Sunday, October 01, 2006

Dik-Dik on Written Road

Kelly Amabile, a writer and contributor on has posted a super-duper review of Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik. And I don't even know her! Ax does, through the writing class she famously teaches, but apparently this had nothing to do with Kelly's final passing grade.

Ax and Edward R-H called my attention to the review. I'm so clueless about the industry I pretend to be steeped in that I don't even look around, and my Google alerts missed the mention. (It will probably show up in a week or so.) I clicked over to check it out and got engrossed in Kelly's post about going gadget-less instead.

In some ways, I am attached at the hip to my laptop. But I don't always carry it. When I went around the world for a year, iBooks hadn't been invented yet (the light white kind, I mean, there were heavier models), and Airport had been but you sure couldn't get it at Starbucks. But the 4-pound Powerbook Duo 230 had been invented, and I took it on the 20-day cargo ship journey. I posted it home from Australia, and don't think I've turned it on since.

After that, I used the same method that Kelly used. Pen and paper. Furiously typing at internet cafes. Scanned in images from photos developed en route. Don't laugh--at this time, you couldn't get the photos OFF of a digital camera without installing a driver, and no internet cafe would let you install software on their machines. USB was far from ubiquitous. Remember floppy disks? There were no thumb drives.

This was only five years ago.

Anyway, going gadgetless as Kelly did is near-and-dear to my heart. Less to carry. Fewer adapters to fuss with. No worry about breaking your laptop, losing it, or having it stolen. No worries about electrical outlets--which are hard to come by in many of the places I traveled in. And all those bumpy rides on dirt roads--they're hard on you, and even harder on your gadgets.

I've certainly taken my laptop and digital camera on every trip since--except Antarctica--because most of them involved staying in one place for months. And my laptop is my ticket to a paycheck. But would I take it along to West Africa? No. Not unless I was freelancing in Photoshop from the road. There is nothing wrong with pen and paper, and you can buy a new supply anywhere in the world.

P.S. I do take my Euro-cell phone along everywhere though. Buy a new SIM card in every region, and I can text-to-email from it. So I guess I was lying to myself when I said I could go gadget-less a few hours ago. Even in the national park in Uganda, I could be reached from any email account via my phone. And even if there is no power outlet, there are small businesses in the bush where people charge phones for a small fee, via solar panels.


Anonymous said...

No grades here ... my class is all about the warm n' fuzzy feedback.

Except when I grow all feral about second-person pronouns.

I took my old, spare iBook to southern Africa this summer. The G3 special edition – sweet grey clamshell – served me well these past six years.

The CD-DVD-drive had jammed outside the frame, so I wrenched it off and slapped ducktape over the hole. Viola! A $150 ghetto-fabulous laptop that few would bother stealing, but which still runs Photoshop and Airport and other goodies (with some patience).

Let me know if you ever want to borrow it, doll! Ax

PS: Part of the reason I'm tethered to said laptop is teaching, by the way. But I'm with you ladies on the low-tech approach whenever possible.

Marie Javins said...

Yeah, Ax, when I have to freelance, the laptop goes without question. A girl's gotta eat, and my livelihood depends on my Mac and my right hand.