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Device for Taking Travel Notes?

simoniker posted more than 9 years ago | from the no-computer-but-computer dept.

Hardware 456

the Anonymous Wanderer writes "When I go in vacations, I like to take notes and upon return write a travel story for my friends. Until now I've been using a paper notebook, but found that I'm so busy when I come back that the notebook sits for weeks or months unopened. On the other hand, I have some 'dead' time during trips and I'd like to take the notes electronically (final editing could be done upon return). I don't want to carry a laptop or a PDA (too expensive, plus I want to be away from computers at least those 2 weeks per year). Any suggestions for a light, cheap, keyboard-equipped device? Like a travel clock + keyboard and more memory and USB? Thanks, the Anonymous Wanderer."

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A different option (5, Informative)

strictnein (318940) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176439)

A calculator is always nice to have [ti.com]. And you can plug in a keyboard [ti.com]. And while you're out traveling, you can also [ti.com] be collecting data! [ti.com]

Re:A different option (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176480)

You can get a palm zire and a keyboard for much less than that.

Re:A different option (1)

nova20 (524082) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176684)

...drool...

I think I've found my next calculator purchase... but I'll wait until I see some reviews. I made the mistake of getting an hp 49G, but the 48GX would have been a better choice... The processor is a little slower, but it's got the same amount of RAM (or can at least be expanded to the same amount of RAM), I'm a little more familiar with the 48 family, and, well... everyone else says that the 48GX is better.

/nova20

Device for trolling? (0, Troll)

(TK)Dessimat0r (668222) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176442)

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Like a pack of wolves, you surround the carcass
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# Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. # Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. # Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. # Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. # Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) # Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. # Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. # Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. # Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. # Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page)

You know (2, Interesting)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176453)

There are cheap pdas. And you can buy keyboards for them. I doubt you will find anything much better than a pda.

Re:You know (2, Interesting)

chimpo13 (471212) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176539)

That sounds like the best idea if you don't want paper. I looked into it too. Old PDA that runs off AA rechargebles and a fold-up keyboard.

Although after screwing with it, I figure a paper notebook would be better. I like having something to screw around with. Easy to flip through, insert stuff into and something permanent. Electronic copies just aren't as neat as paper.

When I type my travel reports, I'll be able to edit them down.

Solution (3, Insightful)

VAXGeek (3443) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176459)

Here's the solution for your problem: just get a really expensive notebook (executive journal). This way, you'll have spent enough money to actually feel bad not using it, and you'll actually save money not buying a stupid electronic device just to jot down some words.

I did this... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176590)

With pens and pencils. I was always loosing them, so I went down to the nice, locally-owened book-and-stationary shop and plunked down $45 for a nice cross pen-and-pencil set.

This sort of worked, It probably took me 2 or 3 years to loose them.

-- ac at work

Huh? (5, Informative)

jargoone (166102) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176462)

You want an electronic device, that has a keyboard, you can type on, but is not a laptop or a PDA? Is there a punchline here?

Christ, buy a Palm IIIe and a keyboard from eBay. Way less than $50. If that's too expensive, stick with your notebook and buy a scanner.

Re:Huh? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176531)

the reason you're confused is that he has more requirements: he wants to get away from computers for the whole time.

so, be thinking more along the lines of a clay tablet he can chisel, but it's also a sundial.

Re:Huh? (4, Funny)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176643)

This guy strikes me as someone who would walk into a deli and say:

"I'll have a BLT, hold the bacon and lettuce, and don't DARE give me a tomato sandwich!"

Re:Huh? (1)

cacheMan (150533) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176652)

I can appreciate the desire to ditch all computing power and just stick to a basic word processor. As soon as I get on a train with my palm I start playing solitare. The escape from computers that I used to get from being on the train is lost. It's even worse if you throw GPS, email, SMS, or other high tech distraction into the mix. This guy wants to find a digital notebook that won't detract from his travels the way a laptop/pda would. I totally understand.

oh no! (3, Funny)

davidmcn (606752) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176463)

This sounds like one of those people that sends the annonying 10 page email out to a list of their 50 closest friends detailing all the event on their vacation! Save us! Someone please! :)

Alphasmart! (5, Informative)

harrkev (623093) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176465)

Try here: Alphasmart [alphasmart.com]. They even have many models which will work off of AA batteries.

