Posts Tagged netbook

Packing List Reflection

Early in our 30/40 World Tour, I posted a list of what I packed.  Since our return, one of my readers asked how well those items worked for me as I traveled.  Did I use all of it?  Was anything missing?

Overall, I think we did a good job of packing useful items.  We brought versatile clothing that got used over and over despite the variable climates.  Since we didn’t hang around the same people for more than a couple of days, no one knew that we had such limited outfit choices!

Electronics

Netbook in New Plymouth

Ms. HalfEmpty using her netbook at the art gallery café in New Plymouth, New Zealand

Our electronics served us well.  The netbook was a great size to tote around and jump on the internet when we had access.  Of course, you know that we used our digital camera throughout the trip, as evidenced on this blog.

The all-in-one travel adapter that we bought at the airport was amazing.  That one compact adapter worked in every country we visited.  Plus, the USB port was perfect for charging the iPod.

We didn’t realize we would need a USB charger, but it came in handy.  Since we used our Mac at home to load the iPod, the Windows netbook wanted to reformat the iPod each time we plugged it in.  Charging with the travel adapter was a much better option and prevented inadvertent data loss.

Thankfully, we did not experience a netbook crash or theft, so we didn’t really need our external hard drive.  But I was glad we had an extra copy of all our photos, just in case.

The audio splitter was great when we were standing in airport lines.  Mr. HalfFull and I passed the time listening to an audiobook or podcast together.  You might ask why we didn’t each use our own iPod.  The answer is that we found it fun to have this shared experience.  It’s like watching a movie or play with someone; you vibe off their reactions and can discuss it together afterward.

I can still remember Mr.HalfFull and I laying on a hammock together on a small Fijian island listening to The Art of Mindful Living.  At one point in the recording, Thich Nhat Hanh talks about the sun overhead and the rustling of the trees before he ends the meditation with a gong.  We were completely in the moment underneath the sway of the palm trees, experiencing the gentle swing of the hammock.  Maybe we weren’t as hopeless as originally suspected after our meditation class.

Paper

The passports and tickets were essential since we didn’t travel with a printer.  I actually ended up having to boot up my netbook at certain customs counters to prove that we had plans to leave the country.

The only paper I started out needing, but grew out of was my checkbook register.  Yep, I went spreadsheet digital!

Wallet

Our International Student Identification Cards (ISIC) were invaluable!  We used them to get all sorts of discounts throughout the trip.

Clothes

Ms. HalfEmpty @ Sofitel

The extent of Ms. HalfEmpty’s ability to “dress up” at Restaurant V at Sofitel in Fiji

I think we did pretty well with clothes.  Everything served multiple purposes and was reused throughout the trip.  My dress and scarf allowed me to dress up a bit, however, we did have a few instances when we felt a bit underdressed.

This gave Mr. HalfFull the opportunity to get closer to my uncle, who he’s never met, by borrowing his shoes and a button-down shirt!  But I don’t really think it would have been practical for Mr. HalfFull to have packed those items; dress shoes are heavy and button-down shirts wrinkle.

I also felt underdressed with my shoe selection at times.  But if I could only have two pairs of shoes, I picked the right ones.  Sporty sandals weren’t the ideal dressy compliment, but the crisscross design helped provide a little elegance.

Luggage

Palisades Park

Duffel bags also double as pillows at nap time

Our duffel bags were great!  It was easy to see the stuff inside when unzipped, plus we could clip wet stuff or shoes easily on the outside.  But it was also useful to have a small day pack for the airplane and daily outings.

Toiletries

Towels are generally big bulky items.  I didn’t think we would need towels on our trip, but some of our pre-trip information was incorrect and neither of our small Fijian islands provided towels.  So our towel in pouch purchase was perfect!

