Ireland-bound

For the next two weeks, I’ll be pulling an Ian Hines and taking a trip to Ireland. While I should have nightly internet access, the last thing I want is to tie up my vacation with regular posts. Maybe there will be something written while I’m there, but likely the site will fall silent for a while.

Before I go, I thought I’d post a list of what technology I’m using to help with my trip. Everyone likes a setup picture, so here you go:

Essentially, I’m getting by with my iPod touch, my very first Moleskine softcover notebook, and a Uni-ball Power Tank Smart Series (High Grade) which I ordered from JetPens.

Why did I choose these items? I’m glad you asked, because I’ll tell you. The iPod touch more or less runs my life by now, so it gets included by default. My left hip pocket would feel truly vacant without its constant weight. The Moleskine, renowned notebook of the world’s greatest writers (or something like that) was more of a vanity purchase. I’ve always admired the smooth paper and lovely textured cover, but $10 is a lot for a pocket notebook. I previously used a recycled paper notebook but decided to spring for the Moleskine last week. It’s not every day you go to Ireland, after all. I chose the uni-ball Power Tank from a rather too large collection of writing instruments because of its reliable pressurized ink refill (sort of the slightly poorer man’s version of a Fischer Space Pen) which will work on the plane, in the rain, and anywhere else. Its ribbed aluminum body is comfortable to hold, and although I don’t prefer retractable pens as a general rule, the lack of a cap will make it easier to write on the go.

I’m also taking my new Nikon S8100, as near to the top of the pocket cameras as my budget allows. Between a healthy 10x optical zoom, 1 cm macro focus, and CMOS sensor for low light situations, I’m sufficiently impressed. I’d love to go higher of course, but the value this camera presents was hard to pass up. It’s not included in the picture for obvious reasons. No, it’s not ugly.

No trip would be complete without some great apps, so here’s what I’m using:

iBooks tops the list, as I’m traveling for the first time without any paper books whatsoever. My main reading material is Patrick Rhone’s new book Keeping It Straight, a collection of his online writings from the past several years. I’ve held off reading it in anticipation of this trip, but it’s gotten universally great reviews. He writes with a purpose, and I’m excited to glean some more of his seemingly never-ending wisdom. Besides, I think he’d approve of my decidedly minimal gear. The incredibly well-priced A History of Science Fiction compiled by Lance Chandler has been on my shelf for over a semester, and I’m still less than halfway through. It’s a huge tome, and well worth the $1 price on the iBooks store. Think complete novels by almost every relevant sci-fi author from Jules Verne and H.G. Wells through Andre Norton and Scott Douglas. Other prospective titles include various Heinlein novels and Cult of Mac by Leander Kahney.

Momento will handle my journaling, as it has for a while now. (That is, if I can keep my hands off the Moleskine long enough). It handles multiple input sources nicely, from RSS and Twitter to tagged photos.

I made my packing lists in I Do Lists, a beautiful and simplistic app that has one of the best UIs I’ve seen in a while. Too many list apps make it unnecessarily cumbersome to enter items, but I Do Lists never gets in the way.  My to-do lists are handled by SpeedTask, my favorite task app, also well-designed to enter tasks as quickly as possible.

Instapaper is cued up with the week’s best long-form blog posts for offline reading on the plane, and I’m eschewing Reeder while on the trip due to time constraints. A twice-daily email update from Summify should keep me suitably up to date with the tech world’s goings on.

My travel itinerary is entered into the free TripDeck, though I would definitely pay for the additional flight tracking if I was assured of airport wi-fi. Since the original purpose of my trip is tracking my ancestors and the historical farm where my forefathers toiled during the potato famine, I’ve also purchased the MobileFamilyTree app to sync with the excellent MacFamilyTree in which my mother and I record our history.

Last but not least, I’ve saved the last week’s worth of The Bro Show, The Talk Show, The B&B Podcast, and 11 Minutes for listening when time allows. Now if only the iPod would update them automatically!

That about covers my system for the next two weeks, but I will be sure to post a few photo galleries upon return, so stay tuned!

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