Upgrade Phone to Samsung Galaxy S3

Google upgraded the Nexus S operating system to Ice Cream Sandwich.  Result was that battery life plunged from 24hrs to only 8hrs – disastrous. Immediately triggered a search for a new phone.

Fortunately the Galaxy S3 was launched around that time. Its the most amazing and almost incredible phone I ever owned.  A real delight!

Battery life is between 36 and 48 hrs depending on usage.

Screen is great for emails, web, videos etc. Large size – but not too large. Really clear and bright.

Its very fast and responsive.  Video and audio play really well.  It has all the latest HiFi bluetooth standards etc.

Its loaded with innovative features (see the GS3 ads).

It probably going to be the most popular smartphone of 2013 so it will be really well supported with 3rd party gadgets and applications.

The Galaxy 4 will be a smooth upgrade when it arrives in 2013.

The only problem so far is that the phone is so slim and slippery it falls out of my pocket when sitting down. A solution has been to buy a thin rubber case which solved that problem.

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Adding a TUMI Ducatti back-pack to my travel gear

With the option of taking 2 bags on most long haul airlines, a “second bag” to use on short trips or alongside my Rimowa makes sense. The rimowa is no use for “convenient access”. Normally I use a Scott eVest to carry small stuff / passports etc. but that is not much good in hot weather.

Requirements:

(1) Fits inside Rimowa in case I need to travel Easyjet or Ryanair on any leg.
(2) Large enough for laptop and all other travel kit plus some clothes when travelling with it as my only bag.
(3) Tough and protective
(4) Low risk of street robbery (pickpocket)
(5) Place for water bottle
(6) Easy access when near feet in-flight.
(7) Wearable as backpack when cycling / walking / running!

I selected the Tumi Ducati Super Mono Compact Brief Pack

Really well made bag – lots f useful pockets and very light.  Will report back on progress after 6-12 months!

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STOP PRESS: Staying with Rimowa Salsa

After getting two Salsa Air cases for my daughters, as Xmas presents, I’m going to stay with my four year old Salsa (reviewed below).

Reasons: (1) The Salsa air, while lighter, has two zippable membranes that secure items in each of the halves – unfortunately this means that bulky items (for example my camera) can not easily fit in the case.  (2) 4 wheels vs 2. 4 wheels are great for wheeling down aircraft aisles and queues.  Unfortunately they cause your back to roll away on a hill, and are not so good when dragging a case down the rough sidewalks in Manhattan.

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UPDATE: Evaluating headphones – Dr Dre Beats Tour

The Bose Quiet Comfort 15 just are too bulky to carry, and a real hassle to sleep in.  I have therefore had a few trips with the Beats Tour headphones. http://www.beatsbydre.com/earphones/beats-tour/beats-beatstour,default,pd.html

They are small, comfortable and I got a set of refurbished ones on ebay for $9.99!!!!

The sound quality is great. I’ll report back when I have used them in anger!
If you don’t hear from me – I reverted to the Bose!

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Change Headphones from Bose QuietComfort 15

I currently carry a set of Bose Quiet Comfort 15 headphones.

They are good quality, comfortable to wear, and the noise cancelling is among the best I have tested.  They use AAA batteries, and have quite a thin cord.

There are three problems: (1) The size/bulk. They are the biggest thing in my travel kit – taking up more volume than even my laptop (assuming you keep them in their box). (2) They are hard to sleep in, if you want to lean your head sideways. (3) They have a wire.  Actually there is a (4) They need AAA batteries – ideally they would recharge from microUSB.

I am now looking for a replacement.  My previous headphones were Sony in-ear noise cancelling. These did not cancel so well, and were a bit uncomfortable in my ear canal.  However they were very small.  I am now looking around for some good Digital Noise Cancelling in-ear headphones and I will try them out.

Ideally I’d like a set with bluetooth connectivity (my phone and laptop have bluetooth, would need a dongle for airplane use) to avoid the hassle of a wire, and even better if they had a phone microphone…

These look interesting: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sony-MDRNC300D-Digital-Cancelling-Headphones/dp/B002QUZ3NG – I’d give a SONY link but their UK site needs a log-in and the US URL seems to change!

Posted in Audio, Candidate for Upgrade, Uncategorized | Tagged | 3 Comments

Dealing with weather – Sunglasses and Umbrella

Sunny weather needs sunglasses – especially if you are driving.

I chose RayBan aviators with G10 grey tint. They have a low “side-bleed” and are optically excellent. I might have chosen polarization if i was in a high glare environment.

I swapped the RayBan case for an old Emporio Armani case with is tougher and much smaller – just big enough to hold the sunglasses.

Rainy weather needs a nice coat and hat, but an umbrella is highly desirable.

I chose a Fulton – Microslim – 2yrs ago.  Only 25mm in diameter and 220mm long when folded and about 180g in weight. I have only used it 3 times but it worked well all three times.

Having reviewed the web – I think the time is nigh to review this choice. There are some very small Knirps and Fulton Umbrellas just entering production. For example: http://www.umbrellaworld.co.uk/mens-umbrellas/fulton-tiny-microslim-black-p-919.html

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Carry-On Case: Possible new candidate – Rimowa Salsa Air

After 2 happy years with the Rimowa Salsa, which has been almost unchallenged in its role as the perfect carry-on (My wife bought a Salsa Deluxe which has the small benefit of a strap for carrying extra items piggy-back – probably what I would go for if buying now).

