Tag Archives: travel

WiFi storage for your smartphone on the go

For Christmas I had requested a new gadget for myself – the Ravpower RP-WD01 Wifi disk. As the resident gadget geek I figured I better review this device so that other people can benefit from the awesomeness of it!!!

What prompted me to want a WiFi disk in the first place?
I use my iPhone as my camera while I am travelling – it is always with me, usually in my hand, takes decent photos and videos, and is easy to use. The problem I ran into was running out of storage space and having to delete photos or videos so that the next day I had room again. I don’t like to carry a laptop unless I am working – so an iTunes backup wasn’t possible. My plan had been to just connect to the hotel WiFi and upload the files to Dropbox. Nice idea if the WiFi signal had been stronger than 0.00000002 kb/s on a good day!

When I got my new iPhone 5S I was impressed with the AirDrop functionality to share files, contacts, photos with other iPhone users around me. I wondered if there was an external drive that could do the same thing for files? A search of the web didn’t find me an AirDrop drive, but I did come across the Ravpower WiFi drive.

What is a Wifi drive?
This device creates its own WiFi network when you turn it on – then you connect your device to this network and open an app to move files between the device and the drive – or just open the drive files on your device.

So at the end of each day on my travel adventures I can simply turn on this drive, connect to the WiFi and drag all my photos and video from the phone to the drive!

And its really fast – I was able to move from my iPhone to the drive, on average 100 photos and/or movies in about 2 mins. Beat that crappy hotel WiFi – probably have taken me 2 mins just to log into the Dropbox site!

Its not just a drive though
No, this little beauty is a multipurpose gadget for under $50. The actual device doesn’t have any on-board storage – you use SD cards (or micro-SD cards with an SD adapter) or attach an external USB drive. This gives you flexibility in how you organize your storage – back up everything to a hard drive and store just music or photos on different SD cards.

 NAS File Server
Up to 5 devices can connect to the WiFi and view/share photos, music and videos. You can even have 2 people watching different movies at the same time – great for travelling families!

WiFi Hotspot
Connect the drive to your local WiFi network and it can become a hotspot for other devices. Share files and access the internet at the same time.

Backup Battery Charger
The drive charges via a micro USB post – cable is included in the package. It is a 3000 mAh charger so you can keep your smartphone taking pictures for a wee bit longer.

Transfer files between devices and laptop
This one was not so much of a big deal to me – there are windows and Mac apps that can be used to access the drive via WiFi so that files can be copied over. My point of having the device was to make carrying a laptop not necessary – or I could copy my photos into iTunes.

I did use this to copy my entire iTunes music library onto an SD card so that I can access all my music on the road without having to stream via cellular service unless I want to.

Does this work with Android and Apple?
It certainly does – there is an iOS app to use with it and an Android version too.

What about a PC or Mac?
Yes again, instructions and software can be found on the Ravpower download page.

How much does it cost?
Currently the drive can be picked up on Amazon for $45 – Prime members will get free shipping with that too. The apps are free.

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Wifi not so reliable…

I am just back from a vacation to Scotland – took some of my buds over with me!! In preparation for this trip I kind of went on a tech gadget spending spree.  Shock  horror, yes I spent some of my hard earned dosh.

Picked up my Ipod Touch and a netbook and some headphones with the special built in microphone for the Touch. Then I signed up to Skype, iCall and FlightStatus.

All of this was designed to make it easy for me to stay in touch with UK and US people while I was in the UK. Needless to say, actual performance of this did not live up to expectations.

Not that it was the hardware that was a problem. Wasn’t even the software that caused me much in the way of issues. No, it was the darn wifi network connectivity that was dismal!

The hotel wanted to charge me $15  for 24 hour wifi access – or use the PC for free in the reception area – guess what I chose! So then I was like, no biggie, just got to find one of these wifi cafe places – like McDonald’s or Starbucks. Yes, they had them, but we were never going to them when I needed the access. Can’t very well drag my friends of to McDonald’s while I make a Skype call to book a restaurant for dinner!

Even at the airport which had signs posted all around about free public wifi – never once was I or anyone around me able to connect to it. Sometimes I could connect, but the response was so slow I would have used up my battery before I got my tweet out!

In Edinburgh I gave up and bought a pay as you go cellphone for $50. The cellphones there are so much more advanced than US ones – it even has an FM radio in it! Everyone texts over there, and I now understand why it is so popular – no PC and always connected!

The Skype account was actually quite good – I created an online number that was local to the UK so that anyone calling me in the UK can use a cheap call to get to me – even when I am in the US. It also lets you forward the call to another phone number – cell or land-line and then to voicemail.

Verizon gave me  global cell phone before I left, but even with the plan it would have cost 99c a minute – even to check voicemail. I was much to worried to use it often. Wouldn’t bother with this again.

The touch was still good – even without my precious internet access.  I downloaded an app before I left called Stanza which is like an ebook reader. They have a bunch of library books that are free – got a nice Agatha Christie one and then a new release book too. Invaluable when jet-lag kicks in at 3.30am!!!

So next time, I will take my new phone over to the UK and just get a new SIM card for it – sound all geeky now, but the lady in Carphone Warehouse set the phone all up for me – phew!!! Then I can text my buds and not feel like such an offline loser when I have to ask how to send an SMS….

I am just so Touched!

A few weeks ago I bought an Ipod Touch. It was one of those gadgets that had been sitting at the back of my mind, but not enough to make me run out and buy one. I don’t know what happened though…oh yes, I remember now. I am going for a vacation trip to Scotland and won’t be staying with my Mum. How is one to stay connected on the web if you have no PC with you?

I didn’t want to bring a laptop – too much hassle. So I was looking for alternative. Just needed something that would let me surf basically. I looked into a blackberry, but I was dubious about the whole cell phone data transfer costs.

Into my radar pops the Touch – uses wifi so no cell phone contract and it looks cool and is cheaper than a laptop. Who could ask for more? Course, I had to have one right there and then – instant gratification and all that!

Oh, how it changed my life…well maybe not quite that extreme, but I do love it. Amazing how many places have wifi available now. I downloaded some free apps that let me do quick currency conversions, bank account checking, free voip calls, airline checking options, weather and time for specific locations, Google maps and toilet finder based on location and of course games.

I’m not a big gamer – but I am addicted to Solitaire again. It also changed my TV viewing habits. I can surf while I watch TV on the couch. /never realized how distracting Twitter could be when watching CSI!!! I now find that every 10 mins I have to check if I have new email of tweets. I check the news before I go to sleep at night. Ahhh, portable web surfing in the palm of your hand – I LOVE it!

And there are so many cool FREE apps that let you play. I have one that lets you make your own bobble heads out of any picture you have loaded. Another one lets you tap a drum set along with any music you are playing. Stupid little things, but fun to amuse friends with.

I got the 8gb version and I still have a load of space left. Probably if I was really into the games I would be better of with a bigger version. For now though, this little gadget suits me just fine.

Scrabble

So I played Scrabble for the first time in years with my Mum the other day – she has been ill so I have been back in Scotland helping her recover. For all that she has been ill, she managed to beat me in both games!

Got me wondering though, does Scrabble in the US have more z’s in it than the UK version since there are more words that use a z where we (proper English types) use s’s?

Prioritise – prioritize!

Now I can’t think of anymore, but I know there are quite a few.

Amazing how your mind can go a complete blank when faced with trying to think of a word with a J in it somewhere! Course, my Mum used to be a nurse so she had all these words that I felt were a little dubious. We actually had to dig out the dictionary because I wasn’t convinced. She was right though!