Tag Archives: technology

Technology and the Open Road.

I’m out on the open road on a day or long road trip and as they say in golf, “What’s in my (golf) bag?” In this case my technology bag.

There is so much technology out there in regards to phones, apps, social media tools, cameras, tablets, I could go on-and-on. Even with all that is available, I like to keep things pretty basic and light-weight when on the road. A recent day trip to Cleveland, Ohio to coffeehouse hop, work and roam the city will showcase what I use.

I only carry a small camera and phone. My camera is a Canon PowerShot A3300 IS usually set up in Auto or Easy mode with most of the default settings. I play around with flash on or off depending on the time of day and lighting. An extra battery and memory card is always on hand in case the camera is getting a lot of action. πŸ™‚

Canon camera, travel

After the work day ended I walked around the city capturing this autumn, dusk shot with my camera alongside Progressive Field. The historic Terminal Tower is all lit up straight ahead.

Cleveland and Terminal Tower at dusk, Autumn

Photos are captured from my phone as well. In general I don’t mess with photo effects like vignette, vintage and grayscale. I like capturing the shot as seen in front of me. My current phone is a HTC Desire HD Android smartphone. My walking led me to this shot of the Cleveland skyline from Edgewater Park using the Android near sunset.

Cleveland skyline from Edgewater Park using HTC Desire HD Android

In regards to effects, after the photo has been taken is a different story. I’ll add a filter or effect before I post on to a social media app like Instagram because I’ll still have the original. Below is a picture of the skyline at night while on the Hope Memorial Bridge using the Kelvin filter.

Cleveland skyline from Hope Memorial Bridge, dusk

Speaking of Instagram, I started using it like gangbusters as soon as it was available for the Android. What took so long haha?! Coffee, martini and skyline shots seem to highlight my feed.

The work day and Instagram featured Koffee Cafe in the Ohio City neighborhood. Get the Turtle Latte.

Working at Koffie Cafe, Ohio City neighborhood, Cleveland

A trend recently has been for people to combine images into one, creating a collage of sorts. I use Diptic for that purpose, combining several photos from a city, coffeehouse, trip, etc. to highlight what a place has to offer. I then post it to Instagram, among other applications. A college of my evening roaming in The Cleve is below. When visiting make sure to get to the Public Square downtown.

Cleveland, Ohio collage using Diptic, Instagram

On Instagram I’ll also checkout hashtags related to the area I’m in to get an idea on somewhere else to go by seeing the pictures.

I’ll also checkout the hashtags, along with the local Tweetstream, on Twitter to get local ideas on the fly. Checkout hashtag #HappyinCLE. Those that know me know I’m very active on Twitter. I’m always looking to strike up conversations with friends and fellow travelers. I’ll checkout if the place I’m currently at or looking to go to has a Twitter presence and I will reach out.

Another one my offices during the day, as you can see on my Twitter feed, is Phoenix Coffee just outside the city line in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Get the Speedball. You’ll really be energized haha.

Phoenix Coffee, Cleveland Heights, Ohio using Foursquare, Twitter

As you can see above I use Foursquare too. I’ll check-in and post a picture highlighting a place I think other people would like to checkout. I’ll use this app mostly on the road. I’ve passed the local, day-to-day checking in everywhere phase. I don’t think there’s much interest in my grocery shopping habits. πŸ™‚

Once in a while when on the road I’ll post to my own Facebook wall as well as on my fan page, but I usually save that for later on to highlight my recent travel experiences. You have to draw the line somewhere!

A shot from inside Gypsy Beans & Baking Co. in the Gordan Square neighborhood, as well as another from Edgewater Park.

Cleveland shots on Facebook fan page

I also make sure to see places with my own two eyes sans technology, just starring and soaking in everything. Pictures and technology are great, but nothing beats being somewhere in that moment without distraction, enjoying the way people did before smartphones came into the picture.

A tidbit from my youth: I’ve been a walking atlas since I was young, so I rarely use Google Maps, Foursquare maps or GPS to help me find my way. I like the unknown and I always seem to get to my destination.

When I do look for a little guidance I like to be old-fashioned and pull out a state map or the Rand McNally Atlas. Where to now Cleveland?

Rand McNally Ohio map, atlas, Cleveland city map

Checkout how some people navigate in Road Trips: Finding Your Way. That’s my technology story when out on the open road. During my time in Cleveland on this day I was able to post and interact via my smartphone, capture photos and at the same time enjoy everything around me without the technological interruptions. I got lots of work done and of course consumed lots of area brew.

With technology continuously evolving who knows how different this post would be if I wrote it at the end of the year. Perhaps I would have additional technology in my arsenal. You’ll have to see as I will write one then. πŸ™‚ I’m actually on the lookout for a new phone and/or camera as we speak. The day began with some java at Gypsy Beans & Baking Co.

Gypsy Beans and Baking Company, Cleveland, Ohio via Twitter, Foursquare

What do you carry phone, camera and technology-wise during your road trips and travels? What are your social media apps of choice?

A travelers thoughts on checking-in.


Foursquare. Gowalla. BrightKite. Yelp. Your reading about these terms, you hear people talking about them, but what are they? Basically these are social technologies that allow you to (check-in) let people know where you are and in the process your winning badges, smack talk rights, points, sometimes even promotions from places that you visit. This phenomenon is still relatively new so both individuals and businesses are still figuring out how to most effectively use these technologies.

I’ve used Gowalla a little bit, but Foursquare is my choice because it’s the most well-known, popular and I find it easy to use.

How am I using these technologies? As people that follow me on Twitter and Foursquare know, I tend to check-in a lot more when traveling then when at home, sometimes going overboard. Why do I do that? What is my goal? Basically to showcase what a certain place has to offer. I’ve “somewhat” lost interest in the day-to-day checking in a lot around home and gathering mayor ships. Believe me, I still check in and give shout outs to great places around home, but I’d rather have a variety of check-ins in different towns, states, even countries just to highlight great places to check out. I’m sure no one is interested in my daily gas station, fast-food, grocery and errand habits anyways.

New York Welcome to Sign - I-90 North

When traveling my favorite check-in spots include welcome to signs, coffee houses, tourist attractions, sports stadiums, unique restaurants/bars, parks, river fronts, piers, anything around water for that matter. Just checking in at these places is not enough. I love adding a water photo shot, a great meal tip, something special that will make someone else want to experience the same thing.
I’ve definitely got the parks, stadiums and water shots covered in the Foursquare screen shot below on a recent trip through Tennessee.

Using Foursquare when traveling.

The day road trip. My staple. On these, I’ll check-in usually only on the way to a destination. I find no reason to check back in at the same places, trying to collect mayor ships unless there is more to see. On a recent day venture I checked in at the same park in Cleveland to and from because I wanted day and night photos.

When traveling, contrary to my statement above, I will check-in at a gas station or fast food joint, especially on long distance trips. It’s to let followers know where I’m going and passing through. Sometimes I’ll drive through a whole state and that’s my only chance to give them a shout out.

How about when flying? Airports are a must. They show your on the move, ready to travel. I check-in at the airport itself and usually a restaurant within. I just laugh at all the gates, bathrooms and seats that have been checked in at. Do people really to be that specific with their check-ins?

So next time I’m out on the open road, I’m sure you’ll see me checking in a lot, shouting, tweeting while taking photos. Maybe I’ll see you out there.