Missouri / April 4, 2012 / by Gelb

There is a lot to obsess about when planning a cross country road trip. What clothes to bring, maps to pack, tools to organize, etc. Perhaps the most exciting thing I was obsessing over before the trip was about the technology.

We want Bus 52 to serve as a veritable time capsule showcasing the technology available to us and highlighting what we use for everything from production to entertainment. Some things you plan for and they work out better than expected, others not so much. If you are interested in the kinds of gadgets we have onboard, read on!

First up, communication. We have a great partner, mingo Wireless, who is our main communication sponsor for the duration of the project. We all have cell phones - in order to represent the current offering, we decided to mix up the operating systems - the two Amys have iPhones (Amy Chin has a personal iPhone as well - doesn't she look snazzy), Steven and Chris both have iPhones as their personal ones, and are using LG Thrills from mingo Wireless as their Bus phones. The LG Thrill is an Android device with a 3D camera with very good battery life. The 3D camera is definitely a gimmick, but one that works surprisingly well, and represents the latest offering available to consumers in 2012. I elected to try out a Windows Phone and have myself a Samsung Focus Flash. We also have a MiFi for uploading when we are without a stable internet connection (lifesaver).

In terms of computing power, we are all on Macs and iPads with the addition of one little Toshiba netbook running Ubuntu. Due to the large number of devices we have, we wanted to be able to split internet connections so all of us could get on, so we got ourselves a Sharepoint wifi router capable of creating a WIFI to WAN network. Unfortunately, this particular gadget hasn't stacked up so well. I think it's due to too many steps one must go through in order to connect. Many places also restrict connectivity by number of devices, and the mifi doesn't seem to understand it in the slightest.

Our television is one of the surprising bits of technology that has proven to be of much more use than previously thought. We have ourselves a nifty DVD LCD combo TV that not only serves as a way to watch movies, but a central space that brings the entire team together. We usually relax by watching media from iPads, direct from computers, DVDs, or streaming through Netflix or Hulu on the iPad into the TV. One particularly useful app is AirVideo - it allows us to stream any format video from a computer to the TV through the iPad and converts it to the proper set of codec on the fly. This means we can have a hard drive set up connected with a computer, yet control everything from an iPad. Pretty rocking.

So that gives you a smattering of the technology used on the bus at present. I won't go into any camera or sound equipment as that is top-secret, or so Steven tells me. In case you were wondering, our most popular media type is TV episodes - mostly various Star Trek iterations, the Big Bang Theory, and Bones so far. If we are lucky enough to be in a campground with cable TV, watching some news or having channels on in the background has always been known to help the team work. Never underestimate the power of TV!