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Thread: Laptops for Geocaching

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Little Rock (south of), AR.
    Posts
    302
    ALL the above is good advice, maybe I can help keep it uncomplicated but still useful to your needs.

    A few things I feel are minimum to have a useful Laptop for todays aps., be it new are old, and useful in a caching environment:

    AMD or INTEL processor (laptops get hot so donít spare on the chip), other things will help cool but start here. *this is just a personal opinion*
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    An AC/ciglighter adapter (batteries are better now but Iím sure you will not think your laptop is as cacher friendly when unplugged)
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    A CD-ROM of any speed (almost all programs worth having are too big for any other device) very old ones didn't have them. R/RW/DVD etc are more useful.
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    At least 2 usb ports, you can hook lots of stuff to them and do sooo few things without them and I feel they are a must if you plan to cache with your laptop, 4 ports are better.
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    A PCMCIA slot (for all those things like WiFi). Better to have a cheap card in a good one than an expensive card in a cheap one.
    -------
    A Mini USB (*optical only*) mouse. You are not going to like the things that happen if you are trying to use the touch-pad while bouncing around in your cachemobile.
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    A serial port or a serial adapter. Some cords use serial ports
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    USB cords for your GPS, PDA, Digital Camera, etc. *A cheaper way is to order a kit and make them yourself or get them out of Canada.* (your mileage may vary)
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    A cheap USB to RJ45 network/ethernet adapter for the Hotel/Motel that is still hardwired plus other uses.
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    A carry case with lots of pockets and a shoulder strap.
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    There are many more things you may find useful later (plus it is after midnight so I'm typing and thinking with one eye shut ) but I feel these are so basic and if there is anything I would drop from this list it would be the PCMCIA slot, but before I would drop the CD-ROM I would opt for a palm or iPaq, etc.
    Also If you find your laptop it is actually useful it will lead a ruff life so getting a refurb with full warranty or an old used one and spending the extra cash for way-cool programs or even a GPS (they are small like chips) for your PC would be a good choice.
    **The mileage of others may vary from mine somewhat but I bet it wont
    be by much on the basic stuff.**
    Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Ridgway, CO
    Posts
    454

    Laptop

    A laptop for caching might be a little extravagant (and bulky in the field). Caching is a secondary use for my laptop which is primarily a business machine. As previously stated, a used machine (or maybe a refurb. Dell online option) may be more practical if you remain committed to the purchase. All the previous comments are "right on" for consideration. That said, the larger screen, speed, memory, interface capabilities make its use a pleasure beside a nice PDA (Axim is a bargain) for caching. (Can this stuff/game get expensive or what??)

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    396
    I lean toward a refurb for Geocaching. I have access to several laptops and I wouldn't take my main laptop out in the field. I have a backpack type carrier for our geocaching laptop and I throw it in the car/truck when we go. Sometimes we use it sometimes we don't.
    The size is a disadvantage in a vechicle with bucket seats.
    The on screen navigation is great!
    With GSAK you can do so many things in the field including uploading waypoints into the GPSr.
    With GSAK you can log your finds in the field and then post them on GC.com when you get back home with a couple of keystrokes per cache.

    You might want to consider a PDA. You can get a Bluetooth GPSr and do a lot of things plus you can take it to the cache with you. We usually leave it in the car but the small size is really nice in a vehicle with bucket seats. We hang ours on an air conditioner vent. PDA's can get expensive just like laptops.

    Our Geocaching laptop is a latitude C400. It is one of the small petit laptops that can be very expensive if purchased new. It doesn't take a lot of horsepower to run Microsoft Streets and Trips and GSAK.

    Bottom line - a small form factor refurb machine would be a good choice. Two USB ports or one USB and one serial, depending on your GPSr. Processor 500 or above, RAM 256MB or above, integrated 802.11b wireless good but not necessary. Accessories, a 7 or 8 in one card reader for pictures, a 12volt to 120v converter to power the laptop. Microsoft Streets and Trips/GSAK

    OR

    A PDA like an iPAQ or Dell Axim. Windows Mobile 5.0 or better. Integrated Bluetooth or a Compact Flash serial adapter depending on your GPSr. GPX sonar/B-Line GPS software/Navigation software.

    To me, the ultimate geocaching tool is the laptop with navigation software and GSAK. The best compromise is a PDA.

    My .02. YMMV

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