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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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trip tech prep

I am so excited about our upcoming trip that my head might explode. Seriously.

Our time at the Wickaninnish Inn promises to be completely relaxing downtime. I have already signed up for several spa treatments, including the Inn's signature treatment, Sacred Sea Thalassotherapy.

Then I get to visit Japan for the first time AND see our friend Alison again!

I am taking my laptop on my travels, and plan to keep posting to Blatherings whenever I can. This shouldn't be a problem in Vancouver, but Japan might be trickier. A friend in Japan is kindly allowing me to use his account access while I'm there, however, so if we can figure out how to do that, it should be fine. My dad says that some public phones have phone jacks for laptops. I had briefly considered signing up temporarily with an ISP in Japan. In the worst case, I can hunt down some Internet cafes in Tokyo. :-)

Here are some useful links I've found while researching:

Laptop Travel: lots of tips for laptop travelers, products, and services.

Traveling with a Laptop Computer: section of "Tips and Tricks For The Computer Equipped Traveler".

In-flight laptop services by airline: includes a listing of power and data options. It looks like Jeff and I will only have power outlet availability on our flight back home (which is on an Airbus A340-300). Doesn't look like Boeing 747s or 767s have that option, at least on Air Canada. The flight home is the longest, however (about 12 hours), so at least this means we can watch DVDs on my laptop.

I've had fun doing extra research about our flights, and have even found the in-flight movie selection: "Shrek" (on our Toronto to Vancouver flight, yay), "Spy Kids", "Bullets Over Broadway", "What Women Want" (Vancouver to Tokyo), "Heartbreakers", "The Natural", "Sweet November" (Tokyo to Toronto). I've looked up our seat locations on Travelocity's seat plans for each flight.

Other tech-prep I've been doing:

-- Adding Japan In Your Palm to my Avantgo channels.

-- Downloaded Abroad! for my Palm. I found out about this application from a travel site; its offerings include a currency conversion, world clock, unit conversion, and country info database. I was dubious when I checked out the programmer's homepage, which looked sort of amateurish with broken English text. I was amused by a supposed quote from Claudia Shiffer saying that she loved the program. On a whim, I clicked through to the link...and found that Claudia Shiffer really DID say that she loved the program! ZDNet also chose it as the best travel app for the Palm. You can download an up-to-date currency database. This program is shareware ($20).

-- Using the "Personalized bookmarks" feature in My Yahoo to keep my bookmarks accessible even if I'm using an Internet cafe. You can also store files in the "My Briefcase" area, and specify which files are public and private. And if it turns out that I can't access my e-mail at all, I'll still have my yahoo account (, which I can access through any browser.

Today's Blatherpics

- Jeff cutting Parki's hair. He started shaving it, but the razor ran out of power. Prep for the hiking trip. I think Parki's expression in this photo is wonderfully contemplative, don't you? Jeff's head has already been shaved in this picture.

- Parki shaving Jeff's head. Jeff later complained about the moire patterns Parki left on one side. I found the whole process highly amusing.

- Annie, in Algonquin Park.

Feel free to suggest a daily poll question.

Today's Poll:

Have you ever smuggled anything into your country? (not declaring something you bought when you returned from visiting another country...this includes not declaring gifts you received and souvenirs).

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