Blogging Bandera: The Tech Report

We had a grand time at the ranch in Bandera. Lots of trail rides, hay rides and other really fun stuff. Spring break is over and the girls are back in school. I’m on the last day of my vacation, cleaning horse poop off of trucks, shoes and clothes and storing our camping/ranching gear until we head off for Frio II in August.

Now it’s time to talk about the tech aspects of the trip.

My travel hardware consisted of:

My X41 Tablet PC
My Blackberry 7130e
My Sprint Power Vision phone

The X-41, as I said in the post above, is the best traveling computer I have ever owned. It worked great. With my Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks I was able to easily record daily summaries, and, had I wanted to bore you to tears, could have easily published them to my blog. The X-41 (with the help of a card reader) was able to view the photos on the Memory Stick I use in my digital camera. In fact, I uploaded a few photos while we were still there.

What I didn’t know before we got to the ranch was whether I would have any internet access. There is none there and there are no wireless networks in the area to “borrow.” So I had to hope Verizon’s national wireless broadband network would reach to Bandera.

Not only did it reach, but the signal strength was 3 out of 4 bars. Connecting was easy and stable. This wireless deal is definitely worth the $15 extra per month that I pay for it. I will be able to use it in airports, hotels, etc. And the best part is that the phone charges off the USB cable, so the phone is being charged while you use it to connect to the internet.

While my Blackberry is my primary mobile phone, I used my Sprint phone while on the trip and it worked perfectly.

And it has me completely sold on Sirius Satellite Radio. You can listen to a selection of the Sirius stations with the Sprint phone and, with the supplied earbuds, the sound is excellent. It does drop the signal periodically, which is mildly annoying, but this is a cool feature. It is just one of the legion of audio and video features of this very cool phone.

I’ve been an XM subscriber for years, but nothing on XM is as good as channel 14 on Sirius. It’s called 60’s and 70’s Vinyl and I have yet to hear a bad song on it. I wish Sirius made a truly portable device. If so, I’d buy it (the Sirius S50 is not truly portable in the sense that it doesn’t receive the signal while unattached to its base).

I don’t know who’s paying whom to carry the Sirius stations on these Sprint phones, but Sirius ought to be paying Sprint because this feature will sell some Sirius equipment.

The tech worked as it was supposed to and allowed me to check my email and remain connected to my home and office while deep in the Texas hill country.