Re:Alphasmart! (2, Funny)

nova20 (524082) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176558)

They even have many models which will work off of AA batteries.

I *have* to get my mind out of the gutter.

/nova20

Alphasmart is a great product (2, Informative)

uglyMood (322284) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176622)

My wife is a novelist, and has used her Alphasmart for years. She loves it. It's lightweight and easy to type on.

Re:Alphasmart is a great product (1)

kjs3 (601225) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176712)

How physically reliable are these? Are they tough enough to take camping, etc.?

Re:Alphasmart! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176682)

Excepting the _cheapest_ model appears to be $200.

Contrast this against a use Visor Deluxe on eBay for $25, and a keyboard for it (new) $25, totalling $50 to have 16Mb of space to type one's notes, and AlphaSmart becomes MoneyDumb.

Re:Alphasmart! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176683)

if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.

That happened years ago.

Cell phone text messaging (5, Informative)

erick99 (743982) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176466)

You may want to consider using a cell phone that opens up into a keyboard. (The Nokia 6800 is a nice choice). This would allow you to send text messages to your email address. Some of these keyboard cell phones are really cool.The Nokia 6800 [nokia.com] opens into a QWERTY keyboard and works quite nicely. I've used it and was surprised at how fast I could enter text.

Happy Trails!

Erick

Don't worry about it. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176471)

If those notes sit around for a while. Nobody cares about your life anyways.

If anybody reads that drivel it's just that they are being polite.

I can't imagine anything more boring than reading somebody's "travel log".

Tablet PC (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176478)

You should check out Tablet PC [microsoft.com]. Microsoft really excelled itself with this one, voice recognition, character recognition, excellt utilities, all well-integrated and talking to one another, and a new Tablet PC OS is launching very very soon.

Here's a suggestion (5, Informative)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176483)

If too expensive is the reason you do not want to carry a laptop or a PDA, then I strongly suggest you get one of those el-cheapo Palm Vx's off eBay for like $20 or something.

You can also get a foldable portable palm keyboard [foxpop.co.uk] for less than $5.

It's really portable and quite comfortable to type in too [seapug.com].

I always carry these around when I go wandering -- they are good companions in the wilderness (read books, take notes etc) and you can read them in the dark too (they come with a back-lit display).

Besides, using them does not make you feel like you are using a computer-ish device, just think of them as nothing more than advanced note-taking tools with alarm clocks and games :)

And oh, if you are the type who hikes/climbs mountains etc., you could hook up a GPS to your Palm to look up directions using something like Cetus GPS [cetusgps.dk] - that way you have a GPS tool, alarm clock and a note-taking tool all bundled into one.

Be sure to take a notebook and pen (1, Informative)

xintegerx (557455) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176484)

Depending on your travel, if your laptop gets full of sand or falls into the water, or you fall off a bike and break your $600 PDA, you definitely want to have a notebook and pen handy.

Or, wait. Just skip the electronic gadgets all together and bring a 2 oz notebook and pen.

Why Not A PDA? (3, Interesting)

datastalker (775227) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176489)

Travel Clock + KeyBoard + Memory + USB = PDA If you're worried about cost, a Zaurus SL-5000D or SL-5500 [ebay.com] can be gotten on eBay for a reasonable price. Of course, if you're not concerned about price, then the Treo 600 [handspring.com] would do what you need, and comes with a (albeit poor) camera.

The more they over-tink the plumbing... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176490)

Your notebook and pen will likely never fail you, won't break if you drop it, will cost little to replace if someone steals it, and you're more likely to actually use it on your trip.

But this is slashdot, so let's discuss electronic toys we can add to our debts. We like paying for things after they've become landfil.

Well, yeah. (1)

foxtrot (14140) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176494)

...and the device you described is called a PDA.

I personally prefer a device called a "digital camera" for my travel note-taking, but it has the same problem, I never seem to get around to dealing with the output.

