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Old 07-04-2006, 11:02 AM   #15
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17" Mac is portable

17 inch not portable? Maybe the 17s from Dell, Hp, whomever.

I have a MAC PowerBook 17 that is about 3 years old. It has well over 50,000 airline miles and god know how many car miles.
While it is a little haevier than one smaller it can be carried with realitive ease.
I am currently typing this on that machine aitting in my Classic 31 in an RV park in eastern Oregon.
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Old 07-04-2006, 03:28 PM   #16
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The problem with using a notebook for digital TV is the heat. The station transmits all its "channels" in a 19+ mb/sec mpeg stream that has to be split, then decoded for viewing. Digital tuners don't do that, so the processor has to, and processors get hotter as their utilization goes up. Notebook cooling is often marginal (especially with Macs), and the result is they have to run the fan(s) at higher, louder speeds, and eventually start decreasing the processor speed. This increases the percent of utilization and the result of that is dropped frames and pixelized images... and even sometimes a computer locked up at 100% with no cycles left to handle mouse and keyboard inputs to stop it.

The heat problem is also compounded by the hard drive. For PVR function (pause, FF), even if not recording, the software is writing the mpeg stream to disk, and with live viewing, reading it back for decoding and display. Not only is this hard on the little 2.5" notebook hard drive, but it generates more heat for the marginal notebook cooling system. A 3.5" desktop drive in an external case is more rugged and can relieve the heat problem.

I've been through this with a Dell 8600 and might note that I was glad the tuner wasn't internal when our outdoor antenna was struck by lightning and it fried the tuner, but not the notebook.

In the long run, our Airstream will probably end up with a Core-Duo Mac Mini on a matching 500GB stacked drive, and with an El Gato Firewire HDTV tuner. I plan to build an oak coffee table in front of the couch to contain them and with room for a 32" or 37" tunerless Westinghouse 1080p LCD monitor sitting on top. Whether that would serve adequately as a computer monitor, with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, remains to be seen. It might just be better to also have an Intel MacBook on the writing table as well.

The Mini handles heat pretty well. I've driven both cores to 100% for over 10 minutes, and the cpu never got above 83C nor did the fan speed up and get loud. It also handles 1080p H.264 movie trailers pretty well, and since the cpu is socketed, there's the option of going from a 1.66 Core Duo to a 2.33 or faster Core 2 Duo once they're released and the prices come down a little.
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Old 07-29-2006, 07:52 AM   #17
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Wireless Internet Service

I ended up with a Tosiba 17 " with Windows XP media operating system. I had ordered a Dell but they kept slipping the delivery date. The Tosiba is a demo unit I picked up on the internet.

Heres my quesition?? what is the best wireless internet service to use? I only want it when I'm traveling on long hauls - 30 to 90 days at a crack, For example, in September, I'm planning a fall trip from Florida to Maine. So a prepay or non- contract service is important. A service called "My Connect" included a ad in the documentation supplied with the computer but I have no experiance with wireless. HELP
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Old 07-29-2006, 11:40 AM   #18
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Hi, David. I'm sure someone more qualified to answer will jump in here, but in my opinion there is no single BEST wireless provider. Verizon has restrictive terms of service that limit what you can do on their network to web browsing, email, and remote office software. Sprint's terms are less restrictive and do allow streaming (music, movies) but they'll send you the LETTER too, if your consumption gets so high it affects the network. Cingular isn't the biggest player, but this month (July) they were supposed to start cooperative roaming with Alltel. I haven't heard whether that's in effect or not.

I have a Verizon wireless card - a 5740 that I got free from Verizon for a 2-year contract. It's the only wireless card sold that doesn't have an external antenna port, and that's not so great in an Airstream. It works okay up front in the middle of all the windows on my '79, but it doesn't work at all in the rear bedroom. Typically, I take it outside when I want to use it.

Even on the maximum battery performance power setting on my Thinkpad, I can watch the battery percentage go down about 1 percent per MINUTE when using the wireless card.

So, my Thinkpad wants to be plugged in when doing wireless. I bought a little Belkin DC-AC inverter for it and an Adaptec external hard drive enclosure with a (faster) 160 GB in it that I use for storing movies and music. I also have a little gizmo Targus USB 2.0 adapter that turns the Thinkpad's two USB ports into four. I carry all this in a Targus bag that I bought at Staples. I had a USB TV tuner for it, but it was the one thing that I failed to unplug during a thunderstorm, and the factory smoke got out of it. (It's very hard to put the factory smoke back in.)

I wasn't all that happy with the USB tuner anyway. The CPU utilization was terrible.

Instead of using the laptop for TV, I got a little LCD TV that I plan to mount on the wall next to the fridge. It runs on 12 VDC, but I need to find the funky little power plug for it and find out what's what on the pins. I'd like to wire it directly into the trailers 12V and get rid of the power brick.

Anyway, this setup gets me wireless and wifi. (Wifi at McDonald's and Flying J is not always faster than wireless.)

As for what carrier, go to evdoforums.com. They have links to the coverage maps for every carrier. You can check them out along your route and see who has the best coverage.

