Having read a great post from Rhiannon Floyd on her purchase of a new moleskine, it got me thinking about how much I used a note book recently, although there are many digital alternatives for what I used mine for I found the easiest way by far was the good old fashioned pen and paper.

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Setting a budget was always necessary due to the amount of time we were away and the fact that we wanted to keep things to a budget.  I had thought  about using an application on the iPhone, which as mentioned in an earlier post was an awesome all round digital companion.

However I really wanted something that either of us could edit at a moments notice and something that does not hold the constraints that software sometimes does.  In comes the Notebook.  I took away a very small book keeping notebook, this unfortunately didn’t survive very long, pages were starting to fall out and there was also not much room on it for everything I wanted to record.

Whilst in Nepal I bought a local handmade notebook, it was very cheap around a$2 but also very sturdy and somewhat traditional which seemed to fit in nicely with were we had planned to travel.  I transfered the previous books details to the new one and set about organising it for my needs.   Each page representing 2 days of budget, keeping track of everything from room cost to price of bus/train trips etc.

There was also a page for ATM withdrawals, matched with currency exchange rates for the days I withdrew.  As time went on I really enjoyed keeping track of everything, I used to look forward to filling in my book over lunch or dinner, “keeping the spending on track” was my catch phrase I was loving it.

The back of the notebook also got used with silly things to help me remember my trip, such as books that I have read, plus keeping all the business cards from places I had stayed.

Although this was not a journal as such, or a diary for me to remember my trip the book has served as a real resource since coming home and discussing my trip with friends and family that have also travelled India and Nepal extensively, I can tell you where and how much it cost me to stay in every place I visited along with contact details.  I can tell you how long and how much it cost for a train from Mumbai to Goa, something that without the book would be pure guess work.

Since coming home I have started to use a notebook to keep track of many things in my life, spending, hours worked etc. Something easy to fill in before bed each evening and as well as enjoying doing it, its become real handy for keeping my spending on track.

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Whilst sitting at home the other day my good lady decided that she waned to play around with my iPhone, something she really has had zero interest in since I got it back in July 08.  I was pleasantly surprised when she actually told me that she thought it was cool and easy to use.  

This got me thinking how much mobiles have come along since my first analogue OKI handset that I had way back in the Early 90’s on Vodafone in the UK.

So I thought I would just write a quick post which lists them, so here goes.

1. OKI handset unsure of model but it looked like this one below, 

Oki

2. Motorola MR1

My first digital handset, could even receive txt messages, but not send them.

Motorola MR1

Read the rest of this entry »

Travelling with the iPhone

February 15, 2009

Having used my iPhone for lots of things that i would normally have booted up the Macbook Pro for I made the decision that when I went on my trip I would just make use of my iPhone and nothing else.  It would be my entertainment, camera and way of communicating with friends, family and for use helping me booking tickets, directions etc.

iPhoen Cinema

iPhone Cinema

Of course my girlfriend still took her camera and iPod but my goal was to use the one device.

Before leaving I made sure that the iPhone was unlocked by inserting a simcard from another service provider just in case OPTUS hadn’t come good in the unlocking department, all was fine.  I then made sure that it was filled with sufficient music, podcasts, video and applications that would see me through the 14 weeks that I would be away in total.

I had made a decision not to activate international roaming on my OPTUS account and settled for purchasing a local simcard from the county that I would be spending most of my time, in this instance India.

First port of call Borneo, Malaysia.  I found myself really loving the fact that I had everything to hand in one device, OK the camera is not great but for recording the days activities it was just fine, to be honest when you have good light the camera for shots that are to be posted to the web are pretty dam good.  Although the one thing I did start to find annoying was that I did not have any means of connecting to the web, easily rectified of an evening because as in many places there was lots of unsecured wi-fi that  I was easily able to latch on to.  Meaning that emails got through, pictures could be posted to the likes of Flickr and the big thing was that we could make Skype calls to family via the iPhone app Fring.  Things were going well.

As well as the great ability to communicate for free I was finding the games that I had loaded onto the iPhone pretty enjoyable as well.

Next location Nepal.

Once again the iPhone proved a very capable bit of kit taking great pictures and helping me relax at night with a great selection of music, plus in the more populated areas such as Katmandu and Pokhara once again wi-fi connectivity was never an issue.  I was really glad that I did not commit to bringing my big heavy MBP with me.

Once we headed into India it was time to grab a local simcard, this was really cheap to purchase as were the calls, txt’s and data.  Easy to set up on the iPhone and worked just as good as it does in Australia, there is no real 3g coverage but gprs and edge served me well to keep the emails coming in and wi-fi was always pretty easy to find especially in the more populated area’s, which is pretty much everywhere.