Our list of toiletry items looks ridiculously long, but many of the items were thrown in because we already had them and they met our size requirements.  I ended up loving the Crabtree & Evelyn grapefruit scented shower mousse.  I don’t think I ever would have purchased such a thing, but it was a gift.  It always smelled so fresh and the pump produced a perfect lather without a loofah or washcloth (items I did not have).  Plus, it was an enclosed container which was easier to transport than a wet bar of soap.

maxi liner

Fun facts on maxi pad liners purchased in New Zealand

We didn’t end up finishing all of the toiletries we brought, but there were others (like deodorant, hair gel, feminine products, and SPF face lotion) that we had to replenish during the trip.  The one downside of transferring your liquids into smaller reusable bottles is that you still have to carry those empty little bottles back if you want to keep them, which is the point of reuse.  It’s a lot less eco-friendly, but more space-friendly, to buy travel size bottles and chuck them when empty.

I rarely wore makeup on the trip, but I was glad I had my little samples for nights out on the town.

Other

I wanted to do sink laundry often since I only had 3 pairs of underwear.  So I wish we had brought more laundry detergent, as it’s rather difficult to buy in small quantities.  We ended up buying a whole box in Sydney, filling our little travel bottles, and leaving the rest for the next occupant.  I’m not sure if there is a good solution for this since we didn’t want to carry around the extra weight.

Ms. HalfEmpty eats breakfast

Ms. HalfEmpty eats cereal by headlamp

The headlamps were critical!  I’ve never used one before and thought they were only for spelunkers.  I didn’t understand why I would need anything other than a flashlight.  But the headlamp was invaluable for walking to the bathrooms in the dark while carrying a towel and toiletries.  Plus, who wants to hold a flashlight when you are in the stall?  It also made toothbrushing much easier.  Headlamps are hands-free lights for people who need to get stuff done!

The only thing we really didn’t use was the metal cage and lock.  The original plan was to use the cage to enclose the duffel bags and secure them to a permanent fixture when left unattended in our various rooms.  But we always ended up in private rooms because I’m not much for roughing it.  We did try to use the contraption once, but it seemed like more trouble than it was worth.  The metal cage was quite heavy and is probably the only thing I wish we hadn’t brought in retrospect.

Verdict

I think we did a great job packing.  Aside from one heavy, bulky item, we used everything in our bags.  No half empty judgements here!

  • Do you usually pack too much or exactly what you need?
  • What are your essential items?
  • Do you pack to be prepared for any occasion from casual to elegant?
  • How do you do laundry when you travel?
Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on halfempty4now.com, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!

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Coffee Around the World

Mr. HalfFull got his photo op around the world. Now it’s time for mine.

If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you know I drink coffee.  In fact, when I ventured around the world on the 30/40 World Tour:  Quest for Passion, I found that my passions are coffee and napping.  I learned this through various opportunities to enjoy them and be deprived of them.  Undoubtedly, coffee and napping are essential to my life.  Deep, I know.

Let’s take a photo tour of my coffee encounters around the world…

Capitol Grounds lattes

I was armed with a latte from Capitol Grounds on my very first flight out of Washington, DC.

Fiji, our first country on the 30/40 World Tour, was not coffee aficionado friendly.  At our first coffee stop, they tried to tell me that Coke was just like coffee!

Ms. HalfEmpty eats breakfast

Much of my time in Fiji was spent on primitive islands with instant coffee.  Quelle horreur!

I didn’t get real coffee until our final night in Fiji when we checked into Sofitel and I had an amazing cappuccino.

My coffee experience in New Zealand was the complete opposite of Fiji. New Zealand has the most coffee roasters per capita of any country in the world.  They take their coffee culture very seriously; even gas stations have espresso machines with baristas, and no one serves drip coffee.

Coffee @ Mecca Stonehouse

My first full day in New Zealand included a latte (and internet time) at Mecca Stonehouse in Mission Bay outside Auckland.

Blogging in Paihia

I seem to always have coffee while on the netbook, including here at Paihia wharf.

Volcanic Latte

We learned that coffee drinks come from volcanoes at the museum in New Plymouth.

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

I even had a coffee in hand outside the Te Papa Museum in Wellington.