Lamar
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Old 07-29-2006, 11:55 AM   #19
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Lamar - Thanks For The Help. Good Information To Start My Homework. I Have A Tv Tuner In My Home Computer And It Works Great. Thats What Got Me Into The Laptop Idea For Tv
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Old 08-12-2006, 07:55 PM   #20
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I know this is kind of old, and it looks like you already have your solution, but...

I do exactly what you describe in my B190. I'm not exactly burdened with extra space in my B190, so I use my laptop to watch DVDs, and I bought a USB external tuner (a Hauppage WinTV USB 2 PVR model) to use as a TV tuner for it. (The unit will also work as a DVR, which may not be that useful for camping but it can be useful at home. )

I had installed a new Pioneer stereo in my camper, with a Sirius tuner, so I sprung for the $30 auxiliary input feature. This allows me to plug a cable into the laptop's speaker output and run it through the camper's sound system so I'm not pounding on the laptop's speakers. I sometimes get a ground loop hum though - I haven't quite narrowed down the exact circumstances - but usually with enough fiddling I can get it to go away.

Honestly, in my B190, I'm not even sure where I'd mount an LCD panel and TV tuner - pretty much every likely spot would block at least one cabinet, or would be uncomfortable to watch from the couch. Plus then I'd also want a DVD player too. That runs on 12 volts. Yeah, the issues start to add up fairly quickly.

I suggest getting a 12-volt power adaptor for your laptop. You can probably get them from Dell for something like $100 or off eBay for $30. That way, you can still charge your laptop even when you're not plugged in.
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Old 08-19-2006, 08:37 PM   #21
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I ended up with an AVerMedia card for the TV tuner and the system works very well. I have not tackled the speaker solution yet but probally just get a good set of computer speakers with amp and base. My hearing is not real sharp so I can not see spending a lot on a speaker system.

I am still researching wireless technology. I like to have the internet avalible so we'll see how that goes
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Old 08-24-2006, 07:12 PM   #22
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Just wondering

Is there ANYONE out there that uses the Airstream as that special place just to get away from it all?

Now I do appreciate all the neat stuff out there....but what are you REALLY doing out there "boondocking" or "on the road" with computers. cell phones, WIFI equiped, Satellite capable, HD LCD, infared, Generator back up'ed, microwaved, IPOD Ituned, downloaded, GPS located and directed, etc., etc.
Don't jump on me! I am curious about it. I remember those days of no AC, campfires (actually cooked on them), sleeping bags and peeing behind the trees. Great time....Try it just for the heck of it.

Heading out this weekend....Airstream, a folding chair, cooler and a guitar.
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Old 08-24-2006, 07:27 PM   #23
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You will be fine. I use this combo all the time. I recommend for cost/value both an Averatec laptop and Haupage WinUSB TV tuner.
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Old 09-03-2006, 03:12 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melody Ranch
Is there ANYONE out there that uses the Airstream as that special place just to get away from it all?

Now I do appreciate all the neat stuff out there....but what are you REALLY doing out there "boondocking" or "on the road" with computers. cell phones, WIFI equiped, Satellite capable, HD LCD, infared, Generator back up'ed, microwaved, IPOD Ituned, downloaded, GPS located and directed, etc., etc.
Don't jump on me! I am curious about it. I remember those days of no AC, campfires (actually cooked on them), sleeping bags and peeing behind the trees. Great time....Try it just for the heck of it.

Heading out this weekend....Airstream, a folding chair, cooler and a guitar.
Well, some would argue that having an RV at all isn't really getting away from it all.
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Old 09-08-2006, 09:03 PM   #25
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Opted for the 15 screen over the 17

Alan: If you ever second guess yourself and wonder if you should have gotten the 17-- don't. You certainly made the right choice. The seventeen inch screen is just too much of a battery hog. Even if you don't think you will ever use the laptop outside or away from power, you never know. Believe me, the difference it amazing. I traded mine straight out for a 15 and I am so much more pleased.

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Old 09-08-2006, 10:13 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melody Ranch
Is there ANYONE out there that uses the Airstream as that special place just to get away from it all?

Now I do appreciate all the neat stuff out there....but what are you REALLY doing out there "boondocking" or "on the road" with computers. cell phones, WIFI equiped, Satellite capable, HD LCD, infared, Generator back up'ed, microwaved, IPOD Ituned, downloaded, GPS located and directed, etc., etc.
Don't jump on me! I am curious about it. I remember those days of no AC, campfires (actually cooked on them), sleeping bags and peeing behind the trees. Great time....Try it just for the heck of it.

I REALLY like all (well, most) of that stuff, and prefer to take it with me. We live in a house in the woods, cook outside year round, and routinely have campfires in the front yard, so the Airstream is equally as high tech as our home. But, wherever I am, I will always prefer to take a wizz outside.
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Old 04-22-2007, 07:22 PM   #27
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Has anyone put a hard drive in a cabinet and used awireless router with the tv input as your screen/
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Old 04-22-2007, 08:30 PM   #28
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Bruce, with all due respect, I have no idea what your talking about.
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