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    univers zero tessler's Avatar
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    Traveling with a Laptop

    I'm a desktop guy from way back but for the first time will be traveling with a laptop. Where do you safely stow your laptop on your bike and what do you use and/or recommend to store it in, both on and off the bike (besides a typical briefcase-style laptop bag)?

    Thanks in advance for your response.

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    Rally Rat empeg9000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tessler View Post
    I'm a desktop guy from way back but for the first time will be traveling with a laptop. Where do you safely stow your laptop on your bike and what do you use and/or recommend to store it in, both on and off the bike (besides a typical briefcase-style laptop bag)?

    Thanks in advance for your response.
    Well my laptop is a 15" but I just use a padded neoprene case and put it into my topcase on the RT. I know you don't have one on the K-Bike though. I bet you are probably a mac guy since you do a lot of graphics but my friends has an eee pc and has windows fundamentals on it. It books fast and is only 10". I have carried that in a tank bag. You can also put linux on it like I have on my work eee. That is only for work purposes though so I don't generally take that on trips.

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    Registered User texanrt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by empeg9000 View Post
    Well my laptop is a 15" but I just use a padded neoprene case and put it into my topcase on the RT. I know you don't have one on the K-Bike though. I bet you are probably a mac guy since you do a lot of graphics but my friends has an eee pc and has windows fundamentals on it. It books fast and is only 10". I have carried that in a tank bag. You can also put linux on it like I have on my work eee. That is only for work purposes though so I don't generally take that on trips.
    Have you ever had trouble with the hard drive after a ride? I ask because on a recent trip one of the guy's laptops wouldn't boot. After another day the video card wouldn't work. It was stored in the top case during the 4-day trip inside a protective sleeve -- but apparently that wasn't enough.
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    Rally Rat empeg9000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexanRT View Post
    Have you ever had trouble with the hard drive after a ride? I ask because on a recent trip one of the guy's laptops wouldn't boot. After another day the video card wouldn't work. It was stored in the top case during the 4-day trip inside a protective sleeve -- but apparently that wasn't enough.
    Knock on wood not yet. I can see how that could happen though. That's one reason I am thinking about the eee pc over a regular laptop. They have solid state memory.

    I honestly don't take a laptop with me that often. I have only done it about 5 times.

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    Dum vivimus vivamus ted's Avatar
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    That's one reason I am thinking about the eee pc over a regular laptop.
    Exactly what I was thinking of doing, except I am going with the hard drive not the SSHD due to size and expense. The prices are starting to fall and I think by this time next year you'll see 64gig or larger SSHDs instead of the tiny 8gig ones you get now in the ~$400 and under market. When the 64gig SDHD's hit the $80 mark in 6 months or so, I will probably pick one up and swap it out.

    This is the NetBook I really like.

    I love my 15.4" laptop and it goes with me wherever I go, but while it is almost as powerful as my desktop, it is heavy and big. The Netbook will hopefully meet a few concerns I would have about taking the 15.4" on a bike...

    1. Size/Weight. The Samsung is about a third the weight of my Gateway. At 10" by 7", smaller than a sheet of paper, it is much smaller, and at an inch thick, much thinner. This is critical not only because it could literally fit in a tankbag, but because the smaller size will allow me to more effectively protect and isolate it from the damaging effects of vibration and sudden shock.

    2. Power. This little sucker already comes with the very efficient ATOM processor, matched with a 6-cell battery you are looking at 5+ hours of real use. My Gateway, also with a 6-cell battery, only gets about 2 hours.

    3. Power part 2. It comes with a sizeable 160gig hard drive, plenty of room for secondary computer use. The processor is not terribly fast, but can easily tackle my on-road needs with aplomb (ie I won't be maxing frame rates in WOW, but it will handle Office, Photoshop and Google Earth without breaking a sweat.) It comes with a minimal 1gig or RAM, easily upgraded to a decent 2gigs, and a decent 10.2" 1024x600 screen instead of the minimal 8" 800x600 found on many of the ones just $50 cheaper. Lastly, it comes with USB ports (for GPS & iPod), a card slot for the digicam, and even Bluetooth.

    4. Security. I worry about it being stolen. With a "road-use-only" Netbook I can transfer what I need to my desktop and then use CCleaner to wipe it clean after a roadtrip. During the roadtrip, just do things like use CCleaner to clear cache and cookies after use, require login in Outlook and the like, and if need be, encrypt docs and password protect directories.

    The only downside is there is no DVD drive to watch movies, but with AnyDVD and the 160gig HD, I figure I can load a few before I leave
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    Dances With Sheep GREGFEELER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted View Post
    Exactly what I was thinking of doing, except I am going with the hard drive not the SSHD due to size and expense. The prices are starting to fall and I think by this time next year you'll see 64gig or larger SSHDs instead of the tiny 8gig ones you get now in the ~$400 and under market. When the 64gig SDHD's hit the $80 mark in 6 months or so, I will probably pick one up and swap it out.

    This is the NetBook I really like.

    Ted, "cheap" 64Gb SSDs are here: http://www.crucial.com/store/partspe...CT64SSDN125P05. The ones from Crucial are highly reliable but not as fast as a mechanical drive. Intel is making SSDs that are *faster* than conventional drives - but more expensive. Actually, modern laptop hard drives are pretty tough. I think the key is to pack them to avoid hard shocks. A laptop carried in a bag with cloths or extra riding gear is pretty well padded against shocks and high frequency vibrations.

