Any future technology rants can be found here: TECHNOLOGY page
I will no longer update this file as the world has changed since I wrote it, but will keep the old updates for entertainment and nostalgia purposes.
2012 - I originally wrote this a long time ago when I was still working out how I wanted to communicate on the road. I now have it pretty much settled.
I keep this website up to date, when I get the chance. The stories and pictures are all here. I update my Blog only when I want the world to know I have an updated post. People can get E-Mail notifications of new posts from there.
I keep a cheap cell phone in the US for emergencies, and I have a Skype account that allows me to make free video calls to anyone that has a Skype account. It also allows me to make very cheap phone calls to land lines from anywhere.
No other communication technology is needed or desired.
One of the goals of this blog is to keep in touch when I am moving fast. One capability that this blog has is to allow text messaging from a phone.
SO..... When I am on the road and have phone capabilities I can text to say I am alive....
I can also do this using a quick e-mail if for some reason that will be easier.
I finally broke down and got a web site all my own. whereisbobl.com is through hostmonster.com I had been using free services up until this point but they did not allow me to set them up the way I really wanted to, and they kept changing. The last straw was when Googlepages.com ended and was going to transfer to a new site. They eliminated the ability to put HTML files on the site.
At a minimum, I wanted to register a site name so that it would not change all the time. Ideally, I would be able to maintain the paths and such that point to individual file names so that if some one posted a link to my site, it would not change some time in the future.
I was already paying for a SMUGMUG photo site. There were things I liked about the site, and things I did not. BUT, it was costing me money each year. There was no real difference in price between the cost of both registering a site name along with the smugmug site and the price of just getting my own hosted site with my own name. So I went for it.
The new site also allows me to do FTP transfers, give others a place to upload, download pics and files, store pics etc. For printing of pics, I can always put them up on a number of free sites. My favorite currently being snapfish.com, although I find Wallmart.com to be acceptable.
That is an excellent question. Looking at the blogs that I read, they are a great way of putting out your observations while traveling as well as letting friends and family know where you are. It also allows readers to comment on your posts. For me, this is the best part of other people's posts as it turns a simple post into a conversation.
For me, I don't know. I have always liked writing a personal journal of my travels. I did this before computers, and would like to continue. I seldom go back to read them, but just the act of writing them is enjoyable. When I started doing a few interesting trips after the Internet became popular, I started sending out e-mails of my trips. People told me how much they liked the stories. So I continued. I created a website on a free host and made the stories available to anyone. This also allows better backing up, as well as photo handling.
I like writing and reading regular stories of trips. Multi-page stories with both intricate details of the travels and general observations. So..... That is what I tend to write. It helps that I have never been one to bring a computer on my trips and since internet access is intermittent on the road I tended to write a LOT in one sitting. But, most people would rather read stories in bits and pieces, and be able to comment on them.
I am going to try Blogging in the future. I have not decided what I will do with it, but Ii will try it.
I am thinking that I will still do what I have done in the past. That is, keep one detailed journal that is dry, boring and factual for future reference. This one has miles, costs etc. Then, I will keep my blog, which will include interesting stories, insights and blathering idiotic rants. At times, I will combine the best of these rants along with other stories or whatever, into a page that suits my preference. This will be a better edited version of the kinds of things I put in my blog.
Of course, I have to take trips to give me any real content. I have not taken a big or unusual trip since my Argentina Trip a number of years ago.
Do you have trouble reading web pages? Do you wish you could make the text bigger? Lines too long?
Well, if you use Mozilla Firefox for an Internet Browser, life is easy. You just hold the Ctrl key and hit the + key. The text will get bigger, the pics will get bigger but the words will still word wrap.
If you use Micro$oft's Internet Explorer, you can still use Ctrl + but it makes the entire page bigger. This means the text will move off the page. You can either go into your prefferences and change your text prefference, or, better, you can go into Tools - Prefferences - Internet Options then pick Accessibility. Then choose "Ignore Font Sizes Specified in Web Pages". This makes MOST web pages easier to read when you make the text bigger.
On some pages, such as some of the Blogger programs, doing this will mess with the format of the page. Not on my pages. Mine are too simple. The text format and screen color you see when viewing one of my pages is the one you specified in your browser. You don't like it, you are in complete control.
If I get complaints, I will change my format to have the total area narrower. This will keep the text from running off the page too soon.
To Blog or not to Blog, that is the question.
Most of the people who travel use a blog program such as Blogger from Google or WordPress. Both of these programs work very well for most people to keep a travel diary. These programs are free and have lots of options. You can put them on your own website or use their servers.
These programs are simple to use, but the coding in the pages is not too simple. I am a simple guy and like to keep things simple. I want complete control over what happens. To do this requires me to write my own Internet code.
So, do I use Blogger or do I just make my own pages? Since I seldom go on trips, and tend to have very little down time while on them, I think that, at least for now, I will use Blogger to write the posts, then copy them into my own pages for future reference.
