Monday, September 07, 2009

The Geek Traveler: Staying Connected To Get Disconnected

(Pictured above: Shell Island, Panama City Beach, FL)

I haven't been on a "road trip" in a long time, and things have clearly changed A LOT since the days of my CB RADIO (if you can remember "Breaker 1-9" please raise your hand!) When we decided to drive the 600 miles from Miami to Panama City Beach for the long holiday weekend I made sure that our rental car had a good FM radio. Now, before you accuse me of being a ludicrous Luddite you need to understand why I was rabid for radio. I rely on FM radio to broadcast the signal from my awesome Motorola T505 Bluetooth Hands-free Speakerphone (Amazon affiliate link below). Clipped to the rental car's visor, the T505 pairs with my Palm Pre via Bluetooth, and then with the car's sound system via the best quality digital FM transmitter I have ever used. Instantly, I have all the whiz-bang wonders of my smartphone seamlessly integrated with my loaner Saturn Vue.

"Always On"... the road again...

Our journey was guided by turn by turn navigation from Sprint, clearly spoken through the car stereo. Our audio entertainment was provided by music and podcasts on my Pre, and even better, during long stretches of our drive, we were listening to my customized (and eclectic) favorite music courtesy of Pandora. Yes, I took geek pleasure in the knowledge that as I drove through the beautiful wooded barrens of North Central Florida I was using Sprint's network to stream music from the Internet to my phone, and then have that music go from my phone to the Motorola T505 via Bluetooth, and then from the T505 to the car's nice sounding stereo system via a short range FM transmission. Wireless wonders at their best! Of course if at any time someone called me on my mobile phone the music was automatically paused and the call came in loud and clear through the car stereo and the T505's built-in microphone. Ahhh, technology!

Good for the Geek, good for the Gander...

Lest you think I was the only connected traveler in the car, my "geekette in training" girlfriend was glued to her iPhone for most of the trip, researching things to do in Panama City, reading local restaurant reviews, finding us a hotel for a mid-trip layover, and using an iPhone app to track our location and alert us of nearby speed traps.

How connected are you when you hit the road?

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