-JDF

Re: Device for Taking Travel Notes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176495)

Find an Apple e-Mate.

Re: Device for Taking Travel Notes (1)

sploo22 (748838) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176579)

Does anyone still use those? Mind you, my school has one and it's fantastic, so I'm not meaning to disparage the brand.

no PDAs? (2, Insightful)

mikeee (137160) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176497)

Not sure why you're ruling those out. An obsolete Palmpilot (say, a Vx) with an external keyboard will fit the bill nicely, down to being a decent alarmclock, too.

Eh? (4, Informative)

jdbarillari (590703) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176501)

I don't want to carry a laptop or a PDA (too expensive, plus I want to be away from computers at least those 2 weeks per year). Any suggestions for a light, cheap, keyboard-equipped device? Like a travel clock + keyboard and more memory and USB?

This almost sounds like a troll -- "I don't want to carry a PDA, but I want a device with a keyboard and USB. A travel clock with a keyboard? What universe are you from?

Anyway, I recommend getting a cheap early-model Palm Pilot (circa $100 or so, especially if you get 'em used) and a keyboard. I used the Palm m500 and a Logitech keyboard (about $75, less used, I assume) to write a travelogue on a trip this summer. The battery life on the plam impressive, and if you lose it, you're only out less than $200. Or much, much less if you buy used.

One caveat: the accuracy on those tiny keyboards sucks. Expect to spend some time cleaning up yuor speling on your home pc.

Re:Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176645)

"Expect to spend some time cleaning up yuor speling on your home pc."

... or not, as the case may be ;)

Hate to tell you... (1, Redundant)

Serapth (643581) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176504)

Like a travel clock + keyboard and more memory and USB?

Looks like a duck, talks like a duck, quacks like a duck... hey, its a duck

Hate to tell you, but you are looking for a pda, pure and simple. My recomendation is to look on ebay for a first or second generation Windows CE devices ( the kinda with a keyboard ), or the origional Zaruas. You should be able to pick one up used for 100$.

Re:Hate to tell you... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176666)


... talks like a duck,

No more coffee for you.

Re:Hate to tell you... (1)

Serapth (643581) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176695)

LOL! What, your ducks dont talk? Hmmm... maybe I do need that vacation after all....

Yet another reason I wish slashdot had an edit function! :)

Sony U70 (4, Interesting)

konfoo (677366) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176511)

http://www.dynamism.com/u70/

Seems like just the ticket - but it may empty out your wallet considerably. I've used the U101 a lot when travelling for everything to photo editing, dv editing, notes, watching movies on 10 hour plane flights, or wifi net connectivity -- but the U70 (although the 800x600 screen seems too small for my liking) seems more flexible / portable.

Zaurus (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176515)

Although it is a PDA, the Zaurus will do everything you need. Also the keyboard is built in so you won't have to worry about carrying that along too.

I recommend... (5, Funny)

All Names Have Been (629775) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176517)

I recommend this device [xu.edu]. Small, relatively lightweight, not a PDA or notebook, and is called Stallman. What more could an aspiring Slashdot geek want?

It is, however, missing your travel clock and USB connectivity requirements.

Palm + mini keyboard (2, Insightful)

zerosignal (222614) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176523)

You say you don't want a PDA, but it sounds like that's exactly what you need. You can get a basic Palm and a mini keyboard for under $100.

Seriously...nothing like a Digital Camcorder (4, Insightful)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176524)

Any suggestions for a light, cheap, keyboard-equipped device? Like a travel clock + keyboard and more memory and USB? Thanks, the Anonymous Wanderer.

A camcorder may not have a keyboard, and may not be easy to take notes on - but believe me, there's nothing like audio+video to make a memorable/enjoyable memoir of your trip.

I never thought of a camcorder (usually $300+) as a worthwhile investment, but my recent experiences changed that view - my parents're visiting and they've got a camcorder along (Sony, about $500.00, I think).

Nothing beats a camcorder to take audio/visual notes including a running commentary. It's even fun to plug it back in to the computer and edit it and relive the memorable portions of the trip later. Give it a try.

