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06-04-2013, 06:28 AM - 1 Like   #1
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A Traveller's Guide to File Management


I have travelled to over 20 countries and every time I pack my bags I face the same problem - How do I deal with my files!?

After my experience of having to lug a Macbook Pro around while backpacking in Europe I was fed up with having all that extra weight for what amounts to a basic interface between my card reader and an external hard drive. So for my recent trip to Japan I decided to look at my options. There are some fantastic netbooks available, but I could not justify the expense because I did not need one for my day to day life. The next option was a tablet, I was particularly interested in the Asus transformer, but at the time I was looking the best price was around $600. I was basically resigned to the idea that I would have to part with some serious cash when I stumbled upon a video done by NZ Tech Freak
...that revealed the amazing capability of my Galaxy S3. So instead of a $600 tablet I purchased a $4 On-The-Go cable off ebay.


In my setup I have used a modified powerstrip. Please note that I consulted a qualified electrician before using it to ensure electrical safety. Do not modify electrical devices without the advice of a qualified electrician, it can be extremely dangerous.

Required Items

The modified power board (strip) is just a standard one with the earthing prong removed

This was necessary so that it would plug into the standard Korjo adapter for Japan. By doing this it has meant that it is only safe for use with devices that also do not have an earthing prong as standard.

How it Works

The final setup looks like this.

All that is left to do is put the SD card into the reader and plug the On-The-Go cable into the phone.

This screen will appear:

Once you click on My Files the various drives will appear:

USB drive B was usually my 500GB drive, due to the larger capacity it would take 10 sec (or so) to appear in the list.

I would select USB drive A (the card reader).

Then select the folder I wanted to copy.

From the drop down menu on the top right I can copy the entire folder

And then I would navigate back to USB Drive B and select the folder I wanted to paste into.
Note that there is a "Paste Here" button in the top right...very handy!

If there was a folder with an identical name it would just paste it and automatically add a number in brackets at the end, so you don't lose any files!

Just for reference, I could copy an 8GB SD Card filled with RAW files in 11 minutes 50 secs approx. This was using a Sandisk extreme pro 8GB (45MB/s) SD Card.

Once I had finished copying I could pull down the overview screen from the very top of the phone (the black bar where the clock and signal strength bars are located) and remove the USB storage devices safely.

So there you have it! If you wanted to pack even lighter I am sure you could get away without the powerstrip, but it is a really useful item when you find yourself in a place with only one power point.
I never experienced a single problem with this setup, although my On-The-Go cable was not as well made as I would have hoped but what do you expect for $4?

I have been on PF for a long time and I have been wanting to contribute something back to the community that might help others, so hopefully there are travellers out there that might benefit from this. If you know of any other useful tips for file management while travelling please post them, it would be great to hear how others have tackled this problem.

Last edited by noVICE; 06-05-2013 at 01:35 AM.
06-04-2013, 06:48 AM   #2
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First, hat-tip to you for having hacked together a system that "works for you", and that allows you to use your existing gear to its fullest. That's cool.

Second, permit me to share just a couple of thoughts on on-the-go photo management...I travel quite extensively for work also, and tend to schlep at least the Q, often something bigger, with me when I can - and this thread might be a good place to retain and discuss a couple of different ideas - thanks, OP, for starting this!

My current solution is EyeFi (although I've recently acquired a Transcend WiFi card also, that I'm playing with). I dump the photos onto an iPad, from where I upload them whenever I hit WiFi to my WebDAV server back at home. ShutterSnitch does that for me for now, although I have some stability issues with that software under certain conditions (trying to nail down which they are, exactly). This, as I am painfully aware that both "gear gets stolen" and "harddisks with movable platters fail"...and that, especially when subject to vibrations.

Obviously, that works only when traveling to places where it's reasonably easy to get access to reasonably (read: very) fast WiFi.....which, so far, has mostly been the case for me due to the nature of my travel. Last time, however, I noticed that I'd uploaded roughly 80GB worth of photos over a week...I hope the hotel isn't billed-by-the-byte

Also, for trekking, and camping, and hiking, and safaris and such, that's likely not viable...

So, I'm starting to look for another approach, which (like the OPs solution) would work also when not having daily high-speed network access. The idea would, again, be to use the EyeFi/Transcend WiFi cards, and to then dump the photos onto one of these: - a portable, wifi, battery-driven HD. Apparently, this should be possible by way of this 3rd party firmware:

I've gone as far as acquiring the Satellite HD, but not as far as sticking on new firmware and testing just yet.

In a perfect world, the EyeFi/SD card should be able to dump the photos on the Satellite without going through the iPad - and in an even more perfect world, I'll be able to work out how to get that Satellite HD to automatically sync up and upload photos to my WebDAV server back at home when possible, again for the purpose of not being vulnerable to loss of data by way of theft or HD crashes. So, that's the current object for investigation when I get a moment.
06-04-2013, 11:05 AM   #3
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That is quite an impressive setup.

I had much the same issue: a need to save off camera cards to hard disk without carrying the laptop. I ended up with the ASUS 700 and keyboard. Not a cheap solution but I love the tablet and use it constantly. It also works just great to transfer files to the external HD when I'm traveling.
06-04-2013, 11:08 AM   #4
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I have a Toshiba AT 300 Android tablet that weighs less than a pound and has a full size SD slot. It is a nice viewing platform and backup device at the same time. I never take the laptop any more on trips.

06-04-2013, 11:22 AM   #5
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Nice write up. I've been doing something similar but with Nexus 10 (with custom firmware).
06-22-2013, 04:17 AM   #6
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Thanks Op.

I have been using an older netbook which has the SD card slot builtin for this. I just ordered a on-the-go cable for my Samsung Note 8.0.....hopefully this will lighten my bag a little.
06-22-2013, 06:46 AM   #7
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If you just want to save it to a portable hard drive the NEXTO DI devices are great and have been around for years. Saving is basically a one button affair: Nexto Di Digital Photo Storage ND2730 500gb: Electronics

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