I have now seen the Salsa Air – http://www.rimowa.de/main#product/822.52 – which is 1kg lighter – down to 2.4kg.   It has the same overall dimensions – fittingthe smallest carry-on checkpoints. It also has a single strut pulling along handle – releasing a bit of extra space inside the case.

There is a great article here: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=557631&publicationSubCategoryId=86

It has the 4 little castoring wheels instead of the 2 “skateboard” type integral wheels.  The question is – is it strong enough to sit on.  I will have a look in the next few weeks.

The other quirk is that it has two “zippable screens” across the two halves – making it harder to get items in or out – unless the zips are left open, but they also leave behind 4-5cm of “material” as a rim round the edge – which may have to be cut away.

The only other current contenders are the Zero Haliburton 21″ Carbon Fibre Carry-on($2,750) – which is too big to meet IATA carry-on regulations (at 33 x 53.3 x 22.9 cm) and the Tumi Vapor (similar price to Rimowa at around $500) which again is too big at 51 cm x 35 cm x 23 cm and actually has a full litre (thats two small bottles of water) less interior space than the Rimowa (which is 35l).

Posted in Candidate for Upgrade, Equipment Choice, Luggage, Major Item | 1 Comment

Mobile Phone: Upgraded to Samsung (Google) Nexus S

After a lot of procrastination, and a review of the decision criteria ( https://flyerkit.com/2010/12/20/mobile-phone-factors-in-decision/ ) I went into Carphonewarehouse and walked out with a Nexus S – http://www.google.co.uk/nexus/ – as a free upgrade on Vodafone (My Vodafone bill is about £2,500/yr so upgrades are normally available “on demand”!).

The prime reasons for my change from my cronky old Nokia N97 were:

  • – fast and responsive web browsing
  • – New Google maps (3d and cacheing of routes) now seem better than OVI maps
  • – Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) now seems to be getting reasonably good.

As with any phone there are disappointments.  Here they are:

  • – no bluetooth file transfer or sync with laptop (hope to fix this with suitable Apps if i can find them)
  • – bluetooth interface to my car kits (Mercedes in-built and the Nokia 616) is missing.  Android 2.3 does not support the standard bluetooth protocols like Remote SIM etc.
  • – USB access to storage is very flaky. Coupled with no ability to mount the Android filesystem through bluetooth makse the use of the phone for data storage (images, music, videos) a bit clunky.
  • – Exchange “sync” does not sync Notes.

What I love:

  • – Angry Birds
  • – Really good email client
  • – Longish battery life – and fast microUSB charge
  • – Feeling that many people share my pain and that innovators are out there adding software to solve the problem (like the good old days of Nokia back in 2002 when 3rd parties were encouraged to add value).

This is now my standard phone – and is added to the KIT LIST

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Mobile Phone: Factors in Decision

A mobile phone for a traveller must have the following features:

  1. UMTS / 3G with standard SIM to enable flexible voice, txt, dat ause worldwide
  2. “1 day” battery life
  3. Excellent voice and text with easy contact management (sync with outlook) an dBluetooth headset
  4. Good web browsing, both of “PC sites” and also sending a header so that sites can optimize to the device’s screen (probably means a mainstream browser). Also a “touch” browsing capability.  That includes the ability to download music, pdfs, videos etc through the browser to the phone.
  5. WiFi connectivity for use at home / in office etc.
  6. Excellent email – interoperability with Exchange Server (Msoft) for corporate use and also IMAP for personal email.
  7. Good camera (at least 5Mpix with fair low light) with built in “flash” and fast response. (I use an EOS 1DMk3 or Canon G10 normally but the phone needs to be OK as a standby)
  8. Good music. Need to be able to keep a lot of MP3 tracks on the device to play on trips and to be able to listen to over bluetooth.
  9. Good file transfer – to and from PC, preferably wirelessly and automatically.
  10. MicroUSB charger (it is the new world standard – avoid bespoke charger)
  11. Not too big
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Bath Bag: Cutting out waste and hassle

Traditionally, the minimal “bath bag” was the toothbrush. On the other hand some people carry shampoos, lotions, potions etc. and as soon as you carry a liquid you need to go through the security theatre of putting liquids in a see-though bag etc.

My bath bag has served me well for a few years now. I operate on the basis that shampoo will be available on a trip, that I avoid liquids so I don’t show anything at security, and that any medical items / drugs need only to last until you can get to a drugstore for more supplies. Here we are:

First of all, the bathbag is actually a pencil-case. A shaver is kept in one compartment, avoiding bristle spread. Drugs are kept in another – which is hardly ever opened. The main area is what is normally opened in a hotel.

Main items: Toothbrush, toothpaste, battery-shaver, wet shaver (can be used dry!), nailclipper, earplugs.

Potions for dry atmosphere: Clarins mosture balm (free sample size), Clarins lip protector.

Drugs to deal with symptoms of illness: 2 sachets lemon flu relief (Paracetamol+Nose clearer), Dequadin throat anasthetic/antibacterial, Ibuprofen Meltlets, Loratadine anti-histamine, Boots 1hr Anti-Diarrhea, Tums stomach treatment, Vick inhaler. 1 a day Asprin micro-dose (not shown).

The Braun 350 battery shaver woudl ideally be replaced by a (micro)usb rechargeable  unit to avoid needing to change AA batteries every few months.

I found that the moisturiser does deal with dry lips, but it tastes bad, so I need to carry lip treatment.

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