Calculscribe (3, Insightful)

rodgling (165255) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176525)

Try the calcuscribe [calcuscribe.com]. Light, small, fullsize keyboard and runs for months off three AA batteries. Oh yeah, and it connects via the keyboard port so it works with everything.

On the downside, they're staggeringly overpriced ($240) for a keyboard + flash memory + LCD screen.

Okay...so you essentially don't want a solution? (2, Insightful)

Grandmaster Mort (731817) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176526)

If you want to turn your notes into an electronic format, then you WILL need to use a computing device. SURPRISE!!! You're just being lazy if you don't translate what you've written down on paper to a word processing program on a computer to store and potentially print out later.

It just appears to me that you're being a whiny little bitch for 2 reasons:
1) if you use paper, then you're bitching about how you need to spend extra time on transferring it to a computer
2) if you use a laptop or PDA, then you're bitching that it's "too expensive"

I think you need to be realistic in your expectations and then just make up your fucking mind in light of those realistic expectations.

Suggestions (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176530)

this [ebay.com] works well with one of theese [ebay.com]

I will *personally* send you the answer... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176533)

...if you promise never to send me your vacation write-ups and photos.

Alphasmart (1)

NoahsMyBro (569357) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176535)

As soon as I read this I immediately thought of the Alphasmart devices. I think they're right up your alley.

From reading the article......... (4, Funny)

xintegerx (557455) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176544)

If the notebook is so boring after the trip that you don't even want to subject your own mind to reading it, why the hell do you think anybody else would care?

Sorry, I am just being very straightforward.

Psion! (3, Insightful)

WegianWarrior (649800) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176545)

I'm seriously in love with my trusty old Psion Series 5 for writing stuff on - I mean, the odd short note is fine to do on the Palm M130 I got, but nothing can beat the Psion for datainput. True, it has only a serial conector, but then, nothing is perfect. A Psion 5MX or a Revo might be just what you need.

How will being electronic solve anything? (1, Insightful)

Molz (87066) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176546)

How will the note taking device being electronic solve the problem that you don't have time to write up the story when you get back? Won't it just be a more expensive way of not writing the story for a while after your return?

My advice would be to just stay with the pad and pen. You will save the money on the device and batteries with out loosing any functionality as I see it.

Re:How will being electronic solve anything? (1)

barzok (26681) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176639)

He doesn't have to transcribe from paper to bits, just download/copy/paste.

He can edit while he's idle, maybe on a train or a plane. Thus, he could have the story pretty close to done before getting home.

Re:How will being electronic solve anything? (1)

Politicus (704035) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176689)

How about just a voice recorder. Many PDA's now come with that option too. No time to write notes? Just voice your notes on your way from port to starboard. But you can also do that with a cell phone and a large voicemail account. Transcribe messages when you get home or try to get your favorite voice recognition software to jumble them for you.

Psion 5 to the rescue! (4, Informative)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176548)

I have the Visor with the collapsible keyboard and I used to take that with me for my travel writing and although it worked ok it kept crashing like crazy. I bought a Psion 5 on eBay and it ROCKS! Comes with a keyboard ( a little small but usable ) built in voice recorder. Notably it takes a standard CF card and I shoved a 40 something meg card into it. It comes with reasonable versions of Word, thesaurus, spell checker, etc and it works great. I even have an Ethernet adaptor for it.

You can see see the eBay Psion 5 [ebay.com] stuff here. Runs on two AA batteries. I wouldn't have thought to get one but I got the recommendation from Robert Young Pelton author of the World's Most Dangerous Places [amazon.com]. If it's good enough for him....

alphasmart (3, Informative)

srobillard (236231) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176551)

Check out a thing called the alphasmart.

http://www.alphasmart.com/

it has all the features you are looking for.

PDA (4, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176552)

Dude... ok, call me an ASS, but this is EXACTALLY the point of a PDA.

As for expensive, what exactally IS your budget? Sure there ARE $500 PDA's, but there are also $50 PDA's. You can't justify your avoidance on cost and I personally think the "I like to get away from computers...." arguement is rediculous. If you were a bus driver, this would be equivilent to saying you want to go on vacation, without being subject to a car/bus/whatever-can-be-driven.

