Mar 092011
 
Authors: Ryan Gibbons and Glen Pfeiffer

If you’re like 7,000 other Americans at this moment, you might be using the magic of the Internetz to watch the live video feed on ustream.com of some expecting parents in Decorah, Iowa. The parents I refer to happen to be bald eagles, and the video stream is coming to us with an insider’s view of their one-ton nest.

Watching the super-serious birds of prey go about their daily routine is interesting and educational, not to mention addictive. The adult-types we know love it, and so do we, to a point.

It took nary an hour of watching the eagles idly in a side monitor for it to dawn on us that this was simply high-tech, long distance bird watching –– from an office chair.

While educational, it did make us frown a bit to realize that the Internet has given us yet one more excuse to live a sedentary lifestyle, butt in chair, eyes on screen, more food the only excuse to move.

While we love tech stuff, we also balance screen-fun and outdoor-fun, which is why today we will give some tech travel tips you can use over spring break, while you take your gadgets to places they may not be accustomed.

#1. Get a power inverter for that road trip. These devices plug into your car’s cigarette lighter, just like most mobile cell phone chargers, but hook you up with two AC power outlets instead. That way you can plug in your laptop and surf the web with your 3G connection on the interstate. Thinkgeek.com sells them in the shape of a to-go coffee cup for only $30.

#2. If any of you are outdoorsy in the camping/backpacking-without-electricity vein, there are still ways for you to keep that mp3-playing cell phone charged (because real hiking doesn’t involve using the phone as a phone). Solar chargers for a plethora of devices can also be found online (thinkgeek.com, again) in a variety of charge capacities. Prices range from $40 to $200.

#3. For those of you flying to your destination of choice, check out www.seatguru.com. This website gives you the complete rundown on the airplane you’ll be flying on. It shows where the TVs are located, which seats don’t recline, and if you’re lucky, where you’ll be able to find a power outlet.

#4. Another handy website currently in Google Labs (see our column from two weeks back), is City Tours (www.citytours.googlelabs.com). If you’re lucky, you’ll be taking your time off in a city that’s brand new to you, which can sometimes make it hard to find things to do. With Google City Tours the guesswork is gone. Just put in the name of a decently large city and you’ll get a list of cool places to see, along with directions, hours, and suggested durations for each new location. Notably, a search for Fort Collins actually yielded some results. 50 percent were bars or breweries –– way to be, FoCo.

#5. Unless you’re headed to an all-inclusive resort this spring break, odds are you’ll be spending the majority of your cash on alcohol. Enter the “Beerbelly” (its a product, not the result of your drinking). This thing is a drink reservoir cleverly disguised as a little excess in the front. Think of it as a Camelbak that sits over your stomach. It can hold more than a 6 pack and saves you from those outrageous bar tabs.

And for you ladies out there, you aren’t being left out. Yours is called the “Winerack,” best described as the outcome of a Camelbak and a sports bra mating.

Have an epic spring break, on us. See you on the other side.

Coumnists Ryan Gibbons and Glen Pfeiffer graduate in a number of days, to be determined when sober. E-mail comments/suggestions to verve@collegian.com.

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