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Laptop & Palm Pilot Equipped...
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How do you Adventure?
With Updated Technology?
53%
 53%  [ 14 ]
With Old Technology?
19%
 19%  [ 5 ]
With No Technology?
11%
 11%  [ 3 ]
What's Technology?
15%
 15%  [ 4 ]
Total Votes : 26

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jaywc7
Geocacher


Joined: 13 Sep 2004

Posts: 360

PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I need to buy the internet service plan to make it work?? Who would be good to go through?? Would I get the best deal if I check with my current cell phone service provider??(Cingular)
If I have the hardware but no plan....could I still just scan for a signal as I travel and "borrow" a signal to gain internet access?
Is this form of wireless connection a "fast" speed? or more like a basic modem speed?


If you don't have Wireless capability with your laptop, you would need to get the wireless antenae which, yes, plugs into your access port. The easiest thing to do, which is free, and not illegal, is to use unsecure wireless access points. Some of these will be businesses, or coffee shops, and others will be private connections. If they don't limit their signal strength, or secure their connection, you can rightfully use it. Now,,, it's unsecure, so if you go this route, you won't want to ever log on to your bank account online, or other important things. ONLY use unsecure wireless for things like Geocaching and such. This would cost nothing other then the $60 or whatever for the wireless piece. The other thing you can do, which is becomming more and more common, is to get service through a provider, such as Cingular. In this case, you will have the antenae part again, but it will be like having a cell phone! It will work just about anywhere you get cellphone coverage. The downside to this, is that you can pay a pretty penny for the service. In the case of these examples, the WiFi unsecure connections will probably be faster. I don't know how fast the subscribed system runs. It totally depends on the connection that the private individual has though, and also the strength of the signal you are recieving.

"Technology... I say we geocache by horseback, with black powder rifles!"
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MNMizzou
Geocacher


Joined: 23 Feb 2005

Posts: 704
Location: Maple Grove, MN

PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do the above quite often... I can tell you that Dunn Brothers Coffee shops have wireless internet access that is free. Often you can be in the parking lot and still get a signal great. (I know because I'm often there after they have closed, which brings up the point that all of the ones I've run into are left on 24/7) Other places to try... areas where there are clusters of hotels, more and more are offering free wireless internet. Some just let you log on, some require that you be a guest and will have some sort of authorization page before you can roam the rest of the internet.

And yes you would be amazed how many people have unsecured wireless access in their houses. Drive through any area with an apartment complex and I bet you can find half a dozen to choose from! I've been through some of the downtown neighborhoods and let my wireless access program "refresh" to see what was there, one corner there were about 2 dozen networks, and of those I would guess 15-18 weren't secured at all.

The website below is a good point to start your search, it lists mostly companies and restaraunts and the such with access, but remember there is a good chance there is some access in lots of neighborhoods too. I remember I was assigned to cover the hunter shootings over in Wisconsin this past fall and was talking with a still photographer from Chicago, he was saying he found one little house that had an open wireless connection he used to transmit his photos to his bureau, which was about the only way for him to do it since cell service up there was horrible on a good day.

http://www.wififreespot.com/

And remember the good advice of anything you want to keep private don't access while you're on a public Wifi, or someone's Wifi who you don't know.
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RINO SHAWN
Geocacher


Joined: 18 Nov 2004

Posts: 194
Location: Cambridge

PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys! This is exactly the kind of information I was looking for.

So let me make sure I understand this correctly......For my situation anyhow:

Since my laptop does not have built in wireless, I would have to spend the $60 or whatever for the piece with the antenae that plugs in to the access port on the side of laptop

Since I would need to have that regardless of which method I went with (either unsecure wifi....or spendy cell phone like service)

It would probably be a safe bet to go ahead with buying the wireless antenae attatchment and start using free wifi wherever I can find it......and I could add the other service later on if I felt that I had to have access "everywhere" (or like a cell phone coverage)

Right???


One other option (seems pricey also) is using my bluetooth equipped cell phone as a modem with my palm (zire72) or my laptop..(I have a usb to bluetooth adapter hooked up on my laptop) This seems kinda pricey and I would assume that it would be pretty slow internet. (judging from the speed of file transfers that I have compared while using my palm for hotsyncs....way faster by cable than bluetooth)

Has anyone heard anything about or have tried internet access using a bluetooth equipped cell phone as a modem?????
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jaywc7
Geocacher


Joined: 13 Sep 2004

Posts: 360

PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I want to say one thing - hopefully you haven't bought yet, in case this would make a difference:

If you get the basic WiFi antane thing that plugs in to your laptop, keep in mind that company's such as Cingular may have their own sort of piece, and in the future, that one you spend your $60 may or may not work. I don't know for sure, so this is something you may want to check on. As far as Bluetooth goes, I can't say I know too much about it, but I know all that I feel I need to : It costs a good amount of money, uses your phone minutes, is rather slow so I've heard, and requires you to have your phone, or bluetooth device in close proximity. If you ask me, that's reason enough never to buy into it. The area network systems such as Cingular will likely be the way of the future. In fact, i would tend to guess that we'll be operating on PDAs and perhapps using voice messaging if needed, and cellphones will become 8-Tracks... Just a guess??? Start cheap I'd say, until you learn the basics and know what you want. Just get the WiFi antanae adapter, and give it a try. One BIG word of caution though: Be careful with an external antanae not to bust it off!!! A buddy of mine just bought one, and wasn't careful! That's $60 down the drain!

