is going to be fabulous for any traveller who wants to document their adventures. 

I also had a quick delve into the face recognition aspect. I was fascinated by who the program thought looked most like each other – might settle a few family debates!

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