Recommended Laptop, Accesories and Programs? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-31-2008, 10:09 AM   #1
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On our last big trip, I felt like I had blinders on because I did not have the on-line access that I did at home. It was easier to find local information 2000 miles away than it was parked in the actual town. Time to bite the bullet and get a current laptop. So what say you? What do I need to have happy internet access and electronic entertainment sitting in my trailer? My apologies for the scope of the question, but for most of us in the north, it's too cold to camp anyways...
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Old 01-31-2008, 11:40 AM   #2
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I would recommend getting a note book with built in WiFi. Then for truely portable Internet access, get an EVDO device.

EVDO devices come in both plug in "cards" (PCMCIA or Express) and USB "devices". I recommend USB device. They are the latest and greatest and they work on either Macs or PCs.

EVDO ExpressCards are aesthetically more appealing in their slots, but are not inherently any faster than USB EVDO device.

USB device can operate on end of a USB cable, positioned to receive best signal, far away from RF of laptops motherboard.

USB will work with any Mac you are likely to get, however... every USB EVDO modem tested thus far, is UNable to directly connect to funky USB port of MacBook Air (!)

My recommendation is get a USB EVDO modem like the USB727/UM150 for Verizon (or CDU680 for Sprint).

If you want to add WiFi capability to your EVDO connection, you can add a router and these EVDO devices will plug directly in. With this option, both husbon and wife can login at the same time. (also can be password protected) This is a great option while camping as you can go outside and still be connected wirelessly.

If you are doing this in next couple of weeks, then go with CTR350 router. If you can wait, then get the forthcoming MBR1000.

You'll also want at least an indoor/portable booster antenna to help with weak signal you encounter when in rural areas with fewer towers. Wilson trucker antenna can be mounted on your trailer for better reception.

A good source for FREE information and these tools is http://3gstore.com/
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Old 01-31-2008, 12:04 PM   #3
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<span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%">Mike, good information,</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%">What is the approximate running cost and speed for EVDO?</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%">George.</span>

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Old 01-31-2008, 12:11 PM   #4
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I added links to ALL the products so you can see what they are. Also, (as with other cell products) pricing varies based on contract length.

Speed varies based on location.
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Old 01-31-2008, 12:16 PM   #5
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I added links to ALL the products so you can see what they are. Also, (as with other cell products) pricing varies based on contract length.

Speed varies based on location.

All I want to do is get a better wireless antenna so my MacBookPro can pick up a weak signal. What do I need for that?

Bobbie
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Old 01-31-2008, 12:19 PM   #6
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All I want to do is get a better wireless antenna so my MacBookPro can pick up a weak signal. What do I need for that?
Bobbie
I think you want to look at this thread: [b]Wi-Fi technology while on the road., Catching the Free Hot Spots
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Old 01-31-2008, 12:30 PM   #7
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Take a look at the Vertical Omni-Directional WiFi Antenna
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Old 01-31-2008, 12:52 PM   #8
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On our last big trip, I felt like I had blinders on because I did not have the on-line access that I did at home. It was easier to find local information 2000 miles away than it was parked in the actual town. Time to bite the bullet and get a current laptop. So what say you? What do I need to have happy internet access and electronic entertainment sitting in my trailer? My apologies for the scope of the question, but for most of us in the north, it's too cold to camp anyways...

A lot depends on YOUR needs. Mike's needs are at the top end of the food chain. Because of his business web activities he needs almost full time access, which is pretty spendy.

The other end is to connect every couple of days, only long enough to get email and get out few web sites, like this one. In this case many lap tops without adding all the extra EVDO, AT&T's card, high powered USB, antennas, or routers aren't really needed. Every day there's more and more free wifi hot spots. Almost all lap tops come with built in wifi. During a 2 week vacation last summer I had no problems finding hot spots when I wanted one. I had to carry my computer to a coffee shop a couple times, but it was no big deal.

Also note that Sprint and Verizon that use EVDO cards also have a monthly cost to use that card, as does AT&T data services. Those systems are cell phone systems.

