Do you bring your laptop? Cell phone

Old Apr 13th, 2005, 08:41 PM
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Do you bring your laptop? Cell phone

I use e-mail extensively on a daily basis, must check in at work. All three places I am staying (one hotel, 2 apartments) have internet access. I will need to bring a converter. Is it hard for a technically challenged person like myself to figure out how to get online in a foreign country?

I upgraded my digital Cingular phone to a GSM today. The guy said for $5.99 a month I could have int'l access with no roaming at $.99 a minute. I do not forsee using the phone much at all, mainly just quick calls to find out where to meet up, etc. Does this sound OK?

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Old Apr 13th, 2005, 08:50 PM
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If you have a reasonably new laptop (Apple, IBM, Sony) you have no need for a converter. You receive the access code for the service provider at your hotel, and I would assume, at your apartments. You'll need the access codes to log on. After that it's the same as working at home.

Regarding your cell phone. You where quoted the cost of a call back to the States, not within the country you will be visiting. If you use your phone to call a local number, or someone else who's using their American base cell phone in Europe, then you will be billed for the call back to the States and then to Europe. For making local calls on the cheap, you'll need a local sim card and to use the card, you'll need to have your phone unlocked.
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Old Apr 13th, 2005, 09:52 PM
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If you are connecting by phone line to the internet it can often be a challenge.

1. normal phone lines in Europe (at least Germany) use the outer 2 wires of a standard 4 wire phone cord, while in the US it's the inner 2. Even though the cord looks like he same phone cord you are used to in the US, you may not be able to just unplug the phone line from the phone and plug it into your laptop. Many hotels have a special laptop phone jack adaptor. I made myself a special homemade widget that reverses the 2 lines. Since the advent of widely available high speed internet (Lan/wireless) I haven't had to use a phoneline to connect, which is fine with me. Lan and wireless standards are the same as in the US.

2. If your modem waits for dialtone, you may have trouble connecting, since the European dialtone is different from the US. Buried deep in your modem controls somewhere you usually have the option of disabling the 'wait for dialtone' feature.

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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 12:01 AM
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First of all, you will need an ADAPTER for your computer in order to be able to plug in to the wall outlet in your hotel. You should not need a converter or transformer. Check to be sure, of course, but I believe that all laptops these days (and for quite some time) have built-in transformers that "read" the incoming voltage.

You might want to try to find out exactly what sort of internet access your hotel and apartments have. If it is wireless (assuming your laptop is set up for it), you'll have no problem. If it is anything else, you may not have the right connectors on your cables. J62 has discussed some of the problems that can occur.

You may actually find it easier to use an internet cafe.
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 12:09 AM
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I think the Internet cafe call is a good suggestion. I'd rather not lug around a laptop, worry about it getting stolen and fussing with the darn thing. I've used Internet cafes in Jamaica, Mexico, the UK, Ireland, France and Italy and think they're the handiest way to go.

There are other options, too. I work at a newspaper and, since I happened to be vacationing in Rome when the Pope died, I was asked to file a story. I just borrowed a laptop from the nice woman at the front desk of my hotel. Worked like a charm.
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 12:58 AM
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I am assuming your on vacation?
Why don't you leave the laptop at home, and switch off the mobile.
You will be surprised at how little you miss them.You will relax and be refreshed ready to start again.
If it's that urgent there are plenty of internet cafes around.
All my holidays are spent with the laptop at home and my mobile switched off.
It really is better, try it sometime.

Muck
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 04:31 AM
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"Must check in at work..." ..personally, I'd have THEM check in with ME..but that outlook separates us....

LOOK on the power supply of your computer...if it says 110-220/240 volts (since most computers are made for world-wide service it probably will) you only need the plug adaptor.

Re-read what I said three times and help yourself emerge from the "technically challenged" category.


Give them an itinerary "at work" and have them call you.

