Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Useful Stuff

So I'm doing a bit of travelling and there are a few things I'm finding helpful (besides getting to the airport the correct day...but that's a story from February...).

The new top number one most helpful travel gadget is my PDA. For Christmas I received a Dell Axim X51v handheld computer. (Yes, geeky, I know.) Among it's features are wifi (for connecting to the internet) and bluetooth (for transferring photos from my phone). It's the right size to fit in my pocket (even in it's spiffy metal case) but I can send and receive email, surf the web, post to my blog (like I'm doing right now!), listen to National Public Radio (live from WBUR in Boston) and a plethora of other things.

I've also added a few handy programs. First, aprogram called GSPlayer which allows me to listen to streaming audio from the internet. I've also downloaded the Opera Browser (the built-in web browser isn't bad for basic web pages, but Opera lets me view more complex sites). CityTime is another handy program - it has a currency converter (with one-click currency rate updates), world time, unit conversions, and much more. (CityTime isn't free but it's worth the very small amount I paid for it.) For travelling, though, Metro is amazing simply ( Metro is a database of public transportation plans from all over the world - not maps but an "input start point" and "input destination" and it plans both the fastest route and the one with fewest connections. It's great when confronted with a spaghetti-like map of possibilities. It has hundreds of cities (including Vilnius). Plus, it's free. I also have a small, foldable keyboard that connects wirelessly to my PDA so I can type things like this without poking the tiny keyboard on the screen.

I also travel with a mini Leatherman tool. It's similar to a Swiss Army knife in that it has a number of handy tools that all fold into one small, easy to hold tool. The crucial different, though, is that the mini Leatherman tool folds out into proper, useful scissors - not the tiny clippy things the Swiss Army knife has. (Don't forget, though, it has to be packed into the checked baggage.)

Other useful things: a mobile phone (cell phone) - mine now takes pictures - I use it as a visual note-taking device. A travel clothesline (and a longish bit of rope). Fingernail clippers (after seraching all over Amsterdam and Copenhagen for a pair, I now have one I leave in my backpack. Duct tape. A bag of chargers and converters. A super cool multi-time-zone watch. Several books in English. Frequent flyer cards.

You get the idea.


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