Circa Theater

Later that same day when we went to see a show at Circa Theater, just across from the museum, I had another coffee.  Zoom to see me drinking it.

New Zealand was perhaps the best coffee country on the 30/40 World Tour, but the French-speaking countries like New Caledonia weren’t bad either.

Café Malongo in Nouméa

While waiting in line at Café Malongo in Nouméa, I considered my espresso order.

Change in Nouméa

After using bills to buy coffee, we count our change in Nouméa.

Coffee at Le Surf Hotel

Once again enjoying coffee with a side of internet at our hotel in New Caledonia.

Coffee School

When we reached Sydney, Australia, I considered joining coffee school, but decided I didn’t have enough time.

Australian Parliament

I brought a cup of joe with me to the Australian Parliament Building in Canberra.  They wouldn’t let me bring it inside, but I had no problem devouring it quickly!

Phamish in St. Kilda

The coffee drink and coffee netbook seemed to pair well at a restaurant called Phamish in St. Kilda, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia.

Heidelberg Train Station

After visiting our new Australian friends in Heidelberg (another suburb of Melbourne), I waited for the train with coffee in hand.

Latte Art in Melbourne

Loving the latte art at a café in Melbourne before our flight to Mauritius.

Turkish Coffee in Dubai

Enjoying turkish coffee in Dubai with Sir Expat

Coffee in German Biergarten

Coffee in a German biergarten on Lake Starnberg with my cousins. Yes, I know you usually drink beer in a biergarten, but we had done plenty of that the night before!  Don’t I look just like a beermaid, but with coffee and less cleavage?

Coffee @ Marianplatz

Any time of day is a good time for coffee — even late night at Marianplatz in Munich.

Lunch @ Barcelo Sants

A cappuccino complemented my 3rd course of lunch nicely at our hotel in Barcelona, Spain.

  • Do you try to limit your coffee intake?
  • What things/actions are essential to your life?
  • Do you have any coffee location recommendations for me?
Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on halfempty4now.com, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!

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Analysis Paralysis

Mr. HalfFull and I have been pondering the packing list for our 30/40 World Tour, and have decided to purchase a netbook.  Our home computer is an iMac, which of course is not portable.  We each have work issued laptops — a MacBook for Mr. HalfFull and a Dell for me.  My Dell is too big and heavy for travel, and Mr. HalfFull is unwilling to risk loss or damage to a laptop he doesn’t own.  So those are out.  Thus, we have settled on a netbook as the ideal travel computer for us.

Our primary uses for a netbook on the road will be blogging, email, photo storage/editing, banking, trip research, and booking accommodations and ground transportation.  Remember that we are each taking only one carry-on bag, so size and weight will heavily influence our decision.  Mr. HalfFull has been researching netbooks with dual core processors and came up with a few contenders.  He pokes fun at me for being thorough, but this pre-quest research seems to have tapped into a dark OCD corner of his brain.  Netbooks are intruding into his daily thoughts, and even affecting his sleep.  Can you please help us?

Netbook Price Weight Depth Size Battery RAM Storage OS Cool?
MacBook Air $1200 2.3 lbs 0.7″ 11.8″ x 7.6″ 5 hours 2 GB 128 GB Mac yes
ASUS Eee PC 1008P-KR $500 2.5 lbs 1.0″ 10.3″ x 7.0″ 5 hours 2 GB 320 GB PC yes
Lenovo IdeaPad S205 $550 3.3 lbs 1.1″ 10.6″ x 6.6″ 5 hours 4 GB 750 GB PC no

You may be looking at this list thinking, only 5 hours of battery life?  Aren’t there netbooks that can last for 10 hours?  This may be part of some sinister half full plot to keep me on vacation, as opposed to ISTJ work mode!  We will not have 24/7 electricity in some of our destinations, so my computer time will be [should be, suggests Mr. HalfFull]  limited by my netbook’s battery life.  In fact, when we listened to the Lost Girls speak back in March, they discussed Amanda’s incessant drive to work online during their trip.  Thankfully, her friend Jen finally persuaded her to live in the moment and experience their trip outside an internet café.