I suggest you analysis your needs first, then try it out without spending a lot of money on add-ons. Then add stuff as the need arises. I have a pretty nice Dell PC laptop, cost about $1,400. I added a canon printer $200, and a memory card reader to transfer pictures from my camera to computer $6.00

In the future Wimax could take the place of the cellphone data services, but it hasn't really caught on yet.
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Old 01-31-2008, 03:07 PM   #9
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I'll add that although I had a laptop and WiFi adapter, I did most of my internet stuf on the road using libraries and their terminals.

Had someone on one RV list complaining to me that I had sent him viruses and I had to "get my machine cleaned" but it wasn't me because I was using a different library every day during that period. Went for years without connecting my laptop to the internet and it's very difficult to get viruses that way...
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Old 01-31-2008, 03:34 PM   #10
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I'll add that although I had a laptop and WiFi adapter, I did most of my internet stuf on the road using libraries and their terminals.

Had someone on one RV list complaining to me that I had sent him viruses and I had to "get my machine cleaned" but it wasn't me because I was using a different library every day during that period. Went for years without connecting my laptop to the internet and it's very difficult to get viruses that way...

Lots of things are changing. Wifi hot spots are increasing in numbers daily. I can get on the internet while having my oil changed. The local urgent care facility has free wifi that all I have to do is sit in the lobby. There's a new cell phone system that has potential to change that whole area. Speaking of libraries, more and more of them have free wifi, some just for card holder. My whole point is that in the 2 or 3 years since you on road all time things have changed a lot when it come to internet connectivity.

Today wifi is mostly the "in" thing. Tomorrow it'll be something else.
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Old 01-31-2008, 04:05 PM   #11
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All very good points and WiFi is a very good way to go. I use it when ever I can.

I find I like to be able to get on line while Lori is driving down the road to look for Trader Joes, a RV park, the next Flying J truck stop, or what ever. Also, while camped way out in the BLM desert or a Bullards Beach when it is raining, I can get onlune with an EVDO device.

The closer you get to FullTiming or the more time you spend, the more you can justify the $69 and monthly overhead.

I hope this helps,
Mike
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Old 01-31-2008, 04:37 PM   #12
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I was traveling last week for five days and I used my iPod Touch more than my macbook (laptop) to check mail and a few sites. It was much easier and faster via the available wifi hotspots. I have a USB 720 from Verizon (through work) and it's used as a last resort.

As for laptop/notebook... I'm an Apple fanboy so I'm just a wee bit biased. Really look at what you want to do with it and make sure you spend an amount you're happy with. Hardware has really exceeded what an average user needs so don't over buy.

-John
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Old 01-31-2008, 04:59 PM   #13
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All very good points and WiFi is a very good way to go. I use it when ever I can.

I find I like to be able to get on line while Lori is driving down the road to look for Trader Joes, a RV park, the next Flying J truck stop, or what ever. Also, while camped way out in the BLM desert or a Bullards Beach when it is raining, I can get onlune with an EVDO device.

The closer you get to FullTiming or the more time you spend, the more you can justify the $69 and monthly overhead.

I hope this helps,
Mike

I totally agree with you in your case. In my case however things are a bit different. I'm always the driver, so internet surfing while traveling down the road is out. If I can't get an internet connection for a 3 or 4 days it's ok. We only have one laptop computer. (we wont talk about the number of desktops in my house). I don't think it's the fulltiming that makes a difference, it's how you use the internet.

Those that, like me, have a anchored house with an internet connection, (my case I'm already paying 2 isps), might find it hard to justify another $69.00/month on top of the $50.00 to $70.00 that's currently paid for internet service. Also for some of us our fulltiming or even part timing style would keep us out of cell phone range much of the time. Well over half of the place I camp there' no cell phone coverage and if is it's not good enough for data.

Just my 2 cents worth from a different view point.
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Old 01-31-2008, 05:11 PM   #14
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Just my 2 cents worth from a different view point.
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