Venice to Amsterdam: Preparation

The subtitle to this post could be How To Feel Like an Electronic Idiot.  Additionally, I once read somewhere that all the new, improved, amazing gadgets, that we think are going to be amazing, will just complicate our lives so much that we would like to take a running start and throw the amazing device into a swamp. Think about it; we did not have cell phones for several thousand years yet we somehow survived to the point where we think we can’t survive without a cell phone. What follows is my electronic travails as I prepare for Europe.

Devices that are going bike touring in Europe.
Devices that are going bike touring in Europe.

Over the last month or so I have been trying to learn how to use my new camera and my new mapping device. (I’m already good enough with the iPad which went across the U.S.A. with me.)

The new camera is a lot better than my old one. But it has a rechargeable battery and needs to be plugged in to an outlet or a computer to survive. It will download photos into the iPad, but it won’t charge off of the iPad so I will have to find an electrical outlet. Electrical outlets in Europe are 240 volts (about twice as much as the USA). Initially I thought I would need a voltage transformer. However, I discovered that the fine print on the supplied charging device says “Input: 100 v -240 v”. So all I need is an adapter to get an American plug into a European outlet. These adapters are cheap and light! Who knew? I purchased two of them.

The mapping device is another problem. I’m still trying to figure it out.  I don’t want to piss off the Garmin folks, but I think I could throw this device further into the swamp than my cell phone. Part of the problem is the documentation. The other part is it just won’t do the simple tasks that I want it to. (Read between the lines here: he has no clue.)

The mapping device is the Garmin Edge Touring. I followed all of the instructions. It would not work. After searching online for several days for a cure, and trying a few of them, I finally gave up and called the 1-800 number. I found out that I had attempted to “download an outdated plug-in”. So if you are like me, you are asking “What is a plug-in?” As near as I can tell, they should change the name of “plug-in” to “if you don’t have this, it won’t work.” So they set me up with the proper iydht,iww (that’s the acronym for “if you don’t have this, it won’t work”). Now it works. Who knew?

The Garmin came with maps of North America. The maps are stored on a super tiny electronic storage device called a micro sd card, about the size of a fingernail. If you don’t understand micro sd, I have bad news for you; there are also mini sd cards and a regular sd cards. Micro is the smallest and regular is the biggest (about the size of a bottle cap).

Since I’m going to Europe, my micro sd card with the North America maps was useless. I needed a new micro sd card with Europe maps so I ordered one after making sure it would fit my device. When I received it, it was the wrong size.

At this point the swamp was looking better and better as a resting place for the Garmin. I returned to the Internet trying to educate myself on sd cards so that I could order the proper size. I looked at images of sd cards, and there, in tiny print, one of the images said “micro sd adapter“. I thought about this. I thought some more. Then I took a close look at my sd card;

Sd disc

sd mini
Who knew?

Apparently, my micro sd card came tucked into a sd card adapter. Who knew?

If you are not computer savvy, you are probably thinking “are you kidding, he drinks Pabst Blue Ribbon?”

And if you are electronic savvy, you are probably thinking “this guy is an idiot”. And you would be right. But take it easy on us dumb-asses. How are we supposed to know all this?




4 thoughts on “Venice to Amsterdam: Preparation”

  1. hahahaaaaa!

    By the way, no judgement here. Remind me to tell you the story of calling AAA because I couldn’t figure out how to use key fob of the rental van last time we went to OC. (athough the AAA guy tried the same thing I did, but he did have other tricks to try,and finally figured it out.)

  2. Hi Neal…. Looking forward to reading the posts each morning with my java….. Just like on your last trip. Safe travels. 🙂

  3. Neal – Good luck and God speed. I happened to speak with an analyst for the DOD this past weekend, and he claimed that Pabst Blue Ribbon is VERY popular in Germany (of all places!!)

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