Are you on vacation or are THEY on vacation at work while you do all the working????
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 05:36 AM
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I recently switched from Cingular to T-Mobile because they gave me a free GSM phone for switching and they don't charge extra to have the international calling feature. Calls from Europe will be $.99/minute, but I might buy a SIM card when I get there so it will be cheaper. I plan to tell friends and family not to call unless it's an extreme emergency. The exception to that rule will be my dog-sitter. She is welcome to call if she has questions or needs anything related to the dog.

My dog is not spoiled....really, she's not. ((&))
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 05:53 AM
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Hi vivi,

>I use e-mail extensively on a daily basis, must check in at work.<

That's too bad.

Unless there is material on your computer that you must have to answer/send email, I suggest that you find an internet cafe and do your work from there.

You can get your email at www.web2mail.com.

You will need your POP3 email server address, eg, pop.server.com.

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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 06:01 AM
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Cell phone yes always -- I even called my husband from Angor Wat! I have t-mobile which isn't cheap, but works for me.

I hope cingular has improved their international service. The cingular system of authorizing you for international use was archaic -- country by country. I hope it has improved.We paid extra while my husband was in London last fall and the *&^$*^%$&^ thing never worked!

Laptop -- seldom. If I have a need I use internet cafés. Although it is tempting as mine is a Sony Vaio that weighs 2 1/2 lbs and accepts the memory sticks from my sony camera directly ...
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 09:33 AM
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Even though I suggested internet cafes, I want to go on record as saying that I do generally bring my little Sony Viao with me on trips. (Sally, isn't it wonderful?)

I use it to write, to download my digital photos, to amuse myself on the plane, and to store info about the trip. I think as the world becomes wireless, it will become easier to get online anywhere.
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 10:03 AM
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Anyone interested in how wonderful Sony Vaio laptops are needs to google vaio shutdown.

One thread at hardwareanalysis.com (5449) goes on for nearly 900 posts.
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 11:17 AM
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Thanks for the replies. The cell phone is only for my convenience, it would never be turned on to receive calls. I mainly need the voice mail as my daughter and I are traveling separately and we'll need to make several last minute rendez-vous plans. (I hope the phone works, the Cingular guy may be lying, LOL. He said it is a $.99 flat rate for any call in Europe, whether it is to the States or within Europe, on the Nation 200 Plan for $5.99 a month.)

I may borrow my daughters tiny Mac with built in wireless for the trip. Both apartments have high speed access, maybe even wireless--I will double check. I am hoping the owners will help me set up the laptop. I need to be in daily contact with several people via e-mail, it won't be a burden. (I had originally planned to be gone 8 days, now it is up to 16, LOL.)
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 11:22 AM
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Hi vivi

>I am hoping the owners will help me set up the laptop.<

I suggest you contact them and tell them what help you would require.

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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 11:55 AM
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So far I haven't had a problem, Robespierre. Keeping my fingers crossed.

What I love is the weight -- under 3 lbs means I never have to think about whether to take it or not. Years ago I had a tiny Gateway notebook that weighed about the same, so I find it amazing how much more I get with the Vaio now for the same weight and about the same price.
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 11:59 AM
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PS It looks like that problem is with the F series. Mine is a different model: PCG-4A1L
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 03:13 PM
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The F series has one problem. The newer ones (mostly GRX and GRZ) have a memory slot issue, and other models all suffer from overheating.
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 03:41 PM
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vivi--if at all possible, get a different job. Life is too short to have your private time interrupted for work.
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 04:05 PM
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vivi,
Check the cingular web-site. For most western european countries, you'll get the 99c rate even without the 5.99 fee. The international flat rate fee is only worthwhile while in certain countries in central europe and in asia, africa, etc. I'd say its a scam but most of the sales associates aren't smart enough to scam you - they just don't know any better.

I had an AT&T/Cingular phone in Italy and it worked fine. I did buy a sim card (phone needs to unlocked) to use for local calls and swapped it out for my Cingular sim card to check voicemail, call the US , etc.
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 04:21 PM
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So Robespierre, do you have a recommendation for a super lightweight computer (under 3 lbs.) that you think is better than the Vaio?

(Sorry, vivi, I won't continue to highjack your thread, but hopefully Robespierre will just give me a brand or 2.)
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