Future reference is probably the thing that keeps me from liking most programs. I have been, in the past, a victim of changing programs making work I did impossible to use. Text seems to be the ONLY true standard. Even then, some programs use different code for line breaks. Ultra simple HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) or internet code is effectively plane text with only a few very minor text notes for formatting.
It may not be pretty, but it works great, in my opinion.
I have been trying to determine which of the assorted technologies have any use for me whether I am traveling or not. Really, what I am doing right now is practicing and trying out my new BLOG and Website.
In the past I tried all kinds of things to keep in touch. I finally settled on e-mail and a simple web site. I graduated to also using a Photo Site called SMUGMUG.COM. This worked for a lot of my trips because I would have long stretches of time where I was completely out of touch (some say I still am out of touch) and then long stretches where I did not have much else to do but sit at a computer. Then, when I got home I liked to sit down and collect all these things together. People said they enjoyed my reports too. I really started these things for myself, sort of like a personal travel diary, but it expanded to everyone reading them. I have not been on an unusual trip in a long time, but it is time to restart.
These days, bringing a computer along on a trip is almost necessary. Maybe not for shorter trips, but for longer ones, absolutely.
There are so many ways to keep in touch on the road or from day to day. One recent big one is Twitter.com. This is sort of like a mini-blog. You can put small posts up to 140 characters long on this site. People can read these posts, comment on them and have them sent directly to their cell phones or e-mail. The posts and comments can be submitted using text messaging, e-mail or on-line. What good is it? Good question. Friends can keep informed as to where they are so they can find each other and party. Unlike a text message, no response is expected, so you don't feel guilty if you don't respond. There is a device that you can make that will "tweet" you with your instantaneous or average energy usage for the device it is hooked up to. There are some news people that are using it, as is NASA and the Government. If NASA is using it, it must be good. I have looked at a few peoples twitter sites and I really don't get it, but then, I am not a twenty-something. I don't even answer my home phone, much less use a cell phone for texting.
There is one use I can think of... For keeping in touch with Friends and family when you will be busy. I could set up a basic text message on my Cell phone, then add only the location I am at and hit send. This will go to whoever cares. Or they can check on my twitter page.
Will I do this? I don't think so. I have the capability to text to my BLOG if I like. It won't send out to cell phones, but I don't see that as being necessary. I can set it up to send out to e-mail, in case someone wants to be hassled by this crap. I really can't think of too many times that I would want to tell anyone where I am RIGHT NOW... Eventually, sure, but not right now.
Social Networking Site? Is that legal? Is it dangerous?
Facebook is another free on-line networking site. Is it something I am interested in? Oh hell no! Frankly, I REALLY don't want to be that connected to anyone, much less the world. I really don't understand. But that is not new.
There are a lot of these. Young people want to be connected and have not learned the value of anonymity. I suppose I might have been one of those people if I was born 25 years later than I was.
This one and other is out.
E-Mail lists are actually a reasonable way to keep in touch. You can specify who is on them, or not and who can look at them. This is actually a pretty good way to send out monthly updates. I have one, as an experiment, but I don't think I will be using it. What I think I will do is set up one on my website that people can sign up to, and I will just send out e-mail saying when something new is up on my site. If people want, they can subscribe to my BLOG. An e-mail list that does not allow others to add to it is kind of senseless, and I don't want others to be able to say anything they want, unedited on-line.
My website has an option for some kind of e-mail list. I think I can set this up for others to sign up, or take themselves off, and I can send out a reminder once in a while when something interesting is up there.
I want to have stories and pictures and other things on-line for people to see and for my own reference. I want these things to be there for a long time without change. I want people to find it easy, if they know what they are looking for.
I created my own personal Web Page called WhereIsBobL.com . This works pretty good. I have had some sort of web site for a long time, but they kept changing the rules, the sizes, the addresses etc. I really wanted something that could be mirrored on my hard drive in a simple way that I could use and control. I also did not want the address changing on on me.
So, what will I do with it?
Photos will be stored in an easily viewable manner. I can pick my size and how they are displayed, who can see them, who can download them etc.
Stories can be put on the web with pics in the directory structure I want, and the link will not be changed. That way if someone links to one of my stories, the link will not disappear.
I can store my BLOG on-line and make backups, having control over the way it displays. I can change BLOG programs if I want without a ton of hassle or lost data.
I see having my own web site as being a good thing. How, exactly I end up using it is anyone's guess.
Last but not least is a BLOG. This is a Web Log, kind of an on-line daily diary. You can use it anyway you want, people can leave comments if you want. People can sign up to be notified of changes. You can limit who can see it.
There are plenty of free ones out there. These usually post small advertisements on the page in exchange for the free service. You can add your own ads to get a little money if you have a lot of visitors. You need a LOT of visitors to make any money.
Blogs are good in that they are SIMPLE to edit, post and read. It is simple for readers to comment on posts. This can be open or you can require the comments to be approved of before they are posted to the site. Posts can be edited any time and are set up by date. They are not perfect. They can only be displayed newest first so reading from some specific date towards the future in a normal timeline requires a small effort.
