Solar Power Review - Keeping Your Tech Powered While Camping

I recently picked up from Harbor Freight Tools the following solar power kit: 45W Solar Power Kit (#68751) for just over $150 (including tax).

Solar-kit

Over the course of the last couple of months I've been able to try out the kit on several camping trips were there was no easy electrical grid access.  The camping environment was pretty sunny but not always 100% full sun.  The time of year for all the trips was summer and the location was Southern California.  I ended up setting up the kit on the top of our small camper.

The main reason I picked up the kit was to keep all of my tech gear charged so I could keep tabs on email, news, and any tech issue with my sites.  This was usually less than 1 hour a day which worked out well for my needs, and expectations related to being on a camping trip.

The gear I was able to keep operational using the kit included: cell phone, tablet, WIFI card, and a laptop during trips lasting up to 7 days.

I was suprised during the main daylight hours that the inverter could charge directly: the cell phone, tablet, and WIFI card.  To keep my laptop charged I needed to capture to an emergency car battery system, and then use 3rd party car charger/inverter to get the right power levels to keep the laptop charged.  I was also able to keep charged a USB battery pack so I could run my WIFI card during non-daylight hours when needed.

One other lesson learned, was to turn off all electronics while sleeping.  This helped keep all the devices more readily available the next day then keeping them in standby/sleep mode overnight.

All in all the system worked very well and I'd recommend it.

Updated: 3/16/2014


Updates from Twitter - iPad, DEFCON 19, Podcasts, Mobile, Amazon, Etc

The following items were recently posted on @technewsradio:

  • USB hub allows simultaneous syncing of 49 iPads https://t.co/OO9H7HW
  • DEFCON 19 Podcast Review #security #news #research #hacker #conference https://t.co/rbCr7hK
  • SpokenWord.org gets about 1000 new programs every day & they are looking for curators of categories to make the content more organized
  • BigBlueButton is a open source collaboration and training system that integrates a bunch of open source projects https://t.co/mEL5dDS  
  • PC World has more details on the recent news from Qualcomm about their planned updated Snapdragon mobile processor https://t.co/lQQO8y4  
  • YouTube has a great overview presentation on how "Prezi for iPad" works https://t.co/sHFJBSo  
  • Amazon EC2 is now supporting Virtual Machine (VM) Import to Amazon EC2 instances https://t.co/35n2UtJ  
  • IObit has announced a freeware version of Game Booster v2 for Windows that is geared for improving game performance https://t.co/Q0lWB4D  
  • Via Box.net ... you can get e-signatures features via DocuSign services integrated with documents stored on Box.net  
  • Getting started with project management? - "scope, time & "cost" - a good reference at Wikipedia https://t.co/oVIzQIX  
  • "Heroes of the Computer Revolution" original book looked at hackers & nerds from the late 1950s to the early 1980s https://t.co/H4Vz2kM   
  • arborjs.org - a graph visualization library using web workers and jQuery https://t.co/Zao0gyv

This Week's Tech Podcasts Worth A Listen

Tech-podcasts-01 Here is a pointer to some recent technology related podcasts that might be of interest:

If you have a suggestion or a link to a good technology podcast to let others know about then drop us an email, message @technewsradio, or leave a comment below.


Excellent Report from Rusty Hodge on STS-133

Rusty Hodge at Groove Salad recently published a great soundscape and news report entitled "The Launch of Space Shuttle Discovery". 

Groove-salad-shuttle-launch-audio
It includes a mix of music and sounds at the Space Shuttle Discovery STS-133 launch from the NASA Launch Complex 39 VIP & Press viewing area.

It is a great listen with excellent production.  I highly recommend listening with a good set of headphones if possible.


@technewsradio Roundup Posts for May 7th, 2011

The following is a summary of @technewsradio posts to Twitter:

  1. ASIS Bookstore (security pro organization) has announced over 26 new books via their online store
  2. SWFTools is a collection of open source utilities for working with Adobe Flash files (SWF files)
  3. Amazon online cloud services has a bunch of demos available - including Travel Log (Sample Java Web Application)
  4. Google has fixed a SketchUp 8 "dreaded shadow bug"
  5. Franklin Covey's PlanPlus for Outlook (version 7) is now on sale for $80 (vice $100) 
  6. Looking for a open source mind mapping tool?  Then check out Free Mind
  7. Microsoft Press has announced 3 more books in their Step By Step series: Microsoft Word 2010, Excel 2010 & Project 2010 
  8. Wired.com has an interesting article "Wired—Geek Power: Steven Levy Revisits Tech Titans, Hackers, Idealists"
  9. Listening to "A Witness to a the Egyptian Revolution" by Doug Kaye (Executive Director, The Conversations Network) via https://bit.ly/i35GC7Delete
  10. Per Kevin Devin at FriendsInTech.com - A good tool for finding Creative Commons (CC) images on Flickr is here https://bit.ly/gOtgMPDelete
  11. the Microsoft & Nokia deal seems to leave HP WebOS, BlackBerry, and Intel out of the loop with Apple (#2) & Android (#1) being top dogsDelete
  12. red5 is an open source audio/video (FLV & MP3) server that also supports H.264 
  13. Steven Levy's classic "Heroes of the Computer Revolution" has a new 25th Anniversary Edition

TECH NEWS RADIO PODCAST #370 | 2010-07-14 | Portable Audio Recording & Podcast Distribution

 Listen! (Size 4.1 MBs, Running Time 4m05s)

Today's podcast examines portable audio recording options and some podcast production and distribution technologies.  Links mentioned in this podcast include:

Feel free to follow along with Steve Holden at: TwitterFriendFeed, and/or Delicious.  For tech news only updates follow TechNewsRadio on Twitter.

