On a bike trip like this you have to have a computer if you’re going to maintain a website and write media columns. My first thought was to bring a laptop, one of those rugged types mounted in gel. The vibrations from being in a pannier was bound to be a test for any ordinary machine. But they are very dear so I was a bit resistant.
Then we discovered the Vodafone Imates that are a PDA combo of cellphone and computer. I don’t need sophisticated software on the road – just Word for writing and Excel for tracking things like mileages, itineraries ad fuel consumption. So the Imate, which fits in your jacket pocket seemed to fit the bill. And it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than a rugged laptop.
Voafone’s GSM network currently covers the first part of our trip through to Turkey and is good in China but while in the “stans” we were out of contact insfar as test messaging is concerned – and it’s the cheapest way to stay in touch. But the computing facility on the Imate was more than adequate compensation for that inconvenience and with the landscape ability I can attach a folding keyboard to the PDA and it’s as good as any computer I might have with me, at least for my purposes.
So I’m happy the Imates solved our computing needsa and were fine as cellphones too. Given their tiny size we have been fortunate not to have to sacrifice space for a laptop or two.