Hell, if its notess you want, get a $10 mini-cassette recorder, and just talk into it. It will be much easier to deal with then pen and paper anyway.

Away from computers? (3, Insightful)

Trurl's Machine (651488) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176556)

I don't want to carry a laptop or a PDA (too expensive, plus I want to be away from computers at least those 2 weeks per year). Any suggestions for a light, cheap, keyboard-equipped device? Like a travel clock + keyboard and more memory and USB?

If you want to be away from computers, use pen and paper to take your notes, like all those guys wearing flannel shirts at your local Starbucks. If a device has USB, keyboard and memory, it's a computer according to the classic definition [webopedia.com] with embedded software - just as any PDA, but more limited. So... why not to use the PDA anyway?

Pick one (4, Informative)

GrouchoMarx (153170) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176560)

You want to be away from a computer, but you want an electronic way to take notes? Does Not Compute.

Honestly, get yourself a Palm [palmone.com] and the Palm UT Keyboard or even the wireless IR keyboard they sell. OK, so it's electronic. It's still the most convenient you'll find, and has a ton of other features as well. Like reading ebooks on the plane on the way to your vacation, then taking notes while on the vacation, then playing games on the way back from your vacation. It works out quite nicely. :-)

These guys [infosyncworld.com] can give you great advice on which model you want to get. They've reviewed just about every handheld in existence.

Disclaimer: I am one of "those guys". :-)

Don't bore your friends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176564)

Instead of taking travel notes and writing stories for your friends, enjoy your trip more and don't bore your friends with all you what I did on my summer vacation reports. No one cares!

PDA != Evil Technology (1)

EWillieL (15339) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176565)

When I went to Nice a couple years ago, I took a Palm, keyboard, modem, and Maglobe [maglobe.com] account. I then sent daily emails to my girlfriend (now wife), who kept them as a travelogue.

She actually printed out my emails and had a bookbinder friend of hers bind them into a journal. It was a really touching gift when I got back.

Re:PDA != Evil Technology (2, Funny)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176687)

She actually printed out my emails and had a bookbinder friend of hers bind them into a journal. It was a really touching gift when I got back.

and that, /., is the definition of sappy love.

*barf*

Silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176570)

YOu want a usb port, and a keyboard, and a lot of memory but no computer? And also do you really think it will be faster typing notes on a tiny keypad than writing them down on paper? Sounds to me like you ARE looking for paper.

Tandy Model 100 (1)

kjs3 (601225) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176571)

I know a number of journalists (including ones that regularly report from places where they get shot at) that swear by the ancient Tandy Model 100 (http://www.obsoletecomputermuseum.org/model100) for exactly the kind of travel writing you are talking about. They claim them to be fairly indistructable, easy to type on and very stingy on the battery usage. It even has a (slow) modem for uploads.

Pointless? (1)

Spyffe (32976) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176574)

If you don't have time to do anything with your paper notebook after you get back, why do you think you'll have time to do the "final editing" with digital data?
I think a re-evaluation of your schedule after vacations is more justified than a new equipment purpose.

Re:Pointless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176601)

Man, I should have checked my post more carefully.
%s/purpose/purchase/g.

Bwah (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176575)

What you describe is a PDA or notebook, or some bastard version of the same.

Is this "I am bored so lets ask /. stupid questions"?

That said if you really want to get away from computers for your vacation, get a dictation recorder (not sure on proper english term). You know the devices people used to use to dictate letters etc for their secretaries to write up. Digital storage versions existed last time I checked. Take voice notes, then transcribe later. Maybe you could even hook it up with some speech recognition software.

Well. (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176576)

How about a small notepad that will fit in your pocket?

Not every damn thing has to involve a microprocessor to be useful.

Don't worry about it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176578)

If those notes sit around for a while. Nobody cares about your life anyways.

If anybody reads that drivel it's just that they are being polite.

I can't imagine anything more boring than reading somebody's "travel log".

And I'll keep posting this as long as it keeps getting modded down!!! Go ahead and waste your mod points on an A/C!!!