So in summary the performance of the unit, its ability to take over the tasks that would normally require a laptop with internet connection or a cyber cafe was simply awesome.

Is the iPhone rugged?  I happen to thing it is, the invisable shield kept the wear and tear to a minimum and protected both the screen and case with ease.  having also dropped the unit a few times I was pleased to find everything held together with no issues.  I did however in a moment of madness throw my bum bag at the wall in a temper from not being able to unlcok my back pack, not realising that my beloved device was in the bag.  It did recieve a bit of damage but everything is still working 100%

So next time you go on a holiday/trip that you were thinking of taking your laptop on, maybe travel light and just go the smartphone option.

Applications I used.

Fring – skype client, also supports msn, google talk etc

Maps – Helped me find my way many a time.

iBlogger – ability to post to your blog away from your computer.

Twitterific – keeping upto date with the world of twitter

Facebook – Letting people know whats going on.

Currency – Ideal for keeping track of the excchange rate

iShoot – to relieve the stress.

I also have to say that the guys at mactalk.com.au did a great job of keeping me upto date with there podcasts.  Its nice to keep in touch with the things you enjoy, makes the whole time away feel less foreign.

ShowTime iPhone App

September 22, 2008

Ok for those of you who use an iPhone and also love going to the movies (most of us I guess) I thought I would scribble down a small review of the iPhone App Showtime.

ItÕs essentially a movie time application so you can see what movies are on and what time. However this app takes things to the next level. It retrieves your location via GPS, brings up a list off all your local CinemaÕs, gives you access to maps if your not sure how to get there and also a scoring system for the movies that are showing.

I found it useful straight off the bat as I wanted to watch ÒStep BrothersÓ I opened the app, it brought up my local movie house and told me what was on, awesome. One problem was that the movie was not on at a convenient time, so I clicked on the movie title and then it brought up a list of the cinemaÕs showing in and at what time.

It also has the ability to pull down trailers off the movies, although I donÕt think that works in Australia just the US. Add this to the list of popular titles showing and rated titles and you have all the info to make a great choice of what to watch at the movies without the hassle

RunKeeper App update

September 22, 2008

Also there has been an update to Runkeeper, which I use to track my runs, there is a review of the app on the blog in a previous post.

This time you have more control over your workouts, plus the ability to upload manually rather than whilst your exercising, this means that you can now wait till you go home and upload the route via wi-fi rather than using your data allowance.
Also improved GPS fix and a signal meter so you know how strong the signal is. Not a massive upgrade but non the less a worth while one.

Jailbreaked iPhone 2.0.1

August 11, 2008

I am not sure why I am writing about this, everywhere you look its iPhone or Olympics and its probably getting on your nerves as well.  However I have nothing else to do so I thought I would share my thoughts on the process with you AGAIN.

I recently jailbreaked my iPhone 3g when the original Pwnage tool was released for 2.0  I really couldn’t see a benefit and quickly restored to original firmware.  I have no idea why I did it again but I did.  This time as well as Cydia, we have the original installer tool present as well.  So maybe its time for a few decent apps to start appearing on the platform.
The process was as before very simple and easy, no slip ups at all and if you follow the guide which I posted last time you will have no issues I’m sure.
This time I decided to install winter-board, a theme orientated application that alters the look of your iPhone along with a few tweaks namely the one for changing the colour of the signal bar.  The themes are easy to download and work in much the same way as downloading stuff from the app store works.
Results are varied depending on theme I guess and some are easier to make out than others to, so although some might be very pretty everyday usage might turn out to be a pain.  They also have the NES emulator on there ready for download, my understanding is that more and more apps are being added all the time.  Hopefully in the next week or so it might actually be a genuine reason for jailbreaking your iPhone, as yet I cannot really see the point.

ANZ gets the iPhone buzz

August 11, 2008

ANZ, my bank, the most non funky bank in my opinion in Australia today, outdated branches, crappy website and logo.  Yet here they are embracing the iPhone.  Today they launched a working internet banking portal specifically for iPhone users.
Does it work, well yes.  The website is designed as mentioned for iPhone users and it looks awesome, easy to use and a great step forward in getting stuff done on the road.
You simply log in using your current internet banking login and away you go.  You can check your transactions and balances whilst on the go.  
They are also planning on implementing a pay anyone feature the same as the full site very s
oon as well as the ability to transfer between your own accounts, very handy for paying bills etc.
They also have a great search facility if your not in a familiar place, can you search for branches or atm’s which is a very handy feature.  Prominent on the front page is also a dialer that takes you through directly to the call center.