Yes, as the title of this entry hints, I’ve just returned from a Hawaiian vacation. And because I have (and I don’t have the power to plant each of you on my living room sofa and force you to digest my endless vacation photos) it’s time to recount memories of my time away.
But to justify their telling in this space (as well as appease my editor who gives me The Look when I stray too far off track) I’ll confine my musings to those things technological and, more specifically, iPodological. In short: What I Did On My Summer Vacation in a Technological Sense That Helped While Away a Long Plane Ride and, Upon Arrival, Entertain Wife, Child, and Friends.
When I drive more than 15 miles from my home office I pack a small bag of gear—an iPod or two, an FM transmitter for the car, and a stereo-to-RCA audio Y-cable (because you never know when you’re going to need to jack your iPod into a friend’s stereo). Such a small collection of equipment won’t do for an extended stay half-way across the Pacific. Into the backpack (I’m currently carrying the
LowePro CompuRover AW, which accommodates lots of gear, my digital SLR and lenses, and the MacBook Pro) goes:
30GB 5G iPod This is my For-the-Plane iPod. On it I loaded the most recent episodes of my favorite podcasts, the first season of
Heroes, and the last few episodes of the third season of
Lost (note that Lost isn’t really the best show for nervous fliers to watch).
80GB 5G iPod This is the Family-and-Car iPod. Used to be that I trucked a portable DVD player on a plane so my daughter could watch her favorite movies. No longer. Using
VisualHub I rip our favorite DVDs (HandBrake) and convert other videos (VisualHub) and place them on Apple’s most expansive iPod. A good chunk of my music collection also goes on this iPod as does enough pictures of the homeland so my daughter doesn’t miss the cats too much.
Putting the big hunk of music on the iPod turned out to be a fortuitous thing. The trumpet player in my band and his family were staying on the island at the same time. I invited them up for an ono dinner (and honestly, if I were a member of this species I’d lobby hard to have my name changed from the Hawaiian word for delicious , regardless of how apt). While we enjoyed the traditional Mai Tais on the lanai, he mused that now would be the perfect time to hear Isreal Kamakawiwo’ole’s
Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World. It just so happens I had a copy on the iPod. Dash to the living room, navigate to it (while just missing
Son of a Preacher Man ), and there’s your perfect Mai Tai accompaniment.
8GB iPhone I’m willing to allow one movie to eat up a huge hunk of my iPhone’s limited storage space. Currently that movie is my daughter’s favorite Wallace & Gromit romp,
Curse of the Were-Rabbit. She loves the movie (as do I) and I want her to be able to view it on the biggest pocket-portable screen I can provide. The iPhone is it.
Media matters aside, in strange lands I increasingly rely on the iPhone’s Maps application. It found much of what I sought on the Big Island—fish market, dive shop, and the University of Hawaii, Hilo (where I spoke with the local Macintosh users group,
Hawaii Mac Nuts ).
DLO TransPod DLO’s
TransPod remains my favorite auto-based FM transmitter. It’s an older model, it’s got a lot of power, and it accommodates either my iPods or my iPhone.
Griffin Technology iTrip (Dock) I suspected I’d also need an indoor FM transmitter—one that would work with whatever radio/stereo our accommodations provided. I did and used Griffin’s
iTrip Dock transmitter for the job. It’s compact and reasonably powerful. Fortunately, the Hawaiian FM band is uncrowded so it was easy to find a clear signal.
SendStation PocketDock AV Curse of the Were-Rabbit gets multiple plays and while the version on the iPhone is good for a plane flight, when there’s a widescreen TV available, why go for portable playback? SendStation’s
PocketDock AV is the world’s most adaptable iPod adapter. The thing jacks into an iPod’s dock connector port and provides USB, S-Video, Composite video, and RCA audio connections in the form of an octopudlian cable. With it I was able to jack the 80GB iPod into the condo’s TV and serve up a heapin’ helpin’ of were-rabbit.
FS1 earphones For my personal listening pleasure I have a set of
FS1 earphones (made by
FutureSonics and sold by XtremeMac). These aren’t your run-of-the-mill FS1s—these use custom molds designed specifically for my ears—so your mileage may vary. But, because they’re made for my ears (so very comfy) and I like their sound, they’re currently the best earphones I own.
Waterfield Designs Large iPod Gear Pouch Yes, to the untrained eye the
iPod Gear Pouch looks exactly like a woman’s clutch purse. But it is not (and even if it were, I’m confident enough in my masculinity to carry it openly). It provides enough storage for holding (and nicely organizing) all my iPod gear save the TransPod.
And more? Sure, I had an entire backpack to fill with computer, computer accessories, cables, cameras, lenses, and the camera’s accessories. But for pure portable multimedia satisfaction, my needs were well met with this collection of gadgets and gear.