MacBook Air

11-inch MacBook Air

We loved our hands-on experience with the MacBook Air, but it’s over $1000, making it one of the most expensive netbooks (Steve Jobs would not approve).  One of our major concerns with such a costly investment is theft.  We don’t know what kind of physical storage will be available as we travel the world, but it’s unlikely that we will have a safe everywhere we go.  Also, the Mac brand is highly recognized and sought after, increasing the temptation for would-be thieves.  But we do have an iMac at home, so a MacBook Air would ensure complete compatibility for software and files from one to the other.  It is simply a beautiful machine — slim (0.68 inches at the thickest point) and lightweight (2.3 pounds) — despite being the biggest in terms of length and width.  But the Air is scheduled for a speed boost with the new Sandy Bridge processor.  So we would like to wait for that, but it’s not expected to be available until June.  Will it be in the first few days of June before our trip???  If we wait until June and it isn’t released, we will probably have lost our window of opportunity to order one of the other less expensive netbooks online due to shipping time.

Asus Eee 1008P Netbook

ASUS Eee PC 1008P-KR

The ASUS Eee PC 1008P Seashell Karim Rashid Collection Netbook was designed by an artist.  I consider myself to be very rational, but I also have a deep appreciation for aesthetics.  In the past, Mr. HalfFull has accused me of valuing form over function, which I don’t think is completely true.  The entire surface of this netbook is covered in Karim Rashid’s soft-touch “Techno-chic Digi-wave design,” which has the added benefit of not showing fingerprints.  This is form AND function!  The waves in this basket-weave design “adhere perfectly to the golden ratio” with a material similar to the soft matte rubbery coating usually found on mobile phones, which seems like it will be a great protector for travel.  To top it off, it comes in a color near and dear to my heart:  coffee brown!  Do you think Karim Rashid designed it just for me?  That’s genius…sorry, Genius Bar.  Another awesome travel feature of this netbook is that all the ports are covered, which could be handy in sandy locales.

Lenovo IdeaPad S205

Lenovo IdeaPad S205

Finally, the newly released Lenovo S205 includes far more memory and storage than the other models at a similar price to the ASUS.  In comparison to the others, it’s a bulky machine with a shiny cover that will surely show fingerprints, but it’s power lies inside.  This netbook is even capable of HD video editing.  I don’t plan to do a lot of videos, but I may want that capability in the future.  If I were purely tech focused, this would be the obvious pick, but it is a pound heavier than the others, which matters when your whole life is on your back for ten weeks.  But Lenovos are known for their excellent full-size keyboards, whereas the ASUS is only 92% of full-size.  Size may not be a big deal for me [Mr. HalfFull:  That’s what she said!], but a certain sausage-fingered gentleman could find himself constricted.

Mac vs. PC

Another thing that concerns me is cyber security.  Since we will be relying solely on open networks while traveling, will the Windows machines be more prone to viruses and hackers?  I guess there will be an added expense of procuring anti-virus software for the PCs.  The Mac tech geeks I know don’t install anti-virus software or software firewalls.

Of course we had to at least consider buying a used netbook on Craigslist.  There are a few MacBook Air machines for sale, but I’m not sure why.  Most of the posters claim that it’s a new machine, which seems suspect.  If I bought an older non-Mac netbook on Craiglist, I would be worried about the battery life, which is critical for travel, not to mention expensive to replace.  But at least in this case I would be paying a lot less upfront, and probably not care as much if it was stolen.

What’s the right answer?  We’ve only got 4 weeks left!

  • Which netbook do you recommend?
  • Is a computer critical travel gear these days?
  • What qualities are most important for a travel computer?
  • Do you consider the 11-inch MacBook Air to be a netbook?
  • Where do you fall on the form over function spectrum?
  • If you own a Mac, what security do you use?
  • Are you a Mac or a PC?
Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on halfempty4now.com, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!

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