You are here

Technical roundup

I wanted to do a final update with some details for the technically minded.

As far as technology goes, the trip went great as well. I wasn't quite sure how the data roaming bill would end up, so before I left I set up my trusty Nokia N95 with all the maps we would need around Europe, and I tried to use free wifi where I could.

The mapping worked amazingly well. Getting lost seems to be a thing of the past. We might not have always been exactly where we wanted to be, but with Anna on the phone (with the help of a physical map often), we always got to where we needed to (helped by not often "needing" to get anywhere.
The worst part of the whole mapping side of things was that I missed downloading Belgium and Ireland maps. Using the Nokia N95 built in mapping meant the phone didn't need to connect and although I prefer looking at Google Maps, it kept track of us the entire time.

As for data roaming. I was annoyed. We started off the trip, trying to use McDonalds free wifi where we could, but it was a little hit & miss. And usually we bought food, which started getting expensive for free wifi. At the turning point in our trip (the quick drive across France), I decided price didn't matter and we started just connecting whenever we needed to. Technically, the data connections were fine, it all "just worked".

When we got back I was full of dread opening the bill - to find our entire data roaming bill was around $10. I was annoyed that I hadn't used it from the start & more frequently! I've heard a number of data roaming horror stories but using my N95 to download text email resulted in a bill less than we were spending at each McDonalds.

The other key part of the technology was the mini bluetooth keyboard I bought before leaving. It worked flawlessly and very much enabled us to easily type up all of our blog posts on the phone. In fact I still have it now sitting beside my computer, to quickly grab when I'm writing out a text.

In fact the only problem was that my N95 battery must have been just getting to the end of it's life before we left. We could leave it plugged in while we travelled but now my battery is toast and I'm very much in a quandary trying to decide whether to resurect my N95 (new battery, new case & an upgrade of the ROM), or whether to get something like a Nokia N8, or whether to switch to an Android.

I guess what is holding me back is that all over Europe I saw huge numbers of people with Android & iPhone - all of them struggling with needing two hands to do anything. A few years ago when Nokia started with  touch screen phones, everyone abused them because of the effort needed with two handed phones. The problems haven't gone away but it seems everyone has lost their minds and in an effort to get the "coolest new phone".