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Traveller Tools and Staying Connected As You Travel
More and more travellers like to stay connected as they roam this vast continent called Australia. Even the AusEmade Team needs to stay connected, whether it is backing up their images, connecting to the internet, answering email, connecting to the satellites with our GPS, or using our mobiles in those remote areas.

Following is what we have used, still used and considered using. Over time we will comment on various tools we have purchased that we find useful or have failed miserably.

Communication Services

Telecommunication and ISPs
• There are a number of service providers that tourist can use when travelling. For those travelling to and between capital cities, staying connected should not be a problem, with many major and minor services operating between the major cities. As you travel further away from the main cities into the more remote locations, staying connected becomes a more hit and miss affair. Of course the main telecommunication provider with the greatest reach across Australia, is Telstra, but the claim of ‘98% of the population’ coverage with the CDMA means exactly that. So if you are camping in the middle of nowhere, don't expect to be able to access your email. However CDMA is being phased out (by early 2008) and from current feedback the new NextG service is very fast.
• Telstra Select the network type NextG or 3G and GSM, enter your postcode or street address to view your Mobile coverage maps.
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Computers / Electronic Equipment

• Although the office currently uses Dell desktops workstations, for our team that are on the road, it is a bit hard to lug these around in the 4 wheel drive. Originally we were looking at the Panasonic Toughbook, but at the time, they were a touch expensive. Instead we decided to go for weight and settled on the Sony Vaio (VGN-S58GP/B). The laptop also included wireless and blue tooth connectivity. The laptop also provided integration with our Sony cameras.
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• Computers / Electronic Equipment Links
Sony • Check out the site for details on all their laptops.
ITRONIX • Produces fully-rugged GoBookฎ range of notebooks, with claims to the to being the smallest and lightest footprint available.
Panasonic • Produces the Toughbookฎ range of notebooks. Check out their case studies.
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Cameras / Video Recorders

• Our very first digital camera was the Sony Cyber-shot DSCF505. This great camera met our needs at the time of being able to take landscape and standard photos, as well as macros with it huge barrel shape lens. During its life with us, it performed admirably, needing only one service when the shutter button started to play up. This was no doubt due to the extensive use we made of the camera in a variety of environments, from frosty cold mornings, through to dusty outback roads. At the time, our staff were happy with just having a LCD screen from which to compose the shot, although they did complain there were drawbacks when they tried to compose shots in full sunlight. Other drawbacks raised also included the short battery life and no eyepiece.

So after some years that provided some great shots, we finally bit the bullet and retired the camera, replacing it with the Sony Cybershot DSC-F828.

What a difference. 8 mega-pixel, electronic view finder, a larger LCD screen with protective cover, great battery life.

It was decided that the team also needed a more portable camera, one that could slip in your pocket, try doing that with DSC-F828. After some consideration and team consensus, we settled on the Sony DSC-W100. Although the team is still learning all its features, they are producing some great images, when they least expect it. Just have a look at their recent dingo pictures: 1, 2, 3.
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• Cameras / Video Recorders Links
Sony • Check out the site for details on all their cameras.
Digital Photography Review • A great site that provides camera reviews, buying guidelines, forums and heaps more info.
DP Expert - Digital Photography News and Reviews • A great site with digital photography news and reviews, and some great images.
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Computer Accessories

Flexible Keyboard
• We purchased the flexible/foldable keyboard from Harvey Norman (KB-IC618W-USB $44.95 8-Dec-2005). It proved to be a waste of money, barely lasting 4 months.
Notebook Stand
• Available from Atdec, the Visidec Traveller 14T (Slimdec).

When we saw, this stand, it looked great. It was compact, light, and easily slipped into any small space within our 4WD. It also provided the base of the laptop with airspace for ventilation.

The stand comes in two sizes for those with the larger 17" widescreen laptops.
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• Computer Accessories Links
Atdec • Products include, flat screen and laptop monitor mounts.
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