21 Jul

Ain’t Technology Grand

Honolulu Harbor near Niko's

We’ve been in Charlottesville three weeks and the new house frenzy is settling down. I’m always torn between taking my time and finding the deals on Craig’s List or in second hand stores, or just diving in and buying new. I have a tendency to choose the latter, especially as it starts with sheets and towels, which you want new, and then the shopping snowballs from there. Anyway, we’ve got a fancy new Energy Star rated washer and dryer, a new mattress which means the guest room has been upgraded from futon to real bed, and a lawn mower since we have a big lawn now and no gardner service.

But that’s not what I set out to write about. I’m not sure I had mentioned that all my blogging during the trip, both here and a few posts on the Twelve by Twelve blog, were done on my phone. I had originally intended on incorporating some time on hubby’s laptop, particularly for downloading photos from my good phone and uploading them to Flickr, but the laptop died early on and spent most of the trip with the geniuses at the Albuquerque Apple store. I took that as part of the challenge, and even when offered a “real computer” at the cousin’s house in Missouri, I checked email, but refused to blog on principle.

My experience? Not bad. In fact, it took me about three days after my computer was up and running here to stop going to the phone when I wanted to check email or catch up on Facebook. One fingered typing and reading glasses to see the small pics and type notwithstanding, I got in the habit of seeing my phone as my new computer.

I used the WordPress app for my blog and the Blogger app for contributing to Twelve by Twelve. Neither app has all the features of the online programs, but they are enough to get the job done. WordPress didn’t like to update a post once done, so I’d have to either copy and paste what I had written into a new post to replace the old one, or just live with the inevitable typo or three. I made sure that I took at least one photo with my phone everywhere we went. I even played around with Instagram and it’s filters — more for the nostalgic road-trip aesthetic than for any preference for photo sharing or picture quality. Including photos from my iPhoto library was easy enough. Facebook on the phone wasn’t wild about my links from my blog, so even though I had different photos on each post, when I posted an update on Facebook, all it would show in the thumbnail was part of my blog header. Not too enticing to potential viewers, but not worth worrying about.

In addition to using the phone as a phone, and for blogging and Facebook updates (which I have to thank everyone for following — it was great fun having so many friends and family virtually in the car with us), we also used the maps app for directions and a few apps for gas food and lodging. GasBuddy was a good one. It would find us the best price on gas nearby. Foursquare was another oft-used app. I wasn’t very good at it, but hubby was a power-user, finding recommended food and hotels within moments of arriving anywhere. iExit was supposed to tell us what was at the next exit(s), but it seemed to stick to the expected chains and truck stops and didn’t give us any independent suggestions like Foursquare did. We had a few apps from the hotel chains, but again, we tended to use Foursquare so we could compare all the available ones at one time.

So, I learned that I can blog from my phone and take advantage of social media to stay connected while on the road. We could take photos and share them, or not. We could find our way and find places to eat and spend the night. It was a far cry from phoning in reservations ahead of time, or taking our chances on something based on it’s proximity alone. And there was no awkward map folding or plotting of routes with different colored highlighters (though that stuff is half the fun of a road trip). It worked.

BTW, the photo above is part of Honolulu Harbor. There’s a big container ship in the background which could easily have been the one to carry hubby’s car in the enclosed area, and a container or two with all of our crates of belongings in the center area not yet fully loaded. Coming here we realized that all our moves have been either coming or going overseas and we’ve always been packed into big wooden crates — never directly into the big moving truck.

4 thoughts on “Ain’t Technology Grand

  1. I was about to send out the hounds as I have not heard from you in so long. Is your Mom still there or come and gone? I am looking forward to hearing about your new life in Virginia.

  2. I lived in C’ville in the 70s, and loved it there. I used to ride my bike in the country south of town, up to the Blue Ridge. Hiking in the mountains is great, and canoeing on the rivers. There was an old public school on Vinegar Hill that was converted to artists studios, and I took dance classes there. And the Vinegar Hill theatre showed foreign films. They bricked the downtown streets for the pedestrian mall just before I moved away to Blacksburg. Hope you enjoy C’ville.

  3. Glad to hear you’re settling in. Ah, there’s nothing like smell and minimal noise of new appliances!

    how cool that you were able to do all your trip blogging with your phone. I’m still in the Stone Ages on that front, much to the dismay of my family. I worry I’d be like Pavlov’s dog — stopping everything the moment the phone “dinged” to check my email. But you’ve made a good point for the handy-ness of it all.

    I have to admit that I thought your photo was tongue-in-cheek, with the technology in the background, but the Tiki flames in the foreground.

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