Thursday, March 24, 2011

Managing IT in the wild

If you want to stay in touch with your family and friends and share your adventures during a rally there is quite a bit of IT involved. In Morocco, where I'm going now, the cellular networks are pretty good and there is actually some WIFI available too at one of the base camps.
I am combining texting, a smartphone and a mini-PC to cover my information needs. Posting updates to various sites, uploading pictures, calling home, etc. Apart from that I also bring two GPS's, one for backup, and they need to be connected to the mini-PC for uploading routes and waypoints used for navigating the stages. The mini-PC also serves as a storage for unloading images and videos from cameras and helmet cams that we bring with us.

Of course all these units needs to be recharged every night. In the past I've been running around with a bunch of cables that connects everything and then plugging in the whole mess in a power socket. It works but it's messy and it leaves all the units visible to anyone who might be interested in stealing them. So this year I put together an "IT-case". It's a small tool case that I've fitted with various velcro straps that secures all units and everything is neatly connected in the case. I placed a power socket on the side of the case so when I need to charge everything I just place the case near a power source and I plug the case in with a power cord. No more messy cables and a lot more easy to handle and less eye catching.

Enough space for GPS's, a camera, a smartphone and
a mini-PC. 
On the picture you can see the mini-PC and the two GPS units. After the pic was taken a I also fitted connectors for my camera and smartphone. And anything that uses an USB plug can be connected as well.
Hopefully this solution will be a lot easier to handle than having everything in a mess with loose cords.

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