Travelling software

I bought myself a new Android tablet to record my trip across Australia, I went with a tablet due to the fact that I couldn’t find an acceptable way to charge the small HP laptop that my daughter has.  I’m using an Bauhn 9.7 Android tablet, apparently Aldi sells these or smaller ones every now and then.  I used to have the smaller 7 inch version, but that had a heating problem and would freeze up requiring a reset, which was a pain in the bum as I would need a pin to fit in the hole to push the reset button. Plus the smaller tablet didn’t have GPS or 3G and the fact that I broke it.

Software that I have installed for the trip.

1. OSMAND+osmand (paid version)

Global Mobile Map Viewing & Navigation for Offline and Online OSM Maps –

OsmAnd (OSM Automated Navigation Directions) is a map and navigation application with access to the free, worldwide, and high-quality OpenStreetMap (OSM) data. All map data can be stored on your device’s memory card for offline use. Via your device’s GPS, OsmAnd offers routing, with optical and voice guidance, for car, bike, and pedestrian. All the main functionalities work both online and offline (no internet needed).  Especially the offline use was the main selling point for me.  There are also a few plug-ins which can enhance your maps.  I joined and downloaded some of their POIs for the trip, such as IGAs, Coles, banks, chemists, police, hospitals, Camping sites, ambulances etc

2. Evernoteevernote

Evernote is a suite of software and services, designed for notetaking and archiving. A “note” can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten “ink” note. Notes can also have file attachments.  You can drag a section of a webpage and dump into your note and it will copy text and pictures across.  Plus you can install on several computers and sync them as one, so start a note on the PC and finish it later on the tablet.

3. QuickOfficequick officer

Quickoffice is a freeware proprietary productivity suite for mobile devices which allows viewing, creating and editing documents, presentations and spreadsheets. It consists of Quickword (a word processor), Quicksheet (a spreadsheet) and QuickPoint (a presentation program).  Can open up and edit my MS word templates and documents.

4. Quick PDF Scanner

Quick PDF Scan allows you to scan, export and share multipage documents in PDF format. The software uses the camera of your Android device to help you scan and digitise your paper documents so you can easily manage and store them. Quick PDF Scanner is with flexible and modern user interface, custom camera configuration and full customisation of the output PDF file.

5. Dropboxdropbox

Dropbox is a home for all your photos, docs, videos, and files. Anything you add to Dropbox will automatically show up on all your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website — so you can access your stuff from anywhere.

6. Picture editor – I have a few of these installed and haven’t decided which is the best one yet.  So watch this space.

7. What

A program by Aitchehtee. Do you want to know what the clouds tell you? Then check our What Cloud. Compare the clouds you see to the ones built into the app to determine what weather thay may bring. It’s database of cloud pictures, which tell you what you want tonkow about them, should I stay in the tent or pack up and ride?

8. Useful knotsuseful knots

Might have been a Boyscout, but I only remember a few basic knots. So hopefully I won’t need to know any knots but just in case.

9. Gaia Guide.gaia

Gaia Guide is an online field guide. It supports downloading of fieldguides and parts thereof to mobile applications like this one. Review the website, select the field guides you want in your pocket and then open this app to start downloading your customised field guides. I downloaded their Australian Birds, Australian Gumtrees, Australian Insects, Australian Orchids, Australian Scrubs and Australian spiders, scorpions and centipedes guides. Plus Oz mammals (stand alone install).

10. Evernote Food.evernote food

From finding new restaurants to documenting how to make family recipes, Evernote Food gives you one place to discover, collect, and remember your life’s memorable moments in food. Download Options. Discover, collect, and share your favorite home-cooked and restaurant meals. Keep your recipes in one place.

Similar to their notes version, but food related, I can try some recipes out on the road and take notes and pictures of them for later. See what works and what just sucks.

11. Panostitchpano

PanoStitch is an easy to use, professional, panorama software. It will assemble a mosaic of overlapping pictures into a complete multi-row panorama. With others software, you’ll only get a VERY long picture (several pictures wide), but a single picture tall! Take the next step!

Use your favorite camera application to take pictures, and use PanoStitch to stitch them. PanoStitch will take care of alignment and/or exposure issues for you, without any manual intervention.

Please note that PanoStitch is NOT a camera application, it will create professional grade Panoramas out of your Gallery/camera roll.

Any programs you think I may have missed or should take with me?


Catching the rain

When I crossed the Nullarbor in the middle of January this year, I camped out at the Penang Caravan Park, and whilst there, at about 3am, it started raining, it wasn’t heavy deluge but it did last for roughly 10 minutes and it was loud enough to wake me up, although in a tent, rain doesn’t need to be heavy to be much noise.

