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Geek Shaykh - Travel Blogging Gadgets

Geek Shaykh - Travel Blogging Gadgets

Issue 73 October 2010

If you fancy yourself as an Ibn Battuta of the modern age, you wouldn’t want to be left out in the rain without the proper equipment. Robi Chowdhury selects some backpack essentials for the keen traveller.


The Kodak PlayTouch


“...and action!”

I remember an old uncle of mine who considered himself to be a bit of an intrepid traveller and broadcast journalist. He was of course neither, but that did not stop him from lugging a huge JVC camcorder on his shoulder when travelling. It was a colossal beast of a camcorder and would be a nightmare to take around when he travelled.
These days, video blogging on the go is much easier. After searching the market for the best mini camcorder (there are quite a few out now), Kodak promises to deliver us a worthwhile opponent in the shape of Kodak PlayTouch.
The PlayTouch is set to have a glare-resistant, 3inch touch screen, which works out well when shooting in daylight. Other features are to include a range of editing effects, image stabilisation and face-tracking abilities.
It doesn’t end there. The camera is said to have a USB jack that comes out with incredibly intuitive connectivity functions, which allow you to upload to YouTube or Facebook. You can even tag images of people straight from the camera.
What sold it for us was the ability to attach an external microphone through the jack (there’s an onboard mic there too). With HDMI output and SD expansion slots, the PlayTouch is definitely a camera worth slipping into your backpack.
Price – tba


✔ An all-rounder
✔ Features to arm a news team
✗ It doesn’t have onboard memory, so don’t lose that SD card!


The Sony ICDPX820 Digital Voice Recorder


“Captain’s Log...stardate 987654321..

There will be plenty of moments on any expedition when you won’t be able to jot everything down on your moleskin leather-bound journal. The Sony ICD-PX20 Digital Voice Recorder has a number of features including voice-operated recording, 2GB of internal flash memory, USB port to connect to your computer, and a dictation correction function that lets you, in essence, cut, copy and paste through long streams of audio. A useful gadget to have if you want to capture a memory as and when it happens.


✔ Excellent connectivity options
✔ Portable and fits nicely in your pocket
✗ Memory needs to be increased
✗ Design is a bit dated


Acer Aspire One 533 Net-book

“Dear Diary…”

Keep your blog users (and friends and family, of course) up to date with your trip by publishing as you go along. I’ve had some terrible experiences of dodgy internet cafes on street corners in foreign countries. Avoid my misfortunes by buying yourself an Acer Aspire One 533 net-book. It comes standard with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity along a vivid 10.1 inch display screen. It has a single-core processor at 1.83GHz, but uses DDR3 memory for better performance.     


✔ Very portable - one of the smallest we’ve seen so far
✗ It’s a single-core processor, so chances of being able to play World of Warcraft on it are slim


Deen Screen - What we found on the net



9/11 Happened to Us All
“I’m a New York City fire-fighter. I responded to 9/11 and I am a Muslim” - so ends just one of a number of ‘anti-bigotry Public Service Announcements (PSAs)’ created by CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations). The series of short 30 second commercials is a PR initiative aimed for broadcast on national TV in the US.


Get Civil at Ground Zero
With the controversy surrounding the Park 51 Mosque being built in New York, a number of organisations have got together to showcase the inter-faith projects that are taking place and which might otherwise fail to reach mainstream news. This is the story of local communities of all faiths who got together to build a more cohesive society.


Tech Note - Not being in the loop


I was in Bangladesh when the news broke out of the Allied forces entering Baghdad for the second time. I remember hearing about it briefly on the single TV channel they had there.
I was a college student who had begun to blog a little and I felt frustrated at the lack of news trickling into the country. The strange thing was that no-one else was bothered. Why? Because they were all happy to wait the next day for the paper to arrive on their doorstep.
I ventured out to find an internet cafe and logged onto the BBC website through a dial-up connection, resorting to opt for a text only version of the site.
I started my write up when I eventually began to figure out what was happening 20 minutes later.
I had got used to instant news here in the UK, with information coming in from broadband internet, TV, radio and even through SMS news alerts coming in on my phone.
My frustration was lost on everyone there who couldn’t understand how anyone would be able to process a constant stream of information, coming at us 24 hours a day.
Whenever you hear about a disaster in a third world country, you are hit by a truckload of media coverage here with tearful and impoverished children. It makes you ponder just how aware they are of events unfolding around them.

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