Tech Monday – Holidays

A new, occasional, feature.

I’ve just returned from a wonderful holiday, made all the better through the tech taken along – and through the tech left behind.  I’ve had a smartphone now – an HTC Hero running Android 2.1 – and it was invaluable this trip for the following app- and hardware-based reasons:

The Digital Camera

I’ve waxed lyrical about Vignette before, the excellent Android camera app, and others with iPhones will regale you with tales of Instagram and Hipstamatic.  The traditional point-and-shoot digital camera is dead, being killed by these built-in cameras.  With the advent of additional lenses such as those here, the funeral service is over and the mourners are now polishing off the cucumber sandwiches and vol-au-vents.  Throw in a bit of instant sharing via Google+, Twitter, Facebook,, Pixelpipe, and so on, and your holiday snaps arrive home before you do.  A stark contrast to the old days when you’d be belting around like nutters on day 1 of the holiday searching for postcards to get written and sent then waiting for them to arrive once you’d got home.

Left at home: One digital camera, batteries, USB cable.

Sat Nav

This trip was the first time I’d tried Google Maps navigation feature in the car in anger.  I’d used it walking around Aberdeen before, and it seemed pretty neat, but in the car it shone!  No problems going around the backroads of Kent, no problems coming out of the Channel Tunnel into France (once I’d hooked up to the local network and sorted a data package out with T-Mobile).  Excellent.

Never had to purchase: One sat nav unit, charger, in-car mount, etc.

Left at home: Massive road atlas of Great Britain and France.

MP3 Player

Another role handed to my phone rather than left exclusively with the iPod.  I like being able to purchase albums and download them directly to the phone – it takes a couple of steps out of the equation.  Granted, we did take my iPod with us for additional music as I’ve not got everything we want across onto the phone yet.  And the hire car we took had an AUX-in socket so we weren’t stuck with just the CDs or the radio.  Nice.

Left at home: iPod charger.


The Kindle app handled most of our holiday reading needs.  We did get a book on the ferry south – Chucking it All – but that was a spur-of-the-moment thing, not something that you can easily do on the Kindle.  There is, of course, a Kindle version of the book available (I just found that out) so we should’ve saved ourselves a few quid and bought that instead.  But the bookshop on the Northlink ferries is getting better (and a lot more random) so it’s good to support it from time to time.

Left at home: Heavy paperbacks that consume luggage space.

So there you have it.  Saved on the packing, saved on the purchasing, used some of Disney’s electricity to keep my phone charged up.

What have you replaced with tech for your holidays?

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