A Blog post can be as long or as short as you want, and photos are easy to add. The pics can be ANYWHERE on the Internet. Your website, in the Blog storage area, on another website.
Although I am not a FAN of Blogging, it is a super simple way to publish stories. This is especially true if you want to write your story in small bits as you go along. I still prefer to read a multi-page story, preferably one that I can print and read at my leisure, but a Blog makes posting so simple, it is worth the slight extra effort in reading.
I will use Blogging. I will probably also copy the posts that are pertinent into a multi-page story every once in a while so that those that wish can read that way.
The last (for now) post on how I will use these things called tech.
I will maintain a Blog. This will allow people to get on-line and see what is up now.
I will maintain a web-site. This will allow me to keep photos, and to keep people informed of past trips and stories.
I will not get on Twitter, Facebook or any of the other goofy sites. I will keep things simple, the way I like them.
Thu 5/28/09 7:00 PM
Blogger Wade Vagabond Journey.com said...
I think that Blogger was a good choice. I use both the Blogger and Wordpress blogging systems, and have found the former much easier to work with and adapt to do what I want it to.
May 28, 2009 10:28 PM
Bob L said...
Wade, you suck. Just when I had decided to stick with truly basic HTML posts on my web site, and to stay away from any blogging program, you screw it up.
Comments add so much to a Blog or web site, and blogger just works too well to try to do comments on your (my) own.
I don't trust programs not to screw things up. A good example of this is some of the old comments on Andy's site. They have lost all formatting. But, the more posts you have, the harder it is to change anything on your own.
Don't Ride Slow
May 28, 2009 6:57 PM
Wade Vagabond Journey.com said...
I suppose the tables have now turned. I was thinking the other day that someone should compile all of your comments that you publish on other people's sites and put them all together . . . but I suppose you can do that yourself haha.
I look forward to reading about your journeys and what you have to say.
I also look forward to commenting all over this thing as pay back for the years of good comments that you have but on the Vagabond Journey Travelogue haha.
I am happy to read what you are thinking . . . also a little scared that now there are no bounds haha.
May 28, 2009 11:08 PM
Bob L wrote:
Wade Wrote: "I was thinking the other day that someone should compile all of your comments that you publish on other people's sites and put them all together . . ."
Hmmm. That would be interesting to see. But kinda scary too....
Wade Wrote: "I look forward to reading about your journeys and what you have to say."
Thank you. I don't have plans for a lot of writing anytime soon. The only real trip I have planned in the near future is the IronButt Rally in the fall. The writing for that will most likely be just one big story at the end, and a bunch of pics. I really need to re-start my interesting travels soon. I hate planning, and want to do my travels with the motorcycle. This makes big travels difficult. There have been a number of things going on lately that has discouraged long term plans also. I am just about at the point where I can start thinking about the big trips again. OK, a big trip for me is three weeks. For you, three years. But we all do what fits us best at the moment
Wade Wrote: "I also look forward to commenting all over this thing as pay back for the years of good comments that you have but on the Vagabond Journey Travelogue haha."
I have to approve anything you write..... Be nice or I will ban you. He Haw.....
Wade Wrote: "I am happy to read what you are thinking . . . also a little scared that now there are no bounds haha."
There are more bounds on my own writing than on my comments on other's sites. Remember, I have a bit of anonymity on other's sites. On my own site, family, friends and co-workers are going to read it. I try never to forget that the Internet is forever. I have done searches and found things that I have written AND deleted from a bunch of years ago. Fortunately I try to never write anything anonymously that I would be upset if my name was attached to it so the things I find are fine.
It takes years of hard work and good living to build a good reputation, and mere suspicion to destroy it.
I hope you keep up writing now that you have all the "extra baggage". I am very interested in how people transition from solo travelling to couple travelling and then to family traveling. Craig seldom writes anymore. I suppose if you continue to walk slow, then you can manage it.
May 29, 2009 6:20 PM
Wade | Vagabondjourney.com said...
You are right on here about the potential for systems to screw up. . . which is why I tried leaving Blogger a couple of times . . . but I feel as if I lost too much in doing so. AND what I did on my own also has the potential for being screwed up (although I gratefully take my screwups over another person's haha). When it comes down to it, Blogger is a pretty simple system . . . and can be controlled easily.
But watch out -- it messes up occasionally. . . but it has a tendency to fix itself eventually. I don't worry about it much anymore haha.
May 29, 2009 7:10 PM
Bob L said...
You have TONS of posts. If I was doing what you do, I would also be using Blogger as a main location for posts. I do not expect to post often, and the posts I do create are likely to be large. The only reason I am still thinking about using Blogger is that it is easy to deal with comments. And comments complete a journal type of web site. That was what kept me e-mailing my stories out when I traveled.
But, you are right in what you say about blogging helping one think. It is really what got me started with paper journals, and later the electronic world. It not only helps me think while writing it, but it helps me think during the day, as I look at things/situations and think about what I would write about this... For me, photos do the same. I take photos not so much for the eventual display, but as a way of helping me look at the world.