Enough for now - I won't write a book here.
Hope this helps!

Just remember - NO IMPORTANT INFO OVER UNSECURE WIFI!!!!!

Later bud,
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MNMizzou
Geocacher


Joined: 23 Feb 2005

Posts: 704
Location: Maple Grove, MN

PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would go that route, but just as a thought, you might look into the little "stand alone" antennas that plug in via USB... they tend to have a greater range than the cards do. As an example, prior to Jan 1 there was a hotel across from our station that we could use their wifi... if I was using my card I pretty much had to be sitting in our parking lot to get a signal... with the USB version I could be a good 30-40 feet in the building and still get a signal. In the order of signal strength, or least amount of range to most in the cost effective world it would go internal card, external card, USB adapter. Just my 2 cents.
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miles58
Geocacher


Joined: 07 Mar 2005

Posts: 196

PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 6:07 am    Post subject: Wireless basics Reply with quote

Shawn,

Look here:

http://www.drivebywifiguide.com/wardrivingfaq.htm

and here:

http://www.turnpoint.net/wireless/has.html

then here when you have the basics:

http://netstumbler.com/

I was going to send this private email but since there's a thread going...
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rickrich
Geocacher


Joined: 06 Jul 2003

Posts: 673

PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For cell phone access, Sprint gives 128,000 (max) bits/sec and it only costs $10 on top of your voice service. You will need a USB cable for your phone.
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jaywc7
Geocacher


Joined: 13 Sep 2004

Posts: 360

PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2005 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since this topic is bouncing around, I'll just use it instead of starting another thread...

So - I'm headed North yesterday with my lovely fiance`. She's driving, and I'm navigating with the Streets and Trips running on the Gateway. We're up in the Northwest region of WI headed towards 70, when my battery gives way. I didn't have my Sportrak with me, and that's where the adventure began. Now, I'm one of those people who don't believe you should rely soley on GPS. You've just got to know how to do things the old fashioned way sometimes. However, being in that area of WI is a whole different story if you don't know the roads or have a map. We made our way North eventually reaching 70 as planned. I was determined not to head back to 87, which probably would have been the best decision at that point. Talk about working together... Rolling Eyes Please Pto - spare me the laughter... Laughing
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jaywc7
Geocacher


Joined: 13 Sep 2004

Posts: 360

PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NEED HELP... Rolling Eyes

Ok - so I got this Swiss Army Knife thing loaded into the laptop. Not really sure how to run it, and sorta overlooked the tutorial, but I'm doin' my best. Anyways - I've been loading caches like crazy to the Swiss Army Knife thing. Then, I take the coordinates (which are converted) and manually enter them into my Streets and Trips. I MUST uses Streets and Trips, since it is my most favorite software program. How can I more easily load my geocaches into Streets and Trips though??? Entering them manually is boring as he**! Once they are in there however, it makes for really easy navigation. I haven't done anything as far as software yet with my palm. I tried loading the isolo thingy, but when I opened it, I can't say I was impressed. It's far far too complicated looking.

If anyone has any suggestions for how I should or can go about this, or an easier route, please please let me know! I've got a new buddy here in Arizona who I've turned to caching. Due to his interest, I have decided to start up again actively down here. We are doing some practice caches getting ready for an all day marathon together. I can use any help I can get here...

Thanks ~ josh Cool
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jaywc7 wrote:
How can I more easily load my geocaches into Streets and Trips though??


Use GPSBabel to convert the GPX to a Streets and Trips formatted CSV. See here for GPSBabel.

For instructions on how to import the CSV and get the caches along the route a simple Google query came up with these two hits:

http://gpsbabel.sourceforge.net/formats/s_and_t/Importing_into_Microsoft_Streets_and_Trips_2003.html

http://members.aol.com/_ht_a/marklent60544/myhomepage/Geocaching/route.htm
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Moe the Sleaze
Geocacher


Joined: 10 Jan 2003

Posts: 1145
Location: Champlin, MN

PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GSAK has GPSBabel built into it.
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moe the Sleaze wrote:
GSAK has GPSBabel built into it.

K. I don't use GSAK as it has a terrible UI so I didn't know. Thanks.
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RubberToes
Geocacher


Joined: 13 Feb 2005

Posts: 222
Location: Apple Valley

PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marsha and Silent Bob wrote:
K. I don't use GSAK as it has a terrible UI so I didn't know. Thanks.


GSAK's UI may be terrible, but the program does such nice work that it's worth getting used to. And it does take getting used to. I tried it and discarded it 3 times before I finally caught on to what it was doing.

At any rate, gpsBabel is built in, and there is an export filter for Streets and Trips. If you stick with it for a little bit, you may end up hooked.
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KC0GRN
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 22 Feb 2004

Posts: 1424

PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guess I must be used to terrible UIs, cause I liked it right off the bat, however it did take a little time to learn all the features.
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I already use Watcher to do any sorting, log checking, and distance filters. The UI is better than GSAK by far and it's free.

I have no need to use any GPSbabel frontend as I understand the CLI just fine. gpx2st 24850.gpx is a lot easier than opening a frontend Smile

YMMV.
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