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Thursday, April 18, 2013

When things go bump in the night (or day)

The thing about the TransAm Trail is that there are quite a few places where I could get myself into trouble and have no way to walk out or call home for help. AAA is not going to come and jump start my bike or bring me gas.

Should it be something simple I would expect to figure it out and find a way to deal with it. However, if it were something like a broken leg (or worse) I might want a way to signal for help.

SPOT is a satellite communicator that will send messages where a mobile phone would not get coverage. It also has a gps built in so that it not only relays the message but also the location. Press the SOS button and the cavalry is on the way.

Unfortunately these devices have gotten rather a bad reputation for being misused. Stories are here and here. If stupidity was a virus 90% of the population would be wiped out tomorrow.

There are two SPOT models. The Messenger pictured above and the Connect. The Connect lets you post to Facebook and Twitter as you move along. I will say no more about that!

The Messenger has two basic functions "I'm screwed, I need help please" and "I'm really fucked. Hurry!!".

It also has a couple of nice to have features. I can send out an "I'm OK" email message. It also has a gps tracking service that sends out a heart beat every 10 minutes with the location. Combined these make a nice Plan B to make sure I'm not laying at the bottom of a canyon bleeding slowly. If the heart beat location had not moved in an hour or two AND I had not sent out an "I'm OK" message to indicate I was stopping for lunch or for the night then it would indicate a problem. And an indication as to where to find the body. ;)

Even though my whole life revolves around technology I generally hate gadgets. This one, used judiciously, seems like it might be useful. I'll let you know how it comes out.


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