Monday, May 20, 2013

Meet Earl...

I wouldn't consider myself a technology geek by any means. For the most part I try and steer clear of the latest and greatest when it comes to gadgetry. This can go even deeper when I consider my backcountry travels. But recently I've run across something that has really peeked my attention.
His name is Earl. He is a tablet that is aimed straight at the people who like to roam the outdoors. You can read through the list of features and the like yourself but this product has struck a nerve with me. Would I carry this with me on a day hike? Probably. Weekender? Maybe. Thru-hike? Eeeeeeeee, Probably not. My skepticism for first runs of anything is pretty high but I can't seem to let this one go yet. It has a lot of features I'd find useful in many situations. Waterproof, solar charged, weather condition updates, and an emergency radio if i got into some trouble. Hell it seems I can even listen to some KRVS when taking a break for a snack or lunch.
I'm just wondering how this would work on the water. It is aimed straight at people who hike or explore the remote backcountry so I am sure it can pick me up in the marshes. This would also be a pretty handy thing to have around if I was going to be leading any hikes with newbies or number geeks. When I was hiking the AT I was pretty damn accurate with speed and distance. I knew exactly how long it would take me to make that 3 miles to the next shelter or water source. Having the topos, speeds and elevation gains on trails like the Eagle Rock and Wild Azalea would just be fun to have.
 Maybe I just need to embrace the times more and accept that this is how it is gonna be. Everyone carrying iPads and Earls through the woods and water. My iPhone usually comes with me on hikes and its only 4oz lighter than a full functioning Earl! That nagging little voice in my brain is always saying that things like this take a little bit away from the simplicity we seek when we take to the woods.

This project is up for crowd funding right now. It ends June 9th and if they don't meet their goal, you get your money back. So I have come up with my own personal list of pros and cons to wrap it all up.

Water proof, simple interface, solar charged, emergency radio, FM radio, able to accept ebooks for the sleepless nights in the tent, what more do you want?

It's the first generation and will be obsolete like every gadget ever in 2 years. 

I like this thing. I just might fund it and see what happens. Worse comes to worse I fall back on my luddite tendencies and hock it to the next geek. 

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