This podcast is sponsored by SCOTTEVEST and Amazon.


TECH NEWS RADIO PODCAST #368 | 2010-07-12 | Apple iPad Review & Book Pointer

 Listen! (Size 3.8 MBs, Running Time 3m48s)

Today's podcast is a quick review of the Apple iPad and a pointer to a new book "iPad: The Missing Manual" [ISBN: 978-1-4493-8784-6] by J.D Biersdorfer with David Pogue. Links mentioned in this podcast include:

Feel free to follow along with Steve Holden at: TwitterFriendFeed, and/or Delicious.  For tech news only updates follow TechNewsRadio on Twitter.

This podcast is sponsored by SCOTTEVEST and Amazon.


TECH NEWS RADIO PODCAST #367 | 2010-07-09 | Amazon's Improving Cloud of Computing

 Listen! (Size 3.1 MBs, Running Time 3m04s)

Today's podcast is a couple of tech tidbits that examine recent news from Amazon S3 with regards to:

Feel free to follow along with Steve Holden at: TwitterFriendFeed, and/or Delicious.  For tech news only updates follow TechNewsRadio on Twitter.

This podcast is sponsored by SCOTTEVEST and Amazon.


Twitter Updates - ePub, TurboCash, iPad, Windows, Box.net, Evernote, etc

The following is a summary of tweets posted to TechNewsRadio@Twitter over the last week:

  • OpenBook Specification for ePub (xhtml, css, etc) - some tools: Calibre & Adobe InDesign https://bit.ly/bGryk8
  • TurboCASH has released the 4301 Update (5/5/2010) - this is an interesting open source financial mgmt application https://bit.ly/cwBVEP
  • Just posted on my personal blog "An Apple iPad ~2 Month Later Review & Update" https://bit.ly/dAl3ml
  • MacWorld has good references on on ePub & iPad https://bit.ly/ckDgSy
  • Celina Jacobson has an interesting post examining "100 Excellent Lifehacks for Your Long Commute" https://bit.ly/bjsLuS
  • Mark Minasi's TechNewsletter#89 Secrets of Creating Default User in Windows 7, Cleaning Up Setup's Little Security Hole https://bit.ly/cQBbEV
  • Box.net is now beta testing drag-n-drop functions to the cloud using HTML5, Firefox 3.6, and Google Chrome
  • Possible Evernote User Group Meeting in San Diego being discussed https://bit.ly/ble1sk


Twitter Updates - Google, Amazon, Windows, Chrome, TweetDeck, iPad

The following is a summary of tweets posted to TechNewsRadio@Twitter over the last week:

  • This WEEK in GOOGLE42 bit.ly/9SYkfL Check out: Ribbit, Android Kindle app, Google Reader Play, Diaspora, Google Wave open to all
  • Per @LeviathanChrons the podcast novel "Leviathan Chronicles" has a big update on 5/26 https://bit.ly/8ZzfDq
  • Amazon has announced a Asia Pacific Region AWS datacenter in Singapore (EC2 S3 SimpleDB RDS SNS CloudWatch Cloudfront) https://bit.ly/9NMCNc
  • TechPodcast.com Roundtable is today - Sat. May 22nd at 1pm PT / 4pm ET - Stitcher Radio, Green Screen HowTo, 5 Top Windows Utilities
  • standardizing all my computers with Google Chrome as the default browser - it seems to be faster, more reliable, etc than Firefox
  • TweetDeck 0.3.4.1 seems like a nice upgrade: more meaningful icons, location, scheduled updates, translations, etc
  • OpenOffice.org is looking for proposals their 10th year conference in Budapest, Hungary from 08/31- 09/03/2010 https://bit.ly/b6d6cQ
  • Checking out Apple's "iPad : The Missing Manual—New from O'Reilly" - new book $25 - https://oreil.ly/90aNZO
  • Mark/Space has announced Android Calendar Sync Version 1.4 Beta bit.ly/aDLSrX
  • The new Apple OS X Snow Leopard Security Guide is now available online https://bit.ly/9Rm19H via PDF https://bit.ly/cSanMT
  • Slysoft.com has released AnyDVD6.6.4.2 with support for Avatar, more encryption updates & other fixes https://bit.ly/c0tub1
  • Willow Garage has a new open-source initiative for institutions and universities to build upon a robot platform bit.ly/9muTgs
  • OpenBook Specification for ePub (xhtml, css, etc) - some tools: Calibre & Adobe InDesign https://bit.ly/bGryk8
  • Just installed the new VMWARE 3.1 for Mac -- reports about Bootcamp VMs being faster seem true - more info: https://bit.ly/vmware31
  • PhatWare has announced WritePad for iPad - an advanced handwriting recognition software https://bit.ly/aSuNXT
  • Checking out Tweekdeck v0.34.2 (upgrade from v0.34.1) --- I wonder what is new?
  • Checking out PersonalBrain 5.5 (visual information management) for Mac, Windows, Linux https://bit.ly/bpWZ7Y [free 30 day demo]
  • AppleCentral.com is now the new "centralized" home for MacTech, Now Software, MacNews, MacsimumNews, MacMinute, etc
  • Manager Tools Effective Manager Conference at Denver Marriott City Center has been announced for June 7, 2010 https://bit.ly/akUuI3
  • SitePoint's newest book "Create Stunning HTML Email That Just Works!" looks like a good HTML intro: https://bit.ly/cs7ZCk
  • How to Upgrade Your MacBook's Hard Drive bit.ly/benw4m -- Is a good reference!
  • Anyone interest in an Apple iPad meetup in San Diego, CA - Wednesday, June 9, 2010 https://bit.ly/985fSY