An Ode To My Lens: 2007-2012

My old and trusty 18-200mm lens
My old and trusty 18-200mm lens
I am here to say goodbye to an old friend. A friend who has traveled with me for the last five years and has seen most of the same incredible things which I have. A friend who has stuck by me when everything else left. A constant companion who has never left my side though good times and bad.

I am of course talking about my Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G VR DX Zoom Nikkor Lens.

The vast majority of photos you’ve seen on this site have been taken with the same lens. The 18-200mm VR Nikon lens is probably the most versatile lens in the world. It can take reasonable wide angle shots as well as zoom up to 200mm. When ever I go out for the day, I know I’ll have a 95% chance of dealing with whatever I come across with this lens.

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Traveling With Technology Part 1: International Electricity

This is part 1 of what will be a multi-part series on traveling with technology. As a blogger, technology entrepreneur and an extreme world traveler, I probably have as good an idea as anyone on what you need to know if you are going to travel with electronic gadgets. I’ll be posting a new update to the series each Saturday until it is over. I expect this series to run about 3 months given all the subjects I have outlined.


Electrical systems are easily the most confusing and least standardized thing travelers have to deal with. Back in the early 20th Century, there was a hodge-podge of electrical systems as different regions developed their grids independently of each other.

Today we are stuck with a bunch of standards that will confuse most travelers.

There are two primary ways in which electrical systems differ in different countries: voltage and electrical outlets (aka plugs, sockets or power points).
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A Year Traveling With the iPad

This is an overview of my year of traveling with an iPad. I’ve taken it overseas, used it on road trips, navigated with it on city streets and used it on the beach as well as in the mountains. I’ve probably done as much as anyone has in terms of traveling with this device since it was launched in 2010.

Over the last few months, I’ve been seeing a lot of other travelers with iPads. I’ve been rather surprised at how quickly they have become popular. They seem to have overtaken netbooks with the travelers I see in hotels and hostels. My guess is that over the next 5 years tablets and the iPad, in particular, will become the primary computing device travelers use, at least for short-term trips. They are lightweight, cheap and are capable of mobile internet in a large part of the world.

I’m well aware that this “review” is really late to the game as the iPad has been out for a while and is already on its second generation. Nonetheless, I’ve had many people ask me if they should take their iPad with them on trips of if they should buy one for an extended around the world trip.

I have owned both an original iPad as well as an iPad2. My original iPad was a 3G GSM and my iPad2 is a 3G CDMA model. The only accessory I have purchased for either model was a case: a rubber covering for the original and the smart cover for the iPad2. I have not used a keyboard with either iPad and have also been traveling with an iPhone and MacBook Pro as well.
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Travel Gear Review – Monster Cable, Outlets To Go Power Strip

I carry around a lot of electronics. Way more than most people who travel. For the first two and a half years of my trip I lugged around a big six outlet power strip that I was using on my home computer. It was a generic model I picked up a Home Depot and was built for the garage. It was big, it was heavy and I was more than happy to get rid of it.

I honestly never gave much thought to my power strip. The power strip is probably the lowest item on the totem pole in your traveling pack of technology. Nonetheless, when I was contacted by the folks at Monster Cable back in December and asked if I wanted to try their 6 outlet travel power strip, I jumped at the chance. Continue reading “Travel Gear Review – Monster Cable, Outlets To Go Power Strip”

What the iPad Will Mean for Me and Travel

In the few hours since the Apple iPad was announced, there has been a flurry of commentary about it, although few people have even used it yet. Here is what I think based on what I’ve seen so far, and how I see a device like this effecting me:

  • This will eliminate the need to carry books. Like many people who travel, I usually have books I carry with me. If you have ever had to carry a box of books while moving, you know they are heavy. Once you collect a few books, they become a big pain in the ass. The iPad not only eliminates the need to carry books (and probably guidebooks) but it also gives me instant, worldwide access to a giant English language bookstore, which is hard to find in many countries. Also, iBook (the new software) uses the open ePub standard, which Amazon doesn’t. In terms of competing with the Amazon Kindle, I’d say this kicks the Kindle’s ass. Most people who are pointing out the flaws are totally ignoring the use this device has an ebook reader. If you are a long term traveler, then this is a very big deal.
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    Travel Gear Review – Energizer 15 Minute AA and AAA Battery Charger

    Back in July, the attendees of TBEX got a bag full of free crap from companies, just like you’d get at any convention. Most of the stuff was junk you’d toss in the garbage, but we got one freebie which I thought was just awesome: a battery charger from Energizer. Not only was it a very practical piece of schwag, but it was a brilliant marketing move on the part of Energizer. Because I had the charger, I ended up buying their batteries and now I’m writing a blog post on their product. It was sort of like giving away the razor to sell the blades. Pure brilliance.

    Since then I’ve been buying more devices which require AA/AAA batteries so I’ve been putting the charger through its paces.

    Overview

    I currently carry four devices with me that require AA or AAA batteries: two flashes for my camera (Nikon SB-900 and SB-600), a wireless mouse and my Bose noise canceling headphones. Buying new batteries was fine when I just needed the two for my cordless mouse, but with the demands that strobes bring, I needed a rechargeable battery solution. The Energizer charger was given to all the attendees at TBEX 2009 for free, but all subsequent batteries I purchased myself. The charger retails for $33.96 on Amazon.com.
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