Gadget Review: Mobile blogging on the cheap

Posted by matt on April 18, 2008

on-the-road.jpgI’m currently a passenger cruising north on Hwy 51 at 63MPH (weather is rainy) and am enjoying full Internet access on my laptop the whole way. How am I doing this? Not too hard actually…

So while blogging while on the road is nothing new, blogging on a laptop while not using a standard Sprint/Verizon card (or paying extra for tethered service) is a little more tricky. Let’s explore:

Ingredients:

700p.jpgPhone with Internet Access - I’ve had the excellent Treo 700p, for almost 2 years now. While this phone was not cheap, the Sprint Sero plan I have is. Unlimited Internet, 500 anytime minutes, unlimited picture messaging, unlimited nights and weekends, etc. etc. for only $30 per month! After a txt plan and taxes, mine comes to about $37 per month. Most people pay that for just minutes, so this plan is a steal!

delld420.jpgLaptop - This is a fairly obvious requirement. I’m using my new (to me) Dell D420 which I’ve been enjoying for the past 2 weeks. Great keyboard for typing, 4 hour battery and powerful enough to easily run Photoshop. (I also used my Powershot A710 to snap these pictures). The Dell is handy because it has an SD card slot on it so all of this is easy.

Phone connection to Laptop - My Dell has Bluetooth built in, so using this is the easiest setup. USB tethering is also possible, but you have to install some weird drivers to do it. I did this on my old laptop and was somewhat of a pain, so I’d recommend Bluetooth. Plus it’s just nice to only have to have the phone nearby to get this to work.

Tying it all together, the tethered hack - Google is your friend. If you are thinking of the Sprint Sero plan and want to do this, be sure to google and find if you can get a tethered hack for your phone. The 700p tethered hack has worked quite well for me for the last 2 years. I don’t pay any extra to do this (I don’t do it very often anyway) but it works great when traveling. You just set a dialup connection to dial #777 with no username/pass and all is well (after the hack is installed). This all depends on your phone, so google to see exactly how to do it. It probably took me 30 minutes to set the entire thing up for the first time, but now establishing a connection takes about 30 seconds.

So there you have it, mobile blogging on the cheap. While I can do this all directly with only Treo, a post this long with links and pictures would be almost impossible to do on a thumb-sized keyboard.

For next time: using your land-line phone while in the car???!!! It actually works!

landline-in-a-car.jpg

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Posted under reviews, tech gadgets
  1. nemolian Said,

    $37 a month! That’s crazy talk, I pay $87 for about the same plan through Alltel!? Where might one locate a “Sprint employee email address”?

    I found this page while I was trying to figure out how to set up dial up networking with my Motorola Q. It’s worked for me fairly well to this point. I do have some trouble with my connection timing out if I stay on a page too long. To remedy this issue I open some sort of streaming service–like Last.fm Radio–and leave it running in the background. Obviously this cuts into my bandwidth, but it’s better than loosing my connection every couple of minutes. I’m not really sure if tethering via USB has the same issue, but it is definitely a little more difficult to set up (due to drivers).

  2. matt Said,

    Check here… there are a couple of sprint email addresses that should work!

  3. Vieth Said,

    Have you seen Jott.com? Bottom line: Jott lets you use any phone (including a mobile phone) to call Jott, leave a voice message to a pre-defined Jott contact, and the voice message is all at once (1) transcribed into an e-mail message that is e-mailed to the contact, (2) transcribed into a text message to the contact, (3) transcribed into an IM to the contact, and (4) e-mailed to the contact as an MP3 attachment. If the “contact” does not have all of these contact options, then only those contact options that are available are used. What does this have to do with blogging? Some blog engines let you e-mail your blog entries to an e-mail address for automatic processing, right? Well, just use that e-mail address to set up a Jott contact. Once set up, all you have to do to blog is “Jott” a voice message into your phone. Voila! Me? I just use Jott to e-mail myself ideas that I’m thinking about while driving so that I am reminded of them the next time I check my e-mail. Helps with my absent mindedness. Thanks to Jott, I think I might be able to enjoy 5 more years as a functioning independent adult.

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