So next day driving towards Perth, I started thinking about ways to catch the rain when I finally do start my cycle trip across the Nullarbor,  I wanted something simple, quick to install and light, and I think I have made something that fits the bill.

I started with a strip of velcro across the width of the outer fly, with another strip on a flap to fold over and cover the first piece if the rain catcher is not fitted.

velcro strip
Unfolded velcro strip on the fly










Velcro fly
The folded velcro strip with no rain catcher fitted.










Fly velcro
The folding velcro strip on the fly.










The rain catcher has a strip of velcro on both sides of the top section, so when fitted the folding flap on the fly and fold over it.

The business end of the catcher comes together with another strip of velcro and it holds a piece of 25mm PVC pipe in place.

Velcro hold the two ends together and secures the PVC pipe in place.
Velcro hold the two ends together and secures the PVC pipe in place.











The PVC has an 45° elbow and about 150mm of PVC pipe into the folding containers mouth.  This was a late addition, when watching the tent from the comfort of the house, I saw the wind lift the catcher up and remove the elbow, so hopefully this fix that problem.  This end  of the catcher is secured in place with some cord and a stake.  I may add a stick to prop up this end and try to give it a bit of height.

Stepped back view of my masterpiece.
Stepped back view of my masterpiece.
Rain catcher connected to the tent.
Rain catcher connected to the tent.
Mocked up in the backyard.
Mocked up in the backyard.
Business end of the rain catcher
Business end of the rain catcher




































The only thing left to do is apply some seam sealer, where the velcro and the webbing have been stitched on.

The material I bought off eBay, it’s called Ripstop nylon waterproof fabric from a seller called lilylily.123, it took a while to arrive but it got here. Cost $11.oo with free shipping.

The webbing is 25mm black webbing bought from Spotlight at Joondalup, I think it cost $5ish.  The velcro was another eBay purchase, 25mm Olive colour, I bought two yards of this for $4.58.  My lovely wife got me the invisible waterproof thread, most likely from Spotlightas well, but only after she found out I had bought some nylon fishing line 0.3 mm that I was going to use in the old sewing machine. (which I had to repair first, a new top gear and treated it to some new feet, oh and a clean and oil.

The container in the picture is a foldable/collapsible 20L (eBay about $8), so when camping and I wake in the morning after some rain, I will have some spare water that I can use instead of my limited supply.

Feel free to ask questions.


Katadyn Vario Water Filter

Water Filters.

One of the main concerns for anyone planning a bike tour across the Nullarbor or even any of the desert tracks in Australia or the world is of course water.  Without H2O you don’t go.  This is where water filters come in.

water filter
MSR mini works
water filter
Katadyn Vario

During my interweb trawling for information, I had narrowed my preferred water filter to either the Katadyn Vario or the MSR Miniworks.

While they both work and look similar, weights and size are almost identical.

Obviously going by the title I went with the Katadyn, I think it was the variable water filter settings depending on water quality at the time, longer filter life or quicker output volume.  0.1 micron difference in the filtering is not a real big deal in my eyes.

I went pricing the Katadyn in Australia but they were mostly at least 50% dearer than the rest of the world.  I ended up on Amazon and got it delivered for $105 AUD. (Believe it or not something I wanted on Amazon was actually able to be sent to Australia.)  A well known camping store in OZ wanted $150 without the delivery costs. You do the maths.  Ordered Thursday arvo was in my hand by Wednesday morning.

Below is a video by KatadynKP on youtube.





On bike entertainment

About Feb this year, I started looking for something to listen to whilst riding.  After the numerous Google searches, I tried the DX website and discovered among many items that ‘might’ fit the bill, and found this little beauty:

MP3 Radio Light (SKU 91300) I’ll give the Reader Digest’s abridged version of their description plus my comments in italics:

Finally DX has sourced a high quality flashlight that is not just a flashlight.
This one of a kind flashlight has an aluminium alloy body that ensures its strength and durability. The flashlight features 3 modes; High, Low and Strobe.  A FM receiver is built-in; allowing you to listen to news reports, weather reports and even just relax to the sounds of your favourite songs.
The built-in MP3 player is truly great. It has 4GB of built-in memory and can read TF cards up to 4GB in capacity. I have used 2.6 Gb with 583 songs.
This great flashlight even comes with a mounting bracket for a bike (which is CRAP and broke on the first ride). sku_91300_1
The rechargeable internal battery is 1800mAh in size and can last up to 8 hours. This set is so complete you won’t have to buy anything not even the earphones.
There’s no manual in English just as an added bonus, so I haven’t figured out the FM radio part yet.