Are digital cameras and camcorders better? (2, Funny)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176583)

I take a regular film camera with slide film, since I have a kodak slide projector with a top mounted slide charger (with cable remote!).

No one ever shows up for my slide shows, however.

Do other people bother to look at your digital travel photos and/or videos?

Voice- faster notes (4, Informative)

snoochyboochy (593098) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176587)

On our recent honeymoon in NZ I used a USB MP3 player with a mic to record short notes. Worked great, got lots of ambient sounds to go with the pics, plus now I'll always know how dorky I sound in person....

Back in the 80's... (1)

shrapnull (780217) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176597)

"Light and cheap" and "keyboard, memory, USB" don't mix well. If you're just going to reedit later get a mini-voice recorder. Some carry up to 18 hours these days and they're cheap. You'll actually enjoy (or loath) hearing your own voice and knowing at one point in time you weren't in front of a computer.

Tape recorder? (2, Insightful)

JonMartin (123209) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176599)

Or the digital equivalent. Something small that you can carry in a pocket. Pull it out whenever you want to take some notes. You can do improv stuff or record a more organized daily summary. And you can grab sounds from the environment. Nothing connects people more than the sound of voices (particularly if the voice is of a friend or relative). Instead of describing the ocean with words, just record "I'm at the ocean. Listen." When you get back to a computer all you have to do is encode it and put it on the web. You can probably do that at Internet cafes while you travel.

What about a tape recorder? (2, Insightful)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176600)

Why not get a tape recorder and use voice recognition software?

I remember seeing the olypus digital recorder comming bundled with software and connecting wires.

Pocket PC + Voice Recorder (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176611)

I used to have a PocketPC, and I've also been collecting ideas for stories I've been wanting to write. During my 15 minute walk home, I used to always be inspired with new ideas. I started taking my PocketPC with me and using the voice recorder function to record my notes. (I didn't wanna stop and tap tap tap.) When I found some time, I'd go one by one down the audio files and set the filename to something meaningful for the note.

I just wanted to suggest this to you because you may see a good workflow improvement like I did. You could listen to the PocketPC and type on the comfy keyboard on your desktop/laptop.

Why write notes? (2, Informative)

Sean80 (567340) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176626)

Why write notes when you can hear yourself talking! Maybe I'm missing the point of the question, but wouldn't it be easier to buy one of those cool digital voice-recorders, and later write the notes from that, when you get home? I understand you can even get ones that will download content onto a PC at the end of the day.

Been meaning to buy one for myself for ages. Especially in the traffic in the morning, when I have a bright idea, hell of a lot easier to speak it than write it down.

Meh (1)

JMZero (449047) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176629)

Your cheapest, easiest solution is likely a used Palm with a fold-out keyboard. This shouldn't end up costing more than $50 or $60. The fact that so many people want to be rid of their "obsolete" Palms ends up subsidizing your cost.

Just hide all of the other icons on the menu. Ooh, and get a sticker that says "NoteTaker 2000" to put over the Palm logo. That way you won't have a PDA with you.

stop hiding form the solution (2, Insightful)

wastedbrains (588579) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176632)

a PDA is not to expensive you can find them for 100 bucks. Your not going to get away from a computer... if you having a keyboard plugged into any type of device that is a computer. You can use the pda for nothing but typing if you want to be away from the computer. Also install nothing else on it and you will be unlikely to use it for anything but typing. It would offer you the best solution of typing editting (if you want) and portability if you plug a keyboard into it. This is part of what PDA where made to do. Your asking for a solution to a problem that doesn't involve the correct solution. (I want to paint a wall red, using only non red paint... it can be done, but there is no reason to make it more complicated than nessary by requiring mixing paints and such....)

Nokia 9210 (1)

Moderation abuser (184013) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176634)

Because it's built into my phone, I've always got a usable keyboard with me and a hierarchical note management utility (myList). As well as a decent voice recorder, wordprocesor and the rest.

What about a headless (and host-less) keyboard? (1)

potus98 (741836) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176636)


I've been in strange troubleshooting situations where I need to type commands blindly on a keyboard when there is either no monitor attached to the server, or the display is completely screwed up. Junior folks are amazed that I can login, cd to a directory, make backup copies of the config files before I edit them, and vi the config files with no screen. /.ers know it's a big deal to "see" the screens in your mind.

