Wednesday, July 06, 2011


In the midst of the crazy things going on around here, I have felt compelled to do some serious updating of our household technology. Our upcoming trip to England has been one main excuse reason. Because, of course, one needs to sort out one's access to home and world before setting off to venture to another continent.

First, the cellphone issue. We wanted to make sure that we could get calls from the US and the discovery that my little old Blackberry is not global capable set up a whole set of decisions. I will spare you the details but I will show you the outcome:

Is this not the most delightful thing you've ever seen?! My friend Helen found this pay-as-you-go phone for me for the bargain price of £1. I can't imagine why the British aren't snapping these right up. It even comes with a "God Save the Queen" ringtone. I am thrilled. Helen has commented that it will also be useful as a finding device should we become separated -- all she has to do is ask the nearest person "have you seen my American friend?" and everyone will point at me and my obnoxious Royal Wedding phone.

And then there was the "do we bring laptops" question and again, after some pondering this was the outcome:

iPad. I am writing this very post on it, in fact. It is quite wonderful and it promises to make the 13 hour flights to and from Europe quite fun. I can get lost just reading about apps, never mind downloading and using them. (By the way, if you have any great app recommendations, I'd love to hear them.). Hmmm, I wonder if there is a Royal Wedding IPad cover? (Just kidding, Helen! I have a tasteful solid red one.)

But wait, there's more. In the process of making the IPad decision -particularly the "wifi only or wifi+3G" question -- I learned that the price difference between the wifi only and the wifi+3G was pretty much the same as an Iphone4 . No brainer, yes?

This actually makes great sense given how much I dislike my old Blackberry. But all this stuff at once has me in a techno-whirl. This probably means that all of my airport and airplane time will be spent reading the instructions for all of these exciting things.

Now that it has taken me all morning to figure out how to write and post a blog post from the IPad, I'd best get some chores done. But I will be humming "God Save the Queen" as I go.


  1. Looking forward to calling you on your British phone.

  2. Isn't this a great time we live in?! (well, in technology terms, anyway)

    I am so envious of your trip to England, but I know you are going only out of duty to check up on the 12 x 12 quilts. Carry on...

  3. I love my iPad! I use the Flipboard app to read Feds from Google Reader and Facebook -Fabu as Mlody would say.

    If you had bought the 3G option, they do a great deal in pre-paid microsims in Australia but I hope you will come and visit sometime anyway!

  4. An iPad stylus is a good investment too. It makes typing much easier!

  5. I should say - I bought the phone for Diane anonymously online and had it shipped in a non identifiable plastic bag and delivered when I was out. But I did have to go into a local shop and check that the thing would take international calls. Is the willingness to be so humiliated the very definition of friendship?

  6. I love the phone! There's no way you'll confuse it with anyone else's. That whole international phone call thing is a pain. My SIL gave us her old euro cell when she was traveling a lot and upgraded to one that went both ways. I had a hack of a time getting it to work in the US when we moved back here. I did make it work though. We got an iPhone more recently though, and I am so much happier with it. My mom has an iPad and now travels with it exclusively. Her laptop stays at home. Enjoy your new toys!

  7. awesome! The royal phone is hilarious. Good choices, one and all! I hope you'll update us on your adventures while you're there--godspeed!

  8. I think you are technologically set for this trip. My favorite apps are TED for the videos and blogpress, which makes it really easy for you to continue to write your blogs on the road. And thank to Helen for humiliating herself

  9. Except for your British phone, I have the other two, and I love both of them. I call the iPad "me" and the iPhone "mini me." I also HATED my Blackberry and was ever so happy when I got the iPhone. Have fun.

  10. I love my iPhone and my iPad--
    the latter was purchased for our trip to Eng/Ire in May.
    If you'll be in London, you might want to download the tube map and the conversion app from $ to £...
    Enjoy learning!

  11. Some other travel aps include:
    world clock- time zones
    Wi-fi finder
    XE Currency
    Google Translate
    Hey Tell - voice messenger

  12. Oh and FlightBoard too

  13. Brenda, thanks for the amazing recommendations. I'm in love with Flipboard.

  14. Have a wonderful trip and enjoy your new technology apples! The ipad is on my wish list ever since I bought the Color Nook. I'm enjoying it so much that I feel I need the ipad size for magazines and of course all the apps I don't know about yet but will certainly need!

  15. Diane, I have so many craft apps on my ipod I need three screens to show them all. I am green with envy towards anyone who has an ipad, but...maybe I'll let you get away with it. Make sure you take stanza and plenty of good ebooks

  16. Using mobile overseas can be expensive (insanely so, if you are from Australia - we ended up with a bill for thousands (yes!) of dollars the first time we took our iphone over). Now we take the sim out at the airport and put in a European sim the moment we arrive (I bought a pre-paid sim in Poland in a corner shop - they seem to be accessible everywhere - it is blindingly easy. You can also buy a recharge in every corner and cigarette shop). And then you let you nearest and dearest know your new number (texting isn't that expensive between continents) and you are in business.
    Also, you can buy telephone cards that make calls overseas quite cheap.
    And there are applications on the ipad that let you talk over the internet of course (take the ipad out of its cover if you do so - had some bad experiences before I figured it out).
    ipad apps I love: Kindle (a nice addition to the native ibooks, very good to use),
    telephone applications (come in useful sometimes)
    PyramidZ HD (veeery addictive, but fun)
    Between the ipad and the iphone (both on local sims) I managed to manage my business (answering calls and booking new clients for when I return) for a month in Europe. I had a telephone company that would answer my Australian phone number and send me information on e-mail.
    Have fun,