Vacationing with the iPhone

This article was modified from its original published form. The most recent modification was on2014-09-29.

This past August, my wife and I went out to Nova Scotia with my parents in their RV1. I’ll be uploading some of the better pictures I took to my Flickr stream in the near future2.

My parents tell me that they have wireless access in a campground more often than they don’t. Of the campgrounds we went to this summer, exactly three had any Internet access at all, and only one was reachable from where we were parked.

Intrepid road warriors, we kept up with our email and other web browsing most days through my iPhone. Even in Cape Breton on the Cabot Trail, we had decent EDGE data signal through the Rogers network3. For eighteen of our twenty-two days away from Toronto, the iPhone was our only meaningful Internet access. It performed like a champ. We even got tickets to see Neil Young at the Air Canada Centre in December while rolling down the road.

My parents also use Microsoft Streets & Trips with an attached GPS for navigation. More than once, the iPhone with its GPS and Internet connection (and Google Maps) gave us better directions than Streets & Trips. There was one notable incident where Streets & Trips put us in the Atlantic, but Google Maps on the iPhone gave us the right directions4.

The iPhone5 is too small to be practical for extended use as your sole access to the Internet. It is an excellent adjunct to a standard laptop or other computer and I don’t regret the purchase or contract at all. I have some ideas on how a good web tablet might work, based on my use of the iPhone and a Tablet PC, but I’m going to let them percolate a bit before I publish them.

  1. We call it “The Bus”, since it’s a 40-foot Mandalay with four slides, resulting in about 400 square feet of living space when parked.
  2. …which will flood my Tumblr and FriendFeed, but such is life.
  3. Our level of access was predicted to be minimal by some Haligonians on Segways, advertising for Aliant—a competitor.
  4. This was in part because I used the address and not the name. Google Maps shows the wrong location for Lunenburg County Winery, but the right location for Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, B0J 2E0. Go figure.
  5. In 2008, this was certainly true. In 2014, especially with the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6, this is less true.

  • 2014-09-29: Small textual cleanups and an additional footnote.[ back ]

Tags// ,
More Reading
Older// A Legend Passes