What if there was a USB memory stick you stick on the end of a USB keyboard cable that would simply record keystrokes? You could record huge amounts of text with a small amount of storage. Just keep the mem-stick in your pocket until you need to make notes. Pull out your keyboard and type away, or borrow one you find laying around. So what if you lose the keyboard or it gets filled with sand? USB KBs are almost disposable anyways. Just don't lose your log stick.

Finally, a use for all of those extra Sun USB keyboards piled in the warehouse! Just jab on a keyboard capture memeory plug and type away! That's it! The "Jab-On"(tm) "Jab one on so you can jabber on...". Or, instead of a memory-stick, you could have a "Log-Stick" (tm). Hmmm, maybe that's why I'm not in marketing...

One option not mentioned yet (4, Informative)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176637)

Why does it have to be written? It sounds like since you were writing it down on pen and paper you had todo lots of transposing already.

Why not invest in an mp3 recorder and use it to keep an audio journal of your vacation.

Then when you come home you can just sit down and listen to the entries and use them to write your story.

Firstly, mp3 recorders and the memory they use are cheap.
Secondly, it's alot smaller and lighter than a pen / notebook.
Thirdly, if your've near the right facilites you could even upload your log entries to a server just in case you use lose the thing.

You could even setup a webpage so your friends and family to co surf to your site and listen to your log entries.

Notepad? (1)

Zerbey (15536) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176642)

Seriously... use a pen and paper if you want to make travel notes. If you want to get away from the world, also get away from anything technology rated.

All right fine, buy a Nokia Communicator!

Too bad on $$ (1)

bandrzej (688764) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176646)

Of course, the most expensive device to jot your notes down on with your handwriting and is portable is the Tablet PC market. Currently using a Compaq Tablet PC TC1100 model [hp.com] for around $2700 with the docking station and DVD-ROM/CDRW combo drive. I am also using M$ OneNote as my electronic spiral notebook.

The productivity savings of me not loosing my notes and paperless are a life saver. I use to be one of those people that would make all my notes on posty notes...then would have like 100s of them...and a 100 more lost!

The cheapest method is one of those keyboard devices that store your keystrokes into memory and have like a 15 character LCD display of what you are writing...of course i forget the product's name...doh! it would hook into your PS/2 keyboard port and download the keystrokes into notepad/Word.

The other method would be a PDA with a keyboard, or a phone with a keyboard.

Cheap Palm PDA (1)

rootag (772666) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176647)

As stated by a few above, just go on eBay and get a cheap Palm, like a Pilot, Palm III, or Handspring Visor. They will only set you back a few dollars. I know that the Visor runs on 2 AA batteries, so that is ideal for travel.

Plus there are many foldable near-full-size keyboards out there for each PDA that plug into the sync port on the bottom. The typing experience is like typing on a laptop, except you are staring at a 3" sreen.

Another reason to use a PDA is that you can use the alarm clock to wake you up; The datebook to log travel arrangements; The address book to keep addresses to send post cards; The list goes on...

My Experiences... (2, Insightful)

bobej1977 (580278) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176648)

I had a similar dilemma, where I used to carry pen and paper around to make notes or write down observations. Innevitably, these notes all end up in a box in my closet which I'm sure I'll lug around until the end of time without ever seriously going through. Upon buying a PDA, I realized that electronic notes are just as bad, in that, I still needed to weed through them, and they lacked the visceral context that a pen & paper provides (small spills, crumpled pages, shaky writing) which I found I enjoyed quite as much as the text. I then tried using my cellphone, which got back some of the context (noisy bar, excited voice, 3am) but put me deeper into the transcribing hole.

In the end, I'm back to pen and paper and decided that if it isn't important enough that I'm not willing to transcribe it, then off it goes to the 'black hole of ideas' box. Maybe when I die, someone will edit and publish it. More likely, it will mislead a future team of archealogists into thinking we were all a bunch of crazy bastards.

