Sunday, June 18, 2006

Travel Technology Options

One of the questions that comes up most frequently is what type of internet connectivity should I have for our trip? So, here is a quick review of the basic ways to access the internet in a mobile connection (not at a fixed land base (ie DSL or cable TV internet)

· Dial-up - slow, but can access from any telephone line - just plug in and dial. Some carriers provide lots of local dial up numbers (AT&T has over 400!) and most also provide some 800 service for a fee. This is good to have as a back-up service when you can't access anything else. AT&T provides such a service for $5.95 a month + $.99 an hour when you need to use it. I'm sure others have similar services.

· Cellular Modem - slow, but using an adaptor kit of some type (called a modem kit) you can access any place you have cell coverage. Unless a particular company has put restrictions on it, you can access the internet from ANY cell company’s service, regardless of who your carrier is. You have a physical connection from your cell phone to your PC.

· Cellular Data Service - this has no connection to your cellular phone or cellular phone carrier. You may have the same carrier for both, but it is not necessary. Faster than the above options, you have a card in your PC that accesses the internet directly. You don't even have to HAVE cell service to have this. Totally separate. This service costs about $40-60 a month. Unlimited service. No minutes to worry about. The coverage area for the carrier who provides the card/service to you has no bearing on where you can connect. You can connect ANYPLACE you can get a cell signal -- regardless of carrier who is providing the signal. Now, you may get varying speeds depending upon the carrier, but cellular signal + data internet service card = connection. Even driving along.

· Wi-fi Service The newest and the best value. Good speed, easy to use and becoming very easy to find. Must have a wi-fi card in your PC - virtually all new PC's have them, and many older ones can be retrofitted. Costs for service range from "free" (the location is paying for it - like Starbucks, libraries, etc.) to $30-40 a month, depending upon the situation. You can buy service for a few dollars for a day (like in an airport) to subscription services like through SBC -- but usually restricted to that company’s Hot spots.

· Satellite - Expensive to buy and to have service. Fast, but must be able to get your satellite link-up (problem in trees, etc.) but really great service. There are a couple of major providers. I've never used this, so don't know as much about it. One of our subscribers, Daniel Bray, is an expert. Can only use it when satellite is up - so can't be used driving down the highway. Cellular data service can be used driving along (please, don't try to drive and use! -- I've seen that, believe it or not! -- in LA, where else!)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Authors Win National Book Award

Live Your Road Trip Dream, by Oregon authors Phil and Carol White, won a coveted Benjamin Franklin Award at a Washington, DC ceremony in conjunction with Book Expo America.

PMA, the Independent Book Publishers Association honored the Whites for their award in the category of Marketing Excellence and Innovation for 2005. Live Your Road Trip Dream was previously selected as a Finalist in the 2004 ForeWord Magazine competition for Book of the Year – Travel.

Judged by a panel of book industry experts including buyers at wholesale and retail levels, librarians, book critics, design experts and independent publishing consultants, these books have been scrutinized by individuals involved in the very markets in which the books are competing.

RLI Press published the Whites’ book in July, 2004. It is currently in its second printing and is selling well at AAA, Camping World, book stores, and at their own website, among other locations.

Live Your Road Trip Dream is a “how-to” book to help people figure out how to extricate themselves from their everyday lives in order to go travel for an extended period – and do it for the same cost as staying home. It has been featured in articles ranging from the Associated Press to local papers like Lifestyles Northwest where they were the cover feature. Over 100 newspapers and magazines have told their story. In addition, the Whites have been heard on radio programs and on television. If you enter the book’s name in Google, you will find it in over 12,000 locations on the internet.

Carol White was in Washington, DC to speak at a conference when the winner was announced. She said, “I just couldn’t believe it, out of all the independently published books, they chose ours for marketing excellence. I was speechless, which doesn’t happen to me very often!” When asked how she did it, Carol commented, “If you have a good product with a strong market niche and a good marketing plan that is well-executed, there is a good chance that you will be successful. With nearly 200,000 new titles each year, it is getting increasingly difficult for good small presses to rise above all the ‘noise’ and find their audience.” Apparently the Whites have figured it out, while not only living their road trip dream, but also their publishing dream.

About the Benjamin Franklin Awards™

Named in honor of America’s most cherished publisher and printer, the Benjamin Franklin Award recognizes excellence in independent publishing. A panel of nearly 180 judges from throughout the publishing industry weighted and evaluated more than 1,700 submissions in 53 categories to create the list of more than 159 finalists for 2005 publishing year. Publishers large and small from across the nation, Canada and Mexico competed for the coveted awards.

PMA, with more than 4,200 members, is the largest non-profit trade association representing independent publishers. For a compete listing of finalists and to view the award winners in each category, go to the PMA website at