    I've traveled for years with first an IBM X40 and then Lenovo X61 super skinny (and expensive) laptops carried in a Helen's bag without problems. Pelican (www.pelican.com) makes some nice laptop cases to protect against vibration, dirt, water, and impact. However, starting a month ago, I bought a 160Gb HD Acer Aspire One netbook. It's so small and light it fits nicely many places, and as a factory refurb it was only $220! The smaller form factor also makes the case more resistant to side loads than the X40 or X61 so less likely I'll mash the screen into the keyboard from overpacking.
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    univers zero tessler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted View Post
    4. Security. I worry about it being stolen. With a "road-use-only" Netbook I can transfer what I need to my desktop and then use CCleaner to wipe it clean after a roadtrip. During the roadtrip, just do things like use CCleaner to clear cache and cookies after use, require login in Outlook and the like, and if need be, encrypt docs and password protect directories.
    This is as important as safe transport and even on my desktop (where the building and cleaning staff have necessary access to my office), I secure my information when I leave. A good friend, a Silicon Valley interface designer, has a strict regimen of security procedures much like your own for his own laptops. Good stuff

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    Quote Originally Posted by TexanRT View Post
    Have you ever had trouble with the hard drive after a ride? I ask because on a recent trip one of the guy's laptops wouldn't boot. After another day the video card wouldn't work. It was stored in the top case during the 4-day trip inside a protective sleeve -- but apparently that wasn't enough.
    Be sure to power all the way down so that there is no movement on the harddrive. Do not leave the computer in "sleep" or "snooze" mode, but shut it down. This will protect your harddrive.

    I put mine between clothes too...haven't had a problem yet....but I do back up the computer!
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    TDI Guru jasontdi's Avatar
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    I have a model 30 Panasonic toughbook I use in my auto shop. I like it because i can strap it to the outside of the cases if I want! Got to love armored, waterproof, drop resistant laptops! Heavy? Yep. But I can use it as a step stool too!
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    I carry my powerbook in a Pelican notebook case. They are pricy but hay they protect what ever is in them. The ones I have fit in the side bags, can also be strapped to the back seat or rack and is water proof to 30 feet or so. I truly believe in the event of a getoff the computer will survive even if the bike does not.


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    Jonathan, I had a 17" MacBook Pro that I hauled around vertically for about 5k miles or so in a Spire Dart sleeve. Backed up CF cards to it and and had a few 1.5TB FireWire arrays for the desk. Had the full CS3 suite and Aperture on it, maxed out the memory (after market). Only problem I ever had with it was someone stole it from the house.

    Had other vehicles w/running laptops over the years. One laptop (older ThinkPad) with over 50k miles on it that was replaced for a Dell w/a bigger screen. The ThinkPad was one tough little machine.

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    Minnesota Nice! braddog's Avatar
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    Commuting with a laptop...

    I use a leather courier style briefcase with a padded sleeve built specifically to transport a laptop. On the old airhead hardcases, this bag fits perfectly standing up, and strapped in with the internal elastic bands. I've used this arrange for commuting for the past 5 or 6 years with NO issues. The laptop is vertical, as Rob mentioned, and often is left in "standby" mode. Never had a problem.

    Also, as Rob has suggested, the case in the pic looks exactly like what you'd need.

    As far as traveling for pleaseure with a laptop on a motorcycle, I don't. People who need to contact me can do so via cell phone. As far as work is concerned, I'm on vacation, so they'll have to wait. Same with e-mail.
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    A little "Farkle" I built for hauling around my laptop.........











    It's totally removable with a Touratech locking rear box mount. Can be taken to the tent or a picnic table is needed.
    With the aux battery and the laptop's internal battery I can get 4-5 hours of use.
    The solar panel will recharge the aux battery or the bikes battery, depending on the position of the "battery switch".
    With the bike underway, the bikes alternator is hooked up to a "Automatic Battery Selector", this device monitors both batteries and sends a charge to the one with less that 12.5 volts.

    I also have a 115V inverter (for the blender for the nights Margaritas) and a "AA" battery charger for a fresh supply of AA batteries for cameras, flashlights, radios etc........

    More here:
    http://public.fotki.com/Rbertalotto/...mputer-system/
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    Prefers to play martinph's Avatar
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    Bumping this thread as its nearly a year old.
    Any one tried the new Netbooks? Carried them on the bike? What should I be looking for?
    Please keep it simple!
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    Dances With Sheep GREGFEELER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martinPH View Post
    Bumping this thread as its nearly a year old.
    Any one tried the new Netbooks? Carried them on the bike? What should I be looking for?
    Please keep it simple!
    I've been using an Acer Aspire One D250 series netbook for almost a year and flat out love it. The screen is a bit bigger than the earlier 150 (?) series netbooks, I can put 2Gb of RAM (more than plenty for WinXP), it has a 160Gb hard drive, and the larger batter will last for 5.5 to 7 hours. The Acers also seem very well built and the small size is easy to pack.

    Netbooks are not big, powerful machines. They are great for web browsing, email , word processing, basic spreadsheets, some PowerPoint, etc. Don't try to build the Space Shuttle on one.

    I haven't tried Windows7 Starter Edition - which is what most netbooks are shipping with now, but it is limited compared to even the Home version of Windows 7. I use Win7 on other machines, but find that XP is just fine on my netbook.
    Greg Feeler
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