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In case you haven't heard, I'm planning a trip to Europe next year to walk the Camino de Santiago.  I will be walking 1,000 miles on foot over 2 1/2 months.  I want to streamline my gadgetry for the trip, but I don't want to do without.  Part of my goal is the document the journey electronically, and I want to do it without weighing myself down.  I figure I can organize my gadgets here.

First, I want to bring my iPhone.  As it happens, my contract with AT&T runs out in April, a month before I leave.  Here is my first big choice.  Do I renew my contract, thus nabbing a new phone with a better camera and twice the memory, or do I let the contract lapse and jailbreak the phone for European use?  The former strategy will allow me to automatically take and send photos and videos to my blog without having to break out the fancy big camera (yes, there will be a fancy big camera -- more on that later).  The latter strategy, however, seems more enticing.  An out-of-contract phone can be jailbroken without any real consequences (who cares if a I brick it), and a jailbroken phone could prove useful when I need to text or call a fellow pilgrim to meet up somewhere.  Also, I'd save money on cell phone fees.  Finally, by the time I get back, the next gen iPhone will come out (that usually happens in June).  

Since I will be so dependent on an iPhone for phone calls, emails, blogging, photography, etc, I want to make sure that survives the trip.  With that in mind, I'll be heading to REI for this little gem:


 


It's the Otterbox Defender.  It does all the regular things a super-armored case is supposed to do, but also adds water-resistence to the mix by putting a thin clear plastic sheet between me and the phone.  It isn't designed to take a dunk in the water, but it should be fine in a rainstorm. 

The second consideration is a camera.  Yes, I know it makes sense to just use my iPhone camera.  At least, it would make sense if I got the new iPhone, because it is an acceptable camera (the one I have is crappy).  Even with a new iPhone, though, the resolution and zoom would simply not be good enough for some of the images I want to take.   Also, I plan on bringing a Gigapan robotic housing unit that converts good cameras into massively high resolution panoramic cameras.  So you can see what I mean, here is a pic of a Gigapan with a camera mounted in it:
 



You can see my problem right away, now.  The robot is bulky.  The camera is bulky.  Both must attach to a tripod which must be equally bulky.  Rechargeable batteries (and possibly a solar unit) would also make this setup bulkier.  There's no way I can take a laptop, now.  Perhaps a netbook isn't out of the question, but I still wouldn't want to tax an itty bitty netbook with my massive gigapixel images.  I'm not even sure a netbook could handle such things.  

That is where Eye-Fi comes in.  A wireless wifi transmitter built into an SD chip:
 

With this baby, I can take as many photos as I want (within the 2G limit, of course) and whenever I walk through a wifi hotspot, it just automagically uploads all the photos to my Flickr account, obviating one of the reasons I would need a laptop in the first place.

Obviously this means I need a camera that is:

1. SDHC compatible, and
2. Gigapan compatible.  Also, I would prefer to have
3. as large an optical zoom capacity as possible, and
4. video capabilities.

Any recommandations?

More on my gadget condsiderations later.

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Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Aug. 1st, 2009 06:12 pm (UTC)
good luck, man!
Rico,

I have no wisdom to offer you, but I wish you good luck on your pilgrimage. I remember you talking about it when I met you last year.


Kevin (http://kevinswalk.blogspot.com)
(Anonymous)
Dec. 31st, 2010 06:55 pm (UTC)
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(Anonymous)
Jan. 1st, 2011 04:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Fabulous resource – now I don’t have to keep searching :)
(Anonymous)
Jan. 6th, 2011 06:26 am (UTC)
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(Anonymous)
Apr. 13th, 2011 02:53 pm (UTC)
Can't wait to get involved
Hey - I am certainly happy to discover this. cool job!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )