19 Years Ago in TidBITS: Traveling with Technology

(Adam Engst) #1

Originally published at: https://tidbits.com/2019/02/21/19-years-ago-in-tidbits-traveling-with-technology/

Remember what it was like in the early days of laptops and Internet access when we first started to be able to use technology while traveling? At the turn of the century, Gideon Greenspan penned a pair of articles for TidBITS about how he kept his shareware business humming on a PowerBook G3 during a 2-month trip through Asia.

(Quentin North) #2

In 2002 I travelled through SE Asia using a Palm Vx and a Ericsson T28 mobile flip phone with an IR link and a GPRS modem which allowed me to keep notes about my travels, send and receive email (once a day!) as well as download news using an app that was a kind of cacheing newsreader based around a channel concept (BBC, The Guardian, that kind of thing), but I can’t remember what it was called now. The T28 also had a WAP browser, which worked with Yahoo! back in the day and was surprisingly useful even over a GPRS connection.

(Suzanne R Brown) #3

Oh my goodness! Yes a trip down memory lane! I think I first got on the internet using an LCIII - all thanks to Adam’s Internet Starter Kit. I was dividing my time between our home in KY and my husband’s job at a rural Maine boarding school. No local access dial-up number and at that time, long distance phone calls were not “unlimited” - one was charged by the minute. Just imagine the cost to OH-SO-SLOWLY downloading any software via a dial-up modem! I hauled that LCIII back and forth with me - I had previously hauled my first computer - an Apple Classic II. At least it had a carrying case.

The most important thing to have with one, when traveling, was the local dial-up numbers for stops along the way. They needed to be local access as well. So, I had a notebook for all my stops between Maine and KY. I had forgotten about ZIP drives - I had one. And a huge plastic case of floppies as well - needed to be sure to have the original disks for software in case of problems and the need to reinstall. Cables - lots and lots of cables.

I remember when I picked up the Apple Classic that my inlaw’s had given my daughter for high school graduation. The box of HyperCard disks and manuals alone, was enormous. I did manage to create a calendar on HyperCard. I learned FileMakerPro on my LGII - I was using it to manage the entire registry for a purebred dog breed club. Talk about a learning curve!

My first laptop was an Powerbook G3 (Wallstreet). It was a display model at a local CompUSA. I had a very expensive case for it as I was traveling abroad by air at that time. Yes, it was VERY heavy! Using it at the Internet Cafe across from my hotel in London was “interesting”.

Now when I travel, the only thing other than my iPhone that goes with me is my iPad. If I’m going to be gone for very long, I throw in an extra Bluetooth keyboard that I own - easier to type long posts on it.

My eldest grandson was nome from Cornell for Winter Break this weekend and had with him the gorgeous Powerbook I bought him as a combination 18th birthday/graduation present. I got the one Adam recommended as this grandson is also in the College of Engineering as is Adam’s son. He was showing us a program he and one of his computer science teachers are developing together. That’s one of the best things about Cornell - even a freshman can be mentored by a professor. His Powerbook is so slim and elegant and so lightweight.

What a difference a few decades makes!

(Robert Macfarlane) #4

In the early 1990s I bought a SE30 with extended keyboard plus a large carry bag. I travelled the Pacific, for work, and always managed to get it stowed as cabin baggage. It was a magnificent machine and did me stirling service in the pre laptop and pre internet days. I proudly used my first PowerBook to send a fax from my hotel room in Federated States of Micronesia in the mid 1990s and subsequently also from my Newton in a Pacific hotel room. However the internet changed all that, I now mostly just use my iPad!! Marvellous.

(jgibsongda) #5

Your readers might enjoy this. 1998. Following a High School orchestra all over Central Europe with a 2300C PowerMac Duo, MiniDock, and a large bag of power and phone connectors – blogging before blogging was a thing. Ooooh boy, dial-up. That was not fun.


–Jim Gibson

(Adam Engst) #6

Love the photos, Jim!