Family Vacation 2021 - Travel Tech
June 19, 2021
Recently, I took my family on vacation, and decided to bring a pared down set of tech with me. I am going to walk through some of my experiences with the tech that I brought, though I have to admit that I did not get a whole lot of time to utilize any of it.
The End of Microsoft on the Phone
On my phone, I mostly ended the foray with a Microsoft phone and deleted the Microsoft Launcher and a lot of the applications that support it. The launcher was just buggy and did not work properly. I am still making heavy use of OneDrive and the other Office applications. What I have used the most is the ability to open a document on any device and pick up where I left off. It has really changed my workflow in writing articles for this blog.
Another thing that this has done is forced me to re-examine the default OS of the LG phone, and different settings. I have taken the time to tweak settings that I never looked into previously and have carried over my use of the gesture navigation and the folders that I was using with the Microsoft Launcher.
This is an area that surprised me a little. I brought a 20MP point-and-shoot camera, paired with my LG phone camera. I took several pictures that would be similar between the two, and despite the point-and-shoot being higher megapixel, the phone camera came out with better detail. Looking at the settings now, the Sony camera was set at 15MP 16:9 rather than 4:3 at 20PM, but that is still a higher MP. There is something to be said for the computational software that works behind the scenes on modern phone camera.
There was also the optical zoom. The Sony had 10x where the phone has 2x, and even using just the 2x, the picture quality quickly degrades. Since we went to the zoo, I liked being able to zoom in a little further with the Sony. For just taking quick shots while out with my family, I will reach for the phone every time. It is a lot faster, and the pictures are better.
This is where my biggest disappointment came during the trip. After a day at the zoo, I wanted to look at my pictures and do a little work on this article. I took the microSD card out of the camera, and slipped it into the card reader on the Pinebook Pro. However, much to my dismay, the card slid into a gap between the chassis and the actual card reader component. I was not aware that gap was even there or how it happened. I had used it just before the trip and there was no problem then.
I did not have the proper tools to take the bottom off the computer and fish the SD card out, so that rendered the camera unusable for the rest of the trip. Thankfully, this happened after the two most picture heavy days of the trip, and once I got home, I was able to pull the card out and there was no damage. I pulled the pictures off the card, and everything was good. This speaks to the quality of construction on the Pinebook Pro. I cannot imagine another laptop that I own having that trouble, with the one exception being the 2011 Acer Aspire, which has been opened multiple times and now requires a little glue to hold one part of the chassis shut.
The Pinebook Pro is a $200 laptop, and the build quality is one area that can really be seen. Moving forward, I see myself taking the older MacBook Pro with me instead. Everything about the machine is just a better experience, with the one exception being that it does not run Linux.
The Kindle Fire HD8 tablet was fine. I loaded it up with several books, put it in airplane mode, and was done. Thankfully, the white noise application worked without internet connection. And after a restart, the tablet was back to being pretty performant. This is not an iPad, or even the Kindle Fire HD 10, but I could quickly open books on it, navigate the UI, and connect it to a Bluetooth speak for playing white noise while we slept.
This trip did not afford a lot of time to sit around and play with technology. But what I brought worked, mostly. The Pinebook Pro was the biggest fail for me, and I think that machine is going to be relegated to a nice toy to play with, but not for anything that I need to rely on.