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Need advice re buying a computer for our Japan trip

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Oct 22nd, 2013, 05:24 AM
  #1
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Need advice re buying a computer for our Japan trip

Some of the hotels we have booked have only wired/ LAN connections in the rooms and some have WIFI. I have an Apple I Pod which I assume I can use with the WIFI. If I want to use the hard wired connection in the room, I assume I need to bring a light weight computer, which I willI need to purchase. I want to use it only to connect with the internet to check train schedules and to access emails. Any recommendations for such a computer for under $300 would be appreciated. (I have an expensive lap top for home use, but I do not travel with it). As you can probably tell, I am not computer savy. Please help. We leave for Japan in 9 days.
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 06:01 AM
  #2
 
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We have a 10 inch Dell note pad that is light weight, and does exactly what you want. We did not get the extra memory or heavier battery.. I think it was only $300. You can probably do better if you shop around. Remember you don't need all the bells and whistles.....just basics .
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 06:16 AM
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I have a MacBook Air, which I love. Not under $300 though. You might consider an ipad mini.
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 06:29 AM
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I don't think you can connect either the iPad or the MacBook Air to a wired connection without additional hardware.
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 06:37 AM
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Marija, you are right, but it hadn't occurred to me. I think all the places we are staying have wireless, but now I need to check.
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 07:12 AM
  #6
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Marija-I am not computer savy, but I do know that I can't connect my ipod touch (and ipad) to a wired connection. I assume Karen's Dell will connect though. Am I correct? Any other suggestions would be appreciated.
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 07:43 AM
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I do have a mini laptop as I haven't yet gotten into tablets and smartphones...however, I believe all you need is a mini travel router which will make your hotel room into a wifi area. I think Apple has one called an Airport Express or similar - do a search...and you should find something that will do the trick...
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 07:45 AM
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I've used an HP Pavilion notebook in the past, and it worked fine. Office Depot is advertising a 14" one for $279.
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 07:57 AM
  #9
 
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Is Japan really that different in terms of WiFi availability than Europe or the US? No Starbucks or free WiFi spots?
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 09:14 AM
  #10
 
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Wow.... before you make any decision we, my daughter, faced the same problem for her university apartment and the solution is quite simple and easy - buy a mini wifi router!

You should be able to get this in the States at a much cheaper price: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Basically it just make all LAN, or wired connection, into wifi. If you don't want to buy a lap-top then just buy this very small device and problem solved.
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 09:19 AM
  #11
 
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I'd hate to buy a wire-able computer and carry it around Japan only to find that I needed it once.

Alternatives to wireless in your room: hotel computer, wifi in lobby or other location, internet cafe.

JR used to have paper schedules for the entire system. I assume they at least still have the paper schedule for the shinkansen (for Tokaido and maybe Sanyo shinkansen).

If you end up using a Japanese keyboard that is set to Japanese then there is a key combo that will change it to English. It might be
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 09:31 AM
  #12
 
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There's got to be an adapter for that. Google for it. Maybe a USB to Ethernet cable is all you need. Link shows (I think) a connector with USB on one end and Ethernet on the other:

http://www.cdw.com/shop/products/App...Feh0QgoduwkAog
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 09:34 AM
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Just to add to my post above - by using this very small router I was able to run 4 devices, via wifi, off the wired internet connection. Very impressive little machine!
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 09:39 AM
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mrwunrfl - as you know I am only a limo driver but the link you provided is for a USB connection which an iPod does not have.
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 09:54 AM
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hmmmmm

If those are your only two concerns I would print your schedules now off of the www.hyperdia.com. JR train schedules are locked in and wont change till early next year. Cost for printing your own is almost free.

For checking email many hotels have public computers in their lobby or business centers though I don't remember where you will be staying throughout your trip. Again usually a free service and certainly not $300.00.

Aloha!
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 10:37 AM
  #16
 
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I have used an Apple Airport Express. The linked blog explains the setup procedure, with good tips for use (extra cable).
It worked well for us with multiple devices online at the same time.
http://mchangsp.blogspot.com/2011/02...et-access.html
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 01:01 PM
  #17
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Thank you all for taking the time to reply. I called the Apple store to inquire about some of your ideas. What I was told is:

1-Ipods and Ipads only run on WIFI and there is no cable that will allow wired connection.

2-The Apple Airport Express only extends existing WIFI. It does not convert wired to WIFI.

3-The mini router will not work in a hotel room because the hotel would have to give me their security code, and they most likely would not do this. Hanuman if this is incorrect would you please let me know.

So, unless the above information is incorrect, my 2 alternatives are: rely on hotel computers, as HT suggested, or buy the HP Pavilion notebook as Don suggested. Either way, I would print out the train schedules from my home computer.

At this point I am leaning toward going with just my ipod Touch because I really do not want to drag around a computer to use only once or twice.

Thanks again for all of your suggestions. I'm still technologically challenged, but I have learned quite a lot.
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 01:09 PM
  #18
 
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Thanks for asking the question, Shelley. It made me check on Wi-Fi availability at all of the places we are staying... fortunately, they do all have Wi-Fi.

I now have my tech consultant (Cheryl) looking at phone issues for Japan.
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 04:02 PM
  #19
 
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shelleyk,

That's incorrect because if you just connect the unit with a LAN cable, the hotel will provide this to connect your computer to the internet, then it will act as an "access point" or "AP" only and will transmit the internet signal over wifi to your iPod or iPad as well as computers etc. Here's the procedure in more detail:

1. Connect the unit, straight out of the packaging, with a LAN cable to the hotel's wall outlet (LAN to LAN or Ethernet cable to Ethernet cable). The hotel will provide the cable.
2. Connect the included power supply to the little router.
3. Use your iPod to search for a wifi signal and it will pickup the router's and choose the SSID or router's name. You can get the router's SSID or name from the back of the unit where it's printed.
4. Input the router's password or keyword when asked for by the iPod. Password will be printed on the back of the unit along with the SSID.
5. Once the iPod connect with the signal it will display the hotel's homepage and will usually ask for a password or keyword which are normally given out to the hotel's guess. This is not the same as the router's security code which will give you command over the hotel's router.
6. You're done and connected and you can connect more than 1 unit with this router and use your iPod, iPad + 2 more any wifi capable machines.
* Note that procedures 3 & 4 will only need to be done once and the next time your machine (iPod) will "remember" the router's name and password automatically. When you change hotel all you need to do is key in the new hotel's password only.

Another advantage is that a lot of hotels will only give you access to 1 or 2 unit with their internet connection be it wifi or LAN. With this router you can use up to 4 units without incurring extra charges. It is very small, light and inexpensive and highly recommended.
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 04:35 PM
  #20
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Hanuman-I understand most of what you wrote except:

1-in you first sentence is the "unit" the mini router, the ipod or a computer.

2-in the second line "connect your computer to the internet" (we are not traveling with a computer) do you mean connect your ipod to the internet.

Thanks so much for your patience and your help.
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