I'd try the phone thing though, if you're traveling locally. Get familiar with a sound editor and you can give your audience something a little cooler than text.

Got iPod? (4, Informative)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176649)

If you're taking along an iPod (and I have no idea if you are or not), how about getting an iTalk [griffintechnology.com] to go with it and dictate your notes?

electronic pen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176650)

okay...I don't remember the details but i remember a review of a product that was basically an electronic pen and special paper. it runs about 200 though. It was in my Popular Mechanics mag a few months ago, i can look up the information if you are interested.

Poor college student. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176651)

Higher a poor college student to take notes for you. Preferably female, unless you're a fag.

Er... what? (4, Insightful)

Alaren (682568) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176653)

When I go in vacations, I like to take notes [...] Until now I've been using a paper notebook, but found that I'm so busy when I come back that the notebook sits for weeks or months unopened. On the other hand, I have some 'dead' time during trips and I'd like to take the notes electronically

Okay, up to this point I was sure someone was fishing for a Tablet PC recommendation. But then I read this part...

I don't want to carry a laptop or a PDA (too expensive, plus I want to be away from computers at least those 2 weeks per year).

Now I'm tempted to wonder if this is really a serious question. At this very moment on eBay [ebay.com] there are several nearly-done auctions for PDAs under $25. A quick Google (the noun has been verbed, isn't that horrible?) revealed gadgets like this [calculatorsinc.com] but the calculators are just as expensive, if not more expensive, than PDAs. So which is more important--the cost or the ability to say "this isn't a computer, it's a fancy notetaking device?"

Seriously, I can totally understand the desire to get away from computers for a few weeks (being a techno-junkie I can never do it, but I understand the desire at least). But if you want to get away from technology so badly, you're also going to have to forfeit the conveniences technology affords you--like taking notes electronically.

I'd say, stick with the paper notebook or get yourself a cheap, outmoded PDA.

PocketMail? (1)

jvl001 (229079) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176660)

How about this? [pocketmail.com]. Available in the US, CA, AU and EU. Compose your travel-log and email it home. Hold it up to any phone headset and automagically connect to the PocketMail service.

If I ever get around to a cross-NA bicycle tour I would consider subscribing to this service.

PS: I have no affiliation with PocketMail nor have I tried it.

That Pen by Logitech... (1)

Microsift (223381) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176669)

It only holds 40 pages of text, but that might be enough for a two week vacation. Here's the link [logitech.com]

Psion series 5 (2, Insightful)

ColourlessGreenIdeas (711076) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176686)

They don't make them any more, but they're great. Find an old one on E-Bay. Great keyboard, runs for over a month on a pair of AA batteries, about twice as big as a palm.It can take CF cards for storing things. No USB, but the sync software works over serial or infra-red, or you can get a CF USB adapter.

Look to the past! (1)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176694)

Those old radio shack model 100 computers were great for taking notes, are practically free on ebay, and run off of ordinary batteries so you never have to worry about charging or voltage differences.

Also, I know you said you didnt want the expense of a PDA, but you can also pick up an old Palm (say III-series vintage) and snap-on keyboard. Again, the older palms ran off of regular buy-anywhere AAA batteries so are good to travel with.

Man, what lucky friends! (1)

JohnnyBolla (102737) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176699)

How about a spiral notebook? Cheap, light,compact, interoperable with most anything, and is complies with open standards.
Both kinds, 8.5x11 and legal.

You might want to try Franklin Rolodex. (1)

Jaywalk (94910) | more than 9 years ago | (#9176705)

It really does sound like you're describing a PDA, but you just want an ultra-cheap one that's little more than a memo pad. If so, you might try the Rolodex [franklin.com] line from Franklin Electronic Publishers [franklin.com]. Even new, they're only about thirty or forty bucks and can be had on eBay for even less. If part of the requirement is to get it into your PC without typing, you'll need one with a PC-sync feature, which not all of them have.

If you want to try a little hands-on experimentation, check out your local Staples [staples.com], which carries at least some of the line, but calls them "Electronic Organizers" rather than PDAs.

I have no brain, what should I do? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9176708)

"...and it goes beep, beep, beep..."
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